Saturday, October 3, 2009

Federal Lawsuit to Stop Cuts in Homecare Filed

Several individuals needing critical assistance to remain safely in their homes, advocates for seniors and people with disabilities, and the unions whose members provide care, today filed suit in federal court in San Francisco to prevent impending cuts in the "In-Home Supportive Services" program, known as IHSS. The class action lawsuit is filed on behalf of four low-income Californians who need IHSS to remain safely at home. The plaintiffs include two children with disabilities who need special care, an 81 year old senior who needs IHSS to remain in her apartment, and a young man with autism and bi-polar disorder whose IHSS provider assists him with basic tasks.

The cuts in IHSS services are scheduled to take effect November 1, 2009. At least 40,000 people will lose services entirely and an additional 97,000 will have their services cut sharply. Among the services to be cut are help with cooking, food shopping, cleaning and assistance to medical appointments – cost-effective services which frail seniors and those with disabilities depend on to avoid more costly placement in institutions such as nursing homes.

Full Article and Source:
Federal Lawsuit to Stop Cuts to Homecare to 130,000 Californians Filed Today

More Jail Time

The daughter and grandson of a woman they allegedly let die of hunger and thirst in her bed have another month to stew in jail before they see a judge again.

Judge Edward Burmilla set the next court date for Ilse Krone, 55, and Harold VanDuyne, 31, for Nov. 2.

Krone and VanDuyne both face charges of criminal neglect of an elderly person and financial exploitation of an elderly person in connection with the death of 91-year-old Catherine Bottino.

After Krone announced her mother's death in April, another relative called police and expressed concern that the dead woman had not been well cared for.

Investigators reportedly determined Bottino had been dead for much longer than Krone had claimed. The autopsy revealed she had succumbed to "inanition and dehydration due to elder neglect," or as Coroner Patrick O'Neil explained, she died from "lack of food and water."

On top of all of this, police said, Krone and VanDuyne took their matriarch for thousands of dollars before she died, siphoning money from her bank accounts.

Full Article and Source:
More Jail Time Before Court


A White Center businessman who gradually bilked an elderly woman out of her $1.5 million estate was found guilty Wednesday of one count of first-degree theft.

Jurors in King County Superior Court deliberated for about 2 ½ hours before returning the verdict against Tyrone Dash. Dash faces a standard range of up to 90 days in jail, said King County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Ivan Orton.

But, Orton added, Superior Court Judge Michael J. Fox can seek an exceptional sentence because Dash was found guilty of two aggravating offenses: committing a crime against a vulnerable victim and committing a major economic offense.

Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 30.

Full Article and Source:
Man Convicted of Bilking Elderly Woman Out of $1.5 million

Sentenced to Five Years

Tyra Arnett Green, 50, and Amanda Eastman, 24, both of Houston, were sentenced to five year federal prison terms Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Waco for their roles in a scheme to bilk an 89-year-old Waco woman out of her life’s savings.

The women were each sentenced to 30 months in prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and 30 months for wire fraud.

U.S. District Judge also fined both women $1,000 and ordered that each serve three years under supervised release after completing their sentences.

Green, Eastman and a third defendant, Louis Dickerson, 59, of Houston, each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of wire fraud, acting U.S. Attorney John Murphy said Wednesday.

Dickerson will be sentenced next month.

Police said the victim was approached by a woman holding a black bag as she got out of her car around 11 a.m. on Feb. 5 in the parking lot of the H-E-B store at 1301 Wooded Acres in Waco.

The woman asked the victim if the bag was hers and then explained that it contained a large amount of cash, police said.

She convinced the elderly victim that a reward would be paid for return of the money, but that both would each have to put up about $23,000 of their own money to get it, police said.

The victim drove to her bank and withdrew $10,000, which she gave to the woman who told her she needed to come up with even more cash, police said.

Accused of Ripping Off His Mom

A Spring Valley man is accused of bilking his elderly mother out of more than $72,000 and fleeing the state.

Dloughy borrowed money from his mother, a Ramapo resident in her late 70s, between December 2006 and February of this year, District Attorney Thomas Zugibe said. He told his mother he would repay her with a $703,000 workers compensation claim settlement he expected to receive.

In May 2008, Dloughy signed a promissory note indicating he owed her $63,000 and would pay her back with funds from a revised compensation settlement of $362,000.

By September 2008, his mother refused to give him any more money without proof that Dloughy was getting the settlement.

He then crafted a phony settlement statement that appeared to be drafted and signed by a New Jersey attorney, and gave it to her, Zugibe said.

