Monday, December 30, 2013

Senator wrestles heirs over nine-figure Texas fortune

LAREDO, Texas — Out behind the nursing home where Josefina Alexander Gonzalez turned 99 Saturday, there’s a dilapidated green ranch house, its porch cover still held up by rough-hewn tree trunks.

To the southeast, you see a lot of tall brush and honey mesquite, a view that hasn’t changed much since the 1940s, when her parents bought a 1,000-acre ranch outside this isolated border town.
Look in any other direction, and you’ll see new construction on her property, as developers cash in on the last large tract of open space inside of Loop 20 in north Laredo, now worth as much as $150 million.

But if you wanted to ask her what she thought of all the changes, you’d have to get past the guard in her room at Laredo Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, where she has been stashed by Carlos Zaffirini and his wife, state Sen. Judith Zaffirini.

The Zaffirinis are battling Gonzalez’s daughter and grandchildren for control of that fortune. They filed papers last month arguing that Rocio Gonzalez Guerra should forfeit her inheritance.

Rocio Gonzalez Guerra and her two teenage children stand to inherit an intricate cluster of interlocking partnerships, estates and trusts established by Gonzalez and her late and childless sister, Delfina Alexander.

For all those complications, the outlines of the case are plain: Guerra and her children may be the heirs, but the businesses and their funds are controlled by the Zaffirinis and their associates.

POWER PLAY: State Sen. Judith Zaffirini
 has filed papers arguing that the
 heir whose money she controls should
 forfeit an inheritance.
That’s why the guard is outside Josefina Gonzalez’s room — so she can’t be served papers in a lawsuit to appoint a guardian for her, a guardian who would wreck the Zaffirinis’ plans.

The Zaffirinis already have control over Delfina Alexander’s estate and a trust she set up in her will, and they claim to have power of attorney over Josefina Gonzalez, although Gonzalez’s bank won’t let them touch her accounts, according to court records, as the papers were signed shortly before she was declared mentally incompetent.

In two days of hearings last week, a Webb County District Court judge heard the first of dozens of motions that have piled up in three related lawsuits. This account is drawn from the records of those lawsuits.

Full Article and Source:
Senator wrestles heirs over nine-figure Texas fortune

Parents lose custody of teen after seeking 2nd medical opinion; girl indefinitely detained in psych ward

BOSTON, MA — A judge has ruled that a Boston teen may continue to be held captive in a hospital and forcibly drugged… indefinitely.  The tragic series of events began when a doctor discarded an earlier medical diagnosis and declared another, prompting objections from her parents and threats to discharge her from Boston Children’s Hospital to take her to get a second opinion.  An epic battle of egos ensued, and the hospital decided that the parents’ insolence in challenging the doctor was tantamount to child abuse.  Without a trial or having broken a specific law, the girl was stripped from her parents’ custody and the state of Massachusetts has kept her indefinitely detained in a hospital since February 2013.  Based on the latest ruling, the girl may very well be locked in a psychiatric ward until she turns 18 years old.

This past December 14th marked exactly ten months since 15-year-old Justina Pelletier was taken from her parents and placed in the custody of Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH). Local news station, FOX CT, alleges that internal documents that they have obtained show that doctors called in child protection specialists (DCF) at the first sign of disagreement between the Pelletier family and their medical experts. Boston Children’s denied that this is the case in an email to FOX CT (Connecticut):
“The Hospital is not the custodian or the legal guardian of the patients in its care, nor is it affiliated with any state agency. Our staff are caring and supportive professionals who aim to provide the best and most appropriate care for each and every child, regardless of diagnosis.”
Justina was diagnosed three years ago by respected medical experts from Tufts Medical Center with mitochondrial disease, which causes muscle pain, weakness and loss of coordination. Despite her condition, she led the active life of a normal 15-year-old and enjoyed ice-skating, hiking and spending time with her family.

That was before February, when Justina came down with the flu and was admitted to Boston Children’s Hospital to see her gastroenterologist, who had recently transferred from Tufts.  A mere three days later, other doctors — primarily neurologist, Dr. Jurriaan Peters — dismissed her previous diagnosis of mitochondrial disease, and instead diagnosed her with somatoform disorder. This, in essence, changed her diagnosis from a physical condition to a stress-related mental illness – a psychiatric disorder that causes sufferers to feel pain, although there is no physical cause.

Full Article and Source:
Parents lose custody of teen after seeking 2nd medical opinion; girl indefinitely detained in psych ward

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Krysta M. Douglas accused of abusing 3 adult-care patients

CHANDLER, AZ - Authorities say an adult-care provider is accused of abusing three women in her care at her Chandler home.

Chandler police say 42-year-old Krysta M. Douglas was arrested Thursday on suspicion of physically and emotionally abusing vulnerable adults.

Court records show Douglas provided care for three adults and helped prepare them for transport to a day program facility.

One of the females got upset about a hair decoration not being in her hair and Douglas reportedly became angry.

Co-workers say Douglas yelled upsetting comments at the woman several times and allegedly shook her.

Full Article and Source:
Krysta M. Douglas accused of abusing 3 adult-care patients

Concussion, Alzheimer's brain pathology may be related

ROCHESTER, Minn., Dec. 27 (UPI) -- A history of concussion involving at least a momentary loss of consciousness may be linked to Alzheimer's-associated plaques in the brain, U.S. researchers say.

The study, published in the journal Neurology, found people with memory and thinking impairments and a history of head trauma had levels of amyloid plaques an average of 18 percent higher than those with no head trauma history.

Study author Michelle Mielke of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., said the study involved people from Olmsted County in Minnesota, who were given brain scans, including 448 people without any signs of memory problems and 141 people with memory and thinking problems called mild cognitive impairment.

Participants, who were all age 70 or older, were asked about whether they had ever experienced a brain injury that involved any loss of consciousness or memory.

Of the 448 people without any thinking or memory problems, 17 percent reported a brain injury, while 18 percent of the 141 with memory and thinking difficulties reported a concussion or head trauma, the study said.

The study found no difference in any brain scan measures among those without memory and thinking impairments, whether or not they had head trauma, but those with cognition and memory problems had higher levels of amyloid plaques.

