Thursday, February 6, 2014

Funds Allegedly Embezzled from "Distinctive Human Services" - a Pennyslvania Cambria County Guardianship Agency

The Social Security Administration is investigating the alleged embezzlement of funds from a Cambria County guardianship agency, which handles the finances of incapacitated people under its care.

According to a source close to the matter, more than a quarter of a million dollars has been bilked from the accounts of several dozen wards.

The nonprofit agency, Distinctive Human Services (DHS), serves as legal guardian to elderly and disabled people assigned to its care by the courts because they are unable to handle their own affairs.

A court document from the Cambria County Court of Common Pleas, scheduling a Jan. 3 status conference, said its purpose was “to update the court on the status of the investigation and expected payments on claims made by Distinctive Human Services … as a result of the embezzlement of funds by an employee.”

The claims were made with DHS’s insurance companies to cover the allegedly embezzled funds, according to Johnstown resident Joe Stigers, who was at the status conference in Judge Patrick T. Kiniry’s chambers.

He said the judge, the attorney for DHS and representatives of their insurance companies referred to the amount missing as more than $250,000.

Stigers’ wife was in the care of DHS for about a year and a half, but he is now her legal guardian and looking to recoup funds on her behalf.

Agents with the Social Security Administration’s Office of Inspector General in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia acknowledged an investigation involving DHS, but refused to comment because of the agency’s policy not to talk about ongoing cases.

Ellen Hamilton, executive director of DHS, did not return telephone calls to her home or office, but sent PublicSource an email.

“I cannot talk about any aspects of the business at DHS due to the fact we would be violating confidentiality and HIPAA laws,” she wrote, referring to the privacy rules established by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

The investigation is not the first of DHS’s troubles.

DHS also served as guardian to a woman whose death became a point of contention for the owner of the Washington County personal-care home where she lived.

Bonita Carter, 47, died in June after refusing kidney dialysis. The personal-care home owner, Garry McGrath, told PublicSource that he felt the guardian did not make enough effort to convince Carter to continue treatment.

He has petitioned the state Department of Public Welfare for a review of the case.

In August, PublicSource published an article about Norma Carpenter’s concerns about her 83-year-old mother, Mary Little, who has dementia and became a ward of DHS.

Carpenter, of Indiana County, said she is unaware of the current state of her mother’s finances.

“I’m concerned about everything,” she said. “This is an absolute travesty, and there’s no control. I’m not alone.”

Full Article and Source:
Funds Allegedly Embezzled From Cambria County Guardianship Agency

47 comments:

Anonymous said...

I would assume the agency's insurance would pay, but how does that affect family, services, Medicaid, etc.?

StandUp said...

I wonder how many family members have been complaining before being heard?

This is a very good investigative report!

Anonymous said...

Thank You

Alison said...

The work this reporter put into the story shows.

I get sick and tired of hiding behind "confidentiality" and that word is starting to have a new meaning for me: GUILTY

texasprobatevictim said...

Guardianship in itself is legalized fraud. That is how the system was formulated, and is being used. No only fraud against families and their savings/estates, but on the taxpayers funding Medicare, Medicaid, and other social services. This is not even news.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous;
Its about time hearing that my family aren't the only ones that are victims in Pa. I have a nephew that was declared incompetent at the whim of a judge without do process. His wife placed him in a nursing home when he could have came home, his wife stopped paying his medical insurance and the nursing home took him anyway as they were told he owned a home. They knew they would get paid as they wanted to go after the house. Prior to this his wife had POA and at the request of my nephew,He signed a HIPPA form in front of a notary that he wanted her removed as he did not trust her.When we tried to remove him they had one of their DR's say he was not fit to sign and they threat us with the law and they would claim we kidnapped him, in essence the held him hostage for months and thousands of dollars. The place is a for profit facility and all they could see was a 47 year old mail that would fill a bed for a long long time, except for his brain injury is pretty healthy. The family wants him home and has spent thousands and over a year trying to get him home. The judge won't hear of it and the court appointed attorney does nothing except get paid he has only been to the home once he told the judge he didn't have the time and it was to far. His mom and dad make the 200 mile round trip to see him 3 times a week and have been doing this since was admitted, and the judge had the gall to tell his mom and dad that all they were concerned about was that it was inconvenient. Its a travesty and a complete sham.