The mother later learned that a lawyer had never written or signed any documents, and that her son was not receiving a settlement.

Friday, October 2, 2009

New Hampshire Eyes Assisted Suicide

Today, a New Hampshire House committee begins the emotionally difficult work of deciding whether to recommend legalizing assisted suicide for the terminally ill.

The Judiciary Committee holds the first of what is expected to be many long work sessions on a bill introduced last session but held over the summer for more work. The full House votes on the measure next year.

The bill would let terminally ill patients older than 18 obtain lethal prescriptions, with safeguards to prevent abuses.

Opponents call the bill a recipe for elder abuse.

State Rep. Nancy Elliott, R-Merrimack and a committee member, said she hopes the committee will recommend that the bill be turned down.

“This bill opens our vulnerable seniors up to coercion, talking them into ending their life so they won’t be a burden,” said Elliott, R-Merrimack.

Kevin Smith of the conservative Cornerstone Policy Research said Wednesday that doctors should be treating the terminally ill, not helping them die.

“This would put a dollar sign squarely between the patient and the caregiver,” Smith said.

Full Article and Source:
New Hampshire Eyes Assisted Suicide Legislation

Felons as Caregivers

At least 2,400 day care workers were on the job before their records turned up, including a Tampa man with this note in his screening record: "EVIL DUDE-RAPE+KIDNAP+SEX ASLT," a statewide database of screenings since 1985 shows.

Hundreds of people in Hillsborough County charged with offenses such as theft, prostitution, robbery, arson and other crimes received state exemptions to care for children, elderly and the disabled, according to the newspaper's databases.

Through an exemption system created by lawmakers two decades ago, Florida has cleared more than 8,700 people with criminal records to be caregivers. They include 45 murderers, 12 registered sex offenders and 200 people with histories of harming children.

Full Article and Source:
System Puts Felons in Caregiver Jobs

Additional Information:
Databases: Search Criminal Records and Inspections

Six Years and Restitution

A Lakewood man who recruited elderly Vietnamese men and women to sign up for the state's Old Age Pension program for which they were not entitled to was sentenced to six years in prison.

Jeffrey Dan Van, 48, was also ordered to pay restitution for bilking the state out of an estimated $1 million but because he had been receiving disability income for the past 22 years, he could only afford very small restitution payments, his attorney said.

Van had pleaded guilty to theft and forgery on July 6.

According to his guilty plea, from January 2001 through the end of 2008, Dan Van recruited more than 45 Vietnamese people from across the country.

Van told the seniors that Colorado law was more liberal and that they could receive these benefits in Colorado even though they were not eligible for them in the states where they lived, said district attorney spokeswoman Pam Russell.

Full Article and Source:
Man Sentenced for Bilking State Pension Program of $1mil: Elderly From Across the Country Applied for Colorado's Old Age Pension Program

Guardians Back in Business Soon

A Twin Falls County volunteer board that provides legal guardians for the elderly, developmentally disabled and others who can't afford such a service will soon be back in business.

County commissioners voted on Tuesday to reform the Board of Community Guardians, just seven months after they disbanded the organization over concerns about its operating practices and a lack of volunteers.

Those issues were also aggravated by the actions of former guardian and board member Cindy Laws, who in March was charged with felony abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult for allegedly stealing more than $6,000 from a 93-year-old woman with dementia. Laws, no longer involved with the organization, entered an Alford plea to the charges last month - acknowledging a jury would likely convict her without actually admitting guilt - and is set to be sentenced Oct. 26.

The guardians will now meet with clinic staff to put their board back together. Dennis Voorhees, a board member and Twin Falls attorney specializing in elder law, praised commissioners on Tuesday for their prompt and careful action on the matter and said the various parties involved in the board's work are now focused on avoiding more problems like Laws'.

"I don't think that the public sees this as reflecting on the board," Voorhees said, noting his organization kept a very clean record over the years. "It's been a wonderful experience to work through this tightening-up process with the commissioners."

Full Article and Source:
County Commission Puts Guardians Back to Work

See also:
Laws Takes Plea Deal for Charges Related to Abuse/Neglect of Vulnerable Adults

Court-appointed caretaker accused of more crimes

Guardian Accused of Exploitation

Charged With Abusing Parents

A 50-year-old man recently released from prison has been jailed on charges of abusing his elderly parents.

Julian Howard Parker began mistreating his parents after his release from prison in April on drug charges, police said. Parker had moved into their Milton Avenue home.

