Saturday, August 13, 2011

Feds Freeze Assets in Elder Abuse Case

A federal court has frozen the bank accounts and assets of the brother and sister-in-law of Coupeville resident Shea Saenger, who last month pled guilty to bilking an elderly Alzheimer’s victim out of $2.2 million.

A restraining order and injunction to preserve the personal properties of Mark and Rosemary Lumpkin of Arkansas was filed July 28 in U.S. District Court in Seattle.

In the filing, the federal government states that Saenger, 60, admits that she fraudulently obtained about $2 million from 80-year-old Ellensburg resident Norman Butler and transferred more than $1.1 million of it to her brother and sister-in-law.

Saenger faces up to 20 years in prison when she is sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Richard A. Jones on Oct. 7.

An affidavit from the federal government traces the fraudulent proceeds from Saenger to bank accounts held by the Lumpkins, and from those accounts, purchases of vehicles and farm equipment.

The restraining order and preliminary injunction freezes the Lumpkins’ savings and checking accounts, and vehicles that include tractors, trucks, trailers and a Harvest Master grain hopper.

The injunctions are designed to freeze the assets to make sure they are available to anyone making a claim for them, such as Butler’s family.

Full Article and Source:
Feds Freeze Assets in Elder Abuse Case

Alzheimer's Increasing with Rapid Aging Population

There are more than 5-million people suffering from Alzheimer's in the U.S., six out of ten of them will wander off at least once and baby boomers are being called the silver tsunami.

The amount of Silver Alerts for elderly with dementia is up, but according to the Alzheimer's Association so is early diagnoses.

More than 10,000 Baby Boomers are turning 65 each day, and then chances for the disease go up every five years. Now just imagine you're loved-one is one of about 70-percent of them who will wander off.

"You want to find someone in the first 24-hours if they wander." Tiffany Phillips with the Alzheimer's Association says the triple digit temperature is dangerous because they don't take care of themselves, just focus on going to the place they once felt safe, that might not even exist anymore.

The number of people with Alzheimer's is expected to rise to 16 million by 2050.

Full Article, Video and Source:
Alzheimer's Increasing With Rapid Aging Population

Man Takes Plea and is Sentenced to Five Years Probation Plus Restitution

A 62-year-old man accused of stealing from an Alzheimer's patient pleaded no contest in court.

Donald R. Stewart of New Port Richey was arrested in December 2009, when deputies said he took charge of the 91-year-old woman's finances, draining her bank account and running up thousands in credit card charges. Stewart, who lived in the woman's home while she was in a nursing home, pleaded no contest to exploitation of the elderly and was sentenced to five years of probation, said his attorney, Geoff Cox.

The woman has since died. Stewart must pay $20,000 in restitution to her estate and was required to relinquish any interest in it.

Full Article and Source:
Pasco Man Takes Plea for Raiding Elderly Woman's Funds

Friday, August 12, 2011

Ciavarella Sentenced!

Former Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella was given a sentence that may not be for life, but will keep him in prison until he is 89 years old. U.S. District Judge Edwin Kosik sentenced Ciavarella to 336 months in prison - 28 years for a man who is 61.

The sentence came after Ciavarella opened remarks with apologies to family, friends, the public and juveniles,then turned defiant and repeated his claim that he never took money in exchange for sending juveniles to private detention facilities.

U.S. Assistant District Attorney Gordon Zubrod cited that defiance as proof Ciavarella remains unwilling to acknowledge his crimes and actions.

Ciavarella initially apologized to family "for the hurt and embarrassment I caused them by my irresponsible acts." He apologized to the "Citizens of Luzerne County for violating the trust they place in me, and I hope they can some day forgive me. He apologized to the court bench and attorney's bar for shattering public trust. And to the thousands of juveniles who had appeared before him.

"Forgive me for being a hypocrite by not practicing what I preached. I would hope that they would learn from my mistakes and realize that everything we do in life has consequences and that there are dire consequences when we make decisions we know are wrong."

Full Article and Source:
Ciavarella Sentenced to 28 Years in Prison

Health Care Worker Charged in Vulnerable Adult Exploitation

Attorney General Tom Horne announced the charging of Rosario Valenzuela Bravo in Tucson on allegations stemming from a large scale theft from vulnerable adult victims.

