Posted: Apr 17, 2013 8:35 PM by Irina Cates - MTN News
HELENA - A bill signed into law will crack down even more on scam artists who take advantage of the elderly and intellectually disabled Montanans.
House Bill 287, which was brought forward by Montana Attorney General Tim Fox, and sponsored by Rep. Dan Salomon (R-Ronan), enhances the penalty for consumer protection violations.
The maximum civil fine under the Consumer Protection Act is currently $10,000, but the new measure allows a court to impose an additional penalty of $10,000 for each violation, if the victim is an older person or a person with an intellectual disability. An older person is defined as age 60 or older.
Salomon says this was an important bill to take forward because most people know someone who was taken advantage of by a scammer.
"The intent is understanding that if you're going to pick on these people, the consequences are going to be more significant. And also if there is a situation where these come to be prosecuted, the consequences again will be significant, or more significant," he explained.
The additional penalty can be imposed for several different reasons, including if the defendant knew, or should have known, that the target of the unfair or deceptive practice was an older or intellectually disabled person.