Saturday, May 9, 2009


My Grandmother did all the things older people are advised to do to protect themselves, and yet when she suffered a massive stroke and became defenseless, none of it counted. She gave my Mother her Power of Attorney and added her on her checking and charge accounts. Her will was fair and equal to both her children. This gave her peace of mind that no matter what happened, she'd be all right.

But she wasn’t. After the stroke left her totally debilitated, unable to speak, and defenseless, her son began a campaign against my Mother and Grandmother in pursuit of his inheritance. My Grandmother didn’t know to protect herself from her own son; she didn't think she had to. She was wrong. My Mother's attorney advised a guardianship would best protect my Grandmother. Not knowing better, my Mother took his advice.

Then the court appointed Old National Bank as guardian of the estate and they literally “charged” right in, immediately reversing every financial decision and all the careful planning my Grandmother made prior to her stroke.

They charged exorbitant fees for sloppy, amateur, and fraudulent work. They even changed and probated my Grandmother’s will while she was alive. Every unnecessary and outrageous bit of it was rubber stamped by the judge. We fought like hell and depleted our life savings in legal fees, but still there was nothing my Mother or I could do to protect her from Old National Bank, the lawyers, and the judge.

Abusive Guardianships of the Elderly

May 2009 ~ Guardianship abuse victims recognized during Elder Abuse Prevention Month

National Silver Alert Act 2009

To encourage, enhance, and integrate Silver Alert plans throughout the United States, to authorize grants for the assistance of organizations to find missing adults, and for other purposes.

2/10/2009--Passed House without amendment.

Read and comment on this Bill:
Text of H.R.632 as Referred in Senate

Open Congress - U.S. Congress - H.R.632 National Silver Alert Act 2009

Celebrity Money Battles

Britney Spears’ biggest fan may be a lawyer she doesn’t want. Spears’ life and career have improved since she was 26 and her father, Jamie Spears, became her legal conservator and guardian. Last October, Britney agreed to have her father continue to make decisions for her and to control her extensive finances indefinitely. Case closed, right? Not so fast....

When Whitney Houston’s father died in 2003, Whitney Houston was the beneficiary of his $1 million life insurance policy. Six years later, Whitney’s stepmother, Barbara Houston, sued Whitney, claiming the policy was to be for her own benefit as a widow....

Even before the legendary actor breathed his last in 2004, the Marlon Brando trust and estate began wrestling over his legacy. Since then, there have been 26 different lawsuits, including claims of sexual harassment, forgery, fraud, undue influence and abuse....

After 14 months of marriage, Anna Nicole Smith’s 90-year-old husband, J. Howard Marshall, died in 1995. His storied career in law, government, and oil left a fortune worth hundreds of millions of dollars. But none of it went to Anna Nicole, who claimed in a series of lawsuits that her stepson, Pierce Marshall, had forged documents and lied to his father to interfere with her inheritance....

Full Article and Source:
Celebrity Money Battles

See also:
Britney Spears Conservatorship

The Brando Wills

Forum Shopping

DHL Heir Lawsuit

The civil lawsuit filed by DHL heir Junior Larry Hillbroom against his former attorneys and his trust manager has turned into a disagreement over the release of documents.

Hillbroom, the son of deceased DHL co-founder Larry Hillblom, in February sued attorneys David Lujan and Barry Israel and trust manager Keith Waibel in the Los Angeles federal court, accusing them of taking too much money from his $90 million settlement. They allegedly changed their fee agreement, from 38 percent to 56 percent, without his knowledge, the complaint by Hillbroom states.

According to documents filed in court this week by Hillbroom attorney Graham Lippsmith, Lujan won't give Hillbroom copies of Lujan's files related to the Hillbroom case, including financial records. And Hillbroom allegedly won't allow his entire guardianship case file to be unsealed for use in the civil lawsuit.

Guardianship is an issue in the complaint because Hillbroom was a minor when some of the alleged actions by his attorneys and trust manager supposedly happened.

Full Article and Source:
DHL heir's lawyers disagree: Lippsmith says Lujan won't turn over copies of Hillbroom's files

Meeting on Medicare/Medicaid Fraud

The U.S Senate Special Committee on Aging met to discuss prevention of Medicare and Medicaid fraud, which costs taxpayers more than $60 billion a year, according to Sen. Mel Martinez, ranking member of the committee.

Martinez said in a statement following the hearing: "Entitlement fraud is out of control and we have 60 billion reasons why it needs to be addressed."

Martinez chaired the meeting, which brought together Daniel R. Levinson, inspector general at the Department of Health and Human Services, along with U.S. attorneys and businessmen from the healthcare field. Some of the conversations focused on Florida, which, according to witnesses, has a significant amount of fraud. R. Alexander Acosta, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida at the U.S. Department of Justice, told the committee that his district prosecuted 245 individuals in 2008 for defrauding Medicare and Medicaid of nearly $800 million.

