Saturday, May 28, 2016

Steve Miller: Ignored Letter to Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez-Masto

February 25, 2013

Ms. Catherine Cortez-Masto
Office of Nevada Attorney General
100 N. Carson St.
Carson City, Nevada 89701

COMPLAINT: Re: Elder Abuse

Dear Ms. Cortez-Masto:

I am writing in regard to Mr. Guadalupe Olvera, a 93 year old World War II veteran who is clearly suffering guardian abuse at the hands of professional certified private guardian Jared E. Shafer.

Mr. Olvera suffered permanent frost bite damage, vision, and hearing loss fighting in World War Two. After his wife died in 2009, he was placed in the Nevada guardianship program because he had no relatives living in Nevada to help him settle his affairs, a requirement of Nevada law.

In 2003, Carmela and Guadalupe Olvera moved from Santa Cruz County, California to Sun City Anthem in Henderson. Soon after arriving in the Las Vegas area, Carmela attended an estate planning seminar given by John Dawson at the Sun City Anthem Community Center. She and several other residents hired Dawson of Lionel Sawyer Collins to create trusts and wills, only to discover he had made himself executor of many of their estates.

Carmela died in November 2009 leaving her then 91 year old husband to live alone in their 3,000 square foot home. The Olvera’s only living child, Rebecca Olvera Schultz, flew to Las Vegas to make arrangements to move her father to their home in Santa Cruz County. Rebecca was informed because her mother had been guardian over her father's 'person,' she needed a temporary guardian to settle Guadalupe's affairs so he can leave Nevada. For-hire guardian Jared Shafer was recommended by someone working in the Clark County Guardianship Commissioner's Office of Jon Norheim.

Against court policy, the court gave Shafer's unlisted home phone number to Rebecca. After hiring Shafer, Rebecca was reportedly told that it will take two or three months to "package things up."

She had no idea that she had just signed over her father's person and entire fortune to a stranger with a highly questionable background.

Mr. Olvera's Henderson home is free and clear and worth an estimated $500,000. He also has a late model Toyota and sizable bank accounts at Wells Fargo.

The first time Rebecca and her husband Robert Schultz were allowed to visit after Shafer established guardianship, they were not allowed to spend the night in Guadalupe’s home despite the fact that he had two spare bedrooms, forcing them to check into a hotel. During the next several months, Shafer allowed Rebecca and Robert to stay at Guadalupe’s home, but for no more than four days at a time. Patience Bristol, Shafer's assistant guardian, told Mr. and Mrs. Schultz that if they spoke to Guadalupe about the guardianship, they would have to limit their visits.

Months after becoming guardian, Shafer told Rebecca that it will take much longer to settle Mr. Olvera's affairs. In January 2010, with her patience exhausted, Rebecca hired a Las Vegas law firm to petition the court to have Shafer's guardianship terminated. Shafer's attorneys (at Olvera's expense) objected, telling the court that Schultz is an "exploiter" though she's Olvera's only living child.

On April 27, 2010, the eve of a court hearing, Shafer advised Patience Bristol to send a text to Guadalupe's caregiver stating "You are NOT to bring Lupe to court," denying Mr. Olvera the right to attend his own hearing the following morning.

On September 8, 2010, another hearing was held in the court of Family Court Commissioner Jon Norheim, and Guadalupe was reluctantly allowed to attend. After Norheim ruled he could not leave Vegas, Guadalupe demanded to be heard. He told the court that he wants to relocate to California, stating: "I'm going to go to California no matter what! I'm not going to live here. I don't need that man either. I don't need Jared (Shafer)."

In his 2 minute 27 second plea, Mr. Olvera unequivocally stated his desires to be relieved of Mr. Shafer’s guardianship.

He asked that he be allowed to spend his final days with his large family in Santa Cruz. In open court, Olvera was repeatedly interrupted by the judge and Shafer's attorney Alan Freer. He was mocked, condescended, and ignored after he said "Give me a Chance!"

(Continue reading on Guardelupe Olvera's Profile on NASGA's Victims page)

Steve Miller, Friend of the Olvera family


I mailed the above letter via Registered Mail to assure it was received by Ms. Cortez-Masto. After receiving my receipt, I waited patiently for her reply. None followed.

As a former public official, I am not one to waste my time researching and composing lengthy letters to public officials that go ignored.

In Mr. Olvera's case, my initial attempt to interest then-Clark County District Attorney David Roger was not expected to garner a response because of his friendship with Mr. Shafer, but in order to establish a paper trail, I tried nonetheless. Upon receiving no response, I turned to the Office of the Nevada Attorney General.

I was a resident of Clark County in 1976 when Ms. Cortez-Masto's late father then-Clark County Commissioner Manny Cortez initially appointed his friend Jared Shafer to the position of Clark County Administrator/Public Guardian. Since then, Shafer has stolen millions of dollars from those he was assigned to protect.

Because of Shafer and Manny Cortez' close friendship, I should also have assumed Catherine would be loyal to her father's crony, but I tried to inform her nonetheless believing she was a devoted public servant. I was wrong - again. Mr. Shafer's political influence reached all the way to Carson City at that time in Nevada history.

However, two years after my failed attempt to interest the Nevada A.G. in the racketeering enterprise mastermined by Shafer and his corrupt band of local Family Court judges, the Las Vegas Review-Journal took interest, and published the first in its series of front page stories about Shafer's victims, "Escape was only option for an old soldier trapped in guardian system."

After reading this story, and realizing that she missed her opportunity to be a true Nevada hero, Ms. Cortez should have been ashamed of herself.

Today, in spite of Cortez-Masto's indifference in 2013, several local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies are conducting in depth investigations of Las Vegas cases of guardianship fraud and abuse including that of Mr. Olvera. - SM

April 11, 2015
Escape was only option for an old soldier trapped in guardian system

That wasn’t the case a few years ago, when he was isolated and alone, a prisoner in his Henderson home — a ward of Clark County, surrounded by people he didn’t know who were supposed to protect him, but who ended up with more than $420,000 of his money, most of his estate.

More information on Jared E. Shafer

Jared E. Shafer

See Also:
NASGA: Guadelupe Olvera, NV/CA Victim

Attorney from Howard Beach stole $600K from the estate of a dead judge, prosecutors say

A lawyer from Howard Beach found himself in handcuffs this week after being indicted for allegedly stealing nearly $600,000 from the estate of a late civil court judge, prosecutors announced on Wednesday.

Frank Racano, 54, is accused of milking approximately $587,160.46 left behind by Civil Court Judge John L. Phillips Jr., a Brooklyn resident who died on February 16, 2008 without any heirs for his estate.

