Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Complaints About Nursing Home Evictions Rise, and Regulators Take Note

Six weeks after Deborah Zwaschka-Blansfield had the lower half of her left leg amputated, she received some news from the nursing home where she was recovering: Her insurance would no longer pay, and it was time to move on.

The home wanted to release her to a homeless shelter or pay for a week in a motel.

“That is not safe for me,” said Ms. Zwaschka-Blansfield, 59, who cannot walk and had hoped to stay in the home, north of Sacramento, until she could do more things for herself — like getting up if she fell.

Her experience is becoming increasingly common among the 1.4 million nursing home residents across the country. Discharges and evictions have been the top-ranking category of grievances brought to state long-term care ombudsman programs, the ombudsman agencies say.

While nursing homes can discharge residents for a limited set of reasons, legal advocates say that home operators sometimes interpret those reasons in unjustified ways. Often, it’s because the residents’ more lucrative Medicare coverage is ending, which is what Ms. Zwaschka-Blansfield said happened in her case.

Many of the residents, unaware of their rights, leave without a challenge.

“The nursing homes, they know the system and they really game it to where they maximize their advantage,” said Tony Chicotel, a lawyer at California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, a nonprofit group.

Complaints about evictions have caught the attention of federal regulators, who are now seeking ways to step up enforcement of the federal laws that protect residents of the nation’s 15,000 nursing homes.

In December, regulators sent a memo to state officials across the country who inspect nursing homes for compliance with federal standards, saying they would begin examining discharges that appeared to violate the rules.

David R. Wright of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said in the memo that wrongful evictions were “of great concern” because they could be unsafe or traumatic for patients, uprooting them “from familiar settings” and moving them far from family and friends.

The number of complaints about the discharge and evictions of residents was rising through 2015, the most recent year for which data is available. That year, there were 9,192 complaints about the discharge and eviction of nursing home residents, out of a total of 140,145 complaints, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. But some legal advocates said they believed these figures understated the problem, since many residents do not contest their discharge.

Even as the Trump administration has said it is looking for ways to address improper evictions, it has scaled back the use of fines against nursing homes that harm individuals, in keeping with the administration’s broader deregulation push.

Mr. Chicotel, the advocacy group lawyer, said that the federal regulations governing nursing homes were already strong but that enforcement was weak. Even when nursing homes are cited for violations, he said, they frequently “get a modest fine, and it’s often a cost of doing business.”

Dr. David R. Gifford, a senior vice president of the American Health Care Association, a trade group for nursing homes, said the perception that residents were being moved against their will for financial reasons was wrong.

“There’s a tension in the regulations,” Dr. Gifford said. “They clearly state that if someone can harm themselves or others, either through infections or their behavior or whatever, the individual can be discharged. But the regulations also clearly say that the goal is to not discharge people, and they have a right to stay there and receive care.”

Bill Wilson, a lawyer representing the nursing home where Ms. Zwaschka-Blansfield was a resident, said he could not comment on the specifics of her discharge because of privacy laws. But he said that patients could not be discharged without a doctor’s order and that the facility complied with all regulations. He also said the home “unequivocally” denies that it wrongfully discharged the patient.

Federal law stipulates that a nursing home must follow the same policies and practices for the discharge and transfer of residents, “regardless of source of payment.” But, legal advocates say, nursing homes often begin to pressure residents to leave when their Medicare coverage — which pays nursing homes at a higher rate but for a limited period — is close to ending and may be replaced by Medicaid. This happens to patients who have been sent to homes for rehabilitation or therapy, which is often covered by Medicare. Elderly residents who are deemed difficult or require extra assistance — and who may cost more over all — are more frequently discharged as well, advocates said.

Reimbursement rates for Medicare and Medicaid differ substantially, according to the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing and Care, a nonprofit group that collects data on the industry. Nursing homes receive about $200 a day for a Medicaid patient on average, compared with about $500 for a patient in the traditional Medicare program and $430 for a Medicare patient in a managed care plan.

Alan Schoen, a 58-year-old resident with multiple sclerosis at a nursing home in Stockton, Calif., said he believed the facility was trying to discharge him because his Medicare coverage was ending.

While his wife was at work in late December, Mr. Schoen fell out of his bed. An ambulance took him to a hospital, which released him to the nursing home for physical therapy.

But then in early January, the nurses could not wake him. They sent him back to the hospital, which found that he had a bladder infection and pancreatitis, and he had to start using a catheter.

After he returned to the nursing home, it told him that his insurance would soon stop paying — and that he should move to an assisted living facility, where, he said, he would receive a lower level of care. But Mr. Schoen, who can no longer stand or walk, said he needed the kind of help he is receiving now.

“They are running a business,” Mr. Schoen said. “I get that, but it seems they forget the patient element in all of this.”

Mr. Schoen is appealing his discharge. A spokeswoman for his nursing home, citing privacy laws, said she could not comment on specific patients. But she also said the decision to involuntarily discharge any resident “would only be done in compliance with all applicable rules and regulations.”

Patty Ducayet, the long-term care ombudsman in Texas, said that disputes over whether a particular nursing home can meet a patient’s needs were common. That, she said, is often “a gray area.”

A nursing home may be justified in saying it cannot care for patients who cannot breathe on their own. But, Ms. Ducayet said, it would not be justified in discharging patients because they refused to take medications or because they filed complaints with state officials.

Even when residents win an appeal of an eviction, they have no guarantee they will be welcomed back. That was the case with Gloria Single, an 82-year-old with Alzheimer’s who often became agitated, according to her legal complaint.

After being discharged from the California nursing home where she lived with her husband, Ms. Single won an appeal. But the nursing home would not accept her. “They don’t take you back and there are no consequences,” said Kelly Bagby, a lawyer at the AARP Foundation who is representing Ms. Single.

Susan Rogers, the ombudsman who assisted Ms. Zwaschka-Blansfield, said she was incredulous when she learned Ms. Zwaschka-Blansfield’s nursing home suggested discharging her to a homeless shelter, which she said was not open during the day.

“Where is she going to get home health” services? Ms. Rogers asked. “In a park?”

That crisis has been averted. After Ms. Rogers petitioned on Ms. Zwaschka-Blansfield’s behalf, she said the nursing home found her an independent living arrangement nearby.

If she had not intervened, Ms. Rogers said, Ms. Zwaschka-Blansfield, who lives on roughly $800 a month, might have been homeless.

Full Article & Source:
Complaints About Nursing Home Evictions Rise, and Regulators Take Note

Spring Creek man sentenced to house arrest in elderly exploitation case

Wade Fordin
ELKO – An Spring Creek man accused of stealing from his elderly mother was sentenced to 60 days house arrest Monday in Elko District Court.

