Saturday, January 9, 2016

Joe Roubicek: Expert on Exploitation of the Elderly


Joe Roubicek has investigated over a thousand exploitation of the elderly crimes over the past 25 years, primarily during his 20 year career with the Fort Lauderdale Police Department. Throughout his career he has testified in numerous criminal trials and depositions. He also testified in the 1990’s as an expert in related probate hearings.

So What is Financial Exploitation?

In a sentence, Florida’s exploitation law (FSS 825.103) states that when someone maliciously takes the property of an “elderly person,” they are committing exploitation. That’s the essence of the law.

But there is also an important requirement: Within this law, an “elderly person” is defined as someone 60 years of age or older who is suffering from the infirmities of aging to the extent that their ability to adequately care for and protect themselves is impaired. The law states that the elderly person must suffer a physical or mental infirmity. Therefore, exploitation is based primarily on infirmities or disabilities and not deception.

This is why exploitation is not fraud and why it can be much more devastating and offensive. Fraud is generally defined as deception that is carried out for the purpose of achieving personal gain while causing injury to another party. Exploitation requires more than that. It requires that the victims suffer disabilities that make them more vulnerable. And when the victim is more vulnerable, the victim impact is far worse.

To compare exploitation to fraud would be like comparing robbery to larceny. If you told a police officer that robbery is the worst type of larceny, he or she would correct you and say that they are two different crimes. Larceny simply means the taking of another’s property, while robbery requires the taking by force or threat. In the same sense, exploitation and fraud are also two different crimes. While scammers focus on things that their victims want with deception, exploiters focus on things victims need through the dependency caused by their infirmities.

Source:
Exploitation of the Elderly

NASGA highly recommends Joe's books:

Texas Judge resigns after being caught texting instructions to prosecutors to help win convictions


Texas district Judge Elizabeth E. Coker is stepping down from the bench after being caught engaging in a massive perversion of justice. A whistleblower revealed that Corker was sending text messages to prosecutors with suggestions on questions to ask in court in order to secure a conviction.
from Houston Chronicle:
State District Judge Elizabeth E. Coker–who sits on the bench over Trinity, Polk and San Jacinto counties–has resigned under fire in a texting controversy, according to a voluntary agreement with the State Commission on Judicial Conduct.
It stems from complaints and media stories alleging that Coker “had engaged in improper ex parte text communications with Polk County Assistant District Attorney Kaycee Jones while Judge Coker presided” over a criminal trial in August of 2012.
With those complaints, “the commission commenced an investigation into allegations that Judge Coker used Assistant District Attorney Jones to privately communicate information” about the case “to suggest questions for the prosecutor to ask during the trial” among other issues.
The agreement also said the commission looked into other complaints that Coker allegedy engaged in other improper communications and meetings with Jones, other members of the Polk County prosecutor’s office, the San Jacinto County District Attorney and certain defense attorneys.
The agreement goes on to say “the parties agree that the allegations of judicial misconduct, if found to be true, could result in disciplinary action against Judge Coker.” As a result, the parties sought to resolve the matter “without the time and expense of further disciplinary proceedings.”
Coker did not admit any guilt or fault.
Honestly, I feel that Coker is getting off far too lightly. Her actions may have caused innocent people to end up in prison. She should be face criminal charges for such a grave violation of the law.

Her resignation also opens the door for a flurry of re-trials for anybody convicted in her court sessions.  By trying to illegally secure convictions, Coker opened Pandora’s box, and now the state of Texas will have some massive legal knots to untangle.

Full Article & Source:
Texas Judge resigns after being caught texting instructions to prosecutors to help win convictions

Caretaker sentenced to 27 months in fraud case


A Memphis caretaker who defrauded a woman's estate of more than $80,000 was sentenced Wednesday to 27 months in prison, said the office of Edward L. Stanton III, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee.

Shirley Hardaway, 60, who was the owner of Companion Plus, cared for the victim for about four to five years before the woman died in September 2009. She was 91.

"The deceased victim left behind more than $80,000 in two investment accounts at Franklin Templeton Investments, an investment managing company headquartered in California," Louis Goggans, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office, said in a news release. "Nearly two years after the victim's death, in June 2011, Hardaway mailed fraudulent change of address requests to Franklin Templeton on the decedent's investment accounts, changing the address used for future correspondence between the parties to Hardaway's address."

She then worked with a co-conspirator to open a bank account in the victim's name and requested the investment company transfer the money.

"Upon receiving the request to liquidate both of the deceased victim's accounts, Franklin Templeton electronically transferred more than $80,000 to the bank account," according to the news release.
"Hardaway then transferred the money to her personal Bank of America savings account and withdrew it all via cashier's check."

She pleaded guilty in October to one count of bank fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud.

She was sentenced Wednesday by Judge Jon Phipps McCalla and ordered to pay $124,630.54 in restitution. The U.S. Secret Service investigated the case which was prosecuted by U.S. Attorney Leetra Harris.

Full Article & Source:
Caretaker sentenced to 27 months in fraud case

Friday, January 8, 2016

Alzheimer's & Dementia Care center opens & honors Glen Campbell


Age is the number one risk factor for Alzheimer's disease. As Arkansas' population grows, Chief Medical Director at Memory Care America Dr. Kenneth Morgan Sauer said more and more Alzheimer's cases are going to be present.