Full Article and Source:
Senate Special Committee on Aging addresses Medicare, Medicaid fraud in special hearing

Friday, May 8, 2009

Fight For Freedom

Elder abuse!!! Don't let it happen to someone you love

Losing Control: Bringing Maydelle Home

"Losing Control" Update: Maydelle Cleared to go Home

Probate Court: Offering Unequal Protection Under the Law

2006 Federal Options to Improve America’s Ailing Guardianship System: A White Paper for the Senate Special Committee on Aging

Fox 5 Investigates: Guardian Abuse

Maydelle's Homecoming

Maydelle is free at last

Our family’s nightmare began in August 2004. My parents, Ralph and Maydelle Trambarulo, had moved to Delaware to be near son Paul in 2003, after living in Red Bank, NJ for 47 years. Mom, 77, suffers from Parkinson’s disease and related dementia. Dad, 83, suffers from normal pressure hydrocephalus, and has difficulty walking and breathing.

After Mom broke her hip, our cousin Teresa Sirico reappeared (after an absence of 8-10 years). Teresa is Dad’s niece and is a real estate broker in New Haven, CT. When Teresa proposed bringing Mom to Connecticut for treatment, we agreed. We trusted Teresa as a family member and wanted the best medical care for our wife and mother. Once in Connecticut, she told us Mom couldn’t come back to Delaware. Mom had been kidnapped!

In September 2004, we received notice that Teresa had been appointed Mom’s Temporary Conservator (Connecticut’s term for guardian) by the Probate Court of Woodbridge CT. This was done “ex parte” (meaning “emergency” so no hearing was held). We weren’t notified until afterwards. Three attorneys, (the “independent” Conservator, Mom’s attorney and the Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) were appointed to advise the court on “what is best for Maydelle”. Their view of us was formed not through direct knowledge, but through (mis)information supplied by Teresa. All three were paid from Mom’s estate, @$200/hour, for reading e-mails, talking on the phone, court appearances etc.

Our family (Dad, myself and my siblings, Alice, Margaret and Paul), were all united in wanting Mom to return to New Jersey to be near us in her final years. However, our wishes were disregarded by Judge Hoyle and the other court officials. Remember, these outsiders knew what was “best” for Mom!

Judge Clifford Hoyle denied our motion disputing the Connecticut court’s jurisdiction of the case, even though Mom had never been a Connecticut resident, never voted in Connecticut, never had a Connecticut driver’s license or paid taxes in Connecticut. Judge Hoyle decided that it was in Mom’s “best interests” that she stay in Connecticut. This effectively ended my parent’s marriage of 52 years, as Ralph, her husband, lives in New Jersey and couldn’t travel to Connecticut. Dad had to obtain a mortgage (at age 80!) because he was denied access to funds in joint accounts. In a proposed division of the estate, Judge Hoyle stated that he was being ”generous” in allowing Dad 50% of the joint funds, when in fact Dad was the principal contributor to that estate.

There’s a very obvious conflict of interest here: the Probate Court officers are the ones who get to decide whether the source of their financial “gravy train” stayed in Connecticut or was allowed to leave! It was clearly in THEIR best interests financially that Mom remained in Connecticut. The Probate Court’s primary function should have been the reuniting of Maydelle with her FAMILY, and the true conservation of her person and financial estate, NOT the reallocation of her hard-earned assets to court officers’ own bank accounts! (As of Feb. 2008, Conservator Mark DellaValle has billed Mom’s estate for over $100,000!)

We appealed Judge Hoyle’s decision in Superior Court, and Judge Angela Robinson decided on September 28, 2007 that Connecticut had NO JURISDICTION over Mom. However, Mom remained in Connecticut until January 22, 2008 due to the appeals process. The conservator was allowed by Probate Judge John Keyes to hire TWO attorneys to continue to fight us, Mom’s family, with HER money!

May 2009 ~ Guardianship abuse victims recognized during Elder Abuse Prevention Month

Complex Custody Case

At 4 years old, Alessandra Villalobos spends nearly all of her time confined to a bed. She is severely brain-damaged, can neither walk nor talk and is at the center of a medical malpractice lawsuit and a custody fight waged in two Nashville courts.

The child-custody case is complex because of the girl's extraordinary health conditions. Alessandra requires round-the-clock nursing care. The result, lawyers say, of a medical mishap when she was 3 that forever altered her life. If the lawsuit is successful, it could provide millions of dollars to cover the cost of her care.

But the battle over the child is complicated even more because her mother, Ingrid Diaz, is in the country illegally and facing deportation while her daughter was born in the U.S. and is an American citizen.

Diaz, who moved from Mexico to Nashville five years ago, says she wants to keep her child but is willing to relinquish custody if it's in her daughter's best interests.

Speaking through an interpreter: "All I want is what's best for her, and if other people think that she should be with someone else, I'm willing to accept that, as long as it's best for Alessandra."

A local nurse has been fighting for custody of Alessandra for the past seven months. The nurse, Amanda Stinnett, once cared for the girl while Diaz was facing a drug charge that eventually was dismissed.