Last Thursday, Parker was charged with aggravated battery of a person over 65, false imprisonment, exploitation of an elderly person and possession of cocaine after he banged on the front door at 2 a.m., awakening his father.

A short time later, Parker pulled his 81-year-old father out of bed, dragged him into another room and demanded money, an arrest report states. When his father refused to give him money, Parker became enraged and threw his father against a wall, then dragged him back into the bedroom and held him against his will, the report states.

Parker was booked into the Volusia County Branch Jail, where he remained Tuesday with bail set at $15,500.

Full Article and Source:
Man Charged With Abusing Parents

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Trust Betrayed

More than 8,700 people initially barred from being caregivers due to criminal records have been granted special permission by the state to work with children, the elderly and the infirm, a recent investigation found.

About 1,800 -- or one in five -- were arrested again, some within days of the determination that they were of "good moral character" and could be trusted to care for the state's most vulnerable residents.

Felons have been allowed to work in day care centers, assisted living facilities and nursing homes through an exemption system created by Florida legislators in 1985.

The system was meant to give those with a long-ago minor offense a second chance, but convicts with multiple prison stints and career criminals with records spanning decades sail through with little resistance -- 82 percent get an exemption.

Lucia Rivera, then 44, pleaded guilty in 1999 to aggravated assault and other charges for beating the girlfriend of her estranged husband and encouraging an accomplice to slice the woman's face with a knife. In 2005, she applied for -- and received -- an exemption from the state's Agency for Health Care Administration. In 2008, while working as the business manager at Avante in St. Cloud, Rivera was charged with stealing more than $36,000 from dozens of patient accounts. "Most of those people were bedridden, comatose," said Kathy Foust, a guardian for several victims. (Florida Department of Corrections)

Full Article and Source:
Trust Betrayed: Exemptions Let Felons Watch Over Vulnerable

Editorial: A Serious Betrayal of Public Trust

When citizens appear before a judge, it's crucial that they believe they will receive fair, impartial justice according to law. That's one of the highest values prized by the court system. Public confidence in the integrity of courts is a cornerstone of our entire system of government.

That's why the recent Minnesota Supreme Court decision in the case of First District Judge Timothy Blakely is so baffling. The Minnesota Board on Judicial Standards recommended that he be fired. But last week, the state's highest court suspended and censured Blakely for misconduct, stopping short of removing him from the bench.

The misconduct involves a $64,000 discount Blakely received on fees from his divorce lawyer. In 17 instances over the course of four years, Blakely referred people who appeared before him in his family law courtroom to his lawyer, Christine Stroemer, for mediation or related services. He failed to tell them that Stroemer was his attorney and that he had run up a large bill with her firm.

Full Article and Source:
A Serious Betrayal of Public Trust

New Bill to Protect Senior Investors

Bicameral legislation has been introduced on Capitol Hill to protect nearly $15 trillion in assets – the life savings of Americans over 65 – from fraud perpetrated by unscrupulous financial advisors.

“This important legislation will help protect seniors and their retirement investments,” stated Congressman Paul Hodes, D-NH. “By providing states additional funds and increasing penalties for fraud, we will help prevent America’s seniors from being victims of unscrupulous financial advisors that would seek to take advantage of their retirement accounts.”

The first bill, known as the Senior Investor Protection Act, will create a new grant program to assist states in their efforts to protect seniors from misleading financial advisor designations.

The second bill, the Senior Investor Protections Enhancement Act, specifically targets those who commit securities violations against seniors.

“This legislation will toughen penalties on those who scam and defraud older Americans and provide more peace of mind and security to investors,” explained Sen. Bob Casey, D-Penn. “Too many people approaching retirement or in retirement have lost a portion of their life savings in the market. They shouldn’t have to fear losing more because of fraud.”

Further action on the pending legislation is expected in both the Senate and the House.

Full Article and Source:
New Bill Protects Senior Investors

Editorial: The Death of Nursing Homes

Elders often tell their adult kids to shoot them rather than send them off to the nursing home. We may not be disposing of our parents, but we are killing the nursing homes, at least as we know them. In not too many years, long-term care nursing home beds may be as rare as Republicans in Massachusetts.

Many may cheer at this news. But the need for the intensive level of care provided by skilled nursing facilities isn’t going away. As hospitals discharge patients “quicker and sicker,” many need a level of assistance they cannot receive at home. As medical technology keeps people with horrific injuries and severe illness alive for years, they will need careful monitoring and drug treatments that are beyond the abilities of most family caregivers or part-time paid aides. So where will they get this care?