"Alzheimer's disease is going to be the number one killer of patients in 30 years as our population ages and we treat other diseases. We don't have a cure for Alzheimer's right now. We don't know what causes it," Sauer said. "Arkansas has an aging population. You look at demographic data in central Arkansas. We have one of the highest per capita rates of senior citizens."

Memory Care of Little Rock at Good Shepherd not only opened its doors for the first time Thursday, it also dedicated an entire art gallery to the legendary Glen Campbell, who is currently suffering from Alzheimer's.

Campbell's wife, Kim Campbell, spoke to those at the Memory Care facility about the realities of caring for someone with Alzheimer's.

"He is physically really strong and healthy, and he is content and cheerful. But he has severe aphasia, so he has lost his ability to communicate verbally," Campbell said. "He doesn't understand anything, [what] anyone says verbally. He doesn't understand anything anyone says to him. It can become dangerous in the home. It was dangerous for me. He became combative, if I tried to bathe him or change his clothes. It was just too hard for me to do it."

The 44,000 square foot facility has 74 beds to fill and plans to provide around the clock service.
"We have always been afraid to talk about it. We have always felt less than powerful. As we have better facilities, we can have more to help our seniors," Sauer said.

"Caring for somebody in the late stages of Alzheimer's is a 24/ 7 job. Really it required more than one person around the clock," Campbell said.

Sauer said Memory Care of Little Rock at Good Shepherd hopes to better help families like the Campbell's live through the disease.

"He wanted to remove the stigma of the diagnosis. If you get the diagnosis of Alzheimer's, that doesn't mean you can't continue living your life," Campbell said.

Memory Care of Little Rock at Good Shepherd hopes to spread more art done by people with Alzheimer's across the country.

Full Article & Source:
Alzheimer's & Dementia Care center opens & honors Glen Campbell

Perry Co., MO coroner sentenced for theft, financial exploitation


KFVS12 News
PERRY COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - A Perry County, Missouri coroner was sentenced to two, seven-year sentences on Friday, December 11.

Both sentences will be served concurrently, but Herbert Miller was granted a suspended execution of sentence. He also received five years of supervised probation.

A jury found Miller guilty of theft and financial exploitation in October.

Miller was accused of writing checks totaling $80,600 as a power of attorney to himself on behalf of a 94-year-old woman with dementia and other cognitive disabilities.

The woman appointed Miller as her power of attorney in 2004.

Miller is still, by law, the county coroner.

According to Missouri State Statute 561.021, two things can happen in regards to Miller's position as the county coroner.

Miller may resign, or the county commission or prosecuting attorney will submit a letter to the attorney general requesting that Miller step down quo warranto. They would then file and the begin court proceedings for Miller to step down.

If a vacancy does occur, the county sheriff will step in until the governor appoints someone new to the position.

The Perry County Commission issued the following statement on Monday, Dec. 14 in regards to Miller's sentencing:

 "The County Commission is actively communicating with the Missouri Attorney General’s office as well as working with our local prosecuting attorney, regarding the recent conviction of our County Coroner Herbert Miller, to take steps to resolve the matter of Miller’s elective office as soon as possible."

Full Article & Source:
Perry Co., MO coroner sentenced for theft, financial exploitation

Scripps College Researchers Identify ‘Numeracy’ Link as Significant in Elder Adult Fraud


Lower numeracy could leave older individuals at greater risk of financial exploitation

CLAREMONT, CA (PRWEB) December 14, 2015 

New research by a team at Scripps College in Claremont, Calif., indicates for the first time just how significant “numeracy” or comfort with numbers is in helping protect the elderly from scammers.

“There has been a lot of press in recent years about how you can help protect your aging parents from commonly perpetrated scams, and our research adds an important element to the discussion about just how much a person’s style or tendency in relating to financial matters, money, or numbers plays into his or her vulnerability in becoming a victim of fraud,” Stacey Wood, associate professor of psychology at Scripps College, said.

According to Wood, older adults who are “low numerate” are, in general, less likely to engage with numeric information and less able to extract meaningful and precise information resulting in errors. Further, low numerate individuals are more susceptible to certain biases in their decision making including increased susceptibility to verbal versus numeric risk information, framing, and mood effects. “These individuals aren’t necessarily bad decision makers, but they tend to skip over numbers and tables when reviewing information, or they may rely on a partner who is more detail and math oriented,” Wood said.

The numeracy research study was led by Dr. Wood and Dr. Pi-Ju (Marian) Liu from Scripps College, and Dr. Yaniv Hanoch, Associate Professor of Psychology at Plymouth University, UK. A team of Scripps undergraduates completed the nearly 200 interviews required for the study.

For this study, people between the ages of 60 and 95, living within the community in California, were asked a series of questions to establish to what extent they may have been exploited financially within the previous 12 months. Study participants were also asked a series of demographic questions relating to their education, marital status, physical and mental health and their ability to live independently. The research was funded by a grant from the National Institute of Justice.

“We were surprised that almost two-thirds of the participants endorsed at least one risk factor for fraud,” Wood explained. “While this may seem relatively mild, we know from other work with scam victims that scammers are increasingly organized and will serially target a victim once any opening has been given. Sadly, it is a very lucrative endeavor for the scammers who face low risk of prosecution.”