Full Article and Source:
Concussion, Alzheimer's brain pathology may be related

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Ohio Amish argue against guardian in chemo case

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A court was wrong to appoint a guardian to make medical decisions for an Amish girl whose parents stopped her chemotherapy against doctors’ wishes, and the guardian should be allowed to resign, the family’s attorney said in court filings this week.

The lawyer for Sarah Hershberger’s family argued for a reversal of the appointment in a filing in their state court appeal.

Ohio’s guardianship statutes appear to let courts substitute their judgment for that of suitable parents while ignoring the parents’ ”moral and constitutional interests,” Maurice Thompson wrote in his filing with the Ninth District Court of Appeals in Akron. The court should take a narrower view that limits such second-guessing and is consistent with constitutional safeguards of their rights, he wrote.

To do that, the court must hold “that the decisions of suitable parents may not be attacked by anyone anytime in an Ohio Probate Court, and that these careful and gut-wrenching life and death decisions cannot be second-guessed and overruled where the parents are suitable, and simply seek to try a less invasive treatment first,” wrote Thompson, who leads the libertarian 1851 Center for Constitutional Law in Ohio.

Clair Dickinson, an attorney for guardian Maria Schimer, said Thursday that he will submit a response to Thompson’s filing later, but he declined to reveal what it might say.

Hershberger and her parents fled their Medina County home more than two months ago so she wouldn’t be forced to resume chemotherapy for her leukemia. Instead, they decided to use natural medicines, such as herbs and vitamins.

The Hershbergers shun many facets of modern life and are deeply religious. They have said they stopped chemotherapy not for religious reasons but because it was making Sarah too sick and they feared it could end up killing her.

Full Article and Source:
Ohio Amish argue against guardian in chemo case
Unclear if Amish Girl Resumed Chemo Amid Fight With Hospital, Whereabouts Unknown

Ohio Appeals Court Again Sides With Hospital Seeking to Send Amish Girl Back to Chemotherapy

OH Judge Delays Decision on Guardian's Request to End Effort to Forced Chemo for Amish Girl

Elderly woman found locked in squalor

Investigators say a 93-year-old woman suffering from Alzheimer’s was found locked in a bedroom in squalor by investigators checking out a tip of possible drug activity.

Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Inv. Trent Wilson said that 61-year-old Ida Elizabeth McNeill, her daughter 33-year-old Meredith Onata McNeill, and 32-year-old Mark Gunby were all arrested late Monday on drug charges after meth and drug related objects were found in the home off North County Line Road in Lithia Springs.

The McNeills also face elder abuse charges, as well as three counts of cruelty to children. Gunby faces the same charges, as well. From the conditions described in a bond hearing Thursday, it’s remarkable that the woman was still alive. Wilson said the women claimed that because of the victim’s disease, they locked her in for her own protection.

“As a part of the search of the home and in clearing the scene, investigators located a locked room on the lower level of the house,” Wilson said. “When there were able to gain entry, they found the 93-year-old victim locked inside. The room was locked, with windows boarded up and the only way she could get out was if they let her out.”
Wilson said that Ida McNeill indicated that her mother was suffering from Alzheimer’s and that was the way that they had decided to keep her from roaming off. But Wilson said the conditions of the home were some of the worst he has ever seen. There was no restroom inside the room and the signs of neglect were obvious.
“She told us that she put the locks up about four to six months ago and judging from what we found, it doesn’t look like there had been much cleanup during that time,” Wilson said. “There were at least 14 cats inside the home and dogs inside along with the child children who were 2, 7, and 9. Judging from what we found ,it appeared that we were dealing with a hoarder.”
Wilson said there was trash scattered about the residence and animal feces was also present in multiple locations. Dirty dishes, discarded food, soiled laundry, pet hair and multiple bags of trash filled the living space, Wilson said. Investigators immediately called the Department of Family and Children Services, which took custody of the children, while Adult Protective Services is making sure the elderly victim is being cared for and is assessing her health, Wilson said.

Full Article and Source:
Elderly woman found locked in squalor

Friday, December 27, 2013

Supreme Court Upholds Ruling in Guardianship Case

A state representative from Stoddard has lost his second appeal to the N.H. Supreme Court to recoup legal fees in a guardianship dispute over his elderly mother.

On Friday, the N.H. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Mary Louise Eaton and her guardian, son Michael R. Eaton, in a dispute with Daniel A. Eaton.

Since 2010, Daniel A. Eaton of Stoddard has tried to reclaim $45,000 he said he spent in legal fees trying to become his mother’s guardian. The issue in the current appeal was solely about whether Eaton had authority to act as his mother’s power of attorney.

The high court also ruled against Eaton in the guardianship matter in April 2012. 

He and another brother, Dean J. Eaton of Keene, had each sought guardianship of their ailing mother, who has dementia, in 2010. 

At the time, Daniel Eaton said his mother had asked him to become involved in the guardianship proceedings, telling him she would pay for his legal fees. He maintained he was acting on her wishes. 

However, Eaton’s brothers disagreed, saying that Daniel Eaton was acting in his own interest.

This belief was first upheld by the 8th Circuit Court Probate Division in Keene in 2010.

In 2012, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys sided with Daniel Eaton, arguing that denying the payment of $45,000 created “financial disincentives” for filing guardianship petitions, court documents stated.

According to state law in guardianship cases, “the court costs and fees for the counsel and resource person shall be borne by the proposed ward.”

But a lawyer for Daniel Eaton’s brother Michael maintained that Michael was the guardian, whereas Daniel was a petitioner. As such, he did not have the same rights as a guardian in the case and was not entitled to the money.

Full Article and Source:
Supreme Court Upholds Ruling in Guardianship Case

Well-known Milwaukee criminal defense attorney suspended again

"It is imperative that to resume the practice of law in Wisconsin, Attorney Boyle must show this court that she has taken steps to avoid similar misconduct in the future," the court wrote.

In May 2012, the court suspended Boyle for 60 days and ordered she pay about $5,000 in restitution and $11,000 in costs.  The suspension followed a February order from the 7the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that banished her from practicing in the federal courts in Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana.

Thursday's Supreme Court order cited many of the same types of violations that led to Boyle's 2012 suspension -- lack of communication with clients, including about fees; charging an unreasonable fee; and failing to reimburse unearned portions of fees.

The court ordered Boyle to repay a former client in the current disciplinary case $2,500.

The case involved ten counts involving two client matters  from 2007 to 2010. In one, Boyle took on a criminal appeal in federal court for $20,000 without detailing what efforts she expected to make in  the case. The client later complained that Boyle did not do much of anything on his case, and refused to answer dozens of letters and calls from prison.

Full Article and Source:
Well-known Milwaukee criminal defense attorney suspended again

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Two Houston Sisters Expose Guardianship Abuse and Neglect

Two Houston Sisters join Candy to expose severe neglect and abuse of the guardianship system by Silverado Care Facility in Kingwood, Texas and the guardians appointed to the case.

This will be an eye opening expose of 1,000,000 reasons why you do not want to ever agree to a public guardianship for your loved one.

Join us as we delve into the rule, rather than the exception--abuse, neglect and exploitation.

LISTEN to the archive of the show

Join Sherry & Candice as we host Sharon from Garland, Texas to tell a story of abuse and neglect by Harris County Court Appointed Guardians that will leave your speechless. The story unravels in Texas.

LISTEN to the archive of the show

See Also:
NASGA - Willie Jo Mills, Texas Victim

Distraught Autistic Woman (Ward) Speaks Out

"She's a nuisance. She complains about her guardian abusing her. True, various professionals witnessed the abuse...they even documented it.  She set about restricting the last shred of the woman's few remaining freedoms, even diverting authority over medical decisions from the woman's dedicated physician to herself...demanding that any medical decisions go through HER (a social worker) before making any decisions about the woman's treatment, and demanding that the woman herself-the patient- have NO input into her own care. She became obsessed with abusing the tremendous power she had been granted over the vulnerable woman's life...over her every move. She was actively and intentionally tormenting the Autistic woman.

She even went so far as to kill the Autistic woman's dog - a sweet, loving, 3 year old Sheltie named Ben with no prior history of any health problems."


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Remembering the Wrongfully Isolated on This Holiday

As we do on every Christmas, we light a candle for those of our loved ones who have been wrongfully separated from us through guardianship and/or conservatorship abuse. NASGA remains firm is its resolve to make the growing barbaric practice of guardians isolating elderly or disabled persons from family, friends, clergy, and/or advocates (without court order) recognized and punished as the crime it is. 

 We so deeply appreciate your support and your efforts on behalf of the many victims of guardianship abuse and their families who have been attacked and suffer deeply from the nightmare of guardianship abuse.

Happy Christmas and Merry New Year!

This video was made in the UK -- but it's just as relevent for all nations!

YouTube:  Happy Christmas and Merry New Year

The Forgotten Ones: Compassion for the Elderly

The life I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and that in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place my touch will be felt. ~ Frederick Buechner

*Please make the call and volunteer to visit the lonely and forgotten elderly. They need our love so desperately.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

NJ Man Free of Guardianship He Said He No Longer Needs!

A 75-year-old placed under the care of a public guardian after suffering a traumatic brain injury in a fall almost two years ago finally has won back his independence.

But Ken Schmidt's savings and many of his assets are gone — sold off to pay for his assisted-living care, his guardian told him.

" 'It's all gone.' That's their classic answer: 'I'm sorry, it's all gone.' And they won't give me anything in writing," Schmidt said in September. "Everything's just disappeared."

The state placed Schmidt, a retired insurance salesman, in a $5,000-a-month assisted-living facility more than a year ago. He had had many of his civil rights stripped away after he fell and hit his head in Jan. 30, 2012, on the sidewalk outside his home here. A judge declared him mentally incapacitated and ordered the state public guardian to take charge of his assets and medical care under New Jersey's guardian laws.

But Schmidt said he fully recovered from his injuries in September 2012. The problem was getting the judgment of incapacity lifted; that happened Dec. 16.

In the meantime:
• His $65,000 in savings is gone.
• The townhouse that he owned mortgage free six miles from the assisted-living center is in foreclosure because of a reverse mortgage he previously had taken out.
• The property also has $5,960 lien against it for unpaid condominium maintenance fees.
• All of the utilities were turned off, presumably because of $1,700 in unpaid bills.
• Much of his furniture, his books and all his dishes and flatware are missing — sold off by the public guardian.

"This doesn't seem fair. Not that anything in life is fair, but it's sort of ridiculous," Schmidt said during his first visit back home last week, shortly after discovering that his computer was gone, too.

"It's unbelievable. I've spent my whole life building things up, and now I have to start over again — and this time with no money," he said.

Full Article, Video and Source:
N.J. man free of guardianship he said he no longer needs

Silver Tsunami

As the baby boomer generation gets closer to retirement they become more concerned about their financial security and health care services.  Conscientious senior citizens have planned for their future by working with an attorney to draw up an estate plan and will. However, even the most diligent seniors have fallen prey to a disturbing crisis in the form of elder abuse. Alleged friends, family, and neighbors have been filing for guardianship of the elderly, in numbers so alarming, that it raised red flags to government officials in Florida. Guardianship abuse reports reach across a broad spectrum including theft, kidnapping, forgery, assault, and criminal financial exploitation. Conspiracy to have seniors involuntarily committed to nursing homes and hospitals in order to gain control of their assets is a frightening reality faced by the elderly.  Exploitation of the elderly has reached epidemic proportions in Florida; the country’s leading and most popular home for our senior citizens. This crisis forced state officials to take preemptive measures. Palm Beach County Clerk and Comptroller, Sharon Bock, Esq. spearheaded a new division in her office, designated to address this abuse. Four to five years ago, Bock noticed a 15% increase in guardianship filings.  That trend, an increase in nearly four hundred new cases per year, has continued.

 In Palm Beach County, it is estimated that the court governing guardianships maintains oversight of $500 million in assets. Oversight and monitoring of attorneys, caregivers, friends, and family members has proven to be daunting considering the staggering extent to which guardians and caregivers will go to misappropriate money. Stories of over-medicating, physical restraint, and psychological manipulation are not uncommon in the world of guardianship trustees.

