Saturday, May 11, 2013

Ginger Franklin's Car Towed and Sold While in Conservator, Jeanan Mills Stuart's 'Care'

For months, Ginger Franklin has been trying to find out what happened to the 2001 Nissan Altima she owned before she was placed in an emergency conservatorship.

At first she was told her car had been repossessed and sold by the bank holding a note on the vehicle.

The Tennessean was given the same answer when it first questioned Franklin’s conservator, Jeanan Mills Stuart, about the whereabouts of the car in February.

Stuart said Franklin was “upside down” on the car with an outstanding loan exceeding its value. She referred questions to the attorney who had handled Franklin’s bankruptcy.

The attorney, Maria Salas, however, told The Tennessean there was no loan on the car and the vehicle was never brought into the bankruptcy case. 

New records obtained by The Tennessean show that Franklin’s car, after being turned over to Stuart, was towed away from the garage where Stuart’s office is located on Franklin Pike after a caller said it had been abandoned.

West Nashville Wrecker Service declined to say who requested the car be towed in April 2009. It sent a legal notice by certified mail to Franklin, telling her that if she did not pay storage and towing fees, her car would be sold.

Franklin never got the notice because she was in a conservatorship handled by Stuart. Records show Herbert Mills, Jeanan Stuart’s father, received the notice and signed a receipt for it, in effect, authorizing the wrecker service to sell the car in an auction.

“I had nothing to do with the car other than leave it in the parking lot at my office where I had parked it after getting the low offer on it from the dealer. I had driven it from the dealer to my office and felt it was dangerous to drive the car any further because of the shaking of the vehicle when I drove it,” Stuart wrote.

Full Article and Source:
Client's Car Towed, Sold While  in Lawyer's Care

See Also:
Ginger Franklin, Tennessee Victim

Tennessee Public Guardian, Jeanan Mills Stuart's Fees Exceed $1.8 Million

TN:  Conservator Jeanan Mills Stuart and Judge Randy Kennedy

Jeanan Stuart Response to Questions

Tennessee Public Guardian, Jeanan Mills Stuart's, Fees Exceed $1.8 Million

The Davidson County public guardian, whose fees are under review by a local probate judge, has double-billed clients, billed more than 24 hours in a day and earned more than $270,000 in thousands of small, individual charges for tasks such as listening to a voice mail.

The Tennessean first raised questions  about Jeanan Mills Stuart’s fees when it found she was charging her legal rates of $200 to $225 per hour for nonlegal tasks, such as taking her wards on shopping trips and sorting their clothes before a move into an assisted-living center.

A new data analysis by The Tennessean of all of her billings between 2008 — when she was first appointed by the Metro Council — and February 2013 shows she has turned in fee requests with mistakes, such as double-billings, and more than 24-hour days, all of which have been approved by the judge overseeing the conservator cases.

In all, Stuart has billed for more than $1.8 million in fees since January 2008, when she took on her role, according to The Tennessean’s data analysis. As public guardian, she handles the affairs of people who are found by the Davidson County probate court to be mentally or physically unable to make their own decisions. Her wards have no control or say in what she does for them. The primary oversight of her fees is Davidson County Probate Judge David Randy Kennedy, who can approve or reject them.

Full Article and Source:
Davidson County Public Guardian's Fees Exceed $1.8 Million

See Also:
NASGA: Ginger Franklin, Tennessee Victim

'Private Guardian' Jared E. Shafer Accused by Guardianship Commissioner of "Bleeding Money" From 93-Year Old War Hero

"I'm really trying to put an end to this. I get that Mr. Olvera is bleeding money, and I don't want it to continue" - Guardianship Commissioner Jon Norheim

Just Google or Bing the name "Guardian Jared E. Shafer," and a very troubling scenario will unfold. Contained within the dozens of links are the untold stories of mostly wealthy Clark County, Nevada residents who have allegedly been "bleeding money" under the color of law simply because they are elderly or frail. A decade ago, I began reporting stories of wealthy senior citizens being exploited by a group of - what I consider to be - officially sanctioned leeches. World War II hero Guadalupe Olvera and his wife Carmela in 2003 moved from California to Del Webb Sun city Anthem in Henderson, Nevada. The couple was wooed by fancy brochures and promotional videos into purchasing a new 3000 square foot home for $436,524.00 cash where they lived until Carmela's death in 2009 following a 63 year marriage.