Wade E. Fordin, 54, pleaded guilty before Judge Al Kacin to one count of conspiracy to commit exploitation of an older person and one count of conspiracy to commit theft, both gross misdemeanors.

He was given a suspended sentence of 364 days in jail for each count concurrently, required to pay $6,183.48 restitution to the Elko County Public Guardian, and was placed on probation for three years.

Kacin further sentenced Fordin to 60 days of house arrest to be served “in one lump period.”

Senior Deputy Attorney General Eric Nickel appeared by phone during the sentencing hearing before Judge Al Kacin, and said the state agreed with the Division of Parole and Probation to grant Fordin probation and have him pay restitution.

Because of Fordin’s age and lack of criminal history the state agreed “probation was the best alternative,” Nickel said.

Attorney David Lockie also asked for the probation, explaining that Fordin only had one misdemeanor on his record and no felonies. He added that Fordin was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension and had “a boatload” of about 16 prescribed medications that would he would have to bring with him if he were incarcerated.

When Fordin was asked by Kacin to make a statement on his behalf, Fordin declined.

Fordin was arrested Sept. 11, 2016 on suspicion of converting more than $6,000 for his personal use from his 80-year-old mother, Helen Mae Fordin. He was charged with one count of exploitation of an older person and one count of theft, both category B felonies.

He pleaded guilty on Nov. 6 in a plea agreement that reduced the charges from felonies to misdemeanors.

According to court documents, Fordin was appointed as his mother’s permanent guardian over her and her estate after it was determined she was unable to care for herself.

The case was filed to the Attorney General’s office by Public Guardian Kathy Jones. She spoke at the sentencing hearing on behalf of Helen Fordin, who died July 29, 2015.

“It’s been four years since the start of the investigation into Mr. Fordin’s exploitation of his mother,” Jones said, describing how Fordin preyed on the “frailty, old age and illness of his own mother.”

Jones went on to explain how Fordin was appointed guardian of his mother’s estate; however, his mother lived her final days at Highland Manor dependent on the kindness of others.

“I feel sorry for you because you weren’t able to walk into Highland Manor and hold your head up knowing that you are taking care of your mother. Instead, other people had to buy your mother’s clothes, slippers, snacks and Christmas presents,” Jones said.

“The trust his mother, Highland Manor and the court gave to him was selfishly exploited by Wade Fordin,” Jones said.

Upon handing down the sentence, Kacin said the court recognized the fact Fordin has “very little criminal history,” but that if Fordin were to have had an extensive criminal history, the sentence would have been different, regardless of his medical condition and “boatload of medications.”

“I expect you to follow the rules of your probation very well,” Kacin told Fordin.

Kacin added that he agreed with Jones that the crime “was a terrible offense of exploitation.”

“Ms. Jones said it eloquently, and I can’t say more except that I agree with her.”

Full Article & Source:
Spring Creek man sentenced to house arrest in elderly exploitation case

Prosecutors, fearing nursing home's closure, won't pursue felony exploitation charges against its operator

An Iowa prosecutor is dropping felony charges against a nursing home operator accused of misusing cash from a resident's personal funds.

Marc Johnson, whose company runs the Danville Care Center in southeast Iowa, had been charged by Iowa's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit with fraudulent practices and dependent-adult abuse in the form of financial exploitation.

But County Attorney Amy Beavers told the Des Moines Register that the facility's owner claimed he might have to close the center and evict its three dozen residents if Johnson were convicted.

Johnson is president of Cardinal Care Company. He formed the for-profit company in 2012 and was hired the next year by the Danville Development Co. to run the Danville Care Center. Danville Development President Matthew Hauptman told the Register that closure was “unlikely” but that his company had to guard against the possibility.

The decision not to prosecute doesn't “pass the smell test,” advocates for the elderly told the newspaper.

“For the county attorney to close her eyes to this and leave this man in a position of authority so the business can remain open just seems absurd to me,” Dean Lerner, an advocate for seniors who once ran the Iowa agency that inspects nursing homes, told the Register.

The case began with the Medicaid Fraud Unit 2016, when the state accused Johnson of spending almost $700 on a television for the facility, using money from the trust account of an elderly resident. Johnson also was charged in connection with making two $500 "donations" from the same resident's account to the facility, with the money going toward events and equipment.

Though a deferred-prosecution agreement, Beavers promised not to pursue the charges if Johnson paid all court costs associated with the case and doesn't violate any laws for two years. Beavers said a state audit of the residents' trust accounts revealed no irregularities.

Full Article & Source:

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Tonight on Marti Oakley's T. S. Radio: Hospice Survivors and Victims

5:00 pm PST… 6:00 pm MST… 7:00 pm CST … 8:00 pm EST
Join us this evening to continue our conversation with Faith Daron, Dorothy Daron’s daughter who shares with us how her mothers life was ended in a Hospice. Faith fought very hard for her mothers life and Dorothy endured neglect and trauma unheard of through her last years of living. We want to spread awareness and educate the public on how to avoid these terrible circumstances.

Hospice Survivors & Victims is a new show dedicated to exposing the ongoing euthanizing of the elderly forced into Hospice. All correspondence and reports concerning your experiences with Hospice or, with medical kidnap that resulted in an early death, can be sent to the address listed below. You must include documentation. Carly is not an attorney and cannot and does not give legal advice.

To contact Carly:

LISTEN to the show live or listen to the archive later

Public Warning: Boston is a Cesspool of Adult Medical Kidnappings

Mary Frank
by Health Impact News/ Staff

Boston is home to one of the first notorious cases of medical kidnapping that garnered widespread public attention, that of Justina Pelletier, seized by Boston Children’s Hospital and Child Protective Services, and confined against her will and the will of her family in a psych ward.

It appears that the Boston area is a hub for medical kidnappings of adults as well as children.

In at least 4 cases that we know of in the Boston, Massachusetts, area, there is a web of common players who are interconnected.

Jewish Family and Children’s Services is the common denominator for each of these senior citizens who were seized by Adult Protective Services.

Instead of foster parents, “guardians” are court-appointed to take control of their lives, assets, and medical decisions, leaving elder adults victims of strangers they have never met, isolated from their family and friends who are the ones that truly care about them. They are accused of having “mental illness” and confined to psych wards against their will.

Lonnie Brennan is the editor of a newspaper that has reported their stories, The Boston Broadside.He was recently served with a “No Trespass” order over the case of one medically kidnapped lady, Mary Frank, who was trying to reach out to him to get her story published. She was confined to a nursing home and psych ward against her will, and denied basic human rights.

The people involved in holding her captive are apparently not interested in her right to have visitors of her choosing, or her right to have her voice heard.

Mary Frank’s story is connected to those of Beverley Finnegan and Marvin Siegel, whose stories we have reported here on the MedicalKidnap website.

