Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Tonight on Marti Oakley's T. S. Radio: Abolish Probate Tribunals

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

Helen Taylor joins us this evening to update us on all the activities happening in Missouri including the upcoming rally there.

She also is fighting Morgan county Missouri which won’t let her have Charley’s retirement to live on. They apparently need his retirement finances more than she does. Also, Helen discovered late one evening, one aid, Ron, taking care of 61 inmates and the LPN was asleep on the couch in the dining room.

Helen will also be speaking about the veterans who have asked for help in getting free from forced isolation in this nursing home. While the VA has claimed that it has no guardianship program, the fact is that it does. And the VA has the lawful authority to step in and retrieve these veterans from these homes. The question is: Why don’t they act to protect them from these predators?

LISTEN to the show live or listen to the archive later

The Elder Abuse Reform Project (The EARN Project): Margaret Meade

Now, almost 100 years after Margaret Meade spoke those words, they are every bit as true. But now, though the organization may be small, it needs to be joined by many voices to be heard.

It can be very discouraging to be greeted by indifference when we try to enlist people's help in our campaign to end elder abuse in America. We just received a letter from a state first lady, who we had asked to speak up about this problem—she said she was too busy. Many simply do not believe it is that big of a problem or that, though it may happen to other people, it won’t happen to them. In fact, one out of every five of those people will have it happen to them and then they ask why this is allowed to happen. I can answer that question. It happens because you, and many like you, did nothing to help stop it - because you were indifferent to the suffering until it was your suffering.

Happily, there are others who care very much and jump right in to do what they can.

The EARN Project made a little poster for Elder Abuse Awareness Month and our wonderful volunteers, all over the country, printed them up and took them to local businesses. We even got a few pictures from two of those wonderful volunteers Angela Biggs and Kathy Dunn.


Top Left: John Witte the owner of Sit n Sip Books in Mineral Wells Texas put our poster in his shop;
Top Center: Gerry Lamphier at the National Vietnam War Museum in Weatherford Texas holds up our poster that they put up in the museum;
Top Right: Holding the poster they put in the window of the Copper pot Restaurant downtown Clarksville Georgia;
Middle Left: The Attic restaurant in downtown Clarksville Georgia put the poster in their restaurant
Middle Center: Regions Bank in Clarksville GA;
Middle Right: Christine holding the poster and the sign in the window of Tinder's restaurant in downtown Clarkesville Georgia;
Bottom Left: Coz Whitten Skaife did a fund raiser for NASGA at her bakery Rosie's Coffee Bar and Bakery in Madison WI And she put up the EARN poster and gave away DVDs of our documentary;
Bottom Right: Owner of Garrett Jewelry and Loan in Mineral Wells Texas, Lisa Garrett and friends holding The EARN Elder Abuse Day poster she put up in her shop;
Also in Clarksville GA, though not pictured, the Midtown grill and Ingles grocery

The Silver Standard News
The Unforgivable Truth
The EARN Project

Columbus lawyer indicted on charges of stealing from elderly client

A Columbus lawyer whose license was suspended recently amid allegations that he stole from an elderly client has been indicted by a Franklin County grand jury on charges of theft and tampering with records.

John David Moore Jr., 48, faces two counts of theft from an elderly person and two counts of tampering with court records in an indictment filed Wednesday.

The criminal charges come seven months after the Ohio Supreme Court’s disciplinary counsel filed a complaint accusing Moore of withdrawing $35,132 beginning in 2010 while overseeing the assets and nursing-home care of a man in a guardianship case. Moore is accused of depositing the money in his checking accounts while failing to provide a complete accounting of the funds in Franklin County Probate Court in 2012 and 2013 after the man died.

In April, Moore’s license to practice law was placed under suspension after he failed to respond to the complaint, Supreme Court records show.

The two felony theft counts accuse Moore of stealing more than $7,500 from an elderly or disabled person. The counts of tampering with records accuse him of falsifying, altering or destroying the guardian’s inventory and an affidavit in Probate Court.

