Monday, December 3, 2012

Ohio Resident and Advocate Reaches Out to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

This summer, I attended the forum on financial abuse whose agenda appears online(see FN:1). Hubert "Skip" Humphrey III, the head of the CFPB’s effort to protect older Americans, gave the keynote speech. Other presenters included Bob Blancato, the Elder Justice Coalition’s national coordinator, and Richard Browdie, current chairman of the National Council on Aging’s board of directors. I introduced myself to each of these presenters and delivered to them a document which, with a few changes, the CFPB now makes available for viewing at and downloading (see FN:2) This document focuses on the need to: (1) prevent the financial exploitation of individuals with severe cognitive impairment at the time they execute wills, trusts, POAs, deeds, mortgages and other important legal/financial documents, and (2) prevent the ruinous litigation which often results under such circumstances.

I began the original document with an introduction to the 3-minute video that ABC News broadcast and currently presents online (see FN: 3) as part of the full report which appears online (see FN: 4). Those who have watched this video and read the full report appreciate the following:

(1) the video was recorded in a hospital by the attorney who appears in the video;
(2) this attorney was disbarred and indicted for the actions he recorded in this video, in which he takes advantage of an 88-year old widow’s infirmity to obtain from her a Will and Power of Attorney;
(3) this video and report exemplify the lack of protection provided under such circumstances by our current laws and legislation, including the Elder Justice Act, the Elder Abuse Victims Act, the Older Americans Act, the Americans With Disabilities Act, state APS laws, and state guardianship laws.

I also discussed in the original document the 5-step forensic interview protocol for preventing such abuse which I advocate. This protocol is based upon recommendations of the American Medical Association and others. I identify and link many of my sources on pages 9 and 10 of the document (see FN:5).

The changes to the original document are discussed on the document’s first page. One of the changes is the addition of proposed legislation which I was encouraged to draft after the forum by the board of directors for the Ohio Association of Senior Centers. Another change is the CFPB’s redaction of some of the material. Exactly what the CFPB redacted can be easily determined by comparing pages 3 and 5 of the CFPB’s redacted version to the same pages of the unredacted version which I post online (see FN:6).

I am now waiting for the CFPB and others to answer the drafting questions which the Ohio Legislative Service Commission (LSC) has posed in its analysis of the proposed legislation.

~Tom Fields

1. Agenda
2. Document
3. ABC 3 Minute Video
4. ABC Full Report: Mary Ellen's Mansion
5. Unredacted Version


Thelma said...

Great work, Tom!

Betty said...

Good for you, Tom!

StandUp said...

The more active advocates we can get in every state, the faster reform will come.

Carole said...

I appreciate Mr. Fields' effort very much. We can't over-educate these people at the CFPB. They still have the family-is-the-culprit mentality and haven't recognized nor responded to court-sanctioned financial exploitation.

Thank you Mr. Fields and NASGA! Let's hope the CFPB and Mr. Skip Humphreys are paying attention!

Sue said...

Tom Fields is like the energizer bunny, he keeps going and going - thank you TVF!

Mike said...

Thanks for your determination and stamina, Tom.

Elaine said...

When I think of Ohio, I think of Tom Fields!