A bipartisan group of House members, including U.S. Rep. John Katko, introduced legislation that will help victims of scams recover their losses.
The bill aims to expand state victim compensation programs by allowing reimbursement for senior fraud. Under existing law, victims can be reimbursed for funeral costs, lost wages or medical bills. But senior fraud isn’t considered an eligible expense.
The legislation would also increase funding for the federal Crime Victims Fund with payments from deferred and non-prosecution agreements.
U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, a Wisconsin Democrat, first introduced the bill in March. It has been dubbed “Edith’s Bill” in honor of Edith Shorougian, a Wisconsin woman who was scammed and lost more than $80,000.
“Scammers have used the COVID-19 pandemic to exploit seniors in central New York and communities across the nation,” Katko, R-Camillus, said. “We need to protect seniors from these opportunistic criminals and I am pleased to join Republicans and Democrats in introducing the Edith Shorougian Senior Victims of Fraud Compensation Act.
“Our bill incentivizes states to reimburse seniors who have been victims of fraud through the Crime Victims Fund, a program created by the Department of Justice that operates on fines and penalties from federal criminal convictions. By taking this step, we will ensure seniors who have fallen victim to scams have the means to seek reprisal.”
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