Saturday, June 14, 2008

Judge Arrested on Ethics Charges

WSFA reports that Covington County Probate Judge Sherrie Phillips has been arrested on felony ethics and theft charges.

Here is the official charges from Attorney General Troy King's office:

·First-degree theft of a check for $1.8 million or any proceeds of the check, which was the property of the estate of Cary Douglas Piper and/or the State of Alabama;

·First-degree theft by deception, by knowingly obtaining unauthorized control of a check for $1.8 million or any proceeds of the check, which was the property of the estate of Cary Douglas Piper and/or the State of Alabama;

·As a public official-the probate judge of Covington County-intentionally using her official position for unlawful personal gain for herself or a family member, of a check for $1.8 million or any proceeds of the check;

·First-degree theft of a check for $3,650 or any proceeds of the check, which was the property of the estate of Cary Douglas Piper and/or the State of Alabama;

·First-degree theft by deception, by knowingly obtaining unauthorized control of a check for $3,650 or any proceeds of the check, which was the property of the estate of Cary Douglas Piper and/or the State of Alabama; and,

·As a public official-the probate judge of Covington County-intentionally using her official position for unlawful personal gain for herself or a family member, of a check for $3,650 or any proceeds of the check.

Attorney General King said: “The people of Covington County and citizens throughout Alabama should be assured that no one is above the law, and that as Attorney General, I will prosecute those who break the law and will take action preserve the integrity of our government.”

Covington County Probate Judge Arrested on Ethics Charges

See also:
Covington County Probate Judge arrested on felony ethics, theft charges

Covington County probate judge indicted

Covington County Probate Judge Arrested on Ethics Charges

Previously it was reported that Covington County Probate Judge Sherrie Phillips said rumors that she has been charged with a crime and arrested are just that: rumors.

"What people are saying is that there's an investigation going on about how I stole from estates."

"I can tell you there's no money missing from the probate office or from any estate. It's all intact and accounted for. We're audited every year and [the audits] have always been good.”

"What's happening now is just rumors and speculation, I don't know where they're coming from."
Probate judge denies rumors

Friday, June 13, 2008

Manassas Senior Day Care Program



On April 29, the County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously, and without notifying families, to close the Manassas Senior Day Program which has provided loving day care and therapeutic activities for seniors with Alzheimer's or physical disabilities for over 17 years.

They blame 'budget constraints' yet this program costs the County less than $150,000 a year, and millions are spent on golf courses, a performing arts center, new office buildings, museums, a new 24 hour fitness center exclusively for county employees, incentives to large corporations, etc.


Please call 792-6000 and ask to be connected to your Supervisor, or use email addresses below. THANKS!

Chairman Corey Stewart:

Wally Covington:

Marty Nohe:

Maureen Caddigan:

John Stirrup:

Mike May:

John Jenkins:

Frank Principi:

See also:
Supporters continue Manassas senior day care fight

Support the Manassas Senior Day Program

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Probate Judge Removed

Judge removed from top spot on Macomb probate bench amid allegations over guardianship cases.

The Michigan Supreme Court removed Kathryn George as Macomb County's chief probate judge months after the high court appointed her.

Retired Macomb Probate and Circuit Judge Kenneth Sanborn will take over as acting chief judge following the unanimous vote by the state's high court. One of Sanborn's duties will be to look into allegations that George, who remains on the bench, appointed an inordinate number of cases to Shelby Township-based ADDMS Guardianship Services.

A recent audit by the Whall Group found "flagrant violations of both law and practice" by ADDMS. The audit uncovered several cases where the conservator and guardianship agency mishandled the estates of people it was charged to care for, including one case where the agency sold a man's classic cars, furniture and other possessions without his consent.
Court pulls Macomb chief judge

See also:
Macomb County Probate

Life and Dignity in Danger

"An elderly priest languished in isolation, denied visitors and calls under self-imposed care of Arizona woman"

A fierce custody battle between an Arizona woman and a priest’s family threatens the life and dignity of California-based Fr. Bernard “Brian” Gallagher.

