Saturday, November 27, 2010

OR: Elder Investment Fraud and Financial Exploitation Prevention Program

Oregon has joined 22 states in a new effort project senior citizens from investment fraud.

The national effort is called the Elder Investment Fraud and Financial Exploitation Prevention Program. The program will train medical professionals to recognize seniors who may be vulnerable to scams because of cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease, and then refer these at-risk patients to securities regulators and adult services professionals.

Full Article and Source:
Oregon Joins National Effort to Fight Scams Aimed at Seniors

Mass. Aims to Cut Drug Overuse for Dementia

State regulators and the Massachusetts nursing home industry are launching a campaign [11/19/10] to reduce the inappropriate use of antipsychotic medications for residents with dementia — a practice that endangers lives and is more common here than in most other states.

During the next year, a team of specialists will identify nursing homes with successful methods for avoiding overuse of antipsychotics and determine which homes need help cutting back. Nursing home staff will be taught how to deal with aggressive and difficult behaviors, often displayed by dementia patients, without resorting to antipsychotics to sedate them.

In 2009, 22 percent of Massachusetts nursing home residents who received antipsychotic medications did not have a diagnosis for which the drugs were recommended — the 12th highest rate of inappropriate antipsychotic use in the nation, the Globe re ported earlier this year.

Twice in the past five years, federal regulators have issued nationwide alerts about troubling and sometimes fatal side effects when antipsychotics are taken by people with dementia, often Alzheimer’s patients.

Full Article and Source:
Massachusetts Aims to Cut Drug Overuse for Dementia

Feds Say Adviser Bilked Elderly to Support Dancers

Sugar daddy by night?

That's what federal authorities allege a Farmington Hills man amounted to in running a Ponzi scheme in which he conned elderly investors into giving him their money.

Investment adviser Keith Epstein then used the money to financially support three exotic dancers, pay for his gambling habit, travel and art expenditures, and pay interest to other investors, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court.

Attorney Ron Chapman, who is pursuing three civil suits against Epstein on behalf of clients who were allegedly bilked -- including an 85-year-old widow who lost her life savings -- said of Epstein: "He knows no shame."

Full Article and Source:
Farmington Hills Advisor Bilked Elderly to Support Dancers, Feds Say

Friday, November 26, 2010

SD Lawyer Sees Blessing in the Fall

It's hard to know when things went bad for Mary Ann Giebink. It's hard to know when she took the irreversible steps that led to the collapse of her law career.

But it's easy to know when things began to get better.

That would be this summer and fall, when Giebink stepped up to the South Dakota legal system, explained her crimes, addiction and depression, and began to heal.

Giebink, 50, pleaded guilty to three charges she faced after a police chase last May that reached 100 mph. One charge was the felony of "aggravated eluding" that put herself and others at risk of injury or death. Another was second-offense drunken driving, a misdemeanor. The third was felony grand theft by embezzlement, a shuffling of money at her law office that began the sequence that led to her drunken binge at a Sioux Falls bar and the chase.

Her actions startled a community that knew her as a leader on social, legal and gender issues.

Full Article, Video, and Source:
Lawyer Sees Blessing in the Fall: 'I Was Dying Inside'

Man Takes Plea Deal in Case of Fraud, Swindling, Grand Theft, Money Laundering

Asoka Perera, who stole more than $450,000 from an elderly woman, banks and tea supply houses, took a plea deal Monday and was sentenced to seven years in prison.

Perera was arrested April 5 and charged with multiple counts of fraud and swindling to obtain property, grand theft, money laundering and writing bad checks.

As part of a plea deal, Perera pleaded guilty to money laundering, theft from a person 65 years of age or older, criminal use of personal identification information and two counts of grand theft.

In addition to prison, Perera must serve 10 years of probation.

Circuit Judge Beth Harlan ordered that Perera must pay more than $457,000 in restitution to several victims. However, the figure will get larger. The judge will determine at a later hearing how much money one remaining victim, a tea supply company, should receive.

Full Article and Source:
Man Takes Plea Deal in Case of Fraud, Theft, Swindling and Money Laundering

Contractor Repaid for Lawyer's Theft

A contractor bilked out of more than a half million dollars by a Cape attorney is getting his money back, reports the Cape Cod Times.

It’s the second largest award ever granted by the Massachusetts Clients Security Board, a quasi state panel that makes good on money stolen from attorneys’ clients.

Norman Sasville, 63, of Middleboro was awarded $656,000 by the state board. He’s one of 92 clients awarded $2.4 million by the board this year, according to a press release issued this week.

The board, which the Supreme Judicial Court established 35 years ago to restore a level of trust in the legal profession, uses money from a $300 fee licensed attorneys pay annually.

