Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Late Huguette Clark, A Victim of Elder Abuse?

With the recent passing of Huguette Clark and questions regarding the distribution of her wealth, we felt it fitting to post this video from 2010:

Mefeedia: Huguette Clark - Is Wealthy Heiress a Victim of Elder Abuse

See Also:
Huguette Clark's Will - Who Will Get Her Fortune?

Family Trying to Get DoJ Investigation

The Britt family of Buffalo, NY is fighting to rectify the atrocities perpetrated against their elderly aunt, Lula Baity. Eighty-six year old Lula Baity, a then resident of the Buffalo Municipal Housing Complex, went to the rental office on September 30, 2003 to inquire about her current month's rent payment. The money order had been returned to Ms. Baity, because the amount was deemed insufficient.

One hundred dollars and eighty-eight cents ($100.88) was remitted, as opposed to the one hundred eighty-eight dollars ($188.00), that would have served as the rental fee due for the month of September. Ms. Baity explained to the property manager that apparently, the corner store had made an error while issuing the money order. To assist Ms. Baity in resolving the discrepancy, the property manager directed her subordinate, a Housing Authority case management worker, to contact Ms. Baity's family and Family Services (a non-official agency, community based center, located within the housing complex).

The Housing Authority's case management worker did not assist Ms. Baity as instructed. Instead, she contacted Erie County Crisis Services, a community mental health outreach agency, with allegations that Lula Baity was not paying rent, was increasingly confused and disoriented, was unable to care for herself, and other false claims. The BMHA rental office was not an authorized reporting agency, approved by the Office of Mental Health. As the Housing Authority's case management worker, this employee's responsibilities fell within the scope of administrative and operational tasks, usually involving inspections and maintenance issues. It was not within her jurisdiction to request a mental evaluation of Ms. Baity. It has been confirmed however, that she identified herself, not as the Housing Authority's case management worker, but as Ms. Baity's "social worker." After her call and without verification of her credentials, actions were taken effecting the involuntary removal of Ms. Baity from the home she'd lived in for over forty years.

Full Article and Source:
Kidnapping and Confinement of Elderly African-American Woman Prompts Family's Request For Investigation By U.S. Dept of Justice

Friday, June 10, 2011

Ciavarella and Conahan May Face Different Sentences

Former Luzerne County Judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. has joined his co-defendant, former Judge Michael T. Conahan, in awaiting sentencing after a federal judge denied his post-trial motions late last month.

But white-collar defense attorneys and former federal judges not involved in the case said Conahan and Ciavarella could end up receiving very different sentences.

In February, a federal jury in Scranton found Ciavarella guilty of 12 of 39 counts of corruption filed against him, including racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, honest services mail fraud, money laundering conspiracy and a host of tax fraud charges. Ciavarella was cleared of extortion, bribery and honest services wire fraud charges, however.

Conahan pleaded guilty to one racketeering charge in April 2010.

Stephen S. Stallings, chair of Pittsburgh-based Burns White's white-collar criminal defense group, said the sentencing guidelines for Ciavarella are likely to be significantly higher than those for Conahan, and not just because he was found guilty of more crimes than Conahan pleaded to.

Stallings said the nature of Ciavarella's crimes, including that he was a public official, would initially set the bar high, while a number of potential enhancements under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines could then raise the sentencing levels further

Full Article and Source:
Ciavarella and Conahan May Face Very Different Sentences

Conahan Withdraws Bid to Collect State Pension Benefits

Former Luzerne County Judge Michael T. Conahan, awaiting sentencing for racketeering conspiracy in the kids-for-cash case, has withdrawn his bid to collect state pension benefits.

Conahan, 59, had challenged a ruling by the State Employees' Retirement System, which cut off his $8,000-per-month pension in May 2009 and sought reimbursement of about $2,400 he received between his January 2009 arrest and the ruling.

Conahan withdrew that challenge in April, offering no reason for the withdrawal, according to Robert Gentzel, a spokesman for the system.

Conahan attorney Philip Gelso declined comment Thursday [6/2/11].

Conahan faces up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to accepting $2.8 million in bribes and kickbacks from the builder and co-owner of a for-profit juvenile detention center. Prosecutors say Conahan and a co-defendant, former county Judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr., conspired to close a county-owned center and used their influence to send juveniles to the for-profit center.

