Ramos: Legislation Will Protect Seniors from Violence, Predatory Financial Practices and Fraud

March 4, 2008
Assemblyman Philip Ramos (D-Central Islip) announced this week that the Assembly has passed a comprehensive package of legislation to protect New York’s seniors form assault, abuse and fraud. The bills would better protect our parents and grandparents from criminals and con artists.

“Only the worst type of people would seek to hurt or defraud the elderly, but the current laws are nothing more than a slap on the wrist” Ramos said. “The bills we passed this week will make it a felony to victimize seniors or assault anyone over the age of 65.”

The legislation continues efforts to meet the need of New York’s senior population. The package contains measures to increase penalties for assaulting elderly victims, overhaul power of attorney laws and protect senior citizen’s assets.

The package of legislation proposes to:

  • Increase the penalty from a class A misdemeanor to a class E felony if more than one vulnerable elderly person is victimized by a scam artist (A.9813);
  • Increase the penalty from a class A misdemeanor to second-degree assault – a class D violent felony – if a person 65 years or older is assaulted by someone more than 10 years younger, helping to curb predatory attacks by those who target seniors (A.9818);
  • Add an experienced elder law attorney to the state’s Crime Victims Board, providing valuable perspective for cases involving older New Yorkers (A.6204); and
  • Require the New York State Police to develop educational materials and procedures relating to elder abuse to help with their cases (A.9905).

Ramos pointed out that at least 30,000 seniors every year are victims of some sort of abuse or exploitation. A low number he said as most incidents never get reported. He cited the stark example of the beating of a 101 year old woman in Queens last year, showing the need for better protections for seniors and the more vulnerable.

“As a former police officer I’ve seen how our parents and grandparents can get taken advantage of by crooks and thieves,” said Ramos. “These criminals are the worst kind of cowards and under these bills they would be strictly and swiftly punished.”