Saturday, July 23, 2011

Jeffrey Schend to be Arraigned Tuesday

After nearly three months of investigation, police continue to pore through the finances of an Appleton man accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from his elderly and disabled clients.

Jeffrey M. Schend, meanwhile, demanded a speedy trial on the seven theft charges filed against him in the early stages of the police probe.

Schend, 44, will return to Outagamie County Court on Tuesday for an arraignment hearing where he’ll enter pleas to six felony theft charges and one misdemeanor theft count.

Schend, who operated a corporate guardianship business, is accused of stealing about $500,000 from the accounts of his elderly and disabled clients.

As a guardian, Schend was appointed by county judges to handle finances for those deemed incompetent to manage their own affairs.

Full Article and Source:
Jeffrey Schend, Accused of Stealing From Elderly Clients, Continues

See Also:
Jeffrey Schend Requests Out-of-County Judge

Senior Power: The Affordable Care Act

The American Version of Health Care for All is the title of a forty-two page OWL publication that senior citizens and boomers should know about and read carefully.

OWL is a membership organization located in Washington, D.C. at 1025 Connecticut Avenue NW, #701, D.C. 20036, with state and local chapters throughout the U.S., including Ohlone/East Bay, Sacramento, San Diego, Placer County and San Francisco, all with websites. In recent years “Older Women’s League” has become a bit of a misnomer on two very positive counts—(1) OWL is The Voice of Midlife and Older Women, and (2) much of what OWL reports and engages in affects positively both women and men.

OWL’s publication, The Affordable Care Act; The American Version of Health Care for All,includes five illustrations by political cartoonist Bulbul. OWL is able to mail a copy to non-members with a suggested contribution of $10 to cover printing and shipping costs. Otherwise, the report is available as a .pdf on national OWL’s website.

Full Article and Source:
Senior Power: The Affordable Care Act (ACA)

See Also:
PDF Version of The Affordable Care Act: America's Version of Health Care for All

Friday, July 22, 2011

Life is Short But Beautiful

Caregiver Crime Growing Trend

“I wasn’t a tenant anymore,” Hill testified recently. “I’d become a hostage.”

Hill, 59, said he was trapped in a windowless basement room in a DeKalb County home for almost six months ending in March 2010, sharing the room with a mentally disabled stranger. For breakfast, they got Ramen noodles in Country Crock margarine containers; for dinner, two bologna sandwiches. They used 5-gallon paint buckets for toilets.

Their landlord, Chandra Renee Faust, 43, now faces criminal charges. County and state officials say the allegations shine light on a disturbing and growing phenomenon in which freelancing caregivers and renters prey on vulnerable people to get access to their disability checks.

DeKalb District Attorney Robert James said Faust offered to take the two men into her home to care for them.

“But in reality, they were being neglected and exploited,” he said. “This is a call to action. There are people taking in our seniors and disabled adults to get rich. They need to be licensed, they should be regulated and if there’s neglect and abuse, they should be punished.”

A DeKalb grand jury in December indicted Faust for false imprisonment, identity fraud, theft and exploitation and abuse of the disabled.

Full Article and Source:
Caregiver Crime Growing Trend

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Editorial: Keep a Closer Watch on Guardians

When corporate guardians are appointed to look after the finances of elderly and disabled clients, they typically are dealing with the most vulnerable people in the county.

That's why the oversight of guardians must be stepped up.

The felony charges filed against Jeffrey M. Schend in Outagamie County highlight the need for more thorough reviews of how guardians spend their clients' money. Police say about $500,000 is missing from Schend's clients.

A promising first step came from Sue Lutz, the register in probate for Outgamie County. She said although Outagamie's rules are more stringent than state law, her office would work to alter its procedures in light of the Schend charges.
Counties must keep a closer watch on guardians' financial records. It might take a shift in funding to improve the process, but that would be worth it to protect the money of people who can't protect themselves.

Guardians, of course, are required to submit accurate reports. That's a fair assumption, but it needs to be confirmed regularly for the sake of the clients and their families, who sometimes feel helpless in guardianship cases.

Right now, the county treats guardianship cases similar to how the Internal Revenue Service conducts its spot checks — suspicious filings trigger audits. We think it's worth it for county officials to dedicate more resources to check even some of the documents that look legit.

The advice of writer Agatha Christie seems to apply here: "Where large sums of money are concerned, it is advisable to trust nobody."

Editorial: Keep a Closer Watch on Guardians

AZ: Judge Donahoe Resigns After Getting Caught in a Fib

Thursday, June 30 was Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Gary Donahoe’s last day on the bench.