Full Article and Source:
Silver Tsunami by Karen Desoto

Monday, December 23, 2013

Danielle Jessser: What to Do About Elder Abuse

According to the National Center on Elder Abuse Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 2010 there were over 500,000 elder abuse cases in the U.S. alone.   Understanding the issues related to elder abuse has become even more important as the elderly population of the country continues to grow.  Join Legalocity host Jacqueline Crosby, Esq. and legal advocate Danielle Jesserer to learn about the warning signs of elder abuse as well as prevention and reporting advice.

Jacqueline Crosby is a New Jersey attorney writer and educator who conducts legal education seminars and webinars for the public in the areas of employment and family law.

Danielle Jesserer attended Appalachian State University majoring in Pre-law and English. Shortly after working for an attorney in North Carolina she began working as an elder abuse advocate where she realized that elder abuse is rampant. Danielle now works with the Senior Veterans Council (Raleigh, N.C.), the National ADA Advocates (main office, N.Y.), and in her free time volunteers with NASGA (National Association to Stop Guardianship Abuse), local Senior Centers, and other families that contact her for assistance.  Her goal is to  help raise awareness, find justice for victims, educate the public, and fight to change legislation in order to better protect people from this type of abuse.

LISTEN to the archive of this show

Cleveland attorney questioned about Chizek estate; his home damaged after water pipes froze and burst in May

WNIR talk show host Howie Chizek,
who died in June of 2012 is shown in
 an undated photo. (Shane Wynn Studio)
A Cleveland attorney named by local radio icon Howie Chizek as the executor of his $1.6-million-plus estate is in hot water in Summit County Probate Court over an apparent oversight that caused extensive damage to Chizek’s Twinsburg home earlier this year.

Testimony at a probate hearing Tuesday morning showed that Chizek’s home was not properly winterized in the months after his June 2012 death.

Water lines eventually froze inside the two-story home and, some time later, burst during the spring thaw, causing more than $118,000 in damage from flooding and extensive development of mold, according to testimony.

The flooding was so serious, Chizek’s brother Larry said during the hearing, that water could be seen gushing out the front doors. He said that Twinsburg police notified his wife about the problem in May.

The apparent oversight, along with the fact that Chizek’s estate has not closed in probate court some 18 months after his death, could lead to the removal of the estate’s executor, attorney Charles M. Morgan.

Chief Probate Magistrate George R. Wertz told attorneys from both sides that he would take the matter under advisement and notify them about a decision.

Morgan, who was granted three extensions on the filing of probate documentation because of his involvement in a Cleveland murder case, declined to comment following Tuesday’s hearing.

But in sworn testimony to direct questioning by Wertz, Morgan told the magistrate: “As far as winterizing, I went over and I thought I had turned off the water. Obviously I probably turned it the wrong way. I thought I had turned it off.”

Morgan went on to testify that he remembered being at Chizek’s home about five or six weeks before the May flooding call by Twinsburg police.

“That five or six weeks, that’s a guess,” Morgan said. “I didn’t write down every day I was there.”
Morgan said he “peeked inside” the home before it flooded, but did not walk through it to check on whether everything was secure.

An assistant to Twinsburg police Chief Christopher Noga told the Beacon Journal later Tuesday that the department received a call about the flooding on May 20. Someone who lived in Chizek’s neighborhood made the call.

Full Article and Source:
Cleveland attorney questioned about Chizek estate; his home damaged after water pipes froze and burst in May

Oregon public guardian, conservator program could be created by lawmakers

Sen. Michael Dembrow, D-Portland
Vulnerable, low-income Oregon adults could obtain a public guardian and conservator through a statewide program that lawmakers might create in February.
Oregonians who have developmental disabilities, dementia, chronic mental illnesses, or other serious illnesses or injuries would be eligible for the program, said Sen. Michael Dembrow, D-Portland, who plans to sponsor a bill to set up the program. The guardian and conservator would make personal and financial decisions on behalf of the at-risk client.
A similar bill in the 2013 session passed unanimously out of the House Human Services and Housing Committee but died in a budget committee because of a lack of funding. The program will likely pass in 2014 because of new money expected from changes lawmakers made to the state’s senior medical tax deduction, Dembrow said.
“There’s a growing number of vulnerable Oregonians who are at risk of falling through the cracks, of not having the appropriate living conditions or health care, and who really don’t have the means to hire a guardian or don’t have the family to do that,” Dembrow said. The program “is an idea whose time has come and whose need has become obvious.”
A state task force that studied the issue last year estimated that 1,575 to 3,175 Oregonians lack the public guardianship services they need. The need will grow as baby boomers age, advocates say.
The proposed program would create a new Office of the Public Guardian and Conservator within the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman.
The public guardian, along with one deputy, would serve as the guardians for some Oregonians and would contract with counties, nonprofits and others to provide services for some clients, such as rural residents who live far from Salem, Dembrow said.
Estimates peg program costs to about $1.5 million each biennium, Dembrow said. Enrollment would need to be capped initially to serve the most needy Oregonians.
Oregon enacted a guardianship law in 1971 that allows counties to develop and fund public guardianship programs. Multnomah County is the only county in the state that offers a public guardian program. Jackson County started a pilot program but transferred it to a nonprofit.
Clackamas, Washington and Lane counties previously attempted to create public guardianship programs but were not successful.

Full Article and Source:
Oregon public guardian, conservator program could be created by lawmakers

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Mary and Francis Leuschner - Massachusetts Victims

I am an only child, adopted by my parents when I was an infant. I am also the only living heir to my parents’ modest estate, their home in Dedham, Massachusetts. I was living in Indiana when my Mom asked me to please come home. Both of my parents needed help and in November, 2012, I moved back home.

Moving back home was bittersweet; my childhood home held many pleasant and some unpleasant memories. My parents needed help. The house needed some heavy cleaning and a number of repairs. Mom wanted to pay down their debts and make provisions for home care for herself and my Dad in the event it ever became necessary.

One night in February I awoke to the dogs barking and my father yelling for help. I ran to my father and found him in the bathroom with my mother. She had hit her head on something and was bleeding, but still conscious. I immediately called 911. The ambulance arrived and asked me if there was a preferred hospital; I immediately told them Beth Israel in Needham, MA. However, they took her instead to Brigham and Women’s Hospital in downtown Boston.