Because of an obscure Nevada law, Guadalupe, who was 90 at the time of his wife's death, was not allowed to handle his own affairs or let his only child Rebecca Schultz become his legal guardian to tend to his move back to California and the sale of his Sun City house. Based on Mr. Olvera's physical disabilities, under Nevada law, a "local guardian" was required to handle his temporary financial affairs because his daughter was not qualified since she lived in another state. Enter Jared Shafer of  Professional Fiduciary Services of Nevada, Inc. (PFSN, Inc.). Shafer, who is in private practice, was recommended by a staff member in the office of Clark County Guardianship Commissioner Jon Norheim, even though public officials are not legally allowed to make such recommendations.

Unfortunately, Schultz failed to do research on Shafer's background before agreeing to hire PFSN, Inc. because she assumed the county's referral would be trustworthy. Jared Shafer has not responded to numerous requests for his side of this story. Shafer's "guardianship" was to only last a few weeks, time enough to settle Olvera's financial affairs and list his house with a realtor. However, weeks turned into months, and Olvera became lonely for his daughter, granddaughter, and great granddaughter and wanted desperately to move back to California where he had lived most of his life.

 In the meantime, Shafer as guardian was given exclusive control of Olvera's finances. It was soon discovered he was "bleeding money" from Olvera's trust account at Wells Fargo while Olvera was retained in Henderson against his will. Upon learning of Shafer's withdrawals from his trust, Olvera became infuriated, and In September 2010, directed his daughter to move him back to California and sever his contract with PFSN, Inc. Prior to Olvera's directions to move him back to California, Rebecca and her friend Ruth Carney (a Nevada resident) had followed legal protocol and filed Motions at their own expense with the court to terminate Shafer's guardianship, and that Schultz and Carney be appointed co-guardians, but their efforts were thwarted by the court.

Full Article and Source:
American Mafia/Inside Vegas: "Private Guardian" Jared E. Shafer Accused by Guardianship Commissioner of "Bleeding Money" From 93-Year Old War Hero

See Also:
NASGA: Lupe Olvera, Nevada Victim

Former Public Guardian

Judge Orders CA County to Assume Guardianship of Elderly Murder Suspect

Over the objections of Los Angeles County mental health officials, a judge on Thursday ordered an 86-year-old murder defendant to remain in the government's care and not be released to a family member.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Norman Shapiro said that Nattie Kennebrew, who in 2009 allegedly shot and killed a handyman and tried to kill the manager at the Hollywood apartment building where he lived, must remain at Patton State hospital and that the county must pay for his care.

In his ruling to keep Kennebrew in a locked psychiatric hospital for mentally ill criminal defendants, Shapiro sided with the Los Angeles County district attorney's office, which argued that Kennebrew remained a threat to public safety. The county had said that because of Kennebrew's dementia, he did not need to remain under the county's oversight.

"I can't stress to you enough -- you have someone who murdered someone allegedly," Shapiro said. "I agree with the district attorney here."

Kennebrew is charged with fatally shooting handyman Gerardo Ramos, 46, on the afternoon of Jan. 28, 2009.

Full Article and Source:
L.A. County Ordered to Assume Guardianship of Elderly Murder Suspect

Friday, May 10, 2013

CT Probate Judge Seeks to Remove Daughter From Control of Slain Mother's Estate

East Hartford's probate judge wants to remove Candace Bednarz as fiduciary of her slain mother's estate, now that Bednarz has been arrested on charges of tampering with evidence and hindering the prosecution the man police say killed her mother.

Probate Judge Allan Driscoll has scheduled a hearing on the matter for May 14 at the East Hartford Probate Court in town hall. Driscoll also is seeking a report on the status of Beverly Therrien's estate.

