Colorado Elder Fraud Laws
Colorado does not have a specific statute governing elder abuse, but in 2014, the state established a law stipulating mandatory reporting of abuse and exploitation of at-risk elders, making it the 48th state to enact such a law. While Colorado has had an Adult Protective Services (APS) system designed to protect at-risk or vulnerable individuals unable to otherwise protect their own health, safety, and welfare since 1991, this most recent legislation provides additional protections for “at-risk elders” defined as those 70 years of age or older.What Constitutes Elder Abuse in Colorado?
Elder abuse includes physical and emotional abuse as well as financial exploitation. Unfortunately, financial crimes are a rapidly growing category of elder abuse. As the elderly become more dependent upon relatives, friends, or financial professionals, they also become vulnerable to unscrupulous acts such as theft, scams, and pressure to “gift” their money or possessions away.
The Colorado Bar Association’s 2017 Senior Law Handbook states that “Colorado law defines abuse of an at-risk elder as the non-accidental infliction of bodily injury or death, unreasonable confinement or restraint, caretaker neglect, exploitation, or subjecting a person over 70 to unwanted sexual conduct or contact classified as a crime.”
While there is no specific statute concerning elder abuse, the authority to prosecute crimes affecting at-risk populations is found in seven different statutes:
- Assault (18-6.5-103(3))
- Caretaker neglect (18-6.5-103(6))
- Criminal negligence (18-6.5-103(2))
- Exploitation (18-6.5-103(7.5))
- Robbery (18-6.5-103(4))
- Sexual assault (18-6.5-103(7))
- Theft (18-6.5-103(5))
The Colorado Bar Association’s 2017 Senior Law Handbook stipulates that mandatory reporting is required for people who provide services (whether paid or unpaid) to “at-risk elders,” including:
- Health care providers, including emergency health care providers;
- Medical examiners and coroners;
- Nurses and nurse practitioners;
- Psychologists and other mental health professionals;
- Social work practitioners;
- Community-centered board staff;
- Court-appointed guardians and conservators;
- Law enforcement and fire department personnel;
- Home health providers or care facility staff members;
- Financial institution personnel; and
- Members of the clergy, under specific circumstances.
It can be devastating when a professional betrays the trust placed in him or her by an elderly individual and causes harm to the person. If you or someone you know or love has been the victim of elder fraud, contact the Silver Law Group. Our elder financial fraud lawyers have helped many people recover lost money through litigation or arbitration, and we may be able to do the same for you. Call us toll-free at 1-800-975-4345 or send us a message through our online form.