Saturday, August 9, 2014

Open Letter to Jerome Larkin, Administrator of the Illinois ARDC From Ken Ditkowsky

Dozens of  friends and family of victims of Elder Cleansing have written to your commission and all have received a letter that said that your agency stating that it was not interested in the obviously criminal conduct of a small group of lawyers being reported.    

Each complaint was essentially the same.    A senior citizen was railroaded into a guardianship in which his/her liberty and property were confiscated.     The looting of the estate was accomplished by the direct violation of the directive of 755 ILCS 11a – 3 (b) in that the elderly and/or disabled victim was separated from his/her prior life and family members who would not attorn to the artificial arrangement and the unjust enrichment of judicial and other officials.  (other officials include guardians and attorneys).    After the looting was complete the elderly person was subjected to a sometimes drawn out involuntary assisted suicide.

Some of the citizen complaints that were not investigated and not acted upon related attorney conduct that is so despicable and wrong that you dishonor the entire legal profession with your refusal to investigate.    The mining of the teeth of senior citizen Alice Gore orchestrated by an Illinois lawyer and ignored by your commission is illustrate of the neglect of duty that you have exhibited.    

The attempt to silence attorneys who speak out as to corruption in the Courts is another low point in your tenure and is at the very least the aiding and abetting of the felonies associated with elder cleansing.

I written to you and your commission before and asked for you to join in calling for an HONEST intelligent complete and comprehensive investigation of the cottage industry of elder cleansing and in particular that which occurred in the case of Mary Sykes 09 P 4585.    You of course have not joined in or conducted any investigation.    

The net was you marshalled your kangaroo panels and I am suspended for four years for the exercise of my First Amendment Rights.     You then started proceedings against JoAnne Denison who published on her blog some of my First Amendment utterances.     Currently, Ms. Denison in response to what appears to be the misreporting of the perjured words and phrases of a Judge you have continued with your ‘cover up’ by refusing Ms. Denison the audio transmission of the testimony.

You have accused me of making false statements but have never articulated a single statement that you claim was or is false.  I challenge you and herewith demand for you to instanter provide me and the community with a list of each statement that you claim was false.  Then for every statement you claim was false set forth the basis upon which you claim the statement was false. The foregoing notwithstanding the Friends and family of each of the victims of elder cleansing who have written attorney complaints to your commission want to know why you have refused to investigate the violations of the civil, human, property, and liberty rights of their loved ones who have been railroaded into guardianship by Illinois attorneys.   

We would like to know why you are protecting certain attorneys and not others.     Attorney Miriam Solo has been accused by the family of Alice Gore of what amounts to a human rights violation.    Adam Stern, Cynthia Farenga, Peter Schmiedel and other have been accused by Gloria Sykes and the family of Mary Sykes of very very serious violations of Mary Sykes’ fundamental liberty rights.    This list is endless and each complaining person wants to know why you are not leading the investigation into the human rights It has not gone un-noticed that there is no ethics statement that can be found for you.   The ethics statements being your disclosure of assets and liabilities required by the State.  

 A person placed in the position of judging the conduct of others should be able and willing to demonstrate at the drop of hat that he is more virtuous than Caesar’s wife.

~Ken Ditkowsky

Thousands of Disabled Workers in Pennsylvania Paid Far Below Minimum Wage

About 13,000 disabled Pennsylvanians are earning an average of $2.40 an hour in a legal use of subminimum wages.

The majority work almost solely with other disabled people, in a world tucked away from the mainstream labor market.

They’re given menial tasks, like folding boxes, shredding paper or packing mail inserts.

Since 1986, there has been no limit to how little they can be paid. And even the federal government, which issues the certificates that allow employers to pay subminimum wages, doesn’t track the hourly earnings of the workers.

An average worker at the Venango Training and Development Center in Northwest Pennsylvania, for example, earns $1.72 an hour for shrink-wrapping mugs or assembling toys. In Montgomery County, workers are baking dog treats for an average of $3.16 an hour at the Center for Creative Works.

Boxing screws and preparing mail to be sent to prospective college students yields an average of $1.62 an hour at the Milestone Centers in Monroeville.

The federal program as a whole is under attack at state and national levels.

Does it provide opportunities for people who wouldn’t otherwise have a job? Or does it exploit those who could work for minimum wage if given the chance?

Michael Kissel slapped a packing label between the shoulders of a co-worker.

Prank successful, Kissel got right back to work at the Westmoreland County Blind Association, loading boxes of paper onto a dolly to prepare for shredding.

Kissel, 36, has Down syndrome. He lives in a group home with two roommates. He sees this work as a ticket to independence — his own apartment.

“I want to spend time alone,” he said. “Too many people are around.”

