Louisiana and Wisconsin AGs lead 44 states supporting senior scam relief bill

August 13, 2020 – Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry and Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul are leading a bipartisan coalition of 44 states in urging Congress to include Edith’s Bill in Coronavirus relief legislation.

Jeff Landry states, “By adding “senior fraud” as an eligible reimbursement expense under Victims of Crime Act of 1984 (VOCA) our bipartisan coalition of 44 state Attorneys General believes states will be able to help our seniors recover if they fall victim to one of the many COVID-19 scams targeting them.”

Edith’s Bill – or the Edith Shorougian Senior Victims of Fraud Compensation Act (S. 3487/H.R. 7620) – would amend the Victims of Crime Act of 1984 to include senior citizens, so penalties and fines from deferred prosecution and non-prosecution agreements (including white collar criminal conduct against seniors) are deposited into the Crime Victims Fund.

The request would amend the Victims of Crime Act of 1984 (VOCA) to include victims of senior fraud as eligible for reimbursement by the Crime Victims Fund for states that provide compensation to victims.

“Scam artists know that seniors are especially at risk from COVID-19, and these criminals are despicably targeting our elderly who are isolated at home or separated from their families and support networks,” Landry said.

“Our elected officials in Washington should recognize this public safety crisis and cast aside partisan politics to deliver for our seniors, especially during these perilous times.”

In a letter to those Congressional leaders, the Landry-Kaul coalition notes that across all states, there has been a surge in COVID-19 scams targeting vulnerable seniors.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General has warned that fraudsters “are offering COVID-19 tests to Medicare beneficiaries in exchange for personal details, including Medicare information.”

This is unfortunately just one of many COVID-19 scams targeting seniors.

Even after the pandemic, it is widely expected that seniors will continue to be targeted by fraudsters. By using this legislation to add senior fraud as an eligible reimbursement expense under VOCA, Landry and Kaul believe states will be able to help victims.

Edith’s Bill is being led by Sens Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Reps. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.) and Peter King (R, N.Y.), who both co-chair the Elder Justice Caucus.

Joining Attorneys General Landry and Kaul in the letter are the attorneys general of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.

By Nancy Cook, Beauregard Daily News
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