Driscoll made the move after learning of the arrest of Bednarz, 54, of Manchester. She posted $150,000 bail and is scheduled to be arraigned May 8 in Superior Court in Manchester.

Bednarz's brother, Brett Bednarz, is awaiting trial on charges that he killed his 74-year-old mother, along with Pamela Johns, 60, and Michael Ramsey, 53, who were staying with Therrien at her home at 154 Naomi Drive home on Thanksgiving 2010.

Driscoll, at the request of the state victim advocate, already has ruled that there will be no disbursements from Therrien's estate, except to creditors.

No will was found in Therrien's home in the aftermath of her killing, and Driscoll ruled that a 2006 copy of her will was not valid. In the 2006 will, Therrien named Brett Bednarz as executor and primary beneficiary of her estate. Therrien specifically excluded Candace Bednarz from receiving anything from the estate.

"I intentionally make no provisions herein for the benefit of my daughter as there is no relationship between my daughter and me and I have provided money to her in the past to provide for herself and her daughter," the will says. "Additionally, she has sufficient assets with which to support herself."

Full Article and Source:
East Hartford Probate Judge Seeks to Remove Candice Bednarz From Control of Mother's Estate

Missouri Attorney Once Convicted of Murder Back in Practice

A Kansas City attorney whose conviction in the beating death of his law partner was overturned in 2006 can resume his practice, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled.
The court ordered the law license of Richard Buchli II to be reinstated, with certain conditions.
Buchli was convicted in 2002 of murder in the death of his law partner, Richard Armitage.

Prosecutors alleged that Buchli's financial problems were the motivation behind the killing.
A judge overturned Buchli's conviction in 2006, finding that evidence had been withheld from the defense during his trial. Prosecutors dismissed the case last year, after a judge in 2010 threw out all the state's evidence.

Attorney Once Convicted of Murder Back in Practice

New Probate Court Database Will be Key in Firearms Eligibility

Vincent J. Russo, manager of communications and intergovernmental relations for the Office of the Probate Court Administrator of Connecticut has issued an announcement that the Probate Courts “expect to complete work this summer on a new database for use by state and federal authorities in checking the mental health backgrounds of citizens who seek to buy or own firearms.”

The Mental Health Adjudication Repository (MHAR) will list those individuals who have had firearms eligibility rights terminated due to mental health adjudication in the Probate or Superior Courts, within the last 14 years. The Connecticut Probate Court website states that “When a Probate Court finds a person to be mentally incompetent, he or she may not buy, sell, own or possess a firearm, and his or her name is listed with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.”

Frequently the matters addressed in Probate Courts include administration and oversight of trusts and estate or the care and guardianship of children. However, Probate Courts commonly address social issues involving mental health, said Mr Russo, and the new system in place as of July will proved a good methodology of reporting and sharing that information in a timely and efficient manner.

The database will be made available to relevant state and federal agencies and automatically updated each day, Mr Russo said in his announcement.

Full Article and Source:
New Probate Court Database Will be Key in Firearms Eligibility

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Probe Results in Fine for TN Nursing Home, Block on New Admissions

A state investigation of the Bristol Nursing Home recently turned up allegations of a possible sexual assault victim who went days without a medical exam, and of a nurse who taped a patient’s mouth to keep him quiet, a report reveals.
The Tennessee Department of Health fined the nursing home $3,000  and has blocked new admissions until investigators are convinced they will not see a repeat performance.

Investigators accused the 120-bed facility of ignoring its own rules and state law when it failed to report immediately both abuse complaints to the state as well as to the patients’ doctors and guardians. Both patients have been diagnosed with dementia.

On Dec. 6, 2012, a housekeeper complained that a registered nurse briefly taped the patient’s mouth because he refused to stop screaming.

More than a month passed before nursing home officials told the patient’s guardian on Jan. 11, 2013. The nursing home administrator first reported the incident to the state during the investigation, on April 11, 2013.

“The allegation was not reported because I … felt like it didn’t meet the definition of abuse,” investigators quote the home administrator as saying.

