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Bill would protect seniors from scams

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Assemblyman William Scarborough (D-St. Albans) announced the passage of a comprehensive legislative package aimed at protecting seniors last week. Each year an estimated 30,000 seniors are victims of some sort of exploitation or abuse, according to Scarborough."This package that the Assembly is advancing conveys a clear message that victimization of New York's senior citizens will not be tolerated," he said in a statement.One of the major measures passed was Assembly Bill 9818, which toughens the penalty for assaulting a person 65 years or older by someone 10 years younger from a class A misdemeanor to second-degree assault. Scarborough said the bill was influenced by last year's assault of Rose Morat, a 102-year-old Jamaica Estates resident who was mugged in the lobby of her building.The bills also target those who harm seniors through commercial or legal scams. Under a legislation labeled A-6421-A, agents for the elderly or the incapacitated who have been given power of attorney will be required to sign a form that legally accepts the obligations that come with the powers.Another bill would create better security for a senior's Social Security and veterans benefits by preventing those funds from being frozen in a bank account by third parties.Scarborough said one of the bills will protect seniors homes by requiring landlords to retain security deposits as a "trust" during the tenant's stay and require prompt repayment and accounting of the funds at the end of a tenancy.Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

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