Wednesday, August 3, 2016

New Program to Root Out Fraud in Florida's Guardianship System

Charles Waldon spent decades working several jobs while raising a family of five children. He invested in real estate in South Florida and in Georgia, all aimed at building a nice nest for retirement.

"I worked all my life, you know, and tried to build up a retirement," said Waldon via Skype Monday. "I think I did a pretty good job."

But Waldon can’t enjoy the fruits of the retirement he worked so hard to build. The 85-year-old former firefighter is in the midst of a family conflict between his youngest daughter, Carla Alger, and his daughters – Sandra Dunn, Inez Howard and Glenda Waldon. The family’s strong divisions over money, care of their parents, and properties and produced accusations of exploitation from both sides.

So Alger asked Miami-Dade Probate Court to help protect her parents and the retirement funds they need during their senior years, she said.

"Granted I started the process out of desperation because I thought if I don’t do something they [her sisters] are going to take mom and dad,” Alger said while in court last week.

Her sister Sandra "Sandi" Dunn disagrees.

“My dad is on food stamps. She’s preventing him for accessing his own money,” Dunn said.

Last year, a Miami-Dade probate judge appointed a professional guardian for the couple – Charles and Peggy Waldon – after a panel of doctors said they were incompetent. Peggy, who suffers from dementia and requires round the clock care, is a ward of the state.

"She always ordered me, because mom was not a passive person at all, to be taken care of at home," Alger said of her mother, who suffers from Alzheimer disease. “And that’s a promise I made to her. That’s a big motivation why I filed the petition."

No Financial Oversight

With Florida’s 3.7 million people over 65 years of age, elder exploitation has become the crime of the 21st century, experts said. The guardianship system is driven by money and entrenched in relationships with all the ward’s assets used to pay the fees of all attorneys, medical experts and the guardian, sometimes exhausting seniors’ savings.

"When you take away someone’s constitutional rights and you put into third party hands – a total of $270 billion in the United States – it is just simply rife for fraud, waste and abuse,” said Sharon Bock, Palm Beach County Clerk and Comptroller.

Charles and Peggy Waldon are among 8,000 guardianship cases in Miami-Dade probate courts system with virtually no financial oversight or a system in place to watch over how the money is spent. Miami-Dade is hardly alone – a few counties in the state have watchdogs looking over the trouble guardianship system. (Continue Reading)

Full Article & Source:
New Program to Root Out Fraud in Florida's Guardianship System

No comments: