Saturday, March 25, 2017

EDITH+EDDIE to have its international premiere at Hot Docs 2017

EDITH+EDDIE will have its international premiere at the 2017 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, North America's largest documentary film festival, on May 2nd!

Edith+Eddie, a short film directed, edited and produced by Laura Checkoway will have its international premiere at Hot Docs 2017, North America's largest documentary festival, on May 2nd at 8:30PM.

Edith+Eddie will screen at 8:30PM on Tuesday, May 2; 3:45PM on Wednesday, May 3 and 3:30PM on Thursday, May 4 with the film The Fruitless Tree. Tickets are on sale now.

Edith+Eddie world premiered at the True/False Film Fest on March 2nd, enamoring audiences and critics alike.

Notably, the film was written about in the LA Times, with journalist Steven Zeitchik lauding the film as "an indictment of the elder-care system, with racial undertones."

Edith+Eddie will screen among 230 films selected from a record 2,906 entries to the festival. Of those 230 films, 48% of the filmmakers are female. Director Laura Checkoway, producer Thomas Lee Wright, co-producer Karina Rotenstein, and Kartemquin Director of Communications and Distribution Tim Horsburgh will attend the festival and conference.

The film tells the story of Edith Hill and Eddie Harrison–at ages 95 and 96 they are America's oldest interracial newlyweds. Their unusual and idyllic love story is disrupted by a family feud that threatens to tear the couple apart.

The Final Racket: Exploitation of the Elderly

In my continued effort to inform readers about what can happen when a family asks a judge to decide a dispute over what to do with their aging parent, may I call your attention to the state of Nevada?

The Sagebrush State spawned a court-appointed financial guardian to beat all others! April Parks has been slapped with an indictment of over 200 counts charging her, along with her office manager, her husband and her lawyer, with exploitation of older persons, theft, perjury and racketeering.

Yeah, racketeering — the same type of charge federal prosecutors have used in the past to help break the mafia's back.

Nevada is no stranger to dodgy characters in its elder guardian system. Back in 2007, Angela Dottei was imprisoned on five counts of embezzling money from elderly wards of the court that judges assigned her to protect. A grand jury found that Dottei used the money, including estate funds from a ward who died, to feed her gambling habit. Commissioner Jon Nordheim, who heard guardianship cases, was removed but not punished after having appointed multiple professional guardians who stole money from their elder clients. The judge who supervised Nordheim, Charles Hoskin, had his hand slapped but is now the presiding judge of Clark County Family Court.

Back to Parks. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, she was appointed by various judges to control the personal and financial lives of up to 100 elderly and mentally vulnerable people — at the same time. The indictment says Parks and her cohorts double-billed clients, often failed to file the required accounting to the judge and set up and directed a "criminal syndicate" that stole roughly $559,000 from 150 victims. According to law enforcement, Parks "systematically bilked them out of their life savings."

See a pattern here? Judges tap these questionable guardians over and over, but they are not held accountable for their appointees' actions.

Let's call it what it is: legalized exploitation of the elderly.
Rudy and Rennie North spent two years under Parks' control. Their daughter, Julie Belshe, told me all about what she called "their captivity." She said that an unscrupulous doctor got the ball rolling, reporting to Parks that she thought Rudy North was unable to manage his medications and was therefore "incapacitated."

In August 2013, Parks made an unannounced visit to Belshe's elderly parents and allegedly offered them three choices: She would call the police to come get them, call a psychiatrist to institutionalize them or they could go to an assisted living facility. Belshe says her confused parents took choice number three, and that she was completely unaware of the visit. Parks obtained official guardian status from a cooperative judge in no time.

"They were leasing a house on a golf course," Belshe told me. "It was wonderful, full of their beautiful possessions. Parks sold everything for pennies on the dollar."

Her father compared the experience to being taken away from his home as a child and forced to live in Auschwitz, the Nazi concentration camp.

It took Belshe two years and a costly legal battle to free her parents from guardianship. They now live with her family in a converted basement.

Authorities say the Norths weren't Parks' only victims. Court filings tell the story of 90-year-old Inessa Sanborn, who reportedly had to tape her shoes together because Parks refused to buy her a new pair. Seventy-four-year-old Norman Weinstock spoke in court saying that Parks' accounting paperwork showing that she bought him "thousands of dollars worth of clothing" was false.

"I was with her for six years," he said. "She bought me one pair of sneakers, two pairs of house slippers, one of which didn't fit, and some other clothes that didn't fit."

In April 2016, the heat was on. Authorities were finally digging into Parks' activities, and she left Nevada. A month later, she declared bankruptcy in Pennsylvania. In July, 2016, a Nevada judge issued an arrest warrant for Parks, but she remained free. Nevada investigators did not give up and ultimately discovered evidence of double billing, sloppy bookkeeping and what looked like downright fraud. The grand jury agreed.

I have investigated this topic for more than a year, and judging from families I've heard from, I believe there are countless more shysters out there. They pretend to care about helping the elderly, but what they really care about is the money they can make — legally or illegally — by working in the elder guardianship system. Americans Against Abusive Probate and Guardianship is a group working to reform the system. An estimated 1.3 million U.S. citizens are under court-initiated guardianship. Some work out beautifully, especially when a trusted family member is named guardian instead of a for-profit outsider, but many do not. This is, indeed, a nationwide problem.

Nevada is taking steps to clean up its longstanding mess. How about your state? (Click to Continue)

Full Article & Source:
The Final Racket: Exploitation of the Elderly

Well-known disability lawyer Eric Conn pleads guilty in federal fraud case

Eric Conn
Flamboyant Social Security lawyer Eric C. Conn, who won disability checks for thousands of people in Eastern Kentucky but caused heartache for many former clients after he was accused of cheating on cases, pleaded guilty Friday in a federal fraud case.

Conn, 56, pleaded guilty to one count of stealing from the Social Security Administration and one count of paying illegal gratuities to a federal judge.

Conn, who lives in Pikeville, admitted he submitted false documentation for clients seeking disability payments and paid off a federal administrative law judge who approved the claims.

“I submitted or allowed the submission of medical records that I knew to be fraudulent in nature,” Conn said when U.S. District Judge Danny C. Reeves asked him to describe his illegal conduct.

Conn admitted he submitted false documents in “well over” 1,700 cases, the Department of Justice said.

Conn declined comment after the hearing. However, his attorney, Scott White, said people “should reserve judgment” about Conn’s role in the fraud until after the trial of two others charged in the case.

The other defendants are David B. Daugherty, a former Social Security judge accused of rubber-stamping benefit claims for Conn’s clients in return for payoffs, and Pikeville psychologist Alfred Bradley Adkins, who allegedly signed false mental-impairment evaluations of Conn’s clients.

Conn faces up to 12 years in prison, though his sentence will likely be lower under advisory federal guidelines. He is to be sentenced July 14.

He agreed to pay the government at least $5.7 million he received as a result of engaging in fraud. His plea agreement also calls for $46.5 million in restitution to the Social Security Administration.

Conn was indicted last April on more than a dozen charges, including mail and wire fraud, conspiring to retaliate against a witness, destroying evidence and money laundering.

Those charges will be dismissed as part of his plea arrangement.

Reeves allowed Conn to remain out of jail pending sentencing, but continued an earlier order of home detention.

Conn built a lucrative practice specializing in federal disability cases, promoting himself on television and on billboards throughout Eastern Kentucky.

He worked out of an office complex made of five connected mobile homes in Floyd County with a 19-foot-tall statue of Abraham Lincoln out front, hired bluegrass music legend Ralph Stanley to appear in a music video for him and once put a Miss Kentucky USA on the payroll for $70,000 a year as his public relations director.

Conn will sell his house and forfeit the office complex and Lincoln statue to help pay the government.

The Social Security Administration paid Conn’s firm $23 million from August 2005 to September 2015 for his work, according to one court order, making him one of the top earners in the program nationally.

However, whistleblowers in the Huntington, W.Va. office of the Social Security Administration, which handles appeals of cases from Eastern Kentucky, raised red flags about Conn’s relationship with an administrative judge there, David B. Daugherty.

A federal investigation ultimately led to charges that Conn falsified medical documents to show his clients were disabled, and paid doctors $300 to $450 apiece to sign completed evaluations supporting the claims.

Then, Daugherty allegedly arranged for Conn’s cases to be assigned to him — even allegedly taking over cases after they’d been assigned to other judges — and approved the claims, often without holding hearings.

Conn said in his plea agreement that the scheme went back to October 2004.

Daugherty told Conn at a hearing that his rulings were making Conn a lot of money, and then solicited $5,000 from Conn to help a family member with addiction rehabilitation, Conn told prosecutors.

Conn said that when he didn’t pay right away, Daugherty called him later the same day, reminded him of Daugherty’s favorable rulings and said he “needed to have that money,” the agreement said.

Conn, knowing the success of his practice depended in part on a good relation with Daugherty, paid him. The next month, Daugherty told Conn he would be needing $10,000 a month, the plea agreement said.

When Conn paid the first $10,000, Daugherty said, “Let’s not be stupid here,” cautioning Conn against withdrawing more than $10,000 at a time from his bank account to pay Daugherty because the bank would have to report the transaction.

After the scam had been going on for some time, Daugherty told Conn to come up with more varied false medical reports to avoid suspicion.

Conn paid Daugherty $8,000 to $14,000 a month from late 2004 through the spring of 2011, when Daugherty quit after Social Security investigators began an inquiry, according to the agreement Conn signed Friday.

Conn confirmed he destroyed records after learning of the investigation.

Conn’s plea deal said Adkins began doing mental-impairment tests on his clients in 2004. Adkins said he spent more than three hours with people, but in fact spent 30 minutes and estimated their IQ — rather than actually testing — and assigned scores to make them appear more disabled, Conn’s plea agreement said.

Adkins didn’t like doing the assessments, however, so in 2006, he told Conn to fill them out himself, saying “It’s all bull---- anyway,” according to the plea.

Conn created several standard templates on impairment and filled them out, and Adkins signed them, Conn told authorities.

The plea agreement said Conn faked X-ray reports as well, and lists two unnamed, unindicted co-conspirators who allegedly took part in the fraud.

The claims for Conn clients approved by Daugherty and others based on fraudulent documents obligated the SSA to pay $550 million in lifetime benefits, and the government actually paid $46.5 million to people that the agency has determined were not eligible to receive, the plea document said.
Daugherty and Adkins have pleaded innocent.

Two former employees in the Huntington SSA office, Jennifer Griffith and Sarah Carver, said they tried for years to bring attention to suspected wrongdoing by Daugherty and Conn.

The two, who faced retaliation after making reports to superiors and ultimately left the agency, attended Conn’s plea hearing.

“I’m glad to see that someone is finally being punished,” Griffith said.

However, both said there were others in the agency who took part in improper or illegal conduct.

They are suing under the federal False Claims Act, which allows whistleblowers to get a portion of the money the government recovers in fraud cases.

In May 2015, nearly a year before Conn was indicted, the Social Security Administration abruptly notified hundreds of his former clients that the agency would suspend their checks while redetermining if they were still eligible.

The agency said it was taking that action because there was reason to believe some cases Conn’s firm handled included fraudulent information from four doctors.

The move was a blow in Eastern Kentucky, where disability income is a significant part of the economy.

The agency decided not to cut off off checks during the re-determination process after Republican U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers interceded.

However, SSA went ahead with re-determination hearings.

The agency ultimately identified about 1,500 beneficiaries, most of them in Eastern Kentucky, for re-determination hearings, said Prestonsburg attorney Ned Pillersdorf, who led an effort to find attorneys for the people.

Most of the hearings are over, and a little less than half the people won decisions to keep their benefits, meaning about 800 people lost money they depended on, Pillersdorf said.

“It’s a humanitarian crisis,” Pillersdorf said.

People who lost benefits can appeal.

Pillersdorf is representing former Conn clients in a class-action lawsuit that seeks damages from him. His guilty plea is good news in that effort to get people money, Pillersdorf said.
d more here:

Full Article & Source:
Well-known disability lawyer Eric Conn pleads guilty in federal fraud case

Dementia: The Unspooling Mind

In a special one-hour presentation, 16x9 takes you inside the world of dementia on three continents. In the Netherlands, a village inhabited entirely by dementia patients. Then, a husband's emotional decision to leave his wife to be cared for in Thailand. And  in Canada, Global National's very own Dawna Friesen opens up about her family and its battle with dementia. For more info, please go to

Dementia, The Unspooling Mind

Friday, March 24, 2017

CONTACT 13: Las Vegas attorney in guardianship case charged

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) - A Las Vegas attorney involved in a guardianship abuse scandal faced a judge Wednesday.

Noel Palmer Simpson worked for private guardian April Parks and three of her associates.

