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House clears bill to combat crimes against elderly

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The House cleared legislation on Tuesday to enhance law enforcement efforts against crimes that are targeted at the elderly.

The crimes include financial exploitation, fraud, physical and emotional abuse, and neglect.

Lawmakers approved the Elder Abuse Prevention and Protection Act of 2017 by voice vote, sending it to President Trump’s desk for a final signature.

“We must ensure that appropriate measures are taken to protect our senior citizens and that is precisely what this bill aims to do,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.).

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The bill, authored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), designates at least one assistant U.S. attorney in each federal judicial district to serve as legal counsel on matters relating to elder abuse, prosecute cases and ensure data collection.

It also directs the Justice Department to implement a training program for FBI agents to investigate and prosecute crimes committed against the elderly. The program would include teaching agents “specialized strategies” for helping and communicating with elder abuse victims.

Another provision of the legislation enhances penalties for perpetrators of telemarketing and email marketing fraud directed at senior citizens. Courts imposing sentences of people convicted of those crimes would be required to turn over any property or proceeds from the fraud as part of their sentences.

The Senate previously passed the measure by voice vote in early August.

The House is also set to send another bill to Trump’s desk later Tuesday afternoon to reauthorize programs to investigate child predators.

Tags Bob Goodlatte Chuck Grassley
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