State law wins award for helping fight fraud

AG Alert

LITTLE ROCK -- Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge recently highlighted an award-winning Arkansas law she and members of the Legislature introduced to help protect Arkansas Seniors and people with disabilities from falling victim to financial exploitation.

Rutledge helped craft the legislation alongside Rep. Carlton Wing, Sen. Jonathan Dismang and representatives of the state's banks and other financial services providers, in an effort to develop protocols between state agencies and the attorney general's office to expedite potential action when an individual is facing financial exploitation.

"I am proud to have worked with the many stakeholders to achieve this goal," Rutledge said in a news release. "The need for this law is highlighted by the fact that the bill received bipartisan support as well as national recognition."

Act 1015 of 2021, known as the Safeguarding Against Financial Exploitation of Retirees, or SAFER AR Act, passed both the Arkansas House and Arkansas Senate with "overwhelming bipartisan support." The act is designed to protect older Arkansans and people with disabilities by allowing financial institutions to delay, refuse and report attempted financial transactions designed to exploit these individuals to Adult Protective Services. The act also requires APS to report the suspected fraud to the attorney general's office within 48 hours.

Recently, Arkansas-based Simmons Bank won an award from the American Bankers Association for its role in developing the SAFER AR Act to address this need to protect America's seniors and people with disabilities.

"The SAFER AR Act provides banks and other financial institutions an improved reporting mechanism to state and local authorities when they suspect financial abuse of the elderly and people with disabilities," Steve Wade, EVP and assistant general legal counsel for Simmons Bank, said in the release. "By encouraging financial institutions to act in circumstances of suspected fraud, this bill should help prevent financial loss to victims and give authorities an earlier start toward investigation and prosecution of perpetrators."

For more information and tips on how to avoid common scams and other consumer-related issues, call the attorney general's office at 800-482-8982, email [email protected], or visit