Saturday, April 13, 2013

Former Probate Clerk Found Guilty of Embezzlement

A former probate clerk in Chesapeake Circuit Court was sentenced last week to serve one year in prison for embezzling from his office.

Maurio B. Anderson, 32, of Norfolk pleaded guilty in December to two counts of felony embezzlement.

According to court documents, Anderson handled probate matters between June 1, 2009, and May 16, 2011, for the Chesapeake Circuit Court clerk's office. It was his job to collect fees and taxes from people interested in opening estates and recording wills.

In May 2011, a state audit discovered 397 probate files that were missing cash receipts. The receipts would have totaled $24,166, documents said.

Circuit Judge Randall D. Smith sentenced Anderson to 10 years in prison with all but one suspended. He ordered him to pay $24,500 in restitution.

"Mr. Anderson has demonstrated total contempt for the policies, procedures and protocol of this office," Clerk of the Circuit Court Faye W. Mitchell wrote in a letter to the judge.

Former Chesapeake Clerk Guilty of Embezzlement

Dementia is the Highest Costing Disease - and Rising

A report in the latest issue of the New England Journal of Medicine says the U.S. spends more on treating dementia than any other disease including cancer and heart disease.
Annual spending already tops $100 billion for direct treatment; tack on $50-100 billion for informal care like the cost of leaving your job to care for a parent. That works out to $50,000 per person. And those costs are expected to double by 2040.
Dementia carves away the ability of people to care for themselves. Rand economist Michael Hurd, who authored the study, says it’s no mystery why we spend more treating this disease than any other.

"The big cost is the cost for nursing homes, and nursing homes cost a lot," says Hurd, who adds that nursing homes and in-home care makes up at least 75 percent of all spending.

About 4 million Americans suffer from some form of dementia today. By 2040, that number is expected to reach 9 million.

Full Article and Source:
Dementia is Highest Cost Disease and Rising

Man Arrested for Financial Exploitation and Forgery

A Cape Girardeau man, already involved in a civil case for alleged fraudulent and dishonest practices going to trial in July, has been arrested. Scott County Sheriff Rick Walter says that 52-year-old Keith Monia has been charged with two counts of financial exploitation of the elderly, and two counts of forgery.

He is alleged to have sold two annuity plans to an elderly Scott County couple between 2010 and 2012, accepted applications and payments totaling 220-thousand dollars, and never having sent the applications to the company. Investigators found the money was deposited in Monia’s personal account and an online trading account. His insurance license renewal was denied in 2011 by the Department of Insurance after allegations of fraud. Monia is being held on $75,000 bond.

His civil trial is set for July 30th, as Monia is being sued by a Jackson man who said he took $80,000 that was supposed to be placed in an annuity.

Full Article and Source:
Cape Man Arrested for Financial Exploitation and Forgery

Friday, April 12, 2013

Missouri Supreme Court Makes Lawyer Discipline Hearings Public

The Missouri Supreme Court has ruled that an attorney discipline hearing cannot be closed to the public without good reason.

The rare Friday decision says the Disciplinary Hearing Panel can only close a pending hearing involving a St. Louis attorney if the panel can show "good cause." The discipline panel previously issued a blanket order closing the proceedings, which was challenged by Missouri Lawyers Media.

The Supreme Court said its ruling was the first interpreting a new court rule setting guidelines for when disciplinary hearings can be confidential.

St. Louis attorney Ben Lipman represented Missouri Lawyers Media. He says the decision will help ensure future proceedings are not closed inappropriately.

Missouri Court Makes Lawyer Discipline Hearing Public

Manhattan Lawyer Indicted for Stealing $213K From Victim Settlements

A thieving Manhattan lawyer used wacky excuses to stall off his victim clients -- including that a moose had run into his car, prosecutors said today.

The "moose excuse" didn't save Brian Reis, 52, from getting indicted for allegedly stealing $213,000 in settlements and retainer fees from four victims.

Reis -- a father of four from Morristown, NJ -- stole a $90,000 lawsuit settlement from one victim client, then kept him at bay for five years via a series of what DA Cyrus Vance called "preposterous excuses."

In addition to invoking the imaginary moose, Reis told the client that his car had caught fire and exploded and that his father was in the hospital, according to court papers.

