Saturday, December 26, 2009

WI: Incompetent Have Right to Presence of Counsel

A guardian ad litem cannot meet with a represented ward unless the ward’s adversary counsel is present.

On Dec. 22, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals reversed a non-final order that required a ward in guardianship to meet with the GAL alone.

Patricia M. Cavey, an attorney with Milwaukee Disability Law Center, who represents the ward, praised the holding as necessary to protect incompetent persons’ right to counsel and to hold GALs to the same standards as other attorneys.

Too many GALS, Cavey said, act like they are “the king of the courthouse.”

Jennifer M. is an adult woman subject to a limited guardianship. Her father is her guardian, and her parents are divorced. The circuit court has appointed an attorney to be her GAL, and she has also retained her own adversary counsel.

After Jennifer’s mother petitioned to remove the father as guardian, Jennifer moved to dismiss the petition, and to replace the GAL. The circuit court denied Jennifer’s motions, and also entered the following order:

“[Jennifer M.] is ordered to meet with Attorney Franz Maurer, her Guardian ad Litem, one-on-one … within 21 days of this order, to discuss [her] position regarding future contact with her maternal family. The Guardian ad Litem is ordered to report to the Court regarding the best interests of [Jennifer] regarding such future contact, as well as any participation by [Jennifer] in the mediation process initiated by the Guardian and [her] mother.”

The Court of Appeals’ granted Jennifer’s petition for interlocutory review, and reversed, in an opinion by Judge Edward R. Brunner.

Full Article and Source:
GAL Can't Meet Ward Without Attorney - Incompetent Have Right to Presence of Counsel

Former DHS Employee Avoids Jail Time

A former Department of Human Services employee received a three-year probation for two Tulsa County offenses of financially exploiting vulnerable adults.

Debra Roberts, 51, pleaded guilty Oct. 5 to two felony exploitation counts.

She had no agreement with prosecutors to govern her punishment.

District Judge Kurt Glassco made a finding of guilt, giving Roberts a felony conviction in each of the cases.

Glassco imposed a three-year suspended sentence that does not require her to serve any jail or prison time.

Roberts was free on bond while awaiting sentencing in the cases, which were filed in 2008.

Roberts was a DHS Adult Protective Services specialist. She was charged in one case with taking nearly $4,500 from an 84-year-old man.

She had been a temporary guardian for the man after a court decided that he lacked the mental capacity to consent to necessary protective services. As his guardian, Roberts had the authority to use his money to pay for residential care and daily living expenses, an investigator’s affidavit states.

Prosecutors maintained that his nursing home bills went unpaid and that checks signed by Roberts on the man’s guardian account were written for cash.

In the other case, Roberts was charged with financially exploiting a 74-year-old mentally disabled man by converting about $5,900 of his money to her own use. She had been his temporary guardian.

Defense lawyer Jack Gordon said Roberts made restitution covering both cases. No restitution requirement was imposed as part of sentencing.

Full Article and Source:
Former DHS Employee Avoids Jail Time in Exploitation

Illinois Couple Gets Prison Time

A Batavia couple who bilked an elderly female relative out of more than $40,000 and then used the money to buy drugs were sentenced to prison.

Michael Waters, 49, and his wife, Brenda Waters, 48, pleaded guilty to financial exploitation of an elderly person, and were sentenced to four years and three years, respectively, in prison.

As part of the plea, they were also ordered to make restitution of $41,705 to the 80-year-old woman.

According to Kane County prosecutors, the couple used a combination of deception and coercion to induce the woman to withdraw the money from Batavia-area automated teller machines throughout 2008.

When the victim discovered that the couple had been forging her name on checks, she went to police.

Full Article and Source:
Batavia Couple Sentenced for Bilking Relatives

Friday, December 25, 2009

All She Wants For Christmas is Her Parents

All Denise Vozzella wants for Christmas is her two parents.

But the 54-year-old North Naples woman won’t be allowed to spend Christmas Day with them at Windsor Place assisted-living facility in Naples.

Harold A. Foy, a legal guardian assigned to care for her parents, who both suffer from dementia, has refused her request, which she outlined in a letter.

Denise Vozzella hasn’t seen 81-year-old Marcel Vozzella and her mother, Jacqueline, 83, since Dec. 1, when she was asked to leave after the guardian contended her visits upset her parents and Windsor Place staff, who don’t want her within 100 feet of the home without being accompanied by a legal guardian.

On Dec. 10, Foy filed an emergency petition, seeking an order to further restrict her two-hour, twice-weekly supervised visitations. He contended Denise Vozzella curses at nurses, aides, and other staff, repeatedly tells her parents she’s broke to get money, and that the guardian is trying to kick her out of their house and spending all their money.

Foy said her visits upset her parents and cause her father’s blood pressure to rise, so he wanted to temporarily eliminate visitation to “stabilize” their anxiety and “maintain” their health.

“I’ve taken care of them, bathed them, clothed them and fed them,” Vozzella testified, sobbing as she detailed the last 14 years. “... I promised my parents I would do everything I could to take care of them.”

Denise Vozzella testified they cry when she leaves. And her father doesn’t like a supervisor listening to their conversations and tries to get them to leave. She called the supervised visits unfair, noting these could be the last days of her parents’ lives.

“They should be at home with their daughter ... not with people who don’t love them,” Vozzella testified, her voice choking with emotion as she wiped away tears.

Full Article and Source:
North Naples Woman Says She's Being Denied Christmas With Parents in Nursing Home

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Sisters Bring Christmas Cheer to Wards of the State

While a Christmas present of plain white socks would prompt groans from any child, the gift brought a delighted smile to 72-year-old Samuel Reed.

A stunned Reed, whose thoughts and speech are slowed by a 2004 stroke and subsequent dementia, turned the package over in amazement.

“Good dog, y'all,” Reed said.

Then, suddenly, several women's hands flew in front of him, trying to gently pull the socks away from him. In their place, more gifts.

“There's more,” Twylah Jenkins told him as he sat in his wheelchair at the Beechnut Harbour nursing home. “Look at this,” urged Lashunda Walker.

The two were joined by their Zeta Phi Beta sorority sisters, all gleefully pulling out from the boxes things he needed but couldn't dare afford. All but $60 a month he receives in Social Security and other benefits goes to his care at the Beechnut Manor nursing home in southwest Houston.

From the gift boxes emerged a blanket, more socks and sweatpants the way he likes them, without elastic at the ankles. And then the one thing he wanted: a Navy winter jacket.

“I'll be,” he said, his eyes and smile widening. “You did real good here.”

While other groups concentrate on gift drives for children and nursing home residents, the Zeta Phi Beta sorority looked this year for a service project to help a group of individuals who literally have little more than a roof over their heads: adults who have been made wards of the state.

“They are the forgotten,” said Jenkins, president of the sorority's local chapter, which started their Adopt-A-Ward program this year.

These individuals have no close family or friends who can care for them. As a result, the probate courts take over, officially declaring them incapacitated and a guardian is appointed.

Full Article and Source:
Sorority Ensures Adult Wards Aren't Forgotten

Just What the World Needed...

For Sale: Scott Rothstein Toilet Paper

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Behind the Black Robes: Failed Justice

About the Book:
Behind the Black Robes: Failed Justice /is about a very serious problem, the need for court reform and the abolishment of judicial and quasi-judicial immunity.

Marinated with the makings of sizzle, the book is filled with the courts' tricks and traps for the unwary---to alert the readers both why their law cases failed and what must be done to effect court reform. Each chapter introduces the background of the subject of that chapter and then presents a series of illustrative anecdotes intended to teach the readers by example how to avoid those court tricks and traps people are likely to encounter in their existing or potential court cases.

About the Author:
Johnson lives life her way. An unconventional 74-year-old, she has long been a fierce advocate for fathers' rights in family courts. She is an outspoken critic of the Massachusetts court system, which she says is rife with corruption. In 2002, she ran a quixotic campaign for governor, campaigning in an antique fire truck and promising to use creativity, compassion, and a willingness to listen to the People to mend an ailing government. In 2006, Johnson was barred from practicing law in Massachusetts. "The disbarment by a kangaroo court was an effort to silence my criticism of the courts," she said, adding laughingly, "I'll have to write a series of judicial murder mysteries and kill off a judge in the prologue of every one." A newspaper wrote, "While we don't fully agree with either her politics or her methods, Johnson is a character in a humdrum world sorely in need of more characters. She's the thorn in the side, the thumbtack on the chair. . . . Johnson speaks her mind, and loudly."