Full Article and Source:
Probe Results in Fine for Bristol Nursing Home, Block on New Admissions

Read the Investigation

Disbarred Attorney, Linda Vasquez Littlefield, Now Facing Federal Charges

A Kissimmee attorney who was disbarred for ripping off an elderly couple is now facing federal charges for a similar scheme Tuesday night.

Channel 9's Jeff Deal spoke with the woman who tipped off authorities about Linda [Vasquez] Littlefield, and asked if there are tougher charges for people who prey on the elderly and take their life's savings.

Victim Janet Lentz said they took everything.

"I feel used, raped," Lentz said.

Investigators said the Littlefields ran up Lentz' credit cards, stealing $53,000.

They were both convicted. Linda is still serving part of a two-year sentence. Ross was sentenced to probation.

Federal investigators said there are now 26 victims -- people who put money in a special trust.

They said the Littlefields took nearly $3 million from the trust and spent it on cars, their businesses and property.

Kathleen Foust was Lentz' guardian, and was the first to report the Littlefields.

"Linda and Ross were criminals, they just legitimized themselves and looked like they were wonderful people," Foust said.

Since then she's heard horror stories about how the Littlefields targeted the elderly.

She said one woman spent her life savings setting up a trust for two developmentally-disabled daughters and lost everything.

"She said, 'Now I don't know who is going to take care of my daughters when I'm gone,'" Foust said.

Linda and Ross Littlefield were first arrested in 2010. Linda Littlefield was a Kissimmee attorney, and her husband Ross helped her run businesses that appeared to help the elderly.

Full Article and Source:
Investigators: Kissimee Couple Ripped Off Elderly

See Also:
FL: Ex-Lawyer Gets 2 Years Prison For Elder Fraud

Florida Appeals Court Rules HIPAA Overrides FL Nursing Home Records Law

Florida law requires that nursing homes furnish to the “spouse, guardian, surrogate, proxy, or attorney in fact” of a former resident a copy of the resident’s records which are in the possession of the facility. The federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”) provides that covered entities, such as nursing homes, may only disclose medical records to a patient or his/her “personal representative”. HIPAA defines a personal representative to mean only an “executor, administrator, or other person who has authority under applicable state law to act on behalf of a deceased individual or of the individual’s estate”. Therefore, in many situations, Florida law requires nursing homes to release medical records when HIPAA prohibits it.

In a recent decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit the court ruled that the federal HIPAA law preempted the Florida nursing home records law (Opis Management Resources, LLC v. Florida Agency for Health Care Administration). In this case Opis and several other managers and operators of Florida nursing homes refused to provide the medical records of deceased residents to their spouses and attorneys since they were not the residents’ “personal representatives” as defined by HIPAA. As a result, the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (“AHCA”) cited the nursing homes for failing to provide the records as required by the Florida law, and the nursing home operators sought relief in federal court.

The federal district court ruled in favor of Opis and the other nursing home operators, and AHCA took an appeal to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. On appeal AHCA argued that the Florida law did not conflict with HIPAA but merely clarified who should be considered the “personal representative” of the deceased resident. The appeals court rejected AHCA’s argument and said:
The fatal flaw in the State Agency’s argument is that … the unadorned text of the state statute authorizes sweeping disclosures, making a deceased resident’s protected health information available to a spouse or other enumerated party upon request, without any need for authorization, for any conceivable reason, and without regard to the authority of the individual making the request to act in a deceased resident’s stead.

Full Article and Source:
Federal Appeals Court Rules HIPAA Overrides Florida Nursing Home Records Law

See Also:
Department of Health and Human Services:  Health Information Privacy

Georgia High Court Accepts Voluntary Discipline of Attorney

The Georgia Supreme Court has accepted a petition for voluntary discipline for an Albany attorney, officials said Monday.
photoJohnnie Mae Graham, who has represented many high-profile clients including former Downtown Manager Don Buie and Municipal Court Judge Willie Weaver, was named in the action made public by the court Monday.
The court also recommended a review panel reprimand of Graham.
According to court records, Graham admitted that a client hired her to represent him in a civil case against an insurance company and that she miscalculated the statute of limitations regarding her client’s breach-of-contract claim and did not file suit before the claim expired.
Ultimately, Graham didn’t file any pleadings in regards to the case and, at the same time, her client filed for bankruptcy protection from the court, and, when the bankruptcy court attempted to contact Graham in regards to the civil suit, court records show that she wasn’t prompt in responding either general inquiries or a subpoena.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Elderly Couple's Tale of Abuse Not so Uncommon