That goal may be nearly impossible considering his pay.

He said he earned $57 on a recent paycheck, which covered two weeks. He usually works 25 hours a week.

Full Article and Source:
Thousands of Disabled Workers in Pennsylvania Paid Far Below Minimum Wage

Brokers Dealing With Older Investors Get More Scrutiny

The Massachusetts securities regulator wants to know how often older investors complain to their securities firms, and what the firms do about it.

The Massachusetts Securities Division sent a questionnaire to 162 brokerage firms asking about complaints received from clients 65 or older over the past two years, including what products those complaints were related to. The regulators also want to know whether firms have policies and procedures that would amount to heightened oversight about transactions by senior investors.
“We have seen an increase in the actions brought by the Securities Division that involved senior investors in one way or another,” said a spokesman for Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin.
Elderly investors have caused increasing concerns for regulators and brokers nationwide. More than one-third of enforcement action taken by state securities regulators since 2008 involved senior investors, says the North American Securities Administrators Association.
The issues regulators and brokerages wrestle with range from problems brokers face communicating with clients who suffer from dementia to outright elder abuse—by brokers, by relatives, by friends.
With more brokerage clients reaching retirement, regulators want to know exactly how big a problem they are up against with bad brokers taking advantage of elderly clients’ trust and forgetfulness. Brokerage firms, meanwhile, struggle to determine what exactly they can do to properly advise clients who start to forget facts, dates, and conversations, and who might ask advisers to help them with unwise investment transactions.
Even lawyers seem to be a bit lost. The American Bar Association said earlier this month that attorneys “often fail to get involved” in elder-abuse issues, in part because they do not recognize the abuse or are unsure of their ethical obligations. The ABA added a webinar to raise awareness.
On Tuesday, a survey the ABA conducted with the Investor Protection Trust and the Investor Protection Institute revealed that more than one out of three attorneys says they are or may be dealing with the victims of elder investment fraud and financial exploitation.

Full Article and Source:
Brokers Dealings With Older Investors Get More Scrutiny

Former DA Armando R. Villalobos' Law License Suspended

Former Cameron County District Attorney Armando R. Villalobos’ license to practice law has been suspended pending his appeal.

The Board of Disciplinary Appeals, which is appointed by the Texas Supreme Court, took this action following a July 25 hearing. The order of suspension states that Villalobos failed to answer a request filed by the State Bar of Texas’ Commission for Lawyer Discipline, seeking disciplinary action against Villalobos.

The Board of Disciplinary Appeals stated that during the suspension, Villalobos is prohibited from practicing law in the state, performing any legal service for others, accepting any fee directly or indirectly for legal services not completed, appearing as counsel in any proceeding in any Texas court, or holding himself to others or using his name in any manner in conjunction with the words attorney, counselor or lawyer.
BODA also directed Villalobos to notify every justice of the peace, judge, magistrate, and chief justice of each and every court in which he has any legal matter pending of his suspension and to notify his current clients and opposing counsel. Villalobos also was directed to surrender his law license.
“The board retains jurisdiction to enter a final judgment in this matter when the criminal appeal is final,” BODA’s chairwoman JoAl Cannon Sheridan wrote in the July 30 order.
A federal jury in Brownsville convicted Villalobos on May 24, 2013 of public corruption charges in connection with the favors-for-cash bribery schemes of former 404th state District Judge Abel C. Limas.
Full Article and Source:
Villalobo's Law License Lifted

Friday, August 8, 2014

Woman Charged With Stealing Thousands From Elderly Lady in Her Care

A former city clerk guilty of stealing nearly $100,000 from the city of Lawson is now charged with theft again, only this time prosecutors say her victim is an elderly woman.

Rhonda Minnick is charged in Ray County with eight counts of forgery, one count of financial exploitation of the elderly, and one count of theft/stealing and one count of fraudulent use of a credit/debit device.

Prosecutors say Minnick stole more than $6,000 dollars from a 67-year-old woman she was trusted to care for in the woman’s home. Despite Minnick’s public criminal record, prosecutors say Minnick was hired by Integrity Home Care.

For the past year, Minnick had been in the victim’s home about twice a week taking care of household duties and errands.

 For fear of retribution, the victim doesn’t want Fox 4 to identify her, but has a warning for others. The woman, living on a fixed income, with no family and in poor health, said she was alone, except for Minnick.

“I really trusted her like I would have my own kids,” the victim said.

Full Article and Source:
Woman Charged With Stealing Thousands From Elderly Lady in Her Care

Massachusetts Passes UAGPPJA - Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act

Massachusetts crossed a major hurdle yesterday when the House of Representatives passed the Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act (UAGPPJA).  If the bill is signed into law, Massachusetts would join 38 other states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico in adopting a model set of rules to make it easier for family caregivers to provide care across state lines.

