29 Sep 2018

Bill to protect elderly in American Samoa moves to next stage

5:30 pm on 29 September 2018

The American Samoa Senate has given final approval to the Lolo Administration's legislation, which creates a new law to protect the territory's elderly and disabled adult population.

The American Samoa Legislature Fono building in Fagatogo

The American Samoa Legislature Fono building in Fagatogo Photo: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The "Elderly and Disabled Adult Neglect, Abuse and Exploitation Prevention Act" now goes to the territory's House of Representatives for their review and approval.

The governor, Lolo Matalasi Moliga, hopes it will be done next Wednesday when the current legislative session ends.

Across the US, the senior citizen population has become a target of financial schemes.

The territory's Attorney General, Talauega Eleasalo Ale, said this issue is covered in the American Samoa bill, and it also includes penalties.

For example, one provision states that if the funds, assets or property involved in the exploitation of an elderly person or disabled adult is valued at US$50,000 or more the offender commits a class 'A' felony.

It's a class B felony if the property, assets or funds, is valued between US$10,000 and less than US$50,000; and less than US$10,000 is a Class C felony.

Another provision deals with an offender who is charged with exploitation, which is the taking or loss of property valued at more than US$5,000.