According to Kings County District Attorney Ken Thompson, a court-appointed administrator hired Racano in 2010 to sell Phillips’ real estate holdings, including the historic Slave Theater and an adjacent lot in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Two years later, the property went into contract for $2.2 million, and the prospective buyer issued a check for a 10 percent down payment ($220,000) made payable to “Frank Racano, as attorney.” The check was subsequently deposited into Racano’s attorney trust checking account.

The sale closed in February 2013, and the net proceeds of the sale, $517,339,65, were deposited into Racano’s trust account, bringing the total amount to $737,339,65.

Prosecutors said that Racano allegedly wrote and cashed more than 300 checks to himself from that trust account between February 2013 and May 2015 without proper authorization. The checks ranged in amounts from as little as $45 to as much as $7,500.

Along with legal, authorized payments for tax assistance and other services totaling more than $150,000, Thompson said, Racano’s alleged theft completely depleted the trust account.

“We will now hold him accountable for these shameful criminal acts,” Thompson said in a statement.

Racano was indicted on one count of second-degree grand larceny. At arraignment, he was ordered held on $250,000 bail and to return to court on August 10.

Full Article & Source:
Attorney from Howard Beach stole $600K from the estate of a dead judge, prosecutors say

Dr Henry Heimlich uses Heimlich manoeuvre for first time at 96

Surgeon employs anti-choking technique that bears his name to dislodge hamburger from woman’s airway in retirement home

The surgeon who gave his name to the simple but dramatic procedure used to rescue people from choking saved someone’s life with the Heimlich Manoeuvre for the first time this week aged 96.

Dr Henry Heimlich’s technique for dislodging food or objects caught in people’s throats has been credited with saving untold thousands of lives around the world since he invented it in 1974 – but he had never once had cause to use it in an emergency situation himself.

Last Monday, however, the retired chest surgeon encountered a female resident at his retirement home in Cincinnati who was choking at the dinner table.

Without hesitation, Heimlich spun her around in her chair so he could get behind her and administered several upward thrusts with a fist below the chest until the piece of meat she was choking on popped out of her throat and she could breathe again.

“It was very gratifying,” Heimlich told the Guardian on Friday by telephone from Cincinnati.

“That moment was very important to me. I knew about all the lives my manoeuvre has saved over the years and I have demonstrated it so many times but here, for the first time, was someone sitting right next to me who was about to die.”

After initial reports emerged of Heimlich and his son Philip declaring this was the first time the retired surgeon had used his technique to treat someone who was choking, an account emerged of an earlier incident.

A 2003 BBC Online report quoted Heimlich talking about using the manoeuvre on a choking diner in a restaurant in 2000. Interviewed again on Friday afternoon by the Guardian, the 96-year-old Heimlich said he did not recall such an incident. His son Philip also stated that he had no knowledge of his father using the technique in any prior emergency.

Heimlich lives in Deupree House, a senior assisted living centre in the city, where he and other residents have their own apartments but get together for meals in a communal dining room.

Fellow resident 87-year-old Patty Ris, who was quite new to the facility, sat down near Heimlich for dinner when she suddenly began choking on a piece of hamburger meat. A member of staff was heading over to attend to the emergency, when Heimlich calmly stepped in.

“I did the Heimlich Manoeuvre – of course,” Heimlich said. “She was going to die if she wasn’t treated. I did it, and a piece of food with some bone in it flew out of her mouth.”

Heimlich demonstrates the manoeuvre on Johnny Carson in 1979.
Heimlich demonstrates the manoeuvre on Johnny Carson in 1979. Photograph: NBC/NBC via Getty Images 
Heimlich said that the woman never lost consciousness, but after being able to breathe again she was so startled she was unable to talk at first.  (Continue Reading)

Full Article & Source:
Dr Henry Heimlich uses Heimlich manoeuvre for first time at 96

Friday, May 27, 2016

Misdiagnosed And Overdosed, Grandmother Rescued From Hospice

Family members often feel powerless and hopeless when they realize that a loved one in hospice care has been put on the pathway to a speedy death. This is a story of one family’s vigilance and timely action, which saved Mrs. Jackie McGiboney’s life. 

“My grandmother has been alive for almost a year since our horrible overdose experience with the hospice,” Carly Walden wrote to the Pro-life Healthcare Alliance (PHA) on February 8, 2016. Carly aims to do everything possible to warn others about the invisible murders happening in many hospices and encourage others to save the lives of their loved ones when faced with similar circumstances.

Events leading to hospice admission

On December 12, 2014, Jackie fell at home. She was taken to an emergency room and, after being diagnosed with congestive heart failure and stage-4 chronic kidney disease, Jackie was admitted to a hospital in Covington, Georgia. Upon discharge from the hospital on December 16, she was moved to a nursing home rehabilitation center, where she remained until February 14, 2015. Her family visited her three times a day at the rehab center and noted that the only time a doctor saw Jackie was upon admission. Carly believes “the reason she was sick when she came home is because the medical director never came to see her in the two months she was there.”

On February 23, nine days after Jackie returned home, Carly again called 911 because Jackie was experiencing shortness of breath and very congested coughing spells. After admission to the hospital, she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure exacerbation and possibly some form of dementia.

When Jackie was due to be discharged, she was still sick and more than normally congested, so the family requested another X-ray. Subsequently, they were told she had bilateral pneumonia, for which she was treated until discharge on February 27. She was sent home to complete treatment with antibiotics, and a short-term rehabilitation program was suggested.

Jackie’s primary care physician (PCP) spoke with Carly on March 4, stating that her grandmother was never a candidate for a short-term rehabilitation program because the patient has to have an “achievable” or “attainable” goal, which she did not. According to Carly, the PCP also told her that, if her grandmother were hospitalized again, she would likely die. Thus he suggested that she be placed in hospice care.

The family discussed the seriousness of the doctor’s prediction and took Jackie to visit him on March 5. Carly writes, “We do not know if he reviewed personally any of her medical records from [the hospital]; however, we do know that he did not do any further testing and only examined her with a stethoscope that day. There was no blood work, X-rays, or any testing done. At the conclusion of this visit, Mrs. Jackie M. McGiboney received a prescription that stated, ‘Please initiate Inpatient Hospice Placement,’ with the diagnosis of ‘End Stage Cardiomyopathy, Renal Failure, and Pneumonia.’”

Family assured that the hospice does not “dope them up”

The following day, Jackie’s family contacted a hospice, which sent out a community liaison to educate them about the facility. The family told the liaison they wanted Jackie to “remain on her medications” and “not be overly medicated in any form or fashion.” The liaison responded, “If they need a little something for pain, we will give it to them.” Carly recalls, “At that time my father stated, ‘You all do not just dope them up, correct?’” The liaison assured him the hospice did not do that and that this would be a very short-term stay, with possible follow-up at home.

