Saturday, June 29, 2013

Attorney discipline: 14 attorneys in South Florida spanked

One attorney tried to give a judge a bottle of wine. Another is accused of stealing money from client trust funds. A third attorney lost her driver’s license and was suspended after a felony DUI.

Overall, 14 lawyers in South Florida faced discipline by the Florida Supreme Court in recent court orders from April and May.

Bankruptcy attorney Kevin Gleason already apologized publicly for criticizing U.S. Bankruptcy Judge John Olson and for trying to smooth it over by sending a bottle of wine to Olson’s office. Now he will be publicly reprimanded following a May 15 order from the Florida Supreme Court.

West Palm Beach attorney James Herbert Rainey was suspended on an emergency petition accusing him of raiding client trust funds. Rainey’s attoney, Kevin Tynan, said his client denies the allegation and is defending himself.

What happened to the clients’ funds? Tynan said he wasn’t prepared answer that question from a newspaper reporter, but he would be filing motions soon outlining Rainey’s defense.

Two South Florida attorneys were permanently disbarred. Another two faced normal disbarment, which means they can reapply for a law license under certain conditions in five years.

Statewide, the court disciplined 23 attorneys, disbarring six, suspending 12 and publicly reprimanding five.

A news release from the Florida Bar provided the following summaries of additional South Florida discipline cases:

John Patrick Clement, North Palm Beach, permanently disbarred on a May 3 order. Clement was found in contempt for non-compliance with the terms of a December 2011 disbarment order. Clement failed to respond to correspondence from the Bar and failed to appear at final hearings on Jan. 12, 2012 and Feb. 10, 2012. (Case No. SC11-1458)

Rene Navarro, Miami, permanently disbarred on a May 15 order. Navarro was found in contempt for violating the terms of his January 2008 disbarment order. Navarro engaged in the practice of law, despite being disbarred. (SC12-1561)

Robert W. Frazier Jr., Fort Lauderdale, disbarred retroactive to April 1, 2011, following a May 2 order. Frazier intentionally and actively assisted a client in cashing a check that did not belong to either of them. He then turned the proceeds over to the client. (Case No. SC11-819)

Mark David Tucker, Miami, disbarred effective 30 days from an April 30 order. Tucker was found in contempt for failing to comply with the terms of a November 2010 suspension order that also placed him on probation for three years. Tucker failed to pay $72,950 to a former client within the three-year probationary period as required. (Case No. SC12-952)

Rita Rosato Pitassi, Delray Beach, suspended for three years on a May 15 order. Pitassi was adjudicated guilty in court of one count of felony driving under the influence, for the third time in 10 years. Pitassi was sentenced to 150 days incarceration and five years probation. She was also released to a drug and alcohol treatment facility for 120 days of inpatient treatment and random drug testing during probation; her driver’s license was permanently revoked. (SC12-1892)

Ronald George Baker, Coral Gables, suspended for 91 days, effective July 14, on a May 15 order. Baker had a long-time business relationship with a client. A restatement of a trust provided that Baker, who prepared documents at the instruction of the client, would receive $250,000 as a beneficiary. Upon the death of the client, Baker disbursed the funds to himself and also collected $110,000 for serving as trustee, personal representative and attorney. Baker violated Bar rules involving conflict of interest. His acceptance of a substantial gift from a client was inappropriate and also violated Bar rules. (Case No. SC12-2725)

Libio Calejo, Doral, suspended for one year, effective 30 days from a May 15 order. Calejo represented approximately 20 debtors in federal bankruptcy court. Many of the petitions and schedules he filed contained inaccuracies, leading to amendments that also contained inaccuracies and resulted in unreasonable delays. Calejo’s failure to appear at a number of scheduled creditors’ meetings resulted in the dismissal of most of the bankruptcy cases. Calejo also failed to adequately communicate with clients, often leaving that responsibility to his non-lawyer personnel. (Case No. SC12-2729)

Kathleen M. P. Davis, Greenacres, suspended, effective 30 days from a May 30 order, until she fully responds in writing to Bar inquiries and until further order. Davis was found in contempt for failing to respond to multiple official Bar inquiries. (Case No. SC12-802)