While the paramedics were there, one of them told me that because of the condition of the house, he had to report it to the Board of Health. While it was not in the best condition, the problem was the clutter, which I had been working on since I got home. I was only worried about my Mom at that moment and told him to just do what he had to do.

Once we got to the hospital, the doctor told us that Mom had taken a nasty fall and needed a few stitches. He wanted to keep her there for a few days for observation. He also mentioned that she might be suffering from dementia, but that it could be temporary because of the blood on her brain which was a result of the injury to the top of her head.

A few days later, Dr. Caliath called me and advised me that I needed to convince my mother to go to a rehab in order to get physical therapy to regain her strength. Because I was concerned about the injury to her head, I agreed that this might be the best move for her.  After much discussion and arguments from my mother as to why she did not need to go to a rehab, she finally agreed.

March 1, 2013 started off like any other day. My Dad and I got up, had breakfast, took care of the dogs and got ready to go visit my mother at the nursing home. The visit went well. For some reason Mom was getting speech therapy, which she did not need, as well as physical therapy. My Dad visited her daily and together they walked around the premises which gave her a fair amount of daily exercise. Before we left, I stopped at the nurses’ station to find out when Mom would be going home but as usual, I was unable to get an answer.

A caseworker from Adult Protective Services, Tara Lemieux and the social worker Kaohna approached me and said we needed to have a meeting. My Dad and I went with her to her office. Once we were all seated, she proceeded to tell me that Mom was not going home and they were going to apply for Medicaid for her continued care. I was in tears and proceeded to tell her that everything was being done at home to provide for her care. My father then spoke up and said “I just want my wife home.” Tara said to my father “You, sir, cannot make decisions for yourself.”

Full Profile and Source:
NASGA - Mary and Francis Leuschner, Massachusetts Victims

Saturday, December 21, 2013

OH Judge Delays Decision on Guardian's Request to End Effort to Forced Chemo for Amish Girl

A judge in Ohio isn't ready to rule on whether a court-appointed guardian can drop her attempt to force an 11-year-old Amish girl with leukemia to resume chemotherapy.

The delay comes because the judge said in a court filing that he might not have authority to grant the request because of an ongoing appeal in state court.

The guardian told the Medina County judge earlier this month that she was dropping her efforts because she doesn't know where the girl is and said it's impossible to make medical decisions for her.

The move came two months after the girl and her parents fled their home in northeast Ohio to avoid the treatments. The family decided to halt the treatments because they feared the chemotherapy could end up killing the girl.

Judge delays decision on guardian's request to end effort to force chemo for Ohio Amish girl

See Also:
Unclear if Amish Girl Resumed Chemo Amid Fight With Hospital, Whereabouts Unknown

Attorney Hopes Ohio Amish Family Can Return Home Soon

An Ohio Amish couple who fled their home with their 11-year-old daughter so she wouldn't be forced to get chemotherapy could be home for the holidays but not without a favorable decision from a judge, their lawyer says.

Attorney Maurice Thompson said he hopes the judge will issue a ruling soon on medical guardianship of Sarah Hershberger and she and her family can return home to rural northeast Ohio in time for Christmas.

"They won't be coming home until the guardianship is no longer in effect," Thompson said Tuesday.
The family left home two months ago just days before an Ohio appeals court allowed a guardian to take over medical decisions for the girl. Since then, the guardian has asked the court to allow her to drop her attempt to force Sarah to resume chemotherapy for her leukemia.

On Monday, Medina County Probate Judge Kevin Dunn said he was delaying a decision on the court-appointed guardian's request because he first wants to make sure he has authority to grant it in light of an ongoing appeal in state court.

Full Article and Source:
Attorney Hopes Ohio Amish Family Can Return Home Soon

Read more here:

Former PA Guardian ad Litem, Danielle Ross, Pleads Guilty to Tax Charge

A Lackawanna County attorney who was investigated for her handling of child custody disputes pleaded guilty Monday to tax evasion, bringing to a close one chapter of an investigation into the county's family court system.

Danielle Ross, former guardian ad litem for the county, admitted she failed to report more than $200,000 in income she received from parents who were required to hire her to review their cases and provide a recommendation to judges tasked with deciding custody arrangements.

The plea comes 10 months after a grand jury issued an indictment against Ms. Ross, who has been heavily criticized by several parents who claimed she coerced them into following unreasonable recommendations and forced them to pay fees for services they neither wanted nor needed.

Speaking after the hearing, Ms. Ross' attorney, David Solfanelli, stressed the plea, entered before Senior U.S. District Judge A. Richard Caputo, had no connection to any allegations of misconduct involving her handling of cases. It deals solely with her failure to report income.

"Some people may perceive it, but it had nothing to do with her job performance," Mr. Solfanelli said. "It has to deal with reporting taxes."

The county paid Ms. Ross a retainer of $38,000. She was also permitted to privately bill parents $50 per hour. The investigation revealed she failed to report the private fees paid to her in 2009 and 2010.

Under a plea deal, Ms. Ross pleaded guilty to one count of attempted income tax evasion for 2009. In exchange, a second tax charge was dropped.

In a related case, Ms. Ross' husband, Walter Pietralczyk Jr., pleaded guilty on Dec. 4 to filing a false tax return for 2009.

Full Article and Source:
Former Lackawanna guardian ad litem pleads guilty to tax charge

See Also:
PA Attorney Accused of Federal Tax Fraud Pleads Not Guilty

Friday, December 20, 2013

Former CA Judge Who Stole From Elderly Neighbor Barred from Ever Working for Judicial Branch

A former Alameda County Superior Court judge who pleaded no contest to criminal charges that he stole more than $1 million from an elderly neighbor while acting as if he was looking after her affairs is now formally barred from ever returning to the bench or working for state courts in any capacity, a judicial panel announced Monday.
Paul D. Seeman, received the maximum penalty the California Commission on Judicial Performance can impose on a former judge. "The severe sanction of a public censure and bar is necessary for the protection of the public and the reputation of the judiciary," its order states. Seeman, a judge since 2009, did not contest the punishment. He is already banned from practicing law in the state.
In August, Seeman, 59, of Berkeley, reached a deal to avoid prison time and pleaded no contest to one charge each of perjury and elder abuse. He was sentenced in October to five years probation and ordered to repay $300,000 to the estate of Anne Nutting, his former neighbor.

