Thursday, August 6, 2015

Rana Goodman: Into The Devil's Arms She Went

Rana Goodman,
The Vegas Voice and
NASGA Nevada
I have been writing for months now about using extreme caution to make sure that you don’t fall into the clutches of a private-for-profit guardian.

This story however is greatly different. This story is about a lady and her daughter who fell into the clutches of a couple who befriended them.

This story I’m about pass along to you has all the elements of a movie script in the making, except that, I’m sad to report, it is painfully true. For Yvonne Frank, the remaining family member living a world away in Switzerland, the loss of her mother and sister at the hands of a couple who they trusted is as fresh today as it was a few years ago. And still, she has no answers, no charges have been filed and as far as we know, there is no open investigation.

Here is the story in Yvonne’s words:

Margaret Brown
My mother, Margaret Brown, immigrated to the United States and took her US citizenship in 1964 and lived in Las Vegas along with my younger sister Mona. Mona lived close to our mother, who had some dementia issues as she aged, but lived a comfortable life with her long time significant other, Stanley. Mona, who was a full time finance manager at UNLV had taken care of our mother’s finances since 2003 so that part of daily life was removed and our mother could enjoy her day to day life.

There came a time in 2006 when mother’s dementia worsened and a decision was made amongst the three of them for Stanly to sell his home and for him and mother to move in with my Mona. At that time Mona still had her great job at UNLV which she had held for many years. Sadly, the tide began to turn when suddenly in 2007 Stanly suddenly passed away. He had not forgotten Mona’s kindness or help, and left her about $125,000 as thanks for the care she had given him and mother over the years.

I learned, sometime in October, 2008 that mother and Mona had gone to the law offices of Jeffery Burr Ltd. And saw one of the attorneys there. (keep in mind that my mother already had dementia and was incognizant at the time, the result of a stroke years before). At this meeting my mother modified her trust that had been created in 1993 naming Mona as the primary trustee. Mona and myself as trust beneficiaries. The trust was to pass from mother to Mona and then to me.

Mona Brown
Mona then, for some reason, signed naming a friend of hers, Jeanette Ann Hill a secondary durable power of attorney over our mother and trust management with mother in the event that Mona died before mother. Taking into consideration our mother’s mental state and the fact that there was another living child, it is hard to understand any attorney making this recommendation. Mona’s friend Jeanette was also named co-trustee to Mona whose estate was worth more than $500,000 at that time.

Just eight weeks later, on December 3, 2008 Mona died very suddenly and without any known cause in her home. I was notified that “there was some kind of kidney problem” but was never shown proof or an autopsy report of any kind I immediately called my mother to find out what had happened. I went to Las Vegas for Mona’s funeral and afterward asked my mother to return to Switzerland and live with me. However at that time she preferred to stay in the US.

In January I again asked my mother to go to Switzerland and live with me since at that time Jeanette was discussing placing her in an assisted living home. However, when Mona’s home was sold and my mother received 60% of the estate, suddenly Jeanette announced that she and her husband were buying a larger home and my mother would live with them and remain in Las Vegas.

It was after visiting with my mother in May of 2009, and then returning home to Switzerland that I began to do some research. I discovered that the home Jeanette and her husband purchased had actually been bought by my mother. I could not fathom why no one would question an 83 year old woman deemed incognizant, yet purchasing a home for $249,990. The home, located on Pacific Opal Street was listed on the assessors list clear as day? I found that very odd and what mortgage company would not find it fishy, then I discovered that my mother had paid for the house in full. . Shortly afterward, Jeanette changed mother’s trust with the help of an attorney named John Mugan, bequeathed the house to herself and on 12/9/09 the house on Pacific Opal was “resold” to Jeanette and Robert Hill.

Not one to sit idly by, I tried many things to get help for my mother who was clearly distressed over the situation. For example, my son placed a call to the American Embassy who suggested that we try to get guardianship of mother. Well that could not be done, not only were we not residents of the state, we were not US citizens. By the time my mother passed away in 2011 an estate of close to one million dollars was decimated and no one could or would lift a finger to stop it.

We filed police reports to no avail,it seemed like the detectives had no interest even though two people had died on Jeanette Hill watch under odd circumstances and now this real estate scam. Jeanette Hill had tax warrants, unpaid liens, and still the police say they can do nothing “because she was my mother’s guardian”.

In closing I would like to quote Yvonne Frank when she wrote “My mother, sister and I had a very close relationship. The Hills have brought much sadness into my life, through their constant lying, deceit and fraud and my inability to help my mother when she was clearly in distress. I believe the court system and the Jeffery Burr law firm assisted Jeanette Hill in the fleecing of my mother. I hope the investigation into guardianship abuses in Clark County will one day bring these people to justice."

~Yvonne Frank

Into the Devil's Arms She Went


Amy said...

It sounds like Jeanette Hill saw a real opportunity and vulnerability and took advantage of it.

Rachel said...

I can see the whole scheme unfolding in front of my eyes. I'm so sorry, Yvonne.

