(a) The office of elder fraud and assistance is established in the office of public advocacy to investigate complaints involving fraud committed against older Alaskans who are not otherwise able to bring a complaint without assistance, as defined in regulation, and to provide assistance to older Alaskans who are victims of fraud. The office shall work with local, state, and national law enforcement and social service agencies through cooperative agreements and may bring civil enforcement actions for injunctive and other relief for fraud committed against older Alaskans.
(b) In conducting an investigation under this section, the office of elder fraud and assistance may issue subpoenas, conduct interviews, and examine the business records, advances, transactions, and relevant records associated with the alleged fraud committed against an older Alaskan. The office may enter into contracts with attorneys and seek a court order to enforce a subpoena.
(c) In addition to the functions described under (a) and (b) of this section, the office of elder fraud and assistance shall provide information, referrals, and other assistance to older Alaskans who are victims of fraud and make recommendations to the commissioner for regulations on eligibility for assistance needed to implement this section.
(d) A cooperative agreement under (a) of this section must include a description of office operations and investigation protocols.
(e) Subject to the discretion of the court and standards established in regulation adopted by the commissioner of administration and taking into consideration the financial condition of the parties to a civil suit brought under this section, the office of public advocacy may seek recovery of all or part of litigation costs and fees from any party, including costs incurred during the investigation of the case, when the office of public advocacy is found to be a prevailing party after trial or settlement negotiation. The office of public advocacy shall enter into a fee agreement with a client that is consistent with this section, the Alaska Rules of Court, and the Alaska Rules of Professional Conduct.
(f) Nothing in this section prohibits the Department of Law from investigating or prosecuting a person for unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of trade or commerce under AS 45.50.471 and 45.50.495 .
(g) In this section,
(1) “fraud” means
(C) exploitation of another person or another person's resources for personal profit or advantage with no significant benefit accruing to the person who is exploited;
(2) “older Alaskan” means a person residing in the state who is 60 years of age or older.
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