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