Thursday, March 23, 2017

Film Producer Seeking Assisted Suicide Stories


The producers of  The Euthanasia Deception documentary (www.VulnerableFilm.com) are working on a new film dealing with the effects of assisted suicide in America. 

Assisted suicide is currently legal in the States of Oregon, Washington, Vermont, California, and the District of Columbia. 

If you or a loved one have felt coerced, experienced abuse, or come back from the brink of death by assisted death, we would like to hear from you. 

Email us a brief description with contact information at VulnerableStories@gmail.com.

Full Article & Source:
Film Producer Seeking Assisted Suicide Stories

Administrator of senior living facility arrested for financial exploitation

An administrator at an assisted senior living facility in South Florida is accused of financial exploitation.

Investigators said the victim, who is now deceased, was a disabled man who once lived at the facility. They said the elderly man was being exploited for a year after he was transported from Anguilla Cay Senior Living to a nursing home.

“It's the best facility I've ever lived in,” Charles Duckett said.

Duckett has spent the last year and three months living in Anguilla Cay Senior Living facility in Lantana.

“They put in a new elevator so we don't have to walk up and down the stairs,” Duckett said.

An arrest report shows an administrator is accused of grand theft and taking advantage of a former resident. The revelation was brought to light after someone filed a complaint last September.

Investigators with the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit with the Florida Office of Attorney General say between June 2015 to July 2016, Craig Allen Fischer illicitly received funds belonging to the victim, via electronic bank funds transfer, in the amount of $35,210.

According to the arrest report, the transactions took place while the victim, who suffered from dementia and Parkinson's, was living in another facility.

The report also states Fischer had a duty to discharge the victim but instead continued to receive funds.

A visit to Fischer’s home and his business ended without success.

As for Duckett, he said he continues to trust the people, including Fischer.

“I don't think he would do anything illegal intentionally. I know him as a man of honor,” Duckett said.

A representative with the agency for healthcare administration, which regulates assisted living facilities, said Florida law does not allow her to release information about this investigation at this time.

But I found out the agency fined Anguilla Cay $500 on January 25, 2017. The representative would not say if the two are connected.

Full Article & Source:
Administrator of senior living facility arrested for financial exploitation

Office of Public Guardian makes a difference daily

Every day, the Office of Public Guardian makes life and death decisions for its clients.

Ms. W., a 56-year-old woman with no family, lives in a nursing home and has diabetes and a schizoaffective disorder. Wendi, her OPG guardian representative, regularly visits Ms. W., who always grabs Wendi’s hand to kiss it.

Recently, Ms. W. was found in her room unresponsive and was rushed to the hospital where she was intubated and placed on a ventilator. She was diagnosed with an untreated urinary tract infection and a chronic respiratory condition that was making it difficult to wean Ms. W. off the ventilator.

The hospital staff treated Ms. W. aggressively but also asked OPG to consider allowing a natural death. If Ms. W. remained on the ventilator, she would need a tracheotomy and a surgically-placed, feeding tube. The doctors seemed to suggest a natural death was preferable because there was no long-term care facility in Florida that accepted someone on a ventilator who only had Medicaid as insurance.

Only one thing prevented OPG from agreeing with the doctors. When Wendi visited Ms. W. in the hospital, Ms. W. recognized her and reached for her hand to kiss. Wendi went back to the doctors and asked questions that pointed to a possible recovery. OPG decided to continue treatment and reassess Ms. W.’s progress periodically, giving Ms. W. precious time to recover.

Every day, the Office of Public Guardian makes ordinary decisions that impact their client’s lives, including shopping for formal attire so that clients can attend the prom, buying dolls for a woman who has a doll collection, and taking weekend trips to places like Wild Adventures.

Every day, OPG makes decisions that improve the quality of someone’s life.  Adam had been placed in foster care at a young age due to a history of severe parental abuse, both physical and psychological. As a child, he was diagnosed with a variety of mental illnesses and has a history of violent aggression and suicidal thoughts.

Adam was admitted to Florida State Hospital at the age of 19 when he became too old to live in a particular group home for foster care youth. At the time OPG became his guardian, Adam had been moved to another facility. On his good days, he was friendly and talkative, enjoying listening to music and playing video games.

On his bad days, things became really bad. He had repeated incidences of violent behavior and was Baker Acted multiple times in little over a year. The lowest point was when the psychiatric facility discharged Adam with no placement. He slept in a homeless shelter at night. The guardian found a companion to accompany him as he walked the streets during the day.

The guardian continued to work tirelessly to get services for Adam. She faced one obstacle after another in her pursuit. She used creative means to keep him from being homeless and to maintain his medication regime. Finally, her efforts paid off. Following a facility placement that fell through after a short period, Adam was finally readmitted to Florida State Hospital, and he is no longer homeless.