Fr. Gallagher, who has resided in California after his retirement, was placed in a remote Arizona care facility, Payson Care Center, by Apache County, Arizona, resident Imelda Guadalupe “Lupe” Kowalczyk. After repeated complaints of being treated poorly at the facility, located far from California-based family and friends, and unable to have access to the Sacraments, the frail but mentally alert priest revoked, in writing, a health care power of attorney he had assigned jointly to Kowalczyk and another person, David Picella, in 2006.

On February 20, 2008, only five days after this written revocation and without notification to Picella, Fr. Gallagher or his family, Kowalczyk hastily obtained Temporary Guardianship and Temporary Conservator over Fr. Gallagher from an Apache County court—although Fr. Gallagher has never lived in Arizona—claiming him to be mental incompetent. Kowalczyk then ordered the care facility to forbid all calls and visits to the aging priest.

Unable to reach Fr. Gallagher by phone, concerned friends and family drove more than 450 miles to pay a surprise visit to the Payson Care Center, located in a remote part of Arizona. They found Fr. Gallagher in a deplorable state, isolated in a dark room, barely clothed with only a diaper, without blankets or sheets, flat on his back with a feeding tube in his stomach and exhibiting a troubling cough.

The elderly priest had lost a significant amount of weight and was experiencing severe bladder pain. His bed was low to the ground and without guard rails to prevent a fall. A mattress placed next to the bed, to cushion the priest patient should he fall, was filthy.

Picella, NP, Ph.D.(c), in a written legal declaration, “I have never seen such bad neglect, abuse, and outright lack of concern for a patient’s well-being.”

Attorney Greg Weiler, partner at Palmieri, Tyler, Wiener, Wilhelm & Waldron LLP, who represents Fr. Gallagher and his family, "In my 25 years of legal practice, I have never seen a more egregious abuse of the legal system to victimize an elderly defenseless priest.”

Full Article and Source:
Life and Dignity of Aging Priest in Danger

See also:
An elderly defenseless priest

Custody Battle Threatens Health and Life of Aging Priest

Press Release (pdf)

Guardian Abuse - Keeping It In The Family

A true crime case of guardian abuse is presented with reference to present day activist organizations.

By Joe Roubicek, author of FINANCIAL ABUSE OF THE ELDERLY; A Detective's Case Files Of Exploitation Crimes

"While Paushter was using the guardianship to steal from his aunt’s estate, the nursing home staff had been calling him repeatedly, desperately asking for money to pay for a dental operation on a severe abscess on Anna’s lower jaw. He refused to send a cent, saying that the money just wasn’t there. They also asked for money to buy Anna new undergarments and to have her hair done for the holidays, but Paushter claimed that she was “on a tight budget.” Paushter was treating his wife at the expense of his disabled aunt. But finally someone from the nursing home realized that not Paushter, but the bank had guardianship over Anna’s finances and contacted them. The bank attorney assigned to the guardianship discovered the fraud and contacted the police. Paushter’s corrupt scheme was about to end."

Free Download: Guardian Abuse; Keeping It In The Family

See also:
Advocate for the Elderly

Financial Abuse of the Elderly

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Costly Conservatorship - His Life

My son, Stephen Price, Jr., died at age 19, a victim of a guardianship/conservatorship abuse. A severe brain injury caused by hospital neglect at age 9 seemed to be the worst that could possibly happen, ---until a few years later, at a custody hearing between the parents, the San Bernadino County Superior Court System turned Stevie’s life over to private professional parasite (guardian) Melodie Z. Scott and the gang of attorneys she works with.

