Sunday, December 17, 2017

Mary Frank: 69-Year-Old Thrown into Psych Ward by Government-Appointed Guardian

by Lonnie Brennan

One of this newspaper’s aims is to give voice to the voiceless. From our first issue, we helped to share information and smuggled notes from Justina Pelletier, the teenage girl taken from her family by Boston’s Children’s Hospital with the complicity of the Massachusetts government. Since that first issue, these pages have focused the spotlight on questionable government actions and the subsequent horrors inflicted upon children, families, and seniors.

Perhaps, because of those stories, we are now routinely contacted by those in need and do what we can to help share their stories – give voice to the voiceless.

This is Reverend Mary Frank’s story. Recorded in her own words from the room she has shared for the past four months with two other residents at her current nursing home. She went from living in a little apartment to now sharing a 16×25 foot room with only hospital curtains providing partial privacy between each resident. Mary relates how she was snatched out of her apartment and sent to a lock-down dementia ward for 3+ years.

With the exception of our initial questions, all of these words are hers. Each and every one. With regret, the spelling of some names cannot be confirmed at this time. We explain why at the end of the article.

QUESTION TO OUR READERS: After reading this, ask yourself: Is this a person who should have been ripped from her home and confined to a lock-down dementia unit?

As dictated by Mary Frank:

Broadside:  As you know, I’m here to take your statement.

Mary: Yes.

Broadside: Could you please state your name.

Mary: Mary Frank

Broadside: And you understand that this conversation is being recorded.

Mary: Yes. Of course [as she glances at the tape recorder and camera].

Broadside: And we have your permission.

Mary: Absolutely. You can record me, take photos. I have letters. Yes. Absolutely. I want this out. People need to know.

[Mary then went on to explain her living situation before being “snatched” and placed in a nursing home, and many of the details along the way. Printed below is a just a small portion of her story. We’ll print more in future issues, as space allows.]

Mary: I loved my little apartment. You could only fit a twin bed in there. It was a 1960s walk-up garden apartment. I loved it because it was small. It was perfect. I didn’t have to go far with the wheelchair. I could do my own cooking. I could do cleaning. I could do personal care. But I couldn’t go to the drug store. I couldn’t go get food. So, I said OK, if I’m eligible [for home healthcare services], that’s good.

Minuteman Senior Services was the vehicle…they send out to Best Home and Partners [contracted home healthcare services], and so I got this wonderful girl. For a year, I loved her. I adored her. But in the end, I found out she was stealing from me. The food stamps, the money wasn’t lasting. I was too trusting. I never even saw it coming. It broke my heart. It’s indigenous to this form of work: we’re easy pickings. They steal.

And then I got a series of the worst – just the worst [caregivers]. One didn’t have a car. One walked around in sneakers saying I don’t buy white women food. I didn’t know we had white women food! It was just a disaster. And then I got a Lisa Bartlett, from Best Home. And she was good, but she would only do – they all would only do – except for the one that stole, she did the three hours – they wouldn’t do the three hours – and Lisa was like 20 minutes to 40 minutes. And I said I would like my three hours.

And, they wanted me to sign a paper that said they were doing three hours. They were getting $18.70 per hour. In my mind, that’s defrauding the federal government. What I found out later was that that money … they were giving kickbacks. That money that they were earning – they weren’t working for it – they were giving kickbacks to Michelle Coakley and Minuteman protective services. I was aghast. I mean, not that I’m ordained [Mary had explained that she was ordained as a Pentecostal minister], but it’s fraud. That’s a clear case of fraud.

I said, I can’t sign this. I can’t sign this paper. I want you to do the three hours.

Mary (cont.): Before I knew it, Michelle Coakley shows up with her fists like this [Mary holding her fists up tightly gripped], and said, ‘sign the papers.’ I said, Michelle, you’re supposed to be upset about this [the fraud]. I thought she was going to strike me. She was outraged and said to sign it, or you’ll be sorry. I didn’t understand the vitriol that was coming out of this woman. I come from a place of peace and love. I didn’t get it.

In September of 2013 there was a knock on the door…they handcuffed me. Threw me in an ambulance and took me to Mount Auburn Hospital on a Section 12 for psych.

I didn’t know it was a Section 12 then. I didn’t know what was happening. Nobody would talk to me. I have a heart condition. I thought I was going to have a heart attack. I couldn’t understand what was going on. So, I’m in the emergency room in Mount Auburn. Rick Hayes was the psych guy. And he ended up being Pentecostal, which was unusual, as there’s not that many of us up here [in New England].

First, they did two hours on me getting my blood pressure down and my heartrate. That’s how upset I was. I heard a nurse say ‘she’s going to have a stroke.’ My blood pressure was sky high, my heart rate … I had monitors on. They did that first. Then he [Dr. Hayes] came in and talked to me, and after 50 minutes he said, ‘you’re not psychotic.’ I said, ‘no kidding!’ He said, well, they told me that you were in your own excrement and your urine and that you threw out your nurse. And I said, ah excuse me? As fastidious as I am. I never, I mean, I knew. He knew. He knew because the Lord is illuminating to him. He knew this was bogus.