James and Etta Jennings moved to the Forest Hill neighborhood of Richmond in 1959. They were young - just married - and the first owners of their red brick ranch house. They had children and then grandchildren, who gathered in their family room for holidays and learned to swim in their backyard pool.

But when their granddaughter, Jeannie Beidler, approached the home on July 27, 2010, she was confronted by a grim reality. Paramedics, police and Adult Protective Services social workers were on the scene.

"You could smell the stench of urine and feces," she says, standing at the foot of the driveway. "From this point, we already knew what we were about to walk into."

The Jennings' son, Beidler's uncle, was supposed to be caring for them, but it became clear very quickly that something had gone horribly wrong. The Jennings were living without running water or even a fan. James was confined to a chair. His blood pressure was high and he was fading in and out of consciousness. Etta was living on a broken bed crawling with maggots.

Beidler was overwhelmed.

"To think how could this have happened to her? I can't think of a sadder moment in my life or a heavier moment in my life than that," she says.

It's hard to imagine how a family home could sour and rot as the Jennings' had, or how somebody could watch two elderly parents wasting away.

Full Article and Source:
Elderly Couple's Tale of Abuse Not So Uncommon

DC Appellate Court Strikes 1892 Case Law on Contracts with Mentally Ill

Replacing precedent dating back to 1892, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals ruled [5/2/13] that contracts entered into with mentally incapacitated individuals will no longer be considered automatically void.

Under the new standard, those contracts will be voidable, as opposed to inherently void. According to the ruling, a contract will be binding unless the incapacitated person or someone approved to act on his or her behalf takes steps to cancel it. If an incapacitated person or the representative does want to cancel a contract, they can only do so if it would be fair to the parties involved.

Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby, writing for the court, said the new standard, which is used in the majority of jurisdictions in the United States, "better comports with modern contract law and modern understandings of mental illness."

Full Article and Source:
Court Strikes 1892 Case Law on Contracts with Mentally Ill

Florida Launching Project S.A.F.E.

In honor of Older Americans Month in May, Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater is launching Operation S.A.F.E., a new initiative to “Stop Adult Financial Exploitation” and turn the tables on fraud artists who target Florida’s seniors. CFO Atwater is seeking to combat statistics that estimate at least one in five seniors has been a victim of financial fraud.

Initial workshops will be held this month in Cape Coral, Venice, Delray Beach, Clearwater, the Villages and Miami, with other locations to be scheduled throughout the year. “Our seniors contribute greatly to Florida’s economy and as a result many have built a nest egg that makes them targets for fraud,” CFO Atwater said. “It is my mission to ensure that they can better enjoy their retirement knowing they are armed with information to safeguard their finances.”

The workshops, titled Be Scam Smart, are part of CFO Atwater’s On Guard for Seniors initiative that he launched last year to educate seniors on specific financial products such as annuities, identity theft, reverse mortgages and long-term care insurance. Operation S.A.F.E. will focus on frauds and scams, such as fake lotteries and repair scams, and how these scams work on the psyche to convince seniors to take a chance on something that is too good to be true.

The Operation S.A.F.E. workshops are being provided by the Department of Financial Services, which CFO Atwater oversees, and will be presented by representatives from the Department’s Division of Consumer Services, Division of Agent and Agency Services and Division of Insurance Fraud; U.S. Senator Marco Rubio’s office; the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office; the Lee County Sheriff’s Office; the Miami-Dade Police Department; the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office; and the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

CFO Jeff Atwater Launches Operation S.A.F.E. to Stop Adult Financial Exploitation

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Ohio Judge Accused of Misconduct for Dismissing His Own Lawyer's Speeding Ticket

A Franklin County Municipal Court judge is accused of violating the code of judicial conduct by dismissing a traffic ticket against a lawyer who was representing him in state and federal lawsuits.