The plea deal took place before any formal airing of the allegation against Seeman, including a preliminary hearing. He was originally charged with 32 felonies.

Prosecutors alleged Seeman systemically siphoned off Nutting's retirement accounts and stole items from her home after he was secured "durable power of attorney" over her assets in 1999 and promised to look after her. Another lawyer working for Anne Nutting eventually found that her assets had been drained away. She died in 2010 at age 97.

Full Article and Source:
Former judge who stole from elderly neighbor barred from ever working for judicial branch

Passaic County woman charged with stealing $84K from long-term care facility in Wayne

A business office manager at a long-term care facility in Wayne was charged in an indictment Wednesday with stealing $84,000 from the facility, according to a report on

Traci Meyers, 38, of Haledon, was slapped with a charge of theft by deception, which could earn her a maximum sentence of 10 years behind bars and a fine up to $150,000, according to the state Attorney General’s Office.

Meyers allegedly stole the money from Advanced Care Center at Lakeview of Wayne, the report said. From April 2011 until May 2013, Meyers was accused of pocketing money from two separate petty cash accounts under her control. She allegedly wrote checks for patient needs or operating expenses but kept the money after the checks were cashed, the report said.

Full Article and Source:
Passaic County woman charged with stealing $84K from long-term care facility in Wayne

Despite Inaction, Washington State Seeks More Time on Fix for 'Boarding' Mentally Ill

When a Pierce County judge declared last spring that it was unconstitutional to put involuntarily committed residents in emergency rooms, officials successfully pleaded for a delay in the ruling so they could “think about” new ways to “attack the problem” of not having enough treatment beds for mentally ill residents.

Six months and zero policy changes later, the state is headed back to court to request another delay.

Superior Court Judge Kathryn Nelson will decide Tuesday whether to extend her stay, weighing civil liberties and community safety in the latest in a highly charged and closely watched case that could affect the entire state.

Nelson said after her ruling that she was “reluctant at this point to stay it any longer than six months.”

But state officials, who are appealing the ruling, plan to argue that if Nelson does not extend the stay, they will have no choice but to release dangerous people to the streets when no treatment beds are available.

Full Article and Source:
Despite inaction, state seeks more time on fix for ‘boarding’ mentally ill

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Marie Long, a Widow 'Protected' into the Poorhouse, Gets Some of Her Money Back - Finally!

The elderly widow wasn’t asking for much. Just a little protection so she could live out her life as she’d planned.

So that she could go out to lunch with friends or buy a new hat or new teeth.

Instead, Marie Long was protected right into the poorhouse. In just four years, the woman who came into Probate Court with $1.3 million in assets was left penniless, her life savings sucked up by the very people appointed to watch over her — all as the judge looked on.

Or away, more likely.

As a result of what happened to Marie Long, laws were changed and reforms were enacted in the hope of better protecting the most vulnerable among us.

All that is, except for Marie.

Now, at long last — and with no thanks to the courts —Marie Long, at 92, has a little of her own back.

Marie had no children to look after her in her old age. Her daughter died of cancer long ago at age 16. The following year, her 20-year-old son was killed in Vietnam. When her husband, Cliff, died in 2003, Marie was in good financial shape.

But a stroke in 2005 and a family dispute over where and how she would live landed Marie under the “protection” of Maricopa County’s Probate Court.

By 2009, her $1.3 million estate was gone, much of it sucked up by attorneys and fiduciaries under the not-so-watchful eye of then-Commissioner Lindsay Ellis.

Ellis ruled that those attorneys and fiduciaries were justified in helping themselves to more than $1 million of Marie’s money. She lambasted Marie’s lawyers — Kitchel, Pat Gitre and Marie’s nephew Dan Raynak, people who for years volunteered their services to help Marie as her accounts dwindled.

Ellis wrote that their “venomous” attacks challenging the six-figure bills forced the fiduciaries and lawyers on the other side to defend themselves.

With Marie’s money, naturally.

Full Article and Source:
Widow ‘protected’ into the poorhouse gets some of her money back (finally)

See Also: (NOTE:  NASGA worked directly with CBS in 2010 on the report listed below.)
CBS Evening News- Guardianship Agency Costs Elderly Woman Dearly

Linda Kincaid Reports: Elder Abuse and Deprivation of Rights by Monterey County, California

Monterey County Counsel Cathleen Giovanni demanded that Patricia Conklin, daughter of conservatee Margarita Zelada, sign away her civil rights or lose a lifetime of personal property and family treasures. Giovannini emailed the document at 4:30pm Monday, December 16. Giovannini demanded Patricia’s signature by 8:30am Tuesday, December 17.

Giovannini demonstrated her penchant for deprivation of rights in November when she obtained a court order to strip Margarita of her right to contact elder rights advocates. Giovannini’s recent email to Patricia shows the same proclivity for deprivation of rights.
"Here is a proposed release---please review as soon as possible, as it is hoped that the check exchange and move can be accomplished tomorrow morning. I understand that Teri Scarlett and Jennifer Empasis are planning to meet Patricia Conklin and a representative from Tijuana Walker at the Del Rey Oaks Starbucks at 8:30 tomorrow a.m. " 
According to Patricia’s cousin Bonnie Lind (who provided the document to this Examiner):
"[Patricia] was given two minutes to call me to ask what she should do. [Public Guardians] Scarlett and Empasis warned her to sign it or she gets nothing! "
Elder rights advocate Dr. Robert Fettgather commented:
"Is this the Machiavellian standard: hold out property to victims who sign away their rights?"
Full Article, Source: and the Complete Text of the Release:
Elder Abuse and Deprivation of Rights by Monterey County, California

See Also:
Linda Kincaid Reports Public Experts Discuss Elder Abuse by Monterey County Public Guardian

New Mexico Nursing Home Company Agrees to Fine for Obstructing Efforts of State Ombudsman

A company that manages two nursing homes in Santa Fe has agreed to pay a fine and change its practices after admitting to obstructing the efforts of a state ombudsman that investigates resident complaints.

“The administration making derogatory comments about the Ombudsman or saying ‘don’t talk to the Ombudsman, come to me instead’ that is obstruction and intimidation,” said Sondra Everhart, state long-term care ombudsman.