In his May 5, 2011 letter of resignation to Gov. Jan Brewer, he quoted Seneca: “You must know for which harbor you are headed if you are to catch the right wind to take you there.”

He then wrote, “For over 21 years, my harbor has been the Arizona Superior Court in Maricopa County. I have felt a fresh wind at my back pushing me in a new direction …”

Some say he’s leaving due to too many forces breathing down the back of his neck, including Dr. James Houston, a former Northern Arizona University instructor, whose case against Attorney General Tom Horne, in his former capacities as Arizona State Superintendent of Schools and member of the Arizona Board of Education, was pending in Donahoe’s court.

However, as I reported back in April, “Corruption runs deep in Maricopa County as lawsuits continue,” Houston’s case suddenly became focused on Donahoe.

Houston believes it was due to repeated and embarrassing allegations of a corrupt judiciary caused by Donahoe’s actions that resulted in a “behind-the-scenes demand that he resign.”

Full Article and Source:
Judge Donahoe Resigns After Getting Caught in a Fib

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Gary Harvey: At the Mercy of a Cold, Heartless System

The tragic case of Gary and Sara Harvey has similarities to Terri Schiavo’s and her family’s case. In January of 2006, Horseheads, New York resident, Gary Harvey, a Vietnam veteran, fell down a flight of basement stairs at his home and sustained a brain injury that has since left him in a vegetative state.

As Chelsea Schilling, writing for WorldNetDaily, reported last year,

“Gary, an only child who is estranged from his two adult children, did not have a living will.

His wife, Sara, had him placed in a nursing home so he would receive care while she returned to her full-time job.

Following a family dispute over Gary’s assets, State Supreme Court Judge Robert Mulvey determined that Sara Harvey was not a suitable guardian for her husband and designated the county as legal guardian, according to Elaine Renoire, spokeswoman for the National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse, or NASGA, who is familiar with the case.

When [Chemung] county authorities took guardianship, Sara was separated from any decision making process for her husband’s health and medical welfare. Gary’s father is deceased, and his elderly mother has not attempted to obtain guardianship. Sara has been trying to get the judge’s guardianship decision overturned.”

Sara Harvey, almost single-handedly, has stood firmly against the machine of the “system” in her county. Just like Terri Schiavo’s family, Sara is desperately fighting to simply bring her husband home and care for him herself where he can at least enjoy the comfort of his own home and the loving care of his wife.

The case is complicated, though unnecessarily so, in my opinion.

I write for, and it is because of another lady who also writes for Dakota Voice, Carrie K. Hutchens, that I have been aware of Gary’s case for a couple of years now. Carrie has written numerous times about Gary and Sara’s plight. Carrie’s deep passion for this terrible situation shouts out through the words she writes.

In her latest column, Carrie wrote,

“How long has it been since Gary Harvey fell down those basement stairs? How long has it been since he found himself vulnerable and fighting not only for life just because of his injuries, but fighting for life because the government officials and so-called ethics committees decided it was time to end his life by starving and dehydrating him to death? Just how long has it been and what has changed since the fight began all those years ago?

Some people have opened their eyes, started paying attention and have begun grasping the idea that something ‘ain’t’ right here in the world of Gary Harvey and his so-called government protectors.

It doesn’t matter ‘why’ Gary Harvey fell down those basement stairs. What does matter is what has transpired since then and whether he has had a true chance at recovery and comfort to whatever extent is possible rather than what has been assigned to him by those who really don’t have his best interest at heart.”

Just like the awful, helpless situation in which Terri Schiavo’s family found themselves, so Sara Harvey stands at the mercy of a cold, heartless, evil system. However, there yet may be a gleam of hope. A lawsuit which Sara Harvey filed against Chemung County has been allowed to continue before the New York State Supreme Court’s Appellate Division.

Full Article, Source, and Audio:
Gary Harvey Case Illustrated Corrupt Evil System

See Also:
Gary Harvey Case: Out of Sight Out of Mind


Courts Suggest as Much as 62% Pay Hike for NY Judges

The state courts system is recommending that judges get a pay raise of up to 62 percent after having their pay frozen since 1999.

The recommendations come in a report this week from chief administrative judge Ann Pfau to the state Commission on Judicial Compensation, which is evaluating the pay for the state's roughly 1,300 judges.

State Supreme Court judges receive a salary of $136,700, but Pfau recommended judges' salaries increase to as high as $220,836 to put them on par with other states, based on cost of living standards. She recommended a salary between $192,000 and $220,836.

Pfau called the recommendations "prudent and responsible." She said New York ranks last in the nation for judicial pay based on cost of living and 20th for actual salary.