Note: Also available through and

"The Biggest Swindle That Elder Abuse ...Has Handled"

A caretaker is accused of stealing as much as $3 million from a prominent local rheumatologist who also served as assistant dean at the Michigan State University Medical School.

Police believe it is the largest case of alleged financial exploitation ever investigated by the elder abuse task force.

Andrea R. Neil, 30, of Flint Township is accused of scamming Dr. Dorothy Mulkey, 73, of Flushing out of the funds after the doctor was diagnosed with dementia, said Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell.

Neil had worked as an office assistant for Mulkey’s private practice and was hired as her caretaker after her retirement in 2006.

“I expect it to be the biggest swindle that elder abuse ... has handled,” said Pickell.

Pickell said Mulkey was worth about $4 million when she retired and planned to leave those funds to the University of Michigan.

Now, about $3 million is missing, said Pickell.

In addition to the $2,200 weekly Mulkey paid Neil and her husband for care, Neil allegedly convinced Mulkey to cash in an IRA worth $898,000 — which cost Mulkey about $365,000 in penalties — so Neil and her husband could buy a home in California, Pickell said.

The couple also had $78,000 worth of precious metals and coins that belonged to the doctor in their home, said Pickell.

“I’m sure they would have taken this entire estate,” he said.

Mulkey now has a court-appointed guardian.

Full Article and Source:
Largest Elder Exploitation Case: Andrea Neil Allegedly Scammed as Much as $3 Million From Dorothy Mulkey, 73

Indicted County Judge Still Paid Salary

The LaPorte County judge suspended in May after being indicted has been getting paid ever since.

According to our reporting partners at the Herald Argus, the state has paid 34-year-old Jennifer Evans-Koethe almost $70,000 in salary since her suspension.

Evans-Koethe is facing criminal charges for obstruction of justice and judicial misconduct.

She's accused of lying about a shooting in her home last year.

If convicted, Evans-Koethe could be removed from the bench by the state Supreme Court.

Her trial will start in Lake County in January.

Full Article and Source:
LaPorte County Judge Still Paid Salary After Being Indicted

Britney Spears' Conservatorship Extended

Britney Spears will remain under the watchful eye of her father --

The judge didn't specify how long the conservatorship will remain in place, but lawyers involved in the matter tell TMZ they expect it to last somewhere between six months to a year.

Britney's dad, Jamie Spears, will continue to receive a $16,000-a-month payment for his duties. Andrew Wallet -- the co-conservator -- was also granted a $174,569.10 payment for services rendered between July 2009 and November 2009.

The judge also authorized Britney's conservatorship to kick out close to $300,000 in attorney's fees.

The next hearing is set for January 14th.

Full Article and Source:
Britney Spears Will Stay Put for Now

Editorial: Charities Will Suffer

Whoa! Whoa! People, we need to put things in perspective — right now. While the Sun Sentinel newspaper and others have been informing us in excruciating and mind-numbing detail about the disgusting horrors of Scott Rothstein's actions, on Nov. 26, we read articles that the Miami-Dade County senior judge directed that charities return monies that Rothstein donated to them within 10 days or face lawsuits.

After the charities scramble to return the money, we all know that it will sit in someone's bank account — for years — as the litigation process lumbers through the courts. To me, this information is like a call to action for us who merely read about this to stand up and make our feelings known.

There is absolutely no doubt that the money must be returned, but who are we hurting most in the rush to satisfaction? We are hurting the most vulnerable in our community. The evidence presented seems to show that Scott Rothstein got money via illegal means. At the same time, is there not someone out there who can inject some legal and charitable sanity into this almost rabid "clawback" demand? Stop with the maltreatment of our most vulnerable.

There should be dialogue with the charities to find less devastating ways to refund every penny. The charities, which always undergo fiscal scrutiny, should be given more breathing room to repay. The analogy is perfect for this situation: If they do not breathe, they die. So, by extension, who are "the suits" and "robes" hurting but those who can least afford it — especially at this time?

