Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Capital IconMinnesota Legislature

Vulnerable, elderly adult protection

Published (3/13/2009)
By Mike Cook
Share on: 

A World War II veteran, Alvin, became a prisoner in a neighbor’s home during what are supposed to be his golden years.

The 92-year-old never married, had no children and no heirs for his estate. When he became frail, a neighbor befriended him and moved him in with her.

“This woman bilked him out of almost $200,000 — the money was all spent at casinos,” said St. Paul Police Sgt. Ann Bebeau. “She put his home on the market, which he was not able to even know that because he was not ambulatory. He’d be left to sit in a chair all day with no phone accessible, no walker there so he could not get around the house.”

Bebeau, who has been investigating elder abuse cases since 2001, said the woman also placed a newspaper ad for a rummage sale of his belongings. “The ad said, ‘No reasonable offer denied. Everything must go.’”

Because of current law, Bebeau said the woman was given probation and ordered to repay the funds.

Sponsored by Rep. Debra Hilstrom (DFL-Brooklyn Center), HF818 would make various statutory changes relating to investigations and crimes for maltreatment or financial exploitation of vulnerable adults. She said 52 agencies, entities and organizations were involved in the bill’s creation.

Approved March 5 by the House Public Safety Policy and Oversight Committee and March 11 by the House Labor and Consumer Protection Division, the bill was sent to the House Commerce and Labor Committee. A companion, SF758, sponsored by Sen. Mee Moua (DFL-St. Paul), awaits action by the Senate Health, Housing and Family Security Committee.

Phil Carruthers, director of the Prosecution Division for the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office, said bill components include:

• stiffer penalties, including creation of a 20-year felony for conviction of a financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult when the stolen amount exceeds $35,000;

• immunity for any business or financial institution that acts on good faith in telling authorities about suspected maltreatment or financial exploitation;

• an increase in the statute of limitations;

• the right to a speedy trial; and

• removal of a consent defense, where the victim lacks the capacity to consent.

Session Weekly More...

Session Weekly Home

Related Stories

Turn your key and breathe
House approves ignition interlock bill that would let DWI offenders drive sooner
(view full story) Published 4/29/2010

Minnesota Index: Crime and punishment
Figures and statistics on crime in Minnesota.
(view full story) Published 3/18/2010

Red River Basin: ‘Here we go again’
Flood-prone communities look to keep their heads above water
(view full story) Published 3/4/2010

At Issue: Courts and corrections backing
Public safety finance bill awaits gubernatorial action
(view full story) Published 5/15/2009

At Issue: Corrections, courts funding concerns
Omnibus public safety finance bill gets mixed reaction from House
(view full story) Published 5/1/2009

At Issue: Sex offenders, courts and corrections
Omnibus public safety policy bill headed to conference committee
(view full story) Published 4/24/2009

At Issue: Helping to find missing adults
House vote expected soon on ‘Brandon’s Law’
(view full story) Published 4/17/2009

Minnesota Index: Keeping Minnesotans safe
Figures and statistics on the state patrol and fire marshals in Minnesota
(view full story) Published 3/20/2009

Minnesota Index: See you in court
Figures and statistics on Minnesota's court system
(view full story) Published 2/27/2009

Minnesota Index: 'The Graybar Hotel'
Figures and statistics on Minnesota's prison population
(view full story) Published 1/16/2009