“During this consultation, my grandmother was alert and fully aware of the conversation and actually had to have a bowel movement,” Carly reports. “She was able to complete this task by herself with the help of her walker. [The liaison] commented that she does very well.

“My grandmother understood that this program would be for rest and comfort, and she would be able to continue all of her medications because they have an in-house pharmacy. Should she require a doctor’s visit, it could also be arranged. My grandmother agreed to the program. She was admitted that night and, as instructed, brought along all her medications.

“Upon arrival, we spoke with Mrs. T at the hospice, and she stated that my grandmother told her to talk to me and my father about all of her medications. Again, we specifically requested that she be retained on all present medications. Mrs. T agreed, but said, should she have pain, they may administer ‘a little morphine.’ That shocked us because my grandmother never takes any pain medication. We questioned this, and Mrs. T, in a very defensive manner, claimed it helps the elderly with breathing. She then said we would be surprised what a few nights [of] good rest could do for a person.”

The family’s questions and mounting concern

After getting Jackie checked in and settled, the family went home that night. The following day they noticed a catheter had been placed in her. They were baffled because she had been using the restroom by herself at home, with no problems. They expressed concern because her urine was a dark tea color. At home, her urine had been yellow. Carly observed, “A [certified nurse’s aide] went into the room with some sort of bottle, shut the door, came back out, and advised them that she did not have a urinary tract infection.”

The family also noticed a change in Jackie’s mental state and behavior. She was slow to speak. Carly states, “We were assured that she was okay, and were told to go home and get some rest and let them do their job.” On the following day, March 8, the family found her so groggy that she dropped her soup spoon into the bowl, and did not finish eating or drinking.

When a nurse came in with a syringe and squirted a clear liquid into Jackie’s mouth, Carly asked what it was for and was told it was for leg pain. At home, Jackie simply sat up when her legs hurt. Carly also noted, “We did not see any walkers or wheel chairs in the facility, and we did not see anyone on a walker or in a wheelchair. Everyone was bed-bound.”

Told that Jackie was being given a mixture of morphine and Ativan, Carly reports, “I asked how she could be given a dose of morphine and Ativan without a physician examining her. The physician would not be there until Monday, March 9. The nurse explained that all she had to do was e-mail their medical director for orders.” The nurse also told them to quit worrying; Jackie was not going to die today. Carly asked how could she tell and recounts that the nurse stated they can predict the time of death within hours. Again, the family was told to go home and let the hospice staff worry about Jackie.

Watchfulness and quick action save Jackie’s life

At home, Carly did some research and found that the mixture of morphine and Ativan can be “a lethal drug cocktail” when given to a patient who is not experiencing severe pain or agitation. The family immediately returned to the hospice, arriving around 10:30 p.m. on March 8.

“We found her in her bed, completely unresponsive to verbal attempts to rouse her and physical slapping of the hands and face,” Carly reports. “For several hours we attempted to wake her. We were not having any success and this was totally out of the ordinary for my grandmother, so we decided to call 911. We thought she had been severely overdosed. The dispatcher sent an ambulance and police officers. We discharged her and had her transported to a hospital in Monroe, Georgia. The paramedic’s summation was that she had been chemically sedated with an unknown amount of morphine.”

After admission to the hospital, the hospitalist stated the patient was lethargic and listless, most likely due to analgesics with opiates and benzodiazepine administered in the hospice. Another physician, Dr. M, discovered Jackie had a severe urinary tract infection. According to Carly, Dr. M also saw an order from the hospice for Ativan and forty milligrams of Roxanol (an unusually large dose of orally administered liquid morphine, particularly for a patient who is not experiencing severe pain) and felt this needed to be investigated, as the hospital has referred patients to this hospice.

Upon receiving further testing and proper medication, Jackie’s chronic kidney disease was upgraded to stage-1, meaning her kidney function had vastly improved. All of her blood tests came back perfectly normal for her age. The family was pleased with the care and diagnostics at the hospital in Monroe. Dr. M also told the family that Jackie was not at the end stage of cardiomyopathy or renal failure, and no longer had pneumonia.

“It is unfathomable to us how a person–with a two-day admission to hospice–can be given lethal doses of Roxanol and Ativan, when the person refuses to take Tylenol on a regular basis!” Carly states. “We feel that she was being euthanized by the hospice.” Carly has submitted a report to the Georgia Composite Medical Board and has asked for an investigation.

Jackie’s son, Mike Walden, a former police captain, adds this piece of advice: “Always get second or third opinions from doctors, preferably pro-life doctors, because misdiagnoses are a large part of this problem.”

Carly concludes, “The night we called 911 from the hospice, the paramedics told us to kiss her good-bye because they were not sure she would make it to the hospital. Off the record, they referred to this hospice as the ‘morphine hotel.’ There is so much that could be added to this story. But, most importantly, I questioned everything the hospice workers were doing.” She adds, “People need to make sure the patient’s healthcare power of attorney agent is always on hand, protecting and advocating for the patient, watching everything!”

The PHA advises interviewing a hospice agency before enrolling (see Informed: A guide for critical medical decisions, p.12). Also, even after admission to a hospice, follow the Walden family’s example: ask questions, remain vigilant, and be prepared to act quickly to save a life. Your loved one’s survival may depend on you.

Full Article & Source:
Misdiagnosed And Overdosed, Grandmother Rescued From Hospice

B.B. King's Estate War: 15 Kids, 15 Moms and a 'Totally Haywire' Fight

When bluesman B.B. King died last year, he bequeathed to the world a body of work spanning six decades that brought joy and comfort to millions. The crooner of "The Thrill Is Gone" and "Sweet Sixteen" transformed American music, inspiring such rockers as Eric Clapton, Willie Nelson and Buddy Guy. King was 89 when he succumbed to congestive heart failure in his Las Vegas home and died peacefully in his sleep on May 14, 2015.

The year since then has been decidedly less peaceful. While neither of King's two marriages resulted in children, he managed to leave behind a vast family: 15 kids from 15 women. If that family history weren't complex enough, King's authorized biographer Charles Sawyer wrote in his book, The Arrival of BB King, that doctors found the musician's sperm count too low to conceive children.

In 2015, Sawyer told The Guardian that he had given King the option to remove the reference and that King declined. Either way, King claimed 15 kids as his own - never disputing his paternity - and of the 11 who survive, many now are fighting with King's appointed trustee over his estate, a fortune that family members tell THR could be worth between $30 million and $40 million when royalties, asset sales and rights are taken into account.

