HUNTERDON COUNTY, NJ – Hunterdon County Sheriff Fred W. Brown, at the March 1st County Board of Commissioners meeting, urged the Hunterdon Commissioners to join him in supporting passage of legislation, S-1207/A-750, which protects vulnerable senior citizens and disabled residents from financial scams by setting stricter punishments for those who exploit the vulnerable populations.
“As a member of law enforcement, it is my duty and obligation to protect all individuals and deter crime, whether through action or the sharing of information, like with this bill. Protecting susceptible segments of the county’s population is part of my responsibility that I take very seriously,” Brown said.
Sheriff Brown explained how the legislation is an additional level of protection that has not been previously available for vulnerable persons.
“Most of those who are entrusted to take care of seniors and disabled community members do their jobs well and are often viewed as angels by those in their care. But the few bad actors must be held accountable for any financial exploitation of those individuals who are in their care,” Brown said.
The legislation was recently re-introduced by Senator Christopher Connor, Assemblypersons Brian Rumpf and Dianne Gove for passage for the current 2022-2023 Legislative Session.
Under the legislation, the definition of a vulnerable person is a senior citizen, aged 62 or older, or anyone with mental or physical disabilities. The legislation creates a new offense, under state law, for theft by financial exploitation of a vulnerable person by someone they rely upon for their financial and personal care.
Commissioner Board Director John E. Lanza said, “As both a Prosecutor and as an attorney who handles estate issues, I know there is a need to crack down harder on those who attempt to scam and swindle vulnerable individuals. From my experience I also share the Sheriff’s belief that most of those who provide care for the disabled and seniors in need are good actors, with the best of intentions. But for those who are not, they should pay the price, as established under these bills.”
Lanza directed that a resolution in support of the legislation be added for consideration by the Board at the March 15th meeting.
“For many years, Sheriff Brown has warned county residents regarding several financial related scams, most recently during the pandemic, to keep Hunterdon County residents informed of the potential risks and losses. I know all our residents are most appreciative of your continued vigilance in warning of the scams targeting our citizenry,” Lanza said.