He kept me there all day. He told me Michelle Coakley wants you put on the psych ward. I had said to her [Michelle] that I would do a thing about harassment if they didn’t stop [trying to get me to sign documents], and I would call the attorney general’s office because this is fraud, and she said I’ll put you somewhere where you won’t be able to do anything. It just never occurred to me [I would end up in the hospital].

It was the worst day. Then he [Dr. Hayes] went and talked to my cousin Norma in Connecticut, who can wipe all the air out of the room [a force to be reckoned with]. And he [Dr. Hayes] came back and told me ‘you’re going home.’

Mary (cont.): Three weeks later – in October – they knocked on the door again. And I said, ‘who’s signing these [psych] papers?’ Because she [Coakley] got somebody who never even saw me – a psychiatrist – to sign the papers. The fraud was unbelievable…and they were so mean to me. They treated me like I was some kind of a criminal. My arms were all full of bruises. They pushed me around.

[Doctor] Rick Hayes saw me. He said, ‘what are you doing here?’ And I was there, and what he did was he went and got his colleague, and she leaned over and she said, ‘we’re going to get you out of here.’ I said, what is this? Is this legal? What is going on? And the nurse came in and put her arms around me. And she said, be careful because she [Coakley] is not going to stop. She said I know people like this. They’re not going to stop…

This is insane… I don’t belong in a psych ward. So, I got sent home.

But, she [Coakley] showed up again and said, I’ll put you somewhere where you’ll never get out. I said, Michelle, you need to sit down. You need to let me help you. And she pushed my arm. And she went.

Mary (cont.): November, I got a summons to go to probate and family court for a hearing regarding guardianship. And I couldn’t, I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe she was going to go this far. It’s an obsession – and obsession is a mental illness – I recognize that, it’s a very bad thing to have.

So, November 20th it was set for, and I was just going to show up and tell the judge what she did to me. That there’s just no way, no way, I’m going to get a guardian.

November 18th, I woke up [with leg problems]. I went to Beth Israel… I should explain – regarding getting my knees replaced… I wanted to get fixed. I had to get fixed. I was so proud of myself; I had lost 100 pounds on Herbalife [to get my weight down before surgery]. You take a shake in the morning, a shake in the afternoon, and you can have a cow for supper if you want! It melted off me.

And my friends were saying to me you’re so skinny, which had never happened to me before. My father was 400 pounds. My mother was 280. I’m Italian. You can’t help me, you know, it’s hereditary. But I got it off. It was nice to be chubby instead of fat … but my knees, they had exploded. I had to get to the hospital.

But first, I called Mary Kay Connelly who was the lawyer for Minuteman. A more crooked lawyer there isn’t in this world. Just a despot. I came to understand about this woman. I called her twice, because it [the court summons] said that if you needed an extension [shakes head – no response from Connelly]. And then I called the courthouse and said I needed an extension, and I got just yah, yah from the court. No answers. So, I went to the hospital.

I was getting an IV… and I’m thinking, they [the court, Coakley, and Connelly] don’t know I’m in the hospital. Then, I got a call from my neighbor who told me they broke down my door on the 19th, the day before the 20th. I never would have gotten to court. I never would have made that hearing anyway.

They must have broken the door down to take me again so that I couldn’t make the hearing. So, in a way, God protected me by putting me in the hospital, because who knows where they would have put me this time. If it wasn’t with [Dr,] Rick [Hayes], who would have sent me back, I don’t know.

But I didn’t get the extension. I wasn’t in the courtroom. I didn’t have a lawyer and I had no due process. I know about due process. I went to Yale and I have an American History degree. I taught history. I was the youngest history teacher in Connecticut. I knew that you had to be in there with a lawyer. It’s due process.

I didn’t know then about Judge [Maureen] Monks – that she was crooked, that it was all crooked. I didn’t know. I don’t think that way. But I knew something was wrong. And then this woman walks in named Robin Kosnick and proceeded to tell me, ‘I’m going to put you away.’ And I said, who are you? And she said, I’m the guardian.

Mary (cont.): Now, Minuteman Senior Services picks out the guardian. It should be an autonomous guardian, or it should be a family member, or a friend – until you can prove you’re OK. It shouldn’t be somebody who is connected with the people who did this to you. She said, Michelle told me what to do with you. I’m putting you away.

And [my] mind is spinning, like this. And you know, because she was the guardian, I had to stay here. They couldn’t move me from Beth Israel. But when I was healed, the first thing they tried to do was put me in a flop house in Everett. I couldn’t believe it. There were people on the floor. There was urine. People were urinating on blankets and thank God the ambulance driver was, oh no, you’re not staying here. They brought me back. They wouldn’t do it [leave me there]. She [Robin] had a fit.

