Saturday, August 14, 2010

Illinois Nursing Home "Operation Guardian" - Two Residents Arrested

State and local officials came together for operation guardian at Rockford’s Alden Park Strathmoor Nursing Home.“About seven months ago we started doing unannounced checks of across the state of Illinois to determine whether or not nursing homes were identifying offenders and whether or not those offenders living there had a safety plan in place,” says Attorney General Lisa Madigan. The check in Rockford revealed four people living at Alden Park with out-standing criminal warrants.

It has those with loved ones at Alden Park concerned.“My sister-in-law is a paraplegic and she doesn’t speak so for her to tell us that’s impossible if something had happened,” says Linda Perry.Although this is the first compliance check in the Stateline, it won’t be the last. Madigan says illegal activities are happening in nursing homes all across the state.

Full Article, Video, and Source:
Two Nursing Home Residents Behind Bars After Attorney General's "Operation Guardian" in Rockford

Sentenced to 43 Months to 16 Years

A Fallon man who pleaded guilty to exploitation of an elderly person over 60 was sentenced Tuesday in District Court.

Crash Corrigan Streavel received 43 months to 16 years in prison for stealing about $250,000 from Myrl and Maie Nygren.

According to Deputy District Attorney Ben Shawcroft, Streavel was a caregiver for the Nygrens and then took control of their finances. Streavel paid himself, added his name to a credit card account and wrote checks to himself in the their names and took out cash advances.

As part of the sentence, Judge David Huff ordered Streavel to sign over the deed to the Idaho property, the title to the SUV and any remaining money in his bank account to Maie, 82. Myrl died of natural causes in the spring.

“This is a terrible crime to take advantage of elderly people,” Huff said. “I take this very seriously.”

Full Article and Source:
Exploitation of Elderly Ladies Costs Fallon Man

Sentenced to Two Years Probation and $1,000 Fine

A Cary man was sentenced to two years probation and fined $1,000 Thursday after pleading guilty to stealing thousands of dollars from a disabled woman with whom he was living.

Peter T. Jachim, 42, admitted guilt to financial exploitation of a disabled person and an unrelated felony theft charge as part of a plea deal struck with McHenry County prosecutors allowing him to avoid a possible prison sentence.

The plea agreement does include a 180-day sentence in the McHenry County jail, but he has served that time while awaiting trial.

Jachim initially was charged with financial exploitation of an elderly person and financial exploitation of a disabled person in May 2009 after, authorities said, a Cary police investigation revealed he stole about $5,000 from two mentally disabled women with whom he shared an apartment.

Full Article and Source:
Cary Man Get Probation for Stealing From Disabled Roomate

Friday, August 13, 2010

Smoron Caretaker Sues Developer Over Eviction

The same caretaker waging a legal fight to be recognized as the heir to Josephine Smoron 's estate is also suing Bristol developer John Senese, claiming Senese evicted him without a court order and confiscated his tools and equipment.
Samuel Manzo filed suit against Senese, doing business as Calco Construction Co., in New Britain Superior Court last fall. He claims he was a tenant on a Smoron -owned parcel that Senese purchased in March 2008 and where Calco is building a BJ's Wholesale Club.

According to Smoron 's will, she gave Manzo use of the property beginning in 1985 to operate his mulch and firewood business, the Southington Firewood Co. The parcel was part of a larger portion that Senese had an option to purchase in a 2001 agreement with an earlier estate conservator.

The lawsuit states that after the March 2008 sale Senese ordered Manzo off the property. When Manzo returned with police to retrieve his tools and equipment, he was locked out.

"He was a tenant there and they knew it," said Manzo's attorney Barry Pontolillo. "Even if you're not paying rent you have the right to a court hearing. They just changed the locks. They are taking the law into their own hands."

Full Article and Source:
Smoron Caretaker Sues Developer Over Eviction

See Also:
CT Judicial Council Finds Probable Cause

Disbarred Lawyer Now Facing Felony Charges

A Pender County lawyer who was disbarred in late 2008 amid allegations of misappropriating client funds now faces felony charges, officials say.

Agents with the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation arrested Kevin Joseph Strickland, 39, and charged him with financial crimes as well as an allegation he set fire to his own law office.

Strickland, who civil court records show practiced real estate law and negotiated multi-million dollar deals, was booked into the Pender County jail under a $500,000 bond, according to a statement from the SBI.

On Friday, jail officials said Strickland was released Thursday on a $200,000 bond.

Full Article and Source:
Disbarred Attorney Indicted on Financial Charges

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Judge Orders Investigators Visit David Leyton's In-Laws

The county's chief probate judge has issued an order that investigators revisit the home of the in-laws of county Prosecutor David Leyton after an elder abuse program official claimed she wasn't allowed to visit recently.