“Thanks to the leadership of Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo, bill sponsor Representative Anne Gobi, and Representatives James O’Day, Christopher Markey, and Paul Brodeur, the House has passed UAGPPJA, which will provide uniformity and reduce jurisdictional conflicts with other states,” said Mike Festa, AARP Massachusetts state director.

The UAGPPJA designates that the individual’s “home state” has primary jurisdiction, followed by a state in which the individual has a “significant connection,”  thereby creating a clear process for determining which state has jurisdiction to appoint a guardian or conservator if there is a conflict.

When individuals are incapable of managing their personal decisions or property, a court may appoint a guardian to make decisions on their behalf.  These decisions can be related to personal property, medical care, living arrangements and financial issues.  As a judicial proceeding, guardianship orders can be expensive, time-consuming and complex, but also can help prevent elder abuse and financial exploitation.

If more than one state is involved in a guardianship case, families can be caught in jurisdictional tangles.  The solution is a simple set of jurisdictional rules to which all states can agree.
The Uniform Act outlines a procedure for transferring a guardianship or conservatorship to another state and for accepting a transfer, helping to eliminate the expense and wait.  UAGPPJA helps to facilitate enforcement of guardianship and protective orders from other states by authorizing registration in Massachusetts

Full Article and Source:
Massachusetts Lawmakers Pass Adult Guardianship Act

Recommended Website: Fight Oklahoma Guardianship Abuse

We Fight Guardianship Fraud and Abuse in Oklahoma 

Guardianship fraud and abuse renders the person unable to defend themselves because the court system has stripped them of their civil, human and due process rights.  

Guardianship Law Intent

It is the purpose of the Oklahoma Guardianship Act to promote the general welfare of all citizens by establishing a system of guardianships for minors and for incapacitated persons which provides for the protection of their rights and the management of their financial resources.

It is the purpose of the guardianship system to provide for the participation of such persons, as fully as possible, in the decisions which affect them.

Courts shall: encourage the "development of maximum self-reliance and independence" of the person.

Guardians shall: protect the person's rights; "encourage" the person to participate in "all decisions" which affect them and to act on their own behalf on all matters in which they are able to do so; and as appropriate, assist the person to regain their capacity to meet the essential requirements for their health or safety, or to manage their financial resources or both.

“The ‘massive curtailment of liberty’ associated with a guardianship proceeding continues as long as that guardianship persists. The proceedings must continue to be conducted with the utmost care to ensure that the ward subject to that curtailment receives due process.”
— Oklahoma Supreme Court - In re Guardianship of Holly
Fight Oklahoma Guardianship Fraud and Abuse

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Recommended Website: Probate Sharks (Illinois)

Our mission is to expose and remedy corruption in the Probate Court of Cook County, Illinois. We assist, educate and enlighten families of the dead, the dying, the disabled and the aged to better understand their rights in order to protect themselves from the excesses of the Probate Court of Cook County. is dedicated to networking the human element of people to people.

We join together in reforming the corrupt Cook County Probate Court system.

Cases Will Continue in the Courtroom of Ohio Judge Arrested Last Weekend

Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Lance Mason's open cases will continue as scheduled, despite the judge's weekend arrest on a felony domestic violence charge.

It's unclear exactly how Mason's docket will proceed. Another judge could assume Mason's caseload, but Mason himself could technically could resume hearing cases, if he's able to post a $65,000 bond set by a Shaker Heights judge following a Monday morning court hearing.

A judge must be indicted on felony charges -- not just arrested -- in order to be removed from the bench, said Ohio Supreme Court spokesman Bret Crow.

If indicted, the Ohio Supreme Court would remove Mason from the bench while his case is pending. He would continue to receive his pay of $121,350.

A spokeswoman for County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty declined to say when the case may be presented a grand jury for a possible indictment.

Court Administrator Greg Popovich declined to elaborate beyond a statement issued Monday afternoon saying people with pending court dates in Mason's court should prepare for their cases to move forward.

If convicted, Mason faces between two years and eight years in prison. The Ohio Supreme Court could impose additional discipline, including: public reprimand, a suspension ranging from six months to two years, probation, indefinite suspension or permanent disbarment.

Mason, 46, was arrested on Saturday afternoon after police say he bit, choked and punched his wife, Aisha Mason, 41. Cleveland police seized smoke grenades, semi-automatic rifles, a sword, a bulletproof vest and more than 2,500 rounds of ammunition from Mason's house, according to a police report.

Shaker Heights Prosecutor C. Randolph Keller said during a Monday court hearing that Mason's two children were present for part of the attack that resulted in broken bones to her face.