As part of a settlement agreement, Preferred Care Partners Management Group will pay the state $3,500. Everhart said it is the fourth time in her nine years as ombudsman that she has fined a nursing home, and New Mexico is one of the only states where the ombudsman’s office can impose penalties.

In a telephone interview, Everhart said the derogatory comments about the long-term care ombudsman came from the administration at Casa Real Healthcare Center, 150 Galisteo St., and verified by sworn statements by current or former staff members. Her office issued a notice of violation Nov. 1 and imposed an initial fine of $23,500.

But Everhart said the company acknowledged the problems and agreed to make changes, which is the reason the penalty was reduced.

Full Article and Source:
Nursing Home Company Agrees to Fine, Changes

Judge Proves Money Can Buy Injustice for Rich Texas Teen

One of my law professors once told our class: I'd rather be rich and guilty than poor and innocent.

Maybe he was right. In Texas, in the courtroom of Judge Jean Boyd, not only can the wealthy afford top-notch attorneys and experts, they are afforded their very own legal defense. It's called "affluenza."

Ethan Couch is a 16-year-old troubled teen who drove drunk and killed four innocent people. He lost control of his Ford F-350 truck, rolled it and slammed into them as they tried to fix a disabled car on the road's shoulder in a Fort Worth suburb. One of his seven teen passengers was thrown from the truck and permanently paralyzed. He can only communicate by blinking.

Prosecutors had sought the maximum sentence of 20 years in state custody.

In court, paid experts on Couch's behalf argued he suffered from "affluenza" — a previously made-up diagnosis not even recognized by the American Psychiatric Association — and that his behavior was excused because of how he was raised.

The theory was that Couch was not to blame for his actions because his rich parents gave him too much, never set limits for him, and he never learned consequences for his actions. His parents and his family's wealth were to blame, they argued.

The defense is ridiculous. And the judge's decision — despicable.

Full Article and Source:
Judge proves money can buy injustice for rich Texas teen

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Blind NJ Woman Left in Limbo by Cracks in Social Services

Leila Laufer is a legally blind but otherwise healthy 77-year-old who has just learned she falls between the cracks of different government programs that offer help to the disabled and the elderly.

She was recently declared too old to remain in a government program for working-age people with disabilities, but she isn’t needy enough or frail enough to qualify for many state and county programs that help pay for home aides for the elderly .

So at the moment, she is without the twice-a-week aide who used to help with essential tasks such as grocery shopping, cleaning her home in Fair Lawn or even reading the official letters denying her services. And she doesn’t know how she’ll fare without that help.

“They describe this as if I have maxed out on the services, like I’m a credit card instead of a human being,” Laufer said. “I am afraid of what’s going to happen.”

Advocates say her situation isn’t uncommon among the elderly and visually impaired when they become too old for one government system and may or may not be eligible for another — which doesn’t always meet their needs.

“The big push is to have our seniors live at home as long as possible, but then we don’t always give them the support they need to do so,” said Joseph Ruffalo, president of the National Federation of the Blind of New Jersey.

Full Article and Source:
Blind Fair Lawn Senior Left in Limbo by Cracks in Social Services

Appeal of $10,000 Fine to CA Facility for Leaving Suicidal Patient Unattended is Denied

A federal appeals court has upheld a $10,000 fine against a skilled nursing facility for leaving a suicidal patient unattended, who then walked out of the facility and killed himself.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit said the Department of Health and Human Services' ruled that the decision (Del Rosa Villa v. Sebelius, 2013 BL 330965, 9th Cir., No. 12-71685, 11/26/13) to fine petitioner Del Rosa Villa was supported by substantial evidence. The court denied a petition to overrule decisions that led to the fine.

The unidentified patient first received care at Del Rosa Villa in May 2009 after he broke his leg in a suicide attempt. Hospital employees who treated the man noted psychiatric issues and a risk of self-harm.

After admission to Del Rosa Villa, a nurse noted that the patient should be put on 24-hour suicide watch. The patient was sent to the emergency room after Del Rosa Villa staff couldn't calm him June 5. The patient returned two days later and resumed the unusual behavior. On June 9, the nursing staff allowed him to go outside the facility to smoke, according to court records. He was found 20 minutes later hanging from his belt.

Full Article and Source:
Nursing Home $10,000 Suicide Fine Upheld

Manchin,Rockefeller Introduce National Silver Alert Act

Senators Joe Manchin and Jay Rockefeller want to take West Virginia's Silver Alert program nationwide.

Manchin and Rockefeller, along with four other senators introduced the National Silver Alert Act on Tuesday.

It would create a federal program to help local and state law enforcement agencies find missing adults and senior citizens.

“We know that a strong communications network is critical to first responders when they’re dealing with an emergency situation, such as when an elderly person goes missing,” said Senator Rockefeller.

“The Silver Alert, which is modeled after a successful West Virginia program, has the potential to greatly improve the way we locate missing adults and seniors by allowing for coordination and support across jurisdictions.”

The Silver Alert Program has been in place in West Virginia since 2009.

Full Article and Source:
Manchin, Rockefeller Introduce National Silver Alert Act

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Multiple Arrests Made After Investigation of Columbus,GA, Care Center

New details have emerged about the poor conditions inside a Columbus senior care facility. The Facility Director of Loving Care Senior Citizen Home was arrested on Dec. 4 on multiple charges. According to officials, Sheryl Drakeford willingly exploited disabled adults, elderly persons, or residents at the facility. Three others connected to the institution were arrested as well.

Multimple Arrests Made After Investigation at Columbus Senior Care Center

Three Former Funeral Directors Indicted on Theft Charges That Could Put Them in Prison for 20 Years

Three former owners of funeral homes in Girard and Niles each face possible jail sentences of 20 years for purportedly stealing thousands of dollars from customers at their businesses.

Robert J. McClurkin, 49; Patrick J. McClurkin, 47; and Robert P. McDermott Sr., 51, dressed in suits and ties, looked out of place sitting with jail inmates Monday morning in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court.

Each was secretly indicted last week on between 10 and 20 charges, including ones accusing them of selling prepaid funeral services to more than 50 customers and then pocketing the money instead of setting it aside for its later use, as required by law.

