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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Increased Penalties For Defrauding Elderly, Disabled On Monday's Legislative Agenda

Montana Capitol.
William Marcus
Montana Public Radio

Monday, the Montana Legislature will see a bill to protect the elderly and those with developmental disabilities from scams.

Democratic Representative Moffie Funk of Helena is carrying House Bill 57, which would increase possible fines and jail time for offenses such as fraud and embezzlement.

Representative Funk says the group this would protect has a serious disadvantage.

“I think they’re trusting, they have some income, and then maybe a little more fragile in some things.”

This bill would increase fines for stealing from people older than 60, people with mental impairments from aging, or those with physical or mental disabilities.

Opponents of this bill argue that the age shouldn’t be what determines frailty and that these may be excessive punishments for the crime. The bill would raise maximum fines from $5,000 to $20,000 per offense and potential jail terms from 5 to 20 years.

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