Sylvia said...

A quarter of a million dollars is a significant sum of money that went missing over a long period of time.

I ask myself: who complained? And, where did those complaints go?

There is always more to the story and in this case someone in authority with sharp teeth needs to follow the chain of command to discover who knew, what did they know, when did they know it and what if anything they did about it.

Consequences for actions and inactions are part of this investigation.

Anonymous said...

I really appreciate seeing reporters tackle the issue of guardianship. Across the country, elderly and disbaled wards are being financially exploited. In Cook County (Chicago) IL, wards are wrongfully guardianized and their entire estates are subsequenlty depleted by attorneys' fees and guardianhip fees. This happened to my mother. We would welcome reporters to come to Cook County, IL.

Finny said...

Distinct Human Services...what a misnomer.

I hope this outstanding investigation leads to DHS losing their license.

There's no way one person could have done this enormous theft under the radar.

honeybear said...

Thank you for posting this story, NASGA. I feel good when I see predators like these exposed.

I hope those at APS, AARP, and the ABA read this story and come away knowing that family is not always the enemy. Here is one of many cases of the so called pro's, those whom the National Guardianship Association holds in high esteem.

If guardianship has to be, then family should be appointed as guardians, not big entities with many cases whose dishonesty affects so many.

I will pray for the victims as I always do.

Thank you again for this report.

jerri said...

please keep shining your bright reporter lights on the dark dirty secrets exposing the truth that alone will save lives people need to know how fast their lives can be taken in a matter of 7 minute court hearing many times its x-parte appointment no hearing at all its a done deal just that fast without representation when you hear the words ~~~ court appointed attorney court appointed evaluator etc run for the hills better to be living in the forest than what happens when you are nailed by the protection industry with $$$$$$ in their eyes its all about the money and job security and using people like trading cards in the nursing home group home loop of friends all who are profiting big time paid for by ~~~ we the chump taxpayers and we are next so we better get our exit plans ready for execution or someone will do it for you thank you halle stockton thank you public source and special thanks to nasga for giving us the news we need to better protect our loved ones and ourselves

NASGA member said...

Give this reporter an award and a bouquet of roses!

This is a wonderful article!

B Inberg said...


DHS has non profit status someone profited from this theft yet they hide behind HIPPA laws and violating confidentiality - I hope there are government agencies in place with a spiked club to extract the information they need, details we the citizens demand be turned over to get to the very bottom of this case.

Thanks to the power of the press reporter Halle Stockton, the awesome power of the press to report on serious issues that affect all of us directly and indirectly.

Guardianship and conservatorship nationwide is out of control prime area for criminal activities, unethical conduct and deception.

Thank you so very much for your hard work and efforts.

Example of stonewalling:
"....Ellen Hamilton, executive director of DHS, did not return telephone calls to her home or office, but sent PublicSource an email.

“I cannot talk about any aspects of the business at DHS due to the fact we would be violating confidentiality and HIPAA laws,” she wrote, referring to the privacy rules established by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act....."

Junebug said...

Standing ovation and thunderous applause! I wish I had a reporter of this caliber in my state!

Tracey Anne Miller said...

I am giving my thumbs up for the NASGA and the investigative reporters of this article in our state of Pennsylvania. I am so grateful for people speaking up!

Anonymous said...

Good, hold their feet to the fire and keep the pressure on them. They or whoever the one person was got rich off of preying on the vulnerable. There's isn't much in this world crueler or sicker than that.

If we can shine a bright light on these cockroaches, they'll scatter and leave our Seniors alone.

Rudy said...

There is no distinction here, only business as usual. Abuse of HIPAA, abuse of insurance companies who support and encourage secrecy, tell the insured to not admit guilt.
Questions are "inappropriate, and crimes on senior citizens and their families are kept secret. Where are the judges, they are aiding crime not catching it. Where is the police, siding with the professional guardian, helping keep the family from finding out until it is too late.

Texas said...

