San Francisco—SB 611, landmark elder fiduciary abuse legislation that was authored by Senator Darrell Steinberg and sponsored by California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform and AARP was signed into law by Governor Schwartzenegger on Thursday, July 12, 2007. The new law, effective January 1, 2008, allows a victim in an elder financial abuse case to request that the judge order the assets of the defendant/perpetrator frozen when the case has sufficient merit and the plaintiff posts a bond.
Financial abuse against elders or dependent adults in California is an enormous problem. In the last several years, California has enacted new laws to protect elders and to make it easier for victims to sue those who exploit them. However, lawsuits seeking to recover wrongfully taken money or property may take a year or more to complete. During this time, a perpetrator will often spend or hide the money he has taken, leaving nothing for the victim to recover even if the lawsuit is successful.
By permitting plaintiffs in elder fiduciary abuse cases to use the remedy of attachment against the defendant’s property, SB 611 will make it easier for elders and disabled citizens to seek restitution when they have been victimized by predatory and illegal financial practices.