And then she tried it again. In Cambridge…but the rector there sent me back…but I was there for two months while she was waiting for a bed to open up at Sudbury Pines in Sudbury. She put me in the dementia unit.

There should be – there’s got to be – a law somewhere.

And out of all of this, my prayer is that maybe we can get a state senator or a state rep. to have some hearings at the State House that you have to have an autonomous guardian, [and] that you have to be in that courtroom … that you cannot be put in a dementia unit. I was put in a dementia unit!

Everybody there had dementia! Everybody’s in diapers! Nobody could use a phone. Nobody could talk. And the men would come in and take off their diapers and try to get in bed with you naked.

It was like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest [movie]. And I’m there for three-and-a-half years.

But they didn’t want me there, because I could see what they were doing. I have my mind. I could see the abuse: throwing people in bed at seven o’clock, not changing diapers, them crying for water and not getting water. And there was a man across the way. They said he was psychotic. He was having a heart attack and he died. So, they section-twelved me to the Carney in Dorchester. But my knees, my legs, the fluid was coming out of my legs. And so, no, they sent me back…

And the doctor there. I pray he loses his license. I made a complaint and he told me he would kill me if I made complaints. The first day he met me, he looked at my bible and he said, ‘that’s what’s wrong with you – that you’re a Christian.’ I said, that’s everything that’s right about me.

I was a mess before I went to seminary. God made this woman out of that mess. That’s what’s right about me. He [the doctor] was Hindu and he hates Christians…

There’s so much of it – I have to go back and explain to you – [in the court] they told the judge that I refused care and that I threw a nurse out and that I was in my own excrement and urine. And yes, I was sitting in my apartment with a social worker when a big tall man walked in. He didn’t knock, he just walked in. And he didn’t say much and he left, and it was him who said [through the courts] he spoke to me. I thought we were going to get raped. He never rang the doorbell. He walked right in. These people are so corrupted and underhanded – the things that they do…

The evil and the, the – it’s hard for me to wrap my mind around it – the brutality of these people.

Jesus said that we all have a mansion [in heaven]. I’ll settle for a ranch. I really don’t need a mansion. But we’ll see when I get there. Laughter’s a wonderful thing. I have a good sense of humor and I’ve kept it, and I’m glad. That’s what’s kept me [and then she teared]…”


Mary went on to give more background regarding her experience. She praised many of the nurses at her current nursing home. She related a fire at her apartment complex which she said terrorized her in 1996 and how after the fire, people had made donations to the residents, but all of her apartment contents were taken by her guardian. She has no idea where they are. She would love to have medical attention for her legs and body and find a nice small apartment where she can take care of herself again, and not have a guardian keep her as a prisoner.

Where are My Personal Belongings?

Mary requested that this newspaper try to find out where her electric wheelchair is, and her glasses and personal belongings. She provided the name and phone number of her guardian, Pam Dicolo (spelling unsure at this time) and said that she has been asking for months and gets no reply. She said that all her clothes, except one dress, as well as her personal belongings, her wig, makeup, and other items are being held by her guardian, as well as all her personal care items.

We did reach out to the guardian and got no response. However, we did receive a response from a woman explaining that she was the “spokesperson” for the guardian, and handles all reporter inquiries. After explaining that Mary requested us to find out what was up with her electric wheelchair and other items, we were told everything would be taken care of. The following day (Nov. 17, 2017), Mary left us a voice message, exclaiming her joy that “Julie showed up with three bags full of things for me.” She listed various personal care items she received, but still awaits her own clothes, wig, makeup and glasses.

A few days later, an electric wheelchair showed up, but it was “a tiny thing that I could never fit in. It wasn’t mine.” She’s still waiting.

Court Files Go Missing/Scrubbed,
Despite Electronic Log Entries

As for the court documents? Despite repeated efforts of the court clerks, all of Mary Frank’s files are reported missing. Yes, read that again. The court files are missing for Docket No. MI 3P5348GD. We even went so far as to engage the help of an attorney to attempt to view the files. All the court clerks could do is confirm that, yes, there were more than 16 entries, still logged in their computers, but all of Mary Frank’s court documents are missing. We’ve placed a written “File Search Request” with the Middlesex Probate and Family Court, and asked to be notified should the files ever mysteriously re-appear. Cue the crickets.

A Sharp Contrast: Praise for
Everyone at Marlborough Hills

Mary provided our paper with a follow-up conversation in which she added the following praise to her current providers at Marlborough Hills Rehabilitation Center: “The nurses, the calming effect of Chris, sweet Gail, my dear Sally who can handle any emergency, at any time, and we all feel very safe with her here at night; conscientious Jackie – a wonderful nurse; and Wendy, a tough veteran nurse who has a heart of gold, and will walk over a million people to get to something one of her patients needs – she’s a nurse’s nurse. Everybody in the maintenance department, Bob and Mr. Carpenter, everybody in the kitchen, everybody in the laundry, and all the aides: sweet baby James, my little Stella, Ryan and Carlos and [inaudible], and Carmina – too many to mention, all of them.
Oh, and my wonderful social worker, Logan, who gives so tirelessly, and I’ve come to love.