Moore made headlines last year when he accused Franklin County jurors of stealing 71 oxycodone pills while deliberating in the case of a client who was convicted of drug possession and sentenced to 25 years in prison. Moore accused jurors of stealing the pills while handling evidence in the jury room, and he unsuccessfully sought a new trial for his client. An investigation failed to uncover what became of the missing opioids.

Full Article & Source:
Columbus lawyer indicted on charges of stealing from elderly client

Star Trek‘s Nichelle Nichols Goes to Court Over Guardianship Issues

Sci-fi icon Nichelle Nichols, who made history as Lt. Uhura in the original Star Trek, is undergoing a legal battle regarding her guardianship and estate. The 85 year old actress was recently diagnosed with “moderate progressive dementia”, according to her her geriatrician. The doctor described Nichols’ condition as “major impairment of her short-term memory and moderate impairment of understanding abstract concepts, sense of time, place and immediate recall.”

Since the diagnosis, Nichols’ friends and family have been squabbling over her estate and conservatorship. At the center of the legal battle is Nichols’ son Kyle Johnson, who brought in the doctor who made the diagnosis. Johnson is trying to get control of the estate from other people who claims have “unduly exerted themselves into Ms. Nichols’ life to her detriment.” Since her diagnosis, four conservators have taken over Nichols’ financial and health-related decisions.

Meanwhile, Angelique Fawcette, an alleged close friend of Nichols, claims that Johnson is merely after the star’s money and that Nichols wanted him removed from her will after he allegedly said, “I can’t wait to get rid of this sh*t and sell [your] house and property.” Fawcett also claims that the doctor’s diagnosis was inaccurate and that Nichols is able to function and make decisions on her own.

The case, like Stan Lee’s current legal woes, is tragic. As the baby boomer generation ages and the “silver tsunami” grows closer, issues of guardianship and elder care are more important than ever. While many obviously want to provide comfort and safety for aging seniors, these people are vulnerable to con artists and abusers looking to scam their money. Elderly celebrities are especially vulnerable, as their estates can draw people who prey on the vulnerable.

Nichols’ co-star William Shatner recently appeared in a filmed PSA on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, where the show did a segment on guardianship and elder abuse. The story is a tragic one, and we all hope that Nichelle Nichols get the care and treatment she deserves. 

Full Article & Source: 
Star Trek‘s Nichelle Nichols Goes to Court Over Guardianship Issues

Monday, August 20, 2018

Judge denies elderly woman’s move to thwart daughter’s control of assets

BELLEVILLE – Margaret Ashmann, 85, whose children claim she isn’t competent enough to be independent, understood a decision of a probate judge well enough to weep.

She broke down in front of Associate Judge Heinz Rudolf on Aug. 14, after he ruled that she could not live at her home in Fairview Heights.

Rudolf didn’t declare her an incompetent person and didn’t treat her as such – he conversed with Ashmann throughout a hearing that lasted an hour.

Yet, he denied her motion to dismiss the guardianship of daughter Kathleen Wilshire, a client of former chief judge John Baricevic.

Rudolf wrote that disability was contested, and he gave guardian ad litem Michael Rousseau additional time to evaluate her.

Rousseau stated in court that he just met Ashmann for the first time.

“She’s very with it, very sharp,” Rousseau said at a hearing Tuesday.

He said he asked questions and, “She answered them all.”

“She wasn’t confused,” he said.

Wilshire petitioned for an emergency guardianship order on July 27, swearing her mother was disabled and incapable of managing her estate and person.

A physician’s affidavit was attached to the petition.

Wilshire estimated the value of her mother’s personal estate at $450,000, and her gross annual income and other receipts at $20,000.

She listed nearby adult relatives as herself, sons David and Lance Ashmann, and sisters Catherine Ritzheimer and Rose Conyer.

Associate Judge Patricia Kievlan granted the petition on a temporary basis on the same day Wilshire sought emergency guardianship.

Ashmann then retained Margaret Lowery, who answered the petition and moved to dissolve the guardianship order on Aug. 6.

“Margaret Ashmann states she is capable of making her own decisions and denies that she is in need of a plenary guardian,” Lowery wrote.

Lowery wrote that for an appointment with Ashmann’s physician, her daughter intentionally removed her hearing aids. Ashmann suffers from significant hearing loss and would have been unable to properly respond to physician questions, she added.