Wood emphasized that with millions of older adults experiencing financial exploitation, it is vital to gain a better understanding of what protects them from it. The data reveals that numeracy plays a key role, with high numeracy found to be a significant predictor of decreased risk after controlling for other demographic variables, she explained, adding that, to the best of her knowledge, this is the first paper to illustrate the protective role numeracy plays in tackling financial exploitation.

Less numerate participants reported risk of experiencing financial exploitation significantly more frequently, regardless of other risk factors, including dependency, physical and mental health, as well as overall cognition. The researchers also noted that by identifying potential victims at an earlier stage it may be possible to identify those individuals most likely to benefit from intervention.

What can be done about it? Consumers in general and seniors in particular need to be proactive in protecting themselves and their assets, especially after a close call. Steps such as talking with their financial institutions regarding fraud alerts and protections can be helpful. Also, family members may consider moving away from landlines which signal to scammers an older person is in the home.

More information: Stacey A. Wood et al. Importance of Numeracy as a Risk Factor for Elder Financial Exploitation in a Community Sample, The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences (2015). http://bit.ly/1lBMORe 
 
For the original version on PRWeb visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/ScrippsCollege/numeracyresearch/prweb13127839.htm

Full Article & Source:
Scripps College Researchers Identify ‘Numeracy’ Link as Significant in Elder Adult Fraud

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Another victory in sight for New Fairfield’s 97-year-old World War II vet


Lou Russo
NEW FAIRFIELD — The victories continue to accumulate for Lou Russo — the 97-year-old World War II veteran who seems to get better at winning back the independence he lost in probate court the older he gets.

A Danbury nursing home that was suing Russo over a $100,000 bill he accrued while staying there against his will has apparently joined his growing circle of admirers, who have celebrated his enduring spirit by throwing backyard ceremonies and donating $125,000 in home improvements.

“He has been through enough, and he does not need the added tension and anxiety and stress of this lawsuit,” said Angelo Maragos, an attorney representing the nursing home, John Paul II Rehabilitation and Nursing Center. “(T)he overall plan here is to see if we can help Mr. Louis Russo rest easy and not have to worry about the nursing home obligation.”

The agreement has yet to be finalized in state Superior Court in Danbury.

Russo has always said the 17 months he spent in the nursing home, committed against his will by a court-appointed conservator, is an injustice that he could not forget. That’s why, when the nursing home offered to settle the bill for $10,000 in November, Russo responded the nursing home should pay him that amount instead.

On Tuesday, a cheerful Russo said he agreed to drop his grievance against the nursing home out of affection for his two greatest advocates — a Danbury contractor named Joe Schirmer and a former Marine from Bethel named Dan Gaita, who have chauffeured him to court dates.

“I think they are both wonderful people, and I wanted to relieve them of the burden of having to load me in and out of the car,” said Russo, “My grievances have in no way been addressed, but I wanted to bring an end to it for them.”

Russo’s gracious spirit is part of what has endeared him to scores of well-wishers, who have helped return him to the home he built in the woods just north of Putnam Lake, N.Y.

A bachelor who has been independent his whole life, Russo lost his freedom when he fell at his home in 2013 and a social worker saw the bad condition of his roof.

A court-appointed conservator named Mark Broadmeyer was supposed to manage Russo’s health and repair his home for his return. Instead, Broadmeyer sold Russo’s possessions, spent his life savings and illegally rented his home to another family.

It took Gaita’s zeal to galvanize enough support to free Russo and pursue justice. As part of that process, Housatonic Probate Court in New Milford ordered Broadmeyer to repay Russo $34,000 — money that has not been returned.

Russo’s refurbished home has been the scene of several high-profile community celebrations, including a Veterans Day ceremony in November that featured speeches, proclamations and citations in his honor.

“I lost a year and a half of my life and each day was torture, but I’m feeling great,” Russo said Tuesday from his home. “The work they did on my house I couldn’t have done in five years, and that helps me keep my mind off of things as well.”

Full Article & Source:
Another victory in sight for New Fairfield’s 97-year-old World War II vet

Task force wants elder abuse laws to cover emotional abuse


PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - A task force formed to tackle the issue of elder abuse in South Dakota wants to expand the state's criminal laws to include emotional and psychological abuse of elders and adults with a disability in addition to physical abuse.

The task force says that 38 eight other states criminalize both assaults and emotional and psychological abuse, and it is recommending that the 2016 Legislature amend the state's criminal statutes.

The task force was created by the 2015 Legislature. It offers 16 recommendations for the upcoming legislative session.

It seeks to create a civil right of action that includes protection orders for abused, neglected, and exploited elders or adults with a disability and increase the penalty for theft by exploitation of an elder or adult with a disability.

Full Article & Source:
Task force wants elder abuse laws to cover emotional abuse

Pen Argyl man sentenced for stealing $350,000 from elderly uncle


Lehigh County Courthouse
ALLENTOWN — After a lifetime of hard work and smart investing, Wilbur Stiles was well prepared for retirement. The 95-year-old Allentown man's home was paid off and he was determined, family members said, to remain there in his final years, surrounded by his beloved books, music and World War II memorabilia.

When his health began to fail in 2003, Stiles, who has no children, appointed his great-nephew, Scott L. Bartholomew, power of attorney.

Over the next 10 years, a Lehigh County jury found, Bartholomew, 54, of Pen Argyl, drained Stiles' bank accounts and took out multiple mortgages on Stiles' home, leaving his great-uncle deeply in debt.