Full Article and Source:
Cases Will Continue in the Courtroom of Cuyahoga County Judge Arrested Saturday< /a>

Helpful Link: Arizona Attorney Discipline Decisions

Effective January 1, 2011, the Supreme Court of the State of Arizona adopted changes to the attorney discipline system, including the establishment of the Office of the Presiding Disciplinary Judge, pursuant to Rule 51, Arizona Rules of the Supreme Court.  The Supreme Court also revised Rule 56(b), Arizona Rules of the Supreme Court Attorney Diversion Guidelines.  The Presiding Disciplinary Judge presides over attorney discipline proceedings and issues orders together with a two-member hearing panel.   The opinions of the Presiding Disciplinary Judge and hearing panel are final orders in that case and may be appealed to the Supreme Court in accordance with Rule 59, Arizona Rules of the Supreme Court.  Although the decisions of the Hearing Panel are final orders in the case in which they are issued, they do not serve as stare decisis precedent for future cases nor constitute the law of the jurisdiction.

Upon the completion of the formal hearing, the Hearing Panel (“Panel”) which includes a public member and an attorney member and the Honorable William J. O’Neil, Presiding Disciplinary Judge have thirty days within which to file the formal Report & Order to the parties.  The parties will then have ten business days and five calendar days within which to appeal the decision.  As to reinstatement matters, the Panel will prepare a Report and Recommendation to the Supreme Court of Arizona ("Court"), once the appeal time has run, the file is then transferred to the Court for the final ruling on the reinstatement of the attorney member.

Click to view cases/decisions

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Legislation Requiring Round-the-Clock RN Coverage Introduced in Congress: A Step Towards Better Nursing Home Care

The Consumer Voice applauds the introduction of H.R. 5373, the Put a Registered Nurse in the Nursing Home Act, introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky on July 31st. The bill would require all nursing homes receiving Medicare and/or Medicaid reimbursement to have a registered nurse (RN) on duty twenty-four hours per day, seven days a week. Although most people believe RNs are already required round-the-clock, this is not the case. Under current federal law, nursing homes are only required to have a RN eight hours each day regardless of facility size – no matter how many residents they have or how sick they are.

Registered nurses play a critical role in the nursing home. RNs are the only nurses in a nursing home that can assess a resident’s condition. The absence of RN staffing for up to 16 hours each day means there is no one present capable of assessing and responding when residents’ medical conditions suddenly change or deteriorate. When not properly assessed, changes in condition can have serious and even fatal consequences. In addition, residents are entering nursing homes from hospitals “quicker and sicker,” and their overall care needs have increased over time.
According to Richard Gelula, Executive Director of the Consumer Voice, “H.R. 5373, the Put a Registered Nurse in the Nursing Home Act, is a simple and straight-forward solution that will help improve the quality of long-term care within our nation’s nursing homes. We have long known that the current federal requirement of eight hours of RN presence per day is woefully inadequate to meet residents’ care needs and applaud Congresswoman Schakowsky for her leadership on this crucial policy change.”

Advocacy for H.R. 5373 is part of the Consumer Voice’s Nursing Home Staffing Campaign. To learn more about the Campaign or to join, go to

Source:  Email notification from The Consumer Voice

Urinary Tract Infections in the Elderly

The population most likely to experience UTIs is the elderly. Elderly people are more vulnerable to UTIs for many reasons, not the least of which is their overall susceptibility to all infections due to the suppressed immune system that comes with age and certain age-related conditions.  According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Younger people tend to empty the bladder completely upon urination, which helps to keep bacteria from accumulating within the bladder. But elderly men and women experience a weakening of the muscles of the bladder, which leads to more urine being retained in the bladder, poor bladder emptying and incontinence, which can lead to UTIs.

Elderly people with serious urinary tract infection don't exhibit the hallmark sign of fever because their immune system is unable to mount a response to infection due to the effects of aging. In fact, elders often don't exhibit any of the common symptoms – or don't express them to their caregivers.

UTIs in the elderly are often mistaken as the early stages of dementia or Alzheimer's, according to NIH, because symptoms include:
  • Confusion, or delirium-like state
  • Agitation
  • Hallucinations
  • Other behavioral changes
  • Poor motor skills or dizziness
  • Falling
Sometimes, these are the only symptoms of a UTI that show up in the elderly—no pain, no fever, no other typical symptoms of a UTI.