Full Article and Source:
Courts Suggest as Much as 62% Pay Hike for N.Y. Judges

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Interstate Conservatorship

The case of an elderly city woman who apparently was taken to Florida by her daughter, in violation of a court order, shows the limitations on state Probate Courts, officials say.

Dolores Gray, 81, is in Florida with her daughter, Jeryl, despite an order by Probate Judge Beverly Streit-Kefalas that Gray, who suffers from dementia, not be removed from the state.

But there is no clear mechanism in place for a Connecticut judge's orders to be enforced in another state, said Vincent Russo, spokesman for the state Probate Court system.

"We've tried for a few years to get a law passed dealing with interstate conservatorships," Russo said. "The Legislature adjourned without passing it this year."

The law, similar to one in effect for child-custody matters, would establish a uniform policy among the states for handling adult conservatorships that may involve more than one jurisdiction, said Paul J. Knierim, the state's Probate Court administrator. "Of course the efficacy of the law depends on the number of states that enact it. But this was first proposed in 2009 and it takes a few years to get something like that passed."

Full Article and Source:
Case of Elderly Woman Taken by Daughter Shows Limits of Probate Orders

Officials Want Tools to Fight Abuse of Power of Attorney

Despite a 2009 state law placing new restrictions on the designation, Fulton County District Attorney Louise Sira and officials working in the field of elder abuse contend using power of attorney to steal from vulnerable elderly is still too easy and — for lack of specific criminal statutes in New York State — too difficult to prosecute....

Full Article and Source:
Officials Want Tools To Fight Abuse of Power of Attorney

VA Lawyer Arrested for Alleged Theft

A lawyer in Virginia Beach, Va., was arrested June 20 for allegedly stealing $520,000 from his client’s trust fund.

Brian Gay, 52, was indicted before U.S. District Court on federal charges: 10 counts of mail and wire fraud, engaging in unlawful monetary transactions and making false statements to federal agents, according to the Virginian-Pilot.

After Gay’s client died, he allegedly made small payments in life insurance proceeds to the client’s children, but kept most of the money for himself, the newspaper reported.

The Virginia State Bar revoked Gay’s law license after in light of the charges.

Full Article and Source:
Virginia Lawyer Arrested for Allegedly Pocketing Client Funds

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Gary Harvey Case: Out of Sight Out of Mind

How long has it been since Gary Harvey fell down those basement stairs? How long has it been since he found himself vulnerable and fighting not only for life just because of his injuries, but fighting for life because the government officials and so-called ethic’s committees decided it was time to end his life by starving and dehydrating him to death? Just how long has it been and what has changed since the fight began all those years ago?

Some people have opened their eyes, started paying attention and have begun grasping the idea that something “ain’t” right here in the world of Gary Harvey and his so-called government protectors.

It doesn’t matter “why” Gary Harvey fell down those basement stairs. What does matter is what has transpired since then and whether he has had a true chance at recovery and comfort to whatever extent is possible rather than what has been assigned to him by those who really don’t have his best interest at heart.

Sara Harvey didn’t cut Gary’s trach tube as some try to suggest. She cut a fish line on a defective trach that the medical staff ignored and allowed to remain defective. They sure did get busy fixing what should have been fixed weeks before, while trying to shift all the blame on her though.

She didn’t follow medical advice? And this advice would be what advice and from whom and how guaranteed was the advice in the first place? Did the advice come from a “proven all-knowing never wrong source” or just some one that had an opinion on care options?

The guardian, county and hospital staff care about Gary more than Sara?

Why is she fighting for his life and they are fighting to either end it or to keep Gary in isolation, as no prisoner or animal is allowed to be kept?

If anyone thinks that Gary Harvey has been cared for in his best interest at the hands of the so-called ethics committee et al, then that someone needs to have a mental evaluation. His best interest was to be starved and dehydrated to death? His best interest is to live in isolation? And whose best interest will they decide on next? Yours or mine or our neighbor down the street?

It’s something we better be thinking about, since it certainly doesn’t seem like we have been thinking about Gary’s or those in situations such as his..

Next time, it could be our family member, or even us, that faces wrongful guardianship and death panels. It could be. Once set in motion — it’s hard to stop, but we can. Let’s stop it with Gary Harvey! Let’s bring him on home to where he wants to be! Let’s bring him on home to his wife!

The Gary Harvey Case: Out of Site Out of Mind

See Also:

A Life for Sale

The time has come for 79-year-old Louise Olenik to say goodbye to the home where she hoped to live until she died.

Her dearest possessions must go too.

