Saturday, July 29, 2017

Metro Audit Finds Lack Of Oversight Led To Problems At Autumn Hills Assisted Living

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Metro Government and the city's Hospital Authority dropped the ball, that's according to a just-released audit of the former Autumn Hills Assisted Living Facility.

Last year, NewsChannel 5 Investigates first exposed problems at the city-owned home for the elderly, and a new audit by Metro auditors found a lack of oversight by the city led to plenty of problems.

First, a bit of history. We're talking about the old J.B. Knowles Home in Bordeaux. Three years ago, Metro made a deal with Autumn Hills Assisted Living and Vision Real Estate to run the facility, develop the land around it and save taxpayer money.

But as the audit found, things didn't go as they were supposed to.

Metro auditors said it was impossible to do a full-scale audit of Autumn Hills because the managers failed to keep accurate records of how the money was being spent.  

But what they did find, according to the just-released audit, is the folks running Autumn Hills "mismanaged" the finances, still owe creditors more than three quarters of a million dollars, did not prepare required financial reports or file tax returns.
According to the audit, out of $4.5 million withdrawn from Autumn Hills' accounts, more than a million of that had no documentation - including nearly half of which was paid out in cash, plus another $99,000 in ATM withdrawals.

The audit also found managers raided the residents' trust funds. Many residents set aside money each month from their Social Security checks. But auditors found Autumn Hills used the residents' money for operational expenses.

The audit also mentions our reporting late last year and confirmed problems we exposed at the facility, how it failed to pay its bills on time, let required insurance policies lapse, and failed to make capital improvements as required under its contract with Metro.
Auditors found no records of any work being done. Managers had claimed to have put in a new chiller and accounting system. But the audit found that was never done. When Metro sent its own team into the facility earlier this year, they found it in "dire need"of major maintenance.

Despite all of the problems, the audit said Autumn Hills still provided food, shelter, and personal and medical care to its residents, though we heard from a lot of them who were not happy with it.

The city did cut ties with Autumn Hills back in January and brought in a new management company on an interim basis. They are still searching for a permanent manager.

Full Article & Source:
Metro Audit Finds Lack Of Oversight Led To Problems At Autumn Hills Assisted Living

Guardianship alternatives

Judge Francis Doherty
ELKO – How important are decision-making powers to someone with a disability? When should an individual be placed under a guardianship, or are there other options?

The answers to those questions were explored in an outreach event Wednesday presented by Judge Francis Doherty of the Second Judicial Court in Washoe County and her team to discuss “supported decision-making” as an alternative to adult guardianships.

Supported decision-making brings in a trusted person, or supporter, to help an adult with intellectual or developmental disabilities with making choices about living arrangements, healthcare and employment, said Doherty.

The supporter “becomes the helper to co-decide what issues and challenges in health care should be made” yet does not take over or make the decisions for them, Doherty said.

“We don’t think disability is a bar in many cases to an individual still making their own decisions,” Doherty said.

Supported decision-making applies to disabled adults, as young as 18 with autism, and the elderly who are in early stage dementia, said Doherty.

“We are not trying to get rid of guardianships,” Doherty said. “We are trying to create alternatives for families.”

Second Judicial District Court Case Compliance Specialist Mallory Nelson explained that the outreach events in rural Nevada help “start a conversation about what guardianships are and other alternatives from least restrictive to more involved depending on an individual’s circumstances.”

Supported decision-making is increasingly recognized around the country, said Doherty, with Texas becoming the first state to implement the alternative into state law.

In Nevada, a power of attorney for people with intellectual or developmental challenges was recently added to other powers of attorney and durable powers of attorney for finances and healthcare, which allows for the supporter to be appointed, Doherty said.

“We think Nevada is a good state to recognize that independence is so critical for persons with a disability,” Doherty said, adding that families she’s met with in Carson City and Winnemucca are responding positively to the concept.

“The families want to help their family members,” Doherty said. “Not necessarily take away those decision-making rights.”

Ruby Mountain Resource Center Executive Director Rebecca Hepworth works with disabled adults who either may have a guardian or are resistant to being placed in a guardianship, and liked what she learned in the workshop.

“I think we need to find a way to get the information to families so they can make choices,” Hepworth said. “I believe the people who work for us are capable of doing more than they are allowed to do.”

Full Article & Source:
Guardianship alternatives

When a Preschool Opens Inside a Nursing Home All Heaven Breaks Loose

A hospital chain has found a way of caring for both the young and the old by having them take care of each other – and in the process, built a bridge across generations.

The Intergenerational Learning Center consists of a preschool inside the Mount St. Vincent nursing home in Seattle, Washington. The 400 adults in the assisted-living center join the kids in daily activities from music and dancing to storytelling and just plain visiting.

The Center’s managers say the children learn from their elders and are nurtured by the adults while the invigorated seniors get a new sense of purpose and well-being from the playful tots.