The trend away from nursing homes is already clear. The number of facilities has fallen by nearly 1,000 to about 15,700 since 2000. More than 80,000 beds have been shuttered over those nine years. And the number of Medicaid-only beds—those certified for long-term care stays-- has plunged by half since 1995, to about 114,000.

All this is happening even as the population of those 75 and older—those most likely to need long-term services—has grown from 16.6 million to almost 19 million.

Why the change? In part, it is because Medicaid is gradually providing more long-term care at home, although the pace of change remains slow.

Full Article and Source:
The Death of Nursing Homes

Alzheimer's Breakthrough Act Promising

The Alzheimer's Breakthrough Act is a tremendous step in the fight against Alzheimer's disease. There are more than five million people living with Alzheimer's disease, and that number is expected to soar to as many as 16 million by mid-century.

This important legislation passed by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) offers promise for someday having a world without Alzheimer's disease.

By calling for a doubling of the funding for Alzheimer's research at the National Institutes of Health from $640 million to $1.3 billion, this bold legislation authorizes the necessary resources to restore momentum in the pursuit of better diagnosis, prevention and treatment of this devastating disease.

New treatments that alter the course of the disease could save millions of baby boomers from the disease and yield $61 billion in annual Medicare and Medicaid savings within five years of a breakthrough. The Alzheimer's Breakthrough Act is the necessary impetus to create this important outcome.

Full Article and Source:
Alzheimer's Bill Promises More Funding for Research

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Felons Working in Florida Nursing Homes

Florida seniors and disabled adults too frail to live on their own have been beaten, neglected and robbed by caregivers with criminal records.

A cancer patient at a Pompano Beach assisted living facility watched helplessly from bed as a nurse's aide with a record for theft rifled through her handbag and stole $165.

"What are you doing with my bag?" a police report quoted her as saying. "You have no right. Put it down."

A video camera caught an aide at a North Miami Beach group home for the disabled shoving a cerebral palsy patient face-first to the floor, busting her lip. The aide had previously pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and never should have been working there.

More than 3,500 people with criminal records — including rape, robbery and murder — have been allowed to work with the elderly, disabled and infirm through exemptions granted by the state the past two decades, a Sun Sentinel investigation found. Hundreds more slipped through because employers failed to check their backgrounds or kept them on the job despite their criminal past.

Screening gaps
Florida has a patchwork of controls for checking caregivers of the elderly that seems to put more emphasis on protecting against embezzlement than safeguarding patients.

Full Article and Source:
Convicted Felongs Could Be Working in Your Mother's or Father's Nursing Home

Federal Program Misses Problem Nursing Homes

A government program that brings extra scrutiny to poorly performing nursing homes leaves out hundreds of troubled facilities, investigators report.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services identifies up to 136 nursing homes as "special focus facilities" subject to more frequent inspections because of their living conditions. In every state except for Alaska, there are between one and six such facilities. But investigators said four times as many homes, or 580, could be considered among the nation's worst.

The report from the Government Accountability Office does not identify the homes.

The chairman of the Senate Aging Committee said it indicated to him that the special focus is too limited. At the least, Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., wants more explicit warnings about nursing homes as people study quality ratings on a Medicare Web site, Nursing Home Compare —

"If far more than 136 nursing homes boast the bleakest conditions, then perhaps we should consider expanding" the program, said Kohl, who requested the study with Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa.

The GAO said it made just that recommendation two years ago. Federal officials agreed with the concept, but said they didn't have the resources to do so.

The report also suggests adjusting the methods used to identify the worst performing nursing homes. The home now under special attention are the worst performing in their state. But not all states are created equal when it comes to nursing home quality. Comparing the homes nationally would ensure that scarce resources go to inspecting the nursing homes that truly need the most attention, according to the report.

Full Article and Source:
Federal Program Misses Problem Nursing Homes

Read the GAO report- Nursing Homes: CMS's Special Focus Facility Methodology Should Better Target the Most Poorly Performing Homes, Which Tended to Be Chain Affiliated and For-Profit

Former Attorney to be Released

Former Flint attorney Shannon Pitcher is about to be released from state prison, two years after she admitted to embezzling money from the vulnerable clients she was supposed to protect.

A spokesman for the Michigan Department of Corrections confirmed Pitcher has been granted conditional parole effective Oct. 20, closing a chapter in one of the most sensational white collar criminal cases in recent Genesee County history.

Pitcher's release comes even as the county court system continues to grapple with which of more than two dozen alleged victims are still owed money investigators seized from Pitcher after her 2006 arrest.

Pitcher will have served slightly more than her minimum 23-month sentence but far less than her maximum 10 years when she is freed.

