According to an article in the Dallas Morning News, Texas legislators have created stiffer criminal penalties for those who defraud senior citizens. The influential group, the Texas Silver-Haired Legislature urged that decisive action be taken against criminals who target senior citizens for foreclosure scams, credit card scams, identify theft and other types of financial abuse.
The article said:
“It is a fairly widespread problem, which is being made worse by the increasing number of seniors and the tight economy,” said Carlos Higgins, a representative of the group who lobbied for the new law. “As folks get older, too often they are less able to recognize and defend against the sharks out there, and we know the sharks are targeting seniors all over the state. Unfortunately, we also too often see seniors abused by their own family members.”
This is an unfortunate reality. Many seniors find themselves at the mercy of unscrupulous family members who abuse their credit cards, deplete their bank accounts and eventually cause them to lose assets such as their home to foreclosure. This new legislature will increase the penalty and “level” of the crime when it involves a senior citizen. For example, if a scammer committed a crime against a senior that was originally a state jail felony with a maximum jail sentence of 2 years, it could increase to a third-degree felony with a maximum jail sentence of 10 years under the new law.
Hopefully this new legislation will deter would be scammers who target one of our most vulnerable populations for credit card scams, foreclosure scams and other tricks designed to siphon off their assets.