Eric Richard Hospedales, Miramar, suspended for 90 days, effective 30 days from a May 15 order. During an investigation into a Bar complaint, Hospedales provided misleading and incomplete information to the Bar and its agents. In statements to a grievance committee member, Hospedales contradicted an earlier written statement. He also failed to reveal pertinent information. (Case No. SC12-912)

Jeffrey Allen McCann, Palm Beach Gardens, suspended for one year, effective immediately on a May 15 order. McCann was found in contempt for violating the terms of his April 2012 suspension order. Specifically, McCann was required to submit to The Florida Bar, a sworn affidavit listing the persons/entities to which he gave notice of his suspension and provided a copy of his suspension order. (Case No. SC12-1279)

Julio R. Ferrer Roo, Miami, suspended for one year, effective immediately, following a May 15 order. Roo was found in contempt for violating the terms of his April 2012 suspension order. Specifically, Roo was required to submit to The Florida Bar a sworn affidavit listing the persons/entities to which he gave notice of his suspension and provided a copy of his suspension order. (Case No. SC12-2137)

Laurie Schrier, Boynton Beach, suspended until further order, effective 30 days from an April 12 order. Schrier failed to respond to multiple Bar inquiries regarding a complaint. (Case No. SC12-2164)

Elsewhere in Florida:

Jessica Ann Bennett, Riverview, permanently disbarred on a May 15 order. (Case No. SC12-1305)

Jennifer Aycock Bonifield, Brandon, disbarred on a May 15 order.

Chris Eugene Cadenhead, Crestview, suspended until further order, effective 30 days from a May 7 order. (Case No. SC13-753)

Gayle Patricia Ellsworth, Warwick, R.I., suspended until further order, effective 30 days from a May 23 order. (Case No. SC13-900)

Stewart Lawrence Jacobson, Clermont, to be publicly reprimanded following a May 15 order. (Case No. SC12-1941)

Stephen Gilman Kolody, Fort Myers, suspended for 91 days, effective 30 days from a May 15 order. (Case Nos. SC11-721 & SC12-1420)

Miquell Mack, Ocala, to be publicly reprimanded, following a May 15 order. (Case No. SC12-2726)

Eduardo Julio Mejias, Altamonte Springs, to be publicly reprimanded and placed on probation for six months, on a May 15 order. (Case No. SC12-882)

Charles Edward Pellicer, Saint Augustine, to be publicly reprimanded and placed on probation for two years, following a May 15 order. (Case No. SC12-1190)

Discipline orders are not final until time expires to file a rehearing motion and, if filed, determined. The filing of such a motion does not alter the effective date of the discipline. Disbarred lawyers may not re-apply for admission for five years. They are required to go through an extensive process that rejects many who apply. It includes a rigorous background check and retaking the bar exam. Historically, less than 5 percent of disbarred lawyers seek readmission.

Full Article and Source:
Attorney discipline: 14 attorneys in South Florida spanked

Friday, June 28, 2013

State declines to investigate vast majority of hospital complaints

Illinois officials didn't look into 85 percent of the 560 hospital complaints received last year, even when the reports alleged violations such as patient abuse

A patient at Harrisburg Medical Center complained to the state that a bacterial infection spreading through the hospital had already killed one person and that nurses and doctors did not wear protective gowns and gloves.

How did Illinois officials respond? They declined to investigate.
Jeanine Thomas

At Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, a patient was pricked by dirty needles, prompting preventive treatment for HIV.

State regulators chose not to pursue that case, too.

They also took a pass on allegations that a staffer at Streamwood Behavioral Health Center assaulted a patient, causing a possible spinal injury, and that a nurse misused an IV machine at Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital, leading to a near fatal overdose, a Tribune investigation found.

The Illinois Department of Public Health declined to investigate 85 percent of the 560 hospital complaints it received last year, even when the reports alleged violations such as patient abuse and inadequate infection control, records show. Some allegations of serious harm or death were not pursued even though federal law requires that such claims be investigated within 48 hours.

"These are serious complaints," said Lisa McGiffert, director of the national Consumers Union Safe Patient Project. "If the regulatory system is collecting these complaints and not responding, that is a massive failure of oversight."

Complaints can reveal crucial systemic problems, experts say. And when it finds violations, the state can order hospitals to make corrections.

But Illinois regulators say they don't have the funding to investigate. And the hospital industry has fought proposals to pay for the investigations with fees that amount to pennies a day per hospital bed.