The decieving practices of Guardianships are occurring all over the country. Guardianship has become a business industry under the guise of fraudulent acts of protecting our most vulnerable citizens. Many people are not aware of what awaits them in Probate Courts when they act in good faith in "acting in the best interest of a loved one" who simply needs assistance due to age or disability. Instead Guardianship is a legal proceeding that treats the aging and disabled like convicted criminals by removing their civil, human and Constitutional rights. It is a discriminatory law at best, specifically when the courts appoint the for profit guardians, who become the owner of a person. Our most vulnerable citizens are met with a civil death under the business industry of guardianships. Their only purpose for living is for nothing else but profiting the industry, the court appointed attorneys, for profit guardians, nursing homes, group homes, and scamming the taxpayers. Every state should call this what it is- Fraudianship. That is what the future holds for the baby boomers.

Phyllis said...

If this is proven theft, heads should roll. Preying on the defenseless is a despicable act and a betrayal of the public trust.

Thank you NASGA for posting this and all the work you do to bring awareness to this darkness we cannot seem to defeat.

Texas Advocate said...

Kudos to the reporter for doing this story. Stories such as these are growing throughout the country. Guardianship is becoming the crime of the century due to the growth industry of for profit guardianship programs and guardians. It is a big booming business and will increase with the baby boomers. It is the deception of protection, the aging and people with disabilities are becoming victims by the court appointed attorneys, the for profit paid for services guardians and guardianship programs. There is little to no monitoring or oversight for the actual person guardianship was created to protect under this deceptive practice. Our most vulnerable citizens needing assistance due to age or disability are being treated as convicted criminals under guardianships by losing their civil, human and Constitional rights. Convicted criminals retain their Human rights, whereas an elderly or disabled person is treated less than human under a for profit guardianship. Guardianship Abuse is increasing in every state. It should be acknowledged that Guardianship Abuse can not occur without Judicial Abuse. It is the responsibility of the courts to protect the vulnerable from anyone who abuses, neglects or exploits a vulnerable person. Sadly, our systems of justice have failed to create a system to protect them from the court appointed non family protectors. Fraudianship is what this deceptive law should be named. After all, the only purpose for a person living under guardianship is for the profits made off of them, it is not about protection-if it was the judges would follow the laws of guardianships and act in the best interest of the person. Not happening throught the country- and this is what awaits us in the future as we all continue to age or become disabled. Discrimination at it's best, legalized abuse, neglect and exploitation defines Fraudianship under deceptive practices. Thanks to the reporter for doing this story. This story and so many others should be featured and investigated by "American Greed"-which is what guardianship is all about.

Anonymous said...

HIPAA, Schmipaa.

You have a family member quoted about the thefts. A little understood aspect of HIPAA is that it protects the CLIENT, not the guardianship program, social servies agency, or most especially the court.

Court records are PUBLIC.

HIPAA confidentiality can be waived by the client or family member, who can simply sign a release. So the reporter can get the family member to sign a release, and POOF! DHS has no confidentiality problem at all.

Unless this isn't about confidentiality after all, but about a cover-up.

Steve said...

I wish to join the chorus in thanking this reporter for doing this story. Obviously, a lot of work and research went into it and many calls to people who refused to comment!

And the result is a great article like this. I assume we'll hear more individual stories later, how this fraud was perpetuated and what the penalty will be.

How many orange jumpsuits will be handed out? I'm betting management was well aware.

Kathleen said...

Great reporting! Please keep the stories coming! Everyone needs to be informed about what is going on in Guardianship.

Anonymous said...

A hugh thank you to the reporter.

Hopefully, more brave reporters will take a look at Probate Guardianship cases. Especially, case no 2011P7287 In the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois County Department Probate division.

NASGA IL member said...

I agree with all of the comments here with emphasis on Anon:

HIPAA, Schmipaa. Thank you Anon

Very well stated. HIPPA is a code word: CYA -

And while we're at it what's with all of this not for profit status?

Anyone looking into how a profitable business venture gets tax breaks and what else by promoting as not for profit?