I have received kindness from this place, and yes, even love. I have been treated with respect and dignity, and it has put a balm of healing on my heart, and assuaged the pain that I received from Sudbury Pines – the cruelty I received there. And I have one more thank you: to the editor of this paper, for his kindness, and his caring, and his thoughtfulness, and his wanting to help people, and most of all, his courage. Him I want to thank the most.”

Mary Needs A Champion Lawyer – She Needs Funding to Get Her Life Back

Mary said she needs funds to fight back and restore her life. She has no way of raising funds, she said, without all money going to her guardian instead of helping to get her away from the guardian.

The Mary Frank Fund

After various inquires and consultations, we’ve made the decision to help in the process to establish a legal defense fund for Mary.

Please make your checks out to “The Boston Broadside” with the name “Mary Frank Fund” in the memo section. Send checks to The Boston Broadside, P.O. Box 4200, Peabody, MA 01961.

We will send you a receipt for your donation to Mary Frank’s defense fund, and provide you with updates regarding her fund, and any and all expenditures from it. All funds will be held by the Boston Broadside at this time – solely for the use of Mary Frank, and firmly held separate from Mary Frank’s guardian and others who she says are working against her. Without your help, she is defenseless.

She wants the money to be spent on a lawyer of her choosing who will set her free. Please be as generous as you can. If you know anyone of means, please consider taking on this challenging case.

Mary noted in a follow-up interview just prior to publication that people have been so generous to help a poor dog – raising $16,000 in days – and to a worthy homeless veteran, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars in just days, and if she could receive help, she could fight to get her life back. Mary needs your help now. ♦

Full Article & Source:
Mary Frank: 69-Year-Old Thrown into Psych Ward by Government-Appointed Guardian

‘The Sandwich Generation’: Caring for an elder parent and adult child at same time

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Nearly half of Americans in their 40s and 50s have both a parent age 65 or older and a child. These middle-aged couples often find themselves sandwiched in the middle, caring for both their kids and their elder parents, financially and physically.

If you fall into this category, you're not alone. It's called "The Sandwich Generation" and it's playing out in homes all around the country.

Dinner at the Belz family home in Olympia ends with a little treat and a cup of coffee. Trish Belz and her husband Aaron are both psychologists living in Olympia. They have two children, a 5th grader and a high school freshman.

But of all the plates at the dining table, the fullest by far belongs to Trish. She’s caring for her kids and also her mom and dad, John and Maureen. “This is my parenting time,” said Trish. “I want to give my kids this time yet it’s completely pulled also towards my parents.”

Trish is not alone. Middle-aged Americans often find themselves sandwiched in the middle, caring for both their kids and their parents, financially and physically.

Maureen and Jack have been married for 54 years. They don’t drive home after dinner with their daughter and grandchildren. They walk, across a gravel road. With concerns for their health and safety, Trish and Aaron build a home for her parents two years ago, just across the street from their own house. This makes it easier for Trish to care for her parents on a daily basis.

For the older generation relinquishing authority and independence to their adult children can be rough. Jack admits it’s been a transition. “I don’t know if everyone can do that,” he said.

Psychologist Jill Gross works with sandwich generation clients. She says the number one issue for caregivers is burnout. “You have all the duties and responsibilities associated with parenting,” said Gross. And then you add to that if the elderly person you’re providing care for lives in your area often there are doctor’s appointments prescriptions to fill sometimes meals to prepare.”

The Belz family faces an additional hurdle. Maureen, age 81, has Alzheimers. She now lives at a memory care facility nearby. “Its really tough,” said Trish. “I’ve felt angry before and I’ve felt resentful.” Trish picks her up most mornings so she can spend the day with her husband and grandchildren. After cleaning the kitchen and helping her kids with homework, Trish drives her mom back to the facility at night.

Gross says caregivers need to make self-care a top priority. She encourages the older generation to start discussions about how they want to live out their days. “The best gift you can give to your adult children is to be the one to bring it up and talk about your values and goals,” Gross said.

Gross encourages adult children to connect with other people in the middle of that sandwich, and to find ways to share caregiving and parenting responsibilities, whether it’s a helpful friend or a spouse.

Despite the juggling her time between her parents, her job, her husband and kids, Trish says she’s happy for the wonderful quality time she and her kids get with her parents. Her father Jack is grateful that he continues to be able to spend his days with his wife Maureen.

Full Article & Source:
‘The Sandwich Generation’: Caring for an elder parent and adult child at same time

Man charged with financial exploitation of elderly relative

Richard Cleveland
Kendall County State's Attorney Eric Weis has charged a Minooka man, alleging that he stole a large sum of money from an elderly relative, following an investigation by the Kendall County Sheriff's Office.

