A respectable businessman recently learned that his 80-year-old mother has decided to give all of the family's inheritance away after she passes away. Filled with rage that their family legacy will go to a popular television evangelist rather than to him and his siblings, the son decides to pressure his mother into changing her will. He assumes that she knows that it is entirely voluntary, however, he soon faces criminal charges for financial exploitation of an elderly person. Financial exploitation of an elder is a crime in Illinois and it involves taking the assets of an elderly individual for your own personal benefit.
Criminal Consequences for Exploitation of an Elderly Person
Financial exploitation of an elderly person or a person with a disability is a crime in Illinois. The crime of financial exploitation of an elderly person occurs when the defendant is in a position of trust or confidence with the elderly individual. The person of trust must deceive or intimidate the elderly individual by gaining control over his or her property, or illegally using the assets or resources of the elderly person. An elderly person is defined as any person age 60 or older.
For the purposes of this law, intimidation means communicating to an elderly person that he or she will be deprived of food, nutrition, shelter, medication, medical care, or kind treatment if he or she does not give the defendant money or valuable assets. Deception means misrepresenting or concealing facts related to a contractor agreement from the elderly individual. Illinois recently passed a law that aims to combat the financial exploitation of senior citizens and those with disabilities. The law expanded the definition of class 2 felony offenses of theft by deception to over $5,000 to include crimes committed against people with disabilities.
The Penalties for Exploitation of an Elderly Person
Under Illinois Law, if you are convicted of financial exploitation of an elderly person, you will face felony charges. The class of felony depends on the value of the assets the defendant took from the elderly individual, as follows:
- Class 4 felony charges - the value of the property is $300 or less
- Class 3 felony charges - the value of the property is between $300 and $5,000
- Class 2 felony charges - the value of the property is between $5,000 and $50,000
Class 1 felony charges are incredibly serious. The defendant can be charged with a class 1 felony when the value of the property is $50,000+, OR the elderly victim is age 70 or older and the value of the property is $15,000+. The penalty for a class one felony is between four and 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.
Defendants Cannot Use Consent as a Defense
Illinois recently amended its laws to clarify that defendants cannot use consent as a defense against the crime of financial exploitation of an elderly person. In other words, a defendant cannot argue that the elderly person consented to the exploitation to avoid criminal charges when the defendant knew or should have known that the defendant lacked the ability to consent.
Contact Our Experienced Lawyers Today
If you are facing criminal charges for financial exploitation of an elderly adult, you will face prison time and hefty fines if convicted. When you need an attorney, experience matters, contact Glasgow & Olsson today to schedule your initial consultation.