The OPG serves adults with mental and or physical disabilities as their court-appointed legal guardian when they are incapable of managing some or all of their affairs. The agency holds its annual major fundraising benefit Sunday, March 26. The event is a celebration of OPG's 30 years of serving families in the Big Bend area. Activities include mini spa, fun photos, silent auction, kid-friendly activities and light refreshments.

Full Article & Source:
Office of Public Guardian makes a difference daily

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Medically Kidnapped Senior Citizen’s Health Deteriorating in Missouri, Wife of 44 Years Forbidden to Help

Helen and Charley via Helen sweet photo
Helen with Charley when she 
was still allowed to visit. Photo 
Source: Taylor family.
It is going on four years since Charley Taylor has been held against his will in a nursing home under the control of a conservator.  This is despite having two doctors say that he is competent.  It has been a month since his wife Helen has been banned from the nursing home, and the couple is heartbroken.  Since that day, Charley’s health has significantly declined, according to his wife Helen.  Helen said that her husband has been “throwing up non-stop” since she was ordered off the premises indefinitely, or risk being arrested.  She said:
He’s as weak as a kitten, I can’t hardly even understand him.  When he talks to me, I’ve got to ask over and over what he said, because he’s so weak.
Charley is bedridden, and reportedly, has been begging for a shower for 14 days.  Helen said that Sunday night Charley finally got one because of an employee who has compassion on him.  She said that he is still having to go up to ten hours without having his Depends changed.  Helen said that Charley told her:
I’m tired of being in prison.
Helen told Health Impact News:
Prisoners at least see their families on Sunday.
On Monday, Helen received more devastating news.  Charley told her that he is being moved permanently to a facility in Jefferson City, which is about 30 miles away.  This is especially troubling because Helen does not have a vehicle.  Since having their property and belongings plundered after Charley was taken, she does not have a vehicle and cannot afford one.  She has been renting an apartment within walking distance from his current nursing home.  Helen longs to be near him, even if she is not allowed to see him.

See the original story:
Husband of Retired Missouri Couple Medically Kidnapped — Estate Plundered to Pay for Unwanted Medical Confinement

Now, the couple can only speak by phone and are subject to arbitrary rules regarding it.  Charley does not have a phone in his room.  He has to use the one that is in the common area, and it is shared by residents and others.

Concerns About Not Enough to Eat


Helen is concerned now more than ever about Charley.  She called the nursing home Sunday night to ask about Charley.  She said that the staff member told her that he ate all of his breakfast and all of his lunch, and talked about “how good he was feeling.”  However, afterwards Helen spoke to Charley to find that he did not eat well that day, and he was not feeling better. She told us:
He is so weak.  He doesn’t want to eat.
She said that one day last week, all he had was applesauce that was taken from him before he could finish it.  Monday, all he had to eat was half of a biscuit and gravy and half of a grilled cheese.
He’s so weak that he can hardly even talk.  His health is going down.  He’s gone down so far.  It’s worse every time I talk to him.
She said that while she was on the phone with him, he had to have something to drink just to talk to her.  She said that as he spoke, he would choke.  She told him:
You’re dehydrated.  You need something to drink.
She said that Charley does not want the drinks that the nursing home gives him because of the laxatives they put in them.
She is concerned about his health:
He thinks it’s his heart.  He was doing this right before he went to have his stint put in.  He was having a heart attack while he was throwing up, but he didn’t feel it.
Since Helen was told that she was banned from the nursing home by his court-appointed guardian Amanda Huffman, she can only look on from a distance to see if she can catch a glimpse of what is going on there.  She said that sometimes she sees Charley when the workers take him outside.  Medical Kidnap reported last month that Helen was given a letter stating that she was no longer allowed to visit her husband because she was interfering with his care. (Click to Continue)

Full Article & Source:
Medically Kidnapped Senior Citizen’s Health Deteriorating in Missouri, Wife of 44 Years Forbidden to Help

Disgraced Ohio lawyer charged with stealing clients' $75,000 settlement

Mark Chuparkoff
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- A grand jury indicted a disgraced lawyer on theft and money laundering charges that accuse him of forging court records to keep a client's $75,000 settlement for himself.

Mark Chuparkoff, 45, of Copley pleaded not guilty last week to stealing money from a Butler County restaurant owner and his wife, according to court records.

Chuparkoff, whose practice was incorporated in Columbus but had an office in Akron, was charged in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court because he accepted the settlement check in Cuyahoga County, prosecutors say.

Chuparkoff represented a restaurant owner and his wife who sued a Southwest Ohio UrgentCare for malpractice in 2009, prosecutors say. After years of appeals, the UrgentCare offered the couple a $75,000 settlement in 2015, according to prosecutors and court records.

The attorney forged the restaurant owner's signature on a court document he filed Dec. 23, 2015 to accept the payout, which came in the form of a check made payable to Chuparkoff, prosecutors say.