Harland H. Hale, the court’s environmental judge, should be disciplined for his behavior, the Ohio Supreme Court’s disciplinary counsel said in a complaint filed this week.

A three-member panel from the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline will be appointed to hear the case. If they and the Supreme Court justices agree with disciplinary counsel Jonathan E. Coughlan, Hale would face discipline ranging from a written reprimand to disbarment.

Full Article and Source:
Speeding-Ticket Dismissal Brings Misconduct Case Against Franklin County Judge

Bank Employee Accused of Bilking Elderly Customer

A Murrieta man who allegedly defrauded an 88-year-old woman "out of a large sum of money" when he worked at a Temecula bank is behind bars, police are reporting.

Don Leon Foster, 35, was arrested at his current place of employment, Chase Bank, located at 1810 University Drive in Vista, according to Riverside County jail records.

The Temecula Police Department has been the lead agency on the investigation. According to Sgt. Kevin McDonald of the department, investigators began looking into "a potential financial elder abuse case and developed evidence that an 88-year-old female victim was taken advantage of by a bank employee in Temecula and defrauded out of a large sum of money."

Full Article and Source:
Murrietta Man Accused of Bilking Elderly Temecula Bank Customer

Georgia Governor Signs Elder Abuse Bill

Governor Nathan Deal made a stop in Moultrie to sign a bill for elder abuse.
The Elder Abuse Act passed the House with a unanimous vote. During his stop in southwest Georgia to sign the bill, Governor Deal stated this shows how much lawmakers are dedicated to protecting those who can't protect themselves.

"I think it indicates an acknowledgement on the part of the general assembly that they probably have heard of examples of elder abuse in their particular parts of the state and they came together and said this is something that really does need to be done," said Governor Nathan Deal, (R)-Georgia.

Full Article and Source:
Governor Nathan Deal Signs Elder Abuse Bill

Monday, May 6, 2013

Son of Nursing Home Homicide Victims Learns Details of Hs Mother's Death in the Newspaper!

The son of a Carbon County nursing home resident who was fatally pushed by another resident April 20 said he learned of the homicide investigation in Thursday's edition of the Standard-Speaker.
Guardian Elder Care, the owner of Weatherwood Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, said in a statement Thursday that Margaret Lechleitner, 85, "fell and hit her head after being pushed by another resident."

Weatherly police and the Carbon County District Attorney's Office are investigating the death.

Bruce Lechleitner of Summit Hill said the nursing home called him around 7:25 p.m. April 20 and indicated his mother was rushed to Hazleton General Hospital by first responders. She passed away about six hours after she arrived at the hospital. He did not know the circumstances of her death until he read about the homicide Thursday. She had been a resident in the nursing home since July 2012, he said.

Multiple calls to Guardian Elder Care and Weatherwood administration this week seeking comment on the investigation were not returned. Guardian Elder Care purchased Weatherwood from Carbon County in July 2010.

Full Article and Source:
Homicide Victim's Son Learned Details of  Death in Newspaper

New Jersey Man Pleads Guilty to Bilking Elderly Woman Out of $279K While She was Hospitalized for Cancer

A former Hudson County resident admitted today that he defrauded an elderly woman of approximately $279,000 while she was hospitalized for cancer treatment, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Ralph Cozzino, 43, of North Bergen, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Robert B. Kugler in Camden federal court to mail fraud.

According to the documents filed in this case and statements made in court: Cozzino admitted to stealing stock certificates from the elderly victim’s apartment.

Cozzino then presented the stolen stock certificates to the victim’s stock transfer agent, along with a fraudulent power of attorney bearing the victim’s name, address, Social Security number and forged signature, which purported to grant him control over the victim’s financial affairs,including the power to redeem and/or sell stock.

Cozzino instructed the stock transfer agent to transfer ownership of the stolen stocks into Cozzino’s name and to liquidate certain shares of stock for his benefit.