Full Article and Source:
Former Attorney Shannon Pitcher Set to be Released from Prison Next Month

See also:
Swindled and No Real Oversight

Tug of War Over Wang Estate

Lawyers are preparing for battle in Essex County, N.J., over whether the $10 billion estate of Taiwanese industrialist Wang Yung-Ching, who died intestate last year in his Short Hills home, should be administered in New Jersey, in whole or in part, and which law should apply.

The case involves not only extensive financial and commercial holdings but also an extended-family relationship that includes a widow, two putative secondary wives — who under Taiwanese law would share in the estate — and nine children, all of whom have lawyered up.

Full Article and Source:
Lawyers Wrangle Over NJ Venue for Taiwan Magnates Estate

See also:
NJ Judge Seeks More Info on Billionaire's Fortune

N.J. Judge Retains Case Over Estate of Formosa’s Wang

More information:
Tycoon's Children Battle to Control Late Father's Cash

Estate Hearing

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Marked for Destruction

A crime perpetrated by her Professional LegalGuardian, arranged by an Attorney.

Locked away in an Assisted Living Facility against her will.

Her Diary of Elder Financial Abuse and Fraud.

Learn how Adele's neighbors rescued her.

What Adele Fraulen might have thought to be nothing more than a meaningless bad dream one night in 1935 would actually come true. At age 79 she would find herself living a nightmare -- a struggle for her life, simply because she innocently trusted the wrong professionals to help with her portion of a Million Dollar inheritance; they would steal her very existence. Her neighbors, Chris and Patricia Zurillo, would realize that Adele's life was going terribly wrong and dedicate themselves to freeing her from captivity. “Marked For Destruction” is a rare book that exposes an ever-expanding crime against our elderly.

A gift from Adele's neighbors: Download a FREE Copy of Marked for Destruction

About The Author:
John Caravella patrolled the streets of the City Of Wauwatosa (Milwaukee County, Wisconsin) from 1976 to 1989. Citizen trust resulted in his clearing arsons, armed robberies, missing fugitives, dozens of burglaries and two homicides. After retiring, he volunteered his investigative skills to help others. “That is how Adele came into my life,” Caravella said. "I learned that she was 'imprisoned' and had to be freed. Through this book, Adele’s voice exposes the deceptive schemes used to keep her quiet."

Marked for Destruction

Convicted Felons as Caregivers

Disturbing flaws in Florida's background screening system have put children, seniors and the disabled in the care of convicted felons with records that include rape, child molestation and murder, an investigation by the Sun Sentinel newspaper has found.

Employees of day care centers, assisted living facilities and group homes are required to undergo a background check under state law but can begin work before their screening is complete, the paper is reporting this week.

At least 2,400 day care workers were already on the job before their records turned up, including a Tampa man with this note in his screening record: "EVIL DUDE-RAPE+KIDNAP+SEX ASLT," a statewide database of screenings since 1985 shows.

Even when criminal offenses are discovered, people can still work with little more than a promise not to break the law again.

Through an exemption system created by lawmakers two decades ago, Florida has cleared more than 8,700 people with criminal records to be caregivers. They include 45 murderers, 12 registered sex offenders and 200 people with histories of harming children.

Exemptions are only supposed to be granted with proof of rehabilitation. But about 1,800 of the people approved -- or one in five -- went on to be arrested again, some within days of the state's determination that they could be trusted to care for vulnerable residents.

"It's totally unacceptable. Obviously, this has become a huge loophole that needs to be closed," said Nan Rich, D-Weston, vice chairwoman of the Florida Senate's Children, Families and Elder Affairs committee.

A sex abuse scandal at a Miami day care in the mid 1980s prompted the first of several state laws requiring background checks for caregivers and allowing for exemptions.

Florida now has a patchwork system with glaring inconsistencies.

Full Article and Source:
Report: Faulty System Lets Felons Be Caregivers

Home and Community Based Care Added to Healthcare Reform Bill

The Senate Finance last week adopted several amendments in its healthcare reform bill that apply to long-term care.

An amendment introduced by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) would insert language that expresses Congress' interest to address long-term care services and supports in a comprehensive way. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) offered one that links increases in the federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP) with states' use of Medicaid funds for home- and community-based services.

Yet another would place the Elder Justice Act inside the massive legislation. The act would help prevent and detect elder abuse, and prosecute those who commit it.

Full Article and Source:
Legislative Amendments Emphasize Home and Community Based Care - Elder Justice Act

Maine Elder Watchdogs

Prosecutors patted themselves on the back for getting lengthy sentences for four men who ransacked an elderly woman's home two years ago and left her disabled son tethered to the refrigerator.