And I'll chime in with.... way to go reporter Stockton. Thank you. My wish is there was a reporter in Chicago area, specifically Cook County IL sadly known as Crook County need I say more?

Terry said...

I wonder how much money this company made last year?

Anonymous said...

The reporter may not be aware that PA law prohibits a guardianship when there is a friend/family member to help the vulnerable person.

20 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 5518. In determining whether a person is incapacitated, the court must also make specific findings concerning the respondent’s need for guardianship services in light of existing alternatives, such as the availability of family, friends, and other supports to assist the individual in making decisions, and in light of the existence of any advance directives such as durable powers of attorney or trusts. 20 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 5512.1(a)(3); see also In re Peery, 727 A.2d 539, 541 (Pa. 1999) (a person cannot be incapacitated and in need of guardianship services if his impairment is counterbalanced by friends or family or other supports).

How many "clients" would this agency have if the law was followed?

Joseph Stigers said...

I appreciate the comments. There are many issues I have with DHS to include the truth about the broken ankle my wife suffered in a personal care facility they placed her in. I probably have enough information for Halle to write another article. I will not stop being an avocate for my wife.

If anyone has read Halle's story about Norma Carpenter the issues she has is like deja vu. When I researched the web I contacted Halle to have Norma get in contact with me. Since early last October we have talked frequently about our experiences with DHS.

DHS tried to treat me as stupid but as Halle could attest to I have a terrific memory. When I had written correspondence with the I returned my mail certified with the registration number on each page. They could not deny receiving the letter.

I feel for the other victims in this case as I am sure I am the only one that knows.

Anonymous said...

Theft, abuse, neglect, and exploitation of our vulnerable adults occur every day across this nation. Local and National leaders turn a deaf ear when victims and families complain. The theft of SSA benefits has been occurring for years but the courts and SSA continue to allow known thieves to become guardians and steal from new victims. Where is the justice? Why is this allowed to continue? The American public needs to shout out in unison and hold the courts (judges and lawyers) accountable. Punish the guilty will jail time!

sue johnston said...

I would like to say incredible, but that doesn't come close to what I am thinking.

After what my family member experienced, the corruption within this system is never ending. It is a system that takes our most vulnerable and sends them to the chambers of the living dead.

Please keep up with the investigations and expose the groups, individuals and others who prey on the helpless. It is a type of war that is similar to the atrocities that occurred during our world wars - no different, just a different stage.

You don't have to sign me as anonymous, my name is Carol

sue johnston said...

I would like to say incredible, but that doesn't come close to what I am thinking.

After what my family member experienced, the corruption within this system is never ending. It is a system that takes our most vulnerable and sends them to the chambers of the living dead.

Please keep up with the investigations and expose the groups, individuals and others who prey on the helpless.

It is a type of war that is similar to the atrocities that occurred during our world wars - no different, just a different stage.

You don't have to sign me as anonymous, my name is Carol

sue johnston said...

I would like to say incredible, but that doesn't come close to what I am thinking.

After what my family member experienced, the corruption within this system is never ending. It is a system that takes our most vulnerable and sends them to the chambers of the living dead.

Please keep up with the investigations and expose the groups, individuals and others who prey on the helpless.

It is a type of war that is similar to the atrocities that occurred during our world wars - no different, just a different stage.

You don't have to sign me as anonymous, my name is Carol

Anonymous said...

Okay, Everyone. I know ladies at Distinctive Human Services, Inc. and as the saying goes "before you judge, make sure you are perfect". First of all one of the individuals commenting on here shouldn't be throwing stones because isn't it true, Norma, you were investigated for abusing your mother! and that is how this agency got involved. Also this agency has done so much for the indigent in this state called Pro Bono where they provide services for NO FEE. AND YES, CONFIDENTIALITY IS A MUST BECAUSE OF THE CLIENTS THEY SERVE. As far as an investigation, it is easy to print a story when a previous client's husband supplies his information to the reporter because the agency has been open and forthright with him. So if you want a real investigation why doesn't she do a story on the lives this agency and others like them save. You know the people you may walk by in the park and look at them with disgust and oh my, don't dare walk over near me, You know, THOSE PEOPLE. So again, do not be so quick to judge. The courts do not appoint a guardian for no reason. There is medical documentation and the individuals rights are always first and foremost, however, the ones guilty of their own misdoing are usually the ones to throw the first stone to make themselves feel better. I am sure if the reporter did a real investigation she will find that Guardianship agencies are not paid fairly, Department of Public Welfare allows $100 per month. That covers the cost of visiting, and the various aspects of caring for the individual. The ladies at DHS have gone so far as to buy clothing for clients so again I say "Don't judge until you are perfect". PS. the family members are also asked to serve as the Guardian first if the family member is in the best interest of the client and the majority of the time the family refuses so yes there is a whole lot more to this story. If one of your family members commit a crime then I guess we should consider your whole family criminals?