You will read Mary’s story below. Alice Julian’s story will be coming soon. She is another Boston area senior citizen who was medically kidnapped. She died in January due to the withholding of life-sustaining treatment.

We recently reported the medically-hastened death (euthanasia) of Beverley Finnegan who was medically kidnapped. Attorney Lisa Belanger fought alongside Janet Pidge in the valiant attempt to save Beverley’s life. Her life was taken in January.

Here is her original story:

Medical Murder? Massachusetts Woman Medically Kidnapped from Her Home Dies After Being Denied Medical Intervention

Lisa Siegel Belanger, Esq., learned about the medical kidnapping of senior citizens when her own father Marvin Siegel was robbed of his liberty in 2011. She and her sister are still fighting for his life and freedom.

See his story:

Massachusetts Senior Citizen and Attorney Medically Kidnapped – Estate Plundered – Represents National Epidemic

Marvin Siegel with his family before the guardianship. Photo courtesy of family.

Mary Frank – Medically Kidnapped after Refusing to Commit Fraud

Lonnie Brennan of The Boston Broadside visited Mary Frank in November 2017 for the first time. He recorded her story and wrote, “Mary Frank: 69-Year-Old Thrown into Psych Ward by Government-Appointed Guardian.”

She is ordained as a Pentecostal minister and attended seminary in her younger days. Even though she became confined to a wheelchair, Mary Frank loved life and she loved her tiny apartment. She could still cook, clean, and take care of herself.

She could not, however, go to the grocery store or drugstore by herself.

When she found that she was eligible for home healthcare services, she thought that was good. She told Brennan that Minuteman Senior Services contracted a service that sent out someone to help her for 3 hour blocks of time. The first caregiver seemed to be great, but after a year, Mary learned that she had been stealing from her.

The next series of caregivers were not so great. They didn’t work the 3 hour block of time either. One reportedly only worked 20 to 40 minutes at a time. Mary told The Boston Broadside:
And, they wanted me to sign a paper that said they were doing three hours. They were getting $18.70 per hour.
In my mind, that’s defrauding the federal government. What I found out later was that that money … they were giving kickbacks. That money that they were earning – they weren’t working for it – they were giving kickbacks to Michelle Coakley and Minuteman protective services.
I was aghast. I mean, not that I’m ordained [Mary had explained that she was ordained as a Pentecostal minister], but it’s fraud. That’s a clear case of fraud.
I said, I can’t sign this. I can’t sign this paper. I want you to do the three hours.
Things got ugly when she refused to sign the paper. She reports that Michelle Coakley of Minuteman Senior Services threatened her:
I thought she was going to strike me. She was outraged and said to sign it, or you’ll be sorry. I didn’t understand the vitriol that was coming out of this woman. I come from a place of peace and love. I didn’t get it.
Photo source.

What Mary Frank didn’t realize was that Coakley had the power to follow through on her threats:
In September of 2013 there was a knock on the door…they handcuffed me. Threw me in an ambulance and took me to Mount Auburn Hospital on a Section 12 for psych.
She says that the psychiatrist had been lied to and told that she was sitting in her own excrement and urine and that she threw out her nurse. He realized that “this was bogus.” Even though Coakley reportedly wanted her to be put on the psych ward, she was able to go home.

Three weeks later, she was seized again.
I said, ‘who’s signing these [psych] papers?’ Because she [Coakley] got somebody who never even saw me – a psychiatrist – to sign the papers.
The fraud was unbelievable…and they were so mean to me. They treated me like I was some kind of a criminal. My arms were all full of bruises. They pushed me around.
[Doctor] Rick Hayes saw me. He said, ‘what are you doing here?’ And I was there, and what he did was he went and got his colleague, and she leaned over and she said, ‘we’re going to get you out of here.’
I said, what is this? Is this legal? What is going on? And the nurse came in and put her arms around me. And she said, ‘be careful because she [Coakley] is not going to stop. She said I know people like this. They’re not going to stop…’
This is insane… I don’t belong in a psych ward. So, I got sent home.
But, she [Coakley] showed up again and said, ‘I’ll put you somewhere where you’ll never get out.’
Shortly after, she received a summons for a hearing regarding guardianship, set for November 20. Two days before the hearing, Mary Frank was admitted to the hospital with knee problems that had to be addressed.

She phoned Mary Kate Connolly, attorney for Minuteman Senior Services, about an extension for the hearing. That call and her call to the court went nowhere, and the hearing took place without her.

(Mary Kate Connolly of O’Sullivan and Connolly is also the private attorney for Central Elder Services, the agency that facilitated the appointment of a guardian for Alice Julian, whose story will be coming soon.)

Without her presence at court, and with no due process, Mary Frank’s freedom was ended.

Jewish Family and Children’s Services was appointed as the guardian service for Mary. This is the same agency that was the guardian for the late Beverley Finnegan, the late Alice Julian, and Marvin Siegal. Individuals are assigned as guardians, but they work through Jewish Family and Children’s Services.


Lawyers and guardians denied Beverley Finnegan the life-saving treatment her sister wanted her to have. The guardianship cost her life. Photo source.

Mary Frank shares the same judge as Beverley Finnegan – Probate Court Judge Maureen Monks.
Mary’s story continues:
And then this woman walks in named Robin Kosnick and proceeded to tell me, ‘I’m going to put you away.’ And I said, who are you? And she said, ‘I’m the guardian.’
Now, Minuteman Senior Services picks out the guardian. It should be an autonomous guardian, or it should be a family member, or a friend – until you can prove you’re OK. It shouldn’t be somebody who is connected with the people who did this to you.
She said, ‘Michelle told me what to do with you. I’m putting you away.’
That is exactly what she allegedly did.

After Mary healed from knee surgery, the guardian tried to put her in “a flop house in Everett.” It was so bad that the ambulance driver allegedly refused to leave her there. He took her back to the hospital, where she was forced to stay another 2 months “while she was waiting for a bed to open up at Sudbury Pines in Sudbury.”
She put me in the dementia unit.
There should be – there’s got to be – a law somewhere.
And out of all of this, my prayer is that maybe we can get a state senator or a state rep. to have some hearings at the State House that you have to have an autonomous guardian, [and] that you have to be in that courtroom … that you cannot be put in a dementia unit.
I was put in a dementia unit! Everybody there had dementia! Everybody’s in diapers! Nobody could use a phone. Nobody could talk. And the men would come in and take off their diapers and try to get in bed with you naked.
It was like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest [movie]. And I’m there for three-and-a-half years. [Emphasis added.]
She contracted scabies in the dementia unit at Sudbury Pines Nursing Home. As difficult as it was for her to have the tiny mites burrowing under her skin, the creatures were what finally got her out of captivity in the lock-down dementia unit. She was transferred for an extended stay at a hospital.

