COLUMBUS—State Senator Steve Wilson (R-Maineville) today held a news conference to introduce legislation aimed at preventing financial fraud committed against Ohio's seniors.

"Over my 40-year career in banking, I witnessed countless attempts to financially exploit seniors. As a state, we must do more to ensure that our elders receive the protections they deserve," said Wilson. 

Senator Wilson was joined by representatives from the Ohio Attorney General's office, the Ohio Department of Aging's Long-term Care Ombudsman, the Association of Area Agencies on Aging, as well as stakeholders representing Ohio's financial institutions. 

Approximately 90 percent of all reported financial crimes against seniors are committed by caregivers or family members. Nationally, seniors lose an estimated $2.9 billion to fraud each year. Only 44 out of every 1,000 cases are reported to the authorities. 

Existing law presents various challenges to adequately report and investigate suspected cases of senior fraud. The proposed legislation seeks to address this problem by increasing public awareness and ensuring consistent education among organizations responsible for detecting these crimes. The bill would also strengthen penalties for financially exploiting Ohio's seniors.

This bill would update the list of mandatory reporters of elder exploitation to include employees of financial institutions. These individuals are often the first line of defense for instances of fraud. It would also require interagency collaboration to streamline education standards for detecting and preventing financial fraud and exploitation against seniors. Finally, the bill would authorize the courts to impose additional monetary fines for offenders who target and exploit Ohio’s seniors.

Click here to watch full coverage of today's press conference, provided by The Ohio Channel.

Senate Bill 158 will now be referred to a Senate standing committee for further consideration. 

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