Friday, December 30, 2011

Pair Suspended as Executors of Huguette Clark Estate

The prospect of Huguette Clark's Santa Barbara estate being turned into an art museum grows dimmer as a New York judge suspends longtime advisors Wallace Bock and Irving H. Kamsler as executors of her will, citing accusations of tax fraud.

When Huguette Clark's will was filed six months ago, art lovers in Santa Barbara were delighted: The bluff-top estate owned by the reclusive 104-year-old copper heiress was to be transformed into a museum.

It was an exciting but uncertain prospect at the time, largely because the museum was to be established by Clark's attorney and accountant — longtime advisors whose ethics had been questioned in news reports and in legal actions by Clark's relatives.

The possibility grew even dimmer Friday when a New York City judge suspended the pair as Clark's executors, citing accusations of massive tax fraud.

At a hearing in Surrogate's Court, which rules on estate matters, Surrogate Kristin Booth Glen pointed to charges by the New York public administrator's office that the pair caused Clark's estate to lose more than $50 million.

In court filings, the office said attorney Wallace Bock and certified public accountant Irving H. Kamsler should be removed "by reason of their dishonesty, improvidence, waste, and want of understanding."

Full Article and Source:
Pair Suspended as Executors of Copper Heiress Estate

See Also:
Huguette Clark Signed Two Wills!

MA Man Held for Elderly Fraud Scam After Conservator Notices Discrepancies

A Swampscott man was arraigned in Lynn District Court after he allegedly confessed to Lynn Police that he stole over $5,000 from an elderly woman with dementia by using her debit card for several months.

Mikhail Perlin, 49, was held without bail on five counts of larceny over $250 by a single scheme. According to a police report by Lynn Police Officer Thomas Morley, Perlin made at least 55 unauthorized transactions using a debit card belonging to a 71-year-old woman he met while working for Multicultural Services, where he told officers he “provided companionship, cleaning and shopping services for clients.”

The woman, Galina Yanisherskay, suffers from severe dementia and has been living in a nursing home in Braintree since May 31, according to the report.

Perlin told Lynn Police that he used to go grocery shopping with Yanisherskay, who apparently has no family, and that she would sometimes have him pay using her debit card. But charges made after she entered the nursing home aroused suspicion from the court-appointed conservator for Yanisherskay.

The conservator, attorney Amber Cohen of Plymouth, requested the woman’s Eastern Bank account records on Nov. 11 and immediately noticed several discrepancies. The report said Yanisherskay receives monthly Social Security deposits that had been depleted in the months after she entered the hospital and moved to the nursing home.

Full Article and Source:
Swampscott Man Held for Elderly Fraud Scam

IL Couple Charged With Financial Exploitation of 92-Year Old Woman

Mount Prospect police charged a married couple with financial exploitation of an elderly person after authorities say they wrote themselves checks on the woman’s account.

Richard Bugayon, 40, and Jocelyn Bugayon, 35, are charged with a class three felony. If convicted, they could face from two to five years in prison. Probation is also an option.

Cook County Judge Jill Cerone Marisie set bail at $30,000 for each defendant and ordered they have no contact with the complaining witness. Marisie also ordered that the couple, who are natives of the Philippines, surrender their passports.

The couple served as caretakers for the 92-year-old woman, said Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Lesley Gool. During that time, they wrote checks to themselves or to cash from the woman’s account, Gool said.

Police said the defendants led the woman to believe she was endorsing checks to various charities. After the victim endorsed the checks, the Bugayons would increase the dollar amount on the checks and make them out to either or their own names, police said in a prepared release.

Full Article and Source:
2 Charged With Financial Exploitation of Mt. Prospect Woman

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Probate Sharks: New Blog - Cook County Guardianship Abuse Victims Manual

We are pleased to announce the unveiling of a new guardianship abuse resource blog for the victims of the Cook County Probate Court. The purpose of this blog is solely to provide easy-to-locate resources for identifying and reporting the illegal and unethical activities that occur in the Cook County Probate Court. The blog is dedicated to fellow guardianship victims and their loved ones, with the hope that it will help to bring an end to the criminal activity being endured.

The new blog can be viewed at:

We at ProbateSharks will continue to bring our readers the same resource information as can be found on the new blog, along with personal and special interest stories as we have in the past.


Your ProbateSharks Advocate to End Guardianship Abuse


Two Utah Nurses Fired for Taping Woman's Mouth Shut

Two nurses in a Utah hospital's intensive care unit were fired this week for taping a patient's mouth shut and laughing about it, hospital officials said.

Artalejo's daughter, Brittany Bilson, told the television station that her mother's teeth were chattering and she was moaning and shaking. Bilson said the nurses told her mother to shut up, taped her mouth closed and joked they would be fired if they were caught.

Penny Artalejo was admitted to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in Provo on Dec. 17 with nausea and anxiety from taking medication for chronic neck pain, her daughters told Utah radio station

"It's not right. It's inhumane," Bilson said. "We put our loved ones' lives in their hands. I left the hospital basically thinking she's fine from here, and just more bad happened."

Full Article,Video and Source:
Taping Patient's Mouth Shut: Utah Nurse Fired For Treatment Of Penny Artalejo

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Civil Suits Against Rita Hunter Pending

A 12-count indictment handed up last week will demand Rita Hunter's appearance in federal court, but the former Jasper County public administrator also has court dates pending in state court on civil lawsuits filed against her by county wards.

Several lawsuits still are making their way through the courts, though in other instances, courts have ruled in favor of the former administrator who left office Dec. 31, 2008. One Jasper County Circuit Court jury also has found in favor of Hunter, who thus far has been defended by attorneys for the county's insurance carrier. In addition, Hunter has not been released in final financial settlements she filed on wards when she left office, because of challenges filed questioning how wards' money was handled and reported.

Hunter, 59, of rural Joplin, now faces federal charges of health care fraud, theft of government property, document fraud, Social Security fraud and Medicaid fraud, in connection with the operation of her office when she was administrator from January 2005 through December 2008. The indictment alleges financial misdeeds started as early as April 2005, four months after the start of her term.

The indictment alleges Hunter collected nearly $200,000 to which her office was not entitled. That came either by falsifying reports to apply for Medicaid benefits to which wards were not entitled, or collecting fees from what wards were receiving from Social Security, without authorization and without reporting to the federal agency. In those cases, more than $121,000 from Medicaid and nearly $60,000 from Social Security were used for the fees for administrative charges by her office and to pay attorney fees and tax preparation fees, authorities allege.

Hunter is to report Jan. 5 for arraignment on the charges. In an appearance before U.S Magistrate James C. England on Wednesday, she was assigned a public defender and released on a personal recognizance bond, according to Don Ledford, spokesman for U.S. Attorney Beth Phillips.

Springfield attorney Lynn Myers said he expects both sides will be back in Jasper County Circuit Court soon on a lawsuit filed in July 2008 on behalf of several former wards. The suit seeks damages from Hunter and the county's insurance company, alleging she overcharged wards and mishandled their funds.