Many of the kids point to a 2007 will and trust that they claim grant them generous allowances. But King's longtime business manager, LaVerne Toney, who is now the legal trustee of King's estate, asserts that she merely is following a 2014 trust, which names the children but doesn't provide for them with specific monetary gifts.

According to the trustee's own legal filings in Nevada, King's estate also is far smaller than the children allege: $5 million and change spread across a few Wells Fargo bank accounts. But the kids have assembled teams of lawyers to fight the estate's guardians. The litigation could continue for years.

While the value of King's estate is the subject of great contention, observers say it hardly is a case like Michael Jackson's estate, which has gone up in value roughly $1 billion since the enigmatic singer's death. In King's case, he wrote few of his hits, sold records for decades to a segregated America and made deals at a time in which black artists were hardly paid handsomely. According to analysis conducted for this story by Billboard, King's publishing and recording assets - including his catalog - are valued at roughly $7 million to $8 million, based on Nielsen Music data and consultation with a financial executive who buys publishing and master recording catalogs.

Full Article & Source:
B.B. King's Estate War: 15 Kids, 15 Moms and a 'Totally Haywire' Fight 

See Also:
BB King: coroner says there is no immediate evidence of poisoning 
Guardianship for Blues Great BB King Rejected

Two Plattsburgh women sentenced in grandparent scheme

PLATTSBURGH — Two Plattsburgh women were recently sentenced in federal court for participating in a scheme to defraud elderly victims.

Naromie Joseph, 29, and Christie Joseph, 25, had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud for their roles in a grandparent scheme, according to a Department of Justice press release.

People would contact the elderly victims, telling them that their grandchildren and other relatives needed money for bail and other purposes.

Since they believed their loved ones needed help, the victims sent the money to various addresses in Plattsburgh that the Josephs arranged to use for the scam, the release said.


The Public Access to Court Electronic Records website also lists four counts of mail fraud on their indictment.

Naromie was sentenced Monday to time served — she spent about 13 months in custody awaiting the disposition of her case — and three years of supervised release.

She must also pay $27,200 in restitution to the victims, the release said.

On May 10, Christie was sentenced to four months of weekends in jail, three years of supervised release and payment of restitution. (Continue Reading)

Full Article & Source:
Two Plattsburgh women sentenced in grandparent scheme

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Queens Lawyer Who Spent 30 days in Jail for Raiding Late Judge's Estate Thrown Back in Jail

Frank Racano
A Queens lawyer who spent 30 days in jail under a civil order for digging into the estate of the late Judge John Phillips was thrown back behind bars on Wednesday after Brooklyn prosecutors indicted him for the same crime.

 When the legendary Bedford-Stuyvesant Slave Theater and an adjacent lot sold at auction for $2.2 million in 2012, the executor of the estate Samuel Boykin and Frank Racano were to report to a surrogates court judge where the money would go.

 After several unanswered requests, the judge removed Boykin as the executor and held them both in contempt of court. In March, the Daily News reported, Racano was brought into Brooklyn Civil Supreme Court by city sheriffs where he admitted to selfishly writing over 300 checks to himself from the estate’s escrow account to pay bills.

Judge John L. Phillips
“The money disappeared, the account whittled down to $100 last year May,” said Assistant District Attorney Frank Dutis in court. Racano stole $587,160.56, prosecutors said.

 The judge sentenced Racano to 30 days in jail and gave him a $1,000 fine.

With Racano’s admission in civil court, prosecutors indicted him for one-count of second-degree grand larceny. “We will now hold him accountable for these shameful criminal acts,” said Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson.

 Full Article and Source:
 Queens Lawyer Who Spent 30 Days in Jail for Raiding Late Judge's Estate Thrown Back in Jail

See Also:
Facility Kept Dying Judge Phillips Hostage, Lawsuit Says

Prospect Park Residence Owner to Pay $750,000. in Death of "Kung Fu Judge"

How to Protect Yourself or a Loved One From an Abusive Guardianship

(Editor’s note: This is the final installment of a three-part series on guardianship abuses appearing this week on Next Avenue. Here are Part 1 and Part 2.)

Most of us don’t think we would ever end up in a nursing home against our will. We can’t imagine having our hard-earned savings drained by someone assigned to take care of us. We would never believe that we might someday be kept away from the people we love the most. 

But those are the kinds of nightmares suffered every day by some of the estimated 1 million to 2 million people who have been placed under guardianship or conservatorship in the United States. 

Ordered by a judge, a guardianship or conservatorship is ideally a protection for older adults. But too often, it is a drastic measure often prompted by warring relatives, nursing homes that want to get paid or a “friend” who gains the trust of an older adult in order to take advantage of him or her. It’s based on a legal determination that the person is “incapacitated” and needs someone else to make decisions.
But there are things you can do now to make sure that becoming a victim of guardianship abuse does not happen to you or a loved one.

You clearly don’t want to appoint someone who has had money problems, because that person won’t be able to manage yours.

— Naomi Karp, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Plan Ahead

Not only can guardianships and conservatorships be exploitive, the process is public, expensive and time-consuming, said Naomi Karp, senior policy advisor at the Office of Older Americans of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in Washington, D.C.
The key to avoiding an abusive guardianship — which is likely to be extremely difficult to escape from if it happens — is to plan ahead.
Karp and other experts advise taking the following steps (you can find a list of resources at the end of this article):
  • Create a durable power of attorney for finances. This is a document in which you name a person to make decisions for you if you cannot. (A regular, or “nondurable” power of attorney ends if you lose mental capacity.) For instance, if you are severely injured in a car accident or incapacitated by a stroke, your “agent” or “attorney-in-fact” will be able to sign financial documents, pay bills and buy things you need.
  • Create a durable power of attorney for medical care. With this document, also referred to as an advance directive, you designate a trusted person to make health care decisions for you if you cannot. The “agent” or “health care proxy” can get access to your medical records, talk to doctors about your condition, make decisions about getting you into a hospital or nursing home and grant or withhold permission for tests and treatments.
  • Think carefully about whom you appoint as your agent. Said Karp: “You want someone who has common sense and good judgment. You clearly don’t want to appoint someone who has had money problems,” because that person won’t be able to manage yours if he or she has a bad history managing finances.
  • Make sure your prospective agent agrees, and give him or her the necessary information to do the job. One excellent resource: a series of guides from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Managing Someone Else’s Money.
  • Build in a safety mechanism. “I like to say, ‘Trust, but verify,’” Karp said. You can require in your financial power of attorney document that the person you appoint provide a periodic accounting with a third person you trust, she said. “It’s another set of eyes,” Karp noted.
  • Revoke the document if you change your mind. If you decide the person you chose is no longer appropriate or cannot serve for some reason, you can revoke the original power of attorney and draft a new one naming a different person.
  • Don’t put it off. Set aside some time for getting these documents filled out, or make an appointment with an attorney. If you plan to have an attorney draft a will, that’s the perfect time to ask him or her to complete the power of attorney forms as well, Karp said.
Karp acknowledged that this is an unpleasant topic. “A lot of people just avoid the planning and avoid discussing it in their families,” she said. But not only does preparing help you protect your interests, it saves your loved ones from confusion, complicated paperwork and heart-wrenching decisions.