Simpson is looking at two felony charges for theft and filing false documents. She is part of the sweeping guardianship abuse indictment involving more than 200 felony counts.

According to court records, Simpson and Parks changed the beneficiary on an elderly client's life insurance policy without court permission while Simpson "used the legal system to divert and capture more than $25,000."

The client wanted the money to go to her friends, but Simpson created a probate case so when the client died, she and Parks could charge estate fees.

Although Simpson is only facing two charges, court records claim she was involved in many other incidents.

Contact 13 discovered that Simpson worked with another disgraced guardian, Patience Bristol, who was convicted for exploiting and stealing from her elderly and vulnerable clients. Bristol is serving up to 8 years in prison.

If found guilty, Simpson could be looking at one to 10 years in prison for the theft charge and one to five years for filing the false document. Her next court appearance is in September.

Full Article & Source:
CONTACT 13: Las Vegas attorney in guardianship case charged

Virginia forming senior abuse task force to help seniors and prosecute abusers

SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA (WJHL)- Both Virginia and Tennessee are making strides to protect the most vulnerable citizens from abuse.

A pending Tennessee bill aims for harsher punishments for people who abuse the elderly and people with disabilities.

This comes after Tennessee launched an Elder Abuse Task Force following a News Channel 11 investigation.  Then this year because of a new state law, Vulnerable Adult Protective Investigative Teams, VAPIT, launched in districts in Tennessee.

VAPIT are teams made up of district attorneys, law enforcement, and protective services, among others, who get help for the victims and punishment for offenders. Now Virginia is hoping to launch a similar program.

Cases of the vulnerable adult population abused, taken advantage of, or exploited often go unreported and unpunished because of the many barriers to prosecuting these cases and getting the adults help, according to state prosecutors.

In Tennessee, Sullivan County District Attorney General Barry Staubus said since launching VAPIT in January, the team has looked at 88 reports of abuse. Staubus said those cases have lead to help for the adults, and dozens of investigations.

“Because of the VAPIT team we got extraordinarily more reportings, more awareness, and were able to importantly provide services for vulnerable adults that might otherwise have fell between the cracks,” Staubus said.

Now Wise County, VA Commonwealth Attorney Chuck Slemp hopes to do the same in Virginia.

“(It is) the most growing segment of the population in our region and so we’ve got to find ways that we support seniors and prevent them from being abused and neglected,” Slemp said.

He said in June he plans to hold the first meeting of the joint senior abuse task force.

“We’re going to bring together community partners talk about the problems that prevent us from being able to prosecute these types of crimes,” Slemp said.

Slemp said the team also plans to meet with state lawmakers, “To try and find easy fixes and better solutions to this problem and raise awareness of this problem that exists in so many of our communities.”

And here in Tennessee, Senator Rusty Crowe of Johnson City joined others introducing legislation, that’s now pending, that would increase punishments for offenders.

If passed, it would also lead to additional penalties when people with mental or physical disabilities are the victims of financial exploitation.

Full Article & Source:
Virginia forming senior abuse task force to help seniors and prosecute abusers

Chester County Orphans’ Court seeks guardian program volunteers

WEST CHESTER >> The Chester County Orphans’ Court is seeking volunteers to serve as its “eyes and ears” by visiting individuals who require guardianship.

The visits by volunteers assist the court in maintaining contact with any person deemed by the court to be incapacitated. The amount of volunteer time required is flexible, and training for the guardian program includes topics such as individual’s rights, Alzheimer’s disease, and information on public agencies that provide the guardianship services.

“The court appoints a guardian for an individual who is determined to be ‘incapacitated’ within the meaning of the law,” said Orphans Court Judge Katherine Platt. “The standard for that determination is whether the individual’s ability to receive and evaluate information and communicate decisions is impaired to such a significant extent that he or she is unable to manage his or her financial resources, or meet essential requirements for physical health and safety.”

Anyone interested in becoming part of the Orphans’ Court guardian program is invited to take part in a free training session that will be held on Thursday, April 6, from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Chester County Justice Center, 201 W. Market Street, West Chester. A continental breakfast and lunch will be provided.

For more information about the program or to request an application for the upcoming training, please contact Diane Mulhearn at 610-344-5212 or email

Full Article & Source:
Chester County Orphans’ Court seeks guardian program volunteers

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Film Producer Seeking Assisted Suicide Stories

The producers of  The Euthanasia Deception documentary ( are working on a new film dealing with the effects of assisted suicide in America. 

Assisted suicide is currently legal in the States of Oregon, Washington, Vermont, California, and the District of Columbia. 

If you or a loved one have felt coerced, experienced abuse, or come back from the brink of death by assisted death, we would like to hear from you. 

Email us a brief description with contact information at

Full Article & Source:
Film Producer Seeking Assisted Suicide Stories

Administrator of senior living facility arrested for financial exploitation

An administrator at an assisted senior living facility in South Florida is accused of financial exploitation.

Investigators said the victim, who is now deceased, was a disabled man who once lived at the facility. They said the elderly man was being exploited for a year after he was transported from Anguilla Cay Senior Living to a nursing home.

“It's the best facility I've ever lived in,” Charles Duckett said.

Duckett has spent the last year and three months living in Anguilla Cay Senior Living facility in Lantana.

“They put in a new elevator so we don't have to walk up and down the stairs,” Duckett said.

An arrest report shows an administrator is accused of grand theft and taking advantage of a former resident. The revelation was brought to light after someone filed a complaint last September.

Investigators with the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit with the Florida Office of Attorney General say between June 2015 to July 2016, Craig Allen Fischer illicitly received funds belonging to the victim, via electronic bank funds transfer, in the amount of $35,210.

According to the arrest report, the transactions took place while the victim, who suffered from dementia and Parkinson's, was living in another facility.

The report also states Fischer had a duty to discharge the victim but instead continued to receive funds.

A visit to Fischer’s home and his business ended without success.

As for Duckett, he said he continues to trust the people, including Fischer.

“I don't think he would do anything illegal intentionally. I know him as a man of honor,” Duckett said.

A representative with the agency for healthcare administration, which regulates assisted living facilities, said Florida law does not allow her to release information about this investigation at this time.

But I found out the agency fined Anguilla Cay $500 on January 25, 2017. The representative would not say if the two are connected.

Full Article & Source:
Administrator of senior living facility arrested for financial exploitation

Office of Public Guardian makes a difference daily

Every day, the Office of Public Guardian makes life and death decisions for its clients.

