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24th Legislature(2005-2006)

Bill Text 24th Legislature

00                             HOUSE BILL NO. 399                                                                          
01 "An Act establishing the office of elder fraud and assistance; and relating to fraud                                    
02 involving older Alaskans."                                                                                              
03 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA:                                                                
04    * Section 1. AS 44.21.410(a) is amended to read:                                                                   
05            (a)  The office of public advocacy shall                                                                     
06                 (1)  perform the duties of the public guardian under AS 13.26.360 -                                     
07       13.26.410;                                                                                                        
08                 (2)  provide visitors and experts in guardianship proceedings under                                     
09       AS 13.26.131;                                                                                                     
10                 (3)  provide guardian ad litem services to children in child protection                                 
11       actions under AS 47.17.030(e) and to wards and respondents in guardianship                                        
12       proceedings who will suffer financial hardship or become dependent upon a                                         
13       government agency or a private person or agency if the services are not provided at                               
14       state expense under AS 13.26.025;                                                                                 
01                 (4)  provide legal representation in cases involving judicial bypass                                    
02       procedures for minors seeking abortions under AS 18.16.030, in guardianship                                       
03       proceedings to respondents who are financially unable to employ attorneys under                                   
04       AS 13.26.106(b), to indigent parties in cases involving child custody in which the                                
05       opposing party is represented by counsel provided by a public agency, to indigent                                 
06       parents or guardians of a minor respondent in a commitment proceeding concerning                                  
07       the minor under AS 47.30.775;                                                                                     
08                 (5)  provide legal representation and guardian ad litem services under                                  
09       AS 25.24.310; in cases arising under AS 47.15 (Uniform Interstate Compact on                                      
10       Juveniles); in cases involving petitions to adopt a minor under AS 25.23.125(b) or                                
11       petitions for the termination of parental rights on grounds set out in                                            
12       AS 25.23.180(c)(3); in cases involving petitions to remove the disabilities of a minor                            
13       under AS 09.55.590; in children's proceedings under AS 47.10.050(a) or under                                      
14       AS 47.12.090; in cases involving appointments under AS 18.66.100(a) in petitions for                              
15       protective orders on behalf of a minor; and in cases involving indigent persons who                               
16       are entitled to representation under AS 18.85.100 and who cannot be represented by                                
17       the public defender agency because of a conflict of interests;                                                    
18                 (6)  develop and coordinate a program to recruit, select, train, assign,                                
19       and supervise volunteer guardians ad litem from local communities to aid in delivering                            
20       services in cases in which the office of public advocacy is appointed as guardian ad                              
21       litem;                                                                                                            
22                 (7)  provide guardian ad litem services in proceedings under                                            
23       AS 12.45.046 or AS 18.15.355 - 18.15.395;                                                                         
24                 (8)  establish a fee schedule and collect fees for services provided by                                 
25       the office, except as provided in AS 18.85.120 or when imposition or collection of a                              
26       fee is not in the public interest as defined under regulations adopted by the                                     
27       commissioner of administration;                                                                                   
28                 (9)  provide visitors and guardians ad litem in proceedings under                                       
29       AS 47.30.839;                                                                                                     
30                 (10)  provide legal representation to an indigent parent of a child with a                              
31       disability; in this paragraph, "child with a disability" has the meaning given in                                 
01       AS 14.30.350;                                                                                                 
02                 (11)  investigate complaints involving fraud committed against                                      
03       residents of the state who are 55 years of age or older; in this paragraph, "fraud"                           
04       has the meaning given in AS 44.21.415.                                                                        
05    * Sec. 2. AS 44.21 is amended by adding a new section to read:                                                     
06            Sec. 44.21.415. Office of elder fraud and assistance. (a) The office of elder                            
07       fraud and assistance is established within the office of public advocacy to investigate                           
08       complaints involving fraud committed against older Alaskans and to provide                                        
09       assistance to older Alaskans who are victims of fraud. The office shall work in                                   
10       cooperation with local, state, and national law enforcement agencies and may bring                                
11       civil enforcement actions for injunctive and other relief for fraud committed against                             
12       older Alaskans.                                                                                                   
13            (b)  In conducting an investigation under this section, the office of elder fraud                            
14       and assistance may conduct interviews and examine the business records, advances,                                 
15       transactions, and relevant records of a person accused of committing fraud against an                             
16       older Alaskan. The office may seek a court order compelling the production of                                     
17       relevant evidence.                                                                                                
18            (c)  In addition to the functions described under (a) and (b) of this section, the                           
19       office of elder fraud and assistance shall provide information, referrals, and other                              
20       assistance to older Alaskans who are victims of fraud.                                                            
21            (d)  In this section,                                                                                        
22                 (1)  "fraud" means                                                                                      
23                      (A)  robbery, extortion, and coercion under AS 11.41.500 -                                         
24            11.41.530;                                                                                                   
25                      (B)  theft and related offenses under AS 11.46.100 - 11.46.740;                                    
26            or                                                                                                           
27                      (C)  exploitation of another person or another person's resources                                  
28            for personal profit or advantage with no significant benefit accruing to the                                 
29            person who is exploited;                                                                                     
30                 (2)  "older Alaskan" means a person residing in the state who is 55                                     
31       years of age or older.                                                                                            
01    * Sec. 3. AS 47.24.015(c) is amended to read:                                                                      
02            (c)  The department, or its designee, shall immediately terminate an                                         
03       investigation under this section upon the request of the vulnerable adult who is the                              
04       subject of the report made under AS 47.24.010. However, the department or its                                     
05       designee may not terminate the investigation if the investigation to that point has                               
06       resulted in probable cause to believe that the vulnerable adult is in need of protective                          
07       services and the request is made personally by the vulnerable adult and the vulnerable                            
08       adult is not competent to make the request on the adult's own behalf, or the request is                           
09       made by the vulnerable adult's guardian, attorney-in-fact, or surrogate decision maker                            
10       and that person is the alleged perpetrator of the abandonment, exploitation, abuse, or                            
11       neglect of the vulnerable adult and is being investigated under this chapter. If the                              
12       department has probable cause to believe that the vulnerable adult is in need of                                  
13       protective services,                                                                                              
14                 (1)  the department may petition the court as set out in AS 47.24.019;                                  
15       [OR]                                                                                                              
16                 (2)  the department or its designee may refer the report made to the                                    
17       department under AS 47.24.010 to a police officer for criminal investigation; or                              
18                 (3)  in cases involving fraud, the department or its designee may                                   
19       refer the report made to the department under AS 47.24.010 to the office of                                   
20       public advocacy for investigation; in this paragraph, "fraud" has the meaning                                 
21       given in AS 44.21.415.                                                                                        
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