Photo of Mary Frank’s arm – taken by a Boston Broadside journalist at a visit. Source.

Where Are Her Glasses and Dresses?

Since then, Mary Frank has been in a couple of different nursing homes. She would love to have some of her things back that she never got when she was seized from her home. She has been told that her things were given to her current guardian, Pamela DeColo, who works for Jewish Family and Children’s Services.

(Pamela DeColo was also involved with Beverley Finnegan. She was the supervisor over Beverley’s guardian, Marissa Levinson.)

Since Mary Frank told her story to The Boston Broadside, someone showed up at her nursing home with a few bags of items and a “tiny” electric wheelchair, too small for her, that was not hers.

She is still waiting for her her glasses, dresses, wig, makeup, and HER electric wheelchair.

Is It Too Much to Ask for Proper Medical Attention, and a Remote Control?

Lonnie Brennan of The Boston Broadside visited her at a nursing home in Marlborough Hills in November to get her recorded statement and again in December to take her a copy of the newspaper.

The next time he saw her was in January at the Reservoir Rehabilitation Center in Marlborough, Massachusetts. He learned that she had fallen at the previous nursing home. She was kept heavily medicated before she was finally taken to the hospital, where they discovered that her leg was broken.

Mary still needs medical attention.

She told Brennan that she had been asking for 2 weeks for a remote control to the TV in her room. She wanted to be able to have at least that tiny bit of control in her life.

Brennan told Health Impact News that he called the business office about getting her a remote. Both the business office and “Dan the Handyman” told him that they would take care of it.
They didn’t.

Lonnie Brennan wrote about Mary Frank’s simple request for a remote control being ignored in the February print edition of The Boston Broadside. 

Journalist Told to Stay Away

Right after publication, Brennan received an email at 9:28 pm on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018, from attorney David Schwartz, telling the newspaper editor that Jewish Family and Children’s Services didn’t want him to visit Mary Frank.

David Schwartz photo by Lisa Belanger
David Schwartz leaving the courthouse during Beverley Finnegan’s case. Photo courtesy of Lisa Belanger.

(Schwartz was one of the attorneys involved in advocating for the euthanasia of Beverley Finnegan. See link.)

letter to Boston Broadside editor re Mary Frank

Letter to Boston Broadside editor. Used with permission.

We spoke with Lonnie Brennan, who told us that he saw Mary Frank upon HER request. She initiated contact with him. She wanted to get her story out, and she wants her life back. It is clear that he is not the one who is upsetting her.

Because Brennan was not served any papers, the email meant nothing legally.

Thus, when Mary Frank called him, again, to tell him that the nursing home staff still had not gotten a remote control for her, he decided to get her one. She had been asking for one for 4 weeks.

She also requested some chocolates that she could give to a few of the nurses for Valentines Day who have been kind to her.

When he arrived at the Reservoir Center on Saturday, February 10, he noticed people watching him and whispering. Undeterred, he proceeded to take the remote control and 6 boxes of chocolate candy to Mary Frank’s room (4 for nurses, and 2 for her).

She welcomed his visit and was “near tears” with joy and gratitude. She looked forward to being able to watch what she wanted (despite the TV being blurry due to her glasses still being missing), and she shared some of the chocolates with a few nurses before the rest were stolen.

“Wanted” for Random Acts of Kindness

Lonnie Brennan’s simple act of kindness to a woman suffering alone in a nursing home resulted in the police being called. He learned that there was even a “Wanted” poster at the nursing home with his picture on it.

He was not accustomed to being on that side of the police. Before the officers approached him, he reached out to them and introduced himself. Brennan explained about the article and the remote control.

He also explained that no papers had been served and that the email had no legal power.

The incident was very cordial, and he was not detained.

That Friday, the editor was officially served with a “No Tresspass” order. If he visits Mary Frank again, he is subject to a $100 fine and 30 days in jail.

His concern is that Mary’s right to have someone visit her has been violated.

What will happen to her if no one is allowed to see her and if no one is held accountable?

Medical Kidnapping Is a Very Real Risk – Seniors Better Off in Prison than Psych Wards in Nursing Homes

Brennan was a recent guest on the Kuhner Report talk radio show in Boston to discuss this story. He told Kuhner that DCF, Massachusetts’ Child Protective Services, is nearly a billion dollar business in the state of Massachusetts, and Adult Protective Services is quickly heading there.

Rich or poor alike are at risk, said Brennan, from Mary Frank, who just wants her dresses, wig, and makeup back (and her life), to Marvin Siegal, who has had millions of dollars drained out of his estate by guardians.

He warned the radio host:
Once they have you, you are better off going to the nearest liquor store and saying, ‘Hey, I’m robbing you.’ Because you’ll get better health care and you’ll get better freedom if you are in prison. I hate to say it.
And you’ll have more dignity in prison than you will have – than we have witnessed – in nursing homes.
Regarding Mary Frank, Lonnie Brennan says:
She’s pissed (her words). She just wants her life back.

Where Are Her Court Records?

According to The Boston Broadside, Mary Frank’s court records are nowhere to be found. Even if Mary Frank could raise funds for an attorney without the guardian seizing the money, there are no records that they can locate for an attorney to fight with:
Despite repeated efforts of the court clerks, all of Mary Frank’s files are reported missing.
Yes, read that again. The court files are missing for Docket No. MI 3P5348GD.
We even went so far as to engage the help of an attorney to attempt to view the files. All the court clerks could do is confirm that, yes, there were more than 16 entries, still logged in their computers, but all of Mary Frank’s court documents are missing.
We’ve placed a written “File Search Request” with the Middlesex Probate and Family Court, and asked to be notified should the files ever mysteriously re-appear. Cue the crickets.
Where are the files? Have they been scrubbed? Is someone trying to erase Mary Frank?
(Note: The Boston Broadside is raising funds to try to help Mary Frank. Information is in this link.)

This is the courthouse where life and death decisions are being made, against the will of the people whose lives are decided. Photo courtesy of Lisa Belanger.

What Can You Do to Help?

The main office number for Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker is 617 725 4005. He may be contacted here. He is also on Twitter.

Massachusetts State Auditor Suzanne Bump has been asked to conduct an audit of court appointed guardians and conservators, but she has reportedly declined. Her office recently conducted an audit of CPS and found many issues that need to be addressed.


Massachusetts State Auditor Finds Widespread Rape and Sexual Abuse in Foster Care but DCF Officials Won’t Report It

What would her office find if she audited Adult Protective Services? Would she be able to track the corruption that is surely present?

Auditor Suzanne Bump may be reached at 617 727 2075, or contacted here. She is also on Facebook and Twitter.

