Saturday, September 10, 2011

Attorney (Former Judge) Arrested in Elder Abuse Case

A former North Plains Municipal Court judge and longtime Forest Grove attorney has been arrested in connection with an elder abuse case involving his mother-in-law, the Forest Grove Police Department reported.

A Washington County grand jury indicted Robert A. Browning, 66, on seven counts of first-degree criminal mistreatment, a felony, said Capt. Mike Herb, a Forest Grove police spokesman. The case, Herb said, will be prosecuted by the state's Department of Justice because Browning's served as an attorney in Washington County so long.

When Browning resigned as judge from North Plains in January, he alluded to a possible investigation in his letter to the city. The investigation by police, the justice department, the state adult protective services program and the Oregon State Bar began in July 2010,Herb said.

Amy Jeanine Moore, 40, a secretary at Browning's law firm, was also arrested Friday on charges of identity theft and fraudulent use of a credit card. Authorities learned of Moore's alleged criminal activity during their investigation of Browning, Herb said.

Moore's charges stem from her use of a credit card that belonged to a deceased client of the law firm, police said. Transactions using the credit card occurred in June and July 2010, police said, about a year after the client had died.

Browning and Moore both turned themselves into detectives at the Washington County jail Friday, Herb said. They will be arraigned Sept. 20.

Full Article and Source:
Forest Grove Attorney, a Former North Plains Judge, Arrested in Elder Abuse Case

Group Says Branstad Actions Cause Nursing Home Deaths

An organization that advocates for disabled Iowans says decisions made by Gov. Terry Branstad are causing the state’s nursing home residents to suffer and die.

Disability Rights Iowa, which is part of a national network of advocacy groups established by Congress, published a scathing, open letter to Branstad on Wednesday, questioning the governor’s pursuit of a less punitive method of regulating Iowa’s nursing homes.

Sylvia Piper, the organization’s executive director, told Branstad in the letter that because of his “political choices, people are suffering and dying on a regular basis in Iowa’s nursing homes.” Piper invited Branstad to join her on a two-day tour of care facilities.

“I want you to see what I have seen,” she wrote. “I want you to witness up close the effects of abuse and neglect. I wager that less than 24 hours after our return, if you are even remotely human, you will double the number of nursing home inspectors on your staff.”

Branstad spokesman Tim Albrecht said Iowa’s inspections department, now led by former state lawmaker Rod Roberts, is doing “great work” and is protecting vulnerable Iowans.

Piper said her letter is a reaction to Disability Rights Iowa seeing an increase in complaints regarding nursing homes and other types of care facilities in Iowa.

“We do periodic reviews of the investigations that the inspections department does,” she said. “They appear to be overlooking things. We’re finding extremely incomplete work on these investigations. They are not, as they did in the past, looking into these problems in an in-depth way. It’s not good. We’re having to replicate their investigations.”

The Des Moines Register has asked the inspections department for details on the time now spent on inspections and the number of abuse complaints that result in investigations. The department has turned the newspaper’s request over to federal officials who have yet to provide that information.

Full Article and Source:
Group Says Branstad Actions Cause Nursing Home Deaths

Editorial: Branstad Has Met His Nursing Home Inspection Promises

The people of Iowa elected Gov. Terry Branstad. He appointed Rod Roberts to head the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals. A few weeks into the job, Roberts eliminated 13 jobs. Ten were nursing home inspectors. Two were part-time lawyers who investigated complaints of abuse in nursing homes.

During this year’s session of the Legislature, lawmakers restored money for some of the jobs, but Roberts isn’t going to use it to fill those positions. Inspectors were needed, according to DIA staff and the federal government.

But the Department of Inspections and Appeals now says the inspectors are not needed and the department is able to carry out its responsibilities without them, thank you.

It’s almost impossible to evaluate that assertion because the department recently blocked access to statistical information about its inspections and trends from those inspections.

This means the owners of Iowa nursing homes have fewer regulators to deal with. Vulnerable Iowans have fewer regulators to protect them. And the people of this state are entitled to think that they’ve been wronged by their government.

Full Article and Source:
Editorial: Branstad Has Met His Nursing Home Inspection Promises

Friday, September 9, 2011

Jeffrey Schend Released From Jail

A former Appleton guardian accused of stealing from elderly and disabled clients was released from jail Tuesday after a judge agreed to give prosecutors more time to prepare for trial.

Outagamie County Reserve Judge Harold Froehlich postponed Jeffrey M. Schend's trial to the week of Jan. 9, despite a speedy trial demand filed in July. The trial was scheduled to begin Sept. 12.