Full Article and Source:
Millions Potentially at Stake in Illegal Immigrant's Child Custody Case

Convicted Lawyer Caught Shoplifting

A former lawyer convicted of bilking thousands from her elderly clients and her New Britain law firm to support her lavish lifestyle was arrested for allegedly shoplifting a $1,300 designer handbag, police said.

Elizabeth Zembko of 11 Townsend Road spent 15 months in prison for stealing $400,000 from her New Britain law firm Ericson, Scalise & Mangan and $137,000 from various clients, including the elderly.

She was released in 2007 and ordered to pay restitution to the clients. She has already paid back the law firm and was required to give up her license to practice law. Court papers said Zembko spent much of the money on fur coats, jewelry, adding a pool to her Farmington home and other luxuries, including expensive cars and vacations.

Police said Zembko was spotted by Nordstrom security personnel leaving Westfarms mall Monday afternoon with a $1,395 Michael Kors handbag that she allegedly pilfered.

When local police arrived to investigate they discovered two more stolen bags in the car bringing the total value of the merchandise to $1,891, Lt. William Tyler said.

Full Article and Source:
Farmington resident arrested on theft charge

Baffled by Judge's Actions

"I'm shaken up -- to say the least."

On April 22, Nancy Murphy was in Associate Judge Mark Lopez's courtroom in the Daley Center, representing a client seeking back child support payments. After the hearing ended for the day, Murphy filled out a form for Lopez to sign that stated the case was to be rescheduled for July 9, Murphy said.

Lopez took the document into his chambers and then came out again, Murphy said.

Murphy recalled: "He started saying something about the document. I was walking toward him, and he told the sheriff to take me into custody. ... I was handcuffed."

Lopez never offered a hint that he was angry with Murphy, and he hadn't previously threatened to lock her up, she said. In his order, Lopez wrote he was holding Murphy in "direct civil contempt" for "ignoring this court['s] direct instruction" about what to include in her document.

Full Article and Source:
Why did Judge Mark Lopez have lawyer Nancy Murphy hauled off to jail?

Disbarred Lawyer Faces New Charge

An attorney who bilked one client out of $137,000 is now being accused by another of stealing nearly $1 million, reports the Cape Cod Times.

John "Jack" Roberts Jr. pleaded guilty in December to embezzling from the estate of Alice May of Sandwich and using the money to fuel his online gambling addiction. His four months of house arrest ended, but he remains on probation that includes conditions such as attending Gambler’s Anonymous meetings.

Roxanne Roberts : "He’s doing everything he’s been asked to do. My husband was and is a fabulous human being. He got sick. He’s sorry for his illness."

Full Article and Source:
Disbarred Cape lawyer faces new charge

Thursday, May 7, 2009

In Memoriam - John T "Jack" Donovan

John T "Jack" Donovan of Daly City passed away peacefully in his daughter's home in Las Vegas where he had resided since 2000.

Jack Donovan was well-loved by family and friends. He positively affected every life he touched. The twinkle in his eye and his infectious smile immediately endeared him to everyone he met.

Jack was loved by many. He had more friends than anyone else we know.

Jack Donovan Tribute
has been created as a tribute of Jack's remarkable life. If you have any special memories of Jack that you would like to share, feel free to use the Contact us page to introduce yourself.

Viewing will be held Thursday, May 7th at 3:00 P.M. with a Rosary following at 7:30 P.M. at Duggan's Serra Mortuary, Westlake Ave. Daly City, CA 94014 (650) 488-7052

Services for Jack will be held Friday, May 8th at 10:00 A.M. with a viewing at 9:30 A.M. at Notre Dame des Victoires Church, 566 Bush St. San Francisco, CA 94018 (415) 397-0113

Public Guardian of San Mateo

May 2009 ~ Guardianship abuse victims recognized during Elder Abuse Prevention Month

Gast Pleads Guilty to Perjury

Register Of Actions
Case No. 27-CR-08-57579
State of Minnesota vs SHEILA KAY MARTINEK GAST
Case Type:
Crim/Traf Mandatory
Date Filed:
Hennepin Criminal/Traffic/Petty Downtown
Party Information
Lead Attorneys

State of Minnesota
Charge Information
Events & Orders of the Court


Plea (Judicial Officer: Small, Robert M.)
1. Perjury

State of MN - Register Of Actions

See also:
Gast Charged with Perjury

Sheila Gast - Case Files

Investigators: The Power of One

Investigators: The Power of One: A Call For Change

Commission to Stop Elder Abuse

Every year, tens of thousands of elderly Americans are abused in their own homes by care givers or in facilities where family members are paying for their care.

It’s not just physical abuse the aging generation faces. It’s also people taking advantage of their trusting nature and their money. But Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray wants to change that, NBC 4‘s Lauren Diedrich reported.

Cordray announced the creation of the Elder Abuse Commission.