He deposited the money into his account, but never told the restaurant owner or his family about the settlement, prosecutors say.

When investigators contacted the couple last year, they said they assumed the case was dismissed, prosecutors said.

The charges are the latest fallout in Chuparkoff's legal career, whose law license was suspended indefinitely in 2016 after the Ohio Supreme Court's Disciplinary Counsel found he posed "a substantial threat of serious harm to the public."

The statement came after the court's disciplinary arm investigated more than a dozen complaints filed against him by clients across the state.

Chuparkoff took money to represent victims throughout Ohio, and never carried out the work he promised to do on their cases, the court found.

One of Chuparkoff's victims, a Wickliffe police officer, reached out to Chuparkoff for consultation on filing an age discrimination and wrongful termination.

The counsel said it interviewed several people during the investigation and suspects that Chuparkoff may have been having "a problem with alcohol or gambling," according to court records.

Chuparkoff's license was suspended for 30 days in December 2015 after he failed to pay court-ordered child support.

Full Article & Source:
Disgraced Ohio lawyer charged with stealing clients' $75,000 settlement

Sussex fraud victim speaks out ahead of summit to tackle exploitation of elderly

A victim of fraud from Sussex has spoken out about her experience ahead of the first crime summit to tackle the ‘epidemic of elder exploitation’.


Jean Holmwood, 67, from Heathfield, fell victim to an online fraud in 2013.

She said of her experience: “I felt pathetic.

“I like to think of myself as being quite on top of things, especially when it comes to computers and the internet, and that’s where I went down. “I was quite disgusted at myself, embarrassed.

“It was only a small amount, it might not have been much for some people but it was a lot for me not having much money in the world.

“It’s just degrading, it’s an insult to your intelligence and you feel so stupid.

“I don’t mind telling people about what happened to me because I’m hoping it will help others, but at the same time most people wouldn’t want to tell anybody because they just feel silly.”

She is now part of the Sussex Elders’ Commission, a group set up in 2015 for older residents to support, challenge and inform the work of the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne, 
The commission has been working with Sussex Police to find out more about the scale of the problem.

Rob Mills, 76, from Westmeston, who is also a member of the gorup, warned of the potentially ‘life-ending’ effect of fraud.

“It can be devastating. The cases that we have heard of recently involve massive financial loss,” he said.

“Somebody who is elderly, their resources have run out... what do they do?

“The money is gone, their house is gone: it could be life-ending.”  (Click to Continue)

Full Article & Source:
Sussex fraud victim speaks out ahead of summit to tackle exploitation of elderly

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

New Mexico lags in guardianship reform

The New Mexico Administrative Office of the Courts reported in a 2009 legislative analysis “that there is no system in place in New Mexico to assure effective oversight and monitoring of court-appointed guardians.”

Four years later, another legislative analysis found that conservatorships and guardianships were becoming more common, but “in New Mexico, there is limited regulation of what is known as ‘corporate guardianship,’ ” which involves court appointment of a for-profit or not-for-profit entity that is paid to be the legal guardian – either from the ward’s assets or by the state.

Little has changed since then, as New Mexico lags behind other states, including Texas and California, that have made reform of the system a top priority.

“We are focused on making sure that these people are protected, and it’s a big issue, a hot topic all throughout Texas,” said Jeff Rinard, guardianship certification program director in Texas.

“Nationwide, it’s a big deal, especially as the population ages.”

But in New Mexico, which has one of the most secretive guardianship/conservatorship systems in the nation, the state doesn’t know how many people are living under a court-approved guardianship or conservatorship.

In a special project funded two years ago by the Legislature for the 2nd Judicial District, the Albuquerque-area court identified about 6,000 “active” guardianship or conservatorship cases in Bernalillo County alone, some dating back to the early 1950s. Two special masters have been spot-checking cases and have made home visits to find out if wards are OK and to check their living conditions – if they are still alive.

The rest of the state? State court officials say the courts’ computer system can only show the number of guardianship cases that have been active since 2016, but efforts are underway to improve tracking of cases prior to that time.

No records

A judge in New Mexico typically sets a 30-minute closed hearing to make a potentially life-changing, and often irrevocable, decision on whether to place an allegedly incapacitated person in the hands of a family member guardian or guardianship firm.

If the request is granted, based on reports presented to the court, the incapacitated person is stripped of virtually all his or her rights, with the guardian/conservator assuming authority to make decisions on every aspect of that person’s life and finances.

The guardianships break down into three general categories:

• Cases in which a family member is appointed guardian, which account for the vast majority.

• Cases in which a for-profit or not-for-profit guardian is appointed for someone with few assets and is paid by the state – $3,650 a year for each incapacitated person.