Film maker Evan Briggs has a Kickstarter page to finish a documentary about the place. His film “Present Perfect” portrays what he calls the “very real experience of aging in America – both growing up, and growing old.”

(WATCH the trailer and READ more at the Deseret News)

Full Article & Source:
When a Preschool Opens Inside a Nursing Home All Heaven Breaks Loose

Friday, July 28, 2017

Lawyer Fights Subpoena in Thompson Estate Case

By Walter F. Roche Jr.

With the deadline just days away, the original attorney for the estate of the late U.S. Senator Fred Thompson has filed an objection to a subpoena requiring his deposition testimony this week.

In papers filed Tuesday in Davidson Probate Court, Charles A. Trost charged that he had not been given proper notice for the deposition and, in fact, still has not been served.

The objection is but the latest development in a continuing battle over the late senator and presidential candidate's estate.

Thompson's widow Jeri has filed an objection to a $14,000 claim filed by Trost's law firm, Waller Lansden Dortch and Davis, for work performed in an abortive effort to make last minute changes in the television actor's estate.

In the one-page filing Trost's lawyer said the subpoena was not properly served and that the estate's new attorneys had failed to follow proper procedures including providing at least 21 days advance notice.

The dispute over the bill first surfaced last year, but was put on hold about the same time Thompson's two sons by his first marriage charged that changes had been made in the estate plan when the late senator was no longer competent to approve such changes.

That dispute ended abruptly after Jeri Thompson complied with an order to provide the sons with details on any last minute changes in her husband's estate. She said the only change had been in the secondary beneficiary on a life insurance policy, a change that turned out to be irrelevant.

Because of the failed effort to change the estate plan's, the will finally filed for Thompson by Trost was over a decade old and omitted the two children from his marriage to Jeri.

The subpoena calls for Trost to appear for a deposition on Friday.


Full Article & Source:
Lawyer Fights Subpoena in Thompson Estate Case

Adults Under Guardianship Should Have Chance To Regain Rights, ABA Says

The time is ripe for people subject to court-ordered guardianship to have the ability to regain the right to manage their money, American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging said in a study issued Monday.

“An unknown number of adults languish under guardianship beyond the period of need," the commission said. "Others may never have needed the guardianship in the first place, as a less restrictive option could have sufficed.”

The study called guardianship both a “gulag and a godsend” and buttressed its case by claiming guardians must perceive their role as enhancing self-determination and working toward termination of guardianship with sufficient support.

“Education and training for lawyers targeted specifically at restoration proceedings could help change practices and attitudes,” the commission said.

While noting the stripping of money management and other abilities from an adult as the result of a guardianship proceeding is generally viewed as permanent, the report noted rights can be restored when a judge finds the adult is deemed fit to do so or additional evidence has surfaced showing the person does not meet the legal standard of being incapacitated.

Nearly 70 percent of the time, all financial privileges were restored by courts in Minnesota, Washington State, Illinois and Kentucky from August 2012 to August 2015 as a result of hearings on whether an individual under guardianship should regain rights, according to the study.

The ABA commission urged the enactment of state laws enbling people under guardianship to have their rights restored when warranted. The laws should also give guardians attorneys to push for their rights and include requirements that courts regularly review the need for guardianship.

The commission cited as an example the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council Manual for Legal Professionals, which shows how the individual, the guardian, the attorney and a supportive living coach can work together to set out and follow concrete steps to gradually transfer management of money from the guardian to the individual.

Full Article & Source:
Adults Under Guardianship Should Have Chance To Regain Rights, ABA Says

Keokuk woman convicted on theft charge

QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) - A Keokuk woman accused of financially exploiting an elderly family member was found guilty of theft Wednesday, according to court records.

Laura Hawkins was scheduled for a jury trial this week, but records show she waived that right and a bench trial was held instead. Records show Hawkins was then found guilty of theft and is scheduled for sentencing in September.

According to court records, two counts of financial exploitation of the elderly over $15,000 were dismissed.

Police said Hawkins was the power of attorney for a 77-year-old family member who was a resident at Sycamore Healthcare in Quincy. Authorities said Sycamore officials informed them Hawkins was possibly financially exploiting the resident.

Police said the investigation determined Hawkins misused thousands of dollars belonging to the victim.

Full Article & Source:
Keokuk woman convicted on theft charge

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Guardianship firm seized by marshals

A Final Four basketball junket. Caribbean cruises and other luxury vacations. Purchases at an Albuquerque RV Center and a Mercedes-Benz dealership.

The alleged lavish spending by the co-founders of one of the state’s largest nonprofit guardianship firms was financed out of the accounts of their special needs clients, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. And on Wednesday, a multiagency federal task moved to put a stop to the alleged decade-old embezzlement scheme involving millions of dollars with the indictment and arrests of the co-founders of Ayudando Guardians, a nonprofit guardian/conservator company based in Albuquerque.