Richard Cleveland, 58, of the 3000 block of Route 52, Minooka, has been charged with felony financial exploitation of the elderly.

According to the Sheriff's Office, deputies took a report on Oct. 13 alleging that Cleveland had "unlawfully used a large sum of money belonging to an elderly relative."

Detectives began an investigation, and Cleveland was charged on Dec. 6, according to police.

Bond was set for Cleveland at $75,000 with 10 percent to apply, and Cleveland is currently at the Kendall County jail on unrelated charges, police said.

According to Kendall County court records, Cleveland was charged in 2016 with felony aggravated sexual assault, aggravated battery, and domestic battery. Those cases are still pending in the county court system.

A hearing has been scheduled before Judge Timothy McCann on both the latest charges and the 2016 charges for Monday, Dec. 18 at 11 a.m. at the Kendall County Courthouse in Yorkville.

Full Article & Source:
Man charged with financial exploitation of elderly relative

Saturday, December 16, 2017

68 Year Old Beverly Finnegan – Snatched from Condo by Court Order, Tossed in Nursing Home – Struggled to Get Released – Now on Life Support

A few names/agencies to remember:

Lawyer: Wendy K. Crawshaw, Framingham, Mass.
Lawyer: Lawrence K. Glick, Needham, Mass.
Judge: Maureen H. Monks, Middlesex County Probate and Family Court
Agency: Jewish Family and Children’s Services, Waltham, Mass.
Agency: Springwell, Inc., Waltham, Mass.

If you see any of their names, on any documents related to your loved ones, run. Run as fast as you can. That’s the hard lesson Janet Pidge says she has learned. Janet is the sister of Beverly Finnegan. Earlier this year, Janet and Beverly shared a condo unit in upscale Newton, Mass. All that changed when key individuals involved with Springwell, Inc., the Kathleen Daniel Nursing and Rehabilitation facility (Framingham), Jewish Family and Children’s Service, and others stepped into their lives.

Beverly Finnegan now “faces imminent death,” according to one court filing.

When Beverly was taken under force from her home –  on an order of Middlesex County Probate and Family Court Judge Maureen H. Monks – Beverly could walk, talk, converse, argue, read newspapers, magazines, pay her bills, handle the sisters’ finances, and was able for months to plead for her release from involuntary commitment to a nursing home.

Flash forward five months and Beverly now clings onto her life. I spent hours in the Framingham hospital where Beverly is in the intensive care unit. She’s gone from one lock-down to another – locked doors again. To get in, you have to press a buzzer outside of wire-reinforced security windows on hard steel doors.

Beverly is now on life support, assisted breathing, and a feeding tube. She’s paper-thin. A photograph of her, provided by a friend from at the hospital is shown below:

[Now 69-year old Beverly Finnegan – December 2017.  In September, she was begging for newspapers and magazines.]

How did Beverly become so emaciated? What drugs was she administered (hint: antipsychotics!)? Why was she taken, and what treatment did she receive or not receive?

We’re compiling court documents, filings, and statements from many individuals associated with Beverly. What we’ve discovered thus far is that Dr. Anne McKinley, a primary care physician filed a protective order with Springwell to force the taking of Beverly from her Newton condo. Why? Because McKinley wrote that Beverly had Mycrobocterium kansasii, a lung infection which required immediate and prolonged attention to cure, and that Beverly was refusing treatment.

That was October of 2016. Right, more than 13 months ago. Why is that significant? Because that ‘taking’ and the subsequent involuntary lockdown in a nursing home by a court-appointed guardian was based on Beverly refusing medical treatment. In short, Judge Monks supported the position that Beverly was obviously a mentally incapacitated person who wouldn’t help herself to a cure from the lung infection, and needed government protection.

Hey Doc: How About a Second Opinion?

It is now more than 13 months since that diagnosis. However, according to court filings, as of the day they placed Beverly on a feeding tube and life support approximately a week ago, she had never, ever, ever been treated for the mysterious lung infection.

You did read that, right? Beverly was assigned a court-appointed guardian, her finances locked down,  her freedom eliminated, her health apparently destroyed, because she refused treatment for an infection which the State said she had, and for which they never, ever treated her.

Are We in the Twilight Zone?

Beverly’s sister, Janet Pidge is hysterically desperate: she’s fighting daily to get anyone to help. She’s spent her savings, she and Beverly have both lost their jobs. She’s knocked on every door, every lawyer, politician, every resource she could find. She said she’s been lied to along the way the same way her sister was lied to, she says. She’s called delusional and paranoid for not believing the State. Her money is gone, and she’s stuck asking for rides daily or help to pay for the trains to take her from Newton to Framingham each day where she prays at her sister’s side.