On Wednesday, Judge Robert L. Steinberg sentenced Bartholomew to four to 10 years in a state prison, and ordered him to pay a $10,000 fine and $351,677 in restitution.

"This is a case of elder abuse," Steinberg said. "This case, in some degree, is a cautionary tale about who you allow to handle your finances."

A jury in October found Bartholomew guilty of felony theft, failure to make the required disposition of funds, receiving stolen property and dealing in the proceeds of an unlawful activity.

Bartholomew apologized Wednesday, telling the judge that he took good care of his uncle while stealing his money.

"I did things I shouldn't have done, I admit that," he said. "I did what I thought was right for my family. My uncle always said that what's his was mine."

Stiles is an Army Air Forces veteran of World War II and a former wildlife biologist for the U.S. Department of Interior. He's now living at the Gino Merli Veterans Center, a nursing home for vets in Scranton.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Charles F. Gallagher argued for a lengthy state prison term, noting that Stiles described his life now as "being in hell."

Gallagher read a statement from Stiles in which the elderly man said he was ashamed that his good name was now besmirched by collection agencies.

"What he's left with is a feeling of shame and frustration with himself for being so foolish and trusting," Gallagher said.

Defense attorney Ronald Creazzo asked for a sentence that would allow Bartholomew to return his job as a truck driver and stay close to his wife and stepchildren.

"He's never been in trouble before. He's not the monster people are making him out to be," Creazzo said.

"I don't portray him as a monster. I portray him as a thief. A thief who looted his uncle's assets," Steinberg replied.

The judge praised the Lehigh County Elder Abuse Task Force for pursuing the case, saying he believed elder abuse is an underreported crime.

"I think everyone fears that we're going to spend the last days of our lives penniless and living in a nursing home. That is what happened to Mr. Stiles," Steinberg said.

Full Article & Source:
Pen Argyl man sentenced for stealing $350,000 from elderly uncle

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Elderly couple fights guardianship system



Imagine having nothing. Not one single piece of paper to prove who you are. That's the situation a private guardian put a local couple into.

That guardian is under police investigation and has been censured by the Center for Guardianship Certification, but the damage has already been done. And it's irreversible.

It's ironic, meeting Bill and Kathy Mesloh at the Boulder City Library. When we interviewed them, the couple couldn't even get a library card because they couldn't prove who they were.

"Our independence has been stolen," says Bill.

Kathy's lifetime career was in law enforcement. Bill traveled the world for business.  And the couple has been married 40 years. But once the court put them under guardianship, they say they lost everything. They had no cell phones.  No birth certificates. No passports. No marriage license. No driver's licenses. No social security cards.

In Bill's wallet, which is also gone, "I always had a picture of my wife and myself on our wedding day in the backseat of the limo," Bill says as he fights back tears.

All of it taken, they say, by private, for-profit guardian April Parks, who came into the couple's life in the fall of 2013.

"We were vulnerable at the time," says Bill.

Bill is legally blind, but mentally all there.  Multiple health problems put him in the hospital and then rehab, leaving Kathy alone at home with early signs of dementia.  Health care workers called Parks, who had Kathy declared incompetent by a doctor from the CareMore Care Center -- a place Parks uses frequently for her guardianship cases.

All it takes is a two-page form, a few check marks in some boxes and a signature.  Shortly thereafter, Bill was declared incompetent not by a doctor, but a physician's assistant named John Reyes.  When Parks took Kathy out of the couple's house and put her in a group home, Bill says she wouldn't tell him where his wife was.

The memory brings Bill to tears. "Not having contact with my wife, I don't know where she is, I pray for her every day, I don't know if she's dead or alive."

After months, they were finally reunited. But Bill had to explain the bad news to Kathy.

"First thing she says to me is, 'Bill, I want to go home.'  There is no home.  'I want my pets.  I want my dog.  I want my Trudy.' How do you deal with that?"

During the guardianship process, the couple lost everything, including their beloved pets.  The court never questioned any of it until after Contact 13 got involved.  Bill was freed from guardianship and allowed to take over Kathy's care.  But the Meslohs believe the entire system failed them, from Parks to every hearing master and judge who sanctioned and allowed her actions.

They say Parks drained their bank accounts.  Their house, clothes, jewelry, keepsakes and treasures from a 40-year marriage are mostly gone.

"Our Christmases were unbelievable!" Bill recalls.  "We were one of those houses that lit up the block."

They lost cameras, home movies, "even our dentures," says Bill.

And even Kathy's parents' ashes which were on the mantle of the home April Parks sold.

"We were her property once she became our guardian," Bill explains.  "No different than a slave would have been.  She owned and controlled anything and everything."

Parks sold the Mesloh's home for $130,000.  They say they never saw a dime of that money.  Court records show everything in the house, from furniture to fixtures, was valued by Parks' appraisers at just under $6,000 and sold at a loss.

Parks and her attorney charged the couple nearly $50,000 in guardianship and legal fees. Charges include $500 a month for filing, mail and paying bills.

Before the house was sold, Parks charged the couple $100 to take out the trash and $100 more to bring the cans back inside the next day.

Bill was even charged $20 when he had to call Parks to ask her to put money in his group home account after she had let it run dry.

Picking up the pieces of a life lost, Bill and Kathy Mesloh have little more than memories.

"This is not what the golden years should be," says Bill.