Susan Harris, 70, and Sharon Moore, 62, were taken into custody Wednesday, and both women are to appear at detention hearings today at 9:30 a.m. in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque.

State court records show Ayudando as having been appointed by state district judges to serve as guardian, conservator or personal representative in more than 350 cases since 2000. The company’s publicly available 990 tax form for 2015 said the company provides guardian and conservator services to the elderly, veterans, the disabled and the homeless.

The 28-count federal criminal indictment alleges millions of dollars were embezzled from client accounts since the company was created in November 2006. The charges include conspiracy, mail fraud, aggravated identity theft and money laundering.

“This case is all about the victims,” acting U.S. Attorney James D. Tierney said in a press release. “The victims in this case relied upon Ayudando to manage their finances and meet their needs. If the allegations in the indictment are true, the principals of Ayudando cruelly violated the trust of their clients and looted their benefits. Federal law enforcement has now stepped in to ensure that the looting stops.”

Efforts to reach defense attorneys for Harris and Moore were unsuccessful late Wednesday.

According to the indictment, Ayudando receives government benefit payments from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and U.S. Social Security Administration on behalf of many of its clients, and acts as a fiduciary or representative payee for these clients by paying their expenses and maintaining the balances for the benefit of the clients.

The actual number of clients whose accounts have been affected wasn’t detailed in the U.S. Attorney’s Office press release, which said the corporation provides services, including financial management, to hundreds of individuals with special needs.

Ayudando also is under contract with the state Developmental Disabilities Planning Council to provide guardianship services to New Mexico residents who are eligible for Medicaid or a similar public benefit and who have been deemed incapacitated.

The company’s 2017 contract with the state was capped at $640,800, according to state records. Under the contract, the company was supposed to purchase a bond for the indemnification of losses and submit to audits.

In addition, court-appointed guardians and conservators are required to submit to the court an annual report and/or financial accountings for each client.

Marshal take over
The U.S. Marshals Service on Wednesday took control of Ayudando’s business operations to ensure that victims of the crimes charged, who include disabled veterans, continue to receive the “services they deserve and are entitled to,” U.S. Marshal Conrad E. Candelaria said in a press release.

Federal authorities also received a court order to take receivership of the corporation, which has its headquarters on Central SE and has an office in Mesa, Ariz., according to its website.

The order authorizes the U.S. Marshals Service to operate the business to ensure assets are not improperly spent or removed, and that the interests of Ayudando clients are protected as the criminal case goes forward.

Ayudando clients or relatives of clients who wish to speak to someone about their accounts or expenses can call Ayudando, which is being operated by the U.S. Marshals Service.

Tax forms filed by the corporation for 2015, the most recent year for which records are available, show Harris earned $138,230 a year as president of Ayudando and Moore was paid $126,720 annually.

Stealing the money

The indictment described some of the ways the two women allegedly stole from clients.

For instance, Harris wrote 12 checks totaling $457,883 on the client reimbursement account from June 2011 to March 2014 for personal purposes, including checks of $50,950 made out to Mercedes-Benz of Albuquerque and $26,444 to Myers RV Center. Harris is accused of using an Ayudando credit card to pay $140,790 to cover luxury vacations for herself and others, including the cruises and a basketball junket, knowing that Moore would pay off the charges using client funds, the indictment alleges.

Harris and Moore allegedly used $392,623 from the Ayudando client reimbursement account to pay off balances on a company credit card used by the defendants and their families for personal purposes.

As part of the alleged scheme, which federal prosecutors described as “sophisticated,” Moore in 2016 allegedly mailed fraudulent documents to the VA that falsely represented balances in 10 client accounts, claiming the accounts had an aggregate balance of more than $1.9 million when the actual value was $72,281.

Ayudando, Moore and Harris also are accused of engaging in aggravated identity theft by using their clients’ names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers and VA file numbers to commit mail fraud.

The federal indictment comes at a time when the FBI is believed to be assisting in the investigation of an Albuquerque trust company operated by CEO Paul Donisthorpe.

State financial regulators have found a minimum of $4 million missing from client trust fund accounts managed by Desert State Life Management. About 70 clients are affected, many of whom are physically or mentally disabled or elderly. The money allegedly went into private companies controlled by Donisthorpe.

No criminal charges have resulted, but the U.S. Attorney’s Office has filed a forfeiture petition to seize three of Donisthorpe’s properties, alleging a scheme to defraud vulnerable clients.

Full Article & Source:
Guardianship firm seized by marshals

Employee blows whistle on guardian embezzlement case

For more than a decade, one of the state’s largest guardianship firms was routinely appointed by the courts to protect clients whose disabilities left them unable to handle their money or pay their bills.

Behind the scenes, federal officials say, Susan Harris and Sharon Moore were allegedly running up the company credit card of Ayudando Guardians to the tune of $4 million by living the life of luxury and paying the American Express bills with client trust money.