The charges, filed July 12, 2011 in Pima County, are a result of a joint investigation conducted by the Tucson Police Department, the Attorney General's Special Investigations Section, and the Attorney General's Health Care Fraud and Abuse Section of the Criminal Division.

Bravo, 55, was charged with 1 count of Fraudulent Schemes and Artifices, 3 counts of Forgery and 1 count of Theft/Financial Exploitation of a Vulnerable Adult.

According to the allegations, Rosario Bravo purported herself to be a licensed CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) and was hired by the elderly victims to provide daily care in their home. In February, 2011 a family member realized that several of the victims' accounts had been tampered with. An investigation ensued into the checking, savings and money market accounts as well as credit cards belonging to the victims. An accounting of the fraudulent transactions revealed a loss of over $60,000. The State has alleged that Ms. Bravo is responsible.

Full Article and Source:
Health Care Worker Charged in Vulnerable Adult Exploitation Case

Women Plead Guilty to Exploitation

In Hardin Circuit Court Wednesday, 73-year-old Hazel F. Martin of Radcliff pleaded guilty to four counts of knowing exploitation of an adult over $300, after admitting she used her position under a power of attorney to unlawfully take more than $100,000 from the accounts of Marie Farmer, during times when Farmer was hospitalized or in a nursing home. Farmer, who has since passed away, was represented in court by the executor of her estate. The charges carry a possible sentence of five to 10 years on each count.

Iris Hodge, 63, also pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of receiving stolen property under $10,000 and four counts of facilitation to exploitation of an adult over $300. Hodge, also of Radcliff, admitted to facilitating Martin’s thefts through various means, including allowing Martin to deposit various checks written against the victim’s account into Hodge’s own account. The charges against Hodge carry a possible sentence of one to five years.

“The effects of financial exploitation on the elderly can be as devastating as physical abuse,” General Conway said. “Protecting Kentucky’s seniors from abuse, neglect, and financial fraud remain a top priority of mine.”

The investigation of this case was handled by the Office of the Attorney General’s Department of Criminal Investigations, with the assistance of the Kentucky Adult Protective Services (APS) of the Department of Community Based Services. Prosecution of this case was handled by General Conway’s Office of Special Prosecutions at the request of the Hardin County Commonwealth’s Attorney.

Sentencing is set for January 17, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. in Hardin Circuit Court.

Full Article, Video and Source:
Two Hardin County Women Plead Guilty to Exploitation

Thursday, August 11, 2011

NASGA Member Rena Moss on Northshore 'Live' Cooper's Corner

Bev Cooper interviews Ms. Moss who escaped guardianship.

Rena Moss - A Probate Survivor, Part 1

Rena Moss - A Probate Survivor, Part 2

Rena Moss - A Probate Survivor, Part 3

Rena Moss - A Probate Survivor, Part 4

See Also:
Northshore "Live" Cooper's Corner Blog

Note: Northshore "Live" Cooper's Corner Host Bev Cooper has dedicated these programs to those who are victims of Cook County Probate Court. Live broadcasts are aired in Highland Park on channel 19 Wednesday at 7:30 PM.

Britney Spears Attorneys Ask for Delay

Lawyers for Britney Spears conservatorship are asking a judge to delay a key ruling in a breach of contract lawsuit filed against the pop star in connection with her Elizabeth Arden fragrance, because they need more time to prepare a response, is exclusively reporting.

Brand Sense, which brokered the fragrance deal for Britney, wants the judge to unseal documents in her conservatorship, despite a ruling in May 2011 that denied that motion.

The licensing company is asking Judge Reva Goetz to hear the matter on August 17, 2011, but Team Spears say they need more time to respond and don't understand Brand Sense's urgency for the relief they are seeking.

Court docs state: "If the hearing on Brand Sense's Motion to Unseal Documents is not continued to August 30, 2011, the Co-Conservators will be prejudiced and suffer irreparable harm by not having sufficient time to oppose the motion which involves important and very complex issues concerning, among other things, the Conservatee's privacy rights."

