Calif. Assemblyman Mike GattoSACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — AB 1624, authored by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D–Los Angeles), an important measure to protect senior citizens and others from having their bank accounts drained, was signed into law today by Governor Brown.

“The signing of AB 1624 ensures that senior citizens, the disabled, and others who entrust caregivers and family members with their finances will not find themselves to be penniless victims of unscrupulous actors,” commented Gatto. “By clarifying that funds in bank accounts with more than one signer belong to the person who contributes them, we will protect seniors and anyone who is in a non-traditional relationship.”

The bill was necessary after a divided California Court of Appeal stunned legal pundits when it held that whoever withdraws money first from a bank account becomes the owner of the funds. That decision, in Lee v. Yang (2003) 111 Cal. App. 4th 481, was widely panned by the Conference of California Bar Associations and senior advocates like the California AARP as a license to drain an unsuspecting senior citizen’s bank account.

“I am grateful that Governor Brown has joined me to reverse this ruling that left thousands of Californians financially exposed,” said Gatto. “The law should not protect those who use positions of trust to legally victimize vulnerable Californians.”

AB 1624 is one of three bills signed into law today sponsored by Assemblyman Gatto.

Mike Gatto represents the cities of Burbank, Glendale, and parts of Los Angeles, including Los Feliz, Silver Lake, and Atwater Village. He is the Chairman of the Assembly Appropriations Committee.