Anonymous said...

Joe Stigers you were kept well informed of your wife's injury at the facility. How can you blame DHS for this injury, DHS did not provide the hands on care of your wife, the nursing home did. She broke her ankle not due to neglect or abuse. Isn't it true you were asked several times to take the guardianship of your wife and take her home and records after several meetings indicate you were not interested because "you couldn't handle her.

Mary Little's daughter said...

Lets get the record straight. Friends of DHS. My mothers (Mary Little)physicians office was contacted because my Mother; Mary Little had not received her medication for months (Aging Services then had her removed from her home due to Caregiver Neglect) She then on August 17 2012 was 302'd. Her son had failed to order her medication What you failed to mention is that Mary Little's son had her sign everything over to him for a dollar. He then wrote a letter to stating it was now his property and no one could visit her. Apparently you are privy to private information and want to regurgitate unfounded facts. Did they tell you when my Mom was hit by the same resident three times and I contacted her case worker at DHS she said and I quote " I haven't had the time to go see your Mom yet" did you say that in your report? Did your friends in the agency tell you that DHS was to make arrangements for Mary Little to see her family for Thanksgiving, and her case worker just forgot. I will post the letter she wrote to our attorney so that you have all the information. I will also post the letter she wrote after never meeting any of her family and restricted our visits based on the one sided information she received from non professional staff members. Did you report that the RNs @ Henry Clay village told me that I was painted as a monster by my Mothers $80.00 case worker. Again after talking with Professional RN's they saw that the documented information was slanderous and unfounded. Get your facts straight when you want to report on the internet information that you have obtained. Again Professionals realize there are ramifications when HIPPA information is violated. But perhaps you never had that class in your college career. Did you know my Dad and Mom? Their names were Peck and Mary Little. Did you know they were married 48 years when Dad Died. Did you know that my brother and I were adopted and grew up in a loving Christian home? Did you know that Mom never missed a Sunday @ Church. Did you know they saved money their entire lives to be able to live out their golden years in their own home. The plans were that we would take care of them as they did us our entire lives. Did you know my death bed promise to my dad while he was dying of renal cell carcinoma was I will take care of her Dad. Did your sources tell you we visited her all the time and the grandchildren that she loved more than anything were taken from her. Did you know that we celebrated every holiday and Sundays together? Did your sources tell you that the comment was made at the Indiana Hospital by her $80.00 case worker when they transferred her 83 miles from her home, family and friends was "I'll get her so far away from her daughter she will never find her" I am not sure what you and your friends a DHS interpret "honor thy Father and Mother so that your days may be long upon you" mean. Well quite frankly you do not know us you do not know the wonderful family you broke up. However I guess when eldery people have the assets, money and stock that can be spent by strangers, well then you can say and slander all you want. Perhaps you should make intelligent researched statements instead of violating Mary Little's privacy. There is nothing distinctive about any agency that rips families and the aging from what they know and love. Don't hide behind a post without a name. Bring credence to your words by owning them.

Phyllis said...

To the person from DHS who posted as Anonymous:

You asked people not to be quick to judge and then you immediately judged Norma, saying she had been investigated for abusing her Mother. An investigation doesn't mean a thing, unless you're just picking those and obviously, you're trying to paint Norma in a bad light by your choice of words.

You choice of words do not fool a anyone in this forum.

Don't pick on the victims.