Sean said...

I pray for accountability in this case.

Barbara said...

I'm so sorry, Yvonne. My heart bleeds for you.

honeybear said...

Exactly what I was thinking, Rachel. I can see Hill casually asking Margaret how many children she has, then smiling to discover one was ill and the other is out of country. She probably smiled for days.

Marylou said...

Your Mother had a sparkle in her eyes and what happened to her when she was vulnerable is unforgivable. I hope the authorities are reading this story and will take action. Because your Mother is gone, doesn't mean it was ok to steal from her.

Yvonne said...

Thank you for your comment, and kind support!

Mike said...

Thank you for publishing this story, NASGA. It's important people know what happened to this family. I hope the surviving daughter is ok and knows that her mother and sister are proud of her.

Anonymous said...

Great title, Rana Goodman.

I am sorry Yvonne. Your mom deserved better.

David Hugh said...

It happened in my family....a neighbor who we thought was caring turned out to be waiting for the chance to take advantage of my grandmother. We saw it right before it happened so she was lucky. But, this sort of thing happens all the time. How do we get the police to do their job and investigate?

Terri said...

Another family torn apart by greed and criminals. I'm so so sorry, Yvonne.

Anonymous said...

It's horrible what they did to your mother. They will certainly rot in hades for it.

Yvonne said...

Reaching out to "NASGA" was my best choice. Victims and their loved ones are being heard. We receive a voice, and changes for the better can be accomplished by these great people. Elderly Abuse is a nightmare... it needs to be stopped.

Your comments are very much appreciated. It shows that people do care!! Thank you so very much!! xo

Nancy said...

Look at her sparkling eyes. She was a very pretty mother.

Connie said...

I pray for peace in your heart and soul, Mrs. Frank. Your love for your mother is deep and everlasting.

NASGA Member said...

This crime is happening all over our country and every time I read another story, it makes me sick to my stomach. How can the elderly be treated this way? Have we lost our moral conscience? Why does it just keep happening over and over? To think that all that money that the mother wanted to leave to her heir, her daughter, is gone forever as if it never mattered? It makes me so angry to see good people taken advantage of. Bless you, Ms. Frank.

Yvonne said...

Dear NASGA Member.. I found relief today, after nearly seven years of living a nightmare. All the comments of these kind and caring people have brought back so much in such a short time. Heartfelt thanks to you all... "NASGA" is on the move to stop this horrible act of elderly abuse. Led by greed, people see the oportunity to take what they can. However, this is only part of the story. We all feel the hurt, and it keeps on hurting... thinking about what our loved had to go through. And no one was there to protect and help them.

StandUp said...

This is a very well written piece. It's easy to follow and it leaves me questioning what happened to all of Margaret Brown's money and wondering if there was more than financial abuse involved.

Boomers Against Elder Abuse said...

This is yet another nightmare story showing how easy it is to financially abuse the elderly, pulling it off without a scratch. Well, this needs to CHANGE, and we are working on it. Thank you so much for this story, and for the bravery it took to tell it.

B Inberg said...

The dirty tricks must be exposed. Thanks to Rana Goodman for her efforts to bring this tragedy to the public raising awareness. The entire situation screams of financial exploitation and a long list of charges.

How sick is this? Predators and their prey starting at a law office. All belong in PRISON with full restitution the only way out is on horizontal. Prayers to you Yvonne for your determination, courage and strength. God Bless You! Your mother and your Sister Mona.

Sara Harvey said...

Sick indeed and I just can't believe, yes I can really, that no one would help. Sounds like part of the problem is money. What I do not understand is why Mona would change the will to a complete stranger that Yvonne did not know. Something happened with Mona and the vulture/thief Jeanette.

Yvonne, all I can do is embrace with hugs because there are no words to what you have faced and what you are dealing with from within your soul. I certainly can feel your pain. It makes me sick that the wheels of justice turn slowly but when it comes to an estate, money and power it seems the justice system cuts through all the red tape and soars for the vulture's.

Yvonne said...

Thank you for your comment Sara. My sister Mona did not change the Will on a free basis. I suspect, that there was undue influence in play. The person in question, presumably with a NPD, befriendet Mona. Mona and I had a very close relationship, we had no secrets from one another. She must have been under great pressure!

As can be seen in the many very sad stories I have read, families rights are not respected. There is too much involvement through guardians, who are not needed. Family should be able to decide upon their loved ones wellbeing. "Courts",attorneys, guardians and authorities, who have no emotional ties to "the victims" should not be allowed to make decisions. Family first!!!

Sara, most important; my thoughts are with you and your husband. xo

Yes, it´s all about power and money... This needs to be stopped!Empathy, morals and ethics are totally missing here.

Sara Harvey said...

I don't know if there will ever be any justice on this earth but there will be justice by God. I suspect your are right about the undue influence with your sister. Can you get access to her medical records? What is NPD? You would think that she would have contacted you about the change in the estate or did she?

There are many unanswered questions and what if's that I can not even imagine that you are dealing with. My heart goes out to you.