Builder Repaid for Lawyer's Theft

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Laughing About Getting Old

With the timing of a professional comedian, this diminutive "little old lady" shines a very funny light on the foibles of aging, to the delight of an audience filled with senior-care experts.


See Also:

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

'Emergency Guardianship' Battle Hard Fought but Won

On August 4, 2009, my 76 year old mother, who has Alzheimer’s, was removed from her home under the direction of a county attorney. My brother was told by a county social worker that they were placing my mother on a 72 hour hold. August 4th was a Tuesday – the 72 hour hold would have expired on Friday. The county had all day Wednesday, all day Thursday and almost all day Friday to make contact with the family, but they did not even attempt to contact family. The very next morning, less than 24 hours later a county social worker, along with the county attorney, filed a Petition for Emergency Guardianship – appointing the county social worker as guardian.

They chose to not contact any family members, even though they had 72 hours in which to make contact. My sister is a RN and she had Power of Attorney, but that did not matter. My mother has 6 children – none of whom were contacted regarding the Emergency Guardian Petition. How is it possible that a county social worker and a county attorney could believe that this was proper behavior?

They threw my mother in a nursing home, even though it is a documented fact that people with dementia should not be removed from their surroundings. They never once contacted family to ask what would be in my mother’s best interest. My mother suffered horribly at the nursing home the county chose. After only 3 weeks, my mother was hospitalized for an infection, she had a fractured wrist and she had bruising to all sides of her body, including a baseball sized bruise to her left breast.

A hearing on the appropriateness of the Emergency Guardian must be held within 5 days. The family never received notice of this hearing. It was by pure luck that my sister and I found out about the hearing and attended at the last minute. Once there, we BEGGED to be allowed co-guardians of our mother with the county social worker. Had we arrived a few minutes later, the hearing would have been over and we would have “lost” our mother to a county social worker.

On October 8, 2009 my sister and I obtained Permanent Guardianship over our mother and the county social worker’s guardianship was terminated. During the three-month Emergency Guardianship that the county forced upon my mother, she lost approx. $25,000. She also suffered a severe emotional/mental decline, from which she has never recovered. Even after all of this, we consider ourselves lucky, because our nightmare is over. There are others out there who have been battling abusive guardianships for years.

NASGA: Clarice Sunderland

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Iowa Facility Fined for Repeated Sexual Nursing Home Abuse

The Abington on Grand Nursing Home in Ames, Iowa has been fined $6000 for not protecting residents from repeated sexual nursing home abuse. The Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals said the mentally disabled residents of the nursing home were subjected to sexual abuse and threats of violence.

One of the alleged abusers was a resident who was court ordered to the nursing home. The staff had documented numerous times the man's sexual abuse of other residents, as well as his threats to kill people. One staff member told investigators she saw the man having sex with another resident but was told by the nurse in charge to just keep an eye on the two.

Investigators were also told by a staff member that a female resident with a severe mental impairment had been caught having sex with residents but the situation was laughed off by other staff members.

The owner of the Abington on Grand who was fined the $6000 said he has nothing to do with how the facility is run.

"I'm just the owner," he said. "The company I have is just the owner of the real estate. We have nothing to do with the operation."

Full Article and Source:
Iowa Nursing Home Fined for Repeated Sexual Nursing Home Abuse

See Also:
Ames Nursing Home Admonished Again

Average Cost of Nursing Home Room Tops $83K a Year

Nursing home and assisted living rates rose significantly from 2009 to 2010, according to the 2010 MetLife Market Survey of Long-Term Care Costs. Private room nursing home rates rose 4.6 percent to $83,585 a year or $229 a day, while assisted living facility costs climbed 5.2 percent on average to $39,516 a year or $3,293 a month.

The average cost of home health care aides and adult day care were unchanged, after having jumped about 5 percent the year before. Home care aides still average $21 per hour and adult day care services remain at an average $67 per day.

The survey also reports on the cost of a semi-private room in a nursing home, which increased 3.5 percent to $205 a day, or $74,825 a year. The cost of a semi-private room in an Alzheimer's wing actually dropped, from an average of $75,920 to an average of $75,190 annually.

Once again, the highest rates for a private nursing home room in 2010 were found in Alaska, where the cost is now $687 a day on average. The lowest rates were found in Louisiana (with the exception of Baton Rouge and the Shreveport area), at $138 a day.

The cost of assisted living was the highest in the Washington, D.C., area, at $5,231 a month and the lowest in Arkansas (except for Little Rock) at $2,073 a month. Average home health care aide services ranged from a high of $30 an hour in Rochester, Minnesota, to $14 and hour in the Shreveport area of Louisana. Adult day care services were highest in Vermont at an average of $140 a day and lowest in the Montgomery, Alabama, area, at $31 a day.