Then last June, according to court testimony Thursday, one of Ayudando’s employees assigned to pay and manage the bills walked into the office of an unidentified federal law enforcement agency and blew the whistle – alleging that supervisors were embezzling client money.

“It’s difficult to imagine a greater betrayal of trust,” said assistant U.S. Attorney Jeremy Pena on Thursday just before federal magistrate Steven Yarbrough released Harris and Moore pending trial under certain conditions, including that they put up their homes as security.

Both women pleaded not guilty during the detention hearing.

Moore’s attorney, Fred Jones, told the magistrate she couldn’t afford any amount of bond for her release. “She has no money … She has no credit cards. No line of credit,” he said. Moore, according to Ayudando’s most recent 990 tax form, had a salary of $126,720 for 2015.

Harris’ attorney, Robert Gorence, said Harris should be released because she has been in the community for 40 years and has significant family ties here.

The 28-count indictment unsealed this week charges the women and the company with mail fraud, money laundering, conspiracy and aggravated identity theft.

Their arrests were the product of a year’s worth of investigation by the FBI, IRS, Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General, and the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Social Security Administration, according to federal law enforcement officials who appeared at a news conference Thursday.

The indictment alleges that Ayudando, which was set up to act as a fiduciary or a representative payee for individuals needing assistance, was run by Harris as president and Moore as secretary. Part of the alleged embezzlement scheme involved Ayudando concealing the theft from some clients’ accounts by replacing the missing money with funds taken from other clients, the indictment states.

IRS Special Agent Ismael Nevarez Jr. at the news conference made reference to the company’s name.

“This contains the word ayudando, which in Spanish means, help or to help others and is especially troubling,” Nevarez said, adding that instead of helping people, the “defendants were greedy and helped themselves to their clients’ money.”

Acting U.S. Attorney for New Mexico James Tierney said the investigation was ongoing. He said authorities don’t yet know how many Ayudando clients lost funds, but prosecutors in the indictment focused on the federal violations involving 10 veterans whose Ayudando account totals were inflated when reported annually by law to the VA.

The indictment alleged the two women enjoyed a lavish lifestyle of travel with client funds.

Harris, in the indictment, is accused of writing checks from the company client reimbursement account or using the credit card for a $21,852 payment to All World Travel, and more than $17,000 for two Celebrity Cruise trips to the Caribbean isles in 2013 and 2014. Moore charged a $8,958 vacation to a resort in San Diego in 2015 and used the charge card to spend $3,479 for a 13-person vacation to San Diego last December, the indictment alleges.

Tierney said the maximum prison sentence they faced under the charges was 30 years.

The U.S. Marshals Service is managing Ayudando operations, so clients with questions or concerns can call the company at 505-332-4357. The U.S. Attorney’s office can be reached via email at or at 505-346-6902.

New Mexico FBI assistant special agent-in-charge Derek Fuller said he and the other agents involved in the Ayudando case want to deliver a message.

“If you are managing funds for people who depend on you for your honesty and you decide to help yourself to the till,” Fuller said, “we will come after you.”

Full Article & Source:
Employee blows whistle on guardian embezzlement case

Ayudando exec testified for industry before arrest

When the new state Supreme Court commission studying guardianship reform met in May, the person who testified on behalf of professional guardians in New Mexico was Sharon Moore from Ayudando Guardians.

The same Sharon Moore appeared last week before a U.S. magistrate in Albuquerque to plead not guilty to federal charges of embezzling millions of dollars from Ayudando clients to finance a “lavish lifestyle.”

Alongside her in the courtroom was her “business partner” at Ayudando, Susan Harris, who – along with the company itself – is also charged in the 28-count indictment with criminal violations.

The indictment accuses the two women of charging up to $4 million in personal expenses, including travel, on the Ayudando company credit card and using funds from special-needs clients to pay the bills as they financed everything from cruises to luxury vehicles.

Two months earlier, Moore told the special commission that those employed by Ayudando adhered to a “model code of ethics,” and that the company had the trust of district judges who appointed it to act as guardian for clients in need of services.

According to the indictment, Ayudando receives government benefit payments from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and U.S. Social Security Administration on behalf of many of its clients, and acts as a fiduciary or representative payee for these clients by paying their expenses and maintaining the balances for the benefit of the clients.

The indictment contends that Moore, the chief financial officer, filed fraudulent reports from January to November of last year with the VA involving about 10 veterans who are Ayudando clients.

An attorney for Moore, 62, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

Since the indictment was unsealed last Wednesday, the state Office of Guardianship, which contracts with Ayudando to represent indigent clients, has not responded to Journal questions about the company – such as whether audits were conducted or bonds were required as a condition of receiving annual contracts.

The state sunshine portal shows that since July 2009, the state has contracted to pay Ayudando more than $5.7 million to act as court-appointed guardian for clients who are indigent or are otherwise eligible for a state-paid professional company to manage their living and other expenses.

