COLUMBUS- State Senator Steve Wilson
(R-Maineville) today applauded Governor Kasich's signing of Senate Bill 158
, which aims to combat fraud and financial exploitation of Ohio’s most vulnerable citizens—our seniors.
Across the United States, senior citizens lose an estimated $2.9 billion to fraud and financial exploitation each year—with only 44 out of every 1,000 cases being reported to the appropriate authorities.
Senate Bill 158 focuses on three key components: awareness, education and enforcement. Specifically, the legislation requires interagency collaboration to develop best practices and streamline educational opportunities relating to the detection and prevention of fraud and exploitation.
“As a former banker of over 40 years, I am passionate about preserving the financial freedom and stability of all Ohioans–especially our seniors,” said Wilson. “With the new services and protections that this bill will provide, I am confident that more people will be equipped to recognize and stop these crimes before they occur.”
The bill requires the Office of the Attorney General to distribute no less than six public awareness publications each year in order to improve awareness among the general public and provide basic information on the warning signs of senior fraud.
Additionally, an offender convicted of committing certain financial crimes against a senior will be required to pay full restitution to the victim and an additional fine of up to $50,000. All fines collected will be redirected to the County Department of Job and Family Services to be used for the investigation and reporting of further instances of crimes against seniors, or for the arrangement of protective services.