Maura Healey is the Massachusetts State Attorney General, tasked with “combating fraud and corruption” and “investigating and prosecuting crime,” according to the website.

Attorney Lisa Belanger reports that she has reached out to Healey’s office regarding the hastened deaths of Beverley Finnegan and Alice Julian, but her staff told her that “the AG’s Office does not handle this type of criminal matter.” (See link.)

Belanger wants to know, “Why not?” It is a valid question.

Healey’s office number is 617 727 8400. AG Maura Healey is also on Facebook.

Jewish Family and Children’s Services, the common denominator in each of these cases, may be reached at 781 647 5327. They are also on Facebook and Twitter.

How many more senior citizens will lose their lives or freedom due to being medically kidnapped and placed under their guardianship? Even one is too many.
Full Article & Source:
Public Warning: Boston is a Cesspool of Adult Medical Kidnappings

Southern Indiana caretaker accused of neglecting elderly man

A Southern Indiana woman is accused of neglecting the elderly man for whom she was responsible.

Court records said Fay Gohl, 55, was a live-in caretaker who is accused of stealing more than $37,000 from the elderly man.

"It was her responsibility to provide for him and to provide care to him that was he was dependent upon," Clark County Prosecutor Jeremy Mull said.

Mull said the 80-year-old man was partially paralyzed and relied on Gohl for help.

"There was neglect of him that was occurring that involved him not having the proper care taken of him, the proper hygiene-type issues," Mull said.

A probable cause affidavit said Gohl left the man in his soiled bed for hours without changing his urine-soaked clothes.

Investigators believe the neglect had been going on for about a year.

Gohl is also accused of signing the man's name on checks she wrote to herself and her family members, leaving his bills unpaid.

"Over and over I have seen individuals take advantage of the trust that they have in those situations," Mull said.

Over the last three years, Mull said his office has seen an increase in the number of elderly abuse cases it's prosecuted.

He said they hired an additional investigator about two years ago to help.

Since July 1, 2017, the Clark County Adult Protective Services unit has received about 700 calls for neglect, exploitation and physical or financial abuse of a dependent adult, according to an investigator from the unit.

The calls come from four counties in Southern Indiana.

"We are investigating more of those cases and we are anticipating filing more criminal charges against individuals who engage in this behavior," Mull said.

A judge set Gohl's bond at $7,500.

She's scheduled to be back in court in April.

Full Article & Source:
Southern Indiana caretaker accused of neglecting elderly man

Two indicted for murder of elderly man

(Editor’s Note: Charges filed against the defendants are subject to change or be dismissed by the State. The indictment of a person by a grand jury or otherwise is an accusation only and that person is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.)
A Coweta County Grand Jury indicted two people for allegedly murdering an elderly man in a home in the 100 block of Brandy Lane.

Jonathan Lee Barber and Tiffany Dawn Fountain were each charged with one count of felony murder, one count of neglect to an elderly person and one count of exploitation to an elderly person, according to the indictment.

The pair reportedly deprived Rollis Nobel Bowman, 76, “... of care and sustenance that jeopardized his health between April and May of 2017,” the document read.

The indictment said Barber and Fountain also improperly used Noble’s financial resources between September of 2016 and May of 2017.

Barber and Fountain will be arraigned in Coweta County Superior Court on Feb. 26.

According to the Clerk of Courts office, Barber and three other people were also indicted in 2013 on an aggravated assault charge for allegedly attempting to rob someone at gunpoint.

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Two indicted for murder of elderly man

Monday, February 26, 2018

Tonight on Marti Oakley's T. S. Radio: Abolishing Probate - What are your rights?

5:00 pm PST … 6:00 pm MST … 7:00 pm CST … 8:00 pm ES

Join Marti Oakley, Luanne Fleming and Robin Austin as we host Brian Kinter (Judicial Accountability Movement) Chris Hallet and Lotus Justice in a lively discussion on ideas for ending the the tyranny of family, probate and other unconstitutional administrative tribunals. We are being bought, sold traded and robbed by these government sanctioned rackets that operate under the pretense of fictional laws, color of law, and a thoroughly corrupted judicial system that is destroying the families of America.

Please tune in for an informative and heated debate on the disastrous effects of treating human beings as chattel property.

LISTEN TO THE SHOW LIVE or listen to the archive later

Guilderland judge and second lawyer accused of stealing $4 million from estates

Richard J. Sherwood
GUILDERLAND — A Guilderland town justice and another attorney were arrested Friday on felony charges for allegedly stealing about $4 million from trust funds connected to the estates of three sisters, including one who was married to a deceased General Electric Co. executive.

Town Justice Richard J. Sherwood, 57, and attorney Thomas K. Lagan, 59, are business associates who are accused of devising a scheme to steal the money that originated from the estate of Walter Bruggeman, the former head of Global Nuclear Energy at General Electric.

Bruggeman graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy and died in 2009 with about $20 million in his estate. He and his wife, Pauline, who died in 2011, were noted Capital Region philanthropists who gave millions of dollars to local charities and churches.

Sherwood and Lagan, who provided estate planning and financial advice to the couple since at least 2006, both were arrested Friday morning after an investigation by the state Attorney General's office, the U.S. Attorney's office and the FBI. They are accused of diverting about $4 million in trust fund money into accounts they controlled. The money was intended to be donated to charities, according to court records.

Sherwood is a Democrat who had been a town attorney in Guilderland for 14 years before he was elected town justice in 2013. He ran unsuccessfully for Albany County Surrogate Court judge in 2014, and had been active in the community for many years in Guilderland, including heading Little League baseball programs.

Lagan, an attorney since 1986, is also a financial advisor and former Capital Region resident who now lives near Cooperstown, where he owns numerous properties. Lagan previously worked for Ayco Co. in Albany.

Investigators separately escorted both men, each handcuffed, into Albany City Court on Friday afternoon. They were arraigned before Judge Gary F. Stiglmeier on a six-count felony information charging them with grand larceny, scheme to defraud and criminal possession of stolen property. Stiglmeier released them both on their own recognizance and they left court without speaking.

Sherwood and Lagan had provided estate planning and financial and legal advice to Bruggeman and his wife Pauline, as well as her sister, Anne Urban. The Bruggemans created a $4.2 million family trust intended to provide for Anne Urban and Pauline’s other sister, Julia Rentz of Ohio, upon the death of Pauline Bruggeman.

The complaint alleges Sherwood and Lagan diverted more than $4 million from at least two estates to accounts they controlled. In one instance, more than $1 million in stolen funds were used to fund the Empire Capital Trust, an account that Lagan and Sherwood set up for their benefit, according to the complaint.

The $4 million that was allegedly stolen was supposed to be given to at least six Capital Region charities, which were not identified in the court filings.

Authorities raided Sherwood's law office off Washington Avenue Extension and interviewed him there on Wednesday.