The state Office of Guardianship, which approved Ayudando’s most recent annual contract, for $640,000, has offered no explanation for its silence related to its oversight of Ayudando.

But Moore, in her testimony to the Supreme Court commission on May 12, offered some details about Ayudando’s operations.

‘We do have standards’

Moore said the company has about 185 clients, but she didn’t provide a breakdown as to how many are indigent and therefore qualify for state-paid guardianship services, and how many are private.

Moore said her company, which she said has been in existence for about 14 years, employs nationally certified guardians. Both she and Harris are on the list of New Mexico guardians certified by national Center for Guardianship Certification in Harrisburg, Pa.

Such certification isn’t required by state law but is mandated in Ayudando’s contract with the state.

Moore said state district judges in New Mexico put their trust in Ayudando when appointing the company to act as guardians or conservator or both.

“And therefore, we don’t just run amok. We do have standards,” Moore told the 16-member group in May.

The commission, which includes judges, lawyers, representatives for the aging, Governor’s Office appointees and a member of the public, was appointed by the Supreme Court in April after concerns were raised in the Journal and elsewhere that courts in New Mexico needed more oversight of the guardians, who typically operate under the public radar because such cases are deemed confidential and are sealed by law.

The checks and balances provided by the current guardianship system rely heavily on judges, who by law are supposed to review annual reports submitted by guardians as to the welfare of the “incapacitated person” under guardianship.

Additional oversight
In the case of Ayudando’s work for the state, there was another layer of oversight, Moore told the commission.

“We do a lot of work for the Office of Guardianship,” she said. “We are audited for sure once a year, and if there is a problem they (the office) get called in on, they come to us.”

She said the caseload for each of the 12 guardians who work for the Albuquerque-based company, can be as many as 30 clients under the Office of Guardianship contract.

But Moore added, “I try not to overwhelm them. Some might get to 30 if they have nursing home clients.”

In contrast to family members who say they have been left out of the process when a professional guardian is appointed for a loved one, Moore said her company actually helps clients or their families write letters to the judges overseeing the case if there are concerns about a guardian’s conduct.

Federal prosecutors say it wasn’t a judge or a state audit that prompted the investigation that led to the FBI, IRS, VA and Social Security Administration investigation of Ayudando. It was an unidentified Ayudando employee who contacted a federal law enforcement agency with the embezzlement allegations.

The indictment prompted one former Ayudando employee to contact the Journal via email, saying in part, “Though I am sad for some really good people working at Ayudando Guardians, I am glad to know justice is being served against this heinous agency that duped so many vulnerable adults.”

The U.S. Marshals Service, meanwhile, has assumed control of the business operations of the firm.

Full Article & Source:
Ayudando exec testified for industry before arrest

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Fred Thompson Estate Fee Fight Heats Up

By Walter F. Roche Jr.

The battle over legal fees being sought from the estate of the late Fred Thompson is heating back up with a series of actions in Davidson Probate Court this week.

In papers filed Wednesday, Jeri Thompson, the widow of the late actor and U.S. Senator, hired a new lawyer who promptly issued a subpoena and deposition notice to Charles Trost, the Nashville, Tenn. attorney whose firm's fees are in dispute.

The new attorney representing Jeri Thompson is John P. Konvalinka, a Chattanooga based attorney, court records show.

The subpoena requires Trost to appear for a deposition on July 21 at the offices of Neal and Harwell, which also has represented Thompson's estate.

Though the issue was put on hold months ago, Jeri Thompson has questioned some $14,000 billed by Trost's firm, Waller Lansden Dortch and Davis for estate work done in the weeks before the late presidential candidate passed away on Nov. 1, 2015.

In one filing she termed the fee request,"inappropriate, improper and not a valid claim."

The effort by the Waller firm to update Thompson's will and estate plans was an apparent failure and his estate was finally opened with a will over a decade old that did not include his children from his second marriage with Jeri.

The legal fees are not the only dispute to surface in the Thompson estate. Two of Thompson's children by his first marriage intervened in the estate charging that estate assets may have been shifted just prior to the senator's death and at a time when he was not competent to approve any changes.

That suspicion was apparently triggered when the fee dispute became public.

After Jeri Thompson complied with a court order to disclose details of the estate assets and any last minute changes, the two sons dropped their claim.

Jeri Thompson stated that the only change executed just before the senator's death was an inconsequential one, involving a secondary beneficiary on a life insurance policy.


Full Article & Source:
Fred Thompson Estate Fee Fight Heats Up

Guardianship services firm faces embezzlement and fraud charges

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Federal law enforcement officials announced Wednesday that they have indicted one of the state's largest nonprofit guardianship firms with federal conspiracy, fraud, identity theft and money laundering offenses.

The charges, which are contained in a 28-count indictment, arise out of an alleged decade-long sophisticated scheme to embezzle funds from client trust accounts managed by Ayudando Guardians, a non-profit corporation that provides guardianship, conservatorship and financial management services to hundreds of individuals with special needs.

