Federal funding to compensate victims of crime should be made available to senior citizens defrauded of their life savings, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt says.
In a letter signed by 40 state and territory attorneys general, Schmidt asked Congress to expand the 1984 Victims of Crime Act to allow states to reimburse seniors for certain fraud losses.
Current federal law provides for state-run victim compensation programs, which can help pay certain costs incurred by victims of violent crime through no fault of their own.
Proposed federal legislation would expand that program to also assist certain senior victims of financial fraud.
The program is funded by penalties and fines paid by convicted criminals, not taxpayer dollars.
The fund reimburses states for 60 percent of payments to victims of crimes, but only for certain eligible items such as medical bills, lost wages and funeral and burial expenses.
Passage of proposed bill would not mandate that states provide compensation to senior fraud victims, but would make available the option to use federal funding for that purpose.