Barbara and Ken Martin never stood a chance.
Thoroughly outmatched, their legal fight to free Barbara Martin's aunt, Helen Hugo, from the grip of what they believed to be an unwarranted guardianship in 2012 ended in a humiliating defeat.
Not only was Hugo, then 81, declared mentally incapacitated, but the last of her retirement savings was awarded to the attorneys who represented her. Among them was her court-appointed temporary guardian, Barbara J. Lieberman.
The court left her broke.
The Martins say they only wanted what was best for Hugo. Never married, she lived by herself with her cat, Sweetie Pie, in an apartment in Buena, Atlantic County.
The Martins' bid to help Hugo backfired miserably, however. Accused by Lieberman and others of a host of illegal acts, including Medicaid fraud and forgery, they wound up under a cloud of suspicion.
It still hovers over them today, three years after the trial.
The Martins' loss was Lieberman's gain. By discrediting them, she protected herself. Because, despite all their flaws, the Martins had been right on one crucial point:
Lieberman was stealing from some of her elderly clients.
Her secret still safe, Lieberman was free to continue her deception.
If not for an alleged accomplice's pangs of conscience, she might be doing it still.
There are fundamental flaws within the structure of guardianship.
(Continue to Section 2)
Full Article & Source:
Betrayal of trust: Part Two