Sherwood had been a partner at the firm of Mazzotta Sherwood and Vagianelis on Washington Square in Albany. A woman who answered the phone at the firm Friday said Sherwood no longer worked there. His name was recently removed from the firm's website.

Sherwood is a former vice chairman of the Albany County Airport Authority and a former chairman of the Albany County Ethics Commission. Earlier in his career, he was a law clerk to the state Supreme Court Justice Daniel H. Prior, Jr., and also had been a clerk with the U.S. Attorney’s office in Albany.

Sherwood, who specializes in estate planning and elder law, was represented at his arraignment by attorney William J. Dreyer of Albany. Lagan was accompanied by Ryan Miosek, an attorney from Cooperstown.

Investigators confronted Sherwood at his former law firm on Wednesday, according to court records, and he allegedly made admissions that "the scheme, including the wording of the trusts, was devised by Lagan but that he, Sherwood, drafted the documents in order to effectuate it," according to a criminal complaint filed in Albany City Court.

“We have zero tolerance for those who try to game the system and violate the public trust in order to line their own pockets," Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement issued following Friday's arrests.

Dreyer told the Attorney General's office that Sherwood will voluntarily take a leave of absence from his position as town justice while the case is pending. The state Constitution authorizes the Court of Appeals to suspend a judge who is charged with a felony or a crime of "moral turpitude," but it remained unclear late Friday if the court would intervene.

In 2008, Sherwood's conduct as town attorney in Guilderland came under scrutiny by the Town Board after he recommended a property tax reduction for property owned by a legal associate. Sherwood recommended a $540,500 assessment reduction on the property owned by a counsel at another one of Sherwood's former law firms without disclosing his connection.

Sherwood also advised the town in 2008 to approve a settlement in a lawsuit challenging the $3.22 million assessment on the Walgreens drug store at 2061 Western Ave. The pharmacy said the property was worth $2.68 million, and Sherwood agreed with that figure, according to town records.

Sherwood did not tell the five-member board that the chief executive of the company that co-owned the property was also a counsel for the former Albany law firm of Segel, Goldman, Mazzotta & Siegel, where Sherwood was employed at the time.

An earlier version of this story listed the wrong day that investigators raided Richard Sherwood's law office. That took place on Wednesday, Feb. 21.

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Guilderland judge and second lawyer accused of stealing $4 million from estates

Congress passes legislation to protect veterans from financial scams

Rep. Matt Cartwright
WILKES-BARRE — The U.S. Senate last week passed by unanimous consent the Veterans Care Financial Protection Act — a bipartisan bill introduced by several legislators, including U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright.

The legislation seeks to crack down on scam artists who are diverting federal funds from the Veterans Affairs (VA) Aid and Attendance program intended to support low-income and older veterans who require assisted care. The Aid and Attendance (A&A) benefit helps pay for assisted living or in-home personal care for veterans who qualify for a VA pension, and are housebound or require the aid and attendance of another person.

Cartwright, D-Moosic, said scam artists have targeted veterans, charging them fees for obtaining the benefit even though the application process is free. He said some scammers even take control of the veteran’s assets and move them into an irrevocable trust or an annuity, which the veteran often cannot access again for many years, and may disqualify the veteran from other assistance, like Medicaid.

“It’s our responsibility to protect our nation’s heroes and ensure they receive their earned benefits,” Cartwright said in a news release. “The A&A benefit is crucial for veterans who need help with in-home care or assisted living. Unfortunately, predatory scam artists exploit veterans by turning the well-deserved A&A benefit into a financial nightmare.”

Cartwright said he was “thrilled” the Senate passed the bipartisan, commonsense proposal to safeguard veterans from the scams.

The act would:

• Direct the VA Secretary to post an online warning to veterans on the VA’s website related to dishonest, predatory, or otherwise unlawful practices in the Aid and Attendance program.

• Direct the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to complete a study on the financial exploitation of veterans eligible for the Aid and Attendance program, including an analysis of the standards used by federal and state agencies to protect these and other vulnerable populations from financial exploitation, and any gaps in efforts to address these exploitation issues.

• Require the GAO to submit a preliminary report to Congress on the study of financial exploitation of veterans within 12 months, and submit the final report within 18 months.

The bill now heads to the president for his signature.

Full Article & Source:
Congress passes legislation to protect veterans from financial scams

Man found guilty of exploiting 78-year-old Springfield woman in $300,000 scheme

A jury found a man guilty Friday of financial exploiting an elderly Springfield woman.

After a two-day trial in Greene County, the jury deliberated for about four hours before deciding Howard Roberts, 75, was guilty of a Class A felony for convincing the woman to invest more than $300,000 in his supplement business.

Roberts will be sentenced at a future hearing. He faces a possible life sentence.

Authorities brought the charge against Roberts in February 2016, accusing him of taking advantage of a then-78-year-old woman with bipolar disorder.

Roberts maintained his innocence throughout the court proceedings, claiming the woman freely decided to invest in his company, Maximum Performance, and she was involved in the business operations.

Maximum Performance was involved in making supplements for horses and human athletes.

Prosecutors say the company was based in Kentucky and was not registered to sell stock in Missouri, so Roberts broke the law when he sold the woman $250,000 worth of stock.

Roberts' defense attorney Adam Woody argued at trial that Roberts was not an expert in business law, but he tried to do everything right.

Woody said he was shocked by the jury's decision.

"The state did a good job presenting their evidence," Woody said. "We just certainly did not believe there was enough evidence there to find Mr. Roberts guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. He tried to do things the right way during this stock purchase agreement."

In addition to the stock purchase, the woman also bought a truck and horse trailers for the company, according to prosecutors.

Prosecutors say Roberts and the woman were friends in the 1970s and reconnected in late 2013 after Roberts was divorced and the woman's husband died.

Roberts eventually moved into the victim's east Springfield home and invited his ex-wife to move in as well, according to prosecutors.

Prosecutors say Roberts tried to gain control over the woman's finances.

Investigators got involved in the case after the victim's family and friends expressed concerns and the bank noticed some irregular activity on her account.

The jury was not able to reach a unanimous decision after closing arguments on Thursday, but the jurors returned Friday morning and found Roberts guilty.

Woody said he plans to file motions asking for Roberts to be acquitted or get a new trial.

Full Article & Source:
Man found guilty of exploiting 78-year-old Springfield woman in $300,000 scheme

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Justice Department Coordinates Nationwide Elder Fraud Sweep of More Than 250 Defendants

Attorney General Jeff Sessions and law enforcement partners announced today the largest coordinated sweep of elder fraud cases in history.   The cases involve more than two hundred and fifty defendants from around the globe who victimized more than a million Americans, most of whom were elderly.  The cases include criminal, civil, and forfeiture actions across more than 50 federal districts.  Of the defendants, 200 were charged criminally.  In each case, offenders engaged in financial schemes that targeted or largely affected seniors.  In total, the charged elder fraud schemes caused losses of more than half a billion dollars.  The Department coordinated its announcement with the FTC and state Attorneys General, who independently filed numerous cases targeting elder frauds within the sweep period.