Complaints about the same hospital can pile up without any investigations, according to thousands of records reviewed by the Tribune.

Full Article and Source:
State declines to investigate vast majority of hospital complaints

Sullivan Town Court Judge Resigns Over Tirade at Teenager

On several occasions during the summer of 2011, someone stole money from a farm stand that James P. Roman operated on his property in Madison County, N.Y. Convinced he had found the culprit that August, Mr. Roman, a justice of the nearby Sullivan Town Court, decided to take action, according to a complaint filed last year by the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct.

What followed was an obscenity-ridden confrontation during which, according to the complaint, Mr. Roman pushed a 15-year-old boy to the ground, took his bike, threw it in the boy’s yard and threatened him with a baseball bat.
On Tuesday, the commission, the state agency that disciplines judges, announced that Mr. Roman had agreed to resign from his post. He also agreed never to seek or accept judicial office again.
Neither Mr. Roman nor his lawyer, Alan J. Pope, returned calls for comment on Tuesday.
Mr. Roman filed a response to the complaint in October 2012 in which he admitted using “harsh words and expletives,” damaging the boy’s bicycle and telling him to stay off his property. But he denied that he had pushed the boy off the bicycle or used a baseball bat “in a menacing manner.”
Robert H. Tembeckjian, administrator and counsel for the commission, said in a phone interview on Tuesday: “It is clearly improper for a judge who is obliged to uphold the law to act outside the courtroom in a manner that disrespects the law and takes disputes to such an extreme level. Mr. Roman recognized that in deciding to leave the bench.”

Full Article and Source:
Sullivan Town Court Judge Resigns Over Tirade at Teenager

One in Ten Elders is Abused or Neglected


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Phoenix woman sentenced to 30 days in jail for bilking elderly man

Phoenix resident Gail Louise Olson will spend 30 days in jail and pay restitution for taking financial advantage of an elderly man she befriended for four years, a Jackson County judge decided Thursday.
Judge Lorenzo Mejia also prohibited Olson from serving as a caregiver for anyone outside her immediate family.
The verdict followed three days of often emotional testimony in court.
Olson was silent, often stoic, during the trial, but denied the charges brought against her after her sentencing.
"I loved John a lot. He was my best friend. I only did things to help him because he asked me to. He loved me like a daughter," Olson said, visibly distressed and wringing her hands behind her back.
"I don't know what to say. I didn't do anything wrong, I'm sorry. I can't admit to something I didn't do."
Becker's children John B. Becker and Sandy Becker both spoke to the courtroom through tears after the verdict was read. They said Olson's actions caused a rift in the family when members became suspicious of Olson, but their father refused to believe their concerns.
Sandy Becker said she found some comfort that her father seemed to understand what had happened in his final days.
"Things were so stressful and he was so angry for the last six to eight months, but the day he died, he had been asking for me," she said, wiping her eyes.

Full Article and Source:
Phoenix woman sentenced to 30 days in jail for bilking elderly man

Guardianship abuse has serious implications: Study

RIYADH — Men who exercise absolute control over the rights of women are considered one of the detrimental problems facing Saudi society, according to a new study.

This tendency represents the harshest form of injustice against women with psychological repercussions.

Despite the advice of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) to Muslims to be kind to their women, some male guardians hold an uncompromising attitude toward women under their care, be they their daughters, sisters or wives, without any justifiable reasons. Such intransigence demoralizes women and results in the loss of their financial rights, the study points out.

Some women continue to suffer from the abuse of their fathers or brothers who refuse them permission to marry, to work, or even to continue their education.

Some of these guardians may agree to some matters that concern women, but often in return for something. Women are sometimes forced to forfeit their salaries to achieve what they desire.

It should be stressed that in Islam a guardian should not exceed his rights and inflict harm upon a woman.

The judicial system states that if a guardian is abusive, the judge has the right to relieve him of his guardianship.

Fatimah Saleh, an elementary school teacher, said her father was very intransigent and rejected her suitors, claiming all those who had proposed to her were unsuitable. She is now 45 years old, and no one is proposing to her anymore.

After her father died, her brother followed in his steps for the sake of her salary, as she has become an ATM cash dispenser for him.

Full Article and Source:
Guardianship abuse has serious implications: Study

Flint man arraigned on charges of first degree elder abuse of partially blind mother diagnosed with dementia

FLINT, MI – A 47-year-old Flint man has been arraigned on charges of first-degree vulnerable adult abuse of his 67-year-old mother after authorities dispatched to a Flint home said they observed "deplorable" conditions inside the home, said Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell.

Acting on a 911 medical call, sheriff's paramedics responded to 524 Clinton St. Thursday, June 20.
After discovering a bathtub littered with used razors and old, tattered toilet paper rolls, floors covered with dog feces and garbage piled as high as five feet in bedrooms, authorities contacted the sheriff's Elder Abuse and Financial Exploitation Prevention team, Pickell said in a press conference Tuesday, June 25

Amid the investigation, authorities identified George Gilbert Harper, 47, and his mother, Sharon Harper, 67,  living at the home.

A detective arrested George Harper on an outstanding warrant of soliciting a prostitute out of Flint after he had attempted to flee the scene, Pickell said. Harper was arraigned on the soliciting charge on June 21. George Harper had moved in the home two months ago and had been his mother's part-time caregiver, the sheriff said.

George Harper was arraigned on charges of first-degree vulnerable adult abuse -- a 15-year felony -- and resisting and obstructing police, a two-year felony. Harper was  held on a $10,000 bond.

An attorney for George Harper was not listed in court records.
"I wonder, how many more women, men, elderly people, vulnerable adults are living in these kind of conditions?" Pickell said.

Full Article and Source:
Flint man arraigned on charges of first degree elder abuse of partially blind mother diagnosed with dementia

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Linda Kincaid Reports: Modesto elder abuse: Professional fiduciary Laurie Jamison isolates June Guinn

Since 2008, professional fiduciary Laurie Jamison has hidden June Guinn, 88, from her family. Until a week ago, family say they did not know where June was hidden or if she was still alive. Thanks to the efforts of Modesto Police Department, June was located at a home in Modesto, California. Jamison continues to deny June any contact with her loved ones.

As June’s conservator, Jamison is familiar with California statutes governing the actions of conservators. However, Jamison flagrantly violates California’s Probate Code and June’s right to visit with her family.

Probate Code 2352(b) states:
The conservator shall select the least restrictive appropriate residence, as described in Section 2352.5, that is available and necessary to meet the needs of the conservatee, and that is in the best interests of the conservatee.
California’s Handbook for Conservators gives conservators specific guidance concerning visitation. Each conservator is required to have a copy of the Handbook.
When a person becomes a conservatee, he or she does not lose the right to visit with friends or family.  
Do not isolate the conservatee by keeping friends or family away.
June’s daughters and grandson say Jamison ignored their repeated requests to learn where June resided, to visit with June, or to even speak to with June on the phone. In response to that isolation, the Court instructed:
It is further ordered that any visitation request shall be submitted to Laurie Jamison directly via email. The Court has no objection to visitation as long as the time and place are reasonable.
Family say Jamison ignored the court’s specific instructions. Their pleas to visit or speak with June continue to be ignored.

In June 2013, elder advocates also began requesting visits and phone calls with June.
On June 9, this Examiner emailed Jamison, requesting a visit with June.

On June 10, elder advocate Elaine Renoire of the National Association to STOP Guardian Abuse (NASGA) emailed Jamison, requesting a visit with June.

Jamison responded to Kincaid and Renoire:
I have concerns around the sensitive and private family dynamics at play in this matter and, in order to best protect Ms. Guinn, I must ask that you remain patient while I vet your request with my counsel. I will respond with further information as soon as I am able.
Jamison did not respond with any further information.

On June 10, Marti Oakley of TS Radio emailed Jamison, asking for a visit with June. Jamison’s attorney, Terry Campbell Wallace responded.
Your comment that many people have become concerned for the welfare of June Guinn is interesting in that none of the family members have contacted Laurie Jamison, either by email or telephone, to request visitation with Mrs. Guinn. Her location is kept confidential due to incidents that occurred in the past. However, visitation by family members can be arranged, and certainly are welcome, by contacting Ms. Jamison.
Wallace’s response is not consistent with family’s experiences of having their pleas ignored for the past five years. Daughters Lynda Lucido and Cheryl Morris both say they have repeatedly phoned, sent emails and certified letters for the past five years, begging to have contact with their mother. Jamison does not respond.
Full Article and Source:
Modesto elder abuse: Professional fiduciary Laurie Jamison isolates June Guinn

See Also:
Linda Kincaid Reports: Elder Abuse of June Guinn by Modesto, California Conservator

Ex-judges shouldn’t call selves ‘Judge,’ panel says

Once a judge doesn’t mean always a judge.