Full Article and Source:
Urinary Tract Infections in the Elderly

A Risk in Caring for Abusive Parents

Who could condemn someone for staying far away from a parent, even an ailing or dying parent, who mistreated him or her as a child?
“He was a terrible father and mean, so I didn’t feel bad about moving out of state a few years before he died,” wrote Murre from Alaska. “I was glad not to see him anymore and relieved when he died.”
Adam from Phoenix spent his childhood traumatized by his parents’ abuse. “They remain unapologetic, and I’d gladly let them rot if they one day could not fend for themselves,” he wrote.
Yet we also heard from people who had agreed to become caregivers even if their parents had been, or remained, abusive. “I live by a moral code,” said Minerva from New York City, who cared for her alcoholic and bipolar mother. “It was my responsibility and I stepped up to the plate.”
Helen S. from Connecticut supervised her angry, meddlesome mother’s care and had lunch with her nearly every Sunday until she died. “I felt I had done the decent thing, and it helped me to put the remaining anger and resentment to rest,” Helen wrote.
We know relatively little about how many adults become caregivers for abusive or neglectful parents, or about why they choose to — or not to. But thanks to a recent study, we can see that those who report having endured childhood maltreatment are more vulnerable than other caregivers to depression when tending to their abusive parents.

Full Article and Source:
A Risk in Caring for Abusive Parents

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Elderly Woman in Virginia Cheated Out of Savings by Lawyer She Trusted, Family Alleges

Pearl Buckley was like an “old Southern grandmother,” always welcoming family into her Fairfax County home, her grandniece Catherine Bray said. Buckley had no children of her own, but she and her husband, Edward, would shuttle Bray to school, help with homework and offer dinner.

When Edward died and Pearl was legally blind and suffering from dementia, the family was there to help. Relatives organized in-home care for the 90-year-old and took her to doctor’s appointments.

But with a single phone call in 2008, family members said they were cut out of her care — and then her life. Buckley’s lawyer told them that he had power of attorney, or broad legal authority to manage her affairs and finances under an agreement she signed years earlier. He was also the executor of the couple’s wills.

James Kincheloe slowly took over every aspect of Buckley’s life over the next 18 months, exercising a control so complete that one relative described her as a “prisoner in her own home.” The family alleges in a lawsuit and interviews that he drained more than $850,000 from her life savings, changed her doctors, cut off her phone and wouldn’t let relatives visit unsupervised.

Most galling of all to her family, the woman who loved having relatives around spent her final moments alone in a hospital. Family members said Kincheloe never informed them that Buckley was dying in 2009.

An attorney for some of Buckley’s family members said it is one of the worst cases of elder financial abuse he has seen in Virginia and all the more troubling because Kincheloe was able to legally circumvent portions of a state law intended to protect the elderly from just such a theft. He fears it may happen again if the law is not changed.

Kincheloe, 66, entered an Alford plea to a charge of embezzlement in the case in Fairfax County last month. In an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt but acknowledges there is enough evidence for a conviction. Prosecutors say he stole at least $460,000, and he faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced this month.

James Love IV, Kincheloe’s attorney, said his client was wrongfully prosecuted and performed the work he was hired to do.

Full Article and Source:
Elderly Woman in VA Cheated Out of Savings by Lawyer She Trusted, Family Alleges

Michael Jackson Documentary Tangled in Lawsuit

The executors in charge of the Michael Jackson estate will be investigated in a documentary, “Follow the Money,” being produced by Edward Bass, who is already in a legal battle with them.

Bass — whose credits include 2006’s “Bobby,” which was nominated for a Golden Globe Best Picture and starred Anthony Hopkins, Joy Bryant and Shia LaBeouf — sued lawyer John Branca and music exec John McClain after they obtained a “cease and desist” court order preventing Bass from releasing, “Michael: The Last Photo Shoots.”

The documentary includes video footage shot by Jackson’s friend, Hassan Mohammed, of two 2007 magazine shoots — one by Bruce Weber, the other by Matthew Rolston.

Bass bought the video from Mohammed, but the estate’s lawyer Howard Weitzman claims the estate owns the footage, which includes “private moments that [Jackson] never agreed could be publicly and commercially exploited.”

Full Article and Source:
Jackson Documentary Tangled in Lawsuit

Adversarial Proceedings in Florida Guardianship - Right to Amend?

Jeffrey Skatoff
When can a litigant in a guardianship proceeding amend a petition?  The appellate court holds that an amendment to the initial pleading is allowed once, as a matter of right, before the responsive pleading is filed.

In Reed v. Long, 111 So. 3d 237 (4th DCA 2013), the guardian improperly held himself out as the husband of the ward and was able to procure for himself loss of consortium damages in his capacity as the husband.  The daughter of the ward filed a declaratory action with the guardianship court in which the the court declared him not to be the husband.