April Parks did not return calls for comment on this story.  After Contact 13 began investigating this case and after Bill spoke to the detective investigating Parks, a box appeared at the couple's group home with all their identification documents inside.

Full Article & Source:
Elderly couple fights guardianship system

See Also:
The Vegas Voice: Guardianship, Part 3: NOW GET RESULTS!

Steve Miller: Jared Shafer's Clark County Family Court Lackeys Removed From All Guardianship Cases

Contact 13 Investigates: Guardian Gouging?

Steve Miller on the Removal of Nevada Private Guardian April Parks

Couple liberated from guardianship system

New Family Court Judge Puts Immediate Stop To Elder Abuse And Exploitation By For-Hire "Guardians" Jared Shafer And April Parks

Steve Miller: The Story of Elizabeth Indig
 
Steve Miller: A Message From the Son-in-Law of an Exploited Ward of the Clark Co. (Nevada) Family Court

Boulder City police investigate guardianship cases

Steve Miller: Judge Steel Frees Three "Wards" From Exploitive Court Ordered Guardianship On Same Day

Dan Roberts, The Vegas Voice on Private Guardian April Parks: She Had the Dogs Killed

Families Caught up in Guardianship Losing Their Homes

Steve Miller: "Guardian" April Parks Home and Office Raided by Police and Nevada AG

Search warrants served as police investigate guardianship exploitation
Contact 13: Judge in guardianship cases recuses herself

Guardianship Commission to ask for criminal investigations

Steve Miller: Embattled Private Guardian April Parks Censured For Exploiting The Elderly, Mastermind Jared Shafer Stays Under The Radar - For Now

Recommended Website: National Association for Probate Reform and Advocacy

The National Association for Probate Reform and Advocacy or "NAPRA" is an affiliate of HAR Justice dedicated to ending crimes against humanity in America's probate courts including: fraud, intimidation and financial exploitation.

NAPRA is a non-partisan educational organization created to promote transparency, accountability, and awareness in America's Probate Courts.

At NAPRA we welcome all organizations dedicated to this common goal.

Visit the HAR Justice/NAPRA website

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

John Walters Conservatorship; Patricia C. Rosen Conservatorship

Lorna Moffat interviews Adam Walters, son of John Walters, on his father's conservatorship.



Source:
YouTube:  John Walters Conservatorship; Patricia C. Rosen Conservatorship

See Also:
NASGA profile: Patricia Rosen

Court Clerk in California Caught fixing Cases


It appears California is on the cutting edge of judicial corruption howbeit in the opposite direction.  There were several times in my life that I wish I could have paid someone at the courthouse to make a charge/ticket go away.  In  Orange County, California, that dream was a reality from 2010 to 2015.

Had it not been or those pesky F.B.I agents that were meddling their way into Orange County’s litigation processes, it probably would be going on right now.


Citizens have been getting notices to appear in Orange County Superior Court despite the record which reflects that cases were plead out or dismissed.  Apparently, this scam has been tied to a Court Clerk that, by happenstance, recently resigned from the Superior Court Clerk’s Office.  It’s difficult to believe a Clerk went for 5yrs fixing cases and taking bribes and without being caught.  In fact, the FBI alleges the Clerk assigned counsel to represent these defendants who paid upwards of 10k to make these cases go away.   When reaching out to counsel of record for these purported defendants, attorneys allege they have no idea who these people are that they never represented them.   What is not clear is how and who the citizen paid these large sums of money to.  According to the LA Times defendants were paying large sums of money to “middlemen” who would then remit the cash money to someone known as the “fixer” who would quietly make the case[s] go away.

At some point, the Feds caught wind of this hustle which, according to the LA  Times, was targeted towards Latino men and began unravelling this tangled web woven in Orange County.  An educated hunch would lead a reasonable person to believe cuplability goes much higher up the food chain than the Clerk of the Court.  Don’t be suprised if you never hear anything about this case again because as soon as the Judges get caught in this sting — the Feds will surely blackmail them and it will all be swept under the rug.

Full Article & Source:
Court Clerk in California Caught fixing Cases

Santa Monica Seniors Get Big Rent Break for New Year


By Hector Gonzalez
Special to The Lookout

January 4, 2016 -- Dozens of low-income seniors in subsidized apartments on Nielson Way in Santa Monica will have more money in their pockets in the new year after renewing lease agreements calling for rent decreases instead of increases.

All of the 75 senior residents of Neilson Villa, an affordable housing community at 3100 Neilson Way, live on fixed incomes.

Their estimated median income is $909 a month, and most were paying 40 percent to 50 percent of that on rent, said Housing Authority spokesman James Kemper in announcing the completion of the new lease agreements last week.

Because the development was due to convert to market-place rents this year, Neilson Villa residents, whose average age is 78.5 years -- although several are 90 and older -- were facing the prospect of substaintial rent increases, said Kemper.

The property's owner had already informed the City of its plans to pay off its federally backed loan and raise rents by $70 per month, making living at Neilson Villa unaffordable for the majority of tenants, he said.

Under the new agreement, however, tenants will now save about $215 per month on average, which translates to a 50 percent increase in their discretionary income, he said.

Under the new deal, HUD established a process in which tenants' former enhanced vouchers were converted to Section 8 vouchers attached to Neilson Villa and administered by Santa Monica Housing Authority.