Full Article and Source:
Conahan Ends Bid to Collect Pension

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Financial Abuse of the Elderly: A Detective's Case Files of Exploitation Crimes

I've recently finished reading this excellent book describing how the elderly become victims of financial abuse. The author, Joe Roubicek, was a detective in the Fort Lauderdale Police Department for many years, and he investigated over 1000 cases of exploitation of the elderly during that period on the police force. The book describes some of the cases he investigated and discusses the shortcomings of state laws protecting the elderly from financial abuse.

Roubicek clarifies the differences between exploitation of the elderly and fraud. Exploitation occurs when someone takes advantage of a disabled elderly person to deprive that person of his or her assets. For example, an in-home caregiver might take advantage of her employer's memory deficits to ask for grocery money five times in a single day. Fraud occurs when a "false and deceptive statement of fact induces the victim to give up a valuable item that he or she owns." Fraud laws are written under the assumption that the victim has the mental capacity to weigh information and make decisions. For example, if a roofing contractor takes a deposit for work on a house with quality materials and workmanship and returns to do the job with defective materials, then fraud may have occurred.

Unfortunately, financial elder abuse often occurs in the gray area between the fraud and the exploitation statutes.

Full Article and Source:
Elder Champions

See Also:

L'Oreal Case Back in the News!

The daughter of France’s richest woman, L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, is once again trying to have her mother made a ward of court in an effort to protect her inheritance. The scandal has dominated French headlines since summer 2010.

The legal battle between L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt and her daughter Francoise Meyers has re-erupted.

On Wednesday French daily Le Monde reported that Meyers had made a fresh application for her mother to be made a ward of court (effectively under the guardianship of a judge), an issue that was apparently resolved in December 2010. Meyer states that she is seeking to protect the estate and her eventual inheritance.

The application, according to the newspaper, centres on the role of Pascal Wilhelm, a lawyer who has a “mandate for future protection” which effectively makes him the executor of Bettencourt’s estate should she become incapable of managing it herself.

Meyer has long argued that her mother should be made a ward of court and is seeking to have Wilhelm’s control over her estate curtailed.

Full Article and Source:
L'Oreal Heiress Scandal is Back in the Headlines

See Also:
A Deal is Reached in the L'Oreal Case

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Danny Tate, One Year Later - Looking Back and Moving Forward

Almost exactly one year ago Danny Tate stood on the courthouse steps surrounded by “Friends for Danny Tate’s Defense” Facebook group members and celebrated the “end” of the temporary conservatorship placed on him by Judge Randy Kennedy’s 7th Circuit Court in Nashville, TN. I saw firsthand that when people come together for a cause….they can make a difference. In that case, it was scrutiny on the court, the brilliance of Michael Hoskins (Danny’s attorney), and the tenacity of Danny in fighting in his own defense. The court seemingly caved.

The Facebook group slowly built over 4 or 5 months of ordinary folks from all walks of life……and from all over the world to a formidable 3,500 members who were upset and activated by what they saw as the injustices wrought upon Danny by the court.
Danny’s plight ignited something in folks. They related to him, and I think it made them feel vulnerable when they saw how easily the courts can take your life and livelihood from you.

Four months of constant blogging by a few bloggers, and putting that info out on Facebook culminated in the benefit concert at 12th and Porter for Nashville flood victim Stephanie Farmer, where folks like Pat DiNizio of The Smithereens, Peter Holsapple of the dB’s among many others came into Nashville and rocked through the night. Danny seriously needed that money to help with his legal fees, but he chose to give it away to another flood victim.

The next day we converged on the courtroom for the “final hearing”…….the days before saw his story hit the AP. I read his story in The Guardian in London before I got on the plane to fly to Nashville. Channel 4′s Nancy Amons became aware of the story, and crews were sent to the benefit concert, and then they were rolling during his hearing. He emerged victorious.

Or, so we thought.

I would really like Danny to have a way to call for our help if he needs it again. So, I’ve set up an email list that you can sign up to, AND i’ve set up a new Facebook group that will be in the “new” format on Facebook.