Helpful Resources

You can find useful planning information and other resources here:
For information on guardianships and efforts against abuse, check these websites:
If you or a loved one is being abused, call your local adult protective services agency; you can find the appropriate contact for your area at or call 800-677-1116.

This article was written with support from the Journalists in Aging Fellowships, a program of New America Media and the Gerontological Society of America, sponsored by the Retirement Research Foundation.

Full Article & Source:
How to Protect Yourself or a Loved One From an Abusive Guardianship

See Also:
Next Avenue:  Guardianship Laws Are Improving, Problems Persist

Guardianship in the US:  Protection or Exploitation?"

Eagles’ Randy Meisner’s voluntary conservatorship ‘going very nicely’

An attorney for Eagles co-founder Randy Meisner said Wednesday that his client is doing well under a voluntary temporary conservatorship and criticized attempts by a former friend of the musician to have someone else appointed to look after his medical and financial needs.

Lawyer Bruce Fuller told Los Angeles Superior Court Judge William Barry that Meisner’s longtime friend, Arthur Ford, is making sure the 70-year-old bassist receives proper health care and that Meisner’s accountant, Thomas DeLong, is properly overseeing his business affairs.

“They are qualified and things are going very nicely,” Fuller said.

In April, the judge found that Meisner was of sound mind when he agreed to have Ford and DeLong as his temporary conservators.

But the selections of Ford and DeLong drew concerns from James Newton, who has filed a competing petition. Newton has said he often speaks with the musician’s children.

Newton’s lawyer, Troy Martin, states in his court papers that his client prefers that Donna Bogdanovich be appointed to oversee Meisner’s medical needs and his estate.  The lawyer further stated in court papers that Bogdanovich is a former social worker and case manager who specializes in mental health issues.

Barry scheduled a trial on the competing petitions for Aug. 11 and 12.

“I think we need to put it to rest,” Barry said.

Martin told Barry that Newton believes Meisner was not of sound mind when he agreed to the temporary conservatorships. He said Newton is concerned whether the bassist gets proper medical care.

Newton is concerned that unlike Bogdanovich, Ford may not have expertise in dealing with people like Meisner, who has a history of substance issues and mental health problems, according to Martin.

Martin said previously that Meisner’s suicidal thoughts once prompted him to say he wanted to kill people with an AK-47 and then take his own life.

Barry scheduled a July 7 hearing on Martin’s request that a medical examination be performed on Meisner.

Meisner, who has appeared in court for the conservatorship hearings, shook his head in disagreement as he heard Martin speak to the judge.

Meisner’s wife, Lana, suffered a fatal gunshot wound March 6 when she lifted a rifle that accidentally discharged in the couple’s Studio City home, according to police.

Fuller filed a petition on his client’s behalf five days later asking that a conservatorship be established to provide for Meisner’s care, maintenance and support.

Fuller stated in his court papers that his client was “in a profound state of grief” and “barely able to accept the sudden and tragic loss” of his 63-year-old wife.

The Eagles were founded in 1971 by Meisner, the late Glenn Frey, Don Henley and Bernie Leadon. Meisner co-wrote and sang the hit, “Take it to the Limit.”

—City News Service

Full Article & Source:
Eagles’ Randy Meisner’s voluntary conservatorship ‘going very nicely’

See Also:
Randy Meisner's Friend Calls For Conservatorship

Randy Meisner Fights Kids Over Conservatorship Plans

Assisted living home in Livonia shut down by state officials

LIVONIA, Mich. - An assisted living home in Livonia has been shut down by the state due to alleged violations.

All residents at Ashley Court are being ordered to move out as early as 6 p.m. Wednesday. Residents were being evacuated Wednesday afternoon.

According to a statement released by the state, the Michigan Bureau of Fire Services found several repeat violations at the home and the Bureau of Health Care Services found quality of care issues.

The immediate threat that caused the suspension order was due to the Bureau of Fire Services' disapproval of the buildings.

Investigators said there were 13 violations regarding the license, staff had not been properly trained, patients had been injured and there were a total of 20 safety violations.

"We received a call at noon saying that we had to have our relatives out by 6 this evening and that the state was closing the facility. The state Department of Licensing told us that the adult foster care from the state were going to petition for guardianship if we didn't get our parents out within that period, that they were going to petition for guardianship and lock the doors," said Gabe McCann, whose 85-year-old mother lives at the home.

The facility deals mainly with Alzheimer's patients and people suffering from dementia. McCann said he had no notice.

"We're going to have to move to a short-term facility, and then to another facility. That creates setbacks for people who are elderly every time you move them," he said.

The Bureau of Health Care Services is working with Michigan Audlt Protective Services to assist with resident relocation.

Full Article & Source:
Assisted living home in Livonia shut down by state officials

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Next Avenue: Guardianship Laws are Improving, Problems Persist

(Editor’s note: This is Part 2 of a three-part series on guardianship abuses appearing this week on Next Avenue.
Here are Part 1 and Part 3.)

Cases of abusive guardianships have made headlines for decades. Horrific tales — of relatives fighting over Mom to access her savings, professional guardians draining an estate through exorbitant fees or nursing homes filing for guardianship to keep their beds filled — have been all too common.

When a judge imposes legal guardianship or conservatorship, everything changes.

After a hearing that might last only minutes, the ward or “incapacitated person” may no longer be allowed to decide where to live or whom he or she will see. If a guardian is appointed for you, that person will choose whether you get any spending money. You won’t be able to enter into contracts, including marriage, or demand a different guardian or your freedom back — even if your guardian is abusing you or stealing your money.

Nationwide Reforms

Many such arrangements are undoubtedly necessary and benign. And the ranks of guardians and conservators include some highly dedicated, caring and selfless people.

Yet this Next Avenue investigation has come to a key conclusion: changes are desperately needed.

Yes, lawyers, judges, advocates and politicians have fought hard for reform in the guardianship and conservatorship systems. (Guardianship generally refers to control over a person; conservatorship, to control over a person’s finances.) And dozens of new laws have been put in place throughout the country.

But many experts believe it’s all happening far too slowly — and some of the most finely crafted laws remain mere words on paper.