Ms. W., a 56-year-old woman with no family, lives in a nursing home and has diabetes and a schizoaffective disorder. Wendi, her OPG guardian representative, regularly visits Ms. W., who always grabs Wendi’s hand to kiss it.

Recently, Ms. W. was found in her room unresponsive and was rushed to the hospital where she was intubated and placed on a ventilator. She was diagnosed with an untreated urinary tract infection and a chronic respiratory condition that was making it difficult to wean Ms. W. off the ventilator.

The hospital staff treated Ms. W. aggressively but also asked OPG to consider allowing a natural death. If Ms. W. remained on the ventilator, she would need a tracheotomy and a surgically-placed, feeding tube. The doctors seemed to suggest a natural death was preferable because there was no long-term care facility in Florida that accepted someone on a ventilator who only had Medicaid as insurance.

Only one thing prevented OPG from agreeing with the doctors. When Wendi visited Ms. W. in the hospital, Ms. W. recognized her and reached for her hand to kiss. Wendi went back to the doctors and asked questions that pointed to a possible recovery. OPG decided to continue treatment and reassess Ms. W.’s progress periodically, giving Ms. W. precious time to recover.

Every day, the Office of Public Guardian makes ordinary decisions that impact their client’s lives, including shopping for formal attire so that clients can attend the prom, buying dolls for a woman who has a doll collection, and taking weekend trips to places like Wild Adventures.

Every day, OPG makes decisions that improve the quality of someone’s life.  Adam had been placed in foster care at a young age due to a history of severe parental abuse, both physical and psychological. As a child, he was diagnosed with a variety of mental illnesses and has a history of violent aggression and suicidal thoughts.

Adam was admitted to Florida State Hospital at the age of 19 when he became too old to live in a particular group home for foster care youth. At the time OPG became his guardian, Adam had been moved to another facility. On his good days, he was friendly and talkative, enjoying listening to music and playing video games.

On his bad days, things became really bad. He had repeated incidences of violent behavior and was Baker Acted multiple times in little over a year. The lowest point was when the psychiatric facility discharged Adam with no placement. He slept in a homeless shelter at night. The guardian found a companion to accompany him as he walked the streets during the day.

The guardian continued to work tirelessly to get services for Adam. She faced one obstacle after another in her pursuit. She used creative means to keep him from being homeless and to maintain his medication regime. Finally, her efforts paid off. Following a facility placement that fell through after a short period, Adam was finally readmitted to Florida State Hospital, and he is no longer homeless.

The OPG serves adults with mental and or physical disabilities as their court-appointed legal guardian when they are incapable of managing some or all of their affairs. The agency holds its annual major fundraising benefit Sunday, March 26. The event is a celebration of OPG's 30 years of serving families in the Big Bend area. Activities include mini spa, fun photos, silent auction, kid-friendly activities and light refreshments.

Full Article & Source:
Office of Public Guardian makes a difference daily

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Medically Kidnapped Senior Citizen’s Health Deteriorating in Missouri, Wife of 44 Years Forbidden to Help

Helen and Charley via Helen sweet photo
Helen with Charley when she 
was still allowed to visit. Photo 
Source: Taylor family.
It is going on four years since Charley Taylor has been held against his will in a nursing home under the control of a conservator.  This is despite having two doctors say that he is competent.  It has been a month since his wife Helen has been banned from the nursing home, and the couple is heartbroken.  Since that day, Charley’s health has significantly declined, according to his wife Helen.  Helen said that her husband has been “throwing up non-stop” since she was ordered off the premises indefinitely, or risk being arrested.  She said:
He’s as weak as a kitten, I can’t hardly even understand him.  When he talks to me, I’ve got to ask over and over what he said, because he’s so weak.
Charley is bedridden, and reportedly, has been begging for a shower for 14 days.  Helen said that Sunday night Charley finally got one because of an employee who has compassion on him.  She said that he is still having to go up to ten hours without having his Depends changed.  Helen said that Charley told her:
I’m tired of being in prison.
Helen told Health Impact News:
Prisoners at least see their families on Sunday.
On Monday, Helen received more devastating news.  Charley told her that he is being moved permanently to a facility in Jefferson City, which is about 30 miles away.  This is especially troubling because Helen does not have a vehicle.  Since having their property and belongings plundered after Charley was taken, she does not have a vehicle and cannot afford one.  She has been renting an apartment within walking distance from his current nursing home.  Helen longs to be near him, even if she is not allowed to see him.

See the original story:
Husband of Retired Missouri Couple Medically Kidnapped — Estate Plundered to Pay for Unwanted Medical Confinement

Now, the couple can only speak by phone and are subject to arbitrary rules regarding it.  Charley does not have a phone in his room.  He has to use the one that is in the common area, and it is shared by residents and others.

Concerns About Not Enough to Eat

Helen is concerned now more than ever about Charley.  She called the nursing home Sunday night to ask about Charley.  She said that the staff member told her that he ate all of his breakfast and all of his lunch, and talked about “how good he was feeling.”  However, afterwards Helen spoke to Charley to find that he did not eat well that day, and he was not feeling better. She told us:
He is so weak.  He doesn’t want to eat.
She said that one day last week, all he had was applesauce that was taken from him before he could finish it.  Monday, all he had to eat was half of a biscuit and gravy and half of a grilled cheese.
He’s so weak that he can hardly even talk.  His health is going down.  He’s gone down so far.  It’s worse every time I talk to him.
She said that while she was on the phone with him, he had to have something to drink just to talk to her.  She said that as he spoke, he would choke.  She told him:
You’re dehydrated.  You need something to drink.
She said that Charley does not want the drinks that the nursing home gives him because of the laxatives they put in them.
She is concerned about his health:
He thinks it’s his heart.  He was doing this right before he went to have his stint put in.  He was having a heart attack while he was throwing up, but he didn’t feel it.
Since Helen was told that she was banned from the nursing home by his court-appointed guardian Amanda Huffman, she can only look on from a distance to see if she can catch a glimpse of what is going on there.  She said that sometimes she sees Charley when the workers take him outside.  Medical Kidnap reported last month that Helen was given a letter stating that she was no longer allowed to visit her husband because she was interfering with his care. (Click to Continue)

Full Article & Source:
Medically Kidnapped Senior Citizen’s Health Deteriorating in Missouri, Wife of 44 Years Forbidden to Help

Disgraced Ohio lawyer charged with stealing clients' $75,000 settlement

Mark Chuparkoff
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- A grand jury indicted a disgraced lawyer on theft and money laundering charges that accuse him of forging court records to keep a client's $75,000 settlement for himself.

