Wednesday, April 11, 2007

In Memory of Phil Lucas and More

I recently learned that Phil Lucas, director of the wonderful film Restoring the Sacred Circle, died in February. The news came from Dave Baldridge, president of the National Indian Project Center, a cohort of mine, along with advocate Bill Benson, on a project on elder abuse in Indian Country for the National Center on Elder Abuse. Other Phil fans include Aileen Kaye, who worked closely with him on the film, which was produced by the Oregon Department of Human Services. I had the privilege of standing in for them during a screening at the 2002 American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco after the film won the Best Public Service Award. A Choctaw, Phil worked on over 107 films as a director, writer, and producer; and won numerous awards, including an Emmy. For more on his remarkable legacy, click here.

Sage Publications just released the third edition of Victims of Crime, which includes a chapter on victims of financial crime, which Debbie Deem, Richard Titus, and I co-authored. Debbie is a victim specialist with the FBI and has taught me everything I know about mass marketing fraud. Richard, who’s done groundbreaking research on financial crimes for the U.S. Department of Justice (he retired in 2004), spent a summer during his undergraduate years working as a con artist and got an insiders's view of how financial criminals search out victim vulnerabilities and exploit them. For more on the book, see Sage's website.

Debbie and I will be co-leading a workshop on mass marketing fraud at the upcoming Weaving the Safety Net Conference sponsored by Legal Assistance for Seniors in Oakland. We’re delighted that there’s a whole track devoted to the sorely overlooked issue of restitution, which includes sessions by victim-turned-advocate Marty Plone; Bob Quigley, who served as an “asset investigator” for a cutting edge (and unfortunately, now defunct) federal restitution recovery pilot project in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Francisco; and Steve Dippert who runs the San Jose Restitution Court project. Undue influence expert Bennett Blum, Lisa Gibbs from UCI’s elder abuse forensics center, and I are doing plenary sessions. For more information, click here.