State law requires authorities to release defendants from jail when their demands for speedy trials aren't met. Schend, 44, who had been jailed since his May 11 arrest, was freed on a signature bond after his court appearance. He is required to live at his mother's Appleton home during the remainder of his case, report to authorities each weekday, and is prohibited from drinking and gambling.

Schend is charged with six felony counts of theft and one misdemeanor theft count. He's accused of stealing about $500,000 from his clients' accounts. As a guardian, Schend was appointed by county judges to handle finances for elderly and disabled people deemed incompetent to manage their own affairs.

Full Article and Source:
Schend Released From Jail

See Also:
Jeffrey Schend Wants Change of Venue

Ex-Indiana Prosecutor Ordered to Repay $146K

A judge has ordered a former prosecutor in southern Indiana to repay $146,000 that he and his wife were accused of taking from an incapacitated relative's estate.

An attorney representing former Crawford County prosecutor Jimmie Montgomery says the couple took good care of the 80-year-old aunt of Montgomery's wife at their home in English for two years and is entitled to payment.

An attorney for the 80-year-old woman's daughter says the Montgomerys were asked to temporarily care for the older woman while the daughter recovered from knee surgery.

Montgomery's law license was suspended last year over accusations that he stole law books when he left the prosecutor's office in 2006.

Ex-Prosecutor in S. Ind. Ordered to Repay $146,000

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Heartbreaking Story of Elder Care and Guardian Abuse

As my friend, Diane, continues to put up a noble effort to overcome court decisions that have consistently denied her of her rights, as well as violated her mother, Dorothy’s rights, it became evident that “someone” wanted me to take on a more active role in bringing this situation to light.

For over two years, I witnessed Diane struggle to deal with a judge’s power and ego-driven attitude in making his decisions. His rulings were based on blatant lies by others, testimony and statements that in many cases would be seen as perjury, are what shaped his erroneous opinions of my friend. It is a dangerous precedent to disparage someone for their behavior when you have nothing more than the hearsay of the people you put in control of an elderly woman, and who is financially benefitting from having autonomy over her.

I decided to do more than just give Diane moral support and have made a conscious decision to let other people across the country know about her battle to save her mother from being unwillingly incarcerated in a nursing home.

My assessment of what has been happening came more into focus. Dorothy is being used as a pawn by a judge, law guardian and healthcare manager who all seem to be benefitting from a rift in the family.

Full Article and Source:
A Heartbreaking Story of Elder Care and Abuse

See Also:
A Heartbreaking Story of Elder Care and Guardian Abuse

Attorney Sentenced to Two Years, Apologizes for Theft

A disbarred St. Louis lawyer has been sentenced to two years in federal prison for stealing more than $300,000 from clients.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports Steven Gartenberg pleaded guilty in June to two counts of mail fraud. He admitted keeping more than $100,00 from a woman's estate that was supposed to go to a church, the Alzheimer's association and three individuals.

Gartenberg also admitted making more than $200,000 in unauthorized withdrawals from the bank account of a mentally disabled woman who was under his guardianship.

He apologized at sentencing Friday, saying he feels remorse for what he's done.

Gartenberg was ordered to repay $267,000, most of which will go to the Bar Plan Surety and Fidelity Company, a lawyer liability insurance company that paid for the guardianship victim.

St. Louis Attorney Sentenced to 2 Years for Fraud

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Recommended Blog: Probate Sharks

Our mission is to expose and remedy corruption in the Probate Court of Cook County, Illinois. We assist, educate and enlighten families of the dead, the dying, the disabled and the aged to better understand their rights in order to protect themselves from the excesses of the Probate Court of Cook County. is dedicated to networking the human element of people to people. We join together in reforming the corrupt Cook County Probate Court system.


New Survey: Half of Hospitals Buy Back Door Drugs

Amid growing reports of price-gouging for life-saving drugs, half of hospital officials said they’ve bought medications from back-door suppliers during recent drug shortages, a new survey shows.

Fifty-two percent of hospital purchasing agents and pharmacists reported they’d bought drugs from so-called “gray market” vendors during the previous two years, according to a just-released survey of 549 hospitals by the Institute for Safe Medication practices, an advocacy group.

Gray-market suppliers are those that operate outside official channels, often buying drugs from uncertain sources and reselling them at a steep profit. A report issued last week by a one hospital association found their average mark-up was 650 percent.

Pressures from demanding doctors and desperate patients helped fuel the transactions, making hospital staffers feel like they had no choice but to buy drugs in short supply at steep prices.