With few exceptions, a former judge may not continue to use a judicial title, according to an advisory opinion issued yesterday by the disciplinary arm of the Ohio Supreme Court.

“Former judges may not use judicial titles while practicing law, engaging in law-related or other business activities, working in government or other public-sector positions, or providing charity or community service,” the Board of Commissioners on Grievances & Discipline said.

However, “Former judges serving as retired assigned, acting and private judges may use judicial titles in case-related entries, orders, decisions and correspondence.”

The board’s opinion, in response to an inquiry, was based on Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct and Code of Judicial Conduct.

While social etiquette may suggest the “once a judge, always a judge” adage, the board found that the philosophy “is misplaced in modern American legal and judicial ethics.”

Full Article and Source:
Ex-judges shouldn’t call selves ‘Judge,’ panel says

Auburn woman arrested for bilking $400,000 in fake cancer scheme

A 51-year-old Auburn woman was arrested Monday on federal wire fraud charges for faking cancer and bilking more than $400,000 from an elderly Auburn resident who believed her story.

U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan says Julie Ann Dahlquist claimed to have cancer but no medical insurance or money for treatment. The victim wrote checks to Dahlquist for as much as $9,000 three times a month to pay for the non-existent treatment.

The federal indictment says the victim wrote 190 checks between May 2009 and September 2012 totaling over $400,000. Dahlquist allegedly used the money for gambling and other expenses.

Along with the wire fraud charge, Dahlquist is also charged with Social Security fraud for hiding the $400,000 she defrauded out of the victim to collect Supplemental Security Income benefits . She also failed to disclose another $100,000 in gambling winnings.

The indictment says that additional income would have disqualified her from collecting benefits. Dahlquist faces up to 20 years in prison for the wire fraud charge, and an additional five years for Social Security fraud.

Full Article and Source:
Auburn woman arrested for bilking $400,000 in fake cancer scheme

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Georgette Braun: Alzheimer’s tears at family of admired local actor

Thousands of Rockfordians remember Rod MacDonald as “Roddy Mac,” the funny, tassled-hat-wearing star of thousands of WREX-TV kids shows in the 1950s and ’60s.

Robert Greenblatt, NBC entertainment chairman, remembers him as the Boylan Catholic High School theater director in the 1970s who was a big influence on his career.

Richard Raether, Artists’ Ensemble Theater artistic director, remembers Rod in 2007 playing a completely believable actor lying in bed, dying, in a show at Rockford College.

While fond memories of Rod, 87, abound, Rod himself isn’t remembering so well these days. He has Alzheimer’s disease.

And the disease — the fifth-leading cause of death for those age 65 and older — is splitting his family. It’s an all-too-common side effect of the devastating disease.

At issue is who should care for Rod and where, and it’s the subject of a court battle between his wife and his children.

Jessica MacDonald, Rod’s wife of 23 years, placed him nearly two months ago in the LaSalle Veterans Home, which operates an Alzheimer’s wing. It’s a 90-minute drive south of Rockford and is more affordable than facilities closer to here, Jessica said.

Rod gave her power of attorney in 1998 to act on his behalf.

But his three children from his marriage to Ginny, who died of cancer, want their father to return to Rockford. They want him to be closer, in more familiar, stimulating surroundings, cared for by family.

Scott MacDonald, his son, has filed a lawsuit in Winnebago County court to gain guardianship of his father, and Jessica has countered. The next court hearing is Friday.

Rod’s daughter Sarah Aumann of Rockford has taken the children’s case to Facebook, creating a Friends of Rod MacDonald page.

The page features video that daughter Kate MacDonald of Wofford Heights, Calif., shot at the veterans home with Scott and Sarah at Rod’s side. In it, he talks about wanting to go home and threatens to hurt himself if that doesn’t happen.

Jessica said Rod is lucid at times, but at other times doesn’t recognize her or others or know where home is.

Scott told me he wants to care for his dad at Scott’s home in Rockford. He said he would quit his Better Business Bureau job to care for him if need be.

“It is not a wise plan,” Jessica told me.