So, two things:
1) Please sign up for Danny’s email list. This will be used sparingly with info on his blog, the case, but also info on his music. I would like to see a new cd, and could envision Danny doing some house concerts across the US in the coming months.
2) Please become a member of the new “Friends for Danny Tate’s Defense” Facebook group.

Full Article,Source and "Sign-Up Links":
Danny Tate - One Year Later - Looking Back and Moving Forward

Allegations of Elder Abuse

One family says their loved one spent nearly a decade in an abusive home.

Allegations of Elderly Abuse

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

'Marked for Destruction'

A crime perpetrated by her Professional Legal Guardian, arranged by an Attorney.

Locked away in an Assisted Living Facility against her will.

Her Diary of Elder Financial Abuse and Fraud.

Learn how Adele's neighbors rescued her.

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 gift from Adele's neighbors: Download a FREE Copy of Marked for Destruction

About The Author:
John Caravella patrolled the streets of the City Of Wauwatosa (Milwaukee County, Wisconsin) from 1976 to 1989. Citizen trust resulted in his clearing arsons, armed robberies, missing fugitives, dozens of burglaries and two homicides. After retiring, he volunteered his investigative skills to help others. “That is how Adele came into my life,” Caravella said. "I learned that she was 'imprisoned' and had to be freed. Through this book, Adele’s voice exposes the deceptive schemes used to keep her quiet."

Marked for Destruction

Britney Spears - Not Competent to Take Oath

Britney Spears' lawyers are trying to block her deposition in a perfume lawsuit, because they say she's not legally competent to give sworn testimony.

Brand Sense Partners is suing Brit for $10 million, claiming she had a deal with the company but pulled a double-cross by trying to cut them out of a lucrative project with Elizabeth Arden.

Brand Sense wants to take Britney's deposition, but Brit's lawyers have so far refused, on grounds Brit is under a conservatorship and can't be forced to testify without the approval of the conservatorship's attorneys.

No word on whether the attorneys for the conservatorship will sign off on the depo, but Brand is tired of waiting and is now asking the judge in the perfume case to order Britney to sit for the deposition.

Britney Spears - Not Competent to Take Oath

Monday, June 6, 2011

Vermont Elder Abuse Inquiries Backlogged

The state agency responsible for overseeing investigations of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of elderly residents has agreed to eliminate by Oct. 1 a backlog of 300 cases awaiting investigation by hiring staff, responding to calls with 48 hours, and establishing new procedures to avoid future problems.

Vermont Legal Aid and two advocacy groups had threatened to sue the Department of Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living if officials had not agreed to the corrective action plan signed Tuesday by advocates and Commissioner Susan Wehry.

Advocates became aware of the size of the backlog at a December meeting with state officials.

“It’s been a problem for years," said attorney Barbara Prine of Legal Aid’s Disability Law Project. “People for the most part had lost faith in the adult protective system."

Full Article and Source:
VT Agres to Improve Elder Abuse Case Inquiries

YouTube: Private Guardian Abuse to the Elderly in Florida


The Quiet Menace

In the Houston area, more than 60 percent of 1,500 cases handled each month by Adult Protective Services deal with elderly people who no longer can protect and provide for themselves, APS officials said.

People tend to dismiss odd behavior in the elderly as eccentricity, or they don't want to get involved in someone else's affairs, experts say. But self-neglect is likely to increase as baby boomers grow older, they say, making intervention and prevention more important than ever.

"We're trying to educate the public and people dealing with the elderly about the services available to them," said James Booker, director of Region 6 of APS, which oversees Harris County and 12 surrounding counties.

Focus of TEAM
In many self-neglect situations, the person just needs a little help to stay independent, Booker said. Most of the clients are women and most live alone, he said.

Self-neglect can be physical, medical or both. Some elderly people can't cook, clean house or bathe themselves. Some don't eat properly; some lack running water or air-conditioning. Their houses might be filthy and in disrepair.

Others lack access to medical care. They may have stopped taking their medicine or they haven't seen a doctor in years and they've developed a serious illness, such as cancer or diabetes.

The breakdown in their ability to plan and carry out tasks can be caused by issues such as a stroke, dementia or depression, according to researchers.

To address self-neglect, Region 6 has collaborated with the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and Baylor College of Medicine for the past 15 years. The partnership is called the Texas Elder Abuse and Mistreatment Institute, or TEAM, which consists of clinical care, education and research. Region 6 is the only APS agency in the state to use such a multidisciplinary approach.