The daughter then filed a motion for leave to seek supplemental relief.  Attached to the motion was a proposed petition in two counts - removal of the (non) husband as guardian, and surcharge.  The court allowed the supplemental petition for removal to proceed, but denied the supplement petition for surcharge, holding that the court failed to see a viable cause of action.   Eventually, the guardianship court removed the guardian as a result of his improper behavior.

The appellate court held that the daughter should have been allowed to amend her petition on the surcharge count, based on the Florida Rule of Civil Procedure pertaining to amendments of pleadings.

If a proceeding in the guardianship court is considered to be adversarial in nature, whether because the rules make it adversarial or because a litigant files a notice that the proceeding is adversarial in nature, the regular rules of civil procedure apply, not just the guardianship rules of procedure (which confusingly are found within the Florida Probate Rules.)

Full Article and Source:
Adversarial Proceedings in Florida Guardianship - Right to Amend?

Monday, August 4, 2014

Boomers Against Elder Abuse: Letter to Mr. Jim Jackson

Dear Mr. Jackson*-- I am a national advocate for vulnerable adults and elders under guardianship. My Facebook Page, Boomers Against Elder Abuse, which researches this subject has 61,000 followers This page was started here in New Mexico. As you know, news is breaking all over the nation about severe financial abuse by guardians and conservators who are not adequately supervised by experts outside the court.

I attended the International Congress on Adult Guardianship in Washington D.C. in May, and would like our New Mexico task force on guardianship to consider reforms in legislation that would improve the situation in our state. Highlights of reform include: Michigan is reinforcing rights of wards, requiring courts to specifically state the exact powers of the guardian/conservator. All other ward rights are retained. "Best interest" can't override these without a court order. In California ward's rights to visitation, mail, and phone calls have been bolstered as well.

The head of Michigan's Arc, Dohn Hoyle, suggests that guardianship/conservatorship works against the safety the ward. He feels that the idea of protecting an elder or vulnerable adult by removing the fundamental rights that serve as their protection is fundamentally flawed. Limited guardianships only are allowed in Germany, and wards do not lose legal capacity to properly defend themselves. In Hong Kong, only $12,000 per month can be removed from a guardianship account in order to protect the ward's assets. Limited guardianships are insisted upon as first priority.

Supportive decision-making with a circle of support is being considered as a future option among many reformers. Treating a ward like a child, with the guardian acting as a parent of a child is no longer acceptable in the 21st century. Persons with Disabilities and Disabled Elders need to be treated as integrated members of society, not separated from the world around them by social discrimination, restriction, and loss of quality of life. This, unfortunately is the case for many wards in our state. I became interested in this topic when a friend of mine was put under guardianship and charged perhaps as much as 1 million a year for "services." Heirs are not allowed an audit of where and how the ward's money was spent, and the records are sequestered.

Illinois is proposing that clear and convincing concrete proof be required to remove previously assigned P.O.A. and Health Directives. My friend had all of his documents in place, and they were quickly tossed out the window. Too often these documents are rescinded by the court without concrete evidence of mis-management or wrong-doing. Often the elder's wishes when expressed while having capacity are completely ignored, as was the case with my friend. This is true throughout the nation. If P.O.A.'s were respected and not allowed simply to be tossed without question, this would reduce the number of guardianships/conservatorships in our state.

When it comes to wards with substantial assets, a small number of wealthy families in New Mexico are claiming that 50 million dollars is missing from their parents' estates after conservatorship. They aren't allowed to hire outside accountants to review the records which are also sequestered by the courts. With no one outside the court carefully examining guardianship accounts, even though there are honorable conservators and guardians, the laws basically, as reformers see it, encourage unmonitored theft by family guardians and professional guardians. With the laws as they are, theft can too easily be covered up, and severe conflicts of interest exist in the courtroom setting.

Some families are forced to sign confidentiality agreements to receive inheritances, and there is no attention to any of these malpractices by law enforcement which claims that guardianship and conservatorship theft is a civil matter. It's not. It's potentially criminal, which can only be ascertained by thorough investigation, which is obviously no possible due to the egregiously insulated, cozy, closed system. The very nature of the conflicts of interest and secretive nature of the guardianship court proceedings in our state looks very suspect to the public. This perception will only grow as publicity of practices increases, which is occurring everywhere. We need to act proactively to protect the reputations of those who are honorable in these professions, and to weed out those who are not. Only stronger enforcements will do that.

In Palm Beach, guardianship fraud is so rampant that the state has given all county clerks throughout the state the independent authority to subpoena records for three levels of audits depending on each case brought to their attention.. A guardianship fraud hotline was established in Palm Beach due to the severity of complaints.

We need a mechanism here for complaints because there is no recourse for investigation into the practices of conservators and the fees charged by guardians and their employees. Heirs have no recourse under our system, and even though an elder's money does not belong to heirs during an elder's lifetime (and some families seem to forget that) those assets should be for use by the elder. However, most of these assets are diverted to often unwanted "services" that are truly suspect.