• Cases in which the allegedly incapacitated person has assets and a commercial guardian/conservator is appointed and paid from the assets, often charging hundreds of dollars an hour and hiring others to provide services that could include help with personal hygiene, grocery shopping and even dog walking. Conservators have virtually total control over financial decisions.

Family members interviewed by the Journal have complained that commercial guardians/conservators ignored the incapacitated person and wasted estate assets against the wishes of that person and family members.

They said efforts to complain to the judge who made the appointment are often futile.

Among their complaints: Guardians and conservators can charge excessive fees with little justification required by the court.

And they say a family member who hires a lawyer and files a petition for guardianship is in the driver’s seat from then on, partly because judges typically appoint that lawyer’s recommended team to advise the court whether to grant a guardianship. That practice has been rejected, for example, in California, where judges use a court investigator on staff to investigate the need for a guardian.

A 2013 legislative analysis said there is no specific mechanism in New Mexico for complaints against corporate guardians who don’t have contracts with the state Office of Guardianship. Texas has overhauled its system to put licensure for guardians in place, along with a complaint system.

The Office of Guardianship, which contracts with for-profit and not-for-profit firms to provide guardian or conservator services to low-income individuals, does have the authority to investigate complaints against its guardian contractors.

But the 2013 legislative analysis said that because the office works closely with its contractors, “there is an inherent conflict of interest.”

And what about the complaints the office has investigated?

Records custodian Justin Moore told the Journal: “The Office of Guardianship has no public records showing the number of complaints filed against any particular contractor. Moreover, such complaints are exempt from inspection because they related to “client complaints against a contractor,” which he said are exempt from public inspection.

The state’s Adult Protective Services Department investigates complaints against guardians and makes referrals to the state Attorney General’s office, but a spokesman last week said the agency’s tracking doesn’t distinguish how many referrals have involved guardians.

Reforms elsewhere

A federal Governmental Accountability Office report in 2011 noted that many states reported having limited resources for monitoring guardians. But that didn’t stop some, including Delaware and Texas, from recruiting volunteers to help oversee guardians.

Delaware officials reported that their volunteers serve as liaisons between guardians and the courts, visit guardians and wards, and report to court officials about once every six months.  (Click to Continue)

Full Article & Source:
New Mexico lags in guardianship reform

Senator Brooks Calls to Restore State Funding for Victims of Elder Abuse

Long Island, NY - March 16, 2017 - Senator John E. Brooks (SD-8) has called for the restoration of $700,000 in funding for Elder Abuse Victims Services in the 2017-2018 New York State Budget.

“Many people do not realize how common elder abuse is. It is not as straightforward as causing physical harm to an elderly person. Elder abuse can also include psychological abuse, financial exploitation and neglect.” said Senator Brooks. “It is critical that we provide our seniors with resources and services to reduce instances of elder abuse and mitigate its damage.”

A recent study of Elder Abuse Prevalence in New York State found that 76 out of every 1,000 older residents were victims of elder abuse in a one-year period. The study also found a dramatic gap between the rate of elder abuse events reported by older New Yorkers and the number of cases referred to and served in the formal elder abuse service system. The reported incidence rate is nearly 24 times greater than the number of referred cases.

“Elder abuse victims are underreported and underserved in New York,” said Senator Brooks. Elder Abuse Victims Services are critical to the health and safety of the elderly population, and any further reduction to these services will greatly jeopardize their security and well-being,” continued Senator Brooks.

Senator John E. Brooks is a Long Island native whose family history on Long Island dates back to the 1600s. He represents the South Shore of Long Island in Eastern Nassau and Western Suffolk Counties including: Baldwin Harbor, Bellmore, North Bellmore, Farmingdale, East Farmingdale, Freeport, Massapequa, Massapequa Park, East Massapequa, Merrick, North Merrick, Roosevelt, Seaford, Wantagh, Amityville, North Amityville, North Babylon, West Babylon, and parts of Baldwin, Copiague, Lindenhurst, South Hempstead, Wynandanch, and Wheatley Heights. Senator Brooks’ legislative priorities include lowering the tax burden facing Long Island families, tackling government corruption, and ensuring that all students receive the highest quality education possible.

Full Article & Source:
Senator Brooks Calls to Restore State Funding for Victims of Elder Abuse

Dublin Financial Advisor Pleads Guilty To Bilking Elderly Client

A Dublin financial advisor has pleaded guilty to defrauding an elderly client.  Jon Schmidhammer pleaded guilty to unlawful securities practices.

Franklin County prosecutors say Schmidhammer stole 550 thousand dollars from an 81-year-old woman's bank account. Prosecutors say he did so by transferring the money from her investment accounts to her bank accounts and writing checks to himself or paying personal bills with the funds.

Full Article & Source:
Dublin Financial Advisor Pleads Guilty To Bilking Elderly Client