Later, the attorneys realized they had unintentionally short-changed the victims. Months after the crimes were committed, the family's belongings remained in disarray, and the woman continued to worry that she was being stalked.

District Attorney Evert Fowle said that wake-up call led to the creation of a multidisciplinary group to serve as watchdogs in crimes against older people and against people incapable of handling financial and other matters.

"We want people in her position to be able to get help right way," Fowle said. "Criminals who target elderly people are going to get special focus and scrutiny from this office. We are going to pursue them vigorously, and in this effort we have a lot of partners."

The group includes representatives from nursing homes, legal services for the elderly, sexual-assault groups, adult protective services, domestic-violence agencies, the Attorney General's Office, local police departments and Spectrum Generations.

"Every crime involving people over 60 is inventoried by prosecutors," Fowle said. "The needs of victims need to be taken into account. Resources are brought to bear to see what assistance can be given to the victims."

Full Article and Source:
Group Taking on Role of Elder Watchdogs

Monday, September 28, 2009

Former Caretaker Convicted

The former caretaker for a 93-year-old retired Springfield physician has been convicted of taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from the woman.

Sandra Gayle, 65, of Springfield was convicted of financial exploitation of the elderly and financial exploitation of a person with a disability. A Sangamon County jury deliberated a little more than an hour Friday before returning the verdict.

Prosecutors introduced testimony over the course of the four-day trial to show that Gayle used her own family to gain the trust of the doctor. Gayle, who had the victim’s power of attorney, then “gifted” easily more than $300,000 from the doctor’s bank account to herself, relatives and friends, testimony indicated.

Gayle could receive from 4 to 15 years in prison when she is sentenced Nov. 19 by Associate Judge John Mehlick. Her crimes also are probationable.

Full Article and Source:
Former Caretaker Convicted of Ripping Off Elderly Woman

See also:
Caretaker Accused of Fraud, Trial Begins

Conahan Linked Again

Although Conahan’s name does not appear on any documents for Learco Inc., the owner of the Beer Express on Queen Street, Harrisburg, and people associated with the businesses have connections to him.

A Dauphin County beer distributor and the company that owns it raise questions about the diverse business interests of former judge Michael T. Conahan.

His sister, Paula C. DeJoseph is listed as a stockholder of Learco, according to records on file with the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.

A message left Friday with DeJoseph was not returned.

The president of Learco, attorney Edward P. McNelis of Hazleton, shared an office with Conahan at one time and represented him in a complaint regarding campaign finances in his first run for a seat on the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas in 1993.

McNelis also represents Conahan’s wife, Barbara, and Cindy Ciavarella, wife of former judge Mark A. Ciavarella, in a pending civil suit related to the placement of juveniles in two detention centers at the heart of the criminal charges against the two former jurists.

Full Article and Source:
Conahan Linked to PA Beer Company

See also:
Group of 20 Argues Against Immunity for Ciavarella, Conahan

NASGA Member Attends Hearings

CT House of Reps Backs Reducing Probate Courts

The Connecticut House of Representatives on Wednesday approved legislation that dramatically reduces the number of probate courts in the state by more than half and draws new probate districts in what will be the biggest overhaul of the probate system since it was formed over 300 years ago.

The legislation reduces the number of courts from 117 down to 54, creating new multi-town regional probate districts. Calls for regionalizing the courts were prompted because the system was near-bankrupt and facing large deficits.

“It was time to take this system that was created during colonial times and bring it into the modern era so that it can see a significant reduction in costs and remain self-sustaining,” said State Rep. Livvy Floren (R-149), “The new probate court map was based on population, location and workload.”

Full Article and Source:
Greenwich Representatives Back Law to Reduce Probate Courts

Massachusetts Looking At Silver Alert

Last November, after attending a play in Boston, Julia Wallace went to the ladies room while her husband, Jim, waited in the lobby. Julia, who suffers from Alzheimer's disease, could not pick out her husband of 50 years in the crowd and wandered outside into the nearby MBTA station.

Luckily, a woman saw Julia and returned her to Jim. Upon her arrival Jim wept with joy.

"But it might not have turned out so well," Jim Wallace told the Joint Committee on Elder Affairs yesterday with his wife at his side.

Wallace was among those who urged the committee to "enthusiastically" support a bill to create a "Silver Alert" system to help protect cognitively impaired missing persons.

"It would have been great to know that there was already a system in place to alert other people and businesses in the area of the theater that this person was missing," Wallace said.