“The Justice Department and its partners are taking unprecedented, coordinated action to protect elderly Americans from financial threats, both foreign and domestic,” said Attorney General Sessions.  “Today’s actions send a clear message:  we will hold perpetrators of elder fraud schemes accountable wherever they are.  When criminals steal the hard-earned life savings of older Americans, we will respond with all the tools at the Department’s disposal – criminal prosecutions to punish offenders, civil injunctions to shut the schemes down, and asset forfeiture to take back ill-gotten gains.  Today is only the beginning.  I have directed Department prosecutors to coordinate with both domestic law enforcement partners and foreign counterparts to stop these criminals from exploiting our seniors.”

The actions charged a variety of fraud schemes, ranging from mass mailing, telemarketing and investment frauds to individual incidences of identity theft and theft by guardians.  A number of cases involved transnational criminal organizations that defrauded hundreds of thousands of elderly victims, while others involved a single relative or fiduciary who took advantage of an individual victim.  The schemes charged in these cases caused losses to more than a million victims.

"Winners. That’s what so many of the people who received these solicitations in the mail thought they were. But they’re not. They are victims (link is external) of scams that Postal Inspectors have seen and investigated for decades. In fact, some of the same operators we encountered 20 years ago are back. But so are we. Yesterday, Postal Inspectors around the country executed search warrants on 12 locations that some of these same operators used to run their scams. We’re letting the American public know – and especially our vulnerable older Americans – that Postal Inspectors are working hard to protect them and ensure their confidence in the U.S. Mail,” said Chief Postal Inspector Cottrell.

“Over the last year, the FBI has initiated more than 200 financial crimes cases involving elderly victims who were devastated financially, emotionally, mentally and physically. Picking up the pieces of these fraud schemes can be equally as traumatizing for the caregivers of these elderly victims,” said Acting Deputy Director Bowdich.  “The FBI reminds seniors and their caregivers to be vigilant. If any person believes they are the victim of, or have knowledge of fraud involving an elderly person, regardless of the loss amount, they should report it to the FBI.”

Actions against mass-mailing fraud industry
As part of the initiative, the Department’s Consumer Protection Branch, working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York and others, brought numerous cases this past week in a coordinated strike against more than 43 mass-mailing fraud operators, including criminal charges against six individuals.  In addition, law enforcement agents executed 14 premises search warrants from Las Vegas to south Florida, served numerous asset seizure warrants, and coordinated with the Vancouver Police in Canada, who executed over 20 warrants, including search warrants on business premises.

“The defendants targeted elderly and vulnerable consumers both in the United States and abroad, using U.S. addresses and the U.S. mails to try to legitimize their fraudulent schemes,” said U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Richard P. Donoghue.  “They sold false promises of life-changing prizes that never came true.  We will pursue the perpetrators of these mail schemes wherever they are located, and hold them accountable.”

These recently filed cases particularly targeted transnational criminal actors who collectively defrauded at least a million victims out of hundreds of millions of dollars.  Indeed, just one of the schemes prosecuted criminally by the Consumer Protection Branch operated from 14 foreign countries to cost American victims more than $30 million.  Click here for map showing a transnational, single fraud scheme.

Mass-mailing fraud inflicts hundreds of millions of dollars in losses to elderly U.S. victims each year.  Department prosecutors and U.S. Postal Inspectors have taken a comprehensive approach to combatting this fraud, disrupting and prosecuting individuals who manage the schemes, artists who draft the fraudulent solicitations, list brokers who supply victim lists, and individuals who collect victim payments. Click here for fact-sheet with cases on mass-mailing fraud.

Actions against other elder fraud schemes
Prosecutors across the country from the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, the Consumer Protection Branch and the U.S. Attorney’s Offices have heeded the call to focus resources on elder fraud cases.  Over 50 U.S. Attorney’s Offices and Department Components filed elder fraud cases in the last year.  A list of Elder Fraud cases is provided on this interactive map.
Some examples of the elder financial exploitation prosecuted by the Department include:
  • “Lottery phone scams,” in which callers convince seniors that a large fee or taxes must be paid before one can receive lottery winnings;
  • “Grandparent scams,” which convince seniors that their grandchildren have been arrested and need bail money;
  • “Romance scams,” which lull victims to believe that their online paramour needs funds for a U.S. visit or some other purpose;
  • “IRS imposter schemes,” which defraud victims by posing as IRS agents and claiming that victims owe back taxes;
  • “Guardianship schemes,” which siphon seniors’ financial resources into the bank accounts of deceitful relatives or guardians.
Many of these cases illustrate how an elderly American can lose his or her life savings to a duplicitous relative, guardian, or stranger who gains the victim’s trust.  The devastating effects these cases have on victims and their families, both financially and psychologically, make prosecuting elder fraud a key Department priority.

Public education
The Department has partnered with Senior Corps, a national service program administered by the federal agency the Corporation for National and Community Service, to educate seniors and prevent further victimization. The Senior Corps program engages more than 245,000 older adults in intensive service each year, who in turn, serve more than 840,000 additional seniors, including 332,000 veterans.

Using its vast network operating in more than 30,000 locations, Senior Corps volunteers will communicate about elder fraud to potential victims across the country and will use their skills, knowledge and experience to educate their peers and caregivers about the most prolific types of schemes and how to avoid them. Click here for information on Senior Corps’ efforts to reduce elder fraud.

Coordination with foreign law enforcement
Exceptional assistance from foreign law enforcement partners amplified the effectiveness of the Department’s initiative.  The sweep announced today benefited greatly from the work of the International Mass-Marketing Fraud Working Group (IMMFWG), a network of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Europol, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.  The IMMFWG is co-chaired by the U.S. Department of Justice and FTC, and law enforcement in the United Kingdom, and serves as a model for international cooperation against specific threats that endanger the financial well-being of each member country’s residents.  Attorney General Sessions expressed gratitude for the outstanding efforts of the working group, including law enforcement action taken as part of the sweep by the Vancouver Police Department in Canada to halt mass mailing schemes that defrauded hundreds of thousands of elderly victims worldwide.

Elder fraud complaints
Elder fraud complaints may be filed with the FTC at or at 877-FTC-HELP.  The Department of Justice provides a variety of resources relating to elder fraud victimization through its Office of Victims of Crime, which can be reached at

Justice Department Coordinates Nationwide Elder Fraud Sweep of More Than 250 Defendants

‘Predator of the Elderly:’ Unlicensed contractor behind bars, latest victims in Pinellas County

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office is calling Richard J. Niger a “predator of the elderly.”