She further wrote that Ashmann was placed at Cedarhurst, against her will. She feared her daughter would dissipate her estate.

Wilshire closed Ashmann’s credit cards and bank accounts, and left her mother destitute, Lowery wrote.

The physician’s affidavit – which stated that Ashmann couldn’t make decisions on her own due to dementia - contained “an inaccurate diagnosis, no foundation basis, and perhaps tainted facts,” she wrote.

Another physician examined Ashmann at Cedarhurst in Collinsville on Aug. 6 and rendered an opinion that she is not under disability, Lowery wrote.

“The guardian (Wilshire) has telephoned, but does not visit the ward,” Lowery wrote.

On Aug. 9, Baricevic filed a denial that any funds were misspent.

Before Tuesday’s hearing began, FCB Bank general counsel Kevin Stine brought Ashmann’s records to court under subpoena from Lowery.

Rudolf told Stine he could leave, but Stine stayed in his seat.

“I want to see these two titans go up against each other,” Stine said.

He meant Baricevic and Lowery.

Baricevic and Lowery entered, and Baricevic told Rudolf the motion to dismiss the guardianship was premature.

Rudolf told him Lowery alleged that the guardian would steal.

Baricevic said, “All she did was cancel her credit card.”

Lowery said Ashmann had no access to any money, and Baricevic objected to giving her access to it.

Lowery said, “It isn’t his money, it’s her money.”

Wilshire suddenly cried out, “Am I allowed to speak at all?”

Rudolf said, “You have counsel, don’t you? Speak through your counsel.”

He said he would leave everything in place for now.

Lowery said, “This woman worked all her life and doesn’t have any money, with a million dollars in the bank.”

Baricevic said, “She doesn’t have a million dollars in the bank.”

He said she had $280,000.

He said they found moldy food in her refrigerator.

Rudolf asked Rousseau if home care was an option.

Rudolf said his dad fell five months ago and, “That’s what I did.”

Ashmann began gasping, and then she wept.

She rose from her seat, and Rudolf said, “You don’t need to get up.”

She said she was sorry, and he said, “You don’t have to apologize.”

He told her he would free up some of the money.

She said the second installment of her property tax was due.

He said, “It will be figured out but you need to relax.”

She sat and wept.

Baricevic asked Rudolf if he denied the motion.

Rudolf said, “I am denying it at this time.”

He said Ashmann would be at Cedarhurst until Sept. 6.

He said she could have the general practice physician of her choice.

He approved $2,600 for Lowery’s fee at $200 an hour, and $400 for the physician Lowery hired to evaluate Ashmann.

Rudolf set a hearing in October, but not in his court.

He told the parties that William Stiehl, appointed as circuit judge until the November election, would hear further proceedings.

Rudolf then signed an order giving Wilshire control of Ashmann’s funds, “subject to expenditures being in the best interest.”

He wrote that Ashmann could choose her own primary care physician.

He granted Lowery access to Ashmann’s medical records.

He approved further evaluation at St. Louis University Hospital.

“Guardian’s account statements to be provided to Margaret Ashmann,” Rudolf wrote.

He granted Ashmann $300 a month on a preloaded debit card.

He denied her motion to dismiss the guardianship, but without finding disability.     

Full Article & Source:
Judge denies elderly woman’s move to thwart daughter’s control of assets

Sauk Centre CNA charged in exploiting of clients at assisted living home

SAUK CENTRE — A nursing assistant took $980 belonging to a Getty Street Assisted Living resident, according to an investigation by the Minnesota Department of Health and a Stearns County Statement of Probable Cause. 

Amelia Story, 31, has been charged with one felony count on suspicion of fraudulent transactions with a debit card. 

Story is not named in the April Department of Health report, but the details of the incident are the same in court documents and Department of Health documents. 

Both describe a Getty Street Assisted Living staff person who used a client's debit card twice in October 2017. According to the Department of Health, the staffer also borrowed $20 from another client.

"Based on a preponderance of evidence, financial exploitation occurred," according to the public Office of Health Facility Complaints Investigative Report.