“Our physicians DO NOT want to hear that a drug is ‘unavailable,’” wrote one hospital pharmacist who submitted comments to the anonymous survey.

Full Article and Source:
Half of Hospitals Buy Back Door Drugs,New Survey Shows

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Florida Guardianship System: Legal Human Bondage

I wrote a series of columns (“Al Katz: A Holocaust Survivor,” January and February 2011) about Al Katz, a Holocaust Survivor and senior citizen living part-time in Florida.

At age 89, Al was put under the custody of the state; his health deteriorated while under state control, and he died as a result. I tried to understand why the State of Florida, its probate court and public and professional guardianship system would not do everything in their power to return Al and his estate to his family. I now think I have the answer to that quandary.

The system is incestuous and inextricably leads to legal human bondage.

These are strong words, but facts are facts. Al Katz is not the exception; sadly, he may be the rule. Other senior citizens are subject to the same system, a broken system, a probate court system designed to seize and hold a person and their property. The person is held until drained of life and the property held until it is drained of value.

In the case of Al Katz the system showed itself for what it is – inhuman.

The short version of Al Katz’s story is he lived part time in Florida as do many seniors. He was put under the control of the state using the Baker Act. When his daughter, Beverly Newman, arrived and agreed to take full responsibility for her father and his estate, the state gave Al the man back, after a lengthy court battle, but not his property. A man without his property is nothing but a shell of himself. Al’s estate remained in the hands of various guardians.

The ultimate guardian should have been Beverly. Instead it was Herbert G. Schimmel, a person totally unknown to Al and his family.

Al’s daughter Beverly has been trying, since her father died, to get what little remains of his formerly-extensive estate returned. The problem is no one knows what was seized by the state when Al was put under public guardianship. You see when a person is placed under guardianship that person and that person’s property become under the complete control of the state. The guardians go into the person’s home and take whatever they want with no inventory list verified by witnesses or independent audit of the estate done. When time comes to release the property, in the case of Al Katz, there is no clear chain of custody or way to determine what happened to his assets. In Al’s case, this includes sizable insurance policies and an expensive jewelry collection that had been insured for over $22,000.

Full Article and Source:
Florida Guardianship System: Legal Human Bondage

'Assisted Living Facility Operators Have Hold on Florida Legislators, So Good Luck Keeping Granny Safe'

Anyone who's been following the Miami Herald's investigation of the wretched conditions in some of Florida's assisted living facilities might wonder how the state could have cruelly turned its back on so many sick and helpless people.

The answer is as simple as it is sickening: Money.

Florida doesn't spend enough of it enforcing the laws and regulations governing the facilities, while the industry spends a fortune buying off key state lawmakers with campaign donations.

One of them is Sen. Rene Garcia, a Republican from Hialeah who chairs the Health Regulation Committee. Remember this character's name, in case he ever dreams of running for statewide office.

Garcia's district includes more than 100 assisted living facilities, including some of the worst and most heavily fined in Miami-Dade. Thanks to Garcia and others, it's not easy for one of these joints to get in trouble, no matter what horrors are taking place inside.

Statewide, more than 70 residents in assisted living are known to have perished from gangrene, starvation, narcotic overdoses and burns. At least 200 others have died under suspicious circumstances, but the records have been sealed.

In one case, caregivers at a facility in Manatee County managed to overlook an 85-year-old man while nearly half of his face was consumed by a cancerous tumor. In another facility, three people died, including a senior who fell down 24 separate times.

Despite all this, legislators beholden to assisted living facility lobbyists assiduously labored to gut the laws meant to keep these homes safe. Too many rules and regulations, they complained.

Heck, it's only human suffering we're talking about.

Even as the authorities found residents neglected, abused and even dying, lawmakers — who are rarely made to sleep in their own urine — were working aggressively on behalf of the facilities. Their mission was to shrink state oversight, minimize the number of inspections and make it harder to shut down rogue facilities.

This year in Tallahassee, 23 bills were introduced to weaken state supervision over these facilities. Most of them were written by the Florida Assisted Living Association, the industry lobby group. No one is more slavishly obedient to their wishes than Garcia, who collected $8,100 in campaign contributions from assisted living facility corporate interests.

Sen. Don Gaetz, a Destin Republican, said he couldn't recall language in one of his own co-sponsored bills that stopped the state from bringing medical teams to assisted living facilities to decide whether sick residents should be removed from the homes for their own safety.

"I just don't remember," Gaetz said.