Judge Jennie E. Barkey issued the order Tuesday after Diane Nims, executive director of the county's Elder Abuse and Exploitation Prevention program, said in a letter to the court that Leyton's 82-year-old mother-in-law rejected a scheduled visit.

Barkey ordered that the elder abuse program conduct a home visit and geriatric assessment of the couple during a visit today instead.

Leyton's in-laws are at the center of legal fight in which his wife and two other siblings are opposing petitions for guardianship and conservatorship requested by another sibling.

Full Article and Source:
Genesee County Judge Orders Follow-up Visit to Home of In-Laws of Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton

See Also:
MI AG Candidate Wife's Family Embroiled in Dispute Over Parent's Care

Court-Ordered Visit Accomplished

County Sheriff Robert Pickell said an official with his Elder Abuse and Exploitation Prevention Program was able to revisit the in-laws of county Prosecutor David Leyton today after not having been allowed to visit previously.

Chief Probate Judge Jennie E. Barkey issued an order for the visit on Tuesday after Diane Nims, executive director of the elder abuse program, said in a letter to the court that Leyton's 82-year-old mother-in-law had rejected an earlier visit.

Pickell said he did not have any additional information about today's visit.

Barkey’s order instructed the elder abuse program to conduct a geriatric assessment of the couple's current condition in their home. They are at the center of legal fight in which three siblings, including Leyton's wife, Therese, oppose petitions for guardianship and conservatorship requested by another sibling.

Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell Says Elder Abuse Official Was Able to Visit Home of Prosecutor David Leyton's In-laws

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Six Arrested for Harmful Nursing Home Prank

Six former Northern California nursing home employees are under arrest on charges they covered several elderly patients with cream to make them slippery as part of a prank against their co-workers.

California Attorney General Jerry Brown announced the arrests on Tuesday, calling the alleged abuse "despicable behavior."

All of the patients at Valley View Skilled Nursing Facility in Ukiah suffered from dementia, Brown said, and were unable to object to their treatment.

The six employees have been fired.

Full Article and Source:
6Arrested for Greasing Elderly at CA Nursing Home

California Ombudsmen Call for Independent State Leader

A group of local ombudsmen and other advocates for the elderly are calling for a fully independent statewide office for California's aging population, saying the current political appointee in charge has failed to protect their interests.

Anticipating the call to overhaul his office, state Long-Term Care Ombudsman Joseph Rodrigues said he has been assured by the Schwarzenegger administration that he can speak out more freely on behalf of seniors.

As the current elder-care ombudsman for the state, Rodrigues is a political appointee who operates within the state’s Health and Human Services Agency and oversees a network of local (and increasingly activist) elder-care ombudsman offices.

In California, people who work with the elderly or disabled are mandated to tell local ombudsmen or police about neglect or abuse they observe in nursing homes and other residential care. Ombudsman offices statewide received 43,500 complaints last year, investigating many and standing up for the elders involved.

The Committee for an Independent State Office includes representatives from elder advocacy groups, including the California AARP, and local elder-care ombudsman program managers.

Linda Robinson, who coordinates the ombudsman program in Santa Cruz County, spoke during an Assembly committee on aging hearing Tuesday, saying the state office has muzzled local elder advocates from speaking to the media and failed to speak up about legislation that would benefit seniors.

Full Article and Source:
Local Elder-Care Ombudsmen Revolt, Call for Independent Leader

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

MI AG Candidate Wife's Family Embroiled in Dispute Over Parents' Care

The wife of Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton is locked in a legal battle over the care of her parents, who the head of an elder abuse prevention program said had been "neglected."

Leyton, a Democratic candidate for Michigan attorney general who has campaigned as a protector of senior citizens, said he is not a party to the case and has acted strictly as a support for his wife, Therese, as she and her siblings have talked about how to provide assistance to their parents while following their wishes to remain independent.

"My role is to provide love and support for my wife," he said. "Many, many people who have aging parents have faced this situation."

The dispute started after Therese Leyton's sister, Alisa Kaufman, petitioned in Probate Court for guardianship for her 90-year-old father and 82-year-old mother, who live in the Flint area but are not being named by The Flint Journal.

Investigations by the state Department of Human Services and a county elder abuse prevention team that described unclean, potentially dangerous conditions in the home -- documents Chief Probate Judge Jennie Barkey said "sickened me."

Concerns over the elderly couple's well being caused Barkey to grant temporary guardianship of the parents to Kaufman in June. Barkey reversed that decision five weeks later after investigators reported that conditions at the home had improved.

Full Article and Source:
Democratic Attorney General Candidate David Leyton's wWife, Siblings Argue Over Care of Parents; Investigation Finds Elder Couple Received "Minimal Care"

CT Accountant Accused of Mishandling $2.26 mil Trust

Allegations of fraud have surfaced against a Norwich accountant accused of mishandling an estimated $2.26 million of a family’s trust fund accounts over the last decade.

The claims against F. Robert LaSaracina, who runs a financial services firm on West Town Street, are detailed in a recent memorandum filed in Norwich Probate Court as part of ongoing litigation involving trust funds worth millions of dollars.

The July 22 memorandum, prepared by Linda J. Kidder, a Waterford lawyer who is the conservator of the Ilona Kauppinen trust, says that LaSaracina made loans to friends, family and himself, some with no interest or even documentation, and generally mishandled funds in the trust.

Full Article and Source:
Trustee: Norwich Accountant Owes Trust Fund $2.2 Million

Monday, August 9, 2010

Isabelle Jessich Update

Isabelle Jessich went to court Friday with two goals: to regain her liberty from a court-appointed guardian and to prevent him from selling her Edina home to pay $100,000 in fees for himself and seven lawyers.

Jessich succeeded in getting control of everything but her money, but she now faces the prospect of being sent back to a nursing home while her 17-year-old daughter could be placed in foster care.

Jessich, 57, has been battling for 20 months to take control of her life from Joseph Vogel, a professional guardian and conservator appointed by a Hennepin County judge in December 2008 to make decisions for her. Last year, Jessich made major strides to overcome the eating disorder, neurological problems and alcoholism that had made her a ward of the court. But Vogel would not let her leave a Robbinsdale nursing home and rejoin her daughter Allison, who was left to fend for herself.

After the Star Tribune reported on Jessich's situation in August 2009, state inspectors investigated and cited Robbinsdale Rehab and Care Center for failing to release Jessich. She moved back home in December. Since then, Jessich testified Friday, she has continued with physical therapy and other recovery activities. She said she is leading a "normal life."

But her struggle with Vogel over her finances could bring chaos back into her life. Vogel said he's owed almost $25,000, and lawyers in the case -- whose fees must be paid by Jessich -- have racked up more than $80,000 in bills. Vogel can't get access to Jessich's sizable inheritance in Belgium, worth at least $200,000, because Belgian officials don't recognize his authority, Vogel said.

Full Article and Source:
Edina Woman Gets Control of Life, May Lose Home

See Also:
Isabelle Jessich, "My Sweet Home"

Follow NASGA on Twitter!

National Association to STOP Guardian Abuse

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Wisconsin Lawmakers Consider Changes to Judge Discipline Rules

A state legislative committee is considering changing the current system for disciplining judges who violate the judicial code of conduct.

The committee was created to address concerns raised by the 3-3 deadlock that occurred when the high court ruled on whether Justice Michael Gableman had violated the ethics code with a campaign ad during the race for his seat on the court.

At its first public hearing this week, Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Patrick Crooks told the committee it's up to the legislature to prevent that from happening again. He says a deadlock will likely happen again, and that the legislature should provide “some means of resolving a situation that is not finally resolved."

Crook's colleague, Justice Patience Roggensack, says there's no need for legislative fix because the system isn't broken. But she told the committee if they want to fix it there's an easy way to do it.

“All it would take would be a simple amendment of the statute saying if there is not a majority vote in favor of the position of the judicial commission that concludes the matter.”

But Mike McCabe of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign asked the committee to consider ending the system that puts judges in the uncomfortable position of judging fellow judges. He says lawmakers should give consideration to a new model that would perhaps also include members of the general public as well as people from the legal community.

Before it makes any recommendations the committee will hold several public hearings to solicit more ideas about the need to change the current system for disciplining judges.

Wisconsin Lawmakers Consider Changes to Judge Discipline Rules

Woman Accused of Stealing From Son

King County prosecutors have filed felony theft charges against a Renton woman accused of raiding her son's guardianship account for years.

In charging documents, prosecutors claim Rhonda Marie Miller, 37, stole more than $30,000 from a fund set up to pay for her son's care, using the money to send herself to New York City.

Writing the court, Renton Detective Norman Ryan claimed Miller made 11 unauthorized withdrawals from her son's account between November 2004 and January 2007. Most of the charges were listed as trip expenses.

"These claims are based mostly on reported trips made to New York for medical appointments for 'studies' which the victim was not even involved in any longer," Ryan told the court.

The couple caring for Miller's son reported the thefts to police after they came to light. At the same time, civil proceedings were underway in dependency court to see the money returned.

Full Article and Source:
Charge: Renton Mom Raided Son's Accounts