Mark Chuparkoff, 45, of Copley pleaded not guilty last week to stealing money from a Butler County restaurant owner and his wife, according to court records.

Chuparkoff, whose practice was incorporated in Columbus but had an office in Akron, was charged in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court because he accepted the settlement check in Cuyahoga County, prosecutors say.

Chuparkoff represented a restaurant owner and his wife who sued a Southwest Ohio UrgentCare for malpractice in 2009, prosecutors say. After years of appeals, the UrgentCare offered the couple a $75,000 settlement in 2015, according to prosecutors and court records.

The attorney forged the restaurant owner's signature on a court document he filed Dec. 23, 2015 to accept the payout, which came in the form of a check made payable to Chuparkoff, prosecutors say.

He deposited the money into his account, but never told the restaurant owner or his family about the settlement, prosecutors say.

When investigators contacted the couple last year, they said they assumed the case was dismissed, prosecutors said.

The charges are the latest fallout in Chuparkoff's legal career, whose law license was suspended indefinitely in 2016 after the Ohio Supreme Court's Disciplinary Counsel found he posed "a substantial threat of serious harm to the public."

The statement came after the court's disciplinary arm investigated more than a dozen complaints filed against him by clients across the state.

Chuparkoff took money to represent victims throughout Ohio, and never carried out the work he promised to do on their cases, the court found.

One of Chuparkoff's victims, a Wickliffe police officer, reached out to Chuparkoff for consultation on filing an age discrimination and wrongful termination.

The counsel said it interviewed several people during the investigation and suspects that Chuparkoff may have been having "a problem with alcohol or gambling," according to court records.

Chuparkoff's license was suspended for 30 days in December 2015 after he failed to pay court-ordered child support.

Full Article & Source:
Disgraced Ohio lawyer charged with stealing clients' $75,000 settlement

Sussex fraud victim speaks out ahead of summit to tackle exploitation of elderly

A victim of fraud from Sussex has spoken out about her experience ahead of the first crime summit to tackle the ‘epidemic of elder exploitation’.

Jean Holmwood, 67, from Heathfield, fell victim to an online fraud in 2013.

She said of her experience: “I felt pathetic.

“I like to think of myself as being quite on top of things, especially when it comes to computers and the internet, and that’s where I went down. “I was quite disgusted at myself, embarrassed.

“It was only a small amount, it might not have been much for some people but it was a lot for me not having much money in the world.

“It’s just degrading, it’s an insult to your intelligence and you feel so stupid.

“I don’t mind telling people about what happened to me because I’m hoping it will help others, but at the same time most people wouldn’t want to tell anybody because they just feel silly.”

She is now part of the Sussex Elders’ Commission, a group set up in 2015 for older residents to support, challenge and inform the work of the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne, 
The commission has been working with Sussex Police to find out more about the scale of the problem.

Rob Mills, 76, from Westmeston, who is also a member of the gorup, warned of the potentially ‘life-ending’ effect of fraud.

“It can be devastating. The cases that we have heard of recently involve massive financial loss,” he said.

“Somebody who is elderly, their resources have run out... what do they do?

“The money is gone, their house is gone: it could be life-ending.”  (Click to Continue)

Full Article & Source:
Sussex fraud victim speaks out ahead of summit to tackle exploitation of elderly

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

New Mexico lags in guardianship reform

The New Mexico Administrative Office of the Courts reported in a 2009 legislative analysis “that there is no system in place in New Mexico to assure effective oversight and monitoring of court-appointed guardians.”

Four years later, another legislative analysis found that conservatorships and guardianships were becoming more common, but “in New Mexico, there is limited regulation of what is known as ‘corporate guardianship,’ ” which involves court appointment of a for-profit or not-for-profit entity that is paid to be the legal guardian – either from the ward’s assets or by the state.

Little has changed since then, as New Mexico lags behind other states, including Texas and California, that have made reform of the system a top priority.

“We are focused on making sure that these people are protected, and it’s a big issue, a hot topic all throughout Texas,” said Jeff Rinard, guardianship certification program director in Texas.

“Nationwide, it’s a big deal, especially as the population ages.”

But in New Mexico, which has one of the most secretive guardianship/conservatorship systems in the nation, the state doesn’t know how many people are living under a court-approved guardianship or conservatorship.

In a special project funded two years ago by the Legislature for the 2nd Judicial District, the Albuquerque-area court identified about 6,000 “active” guardianship or conservatorship cases in Bernalillo County alone, some dating back to the early 1950s. Two special masters have been spot-checking cases and have made home visits to find out if wards are OK and to check their living conditions – if they are still alive.

The rest of the state? State court officials say the courts’ computer system can only show the number of guardianship cases that have been active since 2016, but efforts are underway to improve tracking of cases prior to that time.

No records

A judge in New Mexico typically sets a 30-minute closed hearing to make a potentially life-changing, and often irrevocable, decision on whether to place an allegedly incapacitated person in the hands of a family member guardian or guardianship firm.

If the request is granted, based on reports presented to the court, the incapacitated person is stripped of virtually all his or her rights, with the guardian/conservator assuming authority to make decisions on every aspect of that person’s life and finances.

The guardianships break down into three general categories:

• Cases in which a family member is appointed guardian, which account for the vast majority.

• Cases in which a for-profit or not-for-profit guardian is appointed for someone with few assets and is paid by the state – $3,650 a year for each incapacitated person.

• Cases in which the allegedly incapacitated person has assets and a commercial guardian/conservator is appointed and paid from the assets, often charging hundreds of dollars an hour and hiring others to provide services that could include help with personal hygiene, grocery shopping and even dog walking. Conservators have virtually total control over financial decisions.

Family members interviewed by the Journal have complained that commercial guardians/conservators ignored the incapacitated person and wasted estate assets against the wishes of that person and family members.

They said efforts to complain to the judge who made the appointment are often futile.

Among their complaints: Guardians and conservators can charge excessive fees with little justification required by the court.

And they say a family member who hires a lawyer and files a petition for guardianship is in the driver’s seat from then on, partly because judges typically appoint that lawyer’s recommended team to advise the court whether to grant a guardianship. That practice has been rejected, for example, in California, where judges use a court investigator on staff to investigate the need for a guardian.