The so-called Project-Based Vouchers remain with the property, not a particular tenant, “and provide more affordability than enhanced vouchers,” Kemper said in an August staff report.

“Any tenant who is paying in excess of 30 percent of their income toward rent would likely receive a rent reduction with a Project-Based Voucher.”

The result of the conversion was “big savings for the seniors,” which will help them to better afford food, clothing, medical costs, transportation “and other basic household needs,” he said.

Resident couldn't believe they were actually receiving rent decreases, said Igor Kokarev, chair of the Neilson Villa tenant association.

“Until that moment (when leases were distributed), no one believed 100 percent that it was going to happen,” said Kokarev. “People met me in the backyard and asked ‘Igor are you sure the City will do this?’ When they saw the rent decreases in the new (lease) agreements, they wanted to celebrate.”

Kokarev said he wrote two letters to City Councilmember Kevin McKeow “with gratitude from the tenants.”

It took several years of negotiations to complete the deal, said Kemper.

Housing Division officials worked with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, property manager Goldrich & Kest Industries, LLC and Shapell Properties Inc., the property owner, to develop the new agreement, he said.

Neilson Villa's Section 236 mortage with HUD, originally financed in 1976, had been scheduled to expire earlier this year. That providinged an opportunity for Housing Authority staff to develop the long-term affordability plan for the property and the residents, said Kemper.

In late August, Santa Monica City Council approved the agreement to secure 55 years of affordability, establish an affordability reserve, and proceed with rehabilitation of the Neilson Villa complex, he said.

In October, City staff qualified 75 households at the complex, and the property owner processed new leases, he said. The Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles worked with the tenants throughout the process, answering questions and addressing concerns, he said.

“The City of Santa Monica is proud to participate in this partnership,” said Housing and Economic Development Director Andy Agle. “As a result of our efforts, seniors living on very-low fixed incomes are getting a break on rents and the property is guaranteed to remain a community resource for another 55 years.”

Rents will remain affordable in the future, since vacancies at Neilson Villa will be filled from the City's waitlist, said Kemper.

“Our goal to retain affordable housing at Neilson Villa was met through the hard work of our staff at G&K Management Co. Inc. and the dedicated staff at Santa Monica Housing Authority,” said Michael E. Drandell, CPA, Chief Operating Officer at Goldrich & Kest Industries, LLC, a Culver City real estate firm founded in 1956.

“This agreement allows existing and future residents to benefit from the HUD subsidies, and helps the City of Santa Monica meet its low income housing goals,” Drandell said.

Full Article & Source:
Santa Monica Seniors Get Big Rent Break for New Year

Monday, January 4, 2016

Winston-Salem lawyer denies allegations of fraud with woman's estate


By Michael Hewlett Winston-Salem Journal

A Winston-Salem lawyer who is routinely assigned to handle estates denies allegations that he committed fraud and took $1.4 million from the estate of a woman who was declared mentally incompetent, according to court papers filed last month.

Bryan Thompson was named as one of the defendants in a lawsuit filed Oct. 20 in Forsyth Superior Court by Reginald Alston, a Winston-Salem attorney representing the estate of Mary Thompson. (The two are not related.)

Mary Thompson, a former nurse and businesswoman, died Oct. 2, 2014. Her brother, Calvin Brannon, the administrator of her estate, died last month, according to an obituary.

The lawsuit alleges that Bryan Thompson illegally obtained guardianship of the estate because Theresa Hinshaw, an assistant court clerk who has since retired, violated state law in declaring Mary Thompson mentally incompetent in May 2007. The lawsuit says Hinshaw scheduled a hearing for April 26, 2007, but the case was never called.

Hinshaw then signed an order May 1 appointing Bryan Thompson guardian of the estate. She signed a second court order May 3 declaring Mary Thompson mentally incompetent.

The lawsuit also alleges that Bryan Thompson; Fred Flyn, an attorney appointed as Mary Thompson’s guardian ad litem; William Speaks, the attorney for Mary Thompson’s niece; and several Forsyth County court clerks “formed an association or RICO enterprise for the purpose of taking assets from numerous Forsyth County citizens without entered orders of incompetence or duly filed guardianship appointments.”

The lawsuit alleges a pattern of racketeering activity.

On Dec. 16, Mary Whitlatch, an attorney representing Bryan Thompson, filed an answer to the lawsuit and several motions, including one to dismiss.

Whitlatch denied allegations that Bryan Thompson committed fraud and stole assets from Mary Thompson’s estate.

She also filed a motion for sanctions against the plaintiff as well as counterclaims.

She also disputed Alston’s allegations that Mary Thompson’s estate was worth anywhere near $1.4 million.

The lawsuit alleged that Bryan Thompson illegally obtained $2,000 a month from Mary Thompson’s retirement and Social security payments and used his guardianship to “trick third parties into buying Mary Thompson’s real estate for his improper purposes while not paying taxes on all such property.”

Whitlatch said in her answer that Bryan Thompson used assets from Mary Thompson’s estate to pay for her medical care and other needs.

Whitlatch argues that Bryan Thompson sold seven of her properties to raise enough money for her care because Mary Thompson had too much debt and expenses and not enough cash.

“I think the main thing is that Bryan Thompson was appointed in his capacity as public administrator,” she said in an interview Tuesday.

Whitlatch said that Bryan Thompson has to file paperwork showing how he has spent an estate’s money, and assets and he is held accountable by the court system on how he handles someone’s estate.