The goal of the commission is to raise awareness about elder abuse in Ohio, improve the elder justice system and identify policy, funding and programming to achieve those goals.

Cordray said the commission of various state agencies, including law enforcement, will meet regularly to discuss how to take care of seniors.

Ohio AG Creates Commission To Stop Elder Abuse

Suspected of Beating Elderly Couple

TX - Law enforcement officials are looking for man accused of pistol-whipping and robbing an elderly couple in their Pasadena home last month.

According to officials the suspect, who has not been identified, was armed with a short-barrel pistol when he burst into the home in the 3900 block of Ecuador about 9 a.m. April 7.

He held the couple captive for about an hour, allegedly beat the pair with the gun and stole cash and jewelry.

Neighbors told investigators that they had seen the suspect nearby walking in front of apartments in the 3500 block Burke before the alleged assault.

He is described as a black male between 23 and to 27 years old and between 6 feet tall and 6-foot-4, weighing between 170 pounds and 200 pounds.

He was wearing an orange and yellow safety vest, black pants and a dark shirt.

People with information about the case are urged to call Crime Stoppers at called in to 713-222-TIPS or submit tips online at

Crime Stoppers pays up to $5,000 for information that leads to the identification, arrest or charging of the suspect.

All tipsters remain anonymous.

Police seek suspect in beating of Pasadena couple

Mother Found in Squalor

A 47-year-old Flint man is behind bars, accused of embezzlement and neglect of his own mother.

Anthony Victor Cunturso was the caregiver and landlord to his 74-year old mother. But the prosecutor says the conditions in which he had his mother living was plain and simple abuse.

Cunturso is charged with one count of embezzlement from a vulnerable adult - -a five-year felony -- and one count of second-degree vulnerable adult abuse -- a four-year-felony. The victim in this case was his mother.

She is diabetic, deaf in one ear and also blind in one eye.

Following a tip from an MTA bus driver, sheriff's deputies entered the home where Cunturso was caring for his mother. Once inside, investigators say they couldn't believe the deplorable conditions: trash, clothing and dirty dishes strewn about the house. No running water and no heat.

Mrs. Cunturso was found on a urine-soaked, maggot-infested sofa wearing only a shirt.

If convicted of these charges, Cunturso faces nine years in prison.

Full Article and Source:
Anthony Cunturso jailed for embezzlement, elder abuse - Son charged after mother discovered in squalor

More information:
Elderly woman found in squalor, Son charged with abuse and embezzlement

Man Charged With Abusing Own Mother

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Journey For Justice

An only child lost his mother in an Illinois probate court to estate conservation. The unnecessary, painful, and torturous death of his dear mother began a journey for justice and accountability for her senseless death.
Read testimony here: Politics As Usual

Push The Walker

Predatory Trust

Greeley pair embark on elder abuse protest

People somehow believe that "proper planning" will alleviate the problem. Those of us who have suffered through an ordeal of probate court know better. What the court does in the guise of "advocacy and protection" is little more than imprisonment, murder and plunder.The exposure you give to this horrible violation of human rights makes you a great advocate. Paul La Bounty

Many rights are violated by starvation, drugging, restraints, deprivation, imprisonment, plundering of funds, failure to recognize prior wishes, etc., etc. etc. Illinois passed a law that allows the state to appoint a guardian to those over sixty found in a condition of self-neglect. I no longer live in that state but I am sure other states have similar legislation on the books" It is profitable!Document, Educate and Act! The vulnerable disabled deserve better. Helen La Bounty

May 2009 ~ Guardianship abuse victims recognized during Elder Abuse Prevention Month

Patient Safety and Abuse Prevention Act

Congressman Joe Sestak announced the introduction of H.R. 2223, the Patient Safety and Abuse Prevention Act, which will prevent those with criminal histories from working within long-term care settings by creating a comprehensive nationwide system of background checks.

The legislation would expand a highly successful three-year pilot program, which prevented more than 7,000 applicants with a history of substantiated abuse or a violent criminal record from working with and preying upon our elders and individuals with disabilities in long-term care settings.

The bill is co-sponsored by Congress Members Vernon Ehlers, Carolyn Kilpatrick, Joe Courtney, Ellen Tauscher, and Fred Upton, and is a companion to the Senate bill S. 631, introduced by Senators Herb Kohland Susan Collins.

Full Article and Source:
Congressman Sestak Introduces Critically Needed Patient Safety Legislation

Gloria Allred Files Petition for Octo-Guardian

Gloria Allred's lawsuit that claims Nadya Suleman's eight infants need a conservator to safeguard their financial interests, now that Suleman appears closer to getting her own reality TV show. Octorazzi writer Raul Roa reports that Allred announced today she is also looking into securing a financial guardian for Suleman's six older children. She filed the petition in Orange County, where Suleman and her 14 children live.