A 2013 legislative analysis said there is no specific mechanism in New Mexico for complaints against corporate guardians who don’t have contracts with the state Office of Guardianship. Texas has overhauled its system to put licensure for guardians in place, along with a complaint system.

The Office of Guardianship, which contracts with for-profit and not-for-profit firms to provide guardian or conservator services to low-income individuals, does have the authority to investigate complaints against its guardian contractors.

But the 2013 legislative analysis said that because the office works closely with its contractors, “there is an inherent conflict of interest.”

And what about the complaints the office has investigated?

Records custodian Justin Moore told the Journal: “The Office of Guardianship has no public records showing the number of complaints filed against any particular contractor. Moreover, such complaints are exempt from inspection because they related to “client complaints against a contractor,” which he said are exempt from public inspection.

The state’s Adult Protective Services Department investigates complaints against guardians and makes referrals to the state Attorney General’s office, but a spokesman last week said the agency’s tracking doesn’t distinguish how many referrals have involved guardians.

Reforms elsewhere

A federal Governmental Accountability Office report in 2011 noted that many states reported having limited resources for monitoring guardians. But that didn’t stop some, including Delaware and Texas, from recruiting volunteers to help oversee guardians.

Delaware officials reported that their volunteers serve as liaisons between guardians and the courts, visit guardians and wards, and report to court officials about once every six months.  (Click to Continue)

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New Mexico lags in guardianship reform

Senator Brooks Calls to Restore State Funding for Victims of Elder Abuse

Long Island, NY - March 16, 2017 - Senator John E. Brooks (SD-8) has called for the restoration of $700,000 in funding for Elder Abuse Victims Services in the 2017-2018 New York State Budget.

“Many people do not realize how common elder abuse is. It is not as straightforward as causing physical harm to an elderly person. Elder abuse can also include psychological abuse, financial exploitation and neglect.” said Senator Brooks. “It is critical that we provide our seniors with resources and services to reduce instances of elder abuse and mitigate its damage.”

A recent study of Elder Abuse Prevalence in New York State found that 76 out of every 1,000 older residents were victims of elder abuse in a one-year period. The study also found a dramatic gap between the rate of elder abuse events reported by older New Yorkers and the number of cases referred to and served in the formal elder abuse service system. The reported incidence rate is nearly 24 times greater than the number of referred cases.

“Elder abuse victims are underreported and underserved in New York,” said Senator Brooks. Elder Abuse Victims Services are critical to the health and safety of the elderly population, and any further reduction to these services will greatly jeopardize their security and well-being,” continued Senator Brooks.

Senator John E. Brooks is a Long Island native whose family history on Long Island dates back to the 1600s. He represents the South Shore of Long Island in Eastern Nassau and Western Suffolk Counties including: Baldwin Harbor, Bellmore, North Bellmore, Farmingdale, East Farmingdale, Freeport, Massapequa, Massapequa Park, East Massapequa, Merrick, North Merrick, Roosevelt, Seaford, Wantagh, Amityville, North Amityville, North Babylon, West Babylon, and parts of Baldwin, Copiague, Lindenhurst, South Hempstead, Wynandanch, and Wheatley Heights. Senator Brooks’ legislative priorities include lowering the tax burden facing Long Island families, tackling government corruption, and ensuring that all students receive the highest quality education possible.

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Senator Brooks Calls to Restore State Funding for Victims of Elder Abuse

Dublin Financial Advisor Pleads Guilty To Bilking Elderly Client

A Dublin financial advisor has pleaded guilty to defrauding an elderly client.  Jon Schmidhammer pleaded guilty to unlawful securities practices.

Franklin County prosecutors say Schmidhammer stole 550 thousand dollars from an 81-year-old woman's bank account. Prosecutors say he did so by transferring the money from her investment accounts to her bank accounts and writing checks to himself or paying personal bills with the funds.

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Dublin Financial Advisor Pleads Guilty To Bilking Elderly Client

Monday, March 20, 2017

75-year-old multimillionaire nearly dies of neglect, conservator says

Police are investigating a case of elder abuse in which officers suspect the victim's caretakers stole her money to pay for college tuition.

Patricia Neville, 75, lives in Jonesboro, Georgia. When police found her in her home last October, she had life-threatening wounds too graphic to describe.

Police arrested three people who had been hired to take care of her, but instead, may have neglected her.

"She was near death. She was near death," conservator Elizabeth Williams Winfield said.

Winfield said when she was appointed by the courts last November to be the conservator of Neville's estate, Neville was in poor health.

"She was extremely underweight," Winfield said. "Dehydrated. She had several open wounds."

Police said Neville was paying Jennifer Lassen, Shelley Lovegrove and Alexis Messenger $1,000 a week to take care of her, her disabled daughter and her business, Atlanta Trucking Parts.

Officers arrested the trio after a relative became concerned about Neville's health.

Clayton County police said the wounds were so severe Neville had to have surgery. She's still in the hospital.

"Ms. Lassen, you're charged with neglect of an elderly person or disabled adult," Judge George said in court Monday. "The victim did sustain injuries caused by a lack of proper care."

Winfield said the trio didn't just hurt Neville physically. She alleged they opened credit cards in Neville's name and one of them paid her Georgia State College tuition using Neville's money.

"So you have greed," she said said. "You have people who are, who really are just out for themselves."

"In my opinion (they were) waiting for her to die," Winfield said.

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75-year-old multimillionaire nearly dies of neglect, conservator says

All complaints against Naramore dismissed

All complaints filed against Division 2 Circuit Court Judge Wade Naramore have been dismissed, Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission Executive Director David J. Sachar announced Friday.

Sachar issued a one-paragraph news release about the dismissal, along with the dismissal letter to Naramore that was dated Friday. In it, Sachar said that multiple complaints filed against Naramore by private citizens were merged into a single case, which was then filed by Sachar as a single complaint on July 30, 2015.

The dismissal letter said a jury's acquittal of Naramore last August in the July 24, 2015, death of his 18-month-old son, Thomas, led the JDDC's investigative panel to dismiss all discipline-related allegations. Naramore testified during the trial that he "lost awareness" of his son in the back seat of a hot car, causing him to leave the boy there for approximately seven hours. He ultimately succumbed to environmental hyperthermia.

"The investigation initiated by these complaints did not reveal sufficient evidence of judicial misconduct, wrongdoing or incapacity within the commission's jurisdiction," the letter said. "As a result of these findings, there is insufficient cause to proceed and these complaints are dismissed."