At this custody hearing, although Stevie’s trust fund ($4mil settlement) was mandated to provide legal representation for him if needed, the court insisted on appointing an attorney of their choosing, who immediately suggested the parents nominate a friend of his as temporary guardian during the custody proceedings. When we declined, this attorney and his friend inundated the court with lies, innuendo, and accusation, apparently justifying the temporary appointment of this guardian (who, it turns out, is also the chief client of said attorney and firm) while we tried to sort out and disprove the lies.

I was able to show that both attorney and guardian had deliberately lied by the time a hearing was held for permanent guardianship; however, this didn’t seem to carry any weight against the exorbitant amounts of my son’s money attorneys and guardian were allowed to put on their case.

For reasons unclear to me, the hearing was held in a neighboring city; Chino, where a traffic court judge’s calendar was cleared so he could hear Stevie’s case. This judge, (who within a year of the hearing was censured for 9 counts of judicial misconduct and then was retired for "psychological reasons") found that Stevie needed a guardian, even tho he had been thriving physically, financially and psychologically without one.

For the next few years, I battled almost daily with this crew of predatory parasites; going thru 3 attorneys and contacting every justice, news, political and professional entity I could find, to no avail. I was successful in preventing Ms. Scott and crew from placing Stevie in a facility-- keeping him at home and remaining his primary caregiver despite their efforts; but I was unable to prevent the decimation of his health care and his finances.

In one arrogant display of power, Ms. Scott got a court order to give Stevie a tracheotomy against the advice, testimony and objections of his parents, nurses and primary doctor of 6 years. Stevie never recovered from the needless tracheotomy and died a year and a half later with no explanation.

Ms. Scott and crew had gone thru well over $2 mil – leaving not even enough to pay his bills. As probate administrator and successor conservator, I was able to confirm my suspicions about the fraud and misuse of his money; Stevie died in debt. Too bad there’s not someone to complain to.

As the LA Times pointed out in the four part editorial, Guardians For Profit , that features Melodie Scott:

Professional conservators wield enormous power over people deemed too infirm to look after themselves. They choose their doctors, control their bank accounts and decide where they will live — even who can visit them.

Probate courts, which appoint conservators, are supposed to monitor their conduct, scrutinize their financial reports and fine or remove those who misuse their authority.

The courts have failed dismally in this vital role.

Melodie Scott is registered with Center For Guardianship Certification

Stealing From The Dead

A former Flushing attorney was charged with misappropriating more than $400,000 from the estate of a deceased man for whom he served as a trustee.

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said: "The defendant is accused of breaching his fiduciary obligations by siphoning off hundreds of thousands of dollars in trust funds for his own personal use and leaving the trust with a closing balance of less than one hundred dollars."

Stephen E. Pearlman of Long Island, maintained a practice until 2006, when he resigned from the bar while facing allegations in a separate matter involving misuse of his attorney trust account.

According to the Queens District Attorney's Office, Pearlman was allegedly named the trustee for the estate of James Graham, deceased, for the purpose of dispersing assets to his wife and beneficiary, Everilda Graham. Instead, Pearlman allegedly made numerous unauthorized withdrawals and wire transfers from the trust, transferring more than $400,000 to either his own general business account or the escrow accounts of other clients. Pearlman allegedly left the Graham trust with a closing balance of $73.93.
Lawyer Charged in Estate Theft

Flushing Attorney Accused Of Bilking Estate

District Attorney Report:

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Child Protection or Legal Kidnapping?

Children being taken from their homes, based on tips from anonymous telephone callers alleging abuse or neglect, and there’s growing evidence that many of the children placed in foster care annually don’t belong there.

Georgia state Sen. Nancy Schaefer assessment of the bureaucrats entrusted to protect children there: “I believe Child Protective Services (CPS) nationwide has become corrupt and that the entire system is broken almost beyond repair. I am convinced parents and families should be warned of the dangers.”

Dr. Steven Krason, professor of political science and legal studies at Franciscan University of Steubenville: "CPS itself now poses “a grave threat” because it is almost impossible to fully insulate one’s family from...a system that on very little pretense can simply reach into the home and take away one’s offspring.”

Dr. Shirley Moore, national director of legislative affairs for the American Family Rights Association (AFRA): "Many Los Angeles judges who rule on family court cases also sit on the boards of phony non-profit organizations created to generate state adoption/foster care grants via federal funding."

California’s 2003 Little Hoover Commission Report: "Up to 70 percent of children in foster care should never have been removed from their homes."

A 2006 series in the Belleville News Democrat: "53 children in foster care died between 1998 and 2005 after state child welfare workers committed serious errors and ignored their own rules."

Free the Children Coalition is planning a national rally in D.C. to expose what they say is "judicial fraud in the Family Court system and the violation of families’ rights by child protective agencies nationwide."

Source: Articles by Barbara F. Hollingsworth, The Examiner’s local opinion editor:

Bureaucrats running down the clock against parents

Victims claim CPS officials guilty of ‘ruthless behavior’

Lawmaker says CPS officials guilty of ‘ruthless behavior’

Is it child protection or legal kidnapping?

CPS: Court Abused Discretion

After an appeals court ruled that Child Protective Services overreached its authority by seizing more than 460 children from a polygamist ranch in West Texas; lawyers for the state agency accused the court of abusing its discretion by issuing the ruling.

The state agency and lawyers representing a group of mothers from the polygamist ranch seeking to regain custody of their children wait for the Texas Supreme Court to decide which side is standing on firmer legal ground.

The CPS lawyers took their swipe at the state’s Third Court of Appeals in a 19-page filing to the Texas Supreme Court where they reiterate their assertion that the children were in imminent danger of abuse when state authorities raided the ranch near Eldorado on April 3.

The lawyers have asked the state’s highest appeals court to set aside the Third Court’s ruling that would return the children to their families.

The lawyers said that the Third Court had given too much weight to assertions by FLDS members that the state had failed to demonstrate each child removed from the ranch was likely to be abused.

The Texas Supreme Court gave no indication when it would make a ruling in the case.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Advocate for the Elderly

The Mentor Senior Center has many programs for today's active seniors. The center also delivers important information that affects the lives of seniors. A video about the Mentor Senior Center can be viewed at City of Mentor - Around Town 2008-06-02

Mentor resident Tom Fields is featured in the June 2008 video. Mr. Fields reviewed and donated a book entitled "Financial Abuse of the Elderly" by detective Joe Roubicek. Mr. Fields became an advocate for the elderly after his father was exploited before dying of cancer. Mr. Fields is working to help make seniors aware of the risk so they do not become victims.
The Estate of Irving Fields - Evidence of Fraud and Undue Influence

See also:
Financial Abuse of the Elderly

Mentor Senior Center is located at
8484 Munson Road
Mentor OH 44060
(440) 974-5725

2002 to 2008: No Improvement

Six years ago, Ed Hatchett, who preceded Crit Luallen as Kentucky auditor, released a report showing that the state "does not effectively safeguard, monitor or manage the assets of its (adult) wards, thereby violating its fiduciary duty."

* money owed to wards or to the estates of wards was not being distributed

* expenses for one person were being paid out of funds that belonged to another

* money of some wards had been used to buy them two burial policies

Mr. Hatchett wrote: "The Cabinet for Families and Children's deficiencies clearly increase the risk of undetected fraud."

2008 Guardianship Performance Report by auditor Luallen concludes the state also "does not properly manage the personal and medical needs" of its 2,555 adult wards."

Ms. Luallen makes 43 recommendations for improving the situation. "Inadequate staffing," she said, "puts their well-being at risk." The guardianship program is "incorrectly structured." And judges, who are supposed to appoint the state as guardian only as "a last resort," have made the situation even worse by using the system as "a dumping ground" for difficult cases.

Ed Hatchett said the same in 2002. The situation hasn't changed. "That's shameful."

Full Article and Source:
Do the right thing

See also:
Wards’ Assets and Well-being at Risk