This week, state Attorney General Ashley Moody highlighted senior protection resources, as May is National Elder Law Month and National Older Americans Month.
More than five million seniors call Florida home, with many moving here to retire.
“Our seniors deserve peace of mind and the ability to enjoy their retirement, free of worry that deceitful scammers will exploit them. Our office is dedicated to strengthening laws and bolstering efforts to protect seniors. As your attorney general, I will always work to protect those who call Florida home,” Moody said.
One resource the Attorney General’s Office provides to seniors is the Senior Protection Team, an intra-agency group of experts working to fight fraud. The team is comprised of leading members from the Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution, Consumer Protection Division, Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and Office of Citizen Services. Seniors vs. Crime and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement also actively assist the team with investigations and outreach efforts. The goal is to bring attorneys and investigators specialized in fighting civil, criminal and health care fraud together to develop strategies to protect Floridians 60 and older.
The Seniors vs. Crime project is another resource available to assist seniors. Seniors vs. Crime was founded in 1989 with the mission to help prevent crime and fraud, aid consumers in resolving disputes and assist the Attorney General’s Office with its mission through the work of Florida senior volunteers—referred to as Senior Sleuths. Since Moody took office, Seniors vs. Crime has helped recover, refund and save more than $3.4 million for older Floridians.
Recently, Moody announced the passage of senior protection legislation. Moody worked closely with the Elder Law Section of the Florida Bar, state Sen. Danny Burgess, R-Zephyrhills, and state Rep. Colleen Burton, R-Lakeland, in crafting a bill to provide greater protection to seniors statewide. This law will strengthen senior protection by preventing the intentional isolation of vulnerable adults, allow for earlier intervention by law enforcement and prosecutors to prevent irreversible physical harm or financial loss to vulnerable Florida seniors, and strengthen accountability of guardians and agents under powers of attorney. The Office of Statewide Prosecution will also have additional authority to go after those who commit crimes against elderly and disabled adults.