Reis, who was disbarred last month, spent some $640,000 on online gambling since 2007, according to court papers. Assistant district attorney Jose Fanjul told a judge today that prosecutors will seek an at least two-year prison sentence.

"Mr. Reis recognizes his obligations and is making efforts to provide restitution," his lawyer, Michael Bachner, told reporters after his client pleaded not guilty to scheme to defraud and grand larceny.

Full Article and Source:
Manhattan Lawyer Indicted for Stealing $213K From Victim Settlements

Thursday, April 11, 2013

National Enquirer Heirs Feud Over Family Fortune

A family feud. A multimillion dollar estate. Dueling allegations of fraud. Accusations of kidnapping, theft, and stalking. Tales of lavish spending that include a private jet chartered to transport 18 dogs.
And in the latest chapter, ongoing in a Florida courtroom today, a wealthy mother so fed up with allegedly being asked for handouts that she has filed a restraining order against her son.
The mother is Florida socialite and philanthropist Lois Pope, 79. The son is Paul Pope, 45, author of "The Deeds of My Fathers" and "Confessions of a Rich Kid from Hell." They are the beneficiaries of a multi-million dollar estate, received following the death of Generoso Pope, founder of the National Enquirer, and the sale of the paper in 1989.

Lois Pope initially received $200 million in the sale, and Paul Pope got $20 million.

In court documents filed in Palm Beach, Fla., last week, Lois Pope accuses her son of demanding more of her money. When she would not turn the money over, she says, he began stalking her, threatening her with violence and spreading rumors about her to gossip columnists and tabloid journalists.

Paul Pope "maliciously and repeatedly harassed his 79-year-old mother… Paul Pope's cruel behavior is causing Lois Pope to suffer substantial emotional distress and to genuinely fear for her safety," Mrs. Pope claims in a restraining order petition.

Paul Pope, his mother contends, "maintain[s] an excessive and extravagant lifestyle, but has never had meaningful employment."

Over the past several years, Paul Pope has repeatedly asked his mother for money, according to court documents. At times she has acquiesced, giving him $8 million and buying him a yacht, according to court papers. But for decades the two have been locked in a series of lawsuits and countersuits, culminating in this week's restraining order hearing.

Most recently, on March 14, Paul Pope demanded $875,000 from his mother on top of $4 million he had asked for in January, she says in her complaint.

When she didn't agree to the payment, she contends that her son contacted a gossip columnist to spread rumors about her.

Full Article and Source:
National Enquirer Heirs Feud Over Family Fortune


Millions of Americans place their loved ones in nursing homes every year with the belief that their parents and grandparents will be cared for at all times. Unfortunately, with one out of every three nursing homes cited for abuse across the country, nursing home abuse is a very real problem in the United States. From dehydration and malnutrition to mental and sexual abuse, there are a variety of ways that residents can be mistreated in a nursing home facility. One common way many nursing home or assisted living facility residents can suffer is through overmedication.

One of the most important parts of nursing home care is ensuring nursing home residents are receiving the proper amount of medication at all times. And with the average nursing home resident taking seven to eight different medications a month, this can be a very involved process. Even with federal regulations in place to ensure nursing homes have a system to provide residents with the appropriate amount of medication according to their doctor or pharmacist’s orders, many residents suffer from overmedication every year.

In 2010, statistics from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reported that over 17 percent of all nursing home patients were receiving antipsychotic medications that exceeded the recommended levels on a daily basis. This number has reportedly been as high as 25 percent in the state of California and even a staggering 71 percent in the state of Florida. Even more alarming statistics suggest that close to 40 percent of nursing home residents were given antipsychotic drugs in 2010 even though they were not diagnosed with psychosis.

Unfortunately, a large number of nursing home abuse cases go unreported.
The new trend of using psychoactive medication to control nursing home residents is extremely dangerous. The Food and Drug Administration estimates roughly 15,000 nursing home residents die every year from unprescribed anti-psychotics.

Full Article and Source:
How to Spot Overmedication in Nursing Homes

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Elder Abuse Judgment

A few weeks ago, the Judge who presided over the heartbreaking elder abuse case of Dorothy Wilson died of what was reported to be a heart attack. While I am almost certain that the stress and knowledge of his own wrongdoing came into play, it is not up to me to disparage him after the fact. However, as was evident when he ruled on this side of the divide, my spiritual perception of how he passed comes across to me quite differently than reported.