Instead, it would have served you well to simply state of the positives DHS does (you did mention many buy clothes for the residents) instead of focusing your comments on family members who are only trying to protect their loved ones.

This report was necessary, well documented and well written; and I am sure bring these cases to light will help others.

Our continued thanks to Halle Stockton.

Kimberly said...

The defender of DHS does seem to also be an employee.

If you believe all you have written, you need to look for other information.

Guardianship takes over families and bad guardians can be cruel or even criminal.

I am sure you don't believe that, but I also hope you never have to actually find it out from experience.

I agree with everyone else here and I am thankful for this article.

Maryanne Leuschner said...

well in response and rebuttal of what one anonymous said here and seems to be defending the guardians and court systems. let me tell you first hand, it does not have to be the doing of a family member to spark an investigation it can be almost anything with my parents what sparked it was that my mothers primary doctor wanted her to stop driving. so oh wow maybe they go and get donated clothing for some. let me give you a heads up most of what they give to anyone are hand me downs from people that have either left items behind or things that have been misplaced by nurses whom like to go through the elders belongings. your eyes are so closed it is not funny. I personally was accused of abuse , neglect and financial exploitation and I will tell you this none of that can be proven real hard to prove such things when I have not even lived with my parents for 14 years and when they made these accusations I had only been home for a few months so there is no one in the area that even knows me. so believe me when I tell you they make up outright lies. then for instance how would you feel if you are trying to live day to day in a state where the cost of living is outrageous and the guardian that is suppose to be protecting your parents and has control of everything is not giving your parents anything including what he was ordered to make sure they had a lousy 80 a month each and then because he is not doing so when I do what I can and use my dads little VA check which is not even close to what they are suppose to be given each month. for the reason of them having their hygiene items and other little things like some kinds of food that they want. then I get threatened. but yet the guardian is outright breaking the court order and as well he never checks on the well being or health or anything when it comes to my parents. my mother has had pneumonia 3 times since she has been in this place . definately don;t go putting out the crap about they don;t get paid fairly or they are the ones protecting because if that is how you feel go and do your homework or just sit back and wait till it happens to you and your family is torn to shreads by lies and vultures that seem to think they are allowed to get rich off of our elderly and veterans .. by the way answer this is it right to force a WWII Vet onto Medicaid just so you can take his home. basically ignoring everything the VA says or does. Oh yes these people are so helping .. BS .. learn before you speak and other than that I do not hide behind anonymous to say what I have to say

Anonymous said...

I was kept informed of the accident but was informed "she was acting strange and slipped and fell." I also sent DHS a certified letter wanting to know the root cause of the accident as accidents just don't happen. To this day they have failed to respond. When I petitioned for guardianship it was caused by past family issued and it is documented in court testimony from October 19, 2011 when DHS received guardianship. I was never approached by DHS to take over the guardianship. In fact my attorney gave his council on numerous occasions to give DHS time to resolve these issues, and he was successful on a few key issues, it was under his advise on May 2, 2013 for me to succeed DHS after conversation with my wife and I. You criticize the reporter for this report. I have never met her, but had numerous phone and text conversations about this issue. But unlike the Johnstown media who have no desire to upset the good old boys network, Halle Stockton took the information provided and reported. Because someone got caught with their hand in the cookie jar is not her fault. Your are trying to defend a defenseless position and blaming others for your lack of integrity. And I'll sign this anonymous just as you did because the people on this blog are not going to be able to figure out who wrote it.

Anonymous said...

The ladies @ DHS seemingly have been found with their hands in the proverbial cookie jar. You don't screw with families, spend their money like you earned it and justify your actions by making false accusations against the family members that are trying to protect their loved ones; without eventually getting called on the carpet. What did my dad use to always say??? Oh yes I remember, give a dog enough rope and eventually it will hang itself. Get your stories straght ladies @ DHS and friends. You are about to be revealed for the injustice you are reponsible for, and the elder abuse you have committed. God Bless the family that lost their family member due to your inadequcies of managing her kidney disease. Shame on you.

Anonymous said...

Obviously the anonymous person defending DHS is an employee. Otherwise, they knew too many specifics about the organization's clients and therefore DHS is not protecting their client's HIPPA rights, as they have stated.