The proposed system would be modeled after the Amber Alert system, which notifies local businesses and the police when a child is missing.

"The system differs from Amber Alert in that the system focuses locally," said Jerry Flaherty, spokesman for the Alzheimer's Association of Massachusetts — New Hampshire Chapter.

Sixty percent of people with Alzheimer's will become lost, with 30 to 40 percent dying if not found within 24 hours, according to the Alzheimer's Association.

State Sen. Robert O'Leary, D-Barnstable, a sponsor of the bill, hopes that the pilot program for this project will be initiated on the Cape because of its large elderly population.

"These are avoidable deaths," said O'Leary. "This seems like an obvious thing to do."

Full Article and Source:
'Silver Alert' Gets Statehouse Hearing

Swine Time at Luzerne County Rededication

Activist Gene Stilp joined several supporters in front of his trademark, 15-foot-high pink inflatable pig Friday morning, the group holding a banner that read “100 years of corruption.”

State Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Wilkes-Barre, stood smiling on top of the Luzerne County Courthouse steps – about snout high with Ms. Piggie.

“Come on down and help hold the sign!” Stilp yelled up to Pashinski. The legislator demurred, flashing his toothy grin, and gestured with his hands toward the huge hog. “America at its best!” he shouted before heading into the rotunda for the courthouse rededication, which marked the start of the building’s centennial celebration.

Pashinski was, of course, referring to Stilp’s demonstration of a core Constitutional right: Freedom of speech.

Stilp conceded that his “100 years of corruption” banner had been recycled from a protest three years ago during the centennial of the Harrisburg Capitol building. That much was kind of obvious. The banner boasted a pink pig on each end that, at one time, had the dates 1906 and 2006 across their sides. Those dates had been painted over, making the sign suitable for any government centennial.

The veteran activist objected to having State Supreme Court Justice Max Baer as keynote speaker for the rededication, contending that Baer disgraced himself by accepting the “illegal pay raise” the legislation approved in the wee morning hours in 2005. Who would he rather see at the podium?

“Average citizens,” he said. Children who were jailed by the two disgraced judges. Courthouse workers who toil under the onus of corrupt officials. Better yet, “this should be the start of a weeklong ethics conference.”

Full Article and Source:
Swine Time to Use Freedom of Speech at Gala

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Preying on the Frail

Florida seniors and disabled adults too frail to live on their own have been beaten, neglected and robbed by caregivers with criminal records.

A cancer patient at a Pompano Beach assisted living facility watched helplessly from her bed as a nurse's aide with a record for theft rifled through her handbag and stole $165.

"What are you doing with my bag?" a police report quoted her as saying. "You have no right. Put it down." A video camera caught an aide at a North Miami Beach group home for the disabled shoving a cerebral palsy patient face-first to the floor, busting her lip. The aide had previously pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and never should have been working there.

More than 3,500 people with criminal records -- including rape, robbery and murder -- have been allowed to work with the elderly, disabled and infirm through exemptions granted by the state over the past two decades, a Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel investigation found. Hundreds more slipped through because employers failed to check their backgrounds or kept them on the job despite their criminal pasts.

Full Article and Source:
Preying on the Frail: When Criminals Care for the Elderly and Disabled

Letter to the United Nations

My name is Dr. Janet Louise Parker D.V.M. I am the founder and Executive Director of Medical Whistleblower. As Executive Director, I provide information and direct services to Medical Whistleblowers and actively work to democratically transform legal and social systems to protect their civil and human rights.

I would define a Medical Whistleblower as a person who has come forward to report Medical Fraud, Abuse or Neglect to State, Federal or International governmental authorities.

There is an appalling lack of Due Process for Medical Whistleblowers who report what they know about the human rights violations. One Medical Whistleblower, Allen Jones, was the Investigator for the State of Pennsylvania's Office of the Inspector General. IAG Investigator Allen Jones reported a widespread corruption of the governmental process to allow wholesale violation of the human rights of vulnerable children and adults by the pharmaceutical companies for profit. Human rights derive from the dignity of the human person. These rights were violated for commercial profit and personal power. When Allen Jones and other Medical Whistleblowers, many of them doctors (Psychiatrists and Psychologists) came forward to report the abuses they saw, they were retaliated against by constructive discharge, employment discrimination, threats against person, and even removal of their medical licenses. Gross mistreatment in connection with in-patient treatment of vulnerable children and adults should not be tolerated under international law. The criminals used Guardian abuse to generate profit by prolonged arbitrary detention of involuntary patients for medical fraud. A courageous attorney from the state of Alaska, Jim Gottstein, formed The Psychiatric Law Project to look into the legal means to try to protect the human rights of the victims of Medical Fraud, Psychiatric abuse and Guardian Abuse. What he found was a system that although initially meant to assist those with mental illness, is now so broken that there continue to be egregious violations of human rights and assaults on human dignity.

