Friday, October 19, 2018

Judge Astacio officially removed from bench, NYS Court of Appeal decides

Judge Leticia Astacio is officially no longer a judge.

Tuesday morning, the New York State Court of Appeals, the highest court in the state, denied Astacio's appeal to remain a judge.

The decision was unanimous which means all seven justices felt Judge Astacio should be removed as a judge.

Click here to read the decision.

Judge Astacio has been officially suspended with pay since April. Rochester City Court judges make $187,200. Astacio has not heard a single case in a courtroom since her DWI arrest in February 2016.

The Court of Appeals heard Astacio's case in September because she appealed the ruling of the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct which decided she should be removed from the bench. The Commission's decision came down in the spring after a lengthy, confidential investigation into Judge Astacio.

On April 25, the Commission decided Astacio should be removed because she was convicted of DWI in 2016, tried to use her position as a judge to get out of trouble and violated the terms of her DWI sentence at least twice.

The Commission also decided to remove Astacio based on several instances that happened while she was hearing cases in Rochester City Court.

In one case, the Commission said Judge Astacio made fun of a victim of sexual assault. In another case, the Commission said Judge Astacio told a court deputy to physically hurt a defendant.

At a news conference in April, the administrator of the Commission, Robert Tembeckjian, outlined the charges against Judge Astacio.

Charge 1: Her DWI conviction.

Charge 2: She used her office as a judge at the time of her arrest "in an attempt to evade the consequences of her arrest," Tembeckjian said.

Charge 3: Violating her DWI sentence.

Charge 4: The fact that she arraigned a former client when she was a judge, and said, "I totally love him. I'm so sad he's in jail right now."

Charge 5: She made undignified comments in four cases as a judge, including one about a victim in a sex abuse case, "repeating a remark made by an attorney that the alleged victim had 'buyer's remorse.'" Tembeckjian said. "And later saying she thought it was 'freakin' hilarious.'"

Tembeckjian also accused Astacio of telling court deputies to physically harm an unruly defendant. "For example," Tembeckjian said. "Telling officers they should tase or 'shoot' or 'punch' an allegedly (inaudible) defendant in the 'face.'"

Astacio is facing a felony gun charge. She was indicted Sept. 11 on the charge of attempted criminal purchase or disposal of a weapon.

Just prior to the Commission's decision to remove her as a judge, Astacio was arrested for trying to buy a shotgun at several Dick's Sporting Goods stores.

As per New York State law, a conviction of a felony automatically leads to disbarment, which is the removal of a lawyer from a bar association or the practice of law.

The 7th Judicial District Administrative Judge Craig  Doran released the following statement regarding the decision to remove Judge Astacio:

"For more than 2.5 years, one matter has dominated much of the public’s attention and conversation regarding our court system. During this time, hundreds of judges and staff have come to work each day, ready to deliver justice in thousands of cases involving many of the most challenging issues facing our neighborhoods, schools and businesses.

This unfortunate distraction has not hindered the critically important work done on a daily basis, by the highly competent and caring judges, and dedicated court staff serving the people of this community.

We are grateful for the honor to serve the Judiciary, and we invite the public to continue their interest in the courts and focus upon the extraordinary work done in our courthouses every day- upholding the law and assuring that justice prevails."

Click here to see the note News10NBC found on Astacio's door Tuesday morning.



Full Article & Source:
Judge Astacio officially removed from bench, NYS Court of Appeal decides

Eliza Bryant Village to launch Elder Justice Center

With support from the Ohio Attorney General's office, Eliza Bryant Village plans to launch a new Elder Justice Center to provide temporary respite care for elders experiencing some form of trauma, violence, abuse, or criminal victimization.

The goal is to help connect them with various legal, financial and social service supports to get them back into a safe situation, according to a news release from Eliza Bryant Village, which provides services for seniors along the continuum of care.

On Oct. 11, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced $111.8 million in grants to crime victim service providers across Ohio. Eliza Bryant Village received two awards: continuation of the organization's core grant from last year of about $202,000 and a new grant totaling about $577,000 to launch its Elder Justice Center.

"This funding not only helps us launch a new service line, but also continues our 122 year-long legacy as an anchor institution in Cleveland's Hough neighborhood meeting the evolving needs of our community's most vulnerable elderly," said Danny R. Williams, president and CEO of Eliza Bryant Village, in a prepared statement. 

The Eliza Bryant Village Elder Justice Center is expected to launch in summer 2019, with 10 dedicated rooms for the center and plans to expand that number as appropriate.

Victimizing older adults is a growing local and national trend, according to the release. One in 10 seniors over the age of 60 has suffered some form of abuse or neglect, according to the release, which cites the National Council on Aging. 

According to the Center for Community Solutions, for every case of abuse that occurs, an estimated 23 remain veiled. 