Anonymous said...

How very sad. So many of us have horror stories. No one is safe.

Robin said...

Is this where the story ends? What has happened since the Jan 3rd hearing?

FamCare said...

Oh man... hopefully the rightful people will get that money back somehow.

Jo Carr said...

YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT A COLD INSTITUTION, too Far for Friends or Relatives to visit CAN DO TO Human BEINGS. I do. My Mom and Dad were put in a place where they were locked up. They were allowed to go nowhere ...lest it be a $65 trip to Wal-Mart. The room was an 18X18 square, two single beds and a toilet covered by a curtain of cloth. They spent ONE YEAR in this place. The Judicial system was so EAGER to keep them from what they Deemed "imminent danger" that they Put them into danger... emotional damage that was done to my Mom and Dad can never ever be undone. My Mom is just a shell. THIS Department of Human Services "SERVICE" done unto my elder parents, just because they have Assets is the most insane creation by the GOVERNMENT taking people against their will and putting them in PRISON is the most horrific and disturbing thing that could ever happen to someone you know and LOVE. It happened to my parents, Do NOT let it happen to yours. So MANY Laws were broken by the State and all I could do was fight in court. I Lost. The Judge said "I was too "unstable" emotionally and psychologically to care for my parents in any way". Imagine what that feels like when you are the ONLY off-spring, have publicly documented DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY. They took my parents and I found them in the Psych Ward 48 hours after they were taken by the Sheriff's deputies with a Court Order. They were at home eating supper and had NO idea that anyone was coming to take them from their home... and they have never seen their home since.. That was December 17, 2012. WHY has our country decided that People can just be TAKEN from their home? AND put in a hell hole to keep them from imminent danger? I just wish the judge could have met or could now meet my Dad. Somehow he managed to keep his mind. Of course he Doesn't according to the Judicial System... he hasn't even the right to vote... He has NO rights. They were all taken away by one man sitting in Judgement over a Family of THREE that have been Law-abiding Citizens and Tremendously Contributed to the County in TN for 35 years by each of them. THIS is HOW Our Communities, Our Judicial System treats Law abiding citizens? Gee why not do this kind of thing to those who BREAK the LAWS???????
When a guardianship is established for the purpose of making financial and personal decisions for those unfortunate enough to suffer a disabling illness, the Courts define the incapacitated person as the "Protected Person."

The purpose and the law supporting the guardianship, at face value, serve a noble purpose.

However, until someone is court defined as a protected person under a guardianship, it's difficult to know or believe the high price and exploitation the supposedly protected person will likely suffer at the hands of those who will profit from the person's disability, and will do so with Court approval.

This website is created to bring attention to what really happens to those unfortunate persons who find themselves in a guardianship, not protected as the law dictates, but victimized by it.

Anonymous said...

Great article. We need more reporting on guardianship fraud. The money to be gained in guardianships is attracting lawyers and caregiving companies like flies to honey. Just compare the numbers in the phone books from a few years ago to those today.
It is just too easy to pad bills and there is virtually no oversight. But worse is the incentive to cruelty because inducing pushback from the family allows the guardian and attorney to really drum up the bills incurred fighting the 'problematic' family members.

Anonymous said...

An update on this story. On July 8, 2014 I received a call from Eric Hochfeld about recouping some of my wife's funds. Only a percentage would be returned. What I learned at the January meeting in Judge Kiniry's office is that Distinctive Human Services allowed their insurance to lapse and it took 6 months to find monies to be returned to the victims. The problem is no money has made it into my wife's hands so what is the holdup? And by the way, if I get caught with no auto insurance what happens to me????
In regard to Ellen Hamilton always using Hippa as a loophole, I have this question? You filed a final report listing my wife's assets in July 2013 when you were no longer her guardian, so Hippa doesn't apply. How come the court approved this report when DHS and the court knew of the embezzlement. How come you have not been charged with filing a false document when you knew the funds were not there. I read on the NASGA site where there are improprieties within the guardian ship program nationwide and getting worse. It makes me wonder how deep the involvement is in this case.