ICYMI: Rep. Frankel Stands Up to Protect Seniors from Financial Fraud
WASHINGTON, DC – Yesterday, Rep. Lois Frankel (FL-22) took to the House floor to offer a motion to recommit on H.R. 1675, a bill designed to roll back decades of consumer protections that shield investors from financial scammers. Rep. Frankel’s motion would amend the bill to preserve protections for seniors, one in five of whom is a victim of financial fraud, and ensure that those criminals who prey on seniors will be held accountable.
“This motion to recommit adds something to this legislation that every person in this chamber, Democrat or Republican, can get behind – stronger protections for the people who held us in their arms when we were young, sheltered us, and shared their wisdom with us as we grew,” Frankel said, “As they protected us, we must protect them.”
Below, please find Rep. Frankel’s full remarks as prepared for delivery.
“M. Speaker, in a bipartisan spirit, I offer a motion to recommit in order to make needed improvements to the current proposal.
Let me start with the story of Charles Bacino, as noted in The Street, a financial news service. Charles grew up in Pueblo, Colorado.
An accomplished musician, he taught music for over 30 years and brought joy to audiences across our country, from Disney World in Orlando to the Venetian in Las Vegas. He performed alongside the famed tenor Luciano Pavarotti.
Most importantly, Charles was the loving father of three and grandfather of seven.
At age 73, as Charles lay dying of pancreatic cancer in a hospital bed in Las Vegas, he called his “financial affairs manager” to his bedside to discuss his investments and put his final affairs in order.
As a morphine drip was working to ease his pain, Charles’s financial adviser persuaded him to invest $82,000 in a cocoa and banana plantation in Ecuador.
Charles gave the charlatan the keys to his house to get his checkbook, and in a matter of moments the money was gone.
Charles died less than a month later, penniless, ripped off by someone he expected to look out for his best interests.
M. Speaker, sadly, there are many more tragic stories out there like Charles’s.
Financial fraud against seniors cuts deep. One in five Americans over age 65 has been victimized by a financial scam.
This equates to seniors losing nearly $13 billion each year to financial fraud.
I am sad to report to you that close to a million seniors are currently foregoing meals as a result of economic hardship due to financial abuse.
And this problem may get worse as older Americans live longer.
Here’s the thing: this bill that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle bring us today shields abusers like Charles’s so-called financial advisor and strips Congress of the power to protect our grandmothers and grandfathers from con artists who swindle them.
M. Speaker, my motion to recommit would preserve decades of SEC consumer protections designed to help folks just like Charles.
And in addition, my amendment would ensure that those criminals who prey on seniors will be held accountable.
This motion to recommit adds something to this legislation that every person in this chamber, Democrat or Republican, can get behind – stronger protections for the people who held us in their arms when we were young, sheltered us, and shared their wisdom with us as we grew.
As they protected us, we must protect them.
I urge my colleagues to vote yes on my amendment and I yield back my time."