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RobertJDFL
RobertJDFL, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 12132
Experience:  Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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Looking to find out if there is a WI state law or a federal

Customer Question

Looking to find out if there is a WI state law or a federal law against "taking advantage of a disabled person" and what the elements of the offense might be
JA: Have you contacted the manufacturer?
Customer: This isn't a consumer issue. A friend did some work on a neighbor's vehicle, for pay, and the owner refused to pay for either the parts or labor. The man doing the work is not a professional mechanic - he did the work in the neighbor's garage. He paid up front for the parts - $200.00 and worked about 2 hours on the vehicle to fix the problem. The neighbor refused to pay either for the part or the labor, and avoided my friend for most of a month. He was finally confronted with a written contract, which he signed before two witnesses, stating that he would pay in full by the following noon - which he failed to do. He was then confronted with a written document stating that he had two options - pay for the repairs or sign the vehicle over to the neighbor who repaired it. He elected to do the latter, and my friend now has legal possession of the vehicle, title, registration, plates, etc. He has now been threatened by a local police officer with being charged with "taking advantage of a disabled person" - which the officer stated is either a state or federal charge. We are trying to find out if the is such a law and - if so - where we can get a copy of it.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Yes - the former owner of the vehicle my friend repaired and now owns. and his wife, have vandalized my friends other vehicle by breaking the windshield and have threatened to put sugar in the gas tank and other similar (although juvenile) actions. The local police seem more interested in prosecuting (read "persecuting" my friend than in protecting him from these people.
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 2 months ago.

Thank you for your question. I look forward to helping you this evening.

There is a "financial exploitation" statute under Wisconsin law.

Financial Exploitation - as defined in Wis. Stat. §46.90(1)(ed), means any of the following:

  1. Obtaining an individual's money or property by deceiving or enticing the individual.
  2. Forcing, compelling, or coercing an individual to give, sell at less than fair market value, or in other ways transfer money or property against their will without informed consent.
  3. Theft, as prohibited in §943.20.
  4. The substantial failure or neglect of a fiscal agent to fulfill his or her responsibilities.
  5. Unauthorized use of an individual's personal identifying information or documents, as prohibited in §943.201.
  6. Unauthorized use of an entity's identifying information or documents, as prohibited in §943.203.
  7. Forgery, as prohibited in §943.38. 7. Financial transaction card crimes, as prohibited in §943.38.
  8. Financial transaction card crimes, as prohibited in §943.41.

Quite honestly, the fact that the officer didn't know whether this was a state or federal charge makes me doubt they know what they are talking about. There was no force or coercion here -he was given the choice to pay for the repairs or turn the car over. He knew what it was and willingly made his choice. He gave consent.

At best, ***** ***** a civil, not criminal matter. It's a contract dispute --the parties entered into an agreement to have the car repaired for a fee. When the fee wasn't paid, the person who made the repairs offered a choice to pay the fees or give up the car, which the other party did. If they do not believe the contract was valid or that the car should be returned, then their remedy is in civil court, not criminal.

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