The 28-count indictment alleges that Ayudando Guardians co-founders Susan Harris and Sharon Moore embezzled millions from their special needs clients to support lavish lifestyles including cruises and car purchases.

Both Harris and Moore were taken into custody Wednesday. The Associated Press reports both women pleaded not guilty.

The indictment includes two conspiracy counts, 10 counts of mail fraud, nine counts of aggravated identity theft and six counts of money laundering.

"The victims in this case relied upon Ayudando to manage their finances and meet their needs. If the allegations in the indictment are true, the principals of Ayudando cruelly violated the trust of their clients and looted their benefits," said acting U.S. Attorney James D. Tierney in a statement released Wednesday. "Federal law enforcement has now stepped in to ensure that the looting stops. The U.S. Attorney’s Office and its partners will conduct this prosecution in a manner that provides for the continued receipt of benefits by Ayudando’s clients while holding the principals of the company accountable for their conduct."

According to the indictment, Harris and Moore perpetrated the embezzlement scheme by:
  • Setting up client trust and company bank accounts which only they controlled;
  • Transferring funds from client accounts to Ayudando company accounts;
  • Using client funds to pay off more than $4 million in charges on a company credit card account used by Harris, Moore and their families for personal purposes;
  • Writing checks from Ayudando company accounts to themselves, cash and to cover personal expenses;
  • Replenishing depleted client accounts with funds taken from other clients;
  • Mailing fraudulent statements and certifications to the VA; and
  • Forging and submitting forged bank statements to the VA.
The indictment details some of the alleged activity, such as the writing of 12 checks for a total of $457,883 on the Ayudando client reimbursement account for personal purpose, including a $50,950 check made out to Mercedes Benz of Albuquerque and a $26,444 check made out to Myers RV Center.

Both co-founders could face decades behind bars.

Ayudando clients or family members of Ayudando clients who need to speak with someone about their accounts or expenses should call Ayudando, which is now being operated by the U.S. Marshals Service, at 505-332-4357.

Full Article & Source:
Guardianship services firm faces embezzlement and fraud charges

Press Release: Jean Kasem, Widow of Radio/Television Icon Casey Kasem, Files Lawsuit Against Kasem's Adult Children and Others for Wrongful Death, Negligence and Fraud

Suit details willful starvation and dehydration of Casey Kasem, which caused his death in 2014; complaint outlines pattern of wire fraud and bogus elder abuse claims about Jean Kasem, repeatedly found to be unsubstantiated by law enforcement, protective services and doctors.

SEATTLE and LOS ANGELES, July 19, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Jean Kasem, widow of legendary radio DJ and pop culture icon Casey Kasem, has filed a lawsuit in federal court in Washington state, accusing three of her late husband's adult children from a prior relationship 40 years ago, of conspiring to seize control of Casey through a "homicidal guardianship scam." The suit alleges that the adult children – Kerri, Mike and Julie Kasem, along with Julie's husband and their attorney Troy Martin – chemically restrained Casey Kasem and then caused his death to go after Casey and Jean's financial assets.

Also named as a defendant is Catholic Health Initiatives, one of the nation's largest healthcare systems, which owns and operates the facility where Kasem died.

Casey Kasem was "pronounced" dead at 3:23 am, June 15, 2014, at St. Anthony Hospital in Gig Harbor, Washington. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court, Seattle, seeks damages for, among other things, "the conscious pain, suffering, anxiety and fear of impending death experienced by Casey Kasem."

The complaint alleges that Casey Kasem was criminally separated from his legal family of 35 years against his will and subjected to a forced, isolated hospital entrapment. It asserts that Kasem's adult children, using a fraudulent Durable Power of Attorney, made a series of rapid, unilateral decisions to terminate his life, completely ignoring his wife's desperate pleas and without any authorization by Washington State Judge Jennifer Irvine Forbes.

According to the complaint, Jean Kasem's husband was forcibly taken by his 44-year-old daughter Kerri to St. Anthony on June 1, 2014 for an "independent medical evaluation." St. Anthony hospital's examining physician, attended by Casey's personal physician, Dr. Donald Sharman, cleared Casey to be returned to the care he was receiving at home. St. Anthony Hospital's examining physician stated in his written medical report, "His {Casey Kasem's} current care plan and management in his current home has been appropriate today. Dr. Sharman's recommendations and availability have been excellent and timely."

The evaluation concluded at around 6:00 pm on June 1, but Casey was not returned home to his wife as intended. Instead, the complaint alleges that Kerri Kasem's attorney contacted St. Anthony Hospital's examining physician and fabricated an excuse for an "overnight observation," which was not authorized by Judge Forbes. As a result, Casey was held against his will at St. Anthony Hospital.

On June 2, 2014, Judge Forbes read St. Anthony Hospital's examining physician's report and found "no compelling argument from the doctor in the report that he {Casey} needed to stay in the hospital." She then authorized that Casey be immediately returned home to his wife.