He caused the stock transfer agent to send him the proceeds of the liquidated shares, which he deposited into bank accounts that he controlled and spent the funds on various personal expenditures, including a 2006 Nissan, Lasik eye surgery, as well as a down payment, closing costs, and furniture for a new house.

From April 2006 until October 2007, Cozzino liquidated, and converted to his own use, approximately $279,000 in stolen shares belonging to the victim.

The mail fraud count to which Cozzino pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 14, 2013.

Full Article and Source:
North Bergan Man Pleads Guilty to Bilking Elderly Woman Out of $279K

Michigan Supreme Court Disciplines District Court Judge

The Michigan Supreme Court concurred with the State Judicial Tenure Commission and ordered a 30-day suspension without pay, along with a public censure, for Hudsonville District Court Judge Kenneth Post. The discipline stems from a December, 2011 hearing in which Post jailed an attorney on contempt charges for advising a client to plead the Fifth in answering questions from the bench about drug use.

Supreme Court Disciplines District Court Judge

Little Discipline for Florida Foreclosure Lawyers

Since Florida's mortgage crisis began about six years ago, banks have agreed to pay millions of dollars to settle allegations that they wrongfully foreclosed on thousands of homeowners. Prosecutors have charged loan servicers with filing fraudulent documents on behalf of banks.
But the law firms and lawyers that homeowners and judges contend took part in those same practices? Some critics are accusing Attorney General Pam Bondi and the Florida Bar of not going after them hard enough.
"The door was left wide open and the AG did nothing," said attorney,Tom Ice, who has represented homeowners who say they were cheated.
Added attorney Matt Weidner, "You have an attorney general shrugging her shoulders and walking away. How is this allowed to occur?"
Bondi said she would do more if she could.
"I'm all about prosecuting bad lawyers, believe me," she said.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Tonight on T.S. Radio: Conservatorship Hell..The Story of Danny Tate

Danny Tate is a successful singer/songwriter who was conserved in an ex-parte hearing in Judge Randy Kennedy’s court in Nashville, TN. (Judge Kennedy is the only probate judge in that county --- so all probate matters go through him.) Danny wasn’t given notice of the hearing and Kennedy put him in a “temporary conservatorship” --- a court-ordered hell (to quote an article that was written about the case) that lasted for 2.5 years. Danny was “freed” in 2010 but not really – the conservatorship has kept an ugly hold on Danny’s finances to this day.

It’s a "Ripleys Believe it or Not" type of case because not only did the conservatorship consume Danny’s over $2 mil estate, it plunged him into spiraling debt. Last year, the court ordered Danny’s home to be auctioned off to pay the ravenous lawyers – and guess who bought it? Danny’s own former lawyer – and at a very reduced rate.

Danny is unique because most victims of guardianship abuse are elderly and unable to speak up. Danny’s a walking, talking survivor – and he’s got a lot to say!

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

LISTEN to the show live or listen to the archive later

Millions Stolen From Florida Woman

For nearly four years, Jeffrey T. Carr and his father allegedly used manipulation and a family rift to steal millions of dollars from a 91-year-old East Cobb woman.

But the alleged deception came to a halt around 10 a.m. Tuesday when investigators with the Cobb County Sheriff's Office  Fraud Unit arrested the father and the son without incident, spokeswoman Nancy Bodiford said this morning.

Jeffrey Carr, 39, was arrested on charges that include four counts of theft by taking and exploitation of the elderly. Joseph T. Carr, 65, faces charges of theft by receiving stolen property and exploitation of the elderly.

According to Cobb County criminal warrants, Jeffrey Carr gained the trust of the woman in early May 2009 "by exploiting an ongoing sibling rivalry between the victim's daughters, and allowing one daughter to isolate her mother from contact with other people and the other sibling."

Despite ongoing efforts by Adult Protective Services to aid the woman, Jeffrey Carr allegedly allowed the isolation to continue, records show.