Full Article and Source:
The Quiet Menace

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Investors Trust Judge Joe Ashmore, but his Trust Doesn't Pay Back

For three months last year, Muhammet Atayev—California businessman and, by his own account, a former Turkmenistani cabinet minister—limited himself to a small universe in Dallas. He spent his nights in a room at a Best Western motel. In the morning, he slipped into business clothes, gathered his things and walked a one-mile stretch of sidewalk—past Denny's, under Stemmons Freeway and up Oak Lawn Avenue, arriving at a patch of grass behind an Exxon station.

Once there, he stayed from 9 to 5 each day, a sign hanging around his neck. He spent the balance of the steamy late summer on that corner, his humorless face glistening with sweat, though he never seemed to soak through his suits. He ate nothing during the day and drank only water.

He kept regular business hours, never missing a day.

The sign summed up his purpose simply. Addressed to Mr. Joseph Ashmore, Mr. Jack Wilemon and Mr. Allan Clark, it asked: "Where is our money??? I will be on a hunger strike until I die or get the money."

The money never came. A $250,000 investment—a handshake deal that he claims was supposed to return $25 million in just three months—had left Atayev with nothing but a stack of old emails and a pile of sweaty shirts.

But a strange thing happened as he stood there: People started to stop, sharing with Atayev stories of other can't-miss investments from the last few years that all went back to the men whose names were scrawled on his sign.

In fact, as lawsuits, disciplinary hearings and federal investigations detail, there were dozens more people whose money ended up in bank accounts under Ashmore's name, for investment partnerships with Clark and Wilemon.

In 1975, [Ashmore] began his tenure as judge in Dallas County Probate Court No. 3. He spent 11 years on the bench, handling contested wills and other delicate rulings. He earned glowing reviews—97 percent approval in one Dallas Bar Association poll—and became an expert on mental illness policy.

When he left the bench, Ashmore started a private law practice, handling probate claims and other issues and growing the firm to include a handful of lawyers, including his son Gary Ashmore and daughter Lori Ashmore Peters. The firm's office is just a few short blocks down Maple from his father's laundry business.

A handful of probate lawyers declined to talk about Ashmore, but receptionists at their firms jumped at the chance to gush what a good friend he is. A good ol' boy who can hold his own in Dallas' finest circles, Ashmore speaks some Spanish and Arabic, and his English carries a deep Texas drawl. He's known to conduct business in his suite at Lone Star Park, where he likes to watch the horses.

So it's understandable how the invocation of Ashmore's name could lend credibility to the too-good-to-be-true deals to which his name has so often been attached.
Full Article and Source:
Investors Trust Judge Joe Ashmore but his Trust Doesn't Pay Back

Editorial: Fix Assisted Living Facilities From the Ground Up

The Miami Herald should be applauded for its heart-wrenching series Neglected to death. Sadly, it’s no huge surprise that it found a high level of elder abuse across the state, given our unusually high incidence of Medicare fraud, especially in South Florida.

What’s clear from the series is that seniors are as vulnerable a population as our children — and they need as much protection. The impact of elder abuse lasts a lifetime — same as child abuse. As a society — and as the children of the elderly citizens affected — it is our moral obligation to ensure that safeguards are in place.

If the series has left anyone doubting the urgency of the need to address this problem broadly and systematically, consider the imperative of enlightened self-interest. Not a day goes by without a reminder of the impending demographic bubble, as the boomers begin to transition into the next stage of their lives. From now until the year 2050, we will experience nonstop growth in the senior population.

The current average age of individuals entering an assisted living facility is the mid-80s. We can expect an exponential increase in demand for long-term care within the next 12 to 15 years.

In the absence of a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, this demand will be driven by Alzheimer’s patients, a most vulnerable population without the means to advocate for protections and quality care.

Add to that the possibility of shortages in the supply of caregivers. A report from the Institute of Medicine, an independent think tank, projects that the pool of medical personnel will be too small and unprepared to serve the boomer seniors.

Given all this, it is clear that the crisis in elder care is not “impending.” Its time is now.

Full Editorial and Source:
Fix Assisted Living Facilities From the Ground Up