The lawsuit currently lists wards including Guy Sesler, Treba Benson and the late Emma France, but Myers is asking the court to approve the case as a class action, contending overcharging was common among all wards' accounts.

Full Article and Source:
Civil Suits Pending on Local Level

See Also:
Former Jasper County MO Administrator Rita Hunter Indicted for Fraud Scheme!

Gone Without a Case: Suspicious Elder Deaths Rarely Investigated

Nothing, it seemed, was unusual about Joseph Shepter's death.

A retired U.S. government scientist, Shepter spent his final two years dwelling in a nursing home in Mountain Mesa, Calif., a small town northeast of Bakersfield. A stroke had paralyzed much of his body, while dementia had eroded his ability to communicate.

He died in January 2007 at age 76. On Shepter's death certificate, Dr. Hoshang Pormir, the nursing home's chief medical officer, explained that the cause was heart failure brought on by clogged arteries.

Shepter's family had no reason to doubt it. The local coroner never looked into the death. Shepter's body was interred in a local cemetery.

But a tip from a nursing-home staffer would later prompt state officials to re-examine the case and reach a very different conclusion.

When investigators reviewed Shepter's medical records, they determined that he had actually died of a combination of ailments often related to poor care, including an infected ulcer, pneumonia, dehydration and sepsis.

Investigators also concluded that Shepter's demise was hastened by the inappropriate administration of powerful antipsychotic drugs, which can have potentially lethal side effects for seniors.

Prosecutors in 2009 charged Pormir and two former colleagues with killing Shepter and two other elderly residents. They've pleaded not guilty. The criminal case is ongoing.

Full Article and Source:
Gone Without a Case: Suspicious Elder Deaths Rarely Investigated

See Also:
Post Mortem: Death Investigation in America

Autopsies in the USA

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

FL: Inspections Decline as Elder Watchdogs are Muzzled

For five weeks, the leaders of Florida’s assisted-living watchdog group pondered what to do with volunteer advocate Bill Hearne.

The 74-year-old former businessman had been “a real asset” to the state’s Long-term Care Ombudsman Program, the group’s top lawyer wrote in an email.

But Hearne also had an annoying habit of telling reporters, public task forces and his colleagues that the advocacy group was “in bed with” industry leaders it was supposed to oversee.

One of Hearne’s bosses called his behavior “toxic.” In the end, the desire to shut Hearne up trumped his contributions to the program, and state Ombudsman Jim Crochet dismissed him last month.

Crochet attached a copy of the dismissal letter to his staff to a Nov. 29 email that contained only one sentence: “This should be in the Miami Herald soon.”

Hearne says his supervisors never warned him that his complaints had become intolerable, though emails between his bosses suggest he was aware he was likely to be dismissed. He added that even if he’s not officially working for the ombudsman’s office, “that will not deter me in advocating for the residents of [long-term care] facilities one iota.”

Hearne, who lives in Miami, is among a growing number of volunteer elder advocates who have either been dismissed or have resigned in the wake of an ongoing purge of inspectors who criticize or challenge the program’s decision to move in a dramatically new direction.

Full Article and Source:
Inspections Decline as Elder Watchdogs are Muzzled

See Also:
ALF Watchdog: I was Dumped for Doing my Job

Florida Curtails Effort to Police ALF's

Program to Protect Elders Undermined, Feds Say

Legislators Grill State Elder Affairs Chief Over Allegations of Muzzling Activists

Grand Jury Demands Florida Get Tough on ALF Operators

Search the ALF Database

Neglected to Death - The Miami Herald Series

MA Senator Tarr Eyes Probe of SeniorCare Oversight

State Sen. Bruce Tarr is pushing legislation to close a loophole in elder care law and create an independent ombudsman to address issues like those in the controversial case of Joseph Judd, the Gloucester great-grandfather at the core of an 18-month-old dispute between his caregivers and his family.

Tarr, the Senate minority leader, said his staff is also studying the appropriate avenue to investigate complaints against SeniorCare Inc., the Gloucester-based management company that oversees many state-funded elder services in Essex County.

He said he wants to know what specifically the state Executive Office of Elder Affairs, which gives SeniorCare about $9 million a year, did to investigate the Judd case after complaints were raised in June 2010 by Judd's grandson, Vito Loiacono.

An internal review by SeniorCare reportedly found no wrongdoing by its employees but left Judd's family dissatisfied.

SeniorCare has refused to release the specific findings of its probe to Judd's family. SeniorCare, which manages the services at McPherson, has repeatedly refused to discuss the case with Judd's family or the press, citing privacy concerns.

Gloucester Police also carried out two investigations, and released a report earlier this year indicating they did not find any evidence that would merit "criminal" charges. Police also, however, noted that SeniorCare was to address a number of "health-care" issues.

Full Article and Source:
Tarr Eyes Probe of SeniorCare Oversight

KY Group Home Proprietor Defends His Operation

Most of the men living on a campus of three aging homes off Versailles Road have mental illness or developmental disabilities.

They come from all walks of life, but typically, they have been released from psychiatric hospitals, prisons and personal care homes. Eight of the more than 70 men at Messner Home Inc. are veterans, six are wards of the state and two are former foster children who have turned 18 and aged out of the system.

"I get the ones that nobody else wants," said owner Ralph Messner, whose late mother opened a halfway house in Lexington in 1959 that evolved into the current private operation.

Messner, 77, said he runs a good home and often works more than 65 hours a week to meet the needs of the residents. But Kentucky officials have been investigating allegations of poor living conditions and have expressed a concern about the lack of government oversight at the homes for at least the second time since 1996.

Officials from Kentucky Protection and Advocacy, an independent state agency mandated by federal law to protect and promote the rights of persons with disabilities, received a complaint that led to visits beginning in August, said executive director Marsha Hockensmith.

"Bed bugs, lack of cleanliness, lack of proper bedding, lack of privacy, and problems with the physical structure" are among the issues that Protection and Advocacy found, Hockensmith said.

Messner is upset that Kentucky Protection and Advocacy has been investigating the home. He said Veterans Administration officials told him in May that the home looked the best it had looked in seven years.

Full Article and Source:
Proprietor of Care Home in Lexington Defends His Operation

Monday, December 26, 2011


The U.S. Chamber is applauding a film that documents how the greatest system of justice in the world is being compromised by greed and corruption.

InJustice reveals the history behind America’s “lawsuit industry” and how it had transformed the practice of law from a calling into a multi-billion dollar a year business. The film by award-winning producer Brian Kelly highlights the abuses of opportunistic trial lawyers and reveals how their actions affect the court system, the legal profession, and lawsuit victims.

“Riveting. Fascinating. A revealing look under the hood of the American lawsuit industry. Anything thinking of hiring a lawyer should see this movie,” says Steve Forbes, president and CEO of Forbes, Inc.

InJustice takes viewers on an journey through the dark corridors of lawsuit scams and abuses, including asbestos and silicosis litigation, the Fen-Phen diet scandal, the mega-million dollar tobacco settlements, Wall Street power grabs, and shakedown operations in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

YouTube:InJustice Trailer

Legal Battle Continues Over Late Judge's Will

Alone, handcuffed and slumping in a perfunctory orange jail jumpsuit Memphis Fire Department Battalion Chief Sandra Richards waited in Shelby County Criminal court for her attorney Leslie Ballin.

"She looks like a defeated woman. She looks pretty pitiful. I would assume she's feeling the impact of being incarcerated," said Ballin.

Brenda Oates-Williams, who is filing the civil suit against Richards, sees it differently, "I don't believe she's capable of remorse. I think she's a sociopath. I think she's capable of doing anything and she thinks she's big and bad enough to do and get away with it and she's done this for quite a while."

Somewhere in between those disparate descriptions is a moralistic tale of the rewards and pitfalls of a woman's "blind ambition."

Richards, the former girlfriend of the late Tennessee State Representative Ulysses Jones, remained in custody on Tuesday after being charged last Friday with forgery and aggravated perjury.

In May, Probate Judge Robert Benham ruled Richards forged a will that would have left her all of Jones' 100-thousand dollar estate instead of his children.

"This document was only made for me to be the executor and of course the children know who I am and they know I would have done right by them. It was never meant to exclude, close out. It was meant for me to be in charge," claimed Richards.

Full Article, Video and Source:
Legal Battle Continues Over Late Judge's Will

Arrest Over Mom's Missing Money

When questioned about why thousands of dollars went missing from his mother's court-supervised account, Lawrence Nero told a judge: "I gamble, Your Honor."

Now, not so much.

Nero, 63,is in the Douglas County Jail after being arrested this week and charged with felony abuse of a vulnerable adult in connection with $15,000 missing from his mother's account — money he was supposed to be overseeing as her conservator.

The charge comes as court officials statewide have stepped up their scrutiny of guardians and conservators tasked with the oversight of the health and wealth of incapacitated people. Several reforms were instituted after a World-Herald investigation revealed that one Omaha-area guardian had looted her wards' estates of more than $400,000.

In Nero's case, authorities made the allegations after an unusual exchange during a review hearing last March with Douglas County Judge Darryl Lowe, who was overseeing Arlene Nero's guardianship case.

According to court transcripts:

Lowe: "Mr. Nero, the account is not adding up here. We've had some — we've got withdrawals from Ameristar Casino and cash withdrawals going up to several thousand dollars. Why is that?"

Nero: "It's . I gamble, Your Honor."

Lowe: "Well, you can't gamble with your mom's money."

Nero: "Yes, Sir, I know that now. And I didn't at the time. I know that, Your Honor."

Lowe: "So what you're going to have to do is find some way to put that money back, otherwise you're looking at a situation where the court may have to refer this to the County Attorney's Office."

Nero: "I started the process of barring myself from the casino for life."

In court documents, investigators say, Nero became his mother's guardian-conservator in August 2005 after she was diagnosed with dementia.

Full Article and Source:
Arrest Over Mom's Missing Money

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Little Boy and the Old Man

Said the little boy, "Sometimes I drop my spoon."
Said the old man, "I do that too."

The little boy whispered, "I wet my pants."
..."I do that too," laughed the little old man.

Said the little boy, "I often cry."
The old man nodded, "So do I."

"But worst of all," said the boy, "it seems
Grown-ups don't pay attention to me."
And he felt the warmth of a wrinkled old hand.
"I know what you mean," said the little old man.

~ by Shel Silverstein

Facebook - The Forgotten Ones - Compassion for the Elderly

Ohio Launching Elder Abuse Prevention Shelter

A local retirement center is launching the first elder abuse prevention shelter in Ohio and one of the first in the nation.

Cedar Village Retirement Community announced the creation of the Shalom Center for Elder Abuse Prevention.

"As a faith-based organization, our commitment to the community and to our elders reaches far beyond our walls," said Carol Silver Elliott, Cedar Village's CEO and President. "This is our obligation and part of our social and community responsibility."

Until now, police, social service agencies, hospitals and other organizations in Southwest Ohio have not had appropriate places to refer victims of elderly abuse. The Shalom Center for Elder Abuse Prevention will serve as a safe harbor.

The Shalom Center will care for abused seniors, aged 65 and over, from Hamilton, Warren, Butler and Clermont counties. Services will include medical, nursing and therapy services if needed; meals; legal services; social work; pastoral care; and social, recreational and educational programming.

Full Article and Source:
Elder Abuse Prevention Shelter Launching in Warren County

Saturday, December 24, 2011

'Twas the Fright Before Christmas

'Twas the fright before Christmas and in Just-Us house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a louse.

The stockings were hung by the railing with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

The grabbers were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of dollar signs danced in their heads.

When out on the street there arose such a clatter,
I sprang to attention to see what was the matter.

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Into the court came St. Nick with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
But his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;

He had just come from the Chambers of Hell
where there and the bench there was such a smell!

A bundle of bucks he had flung on his back,
And he looked mad as a bear about to attack.

His eyes didn't twinkle! He started to shake!
His cheeks were drawn in, like he'd just seen a snake!

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
Tore down all the stockings; then turned with a jerk.

Shaking his finger at the crew at the bench,
So angry you could see his fist started to clench -

To the judge and the clerk, and the Incest Crew,
He said, "Get out! You're all through!
You're going to a place that's better for you!"

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the shot of a pistol.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to Mary, and to all a good-night -
Except the schemers and scammers from Hell -
They shall all rot in a cell!"

And the bag of bucks was left behind, for Mary!
My Christmas wish for her.

~Anonymous NASGA Member

'A Crack in the Mantra of the Professional Court-Appointed Guardian Crowd' and Merry Christmas

Effect of the Barry case

The Sykes case has become for the two guardian ad litem and the attorney for the plenary guardian a professional nightmare, assuming that the professional standards in Illinois apply to them to the same extent that they apply to other lawyers. In August 2009 the now plenary guardian, who at that time was an accused abuser of the alleged disabled person admitted that Sykes’ treating doctor refused to sign a certificate of incompetency. Judge Connors is reported in the transcript of proceedings to have suggested that a more co-operative doctor be found. Thus, it is of record that like the situation in Barry the ‘red flags’ indicating that a person who had civil rights was on the verge of being deprived of at least some of her civil rights in less than an appropriate manner.

Three attorneys lead the way. The record reveals that the Sodini notices (jurisdictional) were ignored, and many steps were taken to prevent inquiry and transparency. JoAnn Denison was disqualified without a proper legal basis, and under color of statute, but lacking in jurisdiction an overt attempt was made to intimidate me and stop my inquiry into just how Mary Sykes was declared incompetent and what happened to her very valuable estate.

All of the foregoing is water under the dam and will be addressed in subsequent litigation. The Barry case however brings up the issue of professionalism. Mr. Barry, an attorney, in a glib maneuver to advance the interests of a client over other family members orchestrated an individual’s declaration of incompetency. The facts of Barry are amazingly similar to that of Sykes. The ARDC found that Mr. Barry’s tactic was unprofessional and requested a year suspension of his license.

As was discussed previously the guardian ad litem, and the attorney for the plenary guardian have been overt in their efforts to first have Sykes ‘railroaded’ into a guardianship, and pornographic in their efforts to prevent inquiry. No reiteration is necessary – the ball is in the Court of the legal profession. If there is a double standard it will be quite evident. The lack of remediation by the plenary guardians and the attorney for the plenary guardian suggest that they believe that the Barry standard does not apply to them. The protestors are still under attack and the attempts to create transparency, terminate the elder abuse and financial exploitation of Mary Sykes is all still being thwarted. The younger daughter of Mary Sykes who has led the fight to free her mother is being wrongfully evicted from her home, her bank accounts have been wrongfully frozen, and law enforcement and society have been sitting on the sidelines watching what amounts to a ‘rape’ of our culture.

The ARDC in the Barry case pointed out that the miscreant attorney not only had a duty to make certain before he acted to deprive the victim of his civil rights that he had sound basis for action (Rule 137), but if he found he was wrong to attempt to correct his error. As he did not a harsh penalty was requested of be imposed by the Illinois Supreme Court. In making the offer of settlement that was rejected by the two guardian ad litem, it was my intention to call attention to the Barry case and to make a mechanism available to the two guardian ad litem and the attorney for the plenary guardian to save face and at the same time renew Mary Sykes and Gloria Sykes civil rights. While it would not be a no harm no foul situation, I was hoping that this Christmas a few lawyers could demonstrate good will. I was wrong and Gloria Sykes is facing a wrongful eviction, Mary Sykes continued isolation, segregation, abuse, and financial exploitation, and sans a double standard the attorneys professional ruin.

It is very sad that we never learn and the legal professional has to be perceived as predator rather than the ‘learned profession’ that it desires to portray itself. The Barry case is a crack in the mantra of the professional court appointed guardian crowd who are the subject of the ire of the victims of Court protected guardianship abuse and financial exploitation. The Sykes case demonstrates the extent of the infection and the arrogance of the disease. I’ve copied Mr. Stern, Ms. Farenga, and Mr. Schmiedel in this note making one more Christmas Appeal to use their offices to provide Mary Sykes, Gloria Sykes, and their friends, family and neighbors a Merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all -

~Ken Ditkowsky

Effect of the Barry Case

See Also:
NASGA Victims - Mary Sykes

Gloria Sykes is a NASGA Member

Jerry Elverman Trial: Guardian Sues Lawyer

Though she suffered from dementia and couldn't name the president or identify a stapler, Dorothy Phinney could still understand her own finances enough to know she wanted lawyer Jeffrey Elverman to help her handle them, Elverman's own attorney told a jury Monday.

Elverman, 52, a former partner at Quarles & Brady, faces charges he stole more than $370,000 from the elderly woman in 2003 and 2004 by getting her to sign checks to him. A 2009 lawsuit brought by Phinney's new guardian alleged Elverman's take was more than $600,000.

"This case is about Dorothy Phinney's ability to consent," defense counsel Daniel Drigot told jurors in an opening statement. "It's not about whether she was too generous or Mr. Elverman was too greedy."

Drigot said Phinney, 94, "had a particularly strong interest in managing her own finances," and that Elverman brought bills to her weekly to explain them and answer questions.

Drigot noted that a woman hired to help take care of Phinney on what became a daily basis earned about $200,000 for her services. Phinney has no immediate family.

That woman is expected to be a key witness for the state.

In 2008, Elverman's law license was suspended for nine months after he failed to report $230,000 on his state and federal income taxes, money he collected between 1999 and 2004 as a trustee for an account. The money should have been turned over to Quarles & Brady. He claimed he was unaware that his trustee fees should have gone to the firm, and said he forgot to pay taxes on the money until 2002.

Elverman, who now lists a Genoa City address, did pay the taxes before lawyer regulators contacted him, and he was not charged with state or federal tax violations.

He wasn't charged in the theft case until December 2010, after an extensive investigation by the state Department of Justice.

If convicted of theft, Elverman faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. The trial continues before Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Jeffrey Conen.

The civil suit is still pending, and Elverman remains suspended from practicing law, according the State Bar of Wisconsin website.

Full Article and Source:
Theft Trial Begins Over Payments to Lawyer

See Also:
Guardian Sues Lawyer

Friday, December 23, 2011

Probate Sharks: Attorney's Laptop Confiscated in Open Court

Editor's note: Swirls from the Shark Tank...An attorney monitoring the Sykes case in Judge Stuart's courtroom, in the Probate Court of Cook County, had her laptop confiscated in open court by a bailiff. No reason was given for the confiscated laptop and the laptop was returned.
~Lucius Verenus, Schoolmaster,


See Also:
NASGA Victims - Mary Sykes

Note: Gloria Sykes is a NASGA member.

Houston Ripoffs of Disabled Vets Went Undetected for More Than a Decade

Sometimes when she watched her son standing outside his personal care home, Wylma Barnett thought the disabled ex-Marine looked homeless clad in his worn and raggedy clothes, though he had plenty of money in the bank.

The picture seemed wrong, she thought, for a man who had served his country and whose ample assets for the last 20 years were entrusted to a Houston attorney by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Instead, next month, Joe B. Phillips, 72, and his wife Dorothy, 71, are expected to stand trial for conspiracy to commit fraud and theft in a Houston federal court. They are accused of embezzling more than $2 million from at least 28 disabled veterans, including Barnett's son, and allegedly carrying out the biggest rip-off ever uncovered in a VA program responsible for about $3.1 billion in disabled veterans' assets nationwide.

But according to court records reviewed by the Houston Chronicle and interviews with those who investigated the thefts, local veterans lost even more money and the fraud persisted longer than authorities initially reported. Evidence of possible exploitation in Phillips' own public accountings and actions were overlooked for years.

"All they would have had to do was ask," Barnett said, referring to the government's lack of scrutiny. "Ask anybody who had been assigned to Phillips."

More than two dozen veterans and insurance companies have since filed civil lawsuits against Joe Phillips, who continues to practice law four years after a VA auditor first found evidence of embezzlement.

A VA audit first found problems with Phillips' accounts in late 2007.

Bernard Hebinck, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel and attorney who also serves as a VA fiduciary in Houston, said it was the first formal audit by the VA of fiduciary records in this area in about a decade. He and his partner, Kevin Alter, subsequently sued Phillips on behalf of 20 veterans and obtained 18 settlements so far.

Full Article and Source:
Houston Ripoffs of Disabled Vets Went Undetected for More Than a Decade

Ex-Milwaukee Lawyer Convicted of Stealing From Woman With Dementia

A former Milwaukee lawyer has been found guilty of stealing over $370,000 from a 94-year-old woman with dementia.

A Milwaukee County jury convicted Jeffrey Elverman Thursday of felony theft. He’s expected to be sentenced next month.

The 52-year-old Elverman had power-of-attorney privileges for the woman. He did not testify at his trial, but his attorney said the client intended to pay Elverman the money in 2003 and ’04.

The large payments were not discovered until 2008, after a judge appointed a new guardian for the woman.

That guardian then filed a civil suit against Elverman for $600,000. The civil case is still pending.

Full Article and Source:
Ex-Milwaukee Lawyer Convicted of Stealing From Woman With Dementia

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Retired NYC School Teacher Fights for Her Freedom

Ella Card had it made in America. After emigrating to the United States from her native Belize, she earned a masters degree and taught third grade in the New York City Public School system for three decades.

She and her late husband Raymond, who died as a result of taking the recalled painkiller Vioxx, had saved and invested their money wisely, so Card was looking forward to a comfortable retirement.

But her well-laid plans took a terrible detour when she suffered temporary dementia after being struck by a car in 2010. Her two sons, whom she says lost their jobs as corrections officers due to drug abuse, petitioned the Brooklyn Supreme Court for guardianship over her affairs.

And after recovering from her injuries, the 73-year-old widow -- a naturalized U.S. citizen who retains dual citizenship in Belize -- finds herself in an ongoing guardianship nightmare that has now gone international.

On March 16, Brooklyn Judge Betsy Barros held one of five ex parte hearings on Card, appointing a temporary guardian. On April 26, Barros ignored Card's durable power of attorney, irrevocable trust, and two quit claim deeds and read the still-very-much-alive woman's will in open court before declaring her "incapacitated."

"It felt like a hanging. I was the only one sticking up for my mother," Card's 43-year-old daughter Cindy told us. "Every one of them standing there and allowing it knew my mother was not incapacitated."

Card was then placed under the near total control of a court-appointed guardian, The Vera Institute of Justice, located in the same Brooklyn courthouse. The Vera Institute of Justice's website describes it as "an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit center for justice policy and practice." According to IRS records, $16.7 million of its $24 million annual funding comes from government grants.

Card told The Washington Examiner that The Vera Institute of Justice promptly froze all of her assets (valued at approximately $1 million), including her teachers' pension, began collecting rent on the property she owned, and forced her to live in her own home without heat, hot water or access to her own money.

Card petitioned the court to remove the guardianship. Her petition was denied.

Full Article and Source:
Retired NYC School Teacher Fights for her Freedom

New Charges Filed Against Attorney Russell Takasugi

The 57-year-old son of Nao Takasugi — a late assemblyman and Oxnard mayor — will remain in jail pending sentencing early next year for embezzling from an estate and will probably get five years in prison, according to prosecutors.

But new charges involving the theft of money from another estate that were made public Wednesday mean Simi Valley attorney Russell Takasugi could get an additional five years or more, prosecutor Marc Leventhal said in an interview Thursday.

After learning there was an warrant for his arrest Wednesday, Takasugi turned himself in to authorities. He later discovered the district attorney had filed seven new felony charges, including grand theft, money laundering and multiple counts of forgery.

In October, Takasugi pleaded no contest to embezzling more than $500,000 from the estate of Oscar Muro. Muro died in August 2007 from pancreatic cancer at age 71. Takasugi has argued that he loaned himself money from Muro's estate.

Bank records filed in probate court show Takasugi spent lavishly on family members and at restaurants and stores, took vacations and bought a BMW.

Prosecutors have been looking at the latest charges since the Muro case was filed and have been compiling evidence since that time, Leventhal said, "and now is the time to proceed on those charges."

Takasugi faces up to 14 years in jail if convicted of the new charges.

Full Article and Source:
Simi Attorney Could Face Five More Years in New Estate Theft Case

90-Year-Old Woman Dies Before Facing Eviction From Her Home After Being Bilked Out of $260K

When she got the letter in the mail the summer of 2008, 90-year-old Queen E. Hersh of Emmaus did not understand what it meant, so she went to her neighbors.

Hersh handed the bank letter to her neighbors, who asked their son-in-law for help. Louis Ciocco, the son-in-law, told Hersh she might lose her home of more than 50 years.

"I think we have a problem here," Ciocco testified he told Hersh after reading the foreclosure notice.

The first day of testimony at a preliminary hearing for the three people accused of stealing almost everything from Hersh, including her longtime home in Emmaus and a vacation home in the Poconos, focused on Penelope Veronikis, who authorities say masterminded the alleged thefts.

Hersh would die months after learning she had been taken for more than $260,000, authorities say, adding that the "despair and devastation" she felt may have contributed to her deteriorating health and, possibly, her death.

Full Article and Source:
Three Face Charges in Bilking Emmaus Woman Out of $260,000

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Lawyer's License Suspended After 3 Clients File Complaints

A local attorney recently had his license suspended after three complaints were filed by his clients alleging that he didn’t adequately complete his legal responsibilities and that he paid himself excessive or inappropriate legal fees.

Clifford Fritzell III practiced family law in Madison until September when his license was suspended, barring him from practicing law, receiving money from clients and acquiring any new clients.

According to Statewide Grievance Committee documents obtained by the Register, the grievance panel determined that in each of the three complaints against Fritzell, probable cause exists to believe that Fritzell is guilty of misconduct.

The panel issued its first finding on July 12, regarding a complaint filed by New Haven resident Joan Richitelli.

According to the documents, Fritzell was appointed by the Probate Court as a conservator for Richitelli’s aunt, who died in 2010. The complaint alleges that Fritzell, who was hired to help probate Richitelli’s aunt’s estate, did nothing but pay normal bills and due to his inactivity, Richitelli terminated his representation.

The complaint also alleges that Fritzell then submitted a $77,393 bill for legal services, despite being a conservator for only a month. According to the document, Fritzell then told Richitelli’s new attorney that he didn’t have all of the estate’s money and he wanted to make monthly payments. He paid additional money, but he stopped payment on a final check for $10,000. Richitelli’s aunt’s estate was owed $10,953 as of July 12, the complaint said.

The panel found that Fritzell’s legal fee was excessive and he did not properly hold and safeguard Richitelli’s aunt’s money, among other things.

Full Article and Source:
Madison Lawyer Has His License Suspended After 3 Clients File Complaints

Testimony in Disabled Adults Locked in Cellar Case

A mentally disabled man said he had nowhere else to go in 2001 when he and his high school sweetheart moved in with a paroled killer - who had starved a man to death in her closet.

A decade later, Edwin Sanabria, 31, and Tamara Breeden, 29, were found emaciated and sporting dozens of scars between them, according to photographs shown in court on Monday. Breeden bears most of them, with scars, welts and bruises marking most of her body, especially her scalp, along with her cauliflower ears.

Spectators gasped Monday when grim hospital photographs of the couple and two other victims were shown in court at the preliminary hearing of Linda Ann Weston, the convicted killer who's accused of kidnapping disabled adults in a widespread fraud and abuse scheme.

Full Article and Source:
Disabled Adults Locked in Cellar: Edwin Sanabria Testifies About Philly Captors

Court Deal Reached in Managing Etta James' Estate

The husband and sons of terminally ill "At Last" and "Tell Mama" blues singer Etta James have reached a deal on managing her $1 million estate and medical care.

Her adult sons Donto and Sametto had challenged the decisions of their stepfather Artis Mills, who married the singer in 1969 and is the estate's conservator.

Donto James asked a Riverside County judge to appoint him temporary conservator. But The Riverside Press-Enterprise says Monday's agreement keeps Mills in place as conservator.

At issue was the amount of money available to Mills for the expenses and care of the singer. He wanted $500,000, while the sons wanted it capped at $100,000.
The judge set it at $350,000.

Full Article and Source:
Court Deal Reached on Managing Etta James' Estate

See Also:
Etta James Conservatorship

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Two Year Battle in Florida Collier Circuit Court in Fred Alander Case

Known as "Uncle Fred" to diners at Spanky's Speakeasy, Fred Alander was near death in 2009 when his children asked for an emergency order to get him away from his wife of more than 35 years.

What's ensued in the two years since is a battle in Collier Circuit Court pitting four children, a daughter-in-law and a stepmother, leading to a recent ruling in one case.

At the center of it all is Alander, an 80-year-old Naples restaurateur who suffers from dementia and was rushed to a hospital in September 2009, suffering from malnutrition, high blood pressure and diabetes. Wounds and sores covered his body, even penetrating to the bone.

His four children contend in court papers that his wife, Jane, locked him out of his Oyster Bay home in 2006, moved him to a house behind their Airport-Pulling Road restaurant, Spanky's Speakeasy, and made "unqualified cleaning ladies, bar maids and alcoholic waiters" his caregivers so she could save money.

Attorneys for Jane Alander, his wife of 30 years, say those are false allegations and that his children were absent for years and "seldom assisted" her. They maintain in court papers that it's the children who have neglected their father, stating:

"Jane has always been and continues to be a loving and devoted wife to Fred.

"It is Fred's children who are wrongfully attempting to take advantage of his decreased capacity for financial gain."

The lawyers also note that the couple accumulated "significant wealth" over 35 years together and he legally designated her as his guardian in old age a decade ago.

The allegations are detailed in thousands of pages of Collier Circuit Court, domestic violence and guardianship files.

Alander's legal battle illustrates the often-contentious nature of family guardianship cases, which can pit children against parents and spouses as they trade accusations over finances and the care of someone who is elderly, disabled or mentally incapacitated.

Full Article and Source:
Courtcase Becomes Anythng but Easy for Spanky's Speakeasy Owners, Family, Workers

Etta James Conservatorship

“At Last” and “Tell Mama” blues singer Etta James, whose health has been fading in recent years, is now terminally ill, and her live-in doctor is asking for prayers.

Elaine James says she’s spreading word of the singer’s ailments so people will pray for her. She says fans know Etta James has been sick “but not how sick.”

Court records in the singer’s probate case show she also suffers from dementia and kidney failure.

Elaine James made her comments outside a Riverside conservatorship hearing over the singer’s $1 million estate. The singer’s son, Donto James, wants a conservator rather than the singer’s husband, Artis Mills.

Full Article and Source:
Doctor: Blues Singer Etta James Terminally Ill

Monday, December 19, 2011

Vermont Legal Aid and Disability Rights Vermont File Suit Against APS

The state is not doing enough to protect vulnerable adults from abuse-- that's the allegation in a lawsuit filed Wednesday by Vermont Legal Aid and Disability Rights Vermont.

The advocates first raised this issue a year ago. They say Adult Protective Services has failed to respond in a timely manner to abuse allegations and is carrying a backlog of more than 300 cases.

Among the specific shortcomings-- a lack of emergency coverage on nights and weekends, and a case load for investigators that is twice the national standard. "Vulnerable adults are people incapable of protecting themselves from the nephew who steals the Social Security check or the caregiver who leaves the woman with physical and cognitive limitations sitting in her feces," said Barbara Prine of the Disability Law Project.

State officials did not respond to our requests for an interview. Back in June, they said they had put in place new procedures to help improve response time and eliminate the backlog. But they say a lack of funding limits what the agency can do.

The advocates for the elderly and disabled say Vermont should have a system in place for Adult Protective Services that functions at the same speed as Child Protective Services.

Advocates Sue Over Backlog of VT Elder Abuse Probes

Disabled Man Suffers Severe Burns at Group Home

A disabled man was critically burned while left in the shower at a care facility. Now police are investigating, and his guardian wants answers.

Twenty-two-year-old Donzell Harden suffered third-degree burns on the lower half of his body at a Bellevue group home. He's now in the Nebraska Medical Center's burn unit.

Harden's guardian, Sherry Becker, has some tough decisions to make. But, Becker said, Harden shouldn't be suffering. She said it could have been prevented.

Born prematurely, Harden has been disabled his entire life. He's blind, doesn't walk or talk and is unable to use his arms.

On Friday, paramedics rushed Harden to a hospital with severe burns. Police said a staff member left him alone in the shower while she helped a coworker on a computer.

"He was being scalded. He couldn't do anything. He can't move. He can't even cover himself," Becker said.

The owner of Hands of Heartland, Courtney Kline-Hays, said, "This is an isolated incident. There is one person involved. We are conducting our own internal investigation."

"Human error happens. We have put in safety measures to make sure this doesn't happen again," Kline-Hays said.

Full Article, Video, and Source:
Disabled Man Suffers Burns at Group Home

Photographer Charged Over L'Oreal Heiress

A French court has charged a celebrity photographer with abusing his relationship with aged L'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt after he was named a beneficiary in her will.

Photographer Francois-Marie Banier and his partner Martin d'Orgeval were charged in the city of Bordeaux on Wednesday and released on bail, their lawyers said.

The two denied the charge and said any financial benefits they obtained from their relationship with Bettencourt were given of her own free will, the lawyers, Pierre Cornut-Gentille and Jean-Alain Michel, said.

Advertisement: Story continues below Bettencourt, France's richest woman, was placed under the guardianship of family members in October amid reports her mental health at 89 is declining.

The guardianship ended a long legal battle over her vast fortune, estimated to be worth more than 16 billion euros ($A20 billion).

The family, including estranged daughter Francoise Bettencourt-Meyers, had long accused Banier of taking advantage of the heiress.

Banier was named a beneficiary in Bettencourt's will drawn up in December 2007. But Bettencourt broke with Banier earlier this year, cutting him out of her will and depriving him of an estimated 1.25 billion euros.

Full Article and Source:
Photographer Charged Over L'Oreal Heiress

See Also:
L'Oreal Heiress Guardianized!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Former Jasper County MO Administrator Rita Hunter Indicted for Fraud Scheme!

A former Jasper County Administrator is being indicted on a 200,000 fraud scheme.

A federal grand jury in Springfield accuses 59-year-old Rita Hunter of illegally obtaining federal medicaid and social security benefits and using them to subsidize the administration of her office.

The indictment includes two counts of health care fraud, two counts theft of public money, two counts social security and medicaid fraud, and four counts of document fraud.

The indictment alleges that hunter directed her employees to submit false medicaid applications for mentally disabled wards of the state.

According to the indictment, the applications said the individuals had assets below the $1,000 threshold, which is false.

Medicaid and social security benefits were allegedly then funnelled through the public administrators office.