Allred held the press conference in her L.A. office this morning. Joining her was former child actor Paul Petersen of The Donna Reed Show, who is president of A Minor Consideration, an advocacy group for child actors and workers. Allred filed the suit on behalf of Petersen's organization. City News Service quotes Allred's claim that Suleman can avoid a June 22 hearing if she voluntarily agrees to the financial guardianship of her eight youngest children.

Full Article and Source:
Allred Knows Best: Files Petition for Octo-Guardian

More information:
Suleman responds - sort of - to octuplet guardianship lawsuit

Suit filed to protect octuplets earnings, assets

Foster care for the octuplets

Allred, expert on all situations, says octuplets should go into foster care

Octomom taken to court to have guardian appointed for children

Time Sharing

A family asks why a dad had custody of the girl he is accused of killing

While an investigation continues into the alleged child abuse death of 4-year-old Kristina Hepp, her mother, step-grandparents and others say they are left wondering why Kristina's father was awarded custody of the little girl.

They are asking for the Governor's Office to order an investigation into the events leading up to Kristina's death.

Kristina was found dead inside the Waccasassa mobile home where she had lived since February with her father, Matthew Roland and his girlfriend Chelci Folds.

Roland, an unemployed sheet metal worker, has been charged with aggravated child abuse and aggravated manslaughter of a child in Kristina's death. Roland's criminal history includes a string of arrests in Gilchrist County on drug charges and on charges of domestic violence and burglary.

But Roland's only conviction as an adult was for possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana. Adjudication was withheld in two cases, and charges were dropped in three other cases.

According to Arlene Huszar, family court manager for Florida's Eighth Judicial Circuit, even if Roland had been convicted of every charge filed against him, Florida law would not have prohibited him from having custody of his daughter.

Huszar: "A criminal record would not automatically preclude someone from being a guardian or a time-sharing parent. The Florida Legislature passed a law that took effect last fall replacing the term custody with time sharing. It's up to a judge to weigh that information. There is no black or white on 'yes, you can' and 'no, you can't' when it comes to these cases."

Full Article and Source:
Custody cases not clear cut

Judge Grants Restraining Order

A judge has granted Britney Spears a three year restraining order against former manager Sam Lutfi and an attorney, Jon Eardley.

Judge Aviva Bobb granted the order in Los Angeles Superior Court after deliberating for most of the day on the issue.

CLICK HERE to view the court documents.

Attorneys for Lutfi and Eardley had appeared in court to argue against the temporary restraining order against the men being made permanent for a three-year period.

The move comes over a month after the court made permanent a three-year restraining order against Britney’s ex, paparazzo Adnan Ghalib.

Full Article and Source:
Judge Grants Restraining Order Against Sam Lutfi, Attorney Jon Eardley

More information:
Britney Spears' ex-confidant ordered to stay away from pop star

See also:
Unfit To Testify in Court

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

In Memoriam - Frieda Eversole

Frieda Eversole - November 6, 1910 - April 25, 2009

My mother, Frieda Eversole, born November 6, 1910, passed away on Saturday, April 25, 2009 at the age of 98-and-a-half. One of six children, mother was also a fourth cousin to Abraham Lincoln, of which she was justly proud. She spent the first fourteen years of her life on a farm in southern Alabama, and then moved to Birmingham, AL, eventually attended and graduated from college during the Great Depression. She married my father, Finley Pratt Eversole, a year later. I was born a year-and-a-half into their marriage and am their only child.

Throughout her life, mother was an astonishingly hard worker, compassionate and generous to all around her, always thinking of others first. After World War II she spent at least a year gathering clothing and bedding and shipping it to victims in war torn countries in Europe. She loved to entertain and was an exceptional cook. She had an infectious smile to the very end. Only after my father’s passing in May 1999 did I discover her quick wit and amazing sense of humor. Just one example: a couple months before her death, as I often did, I said to her, “I love you.” A few seconds later I asked, “Do you love me?” Her reply: “Yes. Aren’t you lucky!” Sometimes she would simply smile and say, “I love me too.”

My parents and I were close despite spending many years of our adult lives spent far apart.

Taking care of my mother the final eleven years of her life has been the greatest privilege of my life. The love she shared taught me more about love than I could have imagined possible. Letting her go is difficult on some levels, but we are spiritual beings in physical bodies, and her body had been too confining for her bright soul for some time. Now she is free. I believe the bonds of love are never broken and that the life and love we shared for this all-too-brief time will continue on. As I had hoped, I got to be alone with her in her final hours, holding her and talking to her, telling her what a good mother she had been and that our love would continue on. Part of loving is letting those we love move on when the soul decides its earthly work for this lifetime is done. I was blessed with wonderful parents.

~ Finley Eversole
Bogus Conservatorship

Women: The Movement and Elder Abuse

May 2009 ~ Guardianship abuse victims recognized during Elder Abuse Prevention Month

No Use For Elder Abuse

As the number of elderly people increases, so does the potential that they'll be targeted for abuse.

