United States: State Attorneys General Zero in on Elder Abuse, Health Services Industry Practices

The 2018 National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) Presidential Initiative, "Protecting America's Seniors: Attorneys General United Against Elder Abuse," has come to a close with a summit held April 17-18 in Manhattan, Kansas, capping off an eight-month campaign during which state AG offices have augmented and sharpened their tools for investigating exploitation of this vulnerable population.

The initiative, selected by current NAAG president  Derek Schmidt, Kansas Attorney General, has brought AGs from around the country together to build state expertise on this issue and to fight elder abuse, neglect and exploitation. It has included a focus on nursing homes and other parts of the health industry that affect the elderly.

While some of work around the initiative has focused on consumer scams and how AG offices are fighting bad actors, the general consumer protection goal of this initiative includes studying how all companies that provide services to the elderly can be sensitive to the unique needs of this demographic. At the summit, representatives from various AG offices broadly described how they use prevention, education, and outreach in senior consumer protection.

In his opening address for the summit, Attorney General Schmidt pointed out that this demographic merits particular protection due to their wealth and vulnerability, and thanked AGs around the country for joining with him to make this issue a priority.

Companies in the health services industry should be aware of the states' focus on elder exploitation. Outright scams are not the only dangers for the elderly—avoiding unfair or deceptive practices that include misleading advertising of health services or deficient nursing home services that are uncorrected are top of mind as well for the states.

Recent collaborations between the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and state attorneys general have highlighted the broad effort by the states to address the problem of elder abuse, not only physical abuse but other exploitation as well.

In February, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and AG Schmidt announced a coordinated, bipartisan effort to conduct the largest elder fraud sweep in history. Charging over 200 defendants and bringing civil actions to seek justice for the more than one million Americans that collectively lost over half a billion dollars to elder fraud schemes, the sweep is only one attack vector in the NAAG presidential initiative.

The DOJ ordered every U.S. Attorney's office to designate an elder justice coordinator in early 2018, although state attorneys general on both sides of the political spectrum have supported the initiative on their own accord in a variety of other ways, including promoting education related to avoiding scams and other forms of victimization and prosecuting cases. For example, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr obtained a $500,000 judgment as a result of an investigation into Alarm Protection Georgia, LLC relating to alleged Unfair or Deceptive Acts or Practices (UDAP) violations regarding the procurement of 5,812 door-to-door sales contracts, sixty percent of which were obtained from the elderly or disabled, and Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt released an Elder Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation Guide in January and recently announced an elder exploitation and guardianship abuse criminal prosecution involving two felony counts.

In March, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring filed a complaint in the Circuit Court for City of Hampton alleging violations of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act (VCPA) ("misrepresenting that goods or services have certain quantities, characteristics, ingredients, uses, or benefits" and "using any other deception, fraud, false pretense, false promise, or misrepresentation in connection with a consumer transaction") related to an illegal "pension sale" plan that deceived over 600 Virginia citizens, particularly targeting older veterans. The complaint alleges Future Income Payments LLC, among others, engaged in a predatory loan scheme by concealing loans as sales through deceptive tactics such as billing as a buyer rather than a lender and relabeling common loan terms with sales terminology. The loans allegedly had interest rates of up to 183%, in one instance requiring a veteran to pay $40,920 over the course of five years for a $5,500 loan.

Some jurisdictions specifically address elder abuse in UDAP law provisions. For example, Florida prioritizes orders of restitution or reimbursement over civil penalties (which may be $5,000 more than a regular civil penalty) for UDAP violations against senior citizens, defined as those over the age of sixty, and Georgia provides for an additional civil penalty of up to $10,000 for certain UDAP violations against elder people, also defined as those over the age of sixty. See Florida Statutes § 501.2077; Georgia Code § 10-1-851. A recent lawsuit by the Pennsylvania Attorney General in response to a data breach includes an alleged violation of the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (73 P.S. §§ 201-1 – 201-9.2) for concealment and refusal to provide notification to individuals affected by the breach, which may lead to an additional civil penalty of up to $3,000 for victims over the age of sixty. See 73 Pa. Stat. § 201-8. In California, knowingly causing a vulnerable senior citizen actual substantial physical, emotional, or economic damage as a result of a loss of income or substantial loss of certain property or assets may lead to treble damages. See Cal. Civ. Code § 3345.

As the states in tandem with federal prosecutors zero in on how the nation's elders can fall victim to exploitation and unfair financial schemes, it is important that those industries that count the elderly among their customers take a step back to consider how their practices affect that demographic and how they might work with these regulators toward a solution. While AG Schmidt's presidential initiative has drawn to a close, the resources in each state AG office that have been increased and fine-tuned as part of this effort will not become irrelevant. With the nation's population of Baby Boomers making this demographic more high-profile than ever before, we can expect the states to continue to scrutinize businesses who serve this population, notably including the health services industry.

This article is presented for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal advice.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions