Saturday, April 24, 2010

More Abuse in Genesee County Michigan

Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell is calling it another case of elder abuse as three adults have been removed from a home in Flint.

The sheriff says those people are being treated at an area hospital. This all took place in the 3800 Block of Fleming on the city's north side.

One person was taken into custody. He's being held in the Genesee County Jail.

He's 23-years-old, according to Pickell, and the grandson of Mary Chapman, a woman who is no stranger to these types of allegations.

The man arrested is likely also the son of the Chapman's daughter, who was running a Beard Street facility where one elderly woman died and two other elderly adults were removed last month.

Pickell says they will seek elder abuse related charges against him. The sheriff and his team of investigators say the home is not licensed to be an adult foster care facility.

The three women inside, ages 55, 58 and 67, are receiving treatment, according to the sheriff.

Full Article, Video and Source:
Genesee County Sheriff Finds Another Case of Elder Abuse

Nursing Home Resident Accused of Felony Battery

A 57-year-old man was arrested on charges that he fondled an elderly woman suffering from dementia in the nursing home they share, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

Larry Donneal Evans, of St. Petersburg, was arrested on a felony charge of battery on a person 65 years or older. He is mentally ill, police said, but they did not disclose his exact diagnosis.

A nurse at Pasadena Manor Nursing Home at 1430 Pasadena Ave. caught Evans inside the victim's room.

[T]he victim was not coherent enough to even talk to deputies. She suffers from Alzheimer's disease and senile dementia. Her identity was withheld by the Sheriff's Office because of the nature of the allegation.

Evans is a convicted felon who was first arrested in 1970. He served four years in prison for charges of resisting an officer with violence and possession of cocaine, among others. He was released in 2004.

Full Article and Source:
Pinellas Deputies: Elderly Dementia Patient Fondled in Nursing Home

Friday, April 23, 2010

Illinois: Cashing in on Frail Patients

‘Horrific’ moneymaking scheme shuttled sick, elderly between nursing homes and hospitals at taxpayer expense.

Dr. Roland Borrasi chuckled as he told three doctors how he used kickbacks and cash bribes to shuttle unsuspecting nursing home residents into Chicago-area hospitals and psychiatric wards.

"Basically, I have a commodity; my commodity is nursing home patients," Borrasi explained.

He didn't know it at the time, but federal agents were secretly recording that meeting.

One of the doctors was wearing a wire as Borrasi matter-of-factly explained the mechanics of patient brokering to physicians in his medical group.

Those recordings, along with court documents and federal investigative reports obtained by the Tribune, describe a web of corruption in which hundreds of thousands of dollars flowed among doctors, nursing home executives and hospital administrators as the facility operators sought to fill their beds with a steady flow of destitute patients.

While taxpayers paid millions of dollars in fraudulent Medicaid and Medicare bills, one Alzheimer's patient was given inappropriate brain radiation treatments, a Borrasi associate told federal agents. A second patient, a disoriented elderly woman, was sent to an acute psychiatric ward after she refused to eat in her nursing home dining hall, another medical professional told federal agents.

"The fact that … greed subordinated the care of elderly and infirm patients who really needed it is horrific at best," federal prosecutors wrote in a court filing earlier this year after Borrasi was sentenced for accepting more than $500,000 in kickbacks to steer vulnerable patients. Prosecutors described "the scope and breadth of the bribes" as "extraordinary."

Full Article and Source:
Cashing in on Frail Patients

Abbie Dorn Court Battle Set For May 13

Abbie Dorn always wanted children, and in June 2006 she got her wish -- triplets. But during a difficult birth she suffered severe brain damage that took away her chance to raise them.

Now, her parents and former husband are locked in a legal battle over whether Dorn is capable of interacting with her children, and whether they should visit her.

On Tuesday, a judge in Los Angeles County Superior Court ruled that Abbie Dorn's parents have the right to fight for visitation rights on her behalf.

The ruling clears the way for a trial, scheduled for May 13. No matter who prevails, the case is likely to lead to years of appeals that could result in a legal landmark affecting the rights of mentally incapacitated parents.

Full Article, Video, and Source:
Court Fight Waged Over Brain Damaged Mom's Triplets"

Lawsuit #3 Against La Salle County Nursing Home

The third lawsuit stemming from multiple abuse reports last year at the La Salle County Nursing Home was filed in Circuit Court.

The county expects even more legal fallout after the incidents were reported last summer from nearly a dozen female residents who were allegedly sexually assaulted by a male resident with a previous history of such abuse.

The lawsuit, formally presented by Oglesby attorney Gary Peterlin and Peter Ferracuti of Ottawa, alleges staff members did little to protect a now deceased former woman resident from sexual abuse from a fellow resident during the time period of February through May, 2009.

According to court documents, Barbara Snyder of Tonica, executor of the late resident's estate, is asking in excess of $50,000 plus attorney fees and costs from the care facility for failure to protect the 81-year-old woman in the last months of her life. The suit could cost the county up to $100,000.

The attorneys allege the nursing home allowed a known sexually active and aggressive male resident to have contact with the victim and failed to properly care and prevent injuries to the woman. The suit says the victim had a "statutory right to receive treatment and care which was free from abuse or neglect."

Neither La Salle County Board Attorney Troy Holland or Board Chairman Jerry Hicks, D-Marseilles, were available for comment.

Full Article and Source:
Third Lawsuit Filed in Nursing Home Abuse Incidents

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Whistleblower Lawsuits Filed Against Malcomb County Judges

The former administrator of Macomb County Probate Court has filed whistleblower lawsuits, claiming he was fired because he told state investigators about a judge's alleged wrongdoing.

Donald Housey, who was removed as court administrator in January, claims in suits filed recently in federal court and Macomb Circuit Court that Probate Judge Kathryn George and Chief Probate Judge Mark Switalski retaliated against him. Housey's suits claim the retaliation occurred because he cooperated with investigations by the State Court Administrator's Office and the Judicial Tenure Commission into George's handling of cases, along with allegations of her excessive absences from the bench.

"This is a man who's been wronged, and we're trying to right the wrong," Housey's attorney Kathleen Bogas said.

Bogas filed Housey's lawsuits in both U.S. District Court and Macomb Circuit Court. "The federal court doesn't have jurisdiction over probate court, so we filed the whistleblower claims in both courts," she said.

The federal court filing also claims Switalski and George violated Housey's freedom of speech by retaliating against him for cooperating with the state investigations.

Chief Macomb Circuit Court Judge Pro Tem Diane Druzinski called the lawsuits "unfortunate," adding, "The facts will ultimately speak for themselves."

In addition to the alleged firing of Housey for providing information to the Judicial Tenure Commission, the lawsuits claim George retaliated against Housey by "publicly degrading and harassing" and "wrongfully reprimanding" him because he cooperated with a 2008 investigation by the State Court Administrator's Office.

Full Article and Source:
Former Macomb Court Adminstrator Sues Over Firing

NASGA Soapbox: 'Guardianship/Conservatorship Victims'

by Advocate Tim Lahrman

There are even victims, both family members or otherwise, who do not even realize they are victims.

In fact, everyone in America is a victim because, when one person's rights are not protected and are readily violated --- then all our rights are at risk of being violated.

NASGA website:

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Elderly Ex-Judge Objects to Choice of Conservator

Retired Probate Judge Edward F. Casey, who only last month approved naming state Rep. Bill Bowles conservator of his estate, has abruptly reversed course.

The 85-year-old judge, who suffers from dementia, signed court papers objecting to having Bowles oversee his financial affairs.

Now, the legal impasse involving Attleboro City Councilor Kim Allard - the elderly judge's personal caretaker accused by Casey's family of taking advantage of him - will probably have to be resolved by a jurist outside of Bristol County.

Because of the potential for conflict of interest, a court employee said, it is unlikely that a judge of the Bristol County Probate Court will hear the case.

Casey is a former judge in the court and his son, John, is a sitting probate judge. The case would most likely be heard by a judge from another jurisdiction, possibly Plymouth County, the worker said.

Bowles, D-Attleboro, was appointed conservator for the estate of the elder Casey with the support of the judge's family.

Bowles and the family claimed that Allard was taking advantage of her relationship with the elderly judge.

Allard, also a long-time friend of the elder Casey, receives a $600 weekly salary for the judge's care and was given title to a $328,000 house on Slater Street signed over to her by the judge.

The next step will be a pretrial conference, court officials say.

[Casey's] filing was not accompanied by a statement giving reasons for the judge's objections and his abrupt turnabout.

According to a box checked on the appeal form, the elder Casey plans to file an affidavit within 30 days.

Full Article and Source:
Ex-judge Objects to Plans for Oversight

See Also:
Retired Judge Victimized

Neglect at Flint Foster Care Facility

A woman who five years ago was banned by the state from operating her adult foster care facility has been tied to at least two other Flint homes now being investigated by authorities.

Genesee County Sheriff Robert J. Pickell said an investigation showed Mary Chapman has connections to a home at 3809 Fleming Road and an adult foster care facility at 1325 Beard Street — both of which had residents removed recently because authorities said they were neglected.

Pickell said his office is continuing to investigate Chapman, assisted by the Genesee County Elder Abuse & Exploitation Prevention Team, but no criminal charges have been issued.

Pickell said Chapman paid her grandson to care for the residents, but the women — ages 55, 58 and 67 — were often left unattended and their medications weren’t administered properly. Pickell said one woman had barricaded herself in an upstairs bedroom and was reluctant to leave the home when police arrived.

The 23-year-old grandson was arrested and later released pending further investigation, Pickell said.(A Department of Human Services employee walks a woman away from the home at 3809 Fleming Road in Flint on Wednesday. Authorities said the home appears to have connections to an adult foster care facility on Beard Street in Flint, where authorities removed several elderly adults last month. Three women were removed from the Fleming Road home.)

Full Article and Source:
Genesee County Sheriff's Office Continues to Investigate Elderly Care at Flint Homes

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

When Should the State Step In?

Life took a drastic turn for Bob Queener - and for the loved ones who believed they were doing their best to keep an eye on him daily - when he began to show signs of dementia. Without warning last December, the state removed Queener under police escort from the Des Moines home where he'd lived alone for four decades. He was placed against his will in a locked mental health unit.

For five hours the next day, his panicked relatives knew only that the 79-year-old had disappeared, said his sister Barbara Conrath, 74, of Bondurant.

Three months later, most of Queener's possessions were sold or thrown away by a stranger authorized by the court to control his property, said his brother Rich Queener, 65, of Prescott.

Several of Bob Queener's relatives believe workers with the state Department of Human Services acted too quickly when they sought court approval to have him removed from his home. They're also upset that a judge gave all authority over his life to people who don't know him or love him.

"I mean, my goodness, it wasn't right. It really wasn't," said Conrath, one of his eight living siblings.

DHS spokesman Roger Munns defended the agency's actions as part of an extraordinary effort by government agencies to protect Queener's well-being.

Full Article and Source:
Elderly Care: When Should the State Step In?

A Victim of 10 Years of Abuse and Exploitation

A victim of 10 years of Abuse and Financial Exploitation, because Law Enforcement turned a deaf ear to "White Collar" crime, and the judiciary has refused to acknowledged my legally executed Probate documents, my Power of Attorney, and the Revocation of the POA - allowing my assets to be seized by the perpetrator(s) with a "blank" form of a trust, not by court order, but by affidavit only.

NASGA - Victims' Stories

Oregon Man Arrested for Exploitation

Forest Grove Police arrested a man in connection to the exploitation of an elderly victim, which included about $50,000 of the victim's money spent on vacations, bathroom remodeling and online adult entertainment, among other things.

Shawn Michael Vilhauer, 44, was arrested on charges of first-degree criminal mistreatment and first-degree aggravated theft, which are both felonies, according to police. The arrest came after Vilhauer was indicted on the charges and a five-month investigation, according to police.

Vilhauer became responsible for the elderly victim in the fall of 2008, police said. Investigators determined that Vilhauer had also used the $50,000 for online gambling and mortgage payments, and left the victim's medical bills and other care expenses unpaid, police said.

Full Article and Source:
Forest Grove Man Arrested in Connected to Elder Abuse Case

Monday, April 19, 2010

Nebraska's Supreme Court Chief Justice Calls for Safeguarding State's Wards

Nebraska's top judge wants a task force to investigate the justice-system shortcomings that allowed hundreds of thousands of dollars to be drained from the vulnerable people an Omaha woman had been appointed to protect.

Nebraska Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael Heavican said he will call upon judges, attorneys, auditors, lawmakers, fraud investigators and others to probe what needs to be done to shore up the state's guardian and conservator system.

Heavican said he decided to make the rare move of appointing a task force after reading The World-Herald's April 11 report on the flaws that allowed the accounts of several wards to be emptied.

Authorities say former court-appointed guardian Dinah Turrentine-Sims who has declined interview requests took at least $350,000 from as many as eight wards. The 59-year-old has been charged with theft and abuse of a vulnerable adult in connection with two cases.

Among the flaws, the newspaper found that judges failed to:

* Set bonds insurance that could have protected the assets of the people in Turrentine-Sims' care.

* Scrutinize the care that she arranged for her wards.

* Spot inflated numbers and unusual entries on her accountings.

* Subpoena bank statements statements that showed large cash deposits and numerous casino ATM withdrawals.

Nationwide, Heavican said, court administrators are placing great emphasis on bolstering probate court, the part of the justice system charged with overseeing the health and wealth of elderly and disabled people. It's easy to see why: Fueled by baby boomers, the elderly population is expected to exceed 71 million people by 2030 more than double the number in 2000.

Heavican said the courts' responsibility to protect the elderly and the disabled is no different from their duty to protect children.