Beth Bonniwell, domestic-violence coordinator for Henrico County police: "Criminals look for the weak, the vulnerable, the older person who might not be able to respond or move as quickly. They look for somebody maybe at the beginning stages of dementia, so maybe they'd not be cognitively as quick. Considering that our population is aging, it is an issue. Reported cases are increasing every year."

Bonniwell will be among those addressing the theme of "No Use for Elder Abuse" at the annual Chesterfield TRIAD Senior Day on Wednesday.

Attorney General Bill Mims and Chesterfield County domestic-violence coordinator Sharon Lindsay are also on the program that begins with a light breakfast. A thousand people usually attend to view information from 60-plus organizations and vendors, making it the largest senior day event on the East Coast, said senior advocate Debbie Leidheiser.

Full Article and Source:
TRIAD Senior Day set in Chesterfield - Protect Yourself

POA Used to Bilk Elderly

Boston Notary and banker Rodolfo Bonilla created a durable power of attorney for his girlfriend and then used it to bilk a hospitalized former client, 92-year-old Michael Kostecki, out of $300,000.

Local authorities have charged Bonilla with seven counts of larceny.

Bonilla was Kostecki’s longtime personal banker at a Citizens Bank branch in Boston. The elderly client initially signed a letter giving Lewis power of attorney over his financial affairs, but prosecutors say Kostecki did not have the mental competency to make that decision. Prosecutors say Bonilla withdrew and transferred the $300,000 plus from Kostecki’s account over the summer.

The plan began to unravel when Bonilla and Lewis showed up in Kostecki’s hospital room and tried to get their hands on the $5,000 in cash the patient brought with him. But the alert hospital staff informed the DA’s Special Investigations about the attempted shakedown. An investigation was launched that resulted in the termination and arrest of Bonilla.

Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley: "the greed at work in the case was absolutely unconscionable."

Banker Uses Power Of Attorney To Bilk Elderly Client

Guardian Wants Money Returned

Widowed millionaire Shirley Jordan's court-appointed guardian plans to keep trying to return more money to Jordan's trust, he testified at the preliminary hearing for Charles McCullough, who is accused of stealing $200,000 from Jordan.

Attorney John Eidemueller said he had worked for months to prevent thousands of dollars from Jordan's estate from being spent by McCullough and his former law firm, Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott.

Jordan's case had been reviewed in Orphans' Court, but Eidemueller said that after McCullough's criminal hearings he will try to get back more money for Jordan.

McCullough is charged with two dozen counts of theft, conspiracy and filing false reports while co-trustee of Jordan's $14.7 million estate. McCullough and his former firm also tried to charge Jordan $97,000 for fees when Orphans' Court required them to account for their dealings with her estate.

Full Article and Source:
Attorney tangled with McCullough over payment from estate

Monday, May 4, 2009

Older Americans Month

NASGA recommends adding “power” to Durable Powers of Attorney

National Association to STOP Guardian Abuse

For immediate release

May 4, 2009
For more information contact:
Annie McKenna
NASGA Media Liaison

May is Older Americans Month
In this month dedicated to older Americans, NASGA focuses attention on an ironic form of abuse perpetrated on our elderly and vulnerable citizens by uncaring or corrupt judges:

A frequent complaint from our members regarding judicially-directed guardianships / conservatorships is that Durable Powers of Attorneys and other advance directives are frequently ignored: the issue is not raised by court or counsel; and no evidentiary hearings are held regarding execution and validity. Note: A properly executed Durable Power of Attorney would obviate the need for "protective" proceedings, or be sufficient grounds for dismissal of any such proceedings previously initiated.

Consequently, persons who have taken every legal step possible to protect themselves in their old age, do not have peace of mind and assurance that their wishes will be followed and that they won’t fall under the control of complete strangers appointed by the court instead; strangers who are given control over every aspect of their lives and property, with very little or no monitoring/oversight.

NASGA recommends videotaping of the signing and execution of a Durable Power of Attorney, Last Will and Testament, Trust documents and other advance directives, to prove validity of the document if challenged. Discussion should also be had with the drafting attorney to assure that should a guardianship issue arise in future, that he/she will testify in court as to the execution and validity of the document(s).

Advocating Legal Reform

Irving Fields died in Boca Raton, Florida in 1991. His estate was modest, under one million dollars. The size of the estate is really immaterial.

What would Irving want me, his son, to say here? This question is difficult to answer because so much changed for me on the day he died, just as so much changed for my father on the day two decades earlier when my mother died.

What meant most to my father throughout his life was his family, beginning with my mother. The only time that I ever saw my father cry was the day my mother died. There wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do for her. He often worked two jobs in an effort to make our lives comfortable and happy. Sometime around the time that I was born, he left RCA to start his own business doing the kind of repair work that he had done for RCA. His customers included many prominent members of the community with whom he was proud to associate. His work would take him inside the homes of these people, and he would beam when I would go with him, carrying his toolbox.