One million dollars per year for one person's care, for example, with no proper auditing outside the courtroom where these charges are considered fine, is outrageous and obviously not in an elder's best interest. Elders have spent a lifetime accumulating legacies to pass along for generations to come. It is not in any elder's best interest to have everything they have worked for depleted mercilessly by total strangers, who often isolate and medicate the ward beyond recognition. I have seen this behavior personally, and in any other arena, these practices would be considered financial, emotional, and physical elder abuse.

My Facebook page on this topic is gravely concerned with the rights of elders as Boomers approach old age. Too many abuses are occurring under the guise of protection. This needs serious attention in our state. Since stories in the press are breaking out at a steady clip, around the nation, it's only a matter of time before the industry here is put under scrutiny. 12 family members of victims have confided in me, and the abuses they have suffered are immeasurable.

I appeal to you, as having been in the forefront of guardianship/conservatorship reform in our state, to see to it that elders who choose to retire here in our state are safe. I hope that the work of the task force on guardianship will continue to examine these problems. I also strongly believe that efforts towards reform must include elder advocates who have studied reforms in other states and countries. We want to be part of the solution. Right now, as outsiders, all we can do is point out the problems.

Thank you--

Marcia Southwick
Boomers Against Elder Abuse

*Mr. Jim Jackson is Director of Disability Rights and a member of the NM 2013 Legislative Task Force on Guardianship

Colorado: Reporting Elder Abuse Becoming Mandatory

Effective July 1, medical professionals and others who work closely with older adults are required to report abuse or exploitation of persons age 70 or older.

This legislation was passed because of the increasing incidence of older adults being victim of financial and physical abuse. Research shows more than 70 percent of elder abuse occurs from someone the victim knows. It may be a family member, close friend, a care-giver, or even a financial adviser.

While physical abuse may be more evident, financial abuse is referred to as a closet crime because it is more difficult to determine something isn't right. Financial abuse is defined as illegal or improper use of funds, property or other assets of an older adult.

Cases of financial abuse often go unreported because of the older person's pride. Where it involves family members as perpetrators, the victim may be leery of telling others or pressing charges.

Full Article and Source:
Reporting Elder Abuse Becoming Mandatory

A mandatory reporter who fails to do so can be charged with class 3 misdemeanors that could result in 6 months jail time.

Mandatory reporters include: medical professionals, social workers, law enforcement, court-appointed guardians and conservators, fire department personnel, financial institutions, senior care facilities and clergy.

Naming A Health Care Power of Attorney

Giving someone the power of attorney for health care gives them the authority to make your health care decisions in case you would ever be in a position where you could not make them for yourself.

The decision of who to name as your agent should not be taken lightly, as this could be an important job. It’s important to name someone you trust, who would make wise decisions on your behalf.

When choosing an agent, make sure it’s someone who will understand your health care priorities and will honor your wishes when the time comes. I suggest having discussions with the person you name as agent about your health care wishes, letting them know what your priorities and wishes are. Then, if the situation arises where the agent needs to make decisions for you, they know what your wishes would be under the circumstances.

Before naming someone as an agent, you might want to ask them if they would be willing to take on that role. If so, then it’s good they know their role when the time comes. If they are hesitant or not willing to act, then you can omit them and go ahead and name someone else right away.

I suggest only naming one person as an agent at a time, rather than naming two agents to act simultaneously. This opens the door for potential conflict. It is a good idea to name at least one successor agent, in case your first option is unable or unwilling to act when the time comes.

After completing your health care power of attorney, give copies to your medical providers, as well as your family. I suggest giving a copy to the person you named as your first agent as well.

If you do a new health care power of attorney, make sure to destroy copies of your old form and inform everyone who may have the old copies that the old copy has been revoked.

Full Article and Source:
Naming Health Care Power of Attorney

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Tonight on T.S. Radio: TS Radio With Guests Joe Roubicek and Dr. Arden Gifford.

In the first hour, join us as Joe Roubicek discusses his new 40 page pamphlet on guardianship.

Joe’s book ” Guardian Angels inc/ The Vile Business Of Corrupt Guardianship” is available on Amazon and exposes the realities of professional predatory guardians and the looting of estates.

This book is ideal for handing out to those who are planning to attend seminars that claim to help avoid guardianship/conservatorship, and are instead a data basing system used to identify and track those with assets. It is a must have to educate others on the impending theft of their estates and how it is done by the courts and professional predators.