According to the first couple of hundred pages of court filings we’ve secured and reviewed (before they disappear mysteriously like others in Middlesex Probate Court – see Mary Frank article), we’ve noted a clear, delineated path where the powers-that-be managed to keep Beverly locked up on a section 12: mental order, claiming that she was “paranoid” and not trusting of the medical providers and others. Hmm, they tell her she has an ailment which they don’t treat her for, and she’s the paranoid one?

Beverly’s sister is fighting to keep Beverly alive, but her efforts may not succeed: apparently, while under the care of the nursing home she suffered a cardiac arrest, and apparently suffered from deprivation of oxygen, as noted by Dr. Aba Somers of Framingham hospital. On December 8, 2017, Dr. Somers wrote “The patient has severe brain injury. ICT brain shows swelling of the brain. EEG shows no cortical brain activity. Physical exam shows minimal brain stem reflexes. She has been off sedation for more than a week. She will require a tracheotomy by the end of next week.”

Dr. Somer’s notes conflict with Janet Pidge’s statements that just two weeks ago, that her sister was responding to stimuli, and squeezing her hand, apparently before sedation was heavy. Janet didn’t trust the diagnosis of a lung infection, and now she questions if this is true.

Full Article & Source:
68 Year Old Beverly Finnegan – Snatched from Condo by Court Order, Tossed in Nursing Home – Struggled to Get Released – Now on Life Support

Wise Co. caregiver sentenced in financial exploitation case

WISE, Va.—A Pound, Virginia, woman will serve nearly two years in prison for financial crimes she committed against a disabled elderly person in he care, according to Wise County Commonwealth's Attorney Chuck Slemp.

Latricia Rae Kiser, 40, previously pleaded guilty without a plea agreement to six counts of felony uttering and five counts of felony forgery in September. The Wise County Circuit Court heard evidence Tuesday at a sentencing hearing.

Kiser received a sentence of five years in the penitentiary with three years and two months suspended. She will serve an active prison term of one year and ten months within the custody of the Virginia Department of Corrections. After her release, Kiser will be required to complete three years of supervised probation and pay restitution to the victim, Slemp said.

Between Oct. 2016 and Jan. 2017, Kiser was hired to assist with taking care of a disabled elderly adult, Slemp said in a news release. During the time Kiser served as the victim’s home healthcare worker, Kiser stole checks from the person, Slemp said.

Kiser then forged the person’s name and without permission cashed six checks for various amounts totaling $1,750, Slemp said. The fraud was discovered when the victim’s family discovered inaccuracies in the checking account and called the police. When Wise County Sheriff’s Office deputies investigated, Kiser confessed her crimes, Slemp said.

"Financial exploitation of the disabled and elderly is far too common in our community," Slemp said. "Ms. Kiser was invited into a home, paid to care for another person, and then stole that person. She was entrusted with the care of a vulnerable individual and then betrayed that trust. A crime of this nature should offend everyone in our community. We will continue to fight to protect seniors and incapacitated adults from this kind of abuse and exploitation.”

Slemp expressed his appreciation for the diligent efforts made to investigate and prosecute this case, specifically the Wise County Department of Social Services, the Wise County Sheriff’s Department, and the Southwest Virginia Joint Senior Abuse Task Force.

Full Article & Source: 
Wise Co. caregiver sentenced in financial exploitation case

The Death of Democracy in Probate ‘Court’

by David Arnold

The United States is a Democracy. Right?

I never questioned that until 2012. Someone that I loved very dearly was subjected to severe abuse by the Probate “Court.” I was also subjected to abuse. I survived. Gretchen did not.

The lasting damage done to me by this experience was the destruction of my belief that people do not have to fear abuse by government in the United States. It was not until 2016 that I finally realized the problem. The Probate Court is not a democratic institution. It is a dictatorship. It violates all the principles on which this country was founded.

The thing I find most frightening is that only a tiny fraction of the general population realizes the truth. I think the reason is that we are all blinded by our belief that the institutions of our government function in accordance with the principles of democracy. In fact, anyone who has been involved in a guardianship case has all the information needed to know that the Probate Court is not a democratic institution. It took me four years of study and research before I finally saw the truth that was sitting in plain sight.

This is not to say that all the institutions of government violate the principles of democracy. However, the Probate Court is a glaring exception. Somehow the judges and lawyers of the Probate Court have managed to eliminate all the protections of democracy designed to prevent abuse of power by government. The result is that the Probate Court has the ability to commit crimes with impunity. The reality is that no one is safe from abuse by the Probate Court. This is a very strong statement.

However, this statement is supported by extensive factual evidence. This evidence has been accumulated primarily by organizations outside the government.

Until recently, the government has passively or actively swept the problem under the rug. The Probate Court has the ability to prevent the evidence of abuse from becoming public. Other branches of government have also cooperated in concealing the evidence. Since this happened in 2012, I have filed complaints with all three branches of government with no effect. All my complaints have ended up in the hands of a lawyer who did nothing. One of the other parties in the case has also filed complaints with no effect.