In addition to sometimes accompanying my father on his service calls, I would also sometimes accompany my father to local movie theaters where he would supplement his income by operating the projectors from high up above the audience. That was a real treat, because the concession workers always treated me royally, filling up a brown paper shopping bag with popcorn that was loaded with butter before we went up to the booth. In the booth, my father would have me sit atop phone books that he stacked up on a chair behind a small portal situated between the two large projectors. From this perch I watched the movie. Loading, unloading, and rewinding the film left my father some free time, which he would use to complete study courses that he took in order to earn promotions in the U.S. Air Force Reserves, which he joined following his service during WW II as a navigator.

Although my father worked day and night, often remaining in his basement workshop until the nightly news was broadcast at 11:00 PM, he didn’t neglect my mother. He always took Tuesday nights off to join my mother in a bridge party with three other couples. On Wednesday nights he would join my mother in a couples bowling league. On Saturday nights he would join my mother and friends for dinner and a night out, while Sunday afternoons and evenings were always spent with my mother’s parents, the best grandparents that a kid could ask for.

My mother died while I was serving in the Air Force during the Vietnam War. I was allowed to come home a day or so before she died. When I returned to duty, my father was left alone. He sold our home and moved into an older, smaller home a few blocks away. I completed my service and could have returned home, but I didn’t. 2000 miles away, my father kept close mostly by calling me each week and occasionally by arranging visits. One visit was especially remarkable. I took my father for a short, easy overnight hike, during which we awakened to the honking of magnificent trumpeter swans. Near the end of the visit, I proposed to my wife, and after the visit my father impressed friends back home by showing off the scratches on his legs from walking through bramble in shorts at the end of our hike. One of those whom my father impressed became my step-mother.

My step-mother and father began their marriage with a prenuptial agreement. When my step-mother realized that my father was going to die first, she wanted to break that agreement. During my father’s final months, she tried more than a dozen times. Ten days after my father was admitted to the hospital for the last time, she tried again as soon as she was notified by the hospital that my father’s cancer had ruptured his stomach and that he would not live out the day. My father was still able to tell her No in that condition, but my step-mother refused to accept No for an answer. With the help of her daughter, a lawyer for whom my father had expressed “extreme distrust” to other lawyers, my step-mother was able to get my father to sign the paper her daughter prepared and brought to the hospital.

Because law enforcement refused to even investigate what had taken place, I needed to hire attorneys to collect the evidence which I link online to the web page

This evidence, which includes the testimony of the doctor who was called to my father’s bedside when his stomach ruptured, provides many important lessons which I hope the readers of this memorial will appreciate. For many people, the most important revelation of all is that our courts would uphold a financial document signed under the conditions that I just described, even when a doctor testifies that while in that condition my father did not even recall that he had a will.

Because of my experience, I have spent most of two decades advocating legal reforms that are needed to protect us against the opportunists who would take advantage of us when we are least able to defend ourselves and our heirs. My experience has proved to me what similar experiences have proved to others: the legal profession in this country is despicable. In order to protect us against that profession, we need to add to our Bill of Rights at least one more basic right, without which the others are often given little more than lip service. This basic right would

1) guarantee everyone, without exception, who has evidence of injury due to negligence or wrongdoing by anyone else, without exception, the opportunity to FREELY and FULLY present their evidence to an impartial jury that is empowered and obligated to investigate, judge and remedy legitimate complaints in a timely manner, and

2) hold accountable anyone, without exception, who obstructs or fails to uphold this right.

Without such a constitutional guarantee, only those who can afford the protection racket that is run by this country’s bar and judicial associations are protected by our Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Advocate for the Elderly

EVIDENCE of Fraud and Undue Influence in the Estate of Irving Fields(1919 - 1991)

May 2009 ~ Guardianship abuse victims recognized during Elder Abuse Prevention Month

Legislators Will Impeach Bad Judges

Legislators say they’ll impeach, remove questionable judges

In response to dozens of petitions by the citizens of Minnesota, an ad hoc committee has been scheduled to hear the evidence of the corruption within the Minnesota judicial branch.

The ad hoc committee was formed because the chairmen of the Senate and House committees that oversee matters of the judiciary have refused to hear the citizen petitions.

The evidence given to the ad hoc committee is massive and includes transcripts being altered, bribery, extortion, denial of access to the grand jury and numerous felonies by certain district and appellate court judges. Bills of impeachment against many judges will be brought.

Never before in the history of the state of Minnesota, and perhaps the nation, have the legislative committees charged with overseeing the matters in the judiciary refused to listen to the evidence of crimes being committed by judges.

Article Six, Section Nine of the Minnesota Constitution clearly shows it is the intent of the people for the legislature to discipline the judicial branch. The courageous legislators who have agreed to participate in the ad hoc committee number over a dozen and more are joining as citizens from across the state meet with their legislators.

(Issue # 18, May 4, 2009)

Minnesota Looks to Oust Bad Judges

See also:
Ad Hoc Committee - Crimes By Judges


Starbucks and the GAL Program

Starbucks Coffee and the 19th Judicial Circuit Guardian ad Litem Program have collaborated to recruit more volunteers.