In the second hour, Dr. Arden Gifford joins us again to discuss forensic psychiatry, your right to a second opinion and the use of psychotropic drugs on the elderly. Please be advised that Dr. Gifford cannot diagnose or treat any specific case or individual.  This interview is for educational purposes only.

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

LISTEN LIVE or listen to the archive later

Available at Amazon

Korean, Vietnam War Vet Inside VA System Held Against His Will

Norman Hughes Jr., 81, is a Korean and Vietnam War veteran who’s currently paying $7,000 per month to live in the Kirby Pines Retirement Home in Memphis even though he told The Daily Caller he wants to live with a caretaker named Debbie McCoy — at her home paying $2,700 per month — where she has run a VA-certified living assistance facility for fifteen years with no complaints until this case.

“I need somebody to help me get out of here,” said Hughes from his room.

In late 2012, Hughes was living with McCoy when he decided to remove his cousin, Mary Ann Phillips, from a bank account he held with nearly $150,000 in it because of a pattern of unpaid bills and missing money.

According to interviews with Hughes, his son Bernard, granddaughter Cavita, ex-wife Doris Jones, and McCoy, Phillips was enraged by the move and approached the VA with a series of unsubstantiated charges which were filed formally on December 29, 2012.

Philips claimed that Hughes was unshaven and dirty, that his room was a mess, and that he had developed a bed sore at McCoy’s home.

But Bernard and Cavita Hughes said they both visited Hughes regularly during this time period and would have noticed if it wasn’t clean and safe.

In early 2013, Norman Hughes went to the Memphis VA to get treated for a form of neuropathy. While in the hospital, Phillips told him he needed to take some tests with another doctor.

Phillips took Hughes to see Dr. Felicie Wyatt, who specialized in internal  and geriatric medicine, telling him he needed routine tests.

Instead, Dr. Wyatt tested Hughes for his mental competency.

Hughes, his son, and McCoy all insist he was tricked into seeing this doctor.

Buoyed by Dr. Wyatt’s competency determination, Phillips and the VA maneuvered the case into probate court where Memphis attorney Keith Dobbs was appointed VA guardian — he named Phillips conservator.

According to court records, Dobbs has been receiving 7% of Hughes monthly retirement income for more than a year.

Full Article and Source:
Korean, Vietnam War Vet Inside VA System Held Against His Will

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Three Groups Join Forces to Teach Lawyers How to Spot Financial Exploitation in Elderly Clients

Three groups announced today that they’re launching the Elder Investment Fraud and Financial Exploitation Prevention Program Legal.

The Investor Protection Trust, the Investor Protection Institute and American Bar Association said the program will develop, test and implement national continuing legal education to teach lawyers how to:

* Recognize clients’ vulnerability to financial exploitation and investment fraud due to mild cognitive impairment,
* Identify elder investment fraud and financial exploitation in their clients.
* Reported suspected instances of elder investment fraud and financial exploitation to appropriate authorities.

“We know that a shockingly large number of older Americans are already victims of financial swindles, and millions more are in danger of being exploited in such a fashion,” said Don Blandin, chief executive of the Investor Protection Trust, a nonprofit organization that conducts investor education. “Front-line legal professionals who deal everyday with older Americans are ideally positioned to spot the impaired mental capacity that can leave seniors vulnerable to financial abuse.”

While lawyers work closely with the finances of seniors, they aren’t properly trained in how to spot signs of financial exploitation, said Charles Sabatino, director of the ABA’s Commission on Law and Aging.

“This project directly benefits the legal profession and the older clients whom they represent,” he said.

Full Article and Source:
Three Groups Join Forces to Teach Lawyers How to Spot Financial Exploitation in Elderly Clients

Two Illinois Judges Cited in Misconduct Complaint

Two McLean County judges face potential discipline after a complaint was filed against them Thursday by the Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board.

The 13-page complaint alleges that between Dec. 5, 2010, and Feb. 16, 2011, Judges Scott Drazewski and Rebecca Foley were engaged in an undisclosed extramarital affair during the time Drazewski presided over a trial involving Foley’s husband, Joe Foley, a Bloomington lawyer.

The complaint, filed with the Illinois Courts Commission, accuses the judges of "conduct that was prejudicial to the administration of justice and conduct that brought the judicial office into disrepute."

After a public hearing where the inquiry board serves as prosecutor, the commission will determine what, if any, discipline is appropriate.
Consequences could include a reprimand, censure, paid or unpaid suspension, removal from office or retirement.

Drazewski and Rebecca Foley are accused of failing to maintain high standards of conduct by allowing personal relationships to influence their judicial conduct and judgment. Additionally, Drazewski failed to disqualify himself in proceedings where his impartiality may be questioned, said the complaint.

Full Article and Source:
2 McLean County Judges Cited in Misconduct Complaint