Approximately $121,000 of the $200,000 200 was said to be used for administration fees, attorney fees, tax fees and court fees not related to the ward's medical care.

Hunter was the Jasper County Public Administrator from 2005 to 2008.

Full Article and Source:
Former Jasper County MO Administrator Indicted

Millionaire's Children Battle for Estate, Vs. Ex-Neighbor, Lawyer

A successful multimillionaire in life, Frank Blumeyer of Naples knew where every penny of his fortune would go after his death.

He set up partnerships and trusts, using profits from his 30 years as an insurance company owner and his later business, Storage Inns of America, to provide for nine children, 22 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

Now, nearly a year after the 92-year-old patriarch was buried, his children are battling his former neighbors over his estate in courtrooms from Collier County to St. Louis.

The tangled web of litigation and love is like a made-for-TV movie.

There’s a suspended lawyer who has been in trouble with courts and state bar associations; a now-defunct escort service the lawyer operated with his current wife before his prior wife died of cancer; naked photos of his current wife found on Blumeyer’s computer; and allegations of elder financial fraud.

Eight of Blumeyer’s children allege his former Gordon Drive neighbors — suspended Naples attorney Allen Brufsky, 72, and his wife — used their father as a bank, siphoning more than a million dollars, while turning him against them.

In complaints to the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF), Collier Circuit Court and The Florida Bar, they allege the Brufskys seduced their father, allowing him to take naked photos of Marcia Brufsky, 64, and have an affair so they could use his money. Emails show Brufsky even offered to sell his wife for $675,000.

Full Article and Source:
Love and War in Port Royal: Millionaire’s Children Battle for Estate vs. Ex-neighbor, Lawyer

Forbes Questions Britney's Conservatorship

As the word spreads of Britney Spears’ conservatorship and the lawsuit involving it from Brand Sense, more & more media outlets are questioning it’s status. The question here being: If Britney can endure a months-long tour, release albums, meet fans, promote her brand, & give interviews.. why is she not “competent” to testify in a case involving HER brand? She is the beneficiary of Britney Spears Inc after all.

But here’s the catch, Jamie Spears (conservator) is in control of her finances. Brand Sense claims that in early 2010, the company was cut off from their 35% commission. This would place the blame solely on Jamie Spears, as Britney has had no control over her finances since early 2008.

Why then are they asking Britney to be deposed? Perhaps they want more answers questioned than we think.

Forbes asks: Is Britney Spears Hiding Behind Her Conservatorship?

Forbes Questions Britney's Conservatorship

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Guardian Abuse of WWII Veteran

Office of the Nevada Attorney General
555 E. Washington Avenue, Suite #3900
Las Vegas, NV 89101

December 3, 2011

Re: Jared E. Shafer, Professional Fiduciary Services of Nevada -Report of Guardian Abuse

Dear Catherine Cortez Masto,

I wish to request the State of Nevada file a series of criminal complaints against Jared E. Shafer of Professional Fiduciary Services of Nevada for several violations of Nevada NRS provisions. These include: NRS 160 Veterans Guardianship Uniform Act in violation of having over five wards, violation of NRS Chapter 199 Crimes against Public Justice for preventing my father from attending hearings, failure to terminate a guardianship when his ward moved out of the state, failure to provide my father an attorney as required by your state law, verbal assault by making threats, fraudulent double billing and more. There should also be an investigation of his attorney, Alan D. Freer, for malicious billing against my father. A copy of this letter is being posted on the nonprofit website, National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse. Please take the time to read the facts as stated in this complaint. I’m filing this document on behalf of my father, a widowed 92 yr old WW2 veteran of the U.S. Army and Air Force.

I have not attempted to contact you sooner because Mr. Shafer, former public guardian for Clark County, warned me that it wouldn’t do any good to write to you because your father was one of his best friends and he guaranteed you would take no action. However, after reading your website, I decided that in the best interest of my father I should contact you because I believe you are the only person in Nevada who can stop Mr. Shafer’s exploitation and abuse of my 92 year old widowed father.

My mother insisted she and father move to Nevada in 2002 after a lifetime in California. Because of the early death of my brother, mom, overcome by her grief, had my father deemed incompetent by a man who was not a licensed medical doctor, which resulted in her becoming dad’s guardian. The guardianship was strictly OVER HIS PERSON. Our family knew my father was competent and we have a total of 9 evaluations from doctors in Nevada and California as well as the Department of Veterans Affairs stating my father is legally competent. A Nevada M.D. stated in her 2007 report that in her opinion no guardianship was needed. Commissioner Norheim, Mr. Shafer and attorneys Elyse Tyrell and Alan Freer arbitrarily decided it would be to their advantage to ignore all of this documentation. Mr. Shafer refuses to accept any professional opinion unless it comes from a Nevada M.D. of his choice. Shafer has stated he controls what the doctors write and requested that I not obtain any more reports. In fact, I have a report from a California M.D. issued one month ago stating my father is fully competent. We have a very interesting situation, if my father is tested in California he is competent, but when he crosses the border into Nevada he is incompetent. As you can see this set of circumstances is very harmful to my father. How would you feel if someone you loved had to live with this horrible situation? My father lives and breathes this anxiety every day of his life. Mr. Shafer has told many victim families, “I write the reports and the doctors sign them. If these doctors want to work in this state they do what I tell them.” I will supply names and telephone numbers of others who can back up this statement.

Victims: L.O. Nevada/California Victim

Note: "L.O." is a NASGA Member

E-Filing Now Available for Nebraska Probate

Nebraska County Courts have added probate case filings to the list of case types available through the court's Internet-based filing system. Probate e-filing is now offered for existing cases in the areas of estates, guardianships, conservatorships, and trusts. Nebraska attorneys can submit their filings to any of the 93 county courts in the state via the Nebraska Judicial Branch's eFiling system. Probate case types join civil, criminal and juvenile case types, which are already a part of eFiling.

Confidential documents are protected throughout the filing process and when stored within the computer files, just as financial and personal information is now protected in other types of eFiled cases.

"We are very pleased to be adding Probate to our suite of electronic filing services," said State Court Administrator Janice Walker. "Our hope is that the trial courts' continuing advances in technology have made it easier for attorneys to conduct business and pass these benefits on to their clients."

Full Article and Source:
Probate Cases Join E-Filing in Nebraska

Friday, December 16, 2011

'The Adele Chris Act'

Read proposed legislation submitted by Marked for Destruction's author, John Caravella, to the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security at their request for a Model Law" to combat abusive guardianships: The Adele Chris Act

View the May 25, 2010 Subcommittee Hearing

Contact the Committee and voice your support

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 Free Gift From Adele's Neighbors - Read 'Marked for Destruction' online

Aging in America: Future Challenges, Promise and Potential

View The Senate Special Committee on Aging's Forum: Aging in America, Future Challenges, Promise and Potential

See Also:
Senate Special Committee on Aging Holding Forum Today: 'Aging in America: Future Challenges, Promise and Potential'

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Former Public Guardian Sentenced for Illegally Purchasing Client's Property

A former official in the Madera County Public Guardian’s Office was sentenced today [11/14/11] to three years of probation for illegally purchasing property from a person who died while under the county’s care, the county District Attorney’s Office said.

