Elder fraud falls under the umbrella of elder abuse of Nevada law. Elders are considered vulnerable to not just fraud and scams, but neglect and abuse as well. Often these forms of elder abuse will overlap. For instance, an adult child who is caring for their elderly mother may be neglecting her by not helping her with basic care, leaving her to lie in her own waste for hours, then accessing her bank account and misusing her money.

There are many ways that seniors can be taken advantage of and financially harmed. Sometimes the person doing it does so intentionally. Other times, they are not aware that what they are doing is harmful or illegal.


What crimes are against seniors in Nevada?

Elder abuse is a very broad term used to describe several types of abuse of the elderly. In Nevada, harming an individual who is 60 years old or older is a crime. This harm can be in the form of neglect, or abuse that is physical, mental, psychological, or financial.

The law is broken down into several specific areas:

Elder abuse – Willfully and unjustifiably inflicting physical abuse, pain, injury, or mental anguish, or depriving the senior of shelter, food, clothing, or services like medical care that they need for their mental or physical health.

Elder neglect – Defying or rejecting a contractual or legal obligation to provide care to the senior. The contract can be written or verbal, such as an adult child who voluntarily agreed to care for an elderly parent.

Elder exploitation – When an individual has power of attorney or trust over the elderly person and they use deception to deprive the person of their assets or to gain control over their assets, that is elder exploitation. This can be a family member, a friend, or an anonymous scammer.

Elder isolation – Elder isolation is the malicious, willful, and intentional activity that denies the elderly person of human contact. This is often seen with people who have mobility issues or can’t walk. The person who is committing the crime of elder isolation may use deception to keep people away from the victim, such as saying that they don’t want any visitors.

Elder abandonment – This can come in two forms. An individual leaves or abandons the elderly person in a way that is unhealthy or unsafe, or they refuse or withdraw vital assistance that the victim needs and is owed.


What is the elder abuse law in Nevada?

In Nevada, NRS § 200.5099 makes it a criminal offense for any person to exploit, neglect, or abuse any person who is 60 years old or older. It details the various ways that elders are abused, including financial abuse or fraud which falls under elder exploitation. It also provides the penalties for these crimes.

A number of elder abuse cases happen in multi-generational family homes as well as in nursing facilities. Sometimes the perpetrator is intentionally abusive, committing abusive actions against the victim willfully in an effort to hurt or harm them. Other times, the caretaker is simply overwhelmed and exhausted, often caring for the person with little or no help. When this happens, some things can fall through the cracks and give the appearance of abuse or neglect where there was never any intention of doing so.


What is the penalty for elder abuse in Nevada?

The crime of elder abuse and neglect carries some serious penalties. It is prosecuted as either a:

Gross misdemeanor – This class of crime is more serious than a simple misdemeanor but not as serious as a felony. The defendant has the right to a bench trial, or a jury trial and the sentence is a maximum fine of $2,000 and a maximum jail time of 364 days.

Class C felony – This class of crime is a lesser felony, but a felony all the same. It also carries serious penalties including a maximum of $10,000 in fines and a maximum of five years in Nevada State Prison. The defendant can request a jury trial if the DA will not plea bargain or settle the case.

If the victim incurred serious injury or trauma including substantial mental or bodily harm, the penalty can be increased to a maximum of 20 years in Nevada State Prison.



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