The Maricopa County Public Fiduciary sees as his responsibility the investigation of situations warranting possible
Court inquiry into alleged financial exploitation of vulnerable adults. The exploitation of vulnerable adults is
endemic in our society, often involving family and friends of the targeted adult. Under Title 46,
Chapter 4, Article 1 of the
Arizona Revised Statutes, a person in whom a vulnerable adult has placed trust
and confidence may only use the vulnerable adult’s assets for the benefit of the vulnerable adult.
A person who violates this principle may be found liable for damages up to twice the amount proved.
Most often, a referral for investigation into possible financial exploitation comes to the Public
Fiduciary from a Judicial Officer, the Attorney General, the County Attorney, law enforcement,
the Arizona Office of Human Rights, or Adult Protective Services. As Guardian/Conservator, the Public Fiduciary has
an obligation to report to the Court the exploitation of a vulnerable adult.
(A.R.S. § 46-454(A)) When a referral is accepted, the Public Fiduciary will pursue the alleged exploiter
in compliance with his fiduciary obligations to the vulnerable adult or to the vulnerable adult’s estate. The Public Fiduciary has successfully sought and recovered sizable assets for the estates of exploited individuals and has turned over a number of cases to the County Attorney for prosecution and to professional licensing agencies for appropriate action.
View A.R.S. Title 46 - Welfare