Thompson/McMullen Articles

Read the 2010 MetLife Survey of Long-Term Care Costs

Monday, November 22, 2010

Laurie Roberts: Too Bad Marie Long Didn't Have Lindsay Ellis' Retirement System

I just took a swing through the pensions we are doling out to our former elected leaders and judges. Turns out you don’t even have to be an elected leader or a judge to score a comfy retirement, courtesy of Arizona taxpayers.

Lindsay Ellis – the now-retired probate court commissioner who was charged with protecting Marie Long -- retired earlier this year and now draws a $104,400 annual pension.

Court commissioners are appointed by Superior Court’s presiding judge. By rights, they should be part of the pension system of rank-and-file state employees rather than elected officials and judges. They don’t go through the vetting system that full-fledged judges face. They never have to stand for retention at elections as full-fledged judges do. And yet they get the perks.

“The judge’s plan merged with the elected officials plan in 1985,” Tracey Peterson, who is chief operating officer of several of the plans, including this one, told me. “Court commissioners were a part of the judge’s plan. So when there was the merger, they just came over.”

That means we are kicking in more than $2 for every $1 that she and other commissioners put into their retirement (as opposed to a dollar-for-dollar match for other state employees). After 20 years, commissioners get to retire with 80 percent of their pay (a far cushier deal than other state employees), plus they get annual 4 percent cost-of-living adjustments (regular state employees haven't had a cost-of-living adjustment in five years).

The whole thing leads me to wonder why anyone would ever want to be a judge when they can be hired as a commissioner and get the same black robe and the same great perks -- without the hassle of facing voters ever four years.

Full Article and Source:
Too Bad Marie Long Didn't Have Lindsay Ellis' Retirement System

TX: Reporter Confronts Convicted Thief

A neighbor convinced an elderly woman to give him power of attorney, and then, when she was in the hospital; He moved his family into her home!

Sounds crazy, but it's true.

When the elderly woman's husband died, she inherited a substantial amount of money.

Her neighbor, who also mowed her lawn saw an opportunity. He convinced her to sign a last will and testament, durable power of an attorney and medical power of an attorney.

Police eventually arrested the man and charged him with theft. He's now on probation and doing restitution. But he still lives in the neighborhood, so I paid him a visit and confronted him!

Watch the Video

See Also:
Ripping Off Grandma - A Different Kind of Abuse

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Protecting Vulnerable Texans: SB 220

Texas State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, today filed a package of legislation intended to reform state programs designed to protect children, seniors and Texans with disabilities.

"As we work to balance the state budget, it is critical that we live up to our responsibilities to protect our most vulnerable citizens," Nelson said. "These reforms will help ensure the safety of children, seniors and Texans with disabilities.

Protecting Vulnerable Texans: SB 220 includes procedural reforms to help families navigate the guardianship system and to protect individuals and their assets while under a guardianship. Key provisions include immediate notification to guardians who are removed by a court and a longer period for them to seek reinstatement. SB 221 strengthens protections against the exploitation of seniors and ensures that law enforcement is notified if a client's home may be left vacant due to the client being removed under a protective order. SB 223 increases efficiencies in long-term care services for seniors and individuals with disabilities, and directs the Department of Aging and Disability Services to ensure that consumers are aware of their options. "I have become extremely concerned by some of the stories I am hearing involving seniors having their lives taken over by third parties, and it is time for us to re-examine the protections that should be in place to protect our graying population from exploitation," Nelson said. "Our guardianship system also needs to be transparent and fair."

Full Article and Source:
Protecting Vulnerable Texans: SB 220

Feds Say Delaware's Mentally Ill Still Warehoused

The Delaware Psychiatric Center warehouses the mentally ill and fails to protect them from harm, the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division concluded in a scathing report made public.

The 21-page report, delivered to Gov. Jack Markell's office, is based on a three-year federal investigation triggered by a series of News Journal stories about patient abuse at the state's mental institution on U.S. 13 near Minquadale.

Among the report's conclusions:
• At least 70 percent, and perhaps more, of the 170 patients in beds for noncriminals "could be -- and have a right to be -- living in community settings with appropriate services and supports." The average stay should be three to six months, but instead it's about three years. One top state administrator told investigators "pretty much everyone at DPC would be appropriate for community placement."

• Delaware's shortage of community programs, particularly crisis services, leads to "unnecessary institutionalization." Expansion of existing programs "would lead to a significant cost savings" for state taxpayers.

• Patients are too often put in restraints or seclusion "for excessive periods" to control aggressive behavior. Such action not only violates their constitutional right to due process, but illustrates the hospital's "inadequate assessment and treatment of risks."

• Patients face a "high risk" of abuse and neglect, especially those awaiting discharge. In one case, an employee hit a patient in the head with a set of keys, causing cuts that "required sutures and staples to close." In addition, investigations into serious incidents are often inadequate.

Full Article and Source:
Feds Say Delaware's Mentally Ill Still Warehoused