“Even though we’ve made changes in the statutes, it’s as if we’re living in a virtual reality,” said A. Frank Johns, a Greensboro, N.C. attorney and a national leader in the field of elder law. “When you go out and try to look for the application of those changes, it’s nowhere to be found.”

Landmark Investigation

Experts say there was little widespread recognition or publicity about the problems in guardianships until 1987, when the Associated Press published a blistering six-part series of articles following a year-long investigation.

Then as now, there were no reliable statistics on exactly how many guardianships there are nationwide; the AP estimated 300,000 to 400,000. Today, experts give a range from 1 million to 2 million. States do not keep track of the numbers.

The exposé prompted impassioned calls for reform and led to a host of new state laws.

*Some of the changes since then include these requirements:
*That the would-be “incapacitated person” is notified of the guardianship hearing and be present if desired
*That he or she has the right to an attorney
*That there is “clear and convincing” evidence that the person is incapacitated, and, in some states, that guardianship is necessary to avoid harm
*That (in some states) a medical expert assesses the proposed ward.

Efforts in Michigan

Changes in the laws didn’t always translate to changes in the courtroom, however.

For instance, after the AP series came out, Michigan passed a comprehensive new law. “After the Guardianship Reform Act of 1988, Michigan has probably had the best or among the best statutes in the United States,” said attorney Bradley Geller, who has spent his career in the field, most recently as an assistant long-term care ombudsman for Michigan. However, he added, “that has, over the past 27 years, meant absolutely nothing.”

Geller attended a conference of probate judges when the law took effect. “One probate judge rose and said, ‘Guardianship reform will come to Michigan when all the sitting judges are dead.’ And he was, unfortunately, optimistic, because even with a new generation of probate judges, the problems remain,” Geller said.

Tate Facing Loss of Royalties Following Bankruptcy Dismissal

By Walter F. Roche Jr.

A federal judge has dismissed the bankruptcy case filed by Nashville songwriter Danny Tate and the Nashville attorney who once represented him is moving ahead in a Tennessee court to attach the musician's royalties.

Court records show Tate's bankruptcy was dismissed last week by a Kentucky Bankruptcy judge following a hearing which Tate said he had been told was canceled.

The dismissal cleared the way for attorney Michael G. Hoskins to renew his bid to collect Tate's royalties to pay off legal bills incurred when Tate was trying to get released from a court ordered conservatorship.

Tate said he was not at the Thursday bankruptcy court session because he received a phone call from a federal bankruptcy trustee's office informing him that the May 19 hearing had been postponed until next month.

"Somebody didn't want me at that hearing," Tate said.

Hoskins declined to comment. In an email to Tate this week,  Hoskins said he had thrown in the trash the musician's motions to have sanctions imposed on him in the bankruptcy case.

The brief message left on Tate's voice mail last week, which Tate provided, states that the hearing could not be held Thursday because a staffer would not be able to attend for health reasons.
Tate said he had assumed the message was accurate and legitimate and did not show up for the hearing.

Immediately following the dismissal, Hoskins filed motions in Circuit Court in Nashville, Tenn. to attach Tate's royalties.

Under federal law, the claim had been put on hold when the bankruptcy was filed. According to court filings the royalties ranged from $12,000 to $20,000 per year. A circuit court judge already has denied Tate's challenge to the legality of the royalty attachments.

The actions in Kentucky and Tennessee are but the latest in a series following the granting of an emergency petition in Davidson Probate Court placing Tate in a conservatorship and stripping him of control over his finances, among other things.

Tate hired Hoskins to help him get out of the conservatorship and he was finally released in 2010.

Hoskins billed some $160,000 for his services, an amount Tate has disputed.

Tate's home was put up for auction by court orderto pay part of his conservatorship debt. Hoskins then purchased Tate's home for $120,000. Hoskins and attorney Paul Housch, who also was involved in the conservatorship battle, divvied up the proceeds.

Hoskins has put Tate's former home on the market for $614,900, down from the original asking price of $649,000.

Tate, 60, has had his songs covered by Lynryd Skynyrd, Ricky Springfield, The Oakridge Boys and Tim McGraw. He got his start when he co-wrote Affair of the Heart by Springfield.

Full Article & Source:
Tate Facing Loss of Royalties Following Bankruptcy Dismissal 

See Also:

Auctioning Danny Tate's Home to Pay His Court-Appointed "Protectors"

Pauper v Probate: Order for Sale of Home

Hoskins' Motion for Order of Sale

USA Today: Hoskins Quote Annotated

Jewell Tinnon's Conservatorship Lawsuit Dismissed

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Guardianship in the U.S.: Protection or Exploitation?

(Editor’s note: This is Part 1 of a three-part series on guardianship abuses appearing this week on Next Avenue.)

Ginger Franklin - Credit: Tennessee Bar Association

Ginger Franklin was just shy of her 50th birthday when she fell down the stairs of her Nashville-area townhouse in 2008. A marketing representative for Sam’s Club, she was taken to the hospital with a severe brain injury. Doctors weren’t sure if she would survive.

Since Franklin had not designated anyone to make decisions for her if she became incapacitated, and with no immediate family, her aunt was advised to petition the court for a guardian. The guardian, a lawyer appointed by the county, placed her in a group home for seriously mentally ill adults.

But Franklin was not mentally ill. And she did what no one expected her to do: she recovered.

When she returned home from a rehabilitation center seven weeks later, however, the guardian “told me that I didn’t have a home anymore and that my townhouse was empty,” Franklin said.

Some of these cases are the ugliest family cases you can imagine.... somebody who did not get access to Mom and Dad’s money [against] someone who did.
— Brenda Uekert, National Center for State Courts

As is common in guardianship cases, the court granted permission for the guardian to sell Franklin’s home and its contents. The owners of the group home where she was placed then put Franklin to work: She was forced to do the grocery shopping, cook, dispense medication, watch over the other residents of the house and clean the owners’ personal home — for no pay, Franklin said. Meanwhile, she was paying $850 monthly rent to the owners, plus $200-per-hour attorney fees to the guardian for such tasks as writing checks for Franklin’s expenses and leaving phone messages, according to a court document.

With the help of an advocate, and media attention, Franklin fought the guardianship in court, winning her freedom in 2010 after two long years of having no legal rights. She now lives independently in the Nashville area and has sued the guardian.

“It’s quite an understatement to say I was devastated,” she told Next Avenue. “I don’t trust people anymore. I lost everything — because I fell down the stairs.”

More Will Enter ‘The Danger Age’

Franklin’s case, originally investigated by The Tennessean newspaper, is just one of many cases of guardianship and conservatorship abuse across the country.