Nearly broke after a niece stole $107,000 from her, Olenik is trying to raise money to sustain the round-the-clock nursing care she requires. She recently found a buyer for her 22 Sondra Drive home in Larksville and now everything in it has a price tag attached for an estate sale this weekend.

"I had to leave everything in Larksville," Olenik said Friday at the Harveys Lake home. "Losing everything is just too much. I lost my home. I lost my husband. I lost everything."

Olenik says her husband Edward's health deteriorated after the family betrayal was discovered in April 2010 and he mentioned it with his last words when he died on Dec. 7, 2010. He wanted to know if police "got Marisa" yet, referring to Olenik's niece Marisa Harlen, 30, of Kingston.

Investigators say Harlen swindled $107,429.02 from Olenik after being granted power of attorney in February 2008. Rather than use the cash to care for her aunt, Harlen lavishly spent on herself with shopping sprees, expensive dinners and repeated trips to casinos, police said.

Harlen, who has blamed the theft on a gambling addiction, is scheduled to plead guilty on Monday in front of Luzerne County Judge Tina Polachek Gartley.

Olenik said Harlen has consistently delayed the process, has not repaid a penny, and hasn't shown any remorse.

Full Article and Source:
A Life for Sale

Mother Convicted of Exploiting Disabled Son

A Carson City mother was given probation for reportedly turning a blind eye to her boyfriend's theft from family members, and misusing thousands of dollars donated to her handicapped son to stop the bank from re possessing his specially equipped van.

Virginia Dempsey, 46, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to abuse, exploit or isolate a vulnerable person. She was given up to three years' probation and a suspended jail sentence of one year.

In ex change for her guilty plea, the Carson City Dis trict Attorney's Office agreed not to pursue charges against Dempsey into money missing from her son's bank account, the plea agreement states.

According to court documents, Dempsey's son Jared, 20, is confined to a wheelchair due to cerebral palsy.

Dempsey's boyfriend, David Catalani, was arrested and convicted of stealing and pawning several items from Jared and his siblings. Catalani was sentenced in April to 12 to 32 months in prison on a charge of grand larceny.

During the course of that investigation, a deputy learned that Dempsey, who is appointed as Jared's guardian, used $7,000 of do nated money to bring payments up to date on the van. Another $11,000 in do nations was spent on various things, and some of the money had been withdrawn from a casino ATM, the report states.

Full Article and Source:
Mother Convicted of Exploiting Disabled Son

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Where Our Cook County Probate Court Judges Should Make Our License Plates


Law Makers Call for Emphasis on Community Living

Two members of Congress from opposite sides of the aisle are urging government officials to rethink their approach to Medicaid and how it can best serve those with disabilities.

In an op-ed published Thursday afternoon on the website of the Capitol Hill newspaper The Hill, Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., said that federal and state governments could save money by establishing policies to make it easier for people with disabilities to live in community-based settings as opposed to costly institutional facilities.

“Today, as we seek ways to reduce budget deficits, we must seize on the opportunity to make our Medicaid dollars go farther while finally giving millions of individuals with disabilities one of the most fundamental of rights: the choice to live independently,” the lawmakers wrote.

As of 2009, it cost about $137,000 annually to care for an individual with an intellectual disability in an institution compared to about $44,000 to provide for the same person in the community, Harkin and McMorris Rodgers said.

Nonetheless, they indicated that many current policies leave people with disabilities with no choice but to live in restrictive environments.

“Rather than taking steps to reduce wasteful spending on institutional settings, many states have cut the services that keep people with disabilities in their own homes and communities,” Harkin and McMorris Rodgers wrote, calling the approach “short-sighted.”

Full Article and Source:
Lawmakers Call for Emphasis on Community Living

Man Accused of Swindling $450K From Elderly Woman

A Lake Butler man who authorities say befriended a 94-year-old woman and then conned her out of nearly half a million dollars was arrested in Ocala.

Michael Charles Fluharty, 58, the self-employed owner of a lawn care service, was arrested outside the Marion County Courthouse following a guardianship hearing for the woman. He was charged with exploitation of an elderly person.

Marion County Sheriff's Detective Janeen Henley-Freeman noted in her report that Fluharty had taken care of the victim's lawn since 2008.

Over time, the detective said, Fluharty coerced the elderly woman into putting his name on her financial accounts. Once he had control, he allegedly began withdrawing money from the woman's accounts through various means, including checks and money transfers.

The woman became the beneficiary of a large sum of money, the detective said, and Fluharty became aware of the windfall. She said he reportedly began to take more money.

Fluharty also convinced the woman to give him power of attorney over her affairs and to change her will so he would be the sole executor and beneficiary, noted the report.

Full Article and Source:
Man Accused of Swindling $450K From Elderly Woman