Kyle O'Leary

Attorney General Candidate Tish James Releases Plan to Protect Seniors from Fraud, Debt, and Nursing Home Abuses

NEW YORK --  Senior citizens are struggling to pay for basic necessities such as rent and food as well as the increased costs associated with being elderly such as medicine, transportation, and caregiving costs. On top of that, financial abuse targeting seniors is rampant and many lack retirement savings. Attorney General candidate Letitia “Tish” James today released a policy brief outlining how she will use the Attorney General’s Office to protect seniors in New York. Tish James will investigate and prosecute bad actors that target seniors and will implement measures to ensure that legitimate service providers are available for those who need them.

Highlights of her policy brief include her recommendations to:

    ●     Prosecute scammers who target seniors as civil rights abusers, fraudsters, and larcenists

    ●     Institute a  fund to ensure that legitimate service providers and housing counsellors are available to advise seniors at risk of falling prey housing-related schemes

    ●     Partner with not-for-profits and other government agencies to disseminate fraud alerts

    ●     Conduct an investigation into, and potentially prosecute, those who target seniors with deceptive advertising

    ●     Strengthen enforcement of nursing home abuses

To view the full policy brief, click here.

“Everyday there are bad actors that target our seniors with vicious scams that adversely impact their quality of life. They lose their homes, life savings and dignity. This must end now. The thoughtful plan put forth by Tish James to investigate and prosecute nursing homes, insurance companies, and scammers exemplifies her dedication to protecting the most vulnerable among us.  She will never stop fighting for our seniors as Attorney General,” said Congressman Hakeem Jeffries.

 “Fraudsters, insurance companies, nursing homes, and prescription benefit managers have taken advantage of our seniors for too long. Abuses by nursing homes, advertisers, and scammers have left thousands homeless and broke, and our next Attorney General must do more for the generation that did much for us. Tish James is a proven fighter in the seniors’ corner, and will continue these efforts as the next Attorney General,” said Jeffrey Dinowitz, New York State Assemblymember.

“The civil rights of seniors have been infringed upon by predatory companies and scammers, negatively impacting the lives of countless New Yorkers. The People’s Lawyer must have seniors at the forefront of their agenda; I applaud Tish James for taking a strong stand to address these concerns,” said Donna Lupardo, New York State Assemblymember.

“For seniors, the foreclosure crisis is far from over. Deed theft, loan modification scams, and people exploiting the lure of reverse mortgages put seniors at great risk of foreclosure. It is a population that, in gentrifying communities, is particularly vulnerable. Letitia James vows to go after those bad actors and she has the experience and tenacity to do the job.” said Ayana Robertson, an attorney and authority on deed theft and mortgage fraud.

“As Public Advocate, Tish James has been a fighter for the people. Her commitment and partnership was a key factor in bringing  many political leaders to the table that will result in the construction of over 15,000 units of affordable senior housing on underutilized NYCHA land. As an ally and advocate for the community, Tish James has ensured the seniors of our city can remain in the communities in which they have have raised families in and kept viable,” said Rev. David K. Brawley, lead Pastor of St. Paul Community Baptist Church.

“Every American deserves to grow old with a sense of decency and security. Unfortunately, in New York, seniors are too often victims of fraud. They are routinely taken advantage of and mistreated. . This reality is particularly painful given that seniors are among the most vulnerable people in our communities. They deserve better and, as Attorney General, I will make sure that we protect and defend. We will  go after scammers and  nursing homes purveyors that threaten their well being,” said Attorney General candidate Letitia “Tish” James.

The policy brief outlines how, as Attorney General, Tish James will fight nursing home abuses and scammers that target vulnerable seniors, and make sure seniors have access to sound services. Highlights include:

Prosecuting Scammers who Target Seniors - Thirty percent of people targeted for fraud are seniors. A scam that is directed at people because of age is both fraud and discrimination. Tish James  will  pursue bad actors who prey on seniors and treat these scams as what they are: civil rights abuses.

Protecting Seniors’ Homes - Elderly homeowners, particularly those in foreclosure,  are aggressively targeted by scammers who offer to help them avoid foreclosure or lower their monthly mortgage payments. In the absence of aggressive enforcement, these scams will continue to proliferate across New York State. As Attorney General, Tish James will: strengthen consumer protections and ensure reputable non-profit services remain available to homeowners in every county.

Protecting Seniors From Nursing Home Abuses - The operators of nursing homes have a great responsibility: the well-being and care of vulnerable New Yorkers. Their vulnerability puts them at risk of neglect and abuse. Unfortunately, reports of abuse are too common. As Attorney General, Tish James will use the full extent of the law to levy fines and penalties, and use settlement funds to continuously improve the quality of care. She will also investigate nursing home practices as they relate to filing unnecessary guardianship cases as a means of collecting on residents’ bills.