Concurrently, Dr. Sharman and Jean Kasem called St. Anthony and were informed by the attending physician that, "Casey Kasem's medical evaluation had concluded and his overnight observation went well, he is discharged and you can come pick him up."

That afternoon when Jean, Dr. Sharman, Casey's private nurse and one of Jean's attorneys arrived at St. Anthony Hospital with medical transport to pick Casey up and bring him back home, they were stalled for hours by hospital staff.

According to the complaint, St. Anthony Hospital's attending physician, who previously told Dr. Sharman and Jean Kasem that "Casey was discharged," reversed himself, saying Casey would not be discharged. He also could not explain to Dr. Sharman and Jean why Casey needed to remain in the hospital. Kerri Kasem's attorney then screamed, "Casey is not leaving the hospital period!" From that day forward, Dr. Sharman, along with Casey's private nurse, Jean, her attorneys and Liberty Kasem were all banned from St. Anthony.

Full Press Release and Source:
Jean Kasem, Widow of Radio/Television Icon Casey Kasem, Files Lawsuit Against Kasem's Adult Children and Others for Wrongful Death, Negligence and Fraud

Tuesday, July 25, 2017



by Lonnie Brennan

“High-powered lawyers” is an understatement to describe the North Shore powerhouse of attorneys who have been accused of isolating and medicating retired Attorney Marvin H. Siegel of Boxford, Mass. in order to liquidate his estimated $7 million estate.


Mr. Siegel has been held as a virtual hostage in his own home, with 24/7 round-the-clock “guards” (medical providers), who, according to one of his daughters, have isolated the 89-year old from close family members for the past five years. Mr. Siegel was placed on lock-down through a court decree of unlimited powers granted to Attorney Brian T. Cuffe, courtesy of Judge Susan D. Ricci (who wrote the order while the presiding judge was on vacation in Italy).

Mr. Siegel’s nightmare is complicated, but highlights are contained in Parts 1, 2, and 3 in prior issues of The Boston Broadside.  In summary, he was involuntarily committed to a psychiatric facility (Whittier Pavilion in Haverhill, Mass.) by a doctor at Beverly Hospital, following a questionable ambulance transport from his house to the hospital. His evaluation was for potential Alzheimer’s onset. It has been charged that Brian Nagle of BNY Mellon, which held the bulk of Mr. Siegel’s multi-million dollar estate, dispatched Atty. Edward Tarlow and his associate Catherine Watson to the psychiatric facility where, according to Mr. Siegel’s attorney daughter, Lisa Siegel Belanger, Mr. Siegel s was administered drugs and lied to, and unwittingly signed away years of careful, deliberate family and estate planning documentation.

Mr. Siegel later experienced a second involuntary commitment at Merrimack Valley Hospital half-a-year later, the daughter charges, after the newly signed documents were used by Attorney Cuffe to further drug and control the senior. The details of that commitment are noted in prior issues of this newspaper. Nightmare is a gentle term to describe the “legal kidnapping,” medication, isolation, and subsequent liquidation of Mr. Siegel’s life-estate.


High-profile Attorney Marsha V. Kazarosian, along with Attorneys Cuffe, James E. Feld, and Thomas J. Barbar, have collectively filed a complaint to the Office of the Bar Counsel, Board of Bar Overseers (B.B.O.) of the Supreme Judicial Court in Boston for “professional misconduct” on the part of daughter Lisa Siegel Belanger, who has fought the high-financed lawyers tooth and nail for five years.

In their complaint (B.B.O. File NO. C2-12-002476408 – Marsha V. Kazarosian, et. al.), the lawyers who have controlled Mr. Siegel’s estate – and have drained an estimated $1 million from the estate over each of the past five years (according to court filings) – submitted 101 pages of counter-claims against Lisa Siegel Belanger, inclusive of exhibits which admonish Lisa for speaking to the press. The exhibits include several pages of Boston Broadside coverage of the case.

The complaint states that The Boston Broadside was provided with lies by the daughter, but in 101 pages, not one lie is exposed, nor even mentioned. We’ve reviewed the case files (thousands of pages, and exhibits, as well as video and audio tapes and eagerly await clarification in the future on what appear to be a broad-brush tarnishing of Lisa Siegel Belanger for daring to go up against such a powerhouse team of attorneys. Most striking is that Lisa’s exposure throughout this process of multiple other seniors who have suffered similar actions by some of these same lawyers, is not addressed.

Since the Boston Broadside’s articles have been published in more than 38,000 printed newspapers, as well as online, other media have picked up the story. The question which is repeatedly asked is how Kazarosian and her fellow “untouchables” could have gained so much control over Mr. Siegel.
And the recent B.B.O. complaint, when shared with others brings more questions. In the complaint, Kazarosian charges Mr. Siegel’s daughter with exploiting her own father, for spending a fraction ($85,000) of his multi-million dollar holdings. Apparently, most of those funds were actually spent defending Mr. Siegel against the “untouchables.” So, how is this “exploitation” by Lisa, we are asked? And how can Kazarosian keep a straight face saying that the untouchables need to spend millions to defend themselves against Lisa?