Today, the same cast of characters who were intermingled in destroying the final years of Dorothy are still damaging people. Mary Giordano, of Franchina and Giordano in Garden City, New York was the law guardian for Mrs. Wilson. Her attorney, David Smith, also handled elder care cases in the same vile manner that she did. In one case I am aware that there has been the assumption of theft, threats against both children who were vying for their mother’s rights, the callous disregard and pleas from the family for normal visitation and so forth. It is alleged that Mr. Smith was even ludicrous enough to have security prevent this woman’s children from having access to her in the nursing home he stuck her in. Incidentally, this home has the poorest grade of all the nursing facilities in the county. I am sure that this officer of the court thinks he knows who I am referring to, but he should remember that his past might be coming back to haunt him too, as many people like to reach out comfortably to me.

It has been quite some time since I felt compelled to write another article about elder abuse. Today, seemed to be the fitting point as I was reminded of just how sick and greedy the people who perpetrate these horrors are. I was also given a flashback to a conversation I had with Dorothy that reminded me of the depth of depression she was in because Judge Asarch determined her life not worthy enough of being happy. He allowed for Mary Giordano to give her what turned out to be a death sentence by legally or illegally kidnapping her, depending on whether you are abiding by State or Federal statutes.

If I were to turn a blind-eye toward the thievery and corruption like the politicians, lawyers, judges and others who have seats of power have done, than I am condoning the acts of horrible treatment. All human beings can feed the evil side of their conscious, or their loving, protective side. Generally, we are blessed with a society that instinctually lives in the latter zone. In my opinion, it is people such as Mary Giordano, David Smith and their cohorts who think demonizing and demoralizing those who have pure hearts is a good thing. Just as I am able to see checkbooks shrinking and partnerships turning ugly and on the verge of collapse, I can also see patterns where the universe has decided it is time to tip the scales back in favor of loving souls. This means that on some level a sort of karmic energy is set in motion that will level the playing field.

Full Article and Source:
Elder Abuse Judgment

A New Source of Economic Growth

Apple Computer once famously advised us to “think different.” It’s time to think different about America’s ongoing demographic shift — and to think seriously about the opportunities it holds.

For decades, we’ve been conditioned to believe that growth is driven by the entrepreneurship, consumerism and aspirations of the young. We’ve learned about new technologies, products and services from our children, often the early adopters, who lead us to new ways of communicating, working and playing. Advertisers and marketers see the young as most open to new fashion and change, and as prime consumer targets. Products and services aimed at the young abound.

Conversely, there is a widely held view that aging hangs like a dark cloud over individuals, families, communities and many countries in the developed world. In the U.S., we hear daily that the aging of more than 78 million baby boomers brings with it the burden of entitlements, the inadequacy of pensions, and the rising costs of healthcare.

However, there’s a silver lining in the cloud of aging – and it’s big. Aging boomers represent a powerful wave of potential and opportunity. Longevity is not diminishing their influence; it’s changing their focus as consumers, leaders, learners and workers. Demography is destiny, and the size of a generation counts.

Now is the time for businesses, investors, educators, public policy makers and others to share in the fruits of longevity, or miss the chance to benefit from a massive emerging market. Are the boomers capable of driving the economy forward?

Full Article and Source:
The Longevity Economy: From The Elderly, A New Source Of Economic Growth

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

AL: Probate Employee Charged With Stealing Tens of Thousands of Dollars

The Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office charged a county employee with stealing tens of thousands of dollars worth of attorney fees from a public office.

Sherre Johnson Wells, 51, of Pleasant Valley, was charged with theft of property after allegedly stealing between $10,000 and $50,000 from the Calhoun County Probate Office, said Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Matthew Wade.

Wade said Wells, an assistant at the Probate Office, had “developed a scheme” in which she redirected into her personal account state funds meant to cover attorney fees for the probate office.

“This isn’t like reaching into somebody’s pocket and taking their wallet,” Wade said. “This is thousands of dollars she stole over time from various accounts.”

Wade said Probate Judge Alice Martin called the Sheriff’s Office on March 6 to report money had been stolen after she requested an audit for missing funds from the state examiner’s office.

The Sheriff’s Office issued warrants for Wells’ arrest and she turned herself in late Tuesday, Wade said. She was released after posting a $30,000 bond. She is scheduled to appear in court on May 2.

