Legislation signed seeks to strengthen Investor and Consumer Protection Units

Caps on funding to protect investors and consumers from fraud were raised on Thursday with the signing of two pieces of legislation.

Both bills, SB259 and SB260, are sponsored by State Sen. Kyle Evans-Gay.

Money collected by the Investor Protection Unit that goes to the Investor Protection Fund was raised from $100,000 to $550,000. The retention gap was also raised from $300,000 to $700,000.

Attorney General Kathy Jennings says with more money, the unit can do more outreach to investors.

“By raising the cap on the Investor Protection Fund, it enables the hardworking people in the Investor Protection Unit of the Attorney General’s office to work even harder,” Jennings said. “To handle those cases where people have been taken advantage of to educate people on how to protect themselves and also to increase our resources to do the important work that we do in that unit.”

Jennings adds seniors are most commonly affected by investor and consumer fraud. During the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a period of dramatically increased scams against Delaware’s most vulnerable populations, including seniors.

Jennings said consumer protection is becoming more important as scams become more sophisticated.

“By raising the cap we can get at in a much more effective way and a much more concerted way inside our state,” she said. “Those robo calls, those frauds or scams that people use to prey upon Delaware citizens. It’s really important that we have a vibrant and strong consumer protection unit, because that’s a fundamental aspect of our charge in this state.”

The legislation signed increases the maximum amount of money the DOJ can keep in the Consumer Protection Fund at the end of each fiscal year from $3 million to $10 million, which will promote greater stability for the Division during volatile periods.

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