According to Whitlatch’s answer, public administrators, by state law, have the “power to perform in reasonable and prudent manner every act that a reasonable and prudent person would perform incident to the collection, preservation, management, and use of the ward’s estate” to accomplish what is necessary legally and in the person’s best interest.

Whitlatch also said that a number of Mary Thompson’s properties were sold while her estate was in bankruptcy. Bryan Thompson had nothing to do with those sales or the bankruptcy proceedings, she said.

Some of Mary Thompson’s properties were not sold and still belong to her estate, Whitlatch said.

Alston declined to comment Wednesday, but in the lawsuit he alleges that because the clerk’s orders were not file-stamped and recorded, the appointment of Bryan Thompson as guardian was illegal.

Susan Frye, the clerk of Forsyth County Superior Court, who also is named as a defendant in the lawsuit, said in an interview in October that it had been the standard practice in 2007 for clerks not to file-stamp orders that had been prepared and executed by representatives in the clerk’s office.

Whitlatch said Bryan Thompson was not aware of this practice. After the N.C. Court of Appeals ruled that Hinshaw’s order of incompetency was never entered because it didn’t have a file-stamp, Whitlatch said Frye, using her authority under state law, went back and had the orders properly recorded.

Full Article & Source: 
Winston-Salem lawyer denies allegations of fraud with woman's estate

Court right to judge Eakin’s ‘private’ emails


PA Supreme Court Justice Michael Eakin
THE ISSUE

A three-judge panel of Pennsylvania’s Court of Judicial Discipline suspended Supreme Court Justice Michael Eakin with pay last week. The judges said the court “is deeply and profoundly troubled by even a remote possibility that the patently discriminatory and offensive views and attitudes expressed” in emails received and/or shared by the justice under a fictitious name “may have impacted Justice Eakin’s judicial work.” Eakin, a Republican from West Donegal Township,  has said he did not intend for the emails to become public and said last week that they have “nothing to do with (his) performance on the job.” Whether Eakin is to face any further sanction — potentially including removal from the bench — awaits the outcome of a trial expected to begin next month.
Justice Eakin’s emails were bad enough.

And, yes, we have editorialized previously on how disturbing it was that Eakin was sharing emails that joked about slapping a female employee’s backside and about a woman beaten black and blue by her husband. We have expressed concern previously about Eakin’s private email address, its use for material degrading to women, gays and racial minorities, and the questions that raises about his ability to treat all fairly as a Supreme Court justice.

The new and disturbing wrinkle in Eakin’s email scandal is the part of his defense that comes down to a frustration that none of these emails was meant to be made public.

“Perhaps my demeanor is one of the boys,” Eakin told the court on Dec. 21. “But what I sent was to people who were also one of the boys. It was in the locker room.”

As the court noted, despite having created a Yahoo.com account in the name of John Smith for such banter, Eakin “should have had a lower expectation of privacy” regarding emails sent on his work computer.

More importantly, a justice of integrity would avoid degrading humor about groups of people as a matter of character.

It calls to mind a quote often attributed to C.S. Lewis: “Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.”

As the court noted in its order suspending Eakin last week, until a trial can review his conduct more closely, “the integrity of the Pennsylvania judiciary has been and continues to be subject to disrespect.”

That’s for sure.

“The only means to ensure the public’s confidence in the Pennsylvania judiciary is to suspend (him) pending the full trial,” the panel’s order also said.

Eakin did apologize during a Dec. 21 hearing before the Court of Judicial Discipline.

“What I sent I sent, and I am sorry for that beyond words,” he said.

But, he didn’t leave it at that.

“The media circus cannot be ignored, but it is not public opinion,” he added.

While, as Eakin noted, some of the emails were “a half-dozen years old,” the fact that he set up a private email address for such inappropriate messages remains disturbing, and something the Court of Judicial Discipline rightly wants to consider.

Some have raised understandable concern over the fact that Eakin’s suspension is with pay. But the court’s decision to offer Eakin a trial speaks well of our system. To deny him pay during the process would be at odds with the principle of innocent until proven guilty.

The Court of Judicial Discipline is correct that, given the cloud the emails have cast over the judiciary, Eakin had to be suspended. And a public trial should determine any further punishment.
Like all Pennsylvanians, we put our faith in the court to do the right thing. The seriousness with which it has addressed Eakin’s emails and their potential effect on the public’s faith in the judiciary bodes well.

Full Article & Source:
Court right to judge Eakin’s ‘private’ emails

New York State Standardizes Its Oversight of Lawyers


Lawyers in New York State will be subject to a uniform disciplinary process under new rules Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman announced on Tuesday, a move that caps months of negotiations aimed at standardizing a system long hampered by regional differences.

The rules fix what a state commission described this year as a “uniquely decentralized system for handling attorney grievances,” bringing common standards to a state that has long stood out for its disparities in punishments and procedures.

Judge Lippman, who is retiring this week, said in a statement: “Working to eliminate regional variations and leading to a more effective attorney discipline system over all, the new rules are a vital contribution to the fair administration of justice and the integrity of the legal profession throughout our state.”

Under the old system, each of the four geographically defined Appellate Division departments used different procedural rules to hear and investigate complaints against lawyers and decide sanctions.

