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White Collar Crimes Against Vulnerable Adults

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Within the domain of white collar crime in Maryland, there is a specific provision to protect vulnerable adults. These individuals require additional safeguards given their status. Accordingly, there are laws against and penalties for this type of offender under the Maryland Code of Criminal Law.

Definition of Vulnerable Adults in Maryland

The definition of a vulnerable adult appears at Maryland Code of Criminal Law Section 3-604. Under this section, the term vulnerable adult applies to any adult who:

  • Lacks the physical capacity to provide for their own daily needs; or
  • Lacks the mental capacity to provide for their own daily needs.

White Collar Crimes Against Vulnerable Adults in Maryland

Maryland Code of Criminal Law Section 8-801 establishes what qualifies as a white collar crime against a vulnerable adult. Under this section — knowing or having a reason to know that the victim is a vulnerable adult — it is unlawful to intentionally:

  • Obtain by deception the victim’s property, intending to deprive the victim of said property;
  • Obtain by intimidation the victim’s property, intending to deprive the victim of said property; or
  • Obtain by undue influence the victim’s property, intending to deprive the victim of said property.

In this context, the term “undue influence” has a specific definition under Section 8-801. Undue influence refers to:

  • Using domination and influence that amount to force and coercion; and
  • Preventing a victim age 68 or older from exercising free judgment and choice.

Penalties for White Collar Crimes Against Vulnerable Adults in Maryland

Section 8-801 also outlines the penalties for white collar crimes against vulnerable adults in Maryland. Though the punishment does fluctuate based on the value of property in question. Any person who violates Section 8-801 with respect to:

  • Property Worth Less than $1,500 — Can face a maximum of one year in prison, $500 in criminal fines, and restitution for the property’s value;
  • Property Worth Between $1,500 and $25,000 — Can face a maximum of five years in prison, $10,000 in criminal fines, and restitution for the property’s value;
  • Property Worth Between $25,000 and $100,000 — Can face a maximum of 10 years in prison, $15,000 in criminal fines, and restitution for the property’s value; or
  • Property Worth More than $100,000 — Can face a maximum of 20 years in prison, $25,000 in criminal fines, and restitution for the property’s value.

In addition to the criminal penalties described above, Section 8-801 establishes another potential consequence for this offense. But this consequence only applies when a person commits this crime against a vulnerable adult and fails to restore the full value of the property in question.

In these cases, the perpetrator cannot inherit, take, enjoy, receive, or otherwise benefit from the victim’s estate, insurance proceeds, or other property. To avoid this consequence, the perpetrator has the burden of proving that they restored the full value of the property in question.

Do You Need Legal Help?

If you are facing criminal charges, we can help. The skilled Bel Air white collar crime attorneys at Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered are prepared to assist you today.

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