The judge previously ruled that Britney can't be deposed or called as a witness in the lawsuit. Brand Sense is seeking $10 million dollars in damages because they allege they weren't getting the pre-agree share of profits from Britney's fragrance.

Full Article and Source:
Britney Spears Attorneys Ask for Delay in Fragerance Lawsuit

See Also:
Court Rules Britney Spears Does Not Have to be Deposed

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Is Gary Harvey Being Held Hostage for His Bank Account?

For six years, Gary Harvey has been minimally conscious on a drug regimen at cash-strapped St. Joseph's Hospital in Elmira, N.Y. While his bank account empties he has undergone 31 surgeries in the past two years, according to his wife, who has no say in his insurance claims or treatment, has been removed as his Guardian, and has awaited an August ruling to begin bringing her husband home.

Listen to the interview!

See Also:
The Silence of Kevin Moshier

Join "Rescue Gary Harvey" on Facebook!

Elder Care Workers With a Checkered Past Get a Pass

After she was caught, Lisa M. Blair told police that her criminal behavior at a South St. Paul assisted-living facility "just got out of hand."

For months, the Cerenity Residence worker stole thousands of dollars from elderly residents who relied on her for day-to-day help, including paying their bills. At least two residents were bilked for nearly $63,000 in a scheme that ended when an 88-year-old raised suspicions in December about Blair, police records show.

State health investigators found no fault with Cerenity Residence for the breakdown, which lasted for more than 18 months. Blair pleaded guilty this month to four felony counts of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult. "I maybe took advantage," she told police. "I knew it was the wrong thing to do."

The case is part of a broad problem of elder abuse in Minnesota that raises questions about the state's oversight of a rapidly growing industry.

In at least a handful of cases, state records show, breakdowns left vulnerable adults exposed to abuse. Either facilities missed warning signs or applicants with known criminal histories were approved to work because regulators granted exceptions to rules aimed at protecting vulnerable people.

Since 2005, state investigators have reviewed 171 cases of alleged financial abuse or exploitation in nursing homes, assisted-living facilities and in-home care settings. In 77 percent of those cases, investigators substantiated those charges, almost all of which involved staff members stealing from residents, according to a Star Tribune review of state investigative files.

Full Article and Source:
Elder Care Workers With a Checkered Past Get a Pass

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Silence of Kevin Moshier

Guardianships are like adoptions in that it is the obligation of the guardian to look out for the ward he has been put in charge of. Unlike adoptions, the guardian is supposed to act on behalf of the ward and make decisions as the ward would make for self if capable. And then there is the attorney to insure the rights of the ward. So, where has Kevin Moshier (the appointed attorney) been when Gary Harvey’s wishes have been trampled upon?

Just where was Kevin Moshier, the attorney who should be representing Gary against any wrongs, when the so-called ethic’s committee wanted to put Gary down by starving and dehydrating him to death? Did he stand strong and ask what these people were thinking and why they would even consider such a thing?

When they put the DNR on Gary, did Kevin Moshier demand they lift it?

When Sara Harvey’s visits with her husband were restricted, did Kevin Moshier step up to the plate and say, “I don’t think so. This is not what Gary would want. This is not in Gary’s best interest. Gary has a right to have time with his wife.” Did he? Of course he didn’t.

In all this silence and all this betrayal, does Kevin Moshier truly understand that he is representing a human being that once laughed and cried; had hopes and dreams?

Does Kevin Moshier realize that Gary may very well know what is happening around him? Does Moshier realize that Gary may very well know when Sara is around, when she is not and when he is very much alone? Does Kevin Moshier understand that Gary may realize that he has been shaved and hear every single whisper around him? Does he even care?

Many things we may not know, but there are a few we can be sure of. Gary Harvey isn’t hearing his attorney’s voice championing his cause, though it should be a voice heard loud and clear. Instead, the silence of Kevin Moshier (on behalf of Gary Harvey’s true wishes) is deafening!

Full Article and Source:
The Silence of Kevin Moshier

See Also:
Facebook - On Advocating for Gary E. Harvey

JOIN the Facebook page, RESCUE GARY HARVEY


KY Lawyers Support Bill Requiring Pre-Employment Screening of Nursing Home Workers

All nursing home employees may be subject to background checks if a prefiled bill in the Kentucky legislature passes in the 2012 session, according to a recent news article in the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Existing laws only require background checks on employees who provide direct elder care in nursing homes. The new bill broadens the scope to include anyone who works in facilities, regardless of how closely they interact with residents.

