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Does Age Matter in Financial Crime Cases?

Elder Fraud

Every detail matters in a criminal case, including the ages of the parties to the alleged crime. For example, defendants who are minors often go to juvenile court instead of criminal court except in the case of the most severe violent crimes or if the defendant already has an extensive record. Likewise, if the defendant is a young adult with no prior criminal history, the chances are greater that he or she will get deferred adjudication, even for a felony case. In cases involving sex crimes, the penalties are less severe if all the people connected to the alleged illegal sexual conduct or solicitation were adults than if the alleged crime involved a minor. 

Age matters in financial crime cases, too. Texas even has a law specific to financial crimes against elderly people. 

If you are being accused of defrauding or stealing from an elderly person, contact a Texas white-collar crime lawyer.

What Is Financial Abuse of an Elderly Individual?

Texas Penal Code 32.55, which defines and criminalizes the offense of “Financial Abuse of Elderly Individuals,” went into effect in September 2021. A person can be convicted of this offense if he or she intentionally causes a person above the age of 65 to suffer financial losses and if the defendant or conspirators of the defendant benefit financially from the elderly person’s losses. You can be convicted of this crime not only if you steal from an elderly person but also if you obtain the money or property through fraud, lies, intimidation, or emotional manipulation. The charges can even still apply if you have a fiduciary duty toward the elderly person, such as if you are an estate planning lawyer or financial planner or if the person signed a power of attorney with you. These are the classifications for financial abuse of an elderly individual:

● State jail felony - $750-$2,500 in financial losses

● Third-degree felony - $2,500-$30,000

● Second-degree felony - $30,000-$150,000

● First-degree felony - $150,000 or more

Financial abuse of an elderly individual is a misdemeanor if the amount of financial losses is less than $750. Some defendants accused of financial abuse of elderly individuals also face charges for other crimes, such as fraud, theft, or conspiracy.

Why Do So Many Elder Fraud Cases Go to Federal Court?

The federal courts may take up the case against you if you are accused of financial abuse of an elderly individual. This is because fraudulent communications often take place online, with a defendant in one state communicating with an elderly person in another. Likewise, bank transactions often cross state lines, which is another reason the federal courts may choose to get involved with your case. If this happens, you need a criminal defense lawyer who is qualified to take on federal cases.

Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC, About Financial Crime Cases

You should hire a Dallas criminal defense lawyer if you are being accused of a financial crime against an elderly person. Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC, in Dallas, Texas, to discuss your case.