Full Editorial and Source:
Charities Will Suffer From Scott Rothstein's Antics

See Also:
Scott Rothstein Sued by Car Dealer

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Living Somewhere Between Hope and Despair

There has been no life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for my Mother and me because of the way her guardianship has been mishandled.

I was pulled away from my Mother just after my Father had passed away - after 60 years of marriage.

My Mother is denied her right to see her only living child who has taken care of her entire family over the last 30 years. Who could be a better advocate for my Mother than her daughter ?

Where are my Mother’s Human and Civil Rights as she sits alone in a nursing home - dying - when this is not necessary?

This whole case has been tainted by judicial and prosecutorial misconduct involving judges, attorneys and court officials showing us how greed and corruption shattered not only our financial world but the democracy in the court room. The court and state system are irretrievably broken.

There is a human story behind these court decisions and it needs to be told. I am my Mother’s daughter - tough and resolute - and I won’t stop until the truth comes out.

There is not one justifiable reason why this daughter has not seen her Mother in three years - broken court system, broken ombudsman program and broken state system - or not!

Helen Mogus

Why Wills Won't Work

Where will your money go?

Without reading this book, where will all your money go? Maybe not where you think. Traditional estate planning isn't as secure as you might think.

Wills, Revocable Living Trusts, Joint and Beneficiary Ownership don't work in today's world. Welcome to 21st century estate planning— SAFE Planning.

For most people who draw up a will, ensuring that their estate is secure for their spouse, children and grandchildren, or other family members is a top priority. However, while they may think they're taking care of their loved ones' future with the traditional planning a will offers, the reality is that down the line their designated heirs may never see a dime.

As Attorney and estate-planning expert Armond Budish explains in Why Wills Won't Work, good estate planning in the twenty-first century requires more than the old one-size-fits-all approach of filling out a few legal documents. In this book, he details his customized SAFE method — the only solution that will Safeguard Assets for your Family Exclusively. Beginning with an assessment quiz that helps readers determine their particular needs, risks, and goals, along with the options available, Why Wills Won't Work addresses:

•how to protect a child's inheritance in a divorce or settlement;
•the necessary steps to take now to avoid taxes later;
•how to safeguard an inheritance for grandchildren;
•how to keep probate court, creditors, and potential lawsuits from depleting an inheritance;
•how to plan in advance for a disabled child or one who can't manage money;
•what documents you really need; and
•how to choose a lawyer.


Gov. Crist: "I'll Return Donations"

With polls showing his U.S. Senate rival on his heels, Gov. Charlie Crist reversed course and said he would return all campaign donations from people who worked at alleged swindler Scott Rothstein's law firm in Fort Lauderdale.

In a meeting with the The Miami Herald's editorial board, Crist was asked about Republican Senate President Jeff Atwater's pledge to give back contributions -- not just from Rothstein himself but also from his associates at Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler.

"I am doing the same," Crist said. Later Friday, Crist's campaign said he was "in the process'' of returning $76,250 from 35 employees of Rothstein's firm.

Crist had previously returned money from Rothstein and his wife, but had refused to do the same with the money from the firm.

Full Article and Source:
I'll Return Donations From Scott Rothstein's Firm, Gov. Charlie Crist Says

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

NASGA Affiliate Tom Fields Addresses Ohio Elder Abuse Commission

The YouTube videos shown below (shown in nine parts) present a complete, uncut, unedited 30-minute video from the September 21, 2009 Meeting of the Ohio Elder Abuse Commission that was recorded as part of a project conducted by the National Coalition of Aging (NCOA), the Elder Justice Coalition (EJC), and the international human rights group WITNESS, Inc.

It records a discussion of legal reforms needed to protect Alzheimer sufferers, stroke victims and others against fraud, undue influence and negligence when signing financial/legal documents (Wills, Trusts, Deeds, POAs etc.).