“Most of us agree that this issue with guardians and conservators is huge,” Heavican said. “We want a full picture of how this happened and why this happened so it doesn't happen again.”

Full Article and Source:
Looking to Safeguard State Wards

See Also:
Flaws in Nebraska Law Can be Fixed

Guardian Faces Theft Counts

Disbarred, Disgraced, and Going to Federal Prison for 30 Years

Disbarred and disgraced attorney Troy A. Titus was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison for defrauding clients and friends out of more than $8 million, money a judge said the victims will never see again.

The 44-year-old father of six wept as he tried to explain himself before U.S. District Judge Raymond A. Jackson and a courtroom filled with family and friends. Other than blaming his swelled pride, Titus was at a loss.

"I wish there was something I could do to explain it," he said. "I guess I got to the point where I completely lost sight of reality."

A federal jury in December convicted Titus of 33 felonies, finding that he had operated a Ponzi scheme that cost his victims around $8 million in losses. The government now says the total fraud amounted to nearly $12 million.

Calling Titus "an economic sociopath," Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Moore asked the judge to put Titus behind bars for the rest of his life. While the judge did not do that, Titus will be well past retirement age when he is released, unless he wins his appeal.

Full Article and Source:
Disbarred Attorney Sentenced to 30 Years for Fraud

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Terri Schiavo Life and Hope Concert

If I could have, I would have gone to the 1st annual "Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Concert." But National Right to Life was more than ably represented last Sunday at the fundraising concert to benefit the Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation, by Executive Director David N. O'Steen, Ph.D., and State Organization and Development Director Jacki Ragan.

Held at the Murat Center in Indianapolis, Indiana, the concert was life-affirming in the best sense of the term. Obviously, the reason there is a Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation is grim: Terri died when she was unjustly denied food and fluids as the result of a titanic legal struggle that went on for years and years.

But forged in that battle is a foundation that is dedicated to battling the mentality that people who are imperfect are "better off dead." And that love of life was on rich display.

Like almost everyone, I have enjoyed the music of Randy Travis and Collin Raye. Each is a music legend in his own right. Each performed for more than an hour. Each dedicated two autograph guitars, one of which was raffled off, the other auctioned to raise funds to help the foundation.

Full Article and Source:
Reflections on the Terri Schiavo 'Life and Hope' Concert

Memories Fade, but Feelings Remain

Even though a memory is forgotten, the feeling may still remain. A new scientific discovery brings with it implications for memory-stripping diseases like amnesia and Alzheimer's.

In a study involving patients with damage to their hippocampus -- a type of amnesia causes short-term memory loss -- researchers at the University of Iowa discovered that although a recent memory disappears, the feeling originally linked to the memory remains.

The type of memory loss looked at in the study is the same type of amnesia that is an early sign of Alzheimer's disease. Researchers say these findings reinforce the importance of caring for the emotional needs of Alzheimer's patients.

"A simple visit or phone call from family members might have a lingering positive influence on a patient's happiness even though the patient may quickly forget the visit or phone call," Feinstein said. "On the other hand, routine neglect from staff at nursing homes may leave the patient feeling sad, frustrated and lonely even though the patient can't remember why."

Full Article and Source:
Amnesia: Memories Forgotten, but Feelings Remain

Caregiver Accused of Exploitation

Beverly Widdiss says every day for years she made sure an elderly woman she cared for ate a proper meal – and she did it without pay.

But a New Port Richey Police detective says payday came over and over again, starting about a year ago, and continued after nearly $60,000 of the 82-year-old woman's funds were drained.

Widdiss, 46, was arrested on charges of exploitation of the elderly and scheme to defraud. She was released from the Land O' Lakes Jail later after posting $20,000 bail.

Det. Jason Engel said Widdiss was the woman's caregiver and "gained the trust and confidence" of the victim before bilking her out of tens of thousands of dollars.

Widdiss said the woman, whose family lives "up north" and doesn't take care of her, has been helping her out financially for years and she was always told she'd "get everything anyway."

"I was power of attorney and everything," Widdiss said. "…She told me that I would never have to work for the rest of my life and that I could travel."

Widdiss says she's angry and hurt. She said in recent months she noticed the woman has had memory problems and has seemed "out of it" and she thinks it's because of medication.

"I loved her to death and she loves me," she said. "…I don't even think she knows what's going on."

Widdiss, 3608 Murrow St., New Port Richey, said in addition to one day being vindicated, she is going to sue those who have shamed her, including the police and the nursing home.

"I did get framed – bad," she said. "Real bad."

Full Article and Source:
Caregiver Exploited Elderly Woman, New Port Richey Police Say