Judge Lippman created the Commission on Statewide Attorney Discipline this year to review the system. In its final report, in September, the commission said that while the process worked well in many respects, “the system is antiquated, inefficient and far too opaque — a flaw which undermines public confidence.”

The new rules even out the way complaints are investigated and adjudicated. They also include provisions for notifying the accused lawyer earlier in the course of an investigation, creating opportunities for lawyers to be diverted into monitoring programs after substance-abuse-related complaints and opening new ways for lawyers to get information about their cases.

The New York State Bar Association lauded the rules, which will go into effect in July, calling them “a very significant improvement to the process of attorney discipline.”

The association president, David P. Miranda, said in an interview, “The more consistency you can have in disciplinary proceedings, the clearer the lines are about what you can do, and the better the process is going to be both for the attorney and the public.”

Full Article & Source:
New York State Standardizes Its Oversight of Lawyers

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Mickey Rooney’s Kids Come Out with Shocking Accusation About How Their Dad Died


Mickey Ronney (Getty - AFB/Stringer)

In a shocking new claim, members of deceased Hollywood icon Mickey Rooney’s family have accused his step-son, Mark Aber, of foul play.

In fact, Rooney’s estranged wife Jan Chamberlain and some of his children have accused Mark of poisoning the 93-year-old actor.

Suspicions rose after Rooney signed a new will, just weeks before his death. In the revised document, the “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” star cut his biological children and Jan out of the will entirely.

Rooney’s entire estate, which amounted to merely $18,000, was left to Mark and his wife Charlene.

Image Credit: Getty/ Evan Agostini
Image Credit: Getty/ Evan Agostini

However, two of the star’s children, Kerry and Kelly, want a post-mortem toxicology test done to prove their claims. Kelly even snipped a strand of Rooney’s hair as he laid in his coffin for later examination.

The pair, along with Jan and her other son Chris, reportedly noticed eerie signs pointing to foul play, like ‘literature’ over how to poison someone in the mail. The mother and son pair are filing a suit which will likely be followed by a ‘fresh autopsy.’

That’s right: They want to exhume the body.

But this isn’t the first time Rooney’s money troubles and family sparring have reached the public eye.

Image Credit: FREDERIC J. BROWN / Staff
Image Credit: FREDERIC J. BROWN / Staff

According to CNN, the actor accused Chris Aber of elder abuse and money extortion back in 2011.

Though Kelly cannot currently afford to run forensic tests on her father’s hair samples, she’s hopeful new evidence will uncover any wrongdoing.

Full Article & Source:
Mickey Rooney’s Kids Come Out with Shocking Accusation About How Their Dad Died

See Also:
Mickey Rooney Stepson Settles Elder Abuse Suit FOR MILLIONS

Tears and Terror: The Disturbing Final Years of Mickey Rooney

Objections to Rooney's will dropped; administrator approved 

Mickey Rooney's widow contests late actor's will

Elder Abuse Lawsuit Filed on Behalf of Mickey Rooney

Court Hears Mickey Rooney's Allegations of Elder Abuse

Judge Extends Mickey Rooney's Restraining Order

Mickey Rooney Conservatorship

Mickey Rooney Reaches Settlement With One of his Stepsons

Mickey Rooney's Estate Goes to His Caregiver Stepson

A Request from Debbie Dahmer

Please take some time and read this 2015 Newsletter from FATE (Foundation on Aiding the Elderly), linked below.  It has some disturbing and shocking news for the elderly.

There is an article on my father, George Dahmer, (aka Pro Wrestler Chief White Owl): Wrongful Death and Injustice Punitive Damages that my mother is mandated (by a little-known Florida statute) to pay. 50% of punitive damages awarded to my Mother for the wrongful death of my Father have to be paid to improve the quality of care in nursing homes.

What a joke !! What kind of world do we live in? The nursing home was charged guilty on all counts of wrongful death in November 2012. The nursing home appealed the punitive damages three times and lost all three appeals.  The Dahmer family won all the way.

This Florida Statute needs to be repealed!! This is absurd, ridiculous, unjustifiable, unfair, unjust and totally wrong in the first degree!  No family victims who win wrongful death lawsuits should have to pay 50% of punitive damages to nursing homes to be used for better care.

What is your opinion on this?

 ~Debbie Dahmer
   F.A.T.E. Foundation on Aiding the Elderly

Recommended Website: Coalition for Elder and Dependent Adult's Rights


CEDAR's mission:  "...involuntary commitment is incarceration against one's will regardless of whether it's called 'civil' or 'criminal.'"
~Supreme Court of California


Civil Rights Education, Policy, and Research
CEDAR's focus is rights of the elderly and dependent adults. Our advocates are at the forefront of education, policy analysis, and research on these issues. We present our data at conferences and events across the nation.

CEDAR educates the public on civil rights issues of concern to elders and dependent adults. CEDAR develops print and multimedia educational materials for use by individuals or organizations. CEDAR representatives speak at national conferences, regional, and local events.

CEDAR investigates and reports on cases of abuse and civil rights violations. Past investigations focused on elder abuse within California conservatorships, elder abuse in assisted living facilities, and law enforcement complicity with elder abuse.

CEDAR reported on failures of Adult Protective Services, the Long-term Care Ombudsman, and Community Care Licensing. Those failures to provide mandated services allowed horrific abuse to continue with impunity.

Source:
Coalition for Elder Dependent Adult's Rights