The charges included engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, theft from an elderly or disabled person and a variety of other fraud and theft offenses.

Full Article and Source:
Three former funeral directors indicted on theft charges that could put them in prison 20 years

Florida Celebrates Five Years of Silver Alerts

Florida’s Silver Alert plan is five years old.

The Silver Alert program sends out statewide alerts shortly after a senior with Alzheimer's or related dementia goes missing. Since Silver Alerts began, 712 Alerts have been issued and 92 seniors have been found after an individual saw a Silver Alert, recognized the missing senior and called law enforcement.
“Silver Alerts are a valuable tool for law enforcement,” said Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey. “If you see a Silver Alert, take notice. Your actions could help save a life.”

“Seniors make up almost a quarter of Florida’s population, and the number of older Floridians is expected to double by 2030,” said Department of Elder Affairs Secretary Charles T. Corley. “The success of the Silver Alert program demonstrates the commitment by all of Florida’s citizens to protect vulnerable members of our families and our communities.”

Florida’s Silver Alert plan was initiated by an executive order signed on Oct. 8, 2008, and was codified into law by the Florida legislature in 2011. It is a standardized system to aid local law enforcement in the rescue of an elderly person with an irreversible deterioration of intellectual faculties (such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease) who goes missing. The plan calls for the broadcast of information via the media and highway message signs (when a vehicle is involved) to enlist citizens in the search for an endangered senior. This year, the Silver Alert Committee is partnering with AAA South to provide notifications to AAA automotive service vehicle drivers throughout Florida.

Full Article and Source:
Florida Celebrates Five Years of Silver Alerts

Monday, December 16, 2013

Linda Kincaid Reports: Public Experts Discuss Elder Abuse by Monterey County Public Guardian

The December 9 and 10, 2013 annual conference of the Southern California Public Health Association hosted public health authorities discussing the latest in policy and best practices. Speakers and attendees represented many parts of southern California and north to the greater San Jose area.

An expert panel discussed elder abuse by court appointed conservators throughout California. Abuse of San Francisco resident Margarita Zelada by the Monterey County Public Guardian drew considerable attention.

Public health practitioners were appalled to learn that Monterey County public health funds are used to facilitate elder abuse. The Monterey County Public Guardian, an office under the  Health Department, is currently engaged in civil rights violations and heinous elder abuse of conservatee Margarita Zelada.

On March 25, 2013, ten Pacific Grove police officers forcibly removed Margarita from her daughter’s home. Witnesses said the officers pulled Margarita from her bed, rolled her in a sheet, strapped her to a gurney, and forced her into a waiting ambulance. A neighbor spoke of Margarita’s screams as the most horrible sounds she ever heard.

Deputy Public Guardian Jennifer Empasis has kept Margarita unlawfully confined and forcibly isolated since the March siege. Other than three brief visits Margarita is denied all contact with her daughter Patricia Conklin, Margarita’s only blood relative in the United States.

Full Article and Source:
Public Experts Discuss Elder Abuse by Monterey County Public Guardian

Couple Accused of Exploiting Elderly Man With Dementia, Selling His Wedding Ring

Two people are accused of intimidating an elderly man into letting them live in his house.

Peachtree City police said William Porter, 55, and Ericka Porter, 51, took advantage of the man's mental condition.

Police said the two continually visited the 79-year-old at the Towne Club senior living facility and got him to sign paperwork allowing them move into his house on Hilltop Drive.

"They appear to have intimidated him or convinced him to sign this lease committing an act of fraud against this poor man," said Peachtree police Lt. Mark Brown. 

Workers at the victim's assisted living facility and his neighbors alerted police.

"We've always looked after him because his health is failing and he has dementia," said neighbor Joy Thompson.

Investigators said not only were the Porters living in the home illegally, they said the two were also selling the victim's property

Full Article and Source:
Couple accused of exploiting elderly man with dementia, selling his wedding ring

National Guardianship Association Picks Excellence Award Winner

Clay County Public Administrator Debbie Gwin likes to refer to her office as the best-kept secret in the county. Tucked in the corner on the ground floor of the James S. Rooney Justice Center, Gwin and her team provide financial and personal services for 345 clients in the county’s guardianship and conservatorship programs.

But after the National Guardianship Association’s annual conference this past October, the secret that Gwin has kept since taking office in 2005 may be out. While attending the conference in Tampa, Fla., Gwin was presented with the National Certified Guardian Excellence Award. The award recognizes an individual’s work as a certified guardian, and knowledge of guardianship concepts, ethics and issues.

Full Article and Source:
Debbie Gwin Receives National Guardianship Excellence Award

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Tonight on T.S. Radio: Elder Abuse and Exploitation in Australia With Tony Hutton

Listen as Tony Hutton speaks about the horrendous physical and financial abuse of his mother by Bendigo Bank (Australia) employee, Christine Frankham. Frankham is still employed by the bank although other cases have surfaced where she acted in the same manner and collected from the estate of an elderly person by having herself inserted into the will and naming her guardian.

From the October 12th 2013 article published in the Banking and Finance Consumer Support Association (Inc) BFCSA: "We have documentary evidence in the Just Better Care Diary (found in my Mother’s home when we contacted Police to gain access on 21/05/2011. -JBC called at my Mother's home every day for about 3/4 of an hour to prepare her a meal) of the horrendous neglect of my Mother by Frankham & Bogaard. She was in a deplorable state when Max (my husband) & I found her on the 21/5/2011. We had to contact the Police to gain access to the house as Frankham & Bogaard had the locks changed again (for the third time & at my Mother’s expense) to deny our family access. My Mother had been on the timber floor for possibly up to 20 hours wearing only a thin nightie. It had also been a very cold night. My Mother was hypothermic, tachycardic, had a urinary tract infection & impacted faeces & severe scalding in her private regions. In other words she had been totally financially abused & medically neglected & had been kept a hostage. My Mother was taken to Mona Vale Hospital by Ambulance. We also have obtained Mona Vale Hospital Emergency Admission & Clinical Notes which have also been given to Dee Why Police."

And not one person has been prosecuted for the abuse of this woman.

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

LISTEN to the show live or listen to the archive later

See Also:
Facebook:  BendigoBanksters

Bendigo Bank - Christine Frankham