In a 2010 report, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found hundreds of allegations of physical abuse, neglect and financial exploitation by guardians in 45 states and the District of Columbia between 1990 and 2010. Guardians also stole $5.4 million in assets from their wards in that period, the GAO said. (The GAO is currently working on an updated report.)

As the boomer population moves into old age, the numbers of people affected by guardianship and conservatorship will rise “tremendously,” said Jennifer Wright, a professor at the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis who directs the school’s Elder Law Practice Group.

“There are more of us who are going to enter the danger age,” she said.

With as little as a single document — and in some cases, not even a court hearing — older adults can see their most basic rights stripped away. They cannot vote, get married or get divorced. A family member or a stranger appointed by the court will decide where they will live, how their money will be spent, what health care they will get or not get, when they will go out, when and where they may travel and whom they are allowed to see.

Guardianships: Difficult to Challenge

Rarely is an “incapacitated person” or ward able to get a guardianship or conservatorship terminated — until death, that is. Franklin was, in that sense, very lucky.

“Go ahead and see what you can do, because you have been deemed incapacitated, so everything you say or do is meaningless,” said Brenda Uekert, principal court research consultant with the National Center for State Courts. “You can’t even get an attorney, because a judge has already determined that you don’t have the ability to make decisions for yourself.”

Those who do try to fight often end up paying exorbitant amounts of money.

“Many families go bankrupt because they believe if they hang in there long enough the system will work for them, and it doesn’t,” said Elaine Renoire, a director of the National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse in Loocootee, Ind., a victims’ rights group. The No. 1 complaint she hears: guardians who try to isolate older adults from their loved ones.

In her 2014 book, The Con Game: A Failure of Trust, business professor T.S. Laham of Diablo Valley College in the San Francisco Bay Area wrote that America’s guardianship system is “an open invitation to potential abuse.” (Next Avenue wrote about the book last year.)  (Continue Reading)

Full Article & Source:
Guardianship in the U.S.: Protection or Exploitation?

Monday, May 23, 2016

Nevada guardianship panel likes subpoena power of Florida county

Members of a Nevada Supreme Court panel looking for help to fix the state’s beleaguered guardianship system know one thing: An office in Palm Beach County, Florida, that watchdogs its guardianship system has some much needed bite.

On Friday, the 26-person panel spent several hours talking to that county’s comptroller and clerk, Sharon Bock, at the UNLV Thomas & Mack Moot Court.

So why Palm Beach County?

Both Nevada and Florida are considered top retirement destinations, and both have over-65 populations that are well above the national average. But the commission’s interest went beyond the two states’ age similarities.

Since 2011, Bock’s office has been auditing and investigating guardianship in her county looking for fraud and exploitation, a practice virtually unheard of in Nevada. In 2014, the Florida Legislature gave the office full subpoena power in audits, meaning it can obtain important documents such as bank records and even personal emails from guardians if fraud is suspected.

The clerk’s office is not a law enforcement agency, but its auditors, led by Anthony Palmieri, have investigated over 900 guardianship cases. From those, the office has found more than $5.1 million in missing assets and fraud, Bock told the panel.

Since the audits have been done by deputy clerks trained in forensic accounting investigations, Bock said law enforcement agencies in Palm Beach have been more willing to pursue criminal charges. Since 2011, 20 guardians have been criminally prosecuted there

The office audits every guardianship case in the county, Bock said, and its compliance rate for guardianship cases is 100 percent, meaning that all of the cases meet Florida law for filing annual accountings.

In Nevada, those numbers aren’t quite on Palm Beach County’s level yet. Back in March the Clark County guardianship court reported that less than half of its roughly 3,100 cases were compliant. That number has since risen to 72 percent as of Friday, according to the court.

Most panel members seemed receptive to the idea, but many worried about where the funding for such an investigative office would come from.

The panel unanimously agreed that the state should work toward adopting a plan similar to the Palm Beach model.

“I think what they’re doing is great,” said Chief Deputy District Attorney Jay Raman, who heads the district attorney’s Elder Abuse Unit. “I wish we could just transplant it here.”

Full Article & Source:
Nevada guardianship panel likes subpoena power of Florida county

Elder financial exploitation is now a crime in N.H.

GORHAM — Two amendments to the state’s criminal code that went into effect in 2015 mean that those who financially exploit elderly, disabled or impaired adults in amounts over $1,000 can be charged with felony crimes that call for jail time and restitution, explained Berlin native Susan Keough Staples to an outreach session at Gorham Town Hall Tuesday.

Staples, who serves as coordinator for the Coalition Against Later Life Abuse (CALLA), told 40 social service professionals, bankers, police officers, attorneys and senior citizen advocates on hand that certain crimes — taking or using an elder’s assets for one’s own benefit or using undue influence, force or coercion to take control of an elder’s personal property — are on the upswing in what is now a “graying” Granite State.

Victims of these crimes — often misled by younger members of their own family or by trusted caregivers — are left with greatly reduced assets or even destitution, sometimes resulting in shortened lives and even suicide because of the emotional impact.

When she signed the legislation into law in 2014, Gov. Maggie Hassan said, “This commonsense, bipartisan legislation takes an important step toward confronting abuse of vulnerable victims by strengthening protection against financial exploitation for elderly, disabled and impaired adults,” that she noted is one of society’s most important responsibilities.

The amendments give law enforcement — both state and local —concurrent jurisdiction with Adult Protective Services (APS) of the state Bureau of Elderly and Adult Services (1-800-949-0470).

The state Attorney General’s Office was recently given the green light to accept a grant to reinstate an Elder Abuse Unit under its Consumer Protection & Antitrust Bureau.

“We’ll be looking to hire both a full-time lawyer and victim advocate,” said James Boffetti, a senior assistant attorney general, in a phone interview. “The AG’s Office will seek to play a leadership role, assisting local law enforcement and helping county attorneys prosecute serious cases of exploitation, abuse, and neglect.”

Combating Elder Financial Exploitation will require a multi-disciplinary approach, involving law enforcement, prosecution, legal services, financial services and community supports, Staples said.

“We’re looking to create public awareness and to provide training to those who regularly come in contact with the elderly, ranging from hairdressers and barbers to social service professionals. These crimes are a community problem that affects everyone, not only because they have a devastating impact on victims and their families but also because they have a serious impact on communities, often requiring elders to become reliant on community services.”

Staples continued, “Exploitation by trusted others can include forging an older person’s signature, stealing money or valuables, cashing checks or using debit and-or credit cards, threatening or coercing elders to sign documents, and borrowing money and then not paying it back.