Guardians ad Litem represent children who are victims of child abuse, neglect or abandoned and are involved in dependency court.

GAL coffees are the first Monday of each month. The next is May 4 at 10 a.m. at these locations:

• U.S. 1 and Monterey Road, Martin County

• U.S. 1 and Britt Road, Martin County

• 254 S.W. Port St. Lucie Blvd., Port St. Lucie

All guests of the program receive a free cup of Starbucks coffee and hear about the Guardian ad Litem Program. It is open to the public.

For more information call (772) 871-7225 or e-mail

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Elder Abuse Series Honored

Elder Abuse: A Silent Shame

Kathleen Simane, a court-appointed guardian, used her position to steal more than $75,000 from her dying great-aunt, Helen Fabis of Edgerton. Simane, of St. Paul, Minn., who spent money on a car and breast augmentation, was caught and sentenced to two years in prison, extended supervision and $78,289 in restitution to the Fabis estate.
Elder Abuse: A Silent Shame: Day 4: Easy targets

Elder abuse: A silent shame

ASA Honors Elder Abuse Series

Award Winning Newspaper

Helen Fabis died in April 2001. Helen's great-niece Kathleen Simane was temporary guardian while Helen was sick and was personal representative of the estate after Helen's death.

Kathleen Simane, former Co-Host of The American Outdoorsman TV Show, used her position as guardian to steal from her dying great-aunt. Simane was charged in Rock County Court.

Wanted For Burglary and Assault

DE - State Police are asking the public's help in locating a 23-year-old Felton man wanted for assaulting an elderly man early.

Troopers responded to a home on Jennifer Lane in Felton after 911 was called reporting an intruder had entered the home of the 78-year-old victim and assaulted him. Detectives learned that the homeowner was awoken after a dog began barking. He was concerned and began checking his home when he went into the Florida room attached to the rear of his home.

Police say the man observed an intruder hiding behind a chair and confronted him. According to police, the suspect then attacked the victim with his hands causing cuts, bruises and abrasions to the legs, hands and face of the victim. The intruder then fled the area.

As police continued investigating, they learned the victim had been receiving several hang-up phone calls recently raising suspicion as to who committed this act of violence. Police say the troopers also learned the victim's granddaughter recently began staying with him. Police say the troopers were able to secure the telephone number that repeatedly was calling and hanging up and discovered it was registered to 23-year-old Michael A. Zimmer Jr. of Felton.

Police learned Zimmer was the ex-boyfriend of the victim's granddaughter and obtained a photograph of him. According to police, the victim looked at the photo and immediately identified Zimmer as the attacker. The granddaughter was not home when the incident occurred.

Police have obtained arrest warrants for Zimmer charging him with first-degree burglary, second-degree assault and harassment. Anyone who has information on his whereabouts is urged to call 911, Troop 3 at (302) 697-4455 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333.

Tips may also be forwarded to law enforcement through tip lines maintained by Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333 or online at

Felton Man Wanted for Assaulting Elderly Homeowner

Legal Assistance Presentation

The Senior Alliance is sponsoring a free legal assistance presentation and lunch beginning at 11 a.m. May 8 at the Dozier Recreation Complex.

Experienced legal experts will discuss guardianship, conservatorship, wills, trusts, powers of attorney, nursing homes, assisted living, Medicaid and Medicare and elder abuse and scams.

Audience questions will be answered and individual assistance available after the presentation.

To register, phone (313) 561-2382.
The recreation center is located at 2025 Middlebelt Road in Inkster.

Elder Law discussed

FBI Proposed Redactions

The release of court records concerning George A. Smith IV, a Greenwich man who vanished while on his honeymoon cruise in 2005, has been delayed as the FBI determines which portions to seal from the public.

attorney Michael Jones, who represents the Smith family: "We are hoping for them to be released in a week to 10 days. The FBI has been very carefully reviewing this matter. They are still working on the proposed redactions."

During an April hearing, lawyers and Greenwich probate court Judge David Hopper agreed they would allow the federal agencies investigating the case time to make redactions.

Nearly 2,200 pages of sealed court transcripts, documents and photos that stemmed from a probate court battle over Smith's estate were set to be released after lawyers for the Smiths and Smith's widow completed their own set of redactions.

The records, which have been sealed since 2007, include transcripts of testimony from a four-day hearing in May in which the probate court upheld a $1.1 million settlement from Royal Caribbean cruises to Smith's wife, Jennifer Hagel-Smith. George Smith's family had opposed the settlement and that case is pending in civil court.

Smith went missing July 5, 2005. His body was never recovered.

FBI deciding which portions of Smith documents to seal

More information:
Royal Caribbean Honeymoon Tragedy By Jennifer Hagel Smith

George Smith was on a Mediterranean honeymoon cruise when he vanished overnight. The only trace, a splattered pool of blood. As concern rises over the number of people who go missing from ocean liners, Elizabeth Day investigates Murder on the high seas?