When the woman was hospitalized on Jan. 6, 2012, Jeffrey Carr allegedly arranged to move her to a Gainesville rehabilitation facility near him, "effectively isolating her from contact with her daughters and friends despite the victim's initial request to go to a facility close to her residence in Cobb County," an investigator with the sheriff's office wrote in his warrant.

With the woman so close to him, he was able to monitor the people who had access to her.

At some point, Jeffrey Carr wanted to keep even closer tabs on the woman, according to the warrant. Father and son allegedly moved the woman in the middle of the night from the assisted living facility into the father's Gainesville residence, a move that allegedly netted the son nearly $2.8 million "in the guise of fees, rent payments, commissions, legal fees and other charges in which the bank records subsequently showed the victim paid for directly," according to Jeffrey Carr's warrant.

Jeffrey Carr is being held in the Cobb County Adult Detention Center in lieu of $500,000 bond. Joseph Carr was released late Tuesday on a $100,000 bond.

Full Article and Source:
Millions Stolen From East Cobb Woman

Federal Lawsuit Charges California Conservatorship Judge For Conspiring to Cover Up Fabricated Evidence Against 83 Year Old Woman With Six Million Dollar Estate

In Merritt & Pacheco-Starks v. Mckenney et al, CV13-01391-PSG an amended complaint was filed on April 26, 2013, in Northern California Federal Court, adding judge Thomas Cain, attorneys Lynn Searle and Michael Desmerais as defendants with three other Santa Clara Superior Court Judges for intentionally and knowingly violating the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) against Mrs. Merritt and Mrs. Pacheco-Starks, both Santa Clara county citizens.

According to the revised lawsuit, Mrs. Pacheco-Starks sought the help of local businessman and civil rights advocate, David Merritt, to help her terminate the services of court appointed lawyer Michael Desmerais so that she could hire her own lawyer. The lawsuit also alleges that her son, along with his lawyer Lynn Searle have "fabricated" and filed evidence in order to take control of her six-million dollar estate and to prevent her from being with her husband due to the differences in their age and race.

The lawsuit also alleges that Mrs. Pacheco-Starks asked Mr. Merritt to present three requests under the Americans with Disability Act that authorized him to aid her in securing a new lawyer, removing her son from conservatorship and prohibiting her son from interfering with her communications with Mr. Merritt.

The court transcripts further reveal over an hour's worth of interrogation by judge Cain where statements such as: "You have no standing to participate in these proceedings, let alone represent MS Pacheco." Refused to accept Mrs. Pacheco-Starks ADA requests', rejected her attempt to terminate the court appointed lawyer and acquire her own; told Mr. Merritt that he was very close to committing a criminal offense and ultimately ordered "Mr. Merritt, you are ordered to have no contact directly or indirectly with Ms. Beatrice Pacheco. You are not to go within 100 yards of Mrs. Pacheco. And that is good until a hearing ...."

Full Article and Source;
Federal Lawsuit Charges California Conservatorship Judge For Conspiring to Cover Up Fabricated Evidence Against 83 Year Old Woman With Six Million Dollar Estate

See Also:
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Mandatory Elder Abuse Reporting Bill Heads to Colorado's Governor

A bill requiring people in certain occupations — ranging from physicians to clergy members — to report abuse or exploitation of seniors in Colorado is heading to to the governor's desk.

Senate Bill 111 passed through the House Wednesday morning and will now go to Gov. John Hickenlooper to be signed into law. Currently, Colorado is one of three states that does not require certain professionals, such as caretakers for elders, to report abuse or exploitations against seniors.

The bill will require nurses, chiropractors, law enforcement officers, dentists, nursing home staff, home health care workers and others to report any abuse or exploitation of anyone over the age of 70.

These mandatory reporters will be required by law to report any incidents to law enforcement within 24 hours of observing the abuse.

The bill was amended in committee to clarify that while clergy members are considered mandatory reporters, the "penitent privilege" that allows a clergy member keep certain information confidential, such as a parishioner giving a confession to a priest, still applies.

Any mandatory reporter who willfully fails to report the abuse could face a class 3 misdemeanor charge.

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Mandatory Elder Abuse Reporting Bill Heads to Governor's Desk