Full Article and Source:
Probate Employee Charged With Stealing Tens of Thousands of Dollars

New Jersey: Volunteers Needed for Guardianship Monitoring Program in Hunterdon

Surrogate Susan J. Hoffman, announces that Hunterdon County is the first county to participate in the New Jersey Judiciary Statewide Guardianship Monitoring Program. The Guardianship Monitoring Program utilizes volunteers to review annual guardianship reports filed by guardians on behalf of their wards.

There is currently a need for volunteer researchers in Hunterdon. Researchers examine documents contained in guardianship files and enter information about the guardianships into a statewide database.

Volunteers will receive detailed training from the judiciary on how to read and analyze the guardians' annual reports and how to gather data for the statewide database. Volunteer monitors will flag inconsistent or incomplete financial information, which will be reported to volunteer coordinators for further action.

The submission and review of the annual reports is essential to ensure that the susceptible adult population -- the elderly and disabled -- are being treated with dignity and are free from exploitation. Guardians may benefit by referral to sources of help and information that they may not be aware of.
Hunterdon County has had a similar program in place since 1996.

Information about the program and how to volunteer can be obtained on the judiciary's website,, by calling toll-free 855-406-1262, or by emailing

Volunteers Needed for Guardianship Monitoring Program in Hunterdon

Monday, April 8, 2013

Nurse's Assistant Charged With Taking $350K From Client's Estate

Retired city engineer Marshall Davies was nearing 90 when a longtime nursing assistant at St. Joseph Hospital befriended him in 2007 and offered to be his round-the-clock caregiver.

Instead, Cook County prosecutors allege, Carmelita Pasamba obtained power of attorney over Davies' estate and bilked him out of more than $350,000, using the money to remodel her home, enrich family members and buy a new Mercedes.

Davies had been diagnosed with dementia almost a year before Pasamba began to take advantage of him, prosecutors said.

Pasamba, 62, who worked for 15 years as a nursing assistant at St. Joseph, was charged with financial exploitation of a senior citizen, a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison, prosecutors said Friday. She was held on a $350,000 cash bail.

Also charged were Pasamba's sister, Jocelyn Vargas Baker, 47, and husband, Edgardo Pasamba, 63, both of whom benefited from her actions, prosecutors said.

The criminal case stems from a 2011 lawsuit filed by Cook County Public Guardian Robert Harris accusing Pasamba of using her position to take advantage of the ailing Davies.
Pasamba, a native of the Philippines, met Davies in January 2008 when he was hospitalized for a hip injury and she cared for him. When he was discharged later that month, Davies needed at-home care and Pasamba offered to work for him, prosecutors said. She also hired her daughter and her sister to help provide 24-hour assistance.

Three months after she began his at-home care, Pasamba hired an attorney affiliated with the Filipino community to draft a power-of-attorney order, a will and a trust document that gave her control over Davies' assets. She made her husband the executor of the will and named herself as trustee, prosecutors said. Her family and charities affiliated with her attorney were listed as the main beneficiaries of the trust, according to the charges.

Within two months of gaining power of attorney, Pasamba wrote herself checks from the estate totaling $55,000, prosecutors charged.

Pasamba eventually sold Davies' Lincoln Park condo for $189,000 but kept $50,000 as a "bonus" for herself, prosecutors said. Over the course of 31/2 years, she also paid herself $170,000 in salary for Davies' care, prosecutors said.

Alphonso Bascos, the lawyer who drafted the power-of-attorney documents, told the Tribune on Friday that Davies seemed lucid on the day he signed the papers, answering yes whenever he was asked directly if he wanted Pasamba to have power over his affairs.

"I asked Mr. Davies if he read the document, if he understood it, and he said, 'Yes,'" said Bascos, who has not been charged with any wrongdoing. "I did what he asked me to do."

Bascos said that it was Pasamba's idea to name several of his preferred Filipino charities as beneficiaries of the estate. He said he heard her explain the idea to Davies and get his approval.
Bascos said he was "surprised and mad" when he learned about the alleged thefts more than two years later.

"But everything I did was aboveboard," he said. "... I followed the instructions of a client, nothing else."