Heather Young, 32, a former county deputy public guardian, had pleaded no contest to the charge in October. A DA’s Office investigation in 2009 led to a grand jury indictment against Young in April 2010.

Public guardian officials are not allowed to buy property from a client’s estate other than at a public sale, because the officials play a role in setting the property’s value.

Full Article and Source:
Ex-Madera County Official Sentenced for Buying Clients' Property

Charges Dropped Against MA Man Accused of Helping Father Commit Suicide

Charges against a Massachusetts man who was accused of helping his father, a prominent attorney and West Hartford resident, commit suicide were dropped [12/08/11]. Prosecutor Thomas Garcia told Judge Joan Alexander that he didn't want to continue to pursue the charges against Bruce Brodigan, 57, of Somerville, Mass. The judge approved the request.

"I feel my client is happy that it's over," said Hubert Santos, Brodigan's attorney.

In September 2010, Brodigan, allegedly helped his father, George, take his own life through an overdose of drugs and alcohol. George Brodigan, who suffered from Alzheimer's disease, died at home with a half-filled bottle of Mount Gay rum and a copy of Derek Humphry's "Final Exit," a guide to ending one's life, at his bedside.

According to police, Bruce Brodigan said his father wanted to take his own life before he became incapacitated. He told police that his father's condition had declined and that there was talk about whether he could remain at his home without additional care.

"He loves his father and just wanted to relieve him of his pain," Santos said Thursday [11/8].

It is illegal in Connecticut to assist in another's suicide, and Brodigan was charged in January with second-degree manslaughter, tampering with or fabricating evidence and providing a false statement.

Garcia said he decided to drop the charges after Judge David Gold, who was recently transferred to another Connecticut courtroom, told him he would not grant Brodigan a special form of probation, which would have allowed allow him to clear his record upon successful completion.

Full Article and Source:
Charges Dropped Thursday Against Man Accused Of Helping Father Commit Suicide

Ohio Attorney Loses W Va. License

As he did in his home state a year ago, an Ohio attorney has lost his license to practice law in West Virginia.

The state Supreme Court on Nov. 22 annulled the license of James R. Henry. The Court's action mirrored that of Ohio's High Court when it ordered Henry's permanent disbarment last December after an investigation found he mishandled the cases of eight former clients during a three-year period.

Records show in disbarring Henry, the Ohio Court said his failure to perform work on client's cases after he was paid a retainer was "tantamount to theft of the fee from the client."

'A pattern of neglect'
According to the Ohio Court's Dec. 22 order, Henry, a sole practitioner in Gallipolis, was charged with 25 violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct by its Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline. Though not specifically indentified, the order says Henry, among other things:

* Informed a father from Indianapolis in May 2008 four days too early about a hearing in Gallia Court of Common Pleas' Juvenile Division on his petition for sole residential parent and guardian of his son. The father had to later file a pro se motion for immediate or emergency change of custody when Henry missed the deadline to file a motion for a final hearing or agreed order.

* Failed to keep a man updated on the status of a potential lawsuit against his former employer. The man paid Henry a retainer of $2,500 in February 2007, and did not hear from him after September 2009 due to Henry's phone getting disconnected.

* Failed to return over $1,500 to a couple in July 2009 after they sent him certified letters saying they no longer wanted him to complete a trust for them. The letters were sent after repeated calls made to his office informed them his voice mailbox was full.

* Closed his office without giving a woman notice he failed to complete the estate settlement for her late husband's estate after paying him $500. Between the time she retained him in April 2009, and he closed his office that December, the woman made repeated calls to his office only to have them go unanswered or him tell her he'd be completing the work soon.

Full Article and Source:
Ohio Atty Loses WVa License

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Senate Special Committee on Aging Holding Forum Today: 'Aging in America: Future Challenges, Promise and Potential'

The Senate Special Committee on Aging is holding a forum Wednesday to commemorate the committee's 50th anniversary, titled: “Aging in America: Future Challenges, Promise and Potential.”

Convened by retiring Committee Chairman Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI), the forum will be held Wednesday from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. (E.T.). Featured panelists include Kathy Greenlee, assistant secretary for the Administration on Aging; Robyn Stone, Dr. P.H., executive director, LeadingAge Center for Applied Research; and Richard J. Hodes, M.D., director of the National Institute on Aging.

The forum will be held in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, in Washington, D.C.

Senate Special Committee on Aging to Host Forum on Aging

Nearly 2 Years After Devastating Head Injury, Snowboarder is Back

Instead of riding for Kevin, snowboarders can ride with Kevin again. Kevin Pearce's remarkable recovery will reach a major milestone next week when he gets back on snow for the first time in the two years since his life-threatening accident on the halfpipe.

"I'm kind of trippin' that we're finally here," Pearce said Thursday. Pearce suffered a traumatic brain injury in an accident during practice Dec. 31, 2009, that left him in a coma. His plight spawned the slogan "I Ride 4 Kevin," and ever since the accident, those stickers and patches have been plastered across snowboards and jackets on slopes across America.

Terri Schiavo Life and Hope Network

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

FL: Ex-Lawyer Gets 2 Years Prison for Elder Fraud

A disbarred Kissimmee lawyer was sentenced Friday to two years in prison for bilking elderly people out of their life savings.

Linda Vasquez, formerly known as Linda Littlefield, pleaded no contest in May to engaging in a scheme to defraud of $20,000 or more. The state dropped 11 counts of fraudulent use of personal-identification information.

Vasquez, 40, also was ordered to pay some restitution, although the amount was not available.

Vasquez's ex-husband, Ross Littlefield, 47, pleaded no contest in November to one count of fraudulent use of a credit card. The state dropped 10 other fraud charges and one count of scheme to defraud. His sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 24.

Several lawsuits are pending against the former couple, a pooled trust they controlled, foundations that administered the trust and Medicaid Benefits Experts, a company Littlefield established last year in Tampa after her arrest.

An attorney for some of the plaintiffs said hundreds of thousands of trust money has vanished.

Ex-Lawyer Gets 2 Years Prison for Elder Fraud

See Also:
Elderly Couple Faces Nightmares

AZ Woman, Boyfriend Charged With Theft Against Bedridden MS Patient

A Tucson woman and her boyfriend are both facing fraud and theft charges against a bedridden multiple-sclerosis patient, who later died.

36-year-old Lea Marie Hughes is already in jail for allegedly neglecting 64-year-old Ruthann Jacox. She died Nov. 8 at Tucson Medical Center 11 weeks after Hughes was arrested on suspicion of vulnerable adult and child abuse charges.

Hughes' boyfriend, 39-year-old Gilbert Pierre Peralta Jr., denied the charges after his arraignment Thursday in Pima County Superior Court.

Peralta told the Arizona Daily Star the couple loved Jacox as though she was a member of the family and denied ever stealing from the ailing woman.

Woman, Boyfriend Charged With Fraud