Full Article and Source:
Carl Hiaasen: Assisted Living Facility Operators Have Hold on Florida Legislators, So Good Luck Keeping Granny Safe

Monday, September 5, 2011

Recommended Website:

"Even when you go to jail, you know there is the time you're gonna get out. But in this situation,it's never ending. I think it's too in control. If I wasn't under the restraints I'm under, I'd feel so liberated. When I tell them the way I feel, it's like they're really not listening. I never wanted to become one of those prisoner people.

I always wanted to feel free."


Judge Blocks Efforts to Access Britney Spears' Medical Info

A judge won’t give a company suing Britney Spears access to her medical information.

The pop star is still under court-ordered conservatorship after a bout of erratic behavior in 2008. Her father and attorneys control her personal and financial affairs.

Because of the conservatorship, she will not be required to give a deposition in the lawsuit from the company Brand Sense, which claims it helped negotiate a perfume deal for Spears but was cut out of the profits.

Brand Sense wanted to see medical records proving Spears couldn’t testify. But Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Reva Goetz ruled Tuesday that Brand Sense Partners has no standing to see medical records.

Judge Blocks Company’s Effort to get Access to Britney Spears’ Medical Records to Aid Lawsuit

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Daughter Fights for Control of Mother

Marjorie Partch wants to regain the care and estate of her mother, Dorothy Partch, while she recuperates from a stroke at Wilton Meadows.

With a complaint now before the Superior Court in Stamford, Marjorie Partch is trying to make sense of how her life has spun so far out of control in a few short years.

"I'm trying to gain my mother's money, which is three or four times what she owes Wilton Meadows," Marjorie Partch said. "I wanted her to be taken care of while I got the house (at 20 Devil's Garden Road in Norwalk) in order for a wheelchair and organized. Then everything turned upside down. I took time off from work and that's when (Wilton Meadows) took their actions. I was thrown out of the house with nothing. They'll say I'm a lunatic, and at this point I'd say who isn't?"

The attorney for the rehabilitation and health care-center at 439 Danbury Road says the facility has done nothing wrong, and the court system is overseeing the elder Partch's ongoing treatment.

"On July 27, 2010, Wilton Meadows brought an inaccurate application for an Involuntary Conservatorship for my mother to probate court, and a conservator was wrongly appointed, over my objections as her health care representative and pre-designated conservator," Marjorie Partch said. "I am pursuing this illegality in superior court, and the facility is very unhappy that the matter has been brought beyond probate court, with whom they appear to have a very 'cozy' relationship. The superior court judge is reopening the case for re-argument in order to investigate fraud, a possibility (the judge) is clearly considering."

Angelo Maragos, attorney for Wilton Meadows, has a different interpretation.

"I think of the bases of (Marjorie Partch's) complaint is fraud, and Wilton Meadows is alleging Marjorie Partch is committing fraud to get at her mother's estate," Maragos said. "I think Wilton Meadows did everything correctly. At the original hearing before the Norwalk Probate Court, Marjorie Partch did not raise any issues about fraud, and she made no objection to the conservator. Wilton Meadows has been taking care of Mrs. Partch since before that date. Every step we've taken since then has been under the supervision of the court."

Full Article and Source:
Daughter Seeks to Regain Control of Mother's Care While at Wilton Meadows

Press Release: Nursing Home Complaint Center

The Nursing Home Complaint Center is calling its efforts to identify US nursing home patients, who needlessly get sepsis, septic shock, broken bones, and or victims of wrongful death, their number one priority in 2011.

The group is saying, "we believe needless sepsis infections, septic shock, broken bones, wrongful death, and elder abuse in our nation's nursing homes are at epidemic levels, and we want to hear from family members who have proof the sick, or deceased family member was mistreated, or not treated at all-with the result being a wrongful death, or they are now in a ICU at a nearby hospital."

The group says, "one of the biggest problems we see in the vast majority of our nation's nursing homes is staffing levels, are not high enough to meet Medicare, or Medicaid standards, with the result being dead patients, or patients suffering from sepsis, or septic shock, due to medical malpractice, or broken bones."

If a family member, or loved one has died in a US nursing home from provable wrongful death, or now has sepsis, is in septic shock, or has broken bones, please call the Nursing Home Complaint Center at 866-714-6466, or contact the group via its web site at http://NursingHomeComplaintCenter.Com

Nursing Home Complaint Center Makes Discovering Victims Of Sepsis Septic Shock Broken Bones & Wrongful Death Its Number One Priority For US Nursing Home Patients