YouTube Video, Discussion of Proposed Legal Reforms, Part 1

See Also:
YouTube Video, Discussion of Proposed Legal Reforms, Part 2

YouTube Video, Discussion of Proposed Legal Reforms, Part 3

YouTube Video, Discussion of Proposed Legal Reforms, Part 4

YouTube Video, Discussion of Proposed Legal Reforms, Part 5

YouTube Video, Discussion of Proposed Legal Reforms, Part 6

YouTube Video, Discussion of Proposed Legal Reforms, Part 7

YouTube Video, Discussion of Proposed Legal Reforms, Part 8

YouTube Video, Discussion of Proposed Legal Reforms, Part 9

Additional Links:
Minutes of the September 21, 2009 Meeting of the Ohio Attorney General Elder Abuse Commission

Mr. Fields' Handouts

Public Comments Regarding the Meeting

Tom Fields' Website: Infirmed Seniors, Elder Abuse, Estate Fraud and Legal Reform

Contact Tom Fields @

Anthony Marshall Sentenced to 1-3 years

Anthony D. Marshall, who was convicted of siphoning millions from his mother, Brooke Astor, was sentenced Monday to one to three years in prison.

Justice A. Kirke Bartley Jr. said Mr. Marshall, who is 85, must report to prison on Jan. 19.

The sentence was for the most serious of 14 counts on which Mr. Marshall was convicted: first-degree grand larceny, for giving himself a retroactive lump-sum raise of about $1 million for managing his mother’s finances. Justice Bartley also sentenced Mr. Marshall to one year on each of the 13 other charges he was convicted of, to run at the same time as the longer sentence.

If Mr. Marshall has a good record in prison, he is likely to serve roughly eight months behind bars. He showed no response as Justice Bartley read the sentence, although his wife, Charlene, was heard to sob from her seat in the courtroom.

Full Article and Source:
Brooke Astor's Son Sentenced to Prison

See Also:
Tony Marshall Sentencing Today

PoA Can Create Headaches

Have you agreed to serve as "power of attorney" for a close friend or relative if he or she becomes incapacitated?

If so, you might regret it.

I've endured untold hassles in this capacity. So I cheered when Stuart attorney William R. Ponsoldt Jr. obtained a $64,000 judgment against Bank of America for failing to honor a power of attorney agreement.

Bank of America has said it plans to appeal the Martin County Circuit Court decision in favor of Clarence H. Smith Jr.

This court suit, which began in 2007, illustrates problems if you take on this task — even though a durable power of attorney is a basic estate planning tool that virtually everybody needs. Financial institutions cite widespread fraud for their sometimes impossible requirements.

Under Florida law, a financial institution that "unreasonably" fails to honor the power of attorney is responsible for all the damages the person has sustained, according to Ponsoldt.

A bank may review the document to be sure it lets the power-holder do what he or she wants to do. Plus, it may seek identification, and demand an affidavit or written, notarized statement.

A financial institution in your local area may ask to view the original document.

However, requiring you to fill out its own form is "unreasonable" (in violation of Florida law), Ponsoldt contends.

Other acts by financial institutions that Ponsoldt says are "unreasonable" include requiring a new document, or to meet with the person who appointed you.

Full Article and Source:
Power of Attorney Can Create Headaches, So Know Your Rights"

Former DA Indicted

After presiding over Kimble County grand juries for three decades, former District Attorney Ron Sutton has been indicted there on two charges of misapplication of fiduciary property, a third-degree felony, officials said.

Sutton, lead prosecutor in the 198th judicial district from 1976 until last year, declined to comment when reached at his Junction home.

Special prosecutor Bill Turner said the indictment issued Wednesday concerns expenditures of seized funds for travel and staff bonuses, in “a continuing course of conduct,” from January 2002 until Dec. 31, 2008, when Sutton retired.

Sutton was served with arrest warrants at the Kimble County Jail Thursday afternoon, then booked and released on a personal recognizance bond, officials said.

Turner, the district attorney in Brazos County who was appointed special prosecutor on the case in August, said: “The investigation is complete, from our end.”

Sutton previously defended his use of the forfeiture account funded by seizures from criminal suspects, which statutes say must go for law enforcement purposes. He dismissed criticism as “much ado about nothing.”

Full Article and Source:
Former Hill County DA Indicted"

Monday, December 21, 2009

AZ Woman Could Use A Lot Less Court "Protection"

Marie Long was officially declared indigent by Maricopa County Superior Court Commissioner Lindsay Ellis.

Ellis ought to know. She's been there the whole time, presiding over the case of this 88-year-old lady who just four years ago was worth $1.3 million.