Full Article and Source:
Georgette Braun: Alzheimer’s tears at family of admired local actor

Illinois judges seeking assistance at faster pace

SPRINGFIELD — The cocaine-induced death of a downstate Illinois judge in March and the arrest last month of a colleague on drug-related charges comes at a time when more attorneys than ever are seeking help for mental health issues and addiction problems.

According to the most recent annual report of the Illinois Lawyers Assistance Program, which helps find treatment for attorneys, 299 new cases were opened during the most recent fiscal year, the most of any time in the agency's 32-year history.

Janet Piper Voss, executive director of the assistance program, attributes the increase to a rise in awareness of the program and an acceptance that treatment is a better option than hiding problems.
But, she said, judges often are a different breed.

"They are very concerned about letting anyone know there is a problem," Voss said. "And they tend to be more isolated in their work setting."

Joe Christ, 49, had been an associate judge in St. Clair County for less than a month before he died of a cocaine overdose in March. The Illinois State University graduate was a county prosecutor for nearly two decades before his elevation to the bench.

Christ's body was recovered at a hunting lodge in Pike County owned by the parents of St. Clair County Circuit Judge Michael Cook, 45, who has since been charged with possessing a weapon while using a controlled substance and misdemeanor possession of heroin.

According to a review of disciplinary action against judges at the Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board, the behavior of the two men would be considered among the most egregious when compared to cases going back for decades.

Since 1973, there have been 82 cases filed against wayward judges by the inquiry board.
Of them, only one other judge was connected to a drug-related crime.

In October 1996, Cook County Associate Judge Frank Edwards was nabbed for transporting marijuana at an airport in Belize.

A review of inquiry board documents shows 12 judges have been penalized over the past 40 years for allegations of alcohol abuse. Of those, cases against five judges were filed in the past decade.

Other inquiry board findings center on issues ranging from the attempted use of judicial clout to the mistreatment of people in their courtrooms.

In 2006, for example, the board opened an inquiry into Logan County Associate Judge Donald Behle, who was accused of having dated a woman while presiding over her divorce and child custody case.

He also faced an allegation that he contacted a witness in a case in which he was the presiding judge.
The case was closed in 2007 after Behle resigned from office.

Among the highest-profile cases of the inquiry board was the 1997 censure of James Heiple, the chief justice of the Illinois Supreme Court.

Heiple was accused of trying to use his position to keep from being charged with a traffic violation.
But those cases affected judges who remained in office after they were investigated.

Once a judge leaves office, the inquiry board loses jurisdiction over the case. That means a judge accused of a drug-related crime might not be investigated by board.

"There could be others because they left (the job,)" said Kathy Twine, executive director of the Judicial Inquiry Board.

Former Sangamon County Associate Judge Philip Schickendanz serves as an example. He resigned in 1990 after being convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol and cocaine possession.

He eventually was stripped of his law license by a separate agency, the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission.

Full Article and Source:
Illinois judges seeking assistance at faster pace

Final Curtain for Anthony Marshall’s Plea for Freedom

Anthony Marshall being consoled by his wife,
Charlene, after sentencing.
The final curtain in Anthony Marshall’s quest for freedom came down Friday after a judge ordered the 89-year-old to begin his one to three-year prison sentence. Marshall was found guilty in 2009 of grand larceny. The victim was his own mother, famed New York socialite and philanthropist Brooke Astor. The person who first sought to have him removed as Brooke Astor’s guardian was his son, Philip Marshall.

It’s an unfortunate ending to a legacy lasting several generations that began with the nation’s first multi-millionaire, John Jacob Astor, continued through the Titanic disaster, and included the philanthropy of Brooke Astor. She donated money to help not only the famous libraries, art museums and concert halls of New York, but also supported settlement houses to help keep teenagers out of gangs.

Marshall’s plea for a retrial was denied Thursday and his court appearance on Friday was for sentencing. When Justice Kirke Bartley gave him the opportunity to speak, he declined. His lawyers, Kenneth Warner and John Cuti, used poor health and age to try to keep him out of prison. Marshall is in a wheelchair, has Parkinson’s disease and congestive heart failure, is on medication, and needs help getting dressed. That did not sway the judge who added that he took no pleasure in doing his duty. Marshall’s friend Francis Morrissey, Jr., an attorney who was convicted of helping Brooke Astor’s son steal from her by forging her signature on an amendment to her will, began his prison sentence on Thursday.