The letter said the disability-related allegations were dismissed based on an industrial psychologist's opinion that Naramore was mentally fit to return to the bench. Dr. Kim Dielmann examined Naramore on Sept. 30, 2016, and concluded that he had taken appropriate steps to address the trauma resulting from his son's death and that his problem-solving skills were "intact."

"There is no present indication that you are affected by a mental or physical disability that would impair your ability to conduct the obligations of your role as a judge in Arkansas," the letter said.

"You provided relevant records. You spent several hours with Dr. Dielmann being interviewed. Dr. Dielmann reviewed hundreds of pages of records, transcripts, as well as criminal case file contents to make her determination."

The complaint would have been referred to the full JDDC panel for a formal hearing had the investigative panel comprising a judge, layperson and an attorney determined there was probable cause to do so. The full panel could have recommended that Naramore be removed from the bench.

The Arkansas Supreme Court lifted Naramore's interim paid suspension Feb. 23. It was imposed the previous February, but Naramore hadn't presided over Division 2, which hears all of the county's juvenile cases, since the death of his son. The suspension was lifted on the condition Naramore not be assigned dependent-neglect cases, which involve allegations that include parental unfitness, child abuse and abandonment.

The Supreme Court approved an amended administrative plan Monday that redistributes case assignments in the 18th East Judicial District. The new plan assigns Division 3 Judge Lynn Williams all of the dependent-neglect cases. Naramore will hear all other juvenile cases and 45 percent of the county's domestic relations cases, which involve divorce and child custody proceedings.

"The commission recognizes the uniqueness of this situation in the history of Arkansas and even as a matter of first impression in national judicial discipline cases," the dismissal letter said. "The investigative panel did not take their responsibility lightly, nor do they perceive that you do in your role as a judge.

"Your cooperation, and that of your counsel, was appreciated and certainly helped make this difficult and tragic situation less adversarial."

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All complaints against Naramore dismissed

Thieves reading obituaries, stealing from the recently deceased

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LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ind. -- Investigators are searching for thieves targeting the dead.

Recently, the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office has noticed a trend in several burglary reports.  Detectives believe thieves are reading the obituaries and then hitting the homes belonging to the recently deceased.

“It is not a good thing and we need to stop it,” said Aaron Shoults, Chief Deputy with the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office.

Since the end of January, there have been at least six home burglaries and in each case, the homeowner’s obituary was published just days before the crime.

“What we see is a deliberate effort, this is not a random crime,” said Shoults.

The thieves aren’t even waiting until the funeral.  It appears the burglars know that family members will be making funeral arrangements, which will require them to be away from the home.

“The last thing on their mind is someone is going to break into their loved one’s home and that’s exactly what’s happening,” said Shoults.

In these recent reports, detectives tell FOX 59 burglars got into the homes by kicking in a door.  They stole thousands of dollars’ worth of jewelry, TV’s, tools, and even medication.  In one case, an ATV was stolen.

Investigators think it’s either the same thieves or a group working together.  It’s possible the burglars scout out a home before they strike. Most of the break-ins are happening in the overnight hours.

“We think a neighbor may have seen something and just not realized that vehicle or that person didn’t belong,” said Shoults.

As if dealing with a death isn’t hard enough, now these families are dealing with finding the criminal that that took advantage of them during one of their saddest times.

“It’s certainly a new twist in the tale of how things go and how society things and what people are willing to do for whatever their reasons may be,” said Shoults.

Investigators are advising families to take steps to prevent these burglaries:
  • Park unused vehicles in the driveway
  • Leave light on inside/outside the residence
  • Collect mail from mailboxes
  • Ask trusted neighbor to watch the home
If you know anything that could help detectives track down these thieves, you’re asked to call the Lawrence County TIP LINE at 812-277-2020.

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Thieves reading obituaries, stealing from the recently deceased

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Hospice CEO gets 6 1/2 years for fraud scheme

Businessman Seth Gillman was sentenced Tuesday to 6 1/2 years in federal prison for masterminding a $20 million hospice care fraud scheme that exploited some of Illinois' most vulnerable residents.

"I am ashamed of what I did and I am sorry for it and I have no excuse," Gillman told the court, his voice hoarse and cracking.

By paying kickbacks to nursing homes and giving bonuses to employees who took part in the fraud, Gillman built his Passages Hospice LLC into the largest such company in Illinois, serving terminally ill patients in 89 counties and billing Medicare more than $90 million from 2008-2012, government records show.

But Passages didn't provide much care to many of those patients, and Medicare was "paying huge sums of money for basically nothing," prosecutors wrote in one court filing. Gillman pocketed millions annually and enjoyed a lavish lifestyle that included corporate airplanes, luxury sports cars and "ingesting cocaine on a daily basis," as Gillman's lawyers put it in one federal court pleading.

"I betrayed the trust of Medicare and I besmirched the integrity of hospice altogether," Gillman told U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin. "I was stupid and I was wrong."

Noting Gillman's privileged background — he was licensed as both an attorney and nursing home administrator — Durkin said: "There's nothing that drove this other than greed."

Under Medicaid rules, hospice care is typically reserved for patients who are medically certified to have less than six months to live. But Passages colluded with nursing homes to designate their patients as close to death — including many who were not that sick and had years to live.

This higher level care, known as "general inpatient" services, or GIP, would boost Passages' Medicare reimbursement from an average of about $150 per day to well over $600 for each patient.

Gillman then paid himself a $75-per-day "bonus" for each patient elevated to GIP — he took $1.2 million in bonuses in 2009 and 2010 alone, court records show, in addition to his $320,000 annual salary. And he passed out smaller bonuses to other key hospice managers who assisted in the scheme.

"They would cut deals with nursing homes to give them a share of the GIP rate," paying the homes about $250 per day for every patient upgraded to GIP, Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Lee said in court.

Federal investigators named several of those nursing home chains in court documents, but none has been charged. Lee said Tuesday that Gillman waited until last year to begin cooperating with authorities who were trying to build additional cases. "This was far too late to be effective."

Starting in 2008, Gillman berated and fired nurses who challenged his fraud attempts, and several former employees filed whistleblower lawsuits. Federal agents finally raided Passages' Lisle offices in 2012, and Gillman was indicted two years later. The hospice firm collapsed financially and ceased operations. Several key Passages employees have also been convicted in the case.

In addition to Passages, Gillman also ran his family's nursing home company, Asta Healthcare. The Tribune's 2009 "Compromised Care" investigation found that Asta consistently failed to notify state officials that they were housing sex offenders who molested elderly and disabled patients.