The proof that the Probate Court is a dictatorship is lying in plain sight. It is a matter of seeing the obvious.

The foundations of democracy are the following:
  1. No one has absolute power. Power is distributed between three branches of government to provide checks and balances.
  2. Everyone is responsible for their actions. No one has immunity.
The Probate Court violates both of these fundamental principles of democracy in multiple ways. In particular, guardianship is riddled with absolute power and conflict of interest.
The “judge” has sole control of guardianship:
  1. The judge appoints the attorney for the incapacitated person.
  2. The judge appoints the guardian/conservator who manages the person’s affairs.
  3. The judge appoints the GAL (guardian ad litem) who investigates the facts of the case.
  4. The judge decides the case without the right to a jury trial.
  5. The judge is responsible for accountability of the GAL and guardian/conservator.
The judge gives immunity to the GAL and the guardian/conservator as agents of the court. Judges have judicial immunity and extend that immunity to those they appoint. The constitution does not give anyone immunity. The court has given itself immunity. The combination of absolute power and immunity has set up a system of legalized crime where GALs and guardians can commit crimes with impunity.

Marty Oakley, who runs an Internet talk radio show, has been pointing out for a long time that the Probate Court is not a court. It is an administrative tribunal whose authority is derived from the executive branch, not the judicial branch.

Because it is not a court, it is free to set its own rules as to how it operates. A person who goes before the Probate Court has no constitutional rights. The law is whatever the judge says it is. Responsibility for protecting a person’s constitutional rights rests with a court of law. The Probate Court is not a court of law.

The problem is that the Probate Court pretends to be a court and has usurped powers that can only be exercised by a court of law with due process. The Probate Court exercises the powers of both the executive and judicial branches of government. This is unconstitutional and violates separation of powers.

In December 2016, I met with my state senator, William Brownsberger, to discuss my complaints with the way guardianship is managed by the Probate Court. I pointed out that it violates separation of powers for a judge to be responsible for both appointment and accountability of guardians. His response was ,“Please trust me when I say: Your argument that the guardianship system is unconstitutional is not correct legally, however powerful it may seem theoretically.”

I said I was not willing to trust him. I asked him to prove it. He said, “You are asking a little too much of me.” He elaborated by saying, “Separation of powers is not just a philosophical idea, it is a technical legal construct.”

The issue is not whether the present system is legal. The extermination of the Jews was legal under German law. Slavery was legal in the United States. The issue is whether guardianship is consistent with basic principles of law, democracy, civil rights, human rights, and the Constitution. In my opinion, the present system of guardianship violates all of these basic principles. It is a stain on our democracy, as bad or worse than slavery. It is a danger to everyone whether or not they realize it.

I was taken totally by surprise by the way the Probate Court handled my guardianship case. I would not have trusted the Probate Court if I knew then what I know now. The problem is that there is no appropriate system for handling guardianship.

The way to stop this abuse is to take away the secrecy that protects those who are committing these crimes. That can only be done by the free press.

I wrote an article in October 2017 in the Boston Broadside, Issue #42
(Vol. 4, No. 9), describing what happened in my guardianship case. You can read it and decide for yourself whether this is the way you want guardianship to be handled.

The guardianship case is Docket Numbers 11P 2483, 11P 3682, 12R0085. The judge was Patricia Gorman. The professional guardian was Regina Bragdon. The GAL was Fern Frolin. My first attorney was Anthony Boczenowski. My second attorney was William Brisk. My first attorney developed cancer and had to withdraw from the case. My first attorney was a very honest person. In my opinion, he was the only professional involved in the case who did anything right.

Full Article & Source:
The Death of Democracy in Probate ‘Court’

Friday, December 15, 2017

Illinois' home health care industry rife with fraud, tainted by unscrupulous physicians

His hands trembled at first. Then his vision blurred. Finally, unable to control a malignant blood pressure condition, Tinley Park cardiac surgeon Banio Koroma lost his malpractice insurance, then his operating room privileges and finally his professional standing.

Fortunately, he lived in Illinois, where medical regulation has been so lax even the most desperate of doctors can find financial reward.

Koroma took refuge in home health care, a lucrative and growing industry rife with fraud and tainted by unscrupulous physicians who travel to patients' homes in search of profit, then bleed money from taxpayer-financed programs.

The down-on-his-luck doctor took advantage of this loosely regulated world to exploit his patients and command a central role in a multimillion-dollar taxpayer swindle that breached the homes of 15,600 older adults getting services from a Chicago company called Mobile Doctors.

For adults hobbled by disability or disease who want to stay out of nursing homes or hospitals, home health care services can be a godsend.

For criminals who want to tap into federal Medicare dollars, it can represent a loosely guarded bank vault.

A Tribune investigation reveals that Illinois public health regulators proved unprepared for a surge in new home health care companies, doling out too many home health licenses too fast and failing to provide meaningful oversight.

