By Kean Bauman
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Contact 13 started investigating problems with the guardianship system nearly a year ago. Now, there are new revelations about one private, for-profit guardian who's been stripped of some power by Clark County District Court.
April Parks is now under investigation by Boulder City Police and Darcy Spears is exposing new allegations of fraud and misuse of funds by a woman said to be harming the people she's supposed to protect.
"I get very upset because it starts out wrong and it ends up getting worse," said Julie Belshe.
She recently won a hard-fought battle to get her parents, Rudy and Rennie North, back. Rudy and Rennie were under the control of private guardian Parks until Contact 13 exposed how she was double-dipping, overcharging, and misusing their money.
"That is an enormous problem! That is no technical problem," said Hearing Master Norheim in a recent hearing for the North's case. "That is a big, enormous, major problem!"
Parks was stripped of her control over the couple by the court, but it seems Rudy and Rennie aren't the only wards whose cases are raising red flags. Parks is now under investigation by Boulder City Police.
"Because it's our job to protect the elderly from mistreatment and exploitation," says Sgt. Aaron Johnson.
The police investigation involves the Norths and other wards who Parks placed at Lakeview Terrace Assisted Living. The Norths wound up at the assisted living facility after Parks knocked on the couple's door in 2013 and gave them three options.
According to Rudy, Parks told the couple that she could call the police, she could send the couple to a psychiatric ward, or they could choose to go to the assisted living facility.
Police say there's been a flurry of activity at Lakeview by private professional guardian Parks.
Recently, she has moved seven of her wards out of the facility leaving behind a trail of unpaid bills to the tune of more than $20,000.
A manager at the facility became concerned about the residents and notified police. According to the report, some were moved without notice and neither Lakeview nor the authorities know where they are.
"Some of these anomalies start popping up where you go, 'this is just not right'. Then we start to look at things a little bit deeper, take a little bit more aggressive stance on it," says Sgt. Johnson.
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Sgt. Johnson says the investigation is just beginning, but he believes it extends beyond Boulder City's borders. "As a matter of fact, we believe it actually has extended into the Valley."
Meaning many more of Parks' wards could be affected. Julie Belshe worries about those who can't fight for themselves.
"It's very emotional for me personally to look at and see the people," says Julie. "It's not the money she owes them, it's the people. These poor people have to go and they have to get moved again.And they owe money and they get served with an eviction notice when you're 90 years old. Do you want that to happen to you? I don't want that to happen to me!"
We contacted Parks for this story but she hasn't returned our call.
Lakeview Terrace, who reported Parks' actions to police, provided this statement:
Lakeview Terrace Assisted Living and Memory Care has always and will continue to be an advocate for our state’s seniors. In response to your inquiry regarding guardianship, Lakeview Terrace Assisted Living and Memory Care followed the Health Care Quality & Compliance protocol. We would like to thank Judge Barker, Supreme Court Chief Justice James Hardesty, Clark County Commission Chair [Steve] Sisolak, The Bureau of Health Care Quality and Compliance, Boulder City Police, Division of Aging, Ombudsman and Elder Protective Services, Darcy Spears of Channel 13 News and many others for their contribution towards the protection of the rights of seniors throughout this state. We would like to give a special thanks to Karen Scioscia, a former family member and advocate for seniors in particular with Alzheimer Disease, for her willingness to step forward and help where she could.
Lakeview Terrace Assisted Living and Memory Care is a community located in Boulder City Nevada who is licensed to serve 86 seniors. Our management team was taken back and saddened by the effects of guardian April Parks and her actions to our residents and their families. We were however very pleased Lakeview Terrace was able to assist in bringing these irresponsible actions of guardian April Parks to the senior advocacy systems mentioned above. We hope that this information we provided will assist the justice system in helping avoid any future harmful actions to our seniors and their families living in the state of Nevada.
Lakeview Terrace Assisted Living and Memory Care will continue to serve seniors in any environment that supports our mission statement of “creating environments where moments of joy, independence and wellness are the focus each and every day. Lakeview Terrace Assisted Living and Memory Care does not have any connection with April Parks other than she represented a few of our residents.
Full Article & Source:
Boulder City police investigate guardianship cases