Saturday, November 10, 2012

YouTube: Help Save Rosyln Green; Victim of Guardian Abuse

On June 23, 2011, my 89 year old mother, Roslyn Green, was literally dragged from her bed by Self Help Community Services, her State appointed guardian, with nothing but the clothes on her back. She was taken to a nursing home where she's been held in isolation ever since, cut off from all contact with her friends, family and everything and everyone she loves and holds dear. I haven't seen since that day and I fear I may never see her alive again. Source: YouTube: Help Save Rosyln Green; Victim of Guardian Abuse

Former GA and AL Lawyer Pleads Guilty to Identity Fraud and Forgery

A former local attorney accused of forging legal papers and stealing another lawyer's identity pleaded guilty Wednesday to the accusations in Muscogee County Superior Court, authorities said.

Elliott J. Vogt, 34, pleaded guilty to four counts of theft by conversion, two counts of first-degree forgery and one count of identity fraud. Judge John Allen sentenced Vogt to a year in the Muscogee County Prison, followed by nine years' probation, Assistant District Attorney Doug Breault said.

"He had people pay him fees to do domestic relations work, and he didn't do any of the work," Breault said. "It caused great suffering to the parties involved. He also pretended to be a lawyer."

Vogt has paid some $25,000 in restitution in the Muscogee County case, Breault said. Vogt also was ordered to pay an additional $15,000 to a victim who incurred attorney's fees because of his actions.

Full Article and Source:
Former Local Lawyer Pleads Guilty to Identity Fraud and Forgery

Abbot Labs to Pay $1.5 Bil in Settlement

As part of the largest Medicaid fraud case ever led by a state, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli announced the sentencing of global health care company Abbott Laboratories Inc. in the United States District Court in Abingdon, Va., today [10/5]. The court approved the $1.5 billion settlement reached on May 7, 2012, among Abbott, Virginia, the United States government, and 48 other states and the District of Columbia, in which Abbott pled guilty to a criminal charge and admitted civil liability for the company’s unlawful promotion of the prescription drug Depakote for uses not approved as safe and effective by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The attorney general’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) was the lead investigative agency in the case, partnering with the prosecutors and civil attorneys from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia. This was the largest Medicaid fraud recovery in U.S. history resulting from a state-led investigation, with the Virginia MFCU spending more than four years on the investigation, traveling to 26 states to conduct interviews and sifting through more than one million records looking for evidence.

When it pled guilty in May, Abbott agreed to pay $1.5 billion to resolve its criminal and civil liability pertaining to government health care programs that were defrauded based on reimbursements paid for Depakote due to Abbott’s illegal marketing practices. The settlement that was approved today includes a criminal fine and forfeiture totaling $700 million and civil settlements with the federal government and the states totaling $800 million.

The civil settlement includes $270 million for the federal government’s share of the Medicaid program; $239 million for the states’ share of the Medicaid program; and $291 million for Medicare and other federal programs. Abbott will also pay a $500 million fine to the federal government, $198.5 million in criminal asset forfeiture penalties, and $1.5 million to Virginia MFCU to cover investigative costs. Virginia’s share of the Medicaid civil settlement is $4.2 million.

Abbott must also agree to the terms of a Corporate Integrity Agreement with the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services.

Full Article and Source:
Abbot Labs to Pay $1.5 Billion in Virginia Led Case
See Also:
Abbot Labratories to Pay $1 bil Over Misbranding Drug

Friday, November 9, 2012

Taxpayer-Funded Lawyer to be Appointed for Jeffrey Schend in Theft Case

Attorneys say a former Appleton guardian accused of stealing about $500,000 from his elderly and disabled clients now qualifies for a taxpayer-funded lawyer because he is lacking in assets and earnings.

An attorney for the state Public Defender’s office said Jeffrey M. Schend, 45, met the agency’s guidelines and was approved to receive public representation.

Schend is charged in Outagamie County with 15 felony theft counts and 12 misdemeanor counts of falsifying accounting records.

Jon Padgham, attorney manager for the Public Defender’s Appleton office, said the 18-month-old case will be scheduled for trial once a lawyer is appointed.

Dist. Atty. Carrie Schneider said efforts would be made to have Schend’s current attorney, Michael Petersen, appointed through the public defender office in effort to keep the case moving.

To qualify for public representation, a defendant must meet predetermined financial guidelines. The process takes into account an applicant’s income and assets, spousal income, family size and the type of case.