Even today, most anyone can own a home health care business for a $25 license fee — no criminal background check required.

Consequently, the Chicago metropolitan area is a hot spot for fraud, deemed among the most corrupt regions nationally. In the last five years, federal investigators estimate, area home-health agencies have improperly collected at least $104 million of public dollars.

Many home health companies operate lawfully and in the best interests of their customers. But fraud is so pervasive throughout the industry, federal officials say, that for every conviction like Koroma's, there are many other participants who are able to skate away.

As a result, already-vulnerable patients are put at risk.

Corrupt home health companies and complicit physicians as well as nurses secretly laced medical files with false diagnoses involving tens of thousands of Chicago-area patients, the Tribune found.

An analysis of federal court and enforcement files since 2012 shows that thousands of patients have been subjected to unwarranted procedures, therapies and tests; some were prescribed unneeded and powerful drugs.

Most victims were unaware that their medical histories were hijacked by swindlers — there is no legal requirement to notify or warn patients when fraud is uncovered, or when providers are convicted of crimes.

Case files show that a disabled man in his 80s was denied a wheelchair by a government insurance program because a Chicago-area business had falsely purchased one in the man's name and then illegally pocketed the reimbursement check, according to AgeOptions in Oak Park, a federally funded advocacy group.

In another case, a hospitalized man was denied a transfer to a Chicago rehabilitation center because a home health company had fraudulently billed the government for nonexistent convalescent care.

"These scammers are really smart," said Jason Echols, statewide director for a senior Medicare program at AgeOptions. "Anybody could be a victim."  (Click to Continue)

Full Article & Source:
Illinois' home health care industry rife with fraud, tainted by unscrupulous physicians

Personal care home owner indicted on exploitation charge

The owner of an Augusta personal care business accused of stealing thousands of dollars from a patient was indicted Tuesday.
The Richmond County grand jury returned a one-count indictment against Maxine Hudson Donaldson, 51. It accuses her of exploitation of an elderly or disabled adult. The crime is punishable by up to 20 years.

According to the indictment, Donaldson is accused of obtaining access to an Alzheimer’s patient’s bank account and taking nearly $28,000 between Oct. 26, 2016, and July 24.

The victim lived at Shavonna’s Place of Care on Fairview Avenue. According to the Department of Community Health, the agency tasked with regulating personal care homes, the home was in operation and had no violations cited in its latest inspection in March. The state agency’s website which provides open access to inspection reports of personal care homes was not in operation Tuesday.

Shavonna’s Place was not licensed and had not been inspected by a fire marshal when the department inspected in March. The home was licensed by the city after an April story by The Augusta Chronicle.

Donaldson operates a second personal care home, Maxi Maxi on Damascus Road.

Full Article & Source:
Personal care home owner indicted on exploitation charge

The Five Most Common Ways Elder Financial Abuse Happens

Wrongdoers have their methods and tactics, and it’s our responsibility to counter them at every turn. What follows is an analysis of the most common ways elderly Americans are taken advantage of.

Caregiver Abuse

When a Michigan trial judge dismissed a family’s lawsuit against a home care company for sending a caregiver with two felony criminal warrants to care for a man in his eighties, the national press erupted with questions about how this could happen.

In this particular case, the Kentucky-based home care company, ResCare, sent a woman to a retired Detroit-area businessman’s house to look after his ailing wife, who had dementia. It didn’t take long until the wife’s jewelry began to disappear—as well as the businessman’s fortune. Court filings estimated the losses to be as high as $1.5 million. The caregiver, if she could be called that, moved the businessman out of his bedroom into the basement of his lakefront home and moved her own mother into the home. The businessman’s wife died, and within a matter of months, the caretaker “married” the businessman.

When the businessman’s family members finally intervened and removed him from his home, his finances were in shambles. None of his bank accounts had positive balances, nor did he have any working credit cards. He had his monthly Social Security payment—that’s it.

The businessman and his family are sadly representative of the widespread abuse affecting our growing elderly population. I have handled a number of cases where predators, posing as legitimate caregivers, quickly took advantage of their elderly charges. This misconduct includes physical and medical neglect, and is often coupled with embezzlement and theft.

The Michigan case didn’t work out well. Then again, by their very nature, no abuse case can really ever work out well. Even with a partial financial recovery, the seismic emotional repercussions stemming from misplaced trust don’t easily recede.

Financial Exploitation

Financial exploitation takes many forms. Even though I have been counseling families for decades, I am regularly surprised by some new form of abuse. An incomplete list of malfeasance could include the sale of an elder’s medications; grocery bills more attributable to cash withdrawals taken by caregivers than bread and milk purchased for the elder; lawn services for a small yard being billed at $300 per week; money being used for gambling fees; medical care and dental care being neglected because of a theft of funds; and assignments of bank accounts into joint tenancy with a wrongdoer. (Click to Continue)

Full Article & Source:
The Five Most Common Ways Elder Financial Abuse Happens