Legislation sponsored by Senator Declan O’Scanlon that would make scamming a senior citizen or disabled person a more serious crime than it already is advanced through the NJ Senate Law and Public Safety Committee last week.
O’Scanlon’s bill (S-601) would make the fiscal victimization of a senior or disabled person a crime. Under the measure, a person would be guilty of fiscal victimization for committing, attempting to commit, or conspiring with others to commit theft against a senior citizen or a person with a disability.
“Seniors have always been prime targets for criminals who prey on their trusting nature and easy demeanor,” said O’Scanlon (R-13). “As technology has developed, it has become easier to find victims and raid their life savings. This can be devastating for people living on fixed incomes.”
The crime of fiscal victimization created by the bill would be an additional charge for suspects accused of theft of money or valuables. The new offense would be a crime of the fourth degree, or one degree higher than the most serious underlying crime, and the courts would be authorized to impose separate sentences for each conviction.
“These crimes are becoming more common, and they often go unreported because the victims feel embarrassed or don’t know where to turn,” O’Scanlon noted. “Not only will this bill make it easier for the courts to punish the criminals, it will also shine light on the growing problem and may discourage scammers from exploiting vulnerable residents.”
Companion legislation in the Assembly has not yet been assigned to a committee.