The first client reported a missing debit card to the assisted living Administrator Mary Jo Marthaler in November 2017. Marthaler canceled the card, asked for a financial statement and called police about the matter, according to the state report. 

"I helped investigate it," Marthaler said Wednesday.

She said she also fired Story after police found footage of the Sauk Centre woman at the ATM at times that aligned with the client's bank statement. 

Story told police the client "wanted her to go to Walmart to purchase some things for him and he gave her his PIN to do this," according to court documents. "The defendant stated that instead of going to Walmart, she went to Holiday and withdrew cash on both dates on her way home from work. The defendant stated that she needed the money to buy groceries for her family."

After she was arrested, a second Getty Street Assisted Living client told Marthaler that client had loaned Story $20. That client shared a note from Story seeking $20 to feed her kids and promising to repay $25 the following week, according to the Department of Health report.

"The administrator (Marthaler) said a few days later s/he discovered a note under his/her door from (Story) with $20 in it repaying Client #2 the $20 while denying s/he every borrowed $20 from Client #2," according to the Department of Health documents, which obscured the names and genders of people mentioned. 

Story is still listed in the Minnesota Nursing Assistant Registry with a license that expires in October 2019. There's a note in the online registry that Story "has a substantiated finding of abuse, neglect and/or misappropriation of property."

In April, Story pleaded not guilty to the charge in Stearns County court, according to the court record. She has a settlement conference scheduled for the end of the month. 

Full Article & Source:
Sauk Centre CNA charged in exploiting of clients at assisted living home

Viewpoint: Supporting justice for elders

by Philip C. Marshall

I am the grandson of the late Brooke Astor who was a New York City philanthropist, summer resident of Northeast Harbor for over fifty years, and victim of elder abuse and exploitation by her son, my father.

In 2006, with the help of my grandmother’s staff, caregivers, and friends, I filed a petition for guardianship, which was awarded. This allowed us get my grandmother back to her country house in New York to spend her last days as, and where, she wished. My grandmother died peacefully at home and free from fear on August 13, 2007.

I am now advocating for elder justice, informed by hard-learned lessons and in recognition of the abuse and trauma imposed on millions of elders every day—with two-thirds of abusers being family, “friends,” or caregivers.

I was compelled to work on elder justice full time after testifying before Senator Collins and other members of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging in February 2015.

I have traveled border-to-border, coast-to-coast, and have met face-to-face with elder-justice professionals who do so much for so many, sometimes with so little.

Elder abuse is the betrayal of trust. Elder justice is the restoration of trust through relationships and responsibility.

Our greatest resources and our first line of defense are the relationships in our communities, with programs and services that cultivate trust among seniors and their circles of support, including other professionals.

Should abuse occur, they demonstrate community concern and capacity, empowering individuals to come forward and act. This allows us to articulate our personal responsibility to act with our community “response ability” (ability to respond). We can act knowing our community has our back.

Our silence protects perpetrators, not their victims. Today victims of elder abuse may be strangers, tomorrow they may be our loved ones, and perhaps in the future they may be ourselves.

Seniors, and society, deserve more. Yet only one in 23 cases of abuse, and one in 44 cases of financial exploitation, are reported, according to a 2011 New York study, appropriately titled “Under the Radar.” Perpetrators know this, to their advantage.

On Aug. 29, I will join Maine elder-justice professionals for a program in Northeast Harbor, “How the Brooke Astor Story Can Help Our Communities Achieve Elder Justice.”

We will explore ways those who serve and save seniors are working together in partnership with their communities in detecting, responding to, and even preventing abuse. We will explore how Maine has taken a leadership role in protecting seniors’ net worth, self-worth, and lives—and how, “as Maine goes, so goes the nation.”

I look forward to returning to Mount Desert Island, hiking my grandmother’s favorite mountains and joining elder-justice professionals for the program.

Philip C. Marshall is the founder of “Beyond Brooke – Advancing elder justice.” He lives in South Dartmouth, Mass.

Full Article & Source:
Viewpoint: Supporting justice for elders

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Man's death at group home illustrates challenges of meting out justice when suspect has intellectual disability

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Herbert “Herbie” Rohloff wasn’t expected to live to 53 years old.