Eliza Bryant Village received its first Victims of Crime Act grant, which was renewed for a second year. 

For a complete list of the grants awarded in the state, click here.

"Over the 18 months since the inception of our VOCA program at Eliza Bryant Village, we have become more acutely aware of the pervasiveness of abuse among seniors and the various types of violence and abuse they experience," Williams said. "We are excited to be at the forefront of this crisis, providing help and safety to those in need."

Full Article & Source:
Eliza Bryant Village to launch Elder Justice Center

Nursing assistant charged with elder abuse

FARMINGTON (News4Utah) - A Hooper man is accused of injuring patients he was supposed to be caring for while working in the memory care unit of a Clearfield assisted living facility.

The allegations against 30-year-old Jason Knox are sickening. The daughters of two victims say he was caught on video viciously elbowing Alzheimer's and dementia patients in their 70s and 80s.

Knox made a brief appearance in Davis County Court Wednesday and waived his right to a preliminary hearing. Prosecutors say the assaults occurred at the Chancellor Garden Assisted Living Facility on 1500 East in Clearfield over the last several weeks.

With a hidden camera in her father's room, one of the daughters captured Knox shoving her father into a wall and striking him with his elbow in a quote "very forceful manner." The booking statement claims Knox admitted to abusing a female patient in a similar manner.

 "We do have cases of abuse," Debbie Booth of the Utah Adult Protective Services Department said. "They can go from somebody doing something that they don't mean to do to something criminal where this guy was definitely intending to be the perpetrator."

So what can you do to make sure that a prospective facility is safe for your loved one? Daniel Musto, Utah's Long Term Care Ombudsman, says his staff inspects nursing homes frequently and you're welcome to give his office a call at 801-538-4171.

"We can talk you to about the facility," Musto told News4Utah. "And identify what issues we've seen in the last six months to a year."

He says you can also check the facility's ratings on Medicare's website and if you suspect abuse or neglect call Adult Protective Services.

The Utah Long-Term Care Ombudsman's website is https://daas.utah.gov/long-term-care-ombudsman/.

"It takes our whole society to watch over them and make sure that these kinds of things don't happen," Booth said. "I want to stress that if people see something or have reason to believe they need to report."

The State Attorney General's office says that Knox is actually not a certified nursing assistant like he told the facility he was. His next court date is scheduled for October 30.

Utah's senior rights are listed at https://daas.utah.gov/seniors/navigating-your-rights/



Full Article & Source:
Nursing assistant charged with elder abuse

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Tonite on Marti Oakley's TS Radio Network: Atty Lisa Belanger: Disbar the Bar Associations?










5:00 pm PST…6:00 pm MST
…7:00 pm CST…8:00 pm EST

Join us this evening October 18, 2018 with Atty: Lisa Belanger as we discuss the need to disbar the BAR Associations.

These Associations are in actuality “unions” and are the largest, most powerful, and lucrative unions in the country. A “BAR” card is simply a union dues card and carries no “license to practice” law.

Having totally monopolized our judicial system, SCOTUS has created its own BAR association that practicing attorney’s must apply to before they can have a case heard before that supposedly independent, constitutionally created supreme court. Judicial oversight boards, and BAR Overseer’s Boards are simply in-house protection rackets which serve to protect union members from being prosecuted for malfeasance, misfeasance and other breaches of duty and law. Having monopolized the entire judicial system both state and federal, the law means nothing. Having granted themselves immunity from prosecution except in the most egregious of cases, 99% of all BAR complaints are summarily dismissed by Judicial Oversight Boards, and BAR Board of Overseer’s.

Its a rigged system and God help the attorney that actually tries to defend their client using the law.

LISTEN LIVE or listen to the archive later

County will appeal costly ruling to state Supreme Court


Ozaukee County, which is on the hook to pay more than $98,000 in attorney’s fees related to a guardianship case it lost, will appeal it to the state Supreme Court, officials decided Wednesday.

The county Executive Committee voted unanimously to appeal the case on the advice of Corporation Counsel Rhonda Gordon. If the high court chooses to take the case, oral arguments would likely begin in spring.

The Second District Court of Appeals ruled last month that Ozaukee County Circuit Judge Joseph W. Voiland was correct when he dismissed a 2015 petition filed by the county’s Department of Health Services seeking guardianship of an 80-year-old woman’s estate and sought to place her in assisted living. Voiland also ordered the county to pay $97,746 in private attorney fees accrued by her son. who opposed the petition, according to the appeals court ruling. The woman and her adult children are identified only by their initials in court documents.

According to the appeals court ruling, the woman had assigned power of attorney to the son, taking that away from her daughter with whom the son had been at odds for years. But the county believed the woman was not competent to make that decision, had possibly been coerced by her son to do so and believed it was in the mother’s best interests for the county to assume guardianship.