“Common tactics that exploiters use include inducing shame and fostering secrecy and isolation, and-or abusing their roles as someone given a power of attorney (POA),” she said. “Victims — often widows — are usually reluctant to complain or are in a dazed state of disbelief. Although exploitation can happen very fast, the general public is unaware that crimes against the state’s vulnerable elderly are increasing.”

Staples said that CALLA is now trying to develop a statewide blueprint for action to combat elder financial exploitation; and she called for communication, cooperation, and collaboration from all sectors.

“Our message to elders must be: ‘we respect and honor you; we commit to seeking justice for you; we will prosecute with passion, purpose and perseverance.’” Staples said.

An earlier statewide summit that drew 140 people was held on April 20 in Concord. Five regional sessions were then scheduled, the first in the North Country.

Among those on hand were: chairman Mark Frank of the governor-appointed State Committee On Aging (SCOA); Energy, Elders & Outreach Services Division Director Andrea Gagne of TCCAP;
Anthony Rodriques of NHHS, manager Paul Robitaille of ServiceLink; paralegal Dona Larsen of N. H. Legal Assistance; Melissa Fales, one of five Grafton County assistant county attorneys; risk management specialist Yolanda Kelley of Northway Bank; supervisor Rhonda Holmes of Adult Protective Services; and three Gorham police officers: Sgt. Mark Santos, Mike Turgeon, and Rich McClure.

Full Article & Source:
Elder financial exploitation is now a crime in N.H.

Two SETX men arrested, accused of bilking elderly in precious coin scams

BEAUMONT - Two Southeast Texas men with warrants from three different states are in the Jefferson County Jail after investigators say they stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from mostly elderly victim through scams.

Christopher Wayne Roberts was arrested on May 9. 

Donald Scott Rainey was checked into the Jefferson County Jail Friday morning. 

A deputy said that both men are accused of bilking mostly elderly people by scamming them out of precious coins. 

Some of the victims had invested their life savings in the coins for years and called on the men to cash them out.  According to investigators, the victims turned over their coins for sale, but never saw a penny.

According to the sheriff's office, multiple charges have been filed on the men out of New York California and Colorado.

Full Article & Source:
Two SETX men arrested, accused of bilking elderly in precious coin scams

Sunday, May 22, 2016

The "Campbell~Falk" Bill

NASGA Director Marcia Southwick proudly displays our "Campbell~Falk Bill" after it was signed into Tennessee law by Governor Haslam.

Because of this law, musical icon Glen Campbell is able to see his oldest children, Travis and Trudy once again. Because of this law, untold numbers of guardianship wards in Tennessee who have been denied the presence and the comfort of their family and friends by their court-appointed guardians will no longer have to suffer in isolation!

See Also:
Glen Campbell's Children Instigate Tennessee Law That Will Protect Elderly

St. Clair County lawyer disciplined for failing to report client’s death

The state board that disciplines lawyers has censured a St. Clair County lawyer for failing to report that his client in a civil lawsuit had died.

The Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission announced the censure Friday against attorney Anthony P. Gilbreth, who has an office in Columbia. He was not immediately available for comment Friday.

The ARDC said Gilbreth “failed to inform his opposing counsel and the court that his client had died in a pending civil case and then attempted to conceal his client’s death in an attempt to settle the case.”

A censure is a formal reprimand.

Gilbreth was licensed in Illinois in 2006.

Full Article & Source:
St. Clair County lawyer disciplined for failing to report client’s death

Elder registry expansion targets in-home nurses to weed out abuse

Georgia is expanding its nurse aide registry, which catalogues incidents of abuse and neglect of elderly patients, to include home health care providers.

“This is the first step in our efforts to provide information on abusers to providers and families hiring caregivers,” Kathy Floyd, executive director of the Georgia Council on Aging, said. “This registry is a critical step in providing a safe living environment for elderly and disabled Georgians receiving long-term care services.”

The state currently maintains a registry of certified nursing assistants who have completed training.

Hospitals and nursing homes are required to check the registry to see if a nurse’s license is current, and can review findings of abuse, neglect, exploitation or misappropriation of property.

There are 73,000 active CNAs and 210,000 inactive CNAs on the registry, with 1,350 adverse findings logged.

According to the Georgia Department of Community Health, “Elder abuse is an underrecognized, undetected and underreported problem with devastating and life-threatening consequences.”

Calvin Mangum, who regularly enjoys a hot meal and round of pool at the Senior Life Center in Gainesville, said the expanded registry is important for vulnerable patients.

Though he has never experienced any abuse, Mangum recalled a friend who once was neglected by in-home caregivers.

“The family should have been there,” he said.

The latest law expands the registry’s scope to include “adverse findings” on CNAs who work in home settings.

“As more individuals desire to remain at home ... it makes sense to track CNAs in all the situations where they provide care,” Floyd said.

Patricia Cunningham agreed. She worked as a nurse in hospitals and nursing homes before retiring into the leisure and friendship available at the Senior Life Center.

“More people want to stay in their home,” she said, adding that this makes the expanded registry all the more necessary.

Cunningham said she has never witnessed elder abuse, but believes the expanded registry will provide better screening of caregivers.

“It can happen anywhere,” she said about abuse.

Daniel Johnson, sitting next to Cunningham at the senior center on a recent afternoon, said one caveat that should be considered is that caregivers might be falsely accused. Sometimes patients and their nurses have personality conflicts, and people can interpret the same events differently, he added.

Moreover, Johnson said he is thankful for the good in-home care his mother received. Her nurse became like family.

“It should come with some restrictions,” he said of the registry. “Good people are hard to find. ”

Floyd said her organization, created by the Georgia General Assembly in 1977 to advise the governor, assembly and state agencies on programs for Georgia’s seniors, wants to grow the registry to include a broader range of caregivers who are not CNAs.

“We will work (with lawmakers) to design legislation to bring to the 2017 session,” she said.

Full Article & Source:
Elder registry expansion targets in-home nurses to weed out abuse

Man charged with stealing $75K from his orphaned nephews

CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE — A California man is accused of abusing his position as trustee on his deceased sister's estate and stealing $75,000 from the money left to care for her children, according to reports.

Michael DeLeon, 46, of Oceanside, Calif., was entrusted with the estate of his sister Elizabeth Warrington after her death. It was to be used for the care of her two young sons, who live in Ocean City, Shore News Today reports. Authorities claim, however, that between 2007 and 2014 he stole from that estate and an investigation by the Cape May County Prosecutor's Office led to his arrest last week.

DeLeon was apprehended in California on May 10 and faces extradition to Cape May County on charges of second degree theft, which is subject to a 5 to ten-year prison sentence, according to the Cape May County Herald.

Full Article & Source:
Man charged with stealing $75K from his orphaned nephews