Ellis is the probate judge who stood by and did nothing as hundreds of thousands of dollars of Marie's money was drained away, much of it spent on guardian fees and lawyers. Marie's court-appointed attorney Jon Kitchel warned Ellis a year ago what was happening and practically begged her to do something about it.

Unfortunately, it took Ellis a year to consider Kitchel's request. By last month, when she finally got around to holding a hearing, the money was gone and the trustee and guardian – along with their attorneys -- were heading for the exit.

On Thursday, Ellis appointed a new guardian to look after Marie but announced that if she tries to sue to get any of the old lady's money back, she'll be taken off the case.

If this is what we call court protection of the vulnerable, I'm pretty sure that Marie could use a lot less of it.

Full Aricle and Source:
Old Lady Could Use A Lot Less Court "Protection"

County Official Charged With Theft, Exploitation

The Union County Director of Public Works, Recycling and Litter Control turned herself into authorities Friday afternoon. According to WBCU Radio in Union, Lisa Ward is charged with Exploitation of a Vulnerable Adult and Theft of a Controlled Substance.

According to warrants obtained by the station, Ward allegedly took an elderly woman to a local doctor, received a prescription for hydrocodone, drove to a local pharmacy and filled the prescription. She then kept the hydrocodone.

The identity and connection of the elderly woman to Ward has not been released.

Full Article and Source:
Union County Official Charged with Theft, Exploitation of Vulnerable Adult

Tony Marshall Sentencing Today

If come Monday, Judge A. Kirke Bartley Jr. decides to sentence Tony Marshall, Brooke Astor's son, to prison for stealing from his mother, by law the 85 year old Marshall will have at least one year -- and as many as 25 years -- in the solitude of a jail cell (or hospital ward if his health is as precarious as his lawyer says it is) to contemplate where things went so wrong.

The People vs. Anthony Marshall and Francis Morrissey is a textbook case in how not to defraud your incredibly rich, famous and beloved mother's estate if you don't want to get caught.

Full Article and Source:
The People vs. Anthony Marshall and Francis Morrissey: The Butler Gives Notice

Facing 38 Charges of Grand Theft & Financial Elder Abuse

A Utah man was arrested by California authorities, who worked for more than a year to secure his return from the Republic of the Philippines to face charges for allegedly taking $270,000 in annuity distributions from a senior citizen.

Donald Martin Steffensen, 70, of Saint George, Utah, was recently arrested by California Department of Insurance (CDI) investigators and members of the Madera County District Attorney’s Office.

Steffensen faces 38 felony counts of grand theft and financial elder abuse.

California insurance department investigators learned that Steffensen, between 2002 and 2005, used his position of trust as a life agent for a senior citizen (now deceased) to embezzle and convert for his own use more than $270,000 from an annuity owned by the senior. Authorities say some of the annuity distributions were allegedly stolen by Steffensen after his victim had passed away.

Full Article and Source:
Former Utah Life Insurance Agent Returned to U.S. to Face 38 Charges

Florida Woman Charged With Exploitation

A Gainesville woman was arrested on charges of exploiting an 84-year-old dementia patient by taking $2,700 from him.

According to an arrest report by Gainesville police Officer Matthew Goeckel, on Dec. 8 Powell convinced the elderly man that if he gave her $2,700, she would use the money to pay a bill on his behalf.

Powell is accused of driving the victim to his bank, where he withdrew the money. She then apparently drove him to the Thomas Center at 306 N.E. Sixth Ave. Powell reportedly told the man that she would go inside and pay the bill.

The man's son discovered what had happened and called police. Powell reportedly confessed while being questioned and told Goeckel that she spent the money on herself and her children.

Full Article and Source:
Gainesville Woman Charged With Exploiting Dementia Patient

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Jeffrey Gordon Butler Victims Give Impact Statements

The sentencing for a San Juan Capistrano man convicted of bilking 124 elderly investors of more than $11 million in a Ponzi scheme will continue Jan. 4 in Orange County Superior Court.

Jeffrey Gordon Butler, 51, was convicted in June of 694 felony counts of stealing from elderly investors through the illegal sale of unqualified securities and filing false tax returns, according to court records. The case is considered one of the largest elder-abuse cases in the history of the Orange County District Attorney's Office.