Voiland sided with the son.

The appeals court supported Voiland in that decision. But it disagreed with Voiland on whether the county should pay the son’s legal fees related to the appeal and sent the case back to Voiland to determine what those fees are.

According to the case summary contained in the ruling, 22 witnesses testified before Voiland, creating what the three-judge panel called “protracted proceedings.” They included the woman’s psychologist, estate planning attorney, investment adviser, her children, county and senior center workers and others familiar with the woman.

Evidence showed the woman was diagnosed with early dementia in 2012 and Alzhiemer’s disease in 2015, exhibited poor short term memory, sometimes didn’t know the date or day, had issues with organization and food storage and spent large sums of money on items from infomercials.

But others testified she also had an active social life that included belonging to a book club and attending exercize classes, cared for her dog and tended to her home and errands.

In Voiland’s opinion, the county did not establish that the woman was incompetent when she signed the power of attorney over to her son.

With the competing accounts, the appeals panel said, Voiland was “like Tevye in ‘Fiddler on the Roof,’ the court was presented with much on-the-one-hand-but-on-the-other-hand testimony as to both incompetency and undue influence.”

In their decision to support Voiland, the appellate judges said the county presented few if any arguments to justify overturning his decision, saying “the county’s dogged rehashing of evidence contrary to that supporting the court’s decision does not persuade us that the court erred.”

As for the fees the county is responsible for, the county argued they were excessive and that a lower rate should be applied, namely the rate paid to public defenders.

But Voiland and the appeals judges said the law prescribes that the rate, if private attorneys are used, should be the rate “customarily charged in the locality.”

The public defender rate, Gordon said, would have been $480 for the entire case.

The county did not contest the fees until after the fact, the judges ruled, and therefore was liable to pay the private fees. The county also refused the son’s settlement offers, even after the county’s guardianship was denied, the judges pointed out.

Gordon disputed the court’s opinion.

“This was a classic case of elder abuse,” Gordon said in an interview. “We did what we would hope every county elder agency would do in similar circumstances.”

County Board Chairman Lee Schlenvogt said, “We have an obligation to our taxpayers” to fight the decision, which could set a precedent for counties all across the state.

“I think we have some good feelings on this, not just financially but for the future,” Supervisor Paul Melotik told the committee.
Full Article & Source:
County will appeal costly ruling to state Supreme Court

Couple get probation for elder exploitation

A Chatfield couple found guilty of taking more than $274,000 from an elderly family member’s estate were given probation Tuesday.

Jason and Jessica Polikowsky were found guilty of taking funds from Jason’s grandmother, Rose Polikowsky, for their own use. Rose had been suffering dementia when, in 2011, Jason, Jessica and Jason’s father, Donald Polikowsky, persuaded her to give them power of attorney over her estate, according to court records.

Jason and Jessica were given a year in jail each and up to 20 years of probation for 11 counts of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult. The two were found guilty in May after a trial but maintained they did nothing wrong through the sentencing hearing.

Jason, reading from a written statement, said his grandmother had always been generous.

“She has been gifting me things since I was a child,” he said.

“I would never have taken advantage of my grandma,” he said. “She meant the world to me.”

Investigators documented more than $150,000 in cash “gifts” to the couple from Rose’s accounts; $75,000 toward a down payment on a house for the couple and more than $21,000 for purchases of business equipment and recreational vehicles. Changes were also made on the beneficiaries on her life insurance accounts and payments were halted on Rose’s Rochester home.

The couple blames Rose’s other children, Gary Polikowsky and Diana Parks, who previously executed her estate, for the financial troubles Rose began to face, according to investigators.

Jason began his statement saying he apologized “to anyone I might have hurt.”

Jessica tearfully repeated Jason’s opening line and said little else.

Rose’s younger sister, Shirley Schroeder, read her victim impact statement before sentencing. In it she recalled her older sister’s sadness as money disappeared.

“She trusted you and you let her down,” Schroeder said. “You took advantage of her love and trust.

“I can’t understand why you would do this to your own grandmother,” she continued. “She was always kind to you.”

Schroeder also recounted how Rose was certain it was Parks and Gary Polikowsky who were draining her estate.

“You continued to plant that seed in her mind,” Schroeder said.

Rose died August 2017. Gary died June this year.

Schroeder said she wished both Rose and Gary were still around to hear an apology from the couple.

Schroeder said after the hearing she was disappointed the couple only received probation but also expressed relief the legal ordeal appeared to be over.

James McGeeney, who represented Jessica and Jason, asked for probation saying the couple would be better able to pay back the estate by staying out of prison and working at Jason’s Chatfield-based business. He said that aside from alcohol-related convictions, Jason has little prior criminal history and that Jessica had no criminal convictions prior to this case.

“I know my clients in their heart of hearts still believe that their grandmother wanted them to have the money,” McGeeney said.