Full Article and Source:
Final Curtain for Anthony Marshall’s Plea for Freedom

Monday, June 24, 2013

Former Jasper County Official Sentenced for Document Fraud

A former public administrator of Jasper County, Missouri was sentenced in federal court today for document fraud, which was part of a scheme in which she illegally obtained federal benefits for her public wards.

Springfield, MO - infoZine - Rita Frances Hunter, 60, of Joplin, Missouri, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple to 12 months and a day in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Hunter to pay $120,000 in restitution to the Department of Health and Human Services. Hunter must report on August 1, 2013, to begin serving her prison sentence.

“This elected official betrayed the public trust and defrauded the government,” Dickinson said. “The citizens of Jasper County deserve to have honest public servants who fulfill their civic obligations lawfully, and in this case, they deserved better.”

Hunter, who pleaded guilty to document fraud on November 6, 2012, was the elected public administrator for Jasper County from January 1, 2005 to December 31, 2008.

Full Article and Source:
Former Jasper County Official Sentenced for Document Fraud

See Also:
Civil Suits Against Rita Hunter Pending

Stefani allowed to practice law in federal court

Attorney Michael Stefani, who lost his law license for 30 days over his handling of the text message scandal that landed former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is jail, can practice law in Detroit federal court again.

U.S. District Judge Avern Cohn on Friday granted Stefani’s request that he be reinstated to practice in the Eastern District of Michigan.
Stefani, whose license was suspended in 2012, had previously been cleared to practice in the state courts by the state Attorney Discipline Board.

But to practice in the federal court system, Stefani had to persuade a panel of three federal judges that he was morally fit, competent in the law, and that he wouldn’t do anything to hurt the integrity of the legal profession and the courts.

Cohn concluded that Stefani did that.

Full Article and Source:
Stefani allowed to practice law in federal court

Legal Matters: Petition for guardianship an option for those who need help

People have the right to make bad decisions. Dad can buy a new vacuum cleaner every week and stack them floor to ceiling. Although he is probably making his family crazy, he is not necessarily legally incompetent. But if Dad cannot buy food because he spends all his income on vacuum cleaners, he may need a guardian to manage his money.

Bad decisions become a legal issue when family members or others concerned conclude that a person is unable to make or communicate responsible decisions about his person or property because of physical or mental disability, disease, habitual drunkenness, drug addiction or other circumstances such as disappearance.

A representative payee can be appointed for a person who can no longer manage his income. The payee receives the person’s government benefits, such as Social Security or a veteran’s pension, and pays his bills.
A petition for guardianship may be the only good option for a person who has not given power of attorney and refuses to accept help but can no longer take care of himself. The person may need one or both types of guardian — a guardian of the person to make sure he has health care, food, clothing and shelter, or a guardian of property if he is unable to manage his property or business affairs effectively.
Mental incompetency is a ghost in fog, difficult to define or identify. Maryland law says a guardian of the person must be appointed if a judge determines that the individual “lacks sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate responsible decisions concerning his person, including provisions for health care, food, clothing, or shelter, because of any mental disability, disease, habitual drunkenness, or addiction to drugs, and that no less restrictive form of intervention is available which is consistent with the person’s welfare and safety.”
A disabled person may be competent to make some decisions but not others. For example, a developmentally disabled 20-year-old may be able to express a reasoned opinion about whom she trusts to handle her money, but unable to pay her bills on time.

Full Article and Source:
Legal Matters: Petition for guardianship an option for those who need help

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Tonight on T.S. Radio: Updates on June Guinn and Jimmy Suski with Marcia Southwick

Marcia Southwick will join us from New Mexico.

Join us this evening as we update our listeners on the June E Guinn case that saw a major change thanks to the hard work of Linda Kincaid. Also, Jimmy Suski was able to make a call to his cousin. He does not know where he is being held but is being abused. Contact info for Minnesota Senators, governor and State AG to demand an investigation of this case.

Listeners are invited to call in with questions or comments.

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

LISTEN LIVE or listen to the archive later

Seniors with dementia express themselves, connect with others in drumming circle

Standing in a room full of lined faces, Alan Yello­witz held up an orange drum shaped like a wineglass. “This one’s called a djembe,” he said. “It’s from Ghana.”