His wife, Peggy Warmath Butler, 49, was convicted of one felony count of aiding another in the preparation of a false tax return and three counts of filing false tax returns. She is being sentenced simultaneously.

Sentencing started Friday, but it is taking multiple days partly because of the number of defrauded investors who made victim-impact statements.

Senior Deputy District Attorney William Overtoom said the case was about "fraud, deceit and lies."

"The part I think is most important is who he was targeting each and every time," he said.

Most of the victims, the majority of them over 70 and the eldest 100 from Fullerton, lost their life savings, Overtoom said. About 59 of them have passed away.

Overtoom asked the judge to impose some prison time for each victim who lost money.

Judge Stotler started imposing sentence on Jeffrey Butler on Tuesday afternoon, but the sentencing hearing is scheduled to continue Jan. 4 and may take several days.

"I'm asking the judge to make an order that the defendants repay each victim with interest from the day of the loss," Overtoom said. "That is the next argument to come."

Jeffrey Butler has been at Orange County Men's Jail since being arrested at his home in February 2006. He is being held in lieu of $10 million bail. Peggy Butler was released after posting $150,000 bail.

Full Article and Source:
Elderly Victims Confront Man Who Ran $11 Million Dollar Fraud

Indicted for Felony Abuse of Vulnerable Adult

A Brandon resident has been indicted by a Hinds County Grand Jury for felony abuse of a vulnerable adult, announced Attorney General Jim Hood.

Scott Roberson, age 51, was indicted in Hinds County on one count of felony abuse of a vulnerable adult. He is set for arraignment on January 8, 2010, before Judge Swan Yerger. Roberson is currently being held in Rankin County on unrelated charges.

If found guilty, Roberson could face up to 20 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, and up to $10,000 in fines.

This case was investigated by the Medicaid Fraud Unit of the Attorney General’s Office.

Full Article and Source:
Brandon Man Indicted for Abuse of Vulnerable Adult

Couple Charged With $138K Theft

A Lakeland couple is accused of stealing more than $138,000 from an elderly woman with dementia.

The Polk County Sheriff's Office arrested Jo Marie and Eric Weeks, accusing them of taking advantage of Jo Marie Weeks' 88-year-old aunt, Lelia Boyd of Winter Haven.

During a first appearance hearing for the couple Tuesday, Polk County Judge Robert L. Williams Jr. set bail at $150,000 for each of them.

They face charges of elderly exploitation, swindling or obtaining property of $50,000 or more, and theft of $50,000 or more from a person 65 years old or older.

Arrest reports provide the following account:

Jo Marie Weeks, 32, was serving as power of attorney for her aunt and was able to write checks from her aunt's bank account.

In October 2008, she moved her aunt from a Missouri assisted-living facility to another facility in Winter Haven.

"Since this move, Mrs. Weeks was suspected of buying a new vehicle, expensive presents and moving into a new home," reports state.

Deputies began investigating in January 2009 after the Florida Department of Children & Families reported suspicions of elderly exploitation. A court-appointed guardian for Lelia Boyd provided financial records to investigators showing Jo Marie Weeks had made checks payable to herself and her husband throughout 2008.

Deputies were also provided depositions in which Jo Marie Weeks spoke about using her aunt's money to purchase a 2008 Chevrolet Suburban and pay rent for her family's residence at 5971 Charloma Drive in Lakeland.

Full Article and Source:
Couple Charged in $138K From Elderly Woman

Accused of Exploiting 91-Year-Old

A 61-year-old man was arrested, accused of exploiting a 91-year-old Alzheimer's patient for whom he had power of attorney.

Donald R. Stewart Jr. was arrested by a Pasco County Sheriff's Office detective on a charge of exploitation of the elderly.

Stewart, according to sheriff's office reports, used the woman's money since July to pay his bills, including his electric, utilities, cable and credit card bills. He spent $6,000 on her Discover Card without her permission and transferred more than $18,000 from her bank account to his, according to reports.

When questioned, Stewart told a detective he's known the woman for seven or eight years and met her through her boyfriend who died. He said he was her power of attorney and handles all of her business for her.

The woman is in a retirement home and when a detective tried to question her it was clear she wasn't in any mental condition to respond. She said she didn't know who Stewart was, according to the report.

Full Article and Source:
Police Say Man Exploited Woman With Alzheimer's