In the wake of the Passages prosecution, Gillman gave up his stake in Asta as well, records show.

In court Tuesday, Lee recommended a 10-year sentence. Gillman's attorney, Edward Genson, asked for three years in prison, asserting that Passages actually did provide extra assistance to hundreds of patients. He said Gillman got into the hospice business because he is religiously devout, altruistic and caring, but he "went out of control. ... He was drinking. He was involved in drugs."

Previously, Gillman pleaded guilty to one count of felony health care fraud. Gillman on Tuesday also agreed to an $18 million civil judgment to be paid to the federal government, as well as to paying $9 million in restitution to Medicare.

Durkin, however, noted that authorities have little chance of collecting that money because Gillman says he is broke. "In my mind it's fool's gold," Durkin said.

Taxpayers weren't the only victims of Gillman's fraud scheme. In some cases, the families of former patients told the Tribune that Passages employees misled them into believing that their loved ones had serious or terminal illnesses — when they didn't.

"They lied to me about everything. I could never comprehend anyone being that cruel," said Cynthia Chadwick, 65, of Watseka, Ill., who was told by Passages in 2012 that her younger sister needed hospice care because she had terminal cancer and would die in six to eight weeks.

"She never had cancer. Never ever," Chadwick told the Tribune. "It really indicated to me how low down they were, using a deaf and blind person. That's despicable."

In addition, Passages employees told the Tribune they were not paid for their final months' work.

"He owed a lot of people a lot of money," said Sonya Anderson, an assistant director of nursing at Passages. "Elderly people, people that are dying — and you take advantage of them? That's low."

Another former Passages employee, clinical director and nurse Karen Wilson, said outside of the courtroom Tuesday that she was glad to see Gillman sentenced to prison, but added: "I think he deserved more."

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Hospice CEO gets 6 1/2 years for fraud scheme

Ex-judge banned from Nevada bench for handcuffing of lawyer

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A former Las Vegas justice of the peace has been barred for life from the court bench in Nevada as punishment for a series of courtroom confrontations, including ordering a defense attorney to be handcuffed when she wouldn't stop arguing to keep a client out of jail.

Conrad Hafen agreed Feb. 4 not to contest censure by the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline for four incidents between December 2014 and last May, when he had Deputy Clark County Public Defender Zohra Bakhtary detained on a misdemeanor contempt finding.

The Nevada Supreme Court posted the order Monday.

Banishing a judge is rare in Nevada. However, the commission also acted a year ago to prohibit a former Las Vegas-area family court judge from ever returning to the bench after he was convicted and imprisoned in a federal fraud case.

Hafen's law license in Nevada was unaffected by the judicial commission action
Hafen, who lost a bid for re-election in June and now lives in Highland, Utah, represented himself before the disciplinary commission. Attempts to reach him Tuesday and Wednesday were unsuccessful.

Bakhtary said she respected the ruling. She declined additional comment.

Attorney Dominic Gentile represented Bakhtary when she was cleared by a Nevada state court judge last August of the contempt-of-court finding. Gentile said Bakhtary was only advocating for her client's best interest. The public defender represents people who are unable or can't afford to hire their own lawyer.

Gentile said Tuesday it appeared Hafen had trouble switching from advocacy as a lead prosecutor in the Nevada state attorney general's office to a judicial role after he was elected to a six-year term on the court in 2010.

A court transcript showed Bakhtary kept talking and that Hafen warned her several times that she faced being held in contempt for interrupting while he tried to rule.

Hafen said at the time that he ordered Bakhtary taken into custody because she wouldn't stop arguing, and he wanted to teach her a lesson about courtroom decorum and etiquette.

"I think it's unfortunate, because he's a good lawyer and he was a really good advocate," Gentile said of Hafen, with and against whom Gentile worked. "But he pretty clearly had difficulty in the role of a judge."

Justices of the peace in Nevada hear misdemeanor cases and hold preliminary hearings to determine if there is enough evidence to move felony cases to state courts for trial.

Bakhtary's client's petty theft conviction and was thrown out and his sentence cut short in July after a judge ruled that he hadn't been represented by a lawyer when he was sentenced.

Handcuffing Bakhtary drew a public protest from board members of the 105-member Clark County Defenders Union, and prompted the 150-member Nevada Attorneys for Criminal Justice to seek sanctions from the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline.

Three of the four courtroom confrontations cited in the commission order involved Bakhtary.

In each case, Hafen failed to file written contempt-of-court findings.

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Ex-judge banned from Nevada bench for handcuffing of lawyer

Elder abuse on social media sites rising and causing concern

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- When Jacksonville attorney Steve Watrel was looking for a nursing home for his father, he took into consideration something he'd never had to before.

"How do we deal with degrading, humiliating photos by nursing home employees?" Watrel, who litigates cases against nursing homes, says.

It happened last week in Ohio. A former nursing home worker was arrested for allegedly performing lewd acts and exposing herself to a 100-year-old resident with dementia. A fellow employee caught the whole thing on video and turned it over to authorities.

"You've got some younger people thinking this is kind of a funny thing, some of them should never be working in a nursing home, and you've got frail seniors, so that's a real big issue right now," Watrel says.

In many of the cases documented so far, workers who care for elderly take a video of something inappropriate. Sometimes the videos are recorded at a nursing home and other times when caretakers are working with elderly who live alone.

Then, workers are posting the videos to social media sites like Instagram and Facebook, degrading a vulnerable population even more as the video gets shared.

"Who would have thought that someone would use social media in this way?" said Linda Levin, Executive Director at ElderSource.

A database created by watchdog ProPublica shows social media abuse is on the rise. They've tracked 47 incidents since 2012, not counting the most recent one in Ohio.

"I think we'll probably see more of that and our hope at ElderSource is that people who find these things happening, or hear of it, report them," Levin says.

Reports of abuse, including those that happen online, can be made confidentially in Florida.

Still, Levin says abuse issues are historically under reported. "It completely crosses the line, when you're using something that's meant for good, and use it to hurt people who are vulnerable and don't have the opportunity to protect themselves," she says.

Watrel says he believes laws that hold elder care workers accountable need to catch up with online vulnerability. "I think a specific law should be passed, a criminal law, to deal with this specific issue."

In the meantime, he says ask facilities and care works about their social media policy in an effort to keep loved ones safe.

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Elder abuse on social media sites rising and causing concern