He was born with Down syndrome, and doctors said they did not think Rohloff would survive past his second birthday, according to relatives. As a teen, he wasn’t expected to make it to adulthood. As he reached middle age, his brother worried that the biggest threat to his life was the busy intersection outside his group home in the West Rogers Park neighborhood.

But his family never thought his life would end violently. Last October, a fight with another resident over Halloween candy turned physical, and two weeks later Herbert Rohloff was dead. Chicago police closed the homicide case by exception, meaning detectives know who committed the killing but aren’t pursuing charges because of the person’s mental capacity, said Anthony Guglielmi, spokesman for the department, in an email. The Cook County state’s attorney’s office declined to comment.

The homicide case, among hundreds in Chicago last year, was complicated from the start because of the suspect’s intellectual disabilities. The legal community has discussed for years how to mete out justice in such cases. Now an approach known as an individualized justice plan is gaining some traction as a way to hold people with intellectual disabilities accountable while providing alternatives to traditional forms of punishment. Last year, Illinois lawmakers agreed to create a task force to look at the issue.

Charging people with intellectual disabilities can be complex because it’s unclear whether they could formulate the intent to kill, said Hugh Mundy, an associate professor at the John Marshall Law School.

“Every criminal (offense), or virtually every criminal offense, required a mental state in order to prove the element,” Mundy said. “It’s not just the act itself.”

Rohloff’s brother, Michael, and his sister-in-law, Maria, have been grappling with who should be held accountable. They described him as someone who liked to eat fried chicken, listen to Prince and watch “Rocky” movies. They’ve filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Lutheran Social Services of Illinois, the organization that runs the group home where Herbert Rohloff spent his entire adult life.

“You know, I don’t think it serves a purpose for (the person of interest) to be put in jail because he will not understand,” Maria Rohloff said. “But he needs to be put where he can’t hurt anyone else.”

‘Killed over a candy bar’

Last November, Michael Rohloff got a call from his mother telling him Herbert Rohloff had been hospitalized in Evanston. He found his brother struggling to breathe, with a black eye and bruises to the head, Michael Rohloff recalled in an interview with the Tribune.

Michael Rohloff holds a childhood photo of his brother, Herbert, at his home in Indian Head Park. Michael said his brother "looked just like this except with a snowy white beard" when he was killed in 2017 by a fellow housemate at a group home. (Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune)

“He looked at me, his face lit up, like it always does, and he was like, ‘Michael,’” he said.

The last thing Herbert Rohloff told his brother was that his ribs hurt. He would spend the next few weeks at Presence St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, heavily sedated, before he died. He suffered his injuries Oct. 31 when another resident beat him up over Halloween candy, but he wasn’t taken to the hospital until the next day, according to the family and reports from Chicago police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

An autopsy determined Herbert Rohloff died Nov. 16 from complications of multiple injuries and from congestive heart failure, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. He had rib fractures and multiple injuries to his spine.

“You know, it’s ridiculous,” Michael Rohloff said. “Of all the things, I was sitting there worried about him living too close to Devon and Western because the traffic is hectic, and (there are) so many strangers in the area. And you essentially get killed over a candy bar.”

‘It’s not about pointing fingers’

There aren’t data on how many people with intellectual developmental disabilities have been charged with serious felonies, but The Arc, a national advocacy organization for people with disabilities, is trying to get funding to fill that void in research, said Leigh Ann Davis, director of its criminal justice initiatives.

There have been cases of those with intellectual disabilities being prosecuted for, and being victims of, serious crimes, Davis said. That’s why it’s important for police agencies and the courts to understand the needs of those with disabilities, she said.

“What we’ve seen happen is that law enforcement (officers) don’t decipher that there is a difference, necessarily, between people with mental illnesses and intellectual developmental disabilities, and how that’s important because they may need to provide different services for someone or they may need a different referral depending on what type of disability the person has,” Davis said. “And the more that they (officers) know about the person’s disability, the more likely they can de-escalate a situation.”