“Expanding the statute can provide more protection for an elderly population who may not be able to speak up for themselves when they are abused,” says Bowling Green personal injury attorney J. Marshall Hughes, whose law firm has extensive experience handling cases involving nursing home abuse and elder neglect in Bowling Green, Louisville and parts of Tennessee.

“Any employee – not just those who provide direct care for nursing-home residents – still has many opportunities to exploit them just because they are in such close proximity,” he added.

The new bill comes on the heels of another move by Kentucky to address cases of nursing home abuse. In June, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services awarded the state a $3 million grant to upgrade its background-check system from one that searches only by name to one that screens potential employees by digital fingerprinting.

Full Article and Source:
Kentucky Attorneys Support Bill That Would Require Pre-Employment Screening of Nursing Home Workers

Monday, August 8, 2011

Ginger Franklin Files Complaint Against Judge Randy Kennedy

A Hendersonville woman who fought for more than two years to get her freedom from a guardianship has filed a complaint against the judge who handled her case.

Ginger Franklin's life started falling apart after she fell down the stairs in her condo in July 2008.

The fall gave her a temporary brain injury. Judge Randy Kennedy appointed a conservator to handle her affairs until she got better.

She was surprised to discover later that the conservator had moved quickly to liquidate what she owned.

"Six weeks after I fell, my house was up for sale," Franklin said.

Franklin fought for two years to get out from under the conservatorship, saying she'd recovered. In that time the conservator had liquidated nearly everything Franklin had: her savings, her car, her house and furniture.

"My credit is ruined from where they filed bankruptcy. I'm having to start all over from scratch. Because I fell down the stairs," Franklin said.

Franklin has filed a complaint with the Tennessee Court of the Judiciary, claiming Judge Kennedy mishandled her case.

As an example, she said Kennedy refused to dissolve the conservatorship even though her neurosurgeon had said a year earlier she was fine and could return to work.

"These people are used to doing whatever they want and not being questioned," Franklin said.

But now, the Tennessee Court of the Judiciary is investigating. If they find the judge has done something wrong, he could be reprimanded.

Judge Kennedy responded to the panel with a five-page letter. He called Franklin's complaints "totally baseless."

The judge wrote that while one doctor said she was fine, two other doctors said previously that she needed a conservatorship. The judge asked the panel to dismiss her claim. He declined to speak to Channel 4.

Woman Files Complaint Against Judge

Theft Charges Likely in 106-Year-Old's Neglect Case

The neglect case involving a 106-year-old woman found begging for food in her squalid Kettle Falls home has morphed into a records hunt by law enforcement and others who say up to $1 million is missing from the woman’s retirement accounts.

The chief suspect is her former caretaker, 78-year-old John H. “Herb” Friedlund, who had power of attorney over her financial affairs for the past decade and who already is facing animal abuse and criminal mistreatment charges.

Deputy Stevens County Prosecutor Lech Radzimski declined to give specific amounts of how much Friedlund is believed to have taken, but an attorney representing the family of 106-year-old Frances T. Swan put the figure at well over $800,000. Much of the money was removed through a monthlong series of wire transfers to individuals across the country and in Europe, according to documents compiled by the Swan family’s attorney.

“The investigation into the criminal mistreatment has revealed that there was financial exploitation and our office will be filing charges as a result of that investigation,” Radzimski said.

Full Article and Source:
Theft Charges Likely in 106-Year-Old's Neglect Case

Man Sentenced for Abusing Comatose Woman

A man who sexually assaulted a comatose woman in a Detroit nursing facility was sentenced to one year in the Wayne County Jail.

Cornell Lowman, 49, who pleaded guilty as charged to fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct and being a four-time habitual felony offender, was sentenced today by Wayne Circuit Court Judge Carole Youngblood.

Lowman was visiting another patient in a nursing home on the city's east side in April when he closed the privacy curtains around the incapacitated 65-year-old woman and fondled her, according to police.

