AG Landry and others fight fraud against seniors

Published 12:30 pm Friday, August 14, 2020

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Jeff Landry, Louisiana Attorney General

BATON ROUGE — Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry and Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul are leading a bipartisan coalition of 44 states in urging Congress to include Edith’s Bill in Coronavirus relief legislation. The request would amend the Victims of Crime Act of 1984 (VOCA) to include victims of senior fraud as eligible for reimbursement by the Crime Victims Fund for states that provide compensation to victims.

  “Scam artists know that seniors are especially at risk from COVID-19, and these criminals are despicably targeting our elderly who are isolated at home or separated from their families and support networks,” said AG Landry. “Our elected officials in Washington should recognize this public safety crisis and cast aside partisan politics to deliver for our seniors, especially during these perilous times.”

If signed into law, Edith’s Bill – or the Edith Shorougian Senior Victims of Fraud Compensation Act (S. 3487/H.R. 7620) – would amend VOCA so that penalties and fines from deferred prosecution and non-prosecution agreements (including white collar criminal conduct against seniors) are deposited into the Crime Victims Fund. The bill is being led by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D, WI) and Bill Cassidy (R, LA) and of Representatives Suzanne Bonamici (D, OR) and Peter King (R, NY), who both co-chair the Elder Justice Caucus.

  In a letter to those Congressional leaders, the Landry-Kaul coalition note: across all states, there has been a surge in COVID-19 scams targeting vulnerable seniors. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General has warned that fraudsters “are offering COVID-19 tests to Medicare beneficiaries in exchange for personal details, including Medicare information.” This is unfortunately just one of many COVID-19 scams targeting seniors.

Even after the pandemic, it is widely expected that seniors will continue to be targeted by fraudsters.