Investigators accuse the unlicensed contractor of collecting money for remodeling projects, doing shoddy work or not finishing work and then disappearing.

“He’s not going to get away with it,” said PCSO spokesman Dan Difrancesco. “Folks like this that are predators, especially the ones that are preying on the elderly, we’re going to go after them. We’re going to catch them and we’re going to put them in jail.”

Niger was arrested Monday after investigators say he left Harry Agoado and his wife, Leta Bazo, with unfinished projects all over their home. The couple has been without a working kitchen since November.

The couple paid Niger a down payment of $5,000 but were sent subcontractors that did poor work.

Bazo said Niger gained their trust and even called her “grandma.”

“He said all the right things and said he was going to correct everything and everything would be perfect,” Bazo said.

Niger has been busted for unlicensed work before. He was arrested in October and charged with exploitation of a 90-year-old woman. He even spent time in prison from 2005 to 2008 for exploitation of the elderly and grand theft of the elderly.

Niger faces 20 charges, including 13 felonies.

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‘Predator of the Elderly:’ Unlicensed contractor behind bars, latest victims in Pinellas County

52-year-old Woman Arrested For Fraud And Elderly Exploitation Charges

Cathy Britton
A 52-year-old woman who offered to assist her 67-year-old disabled neighbor with her finances, but instead took advantage of her, has been arrested on a warrant from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

The investigation into Cathy Britton’s scheme began in September of 2017, when Citizen’s Bank and Trust notified PCSO about fraudulent activity on the victim’s bank account. The victim had been given $4,000.00 following the death of her boyfriend, and in September of 2015, Britton agreed to help the other woman manage her finances. Instead, she depleted the woman’s funds. The victim suffers from cerebral palsy, and does not know how to write checks.

Detectives found twenty checks written out to Britton from the victim’s account, for a total of $5,354.27. Britton had also been added to the victim’s savings account in January 2016. The balance of the account at that time was nearly $16,000.00, but it dwindled each month until September of 2017 when the balance stood at $70.35.

In May of 2016, Britton purchased an air conditioning system for $4,554.00 using money from the victim’s account. Britton acknowledged this to the detective, saying that she was willing to pay the woman back.

The victim told investigators that she did ask for Britton’s help managing her finances, but never authorized her to write checks or purchase an air conditioner.

“The victim reached out for help after her boyfriend died, and rather than seeing the opportunity to do something good, Cathy Britton did the exact opposite—she stole thousands of dollars from the woman instead. How someone could do something like this is just baffling.” – Grady Judd, Sheriff

After deputies obtained a warrant for her arrest, Britton was located and arrested in Marion County, Florida on Thursday, February 8, 2017. She will be transported back to Polk County.

She is charged with 20 counts of Forgery (F-3), 20 counts of Uttering a False Instrument (F-3), Grand Theft (F-3), Use/Possession of ID of Another (F-3), Exploitation of the Elderly (F-3). Her prior criminal history includes two convictions for theft in Ohio.

Full Article & Source:
52-year-old Woman Arrested For Fraud And Elderly Exploitation Charges

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Murder charge filed in fallout from video that shows nurses laughing as dying WWII vet struggles for air

Two nurses and an aide were indicted Wednesday in the death of an elderly patient, World War II veteran James Dempsey, who died pleading for help while in their care, WXIA-TV reported.

Dempsey’s family, of Woodstock, Ga., hid a camera in the late veteran’s room in the Northeast Atlanta Health and Rehabilitation Center which captured the night he died.

The video showed the decorated U.S. Navy veteran repeatedly calling for help, saying he could not breathe. It also showed the nurses failing to take life-saving measures and laughing as they tried to start an oxygen machine.

The channel reported that Brookhaven Police launched an investigation and on Wednesday a grand jury returned an indictment.

Loyce Pickquet Agyeman’s top charge is felony murder; Wanda Nuckles, a nursing supervisor, is charged with depriving an elder of essential services and Mable Turman is charged with neglect to an elder, the report said. Warrants were issued for their arrests.

The nursing home’s attorneys attempted to stop media news outlet WXIA-TV from getting the video, but a DeKalb County judge ruled to unseal the footage.

Nuckles told Dempsey’s family lawyers in the deposition that when she learned the veteran had stopped breathing, she rushed to his room and took over CPR, keeping it up until paramedics arrived, WXIA-TV reported.

However, the secret video showed that nobody was doing CPR when she arrived, and she did not start immediately. After the attorneys showed Nuckles the video, she told them it was an honest mistake, based on her normal reactions.

When the attorneys asked why Nuckles was laughing, she said she did not remember.

WXIA-TV reported the nursing home was told of the video in 2015 but did not terminate the nurses until 10 months later. Nuckles and another nurse did not surrender their licenses until this September, when the Georgia Board of Nursing was sent a link to the video by the news station.

Records showed the nursing home continued to have problems, including $813,000 in Medicare fines since 2015, WXIA-TV reported. It said the nursing home got a good inspection report in May, but still has Medicare's lowest score, a one-star rating. 

Full Article & Source:
Murder charge filed in fallout from video that shows nurses laughing as dying WWII vet struggles for air

What are lawmakers going to do to protect seniors and vulnerable adults?

It’s expected to take until the end of the year for the Minnesota Department of Health to tackle the backlog of complaints of maltreatment in the state’s assisted-living facilities.

In the meantime, lawmakers are expected to use recent recommendations from an elder abuse task force as a guide to craft new rules and regulations to help keep Minnesota’s most vulnerable citizens safe.

Gov. Mark Dayton says he’ll work with his new lieutenant governor, Republican Michelle Fischbach, and leaders in the GOP-led House and Senate to implement the task force recommendations.

They include:
  • Expanding the rights of seniors, vulnerable adults and their families so they are empowered to report maltreatment and don’t fear retaliation.
  • Strengthening criminal and civil penalties for maltreatment so prosecutors can more easily charge perpetrators and victims can seek compensation when their rights are violated.
  • Clearer standards for licensing of assisted-living facilities and for training of staff.
  • Improving enforcement of existing laws through more frequent inspections and expedited investigations of abuse complaints.
Dayton has already ordered the state Department of Human Services to work with state health officials to improve the Office of Health Facility Complaints.

He also recently appointed Jan Malcolm as health commissioner to replace Dr. Ed Ehlinger, who resigned after the department’s failure to protect vulnerable adults came to light. Malcolm’s top priority is to improve the state’s oversight of assisted-living facilities.

Full Article & Source: 
What are lawmakers going to do to protect seniors and vulnerable adults?