Full Article and Source:
Medical Whistleblower Letter to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights

See also:
Medical Whistleblower's Blog

Representative Payee

When I took over the finances for my mother, I shouldn’t have been surprised that she didn’t have her Social Security payment directly deposited into her checking account. My parents grew up during the unsettling times of the Depression with high unemployment and bank failures.

Representative payee
Many elderly beneficiaries who cannot manage or direct the management of his or her money have a representative payee. A representative payee is a person who has legal authority to receive a cash benefit check from the Social Security Administration (SSA) on behalf of the recipient.

A representative payee’s authority is limited to receiving and managing benefits from the SSA. The payee has no legal authority to manage non-Social Security income or medical matters. A power of attorney or legal guardianship is not recognized by the Treasury Department for the purposes of negotiating federal payments, including Social Security checks. Therefore, they too must apply to be appointed the representative payee.

You should contact the SSA office nearest you to apply to be a payee. You must then submit an application — form SSA-11-BK in SSA-speak — and request to be selected as payee. You must also have documents to prove your identity. SSA requires that the payee application be completed in a face-to-face interview, with certain exceptions.

Here are some of the duties that are required from a representative payee:

Determine the beneficiary’s needs and use his or her payments to meet those needs.

Save any money left after meeting the beneficiary’s current needs in an interest bearing account or savings bonds for the beneficiary's future needs.

Report any changes or events which could affect the beneficiary’s eligibility for benefits or payment amount.

Keep records of all payments received and how they are spent and/or saved.

Provide benefit information to social service agencies or medical facilities that serve the beneficiary.

Help the beneficiary get medical treatment when necessary.

Notify SSA of any changes in your (the payee’s) circumstances that would affect your performance or continuing as payee.

Complete written reports accounting for the use of funds once a year; and

Return any payments to which the beneficiary is not entitled to SSA.

You may not collect a fee for acting as a representative payee unless you are a qualified organizational payee who has applied and been approved in writing by the SSA to collect a fee.

If this all seems a little overwhelming, you may contact the Social Security Administration toll free at (800) 772-1213 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Contact your local SSA office between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on business days, or visit their Web site You may also request SSA Publication No. 05-10076, “A Guide for Representative Payees.”

Full Article and Source:
Helping a Parent Through the Social Security Maze

Note: Debbie Haws is a caregiver and guardian of a parent with dementia. Her experiences and heartfelt journeys have created a passion for increasing awareness of issues faced by Seniors and their families.

Judge Rejects Request for Change of Counsel

Circuit Court Judge H. Chris Ryan Jr. Thursday rejected an Ottawa woman's request for change of counsel.

Currently represented by defense attorney Timothy F. Kohn of Ottawa, Susan K. Anderson told Ryan she wanted a new attorney to represent her in the trial, scheduled to begin Monday, Sept. 28. She is charged with exploiting the elderly in two separate cases.

Ryan questioned Anderson as to who she would hire and she said she didn't know. He then refused her request pending her finding another attorney, postponed the trial and set a status hearing for Friday, Oct. 2, to confirm she hired new counsel.

Anderson, 3103 E. 1951st Road, remains in custody under $100,000 bond for the financial exploitation of an elderly person, a class 3 felony, for theft of more than $300 and less than $5,000.

Full Article and Source:
Judge Refuses Change of Attorney in Elderly Exploitation Case

Floria Bar Disciplines 27 Attorneys

The Florida Bar, the state's guardian for the integrity of the legal profession, announces that the Florida Supreme Court in recent court orders disciplined 27 attorneys, disbarring 12, suspending eight and placing five on probation.

Some attorneys received more than one form of discipline. Seven attorneys were publicly reprimanded. One was ordered to pay restitution.

As an official agency of the Florida Supreme Court, The Florida Bar and its Department of Lawyer Regulation are charged with administering a statewide disciplinary system to enforce Supreme Court rules of professional conduct for the 86,000-plus lawyers admitted to practice law in Florida. Since Aug. 1, 2007, case files have been posted to attorneys' individual Florida Bar profiles and may be reviewed at and/or downloaded from The Florida Bar's Web site,

Full Article and Source:
Florida Bar Disciplines 27 Attorneys