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Benson, Lagana, Mosquera & Eustace Bill to Help Curb Financial Fraud and Exploitation of Elderly Gains Assembly Approval

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Daniel Benson, Joseph Lagana, Gabriela Mosquera and Tim Eustace to revise current law in an effort to train agents of money transmitters on how to properly recognize financial abuse and exploitation of elderly residents gained approval from the General Assembly on Monday.

The bill (A-3948) revises the “New Jersey Money Transmitters Act” to require money transmitters to provide to their authorized delegated training materials on how to also respond appropriately if the delegate suspects that the delegate is being asked to engage in the business of money transmission for a transaction in which an elder adult is the victim of financial abuse or exploitation.

“Any agent handling financial transactions for elderly clients should be vigilant of scams and abuse aimed to entrap seniors,” said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “These crimes are the most devastating to the peace of mind, health and sometimes welfare of New Jersey’s seniors.”

“This legislation adds another level of protection for seniors against unscrupulous individuals who take advantage of their kindness,” said Lagana (D-Bergen/Passaic).

Financial crimes against seniors and vulnerable adults have increasingly become a concern of states. Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia introduced legislation addressing fraud and exploitation of the elderly last year. Maryland has passed similar legislation.

“Let’s give agents the tools they need to recognize this kind of suspicious activity,” said Mosquera (D-Camden/Gloucester). “Increased vigilance will help save more seniors from financial exploitation and abuse.”

“New Jersey’s seniors have increasingly become targets for financial scams and abuse in recent years,” said Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic). “The more we train those who engage with seniors how to identify scams the better chance we have of putting an end to the targeting of senior residents for financial crimes.”

Under the bill, the money transmitter is required to provide the training materials to each newly appointed delegate within one month after the delegate’s appointment and to keep a record of the date for each delegate.

The measure, which remains under Senate consideration, was approved unanimously in the Assembly.