Full Article and Source:
Nurse's Assistant Charged With Taking $350K From Client's Estate

'Protecting Alabama's Elders Act' Bill Passes House

The bill known as the Protecting Alabama's Elders Act passed the House. The bill proposes to create new articles in the Criminal Code to combat elder abuse and financial exploitation. The bill is different from the version that passed the Senate so it will go back to the chamber for approval.

The legislation will strengthen Alabama's laws to protect seniors and provide law enforcement agencies with the tools needed to punish those who hurt them.

"I am pleased the House passed this important legislation so we can make sure law enforcement have the tools that they need to prosecute those who attempt to take advantage of Alabama's seniors," explained Representative Paul DeMarco, House Sponsor of the bill.
The legislation will create additional sections in the criminal code for elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation. These new sections will provide law enforcement and prosecutors with additional avenues to prosecute elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation.

Currently, the penalties are found in the Adult Protective Services Act and apply only to victims who could be categorized as a "protected person." The proposed legislation does not change the current APS penalties, but adds new sections to the Alabama criminal code. The new criminal code sections would apply to victims who are 60 years of age or older, regardless of mental competency, so all that law enforcement officials will have to prove is the victim's age.

Elder abuse and neglect can be prosecuted as first degree, second degree, or third degree abuse or neglect depending on the type and severity of harm to the victim. The penalties range from a class A misdemeanor for elder abuse and neglect in the third degree to a class A felony for intentional abuse or neglect which causes serious physical injury. A class A felony carries a sentence of ten years to life in Alabama.

Full Article and Source:
Elder Abuse Bill Passes House

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Tonight on T. S. Radio: Ron Branson of Jail4Judges

Ron Branson, founder of, joins the show this evening to talk about his experiences in attempting to hold corrupt judges accountable.

Having taken 15 cases to the Supreme Court, Mr. Branson contends that there is no law and judicial accoutantability is non-existent.

Ron Branson may be reached at:
P.O. Box 207
North Hollywood, CA. 91603

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

LISTEN LIVE or listen to the archive later

Wedding Nears for Mentally Disabled Couple in Legal Battle to Live Together

As a mentally disabled couple makes final plans for their wedding, they continue to fight a legal battle just to be allowed to live together.

Paul Forziano and Hava Samuels are getting married this weekend, but they're not allowed to live together. They're mentally challenged and living in separate group homes 3 miles apart in Manorville.

Attorney Martin Coleman says administrators at both group homes have refused to let the couple live together after the wedding, prompting a federal lawsuit.

The couple's attorney says he will write up papers for the judge, asking that both group homes allow the two to spend more time together during the day and evening while the case continues.

Wedding Nears for Mentally Disabled Couple in Legal Battle to Live Together

RI Lawyer/Guardian Arrested for Embezzlement, Unlawful Appropriation from Elderly Client

Colonel Steven G. O'Donnell, Superintendent, of the Rhode Island State Police and Commissioner of Public Safety, announces that on Wednesday, March 6, 2013, members of the Financial Crimes Unit arrested attorney Janet A. Mastronardi, age 52, of Warwick, Rhode Island for Embezzlement and Unlawful Appropriation. The investigation, conducted by the Financial Crimes Unit, was the result of a complaint filed by a David Curtain, Chief Disciplinary Counsel for the Rhode Island Supreme Court. Janet A. Mastronardi was taken into custody at her law office in Warwick.

In February 2012, the Financial Crimes Unit was notified that Janet Mastronardi had allegedly embezzled over $100,000 from an elderly client. Janet Mastronardi had been appointed guardian of the client in September 2005, as a result of the client's deteriorating health and mental condition. In January 2010, Janet Mastronardi closed two of her client's investment accounts and deposited the proceeds of $224,058.57 into two newly opened bank accounts. This money was never listed on her client's probate account. A review of Janet Mastronardi's bank accounts revealed that she stole $144,989.21 of her client's money by writing a series of 25 checks payable to herself over the next eleven months.

Janet A. Mastronardi was arrested at her law office, processed at the Lincoln Woods Barracks and arraigned at Third Division District Court on the above charges. She was released on $10,000 personal recognizance. If convicted, Janet Mastronardi faces up to a maximum of twenty years in prison and a $50,000 fine for the embezzlement charge and up to a maximum of twenty years and a $434,967.63 fine for the unlawful appropriation charge.

State Police Arrests Lawyer for Embezzlement and Unlawful Appropriation from Elderly Client