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Click HERE to watch Senator Collins’ floor statement on the Senior $afe Act
 

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Susan Collins, the Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee, took to the Senate floor this afternoon to express her deep disappointment that one Senator is holding up the passage of the Senior$afe Act—bipartisan legislation she authored to help protect seniors from financial exploitation and fraud. Senator Collins has been a steadfast champion of efforts to shed light on and put a stop to the national epidemic of financial abuse of seniors, which robs them of their hard-earned savings.

“I am greatly disappointed that we have been unable to overcome objections from just one Senator from the other side of the aisle who is blocking the passage of the Senior$afe Act, legislation I introduced to help protect our seniors from financial fraud and exploitation,” said Senator Collins, the Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee, from the Senate floor. “This is a bill that I introduced with my colleague, Senator Claire McCaskill, as a result of extensive hearings and investigations that we have conducted in the Senate Aging Committee. Nationally as many as five million seniors may be victims of financial abuse each year, and putting an end to this tsunami of fraud has long been one of my top priorities.

“This commonsense bill would help so many seniors avoid becoming the victim of financial fraud and abuse,” Senator Collins continued. “I hope that the Senator in question will reconsider and allow us to send this important bill to the President for his signature.”

In a letter to Senator Collins, Jaye Martin, Executive Director of Maine Legal Services, expressed strong support for the legislation, writing that, "In a landscape that includes family members who often wish to keep exploitation from coming to light because they are perpetrating the exploitation, the risk of facing potential nuisance or false complaints over privacy violations is all too real. This is a barrier that must be removed so that financial institutions will act immediately to make a report to the proper authorities upon forming a reasonable belief that exploitation is occurring. These professionals are on the front lines in the fight against elder financial exploitation and are often the only ones in a position to stop the exploitation before it is too late.”

The Senior$afe Act, which will help protect seniors from financial fraud, is based on Maine’s innovative and important Senior$afe program pioneered by Maine Securities Administrator Judith Shaw. In February 2015, Chairman Collins invited Judith Shaw to testify at a hearing that examined ways to prevent the financial exploitation of seniors. Ms. Martin, who testified before the Senate Aging Committee last month, said hundreds of financial institution managers and employees have been trained to identify possible fraud as a result of Maine’s Senior$afe law.

The Senior$afe Act would:

  • Encourage banks, credit unions, investment advisors, broker-dealers, insurance companies and insurance agencies to report suspected senor financial fraud; and
  • Protect these institutions from being sued for making reports so long as they have trained their employees, and make reports in good faith and on a reasonable basis to the proper authorities.