The 30 or so people watching him had, combined, amassed hundreds of years of living, although their recollection of those years was fading. Many stared off blankly, perhaps unable to remember what Ghana is. But one 85-year-old woman started tapping her hand on her thigh.

“Give it a try,” Yellowitz said, quickly placing a three-foot-high drum beside her and handing her a mallet.

Yellowitz and his business partner, Adam Mason, are the guys behind The Beat Goes On, a Fairfax County-based organization that brings drum circles — more commonly associated with college campuses and hippie gatherings — to seniors.

On a recent day, they unpacked about 60 percussion instruments in an activities room at Arden Courts Memory Care Community in Annandale, a residence for people with dementia — including many who have Alzheimer’s disease. The collection featured a “talking drum” from Senegal with strings on the sides that can be used to create a “wah-wah” effect, an “ocean drum” that sounded like crashing waves, and an array of wooden spoons, coconut shells and tambourines.

As they bantered with the residents, Yellowitz and Mason handed out drums and mallets and affixed lightweight drum heads to walkers. “We turn walkers into drum sets all the time,” Mason assured them, and soon everyone had something to beat on.

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Seniors with dementia express themselves, connect with others in drumming circle

Woman in custody a year after arrest warrants issued for financial exploitation

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) – The fifth, and final, woman accused of stealing more than $260,000 from a Leland man's checking account is finally in custody – nearly a year after arrest warrants were issued.

According to the Brunswick County Sheriff's Office, Lisa McClain, of Fair Bluff, is in custody for several charges, including financial exploitation of an elderly person, felony conspiracy, and financial card theft.

Kenneth Ray Nash told authorities in October 2011 that someone had taken over his personal checking account, according to a post on the Sheriff's Office website.

After a 10-month investigation by the fraud unit, over 1,600 bank transactions were used to identify an in-home health care worker who was assigned to work for Nash by a home health care company.
According to officials, McClain took cash, prescription pain medications and checking account information from Nash during her employment.

McClain also reportedly enlisted help from several friends in order to create a debt consolidation, or bill-pay service, using Nash's funds.

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Woman in custody a year after arrest warrants issued for financial exploitation

MDH investigates financial exploitation complaint

HIBBING — An investigation by the Minnesota Department of Health’s (MDH) Office of Health Facility Complaints (OHFC) has substantiated an allegation of financial exploitation by a Fairview HealthLine HomeCare home health aide.

Jessica L. Foster, 23, of Hibbing, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor theft in February in St. Louis County Court in Hibbing. Foster, a former home health aide with Fairview HealthLine HomeCare, was convicted of a petty misdemeanor and sentenced to pay a fine of $135.
The incident was also investigated by OHFC, and the home health aide was found to be responsible for the financial exploitation after she took a patient’s ring and pawned it without permission in January, according to the OHFC investigative report released Tuesday.

Financial exploitation of a home health care patient is a violation of the Minnesota Vulnerable Adults Act.
The report found that financial exploitation occurred when Foster, who is not named in the report, took a patient’s ring and pawned it without permission for her own personal use.
The patient, who was receiving services from the agency including assistance with personal care, was assessed by the agency to be vulnerable to abuse by others.
Foster was one of the staff members scheduled to assist the patient.
The patient and a family member told the OHFC investigator that she called the family member when she noticed her gold ring was missing from a table after the health care worker had been in the home.
The patient’s family member checked at a local pawn shop, discovered the ring and notified the police. Nothing else was believed to be missing from the home, according to the report.
OHFC investigators also reviewed police reports and found that Foster had admitted to police that she’d taken the ring and pawned it without permission.
She also pawned two necklaces along with the ring for a total of $167, according to the report.
Fairview also did its own internal investigation after learning of the alleged theft and promptly terminated Foster, who was still in the orientation phase of employment, said Mitch Vincent, Fairview VP of organizational support.
“We don’t tolerate this sort of behavior. Theft is not something we tolerate, especially (from) our patients,” he said. “We investigate thoroughly and take immediate actions when we learn about these types of situations.”
The OHFC has submitted its report on the incident to the nurse aide registry for possible inclusion of the finding on the abuse registry and/or to the Minnesota Department of Human Services for possible disqualification.
Foster has the right to appeal the finding.
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MDH investigates financial exploitation complaint