Full Article and Source:
Detroit Man Gets 1 Year in Jail, 3 on Probation for Abusing Comatose Woman

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Lawyer: Rosa Parks' Estate Drained

Six years after her death, the memorabilia collection of civil rights icon Rosa Parks - medals, papers, even the hat she wore on her historic bus ride - is in the hands of a New York auction house, its ownership in limbo, with a value once pegged at $10 million.

Her estate, with a cash value of $372,000 at the time of her death, is mostly gone - eaten up by lawyer's fees.

The financial portrait of Parks' estate, which has been kept under seal since her death, is outlined in a new Michigan Supreme Court filing that offers the first detailed glimpse into a long-running feud over distribution of her assets.

The legal filing contends that Wayne County Probate Judge Freddie Burton allowed two court-appointed attorneys, John Chase Jr. and Melvin Jefferson Jr., to pile up excessive fees that drained nearly $243,000 from the estate, or about two-thirds of the cash value.

After the money was gone, the filing charges, the lawyers persuaded Burton to award them Parks' vast memorabilia collection and the rights to license her name, which Parks had given to her Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development long before she died.

Steven Cohen, who represents Elaine Steele and the institute in the probate case, filed the request Tuesday, asking the Supreme Court to overturn an appeals court decision that stood behind Burton's handling of the case and accused the judge of overstepping his bounds by arbitrarily appointing Chase and Jefferson as fiduciaries when the lawyers were not previously involved in the case.

"Since Mrs. Parks' death in 2005, the court system of her adopted city has embarked on a course to destroy her legacy, bankrupt her institute, shred her estate plan and steal her very name," Cohen said in the filing. Cohen wants the institute and Steele to get the property back.

Full Article and Source:
Lawyer: Rosa Parks Estate Was Drained

Attorney Turned Defendant

The case: In 2005, Frank Picl was a well-known defense attorney. That changed on March 15, 2005, when he was charged with bilking an elderly client out of more than $278,000 and leaving her to die penniless months later in a nursing home.

It was shocking; Picl was highly respected in the legal community. He eventually pleaded to theft and financial exploitation of the elderly. Month after month, he had withdrawn money from the woman’s accounts or closed her certificates of deposit. He obtained cashier’s checks ranging from $1,000 to $50,000. The money largely went to fuel a gambling addiction.

He was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Picl has since been released after receiving day-for-day “good-time” credit.

Lyons’ thoughts: I was visiting my mother one night at Independence Village when I stepped onto the elevator with the facility manager, who said, ‘Hey, can I ask you a question?’

He told me about a small bounced rent check from my mother’s 85-year-old early Alzheimer’s neighbor. At first, I was like ‘OK, what does this have to do with me?’ Then the man said, “No one here bounces checks.”

The manager went on to say that the woman’s lawyer, a nice man, had later paid the bill but that another check had later bounced. I asked what the lawyer’s name was, and he said, “Frank Picl.”

My ears perked up. I shook my head.

I knew then I would be arresting my friend of 25 years whom I had long described as “the lawyer I would hire if I was charged with murder.”

The rest is history.

Lyons: Frank Picl, Attorney Turned Defendant

Police Use Arrest to Get Help for Elderly Couple Living in Car

An elderly woman was arrested Thursday for failing to report squalid conditions in her car where she and her husband were living, say police.

Arresting Beverly Maguire, 72, was the only way police could get the couple the help they need, said Police Chief Lou Ferland.

Maguire and her husband, Roger, 79, were living in their car last year when police were working with state agencies to explore various guardianship options, said Ferland. The couple then left the area and legal papers expired, say police.

They were brought to police attention again on Thursday morning when they were involved in a car crash in a McDonald's parking lot, said Capt. Mike Schwartz. Their car is “ridiculously unsafe,” so it was towed, he said.

Ferland said the interior of the car where the couple was living was filled with trash and human waste. The Maguires refused offers of help for medical treatment and housing, so police decided to get them “into the system” by making an arrest, said the police chief.

Because Roger's physical and psychological health was determined to be more diminished than his wife's, she was arrested, say police.

Full Article and Source:
Police Use Arrest to Get Help for Elderly Couple Living in Car