“Keeping them in the community would enable them to both be supervised and make restitution,” he added.

Olmsted County Attorney Mark Ostrem argued for prison time. He questioned the couple’s ability to make restitution.

“The money is gone,” Ostrem said. “It’s all been spent on themselves.”

Ostrem said they continued to buy things for themselves even after Rose began struggling financially.

“They could have stopped,” he said. “They could have taken care of their grandmother as she wished.”

Judge James A. Fabian said the presentence investigation recommended probation despite some of the counts against each carrying up to five years in prison upon conviction. He noted that Donald, who entered an Alford plea in April 2016 to charges against him and agreed to make $66,000, also avoided prison time.

“You have been given the opportunity to make good,” Fabian said. “If you don’t take that opportunity, prison is waiting for you.”

Jessica was ordered to begin serving her 365-day jail sentence April 1 next year with a 45-day stay with work-release privileges. She would continue to serve 45-day terms April 1 each year for the next four years after that. If she is in good standing after serving five 45-day jail terms, the rest of her jail sentence would be forgiven.

Jason was ordered to serve 365 days under similar conditions with his terms being served Nov. 1 beginning next year and Nov. 1 the following years. Both were given credit for jail time served.

Full Article & Source:
Couple get probation for elder exploitation

ETX organizations team up for Elder Financial Exploitation Awareness Month

Click to Watch Video
TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Adult Protective Services in East Texas is teaming up with Meals on Wheels for Elder Financial Exploitation Awareness Month.

"We have a high volume of adult abuse cases being reported on a weekly basis, and this is a safe way for family, friends, or neighbors to protect a loved one, an elderly person in their community,” said Kari Keitzer. Keietzer is the CEO for Meals on Wheels.

The groups are promoting services available to seniors who have been affected by abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation. The organization plans to distribute more than 300 information packets this week.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Former Troy attorney arraigned for theft

MIAMI COUNTY — A former attorney in charge of a trust for a mentally handicapped woman was arraigned on several felony theft charges in Miami County Common Pleas Court on Monday.

Jeffrey Brumbaugh, 63, who gave a contact address in Sedona, Ariz., was arraigned on two counts first-degree felony engaging in pattern of corrupt activity, second-degree theft, two counts of fourth-degree theft and third-degree money laundering. He entered a plea of not guilty to all charges.

Judge Christopher Gee set bond for $100,000 and Brumbaugh posted bond late Monday.

According to Miami County Prosecutor Tony Kendell, the victim’s legal guardian contacted law enforcement officials when the trust was found to be drained of its funds. Kendell said at least $200,000 is allegedly missing and Brumbaugh was the executor of the trust, hired by the victim’s now deceased father.

According to records, the Ohio Supreme Court indefinitely suspended Brumbaugh from practicing law on May 25, 2017, and he was ordered to cease and desist practicing law. Brumbaugh also failed to respond to a formal complaint before the Supreme Court’s disciplinary counsel submitted on Sept. 9, 2016. Brumbaugh formerly had a law office in Troy.

Full Article & Source:
Former Troy attorney arraigned for theft

Milford Man Arrested, Charged With Defrauding Elderly Person

US District Court in New Haven
An area man is facing decades behind bars for allegedly defrauding his elderly person of $60,000 through a fraud and money laundering scheme.

Milford resident Christopher Sakelarakis has been indicted by a federal grand jury in New Haven charging him in the investment scheme that allowed him to bilk his victim out of thousands of dollars to live a lavish lifestyle.

The indictment alleges that Sakelarakis “held himself out as having the necessary qualifications, experience and abilities to provide investment services to a victim-investor.” Sakelarakis allegedly claimed that he had multiple investment clients and was making a substantial profit through day trading. He also stated that he had a contact in an investment firm who provided him with stock tips. As part of his scheme, Sakelarakis allegedly said he would invest in stocks, options and other financial instruments on behalf of his victim and in exchange, he would keep 10 percent of the profits.

Sakelarakis allegedly was provided a $60,000 check by his victim in October last year. The indictment further alleges that within days, Sakelarakis withdrew $30,000 in cash, then made additional cash withdrawals at ATMs. Sakelarakis allegedly spent the money at stores that include Armani Exchange, Gamestop, Macy’s and Foot Locker.

John Durham, the United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, said that Sakelarakis also allegedly made several false statements in emails to his victim regarding the status of the “investments.” None of the money was ever returned to Sakelarakis’ victim.

Sakelarakis, 34, was arrested on Monday morning and charged with five counts of wire fraud, three counts of securities fraud and one count of money laundering. He pleaded not guilty to the charges and was released on $60,000 bond. Sakelarakis is scheduled to appear in court at a later date to answer the charges.

Full Article & Source:
Milford Man Arrested, Charged With Defrauding Elderly Person