Saturday, April 12, 2008

Conservator Pleads Guilty

A La Pine man who was assigned by State court, Social Security Administration, and Senior & Disabled services to act as a conservator of finances for numerous senior and disabled citizens throughout Central Oregon who was arrested in July of last year has pleaded guilty to 32 counts of theft.

Originally charged with three counts of first-degree aggravated theft, 14 counts of first-degree theft, 13 counts of second-degree theft, 3 counts of third-degree theft, and 32 counts of first-degree criminal mistreatment, an agreement was made wherein Oliver Lee Trussell, 59, would enter Alford pleas to 32 counts of theft.

An Alford plea is a guilty plea where the defendant does not admit guilt, but acknowledges sufficient evidence exists with which the prosecution could likely convince a judge or jury to find the defendant guilty.

Full Article and Source: La Pine conservator of seniors, disabled pleads guilty to theft

Trussell was 'volunteer of year' in 1996.

See also:
La Pine conservator arrested on theft charges

Money manager for seniors arrested for theft in La Pine

Ex-volunteer of the year pleads guilty to Deschutes County theft

Friday, April 11, 2008

An Open Door

Guardians will find any crack in the crevice to get into our lives and our loved one's pocketbook; but oftentimes, we've unwittingly opened the door and invited them in ourselves, following a family feud. This is the phrase the guardians like to use - or "family squabble."

It could start because one family member feels slighted - discovering another will inherit more of the eventual estate. Theft by a family member is often actually involved. Or maybe one sibling is taking care of Mom and the others think that he/she is taking advantage of her or not treating her properly. Maybe the siblings have never gotten along. Worse, maybe one sibling is actually abusing Mom and she's in danger. Sometimes families call an APS-type agency to complain about each other. The problem escalates very quickly and often ends up in court, where the siblings expect the disagreement will be settled -- by a judge who will hear all sides. Each side may believe they're clearly right and the others are wrong.

The day you take the matter to court is the day you lose your loved one! Almost without exception, the judge will appoint a third-party guardian - regardless of whether advance directives (durable power of attorney, health proxy, wills, trusts, etc.) are in place or not.

The courts are known to be biased against the family. Why? Did you ever hear the word "patronage"? That means judges giving business to their buddies. And that's why bias is encouraged by the guardian ad litem and attorneys in the case. They are the ones who benefit monetarily if they can keep the disagreement going, leading to a forced guardianship/conservatorship. There's no real interest in the welfare or well being of your loved one; the judge will appoint a professional or public guardian, citing the long-standing family dispute as the end that justifies the means. In other words, the Ward is punished because his/her family "can't get along." And the guardian fans the flames to guarantee that there will be no settlement of the dispute, rationalizing and entrenching his/her function and continued existence.

If you can avoid going to court, you can avoid a forced guardianship or conservatorship. Try every possible means to mediate your dispute and come to terms without outside involvement.

What can happen if you fail to settle the family dispute? You will lose your loved one to strangers with the absolute right over life and death. Before that happens, your loved one will lose practically all civil rights, as well as all property - investments, life savings, personal possessions, family treasures - everything. Old family photographs may wind up in the trash can. And that's not the worst of it: you will lose all input into your loved one's care and the right to even know of his/her medical condition. You will be powerless to help your loved one when the guardian sends him/her to a nursing home. You may even be barred from visiting!

One of our NASGA members said it best, "If I would have known the real truth about guardianship, I would have mediated with my brother till the cows came home. But I did not know I had an option...."

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Family Feud

When they were children, Melvin and Byron McCree grew up as brothers in one of Flint's history-making families.

Today, as the end nears in Melvin McCree's political career, the two are growing further apart in a family feud that's already become very public and seems to be getting nastier by the hour.

Byron McCree was appointed temporary guardian and conservator for his brother last week after testifying that Melvin McCree, the county register of deeds, was becoming increasingly delusional and could no longer take care of himself.

Melvin McCree had his say, filing a Probate Court petition to end his brother's involvement in his affairs, suggesting his brother did not have his best interests at heart, and appearing before the county Board of Commissioners, to say he was still able to function on his own.

Family Feud:
Genesee County Register of Deeds Melvin McCree is trying to end his brother Byron's temporary control of his affairs. Here's some of what happened in advance of a filing Melvin McCree made in Genesee County Probate Court:

• Jan. 20, 2006: Melvin McCree files a document granting his brother durable power of attorney, giving him the legal authority to act on his behalf in some matters.

• March 20, 2008: Byron McCree files a petition for hospitalization of his brother, saying he believes he is suffering from mental illness.

• March 27, 2008: Byron McCree files two quit claim deeds, transferring the rights of Melvin McCree in two properties to the two brothers jointly.

• March 31, 2008: Melvin McCree files a legal notice revoking the power of attorney he had given his brother more than two years earlier.

• April 1: Byron McCree files a petition for appointment of a temporary conservator and guardian for his brother, saying he can no longer manage his own affairs. He is appointed to both positions on a temporary basis by Judge Jennie Barkey.

• April 2: Melvin McCree announces his retirement as county register effective May 2 because of continuing health problems and asks a three-member panel to begin work on appointing a replacement to fill out his term.

• Friday: Barkey files an order, authorizing Byron McCree to change how and when his brother's retirement benefit is paid.

• Wednesday: Melvin McCree files a Probate Court petition, claiming his brother has depleted his bank account and "is not motivated by my best interest." A hearing on the petition has been scheduled for Friday.

Source: Genesee County Register of Deeds and Genesee County Probate Court documents

Full Article: Hearing set for Friday in family feud over guardianship for Register of Deeds Melvin McCree

See also:

Genesee County's longtime Register of Deeds Melvin McCree ruled unable to care for himself; brother appointed to manage affairs

Melvin P. McCree speaks to Genesee County board; Fights to remove guardian explaining, 'Nobody kicks my butt'

McCree asks court to remove guardian

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Brooklyn Folk Song

Ode to the Honorable John J. Phillips, victim of an abusive guardianship. Supreme Court Justice robbed of his money, his property, and his freedom.

See also: The Kung-Fu Judge

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Stealing Guardianship of Senior Parents

Senior adults have been targeted as easy victims in a number of different scams for the last two decades now, and it's only getting worse. Instead of just stealing money from them or ripping them off, con artists are now actually stealing guardianship of many senior adults. Some criminals have figured out that they can assume guardianship of elderly individuals just by telling a judge they are no longer mentally stable.

When approaching a judge, these crooks don't have to do anything to prove that they are related to the individual they are trying to assume guardianship of. Courts are so busy and over-packed with cases that they just don't have the time or resources to make sure that the person making the claim is on the up and up. There's no easy way to find out when this occurs, so family members often have no idea that someone is stealing guardianship of their parents and simply have no recourse in the event that it happens. Usually the ruling happens quickly and the victims have no idea when it happens.

If you have any aging parents, you have to look out for them and make sure they are not victimized. It's extremely easily to steal the money from your ageing parents and almost impossible to get it back after it's stolen.

Source: Be on the Lookout: Con Artists Stealing Guardianship of Senior Parents

Monday, April 7, 2008

Steal An Estate

How To Steal an Estate - Get Rich On Other People's Money - Never Have To Work Again - Displace Rightful Heirs Legally

Steal An Estate discloses the secrets, strategies and malicious manipulations skilled con artists use to steal elderly people’s estates from their rightful heirs. Sadly, many of their tactics are hard to prove.