(COLUMBIA, S.C.) – South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson is warning senior citizens, other vulnerable adults and their families that federal stimulus checks could lead to financial exploitation of vulnerable citizens.
“Many vulnerable adults have family members or someone else handling their money for them, and this additional stimulus money will be a temptation for some,“ Attorney General Wilson said.
The Omnibus Adult Protection Act protects vulnerable adults from abuse, neglect or financial exploitation. Under that Act, any resident of a nursing home, assisted living facility or residential facility operated by the S.C. Department of Mental Health or the S.C. Department of Disabilities and Special Needs is considered a “vulnerable adult.” Additionally, all vulnerable adults, whether they’re living in a facility or at a private home, are protected by the Adult Protection Act.
The law is clear that misuse or misappropriation of any stimulus funds of any vulnerable adult constitutes financial exploitation of the vulnerable adult and may result in investigation and, if appropriate, criminal prosecution. Financial exploitation is a felony and punishable by up to five years in prison. Attorney General Wilson concluded by saying that his office will investigate and prosecute persons who financially exploit our most vulnerable citizens who reside in nursing homes or other facilities.
Individuals who suspect financial exploitation should contact local law enforcement.