In Illinois, advocates for those with intellectual disabilities are working with local prosecutors to find a middle road that provides alternatives to traditional criminal punishment. Amy Newell, executive director for The Arc’s branch in Rockford, said the group is pushing for courts to use personal justice plans that lay out the person’s diagnosis, limitations and recommendations.

“It’s not about pointing fingers, shaming people or any of that,” Newell said. “It’s about having an open conversation and really doing what’s best and safest for everyone.”

Last year, lawmakers created a task force to examine how those with disabilities are confined in jails, how they are represented in criminal cases and how police interact with them.

Michael Rohloff said he was worried about his brother, Herbert, living near a busy Chicago intersection. His brother's fatal beating over Halloween candy was shocking. (Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune)

In Herbert Rohloff’s case, police believe a resident of the group home caused the injuries and the person was taken to a local psychiatric facility for treatment, said Guglielmi, the police spokesman. Police aren’t moving forward with any criminal charges because of the person of interest’s mental capacity, he said in an email.

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office did not return multiple requests for comment.

Mark Heyrman, a clinical law professor at the University of Chicago Law School, said not pursuing charges in the case was probably a wise choice, because it would be difficult for prosecutors to secure a conviction if they couldn’t prove the person of interest comprehended what he did.

“He may have a limited understanding of what actually happened,” Heyrman said.

Herbert Rohloff, who had Down syndrome, was beaten during a dispute over candy by a fellow resident of their group home in Chicago's West Rogers Park neighborhood. (Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune)

A family seeks justice

The Rohloff family suspects a worker supervising the residents was preoccupied giving another resident a bath when the fight unfolded, said Craig Hoffman, an attorney representing the family. Even so, the family isn’t sure why Herbert wasn’t taken to the hospital the same day he was injured. In the lawsuit against the home, the family notes that Herbert Rohloff was taken to the hospital the next day and in a private vehicle by a worker rather than in an ambulance.

The home where Herbert Rohloff lived, in the 6200 block of North Artesian Avenue in West Rogers Park, remains open, according to a statement from Lutheran Social Services of Illinois. It opened in 1983, and many of the residents have lived there since then, according to the statement.

“At Lutheran Social Services of Illinois, we consider the people who live in our CILA (Community Integrated Living Arrangement) homes family, so of course we mourn the loss of any of these individuals as that of a family member,” the statement read. “Legally, the Illinois Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Confidentiality Act precludes us from divulging any information on our residents.”

The civil case remains pending, and the family expects it could take years before it’s concluded.

Holidays and birthdays without Herbert Rohloff keep coming and going. This summer, Michael Rohloff had the words “my favorite” tattooed on his arm in the same font used in the “Rocky” movies.

Herbert Rohloff stopped intellectually developing when he was 5, and he couldn’t express himself beyond simple sentences. “My favorite” was something Michael Rohloff often heard his brother say, and “Rocky” was one of Herbert’s favorite movies.

Michael Rohloff also has found himself regularly wearing the T-shirt that he wore to the hospital the day his brother died.

“It’s odd what you connect and stay with,” he said as he teared up. “I was wearing this shirt when he passed, and I was just saying today, ‘I’m never going to get rid of this shirt.’”

Full Article & Source:
Man's death at group home illustrates challenges of meting out justice when suspect has intellectual disability

Rehab center manager pleads to embezzlement, exploitation

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A rehabilitation center manager accused of stealing money from elderly residents pleaded guilty Wednesday to 11 charges.

Leanne Bennett, 60, must pay more than $44,000 in restitution, and she faces up to three years in custody at sentencing, which is set for October. Bennett was indicted in three cases beginning in late 2017 on charges stemming from events from 2013.

Joseph Martinez, a prosecutor with the state Attorney General’s Office, said Wednesday that Bennett had access to one resident’s checkbook, and two residents’ ATM cards, and stole thousands from them. All three residents had dementia.

Martinez said that Bennett also embezzled funds from two companies where she worked, in one case stealing cash, and in the other, writing checks to herself.

She pleaded guilty before state District Judge Charles Brown to charges including exploiting a resident’s property, violating the Remote Financial Service Unit Act and embezzlement.

Full Article & Source:
Rehab center manager pleads to embezzlement, exploitation