Guardians are appointed by courts to oversee assets when it is determined that individuals are unable to manage their finances. The investigation of Schend began after Outagamie County officials received complaints in late 2010 that bills weren’t being paid.

Full Article and Source:
Ex-Guardian to be Represented by Public Defender
See Also:
Accused Former Guardian Jeffrey Schend Tries to Replace Judge

Accused Georgia Probate Judge, Shirley Wise, Still on Bench

Shirley Wise continues to serve as Camden County's associate probate judge despite being accused of nine ethical violations by the state's judicial watchdog group.

Probate Judge Martin Gillette said this week he has no intention of suspending Wise until the Judicial Qualifications Commission's (JQC) investigation is complete. The JQC accused Wise on Oct. 19 of multiple ethics charges, including receiving kickbacks, ordering a county employee to forge Gillette's signature, pre-signing marriage licenses and refusing to perform weddings she is sworn to officiate, instead referring the parties to local private wedding companies.

"We don't send people to prison unless they are convicted of something," Gillette said. "This is the same theory."

Gillette, who will retire as probate judge in January and is slated to be replaced by Wise, declined to comment when asked about the possibility that illegal activity could be occurring in his office.

Gillette also said he does not believe the charges against Wise are true.

"This is all a bunch of crap as far as I'm concerned," he said, noting his knowledge of the situation is limited. "You don't treat people that way unless they are found guilty of something, would be my policy."

No judge has ever successfully defended themselves against JQC charges, according to records found on the commission's website, Gillette also declined to comment on whether that fact changed how he perceives the situation."

Full Article and Source:
Accused Probate Judge Still on Bench

Austistic Girl Expresses Unimaginable Intelligence

Source: YouTube: Autistic Girl Expresses Unimaginable Intelligence

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Repost: ABC7 Investigates the Santa Clara County Public Guardian

Note: We felt ABC did such a great job investigating the Santa Clara County Public Guardian, we wanted to post those excellent reports again:
Santa Clara County Public Guardian Under Fire for Isolating Elderly

I-Team Investigates Santa Clara County Public Guardian


Dan Noyes is the chief investigative reporter for the ABC7 News I-Team. Dan joined the station in May 1994, bringing to local news 13 years of experience in network news and nationally syndicated news magazines. Dan was previously the co-anchor of the ABC7 Weekend News at 6 and 11 p.m.

Dan has been honored with numerous industry awards. The National Academy of Television Arts and Science (NATAS) has presented him with seven Emmy Awards for Outstanding Achievement: Investigative Reporting and Continuing Coverage. The Radio and Television News Directors Association (RTNDA) has honored Dan six times, for Best Investigative Reporting and Best News Reporting in Northern California. Dan also received the RTNDA Regional Edward R. Murrow Award for Investigative Reporting. The Associated Press Television and Radio Association (APTRA) has also honored Dan for Best Investigative Reporting. The Anti-Defamation League has given him the Pursuit of Justice Award.

Public Hearing: Proposed Rate Change Plan for Santa Clara County Professional Fiduciaries

Elderly adults, the disabled and their advocates packed a San Jose auditorium Wednesday, expressing outrage over excessive fees charged by court-appointed estate managers who are now under fire as a state lawmaker and Santa Clara County's top judge promised action.

One woman described losing everything to trustees, whose fees landed the onetime philanthropist on food stamps. Another lamented a $182,000 bill for nine months' work billed to her ex-husband's estate.

"I'm a senior and I've lost everything," Annette Aiassa told Judge Brian Walsh and state Assemblyman Jim Beall, D-San Jose. "So I'm wondering, can you do anything for me?"

Their pleas for help came in the first public hearing over proposed reforms since this newspaper's investigation "Loss of Trust" exposed how permissive Santa Clara County's court has been over the years as some private conservators hand six-figure bills to incapacitated adults under the court's watch.

Less than a month after the newspaper's story, the court convened a panel that has proposed new rules to curb fees that, in some cases, are double what neighboring counties allow.

Local judges vote Nov. 15 before sending the new rules to state officials.

If approved, as of Jan. 1, conservators here would be expected to charge hourly rates between $115 and $165 -- half what many now charge. Routine tasks such as opening mail and grocery shopping could not be billed at rates higher than $55 an hour.

Realtor Richard Calhoun said the proposed changes sound good but do not go far enough. "Cutting the hourly rate is fine," Calhoun said, "but they could double the work that they do."

Walsh told the crowd that the court is committed to change, noting that Santa Clara County is likely to pass the strictest set of guidelines on conservator fees in the state. But he described the difficulty crafting rules that are not "too strict," thereby driving away "caring and capable people."

Full Article and Source:
Rate Change Plan Seeks to Rein in Expensive Estate Manager Fees

See Also:
Special Report: Loss of Trust

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Lawyer: Cop is Exploiting Elderly Woman

A Superior Court judge is scheduled to preside over a hearing Thursday regarding allegations that a Portsmouth police detective is exploiting an incompetent elderly woman to inherit her significant estate.

The detective, Aaron Goodwin, 33, denies any wrongdoing. Meanwhile, the New Hampshire attorney general's office and Bureau of Elderly Affairs have stated there's no evidence of a crime, while Portsmouth police brass say the accusations largely pertain to off-duty activity.

The woman, who will be 94 in December and whose competency is being disputed, has an estate that includes an $805,000 waterfront home with boat docks and an in-ground swimming pool, according to Portsmouth assessing records. When recently asked if Goodwin is named as a beneficiary of her new trust, which was filed in June with the county probate court, the woman told Seacoast Media Group, "You bet he is."

"It's my money and my house and I'll do as I please," she said.

Making accusations in a Rockingham County Superior Court probate motion that Goodwin provided companionship to the woman so he'd "inherit the entire estate" is attorney James Ritzo. The Portsmouth lawyer filed a motion with the court stating the elderly woman was his client for the past 25 years and during the last 10 years, he alleges, she has suffered "increasingly" from dementia, Alzheimer's disease and failing eyesight.

In his motion, Ritzo wrote that he drafted several wills for the woman, most recently in 2009, and that they remained fairly consistent over the years. Instead of billing the elderly client regularly during those 25 years, Ritzo wrote, he had an agreement stating he'd be paid a percentage of her estate "for past services."

That changed, Ritzo claims in his motion, shortly after the detective met the elderly woman in November 2010, when she called police about a prowler. Two weeks later, Ritzo wrote in court documents, the woman asked him to change her will so she could "leave her entire estate to detective Aaron Goodwin."

Full Article and Source:
Lawyer: Cop is Exploiting Elderly Woman

Attention California Advocates - Free Seminar: Elder Abuse and The Courts

November 15 - 11:30 AM to 2:00 PM
3800 Walnut Avenue
Freemont, CA 84538

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Linda Kincaid Reports: Elderly Woman Falsely Imprisoned by Johnston County, North Carolina

Eighty-year-old Gloria Bathgate found herself prisoner of a Johnston County, North Carolina guardianship just days after she arrived in the state. Gloria was falsely imprisoned and unlawfully isolated at Oakview Commons Assisted Living Center near Raleigh.

Gloria’s story is similar to the story of Hugh Johnson, victimized by a guardian in neighboring Wake County. Similar stories of guardian abuse in adjacent counties should raise concerns about oversight and accountability in the North Carolina guardianship system.

Gloria’s care at Oakview was dismal, just as Hugh’s care at Blue Ridge Nursing Home was dismal. Gloria had several falls in the first few days and many unexplained bruises. Denied any contact with her daughter, Gloria’s physical and mental condition declined rapidly.

Fall 2012
Susan’s tenacity in seeking help for her mother eventually led her to the Mayor’s office in Charleston, South Carolina. Janet Schumacher of the Mayor’s Office on Aging was the first government employee in two years to lend a sympathetic ear and take action to help. Bewildered as to why Gloria was under guardianship, the Office on Aging facilitated Gloria’s escape from Oakview Commons and Johnston County.

Schumacher connected Susan with individuals who arranged for Gloria’s transfer to a skilled nursing facility in South Carolina. Gloria arrived in terrible physical condition, debilitated and in severe need of medical care. But Gloria was finally free of the abusive facility and farther from Shannon West.

The nightmare continues, however. Shannon West and Johnston County DSS object to Susan filing complaints about the abuse and sharing Gloria’s story with the media. Almost daily, Johnston County DSS threatens Susan that they will again take her mother from her.

Hugh Johnson’s only escape from guardianship was death. He was so neglected and abused by guardian Cheryl Theriault of Raleigh-based Aging Family Services that he did not recover. Hugh’s daughter Ginny Johnson vows to tell his story so guardians are held accountable for abusing elders and destroying families.

Full Article and Source:
Elderly Woman Falsely Imprisoned by Johnston County, North Carolina

See Also:
Linda Kincaid Reports: North Carolina War Hero: Victim of Elder Abuse by North Carolina Guardian

Assembly Woman Diane Harkey's Civil Trial Delayed

Those suing state Assemblywoman Diane Harkey and her husband for alleged elder abuse and investor fraud learned last week the civil court trial has been delayed yet again. That spared the Dana Point Republican the indignity of having to face jurors while facing voters Tuesday, when she seeks reelection in the 73rd District.

But those claiming Diane and Dan Harkey burned them are still trying to get the word out to her constituents.

Full Article and Source:
Diane Harkey Faces Assembly Voters Tuesday, Those Suing Her for Fraud and Abuse Always

Months After Death, Sherman Hemsley Still Not Buried

Sherman Hemsley died on July 24 from lung cancer, but the late television star has still not been buried due to a legal battle over his estate and his final resting place.

Hemsley, best known for his 11 seasons on the CBS sitcom "The Jeffersons," left behind an estate of approximately $50,000. He was not married and had no children. According to Fox News, Hemsley left his estate to Flora Enchinton Bernal, his "self-proclaimed business partner and live-in best friend." There is a will attesting to this. However, a man named Richard Thornton came forward after Hemsley's death, claiming to be his brother. Thornton filed a civil lawsuit calling into question the will.

Full Article and Source:
Months After Death, Sherman Hemsley Not Buried

Monday, November 5, 2012

FL: IG Probes Hiding of Records by Department of Elder Affairs

In September 2012, the State of Florida opened an investigation by the Inspector General’s Office, Department of Elder Affairs, into allegations that the State’s top official overseeing the nearly 1,000 registered professional guardians practicing in Florida conspired with public guardians to conceal hundreds of records in a guardianship abuse case.

What happens when a state turns its back on its own laws and on its most vulnerable citizens? The State of Florida can answer this query, based upon newly-revealed e-mails in which the State’s highest official overseeing thousands upon thousands of guardianships of incapacitated elders concealed from a Ward’s estate hundreds of documents from a public guardianship agency under her supervision.

Guardianship agencies are licensed by the State by submitting minimalistic corporate papers that require brief time to prepare. To become a public guardianship agency in Florida, the agency must sign contracts with the State, which contracts specifically require every agency to keep meticulous paper and electronic records on each of its Wards for at least six years, but what happens when all of an agency’s records on a Ward disappear well before the six-year period has ended?

Holocaust Survivor Al Katz’s family knows the answer to this question. In seeking the records from his public guardianship agency that controlled his life and assets for months, Al’s family was told all of his records had been shipped to the State capital, Tallahassee, and none (except for two pages) had been retained by the agency, Aging Safely of Bradenton, Florida. Likewise, the agency claimed that it never kept a single electronic communication concerning Al and his guardianship.

It is believed that Al Katz’s case is the first one in the nation to have indisputable evidence that high-level state officials actively obstructed justice and covered up crimes against a state Ward.

Full Article and Source:
IG Probes Hiding of Records by Department of Elder Affairs

See Also:
NASGA: Al Katz, IN/FL Victim

Court May Force Mentally Disabled Nevada Woman to Have Abortion

With obvious public outcries against forced abortions in China and forced sterilizations of mentally handicapped individuals in Nazi Germany, one might assume the United States knows better.

However, today, in Nevada, the life of an 11-week-old unborn baby and the future of his or her 32-year-old mother hang in the balance as a judge considers whether or not to order the woman to undergo an abortion and sterilization against her will.

Elisa Bauer, who suffers from severe mental and physical disabilities attributed to fetal alcohol syndrome, is currently in the final weeks of her first trimester. The second-oldest of six children adopted by William and Amy Bauer in 1992, Elisa has epilepsy and is said to have the mental and social capacity of a 6-year-old.

The circumstances surrounding her pregnancy are unknown. Her family suspects she may have been raped, but it’s possible the sexual encounter that led to her pregnancy was consensual. On several occasions, Elisa has left her group home for hours or days at a time to engage in sexual activity with men at a local truck stop.

Legal guardianship

Since turning 18 in 1998, she has continued to remain under court-approved guardianship of her parents, who were given legal authority to make final decisions regarding her health and welfare, even as she lived in a group home.

While Elisa has maintained that she wants to carry out her pregnancy, she knows she will be unable to care for the child. The Bauers support her decision, are following all the prenatal protocol for high-risk pregnancies, and have already lined up six qualified couples who are eager to adopt Elisa’s child once he or she is born.

However, when Washoe County Social Services became aware of Elisa’s pregnancy, the department issued an informal report requesting that the Court set a status hearing to address the potential health effects Elisa’s pregnancy could have on her and her unborn child, and possibly override the mutual decision made between Elisa and her parents to have her baby.

A Facebook support page has been created on behalf of the family to help get the word out about Elisa. Visit to learn more.

Full Article and Source:
Court May Force Mentally Disabled Nevada Woman to Have Abortion

Sunday, November 4, 2012

T.S. Radio: ABC7 News Reports on the Santa Clara County Public Guardian

Join Host Marti Oakley and Co-Host Linda Kincaid tonight to discuss the ongoing problems with the Santa Clara County Public Guardian and the two ABC7 News reports which aired this week, bringing the Pubic Guardian's actions to the public's attention and scrutiny.

5:00 PST … 6:00 MST … 7:00 CST … 8:00 EST

Call ins are welcome! 917-388-4520

T.S. Radio...Listen Live or Listen to the Archive of the Show

See Also:
ABC News I-Team Investigates Santa Clara County Public Guardian

Santa Clara County Public Guardian Under Fire for Isolating Elerly

Palm Beach County Guardian Audit Turns Up Big Questions!

At least three people in Palm Beach County are expected to be arrested, for stealing money from the elderly... the frail, and foster kids.

The Palm Beach County Clerk and Comptroller's Office has spent months doing audits of the county's guardianship program and found over $1 million in questionable expenses and possible theft.

Some of the cases they investigated came in as tips on the Clerk's office Guardianship Fraud Hotline.

They say they found some cases of fraud, which were turned over to police or the sheriff's office for further investigation.
"As long as I'm Clerk and as long as the courts are looking at this then we should use everything in our power to deter this kind of behavior," said Sharon Bock, Palm Beach County Clerk and Comptroller.

Palm Beach County has about 2700 people who have court-appointed guardians who handle their financial affairs.

The clerk's audits found over $1 million in questionable expenses and possible theft.

No one has been arrested so far. But according to the clerk's office Boynton Beach Police and the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office are involved, and arrests are expected soon..

Full Article and Source:
Audit Turns Up Big Questions
See Also:
Guardianship Fraud Hotline

CA Man Charged With Alleged Theft of $17 Mil

The former assistant and boyfriend of a South Bay financial trust manager was indicted by a federal grand jury in San Jose today on fraud charges in connection with the alleged theft of $17 million from his former boss's clients.

Leo Joshua Kennedy, 60, of Danville, was indicted on 10 counts of wire fraud.

Kennedy was formerly the controller of Backhouse Fiduciary Services of Campbell, of which Christine Backhouse is president.

U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said the indictment alleges that Kennedy stole $17 million from trust accounts managed by the company.

Kennedy is due to make an initial court appearance before U.S. Magistrate Paul Grewal in San Jose on Nov. 20, Haag said.

Full Article and Source:
Danville Man Indicted on Fraud After Alleged Theft of $17 Million

Britney Spears Trial Dismissed

Following a couple of weeks of testimony regarding sordid details from Britney Spears' pre-conservatorship meltdown phase, a judge has dismissed Sam Lutfi's case against the pop icon. Entertainment reporter MariaElena Fernandez, who was covering the motion to dismiss by Spears' camp, broke the news on Twitter and TMZ has now confirmed.

The judge in Lutfi's lawsuit against Britney and her parents, Jamie Spears and Lynne Spears, ruled the plaintiff did not present enough evidence to proceed with the trial.

Britney's self-described former manager claimed breach of contract, libel and defamation.

Britney Spears Trial Dismissed, Sam Lufti Did Not Present Enough Evidence

NH Nurse Accused of Bilking North Hampton Couple

An in-home caregiver/nurse will be in court for a probable cause hearing on charges that she allegedly bilked an elderly North Hampton couple out of nearly $2,000.

Valerie Trunfio, 36, of Hampton is facing one count of forgery and one count of receiving stolen property as part of an investigation by the Hampton and North Hampton police departments.

Her probable cause hearing at the 10th Circuit Court in Seabrook is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 5.

If she decides to waive the hearing, the case will be transferred to Rockingham Superior Court for review by a grand jury for possible indictment.

Full Article and Source:
Nurse Accused of Bilking North Hampton Couple