The untouchables’ complaint against Lisa also spills much ink over a series of contempt-of-court charges made against Lisa. The bulk of the charges were made because Lisa visited her father in the hospital, where he was believed critically ill from complications of various drugs. Lisa took too long to respond to the first contempt-of-court charge, and was subsequently fined multiple times (and re-charged with multiple contempt-of-court charges) until she made payments to certain untouchables to cover their legal fees in prosecuting her for visiting her father, against their wishes. Seriously, truth is stranger than fiction.

Counter-complaint filed by Attorneys Kazarosian, Cuffe, Feld, and Barbar against Marvin Siegel’s daughter Lisa, claiming she is the reason they have had to deplete millions from his estate to fight her – to protect Marvin Siegel from her exploitation.

A further question we’ve been asked is: If Lisa had been guilty of misspending any money, why was she not charged or has had any complaint lodged against her for five years, until she recently went public to the press?

Most curiously, we’ve been asked: Why now? Why are these four, high-powered attorneys who took control of Mr. Siegel’s estate, now, after five years, striking out against Mr. Siegel’s daughter, Lisa? Is it because Kazarosian’s, Cuffe’s, Feld’s and other’s actions have “seen the light of day” in a newspaper?

Of interest, Kazarosian has taken out a full-page color advertisement in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, a private publication made available to lawyers, stating (in all capital letters): “LAWYERS TRUST MARSHA KAZAROSIAN AND WALTER COSTELLO TO LEAD THEIR BAR ASSOCIATIONS. CLIENTS TRUST THEM TO OBTAIN THE BEST RESULTS.” The ad is estimated to cost in excess of $4,500 according to the publication’s online posted rates. In the ad, Kazarosian is featured in a low-cut top, with a smiling, suited Costello.

Kazarosian is the immediate past president of the Massachusetts Bar Association. In addition to a long list of service in various lawyer associations, in January 2016 Kazarosian was appointed by Gov. Charlie Baker to the Supreme Judicial Court Nominating Commission. She had previously served six years with the B.B.O.

Notes: Lisa Siegel Belanger had previously filed multiple submissions to the B.B.O. (approximately a dozen, she stated) against Kazarosian and her group during the past four years. Each has been outright rejected, stating that no investigation could take place as it was “pending litigation.” In contrast, Lisa is now forced to reply to the one Kazarosian complaint – the one complaint that seeks to strip Lisa from her livelihood –  her ability to work as a lawyer.

Lisa filed a complaint of racketeering against Kazarosian, et. al., but the courts refused to consider it, despite multiple attempts (and it has been revealed that more than one court judge is closely tied with Lisa’s opponents!).

The lawyers who control Mr. Siegel’s estate continue to try to get him vacated from his $900,000+ Boxford home. And Lisa continues to fight them every step of the way, appeal after appeal. But the case has never been discussed in court – always rejected in the lower courts on technicalities of paperwork filings, never on the merits of connected lawyers isolating, medicating, and liquidating a defenseless senior.

Where from Here?

With the involvement of such high-powered lawyers and the seeming acquiescence of the judicial system, several people have suggested that perhaps it is time for the U.S. Attorney’s Office to take a look at this entire case. Similar cases of elder mistreatment have also recently come to our attention which we are in the process of investigating. Stay tuned.

(NOTE: Kazarosian either intentionaly lied or else has serious comprehension problems: she misrepresented The Boston Broadside’s article regarding the cataloguing and control of the contents of Mr. Siegel’s safety deposit box in her complaint to the B.B.O.)

Full Article & Source:

Attorney’s discipline case finally resolved

WILKES-BARRE — Nearly seven years after being temporarily suspended from practicing law, a Kingston-based attorney who admitted to giving “items of value” to a former county judge has resolved the disciplinary case against him.

Harry V. Cardoni of Harveys Lake agreed to a five-year suspension that was applied retroactively to December 2010, when he was initially levied a temporary suspension, according to an order the Office of Disciplinary Counsel filed last week.

The order means Cardoni has already completed his suspension and could allow him to return as a practicing attorney.

“We intend to petition the disciplinary board to reinstate him as an attorney,” said Cardoni’s Philadelphia-based attorney Marc S. Raspanti, noting that process can take about a year.

Cardoni was temporarily suspended after admitting he gave former Luzerne County Judge Michael Toole perks, including use of his New Jersey beach house, in exchange for the judge appointing Cardoni’s preferred arbitrator in an insurance case, resulting in an award for Cardoni’s client of about $1 million.

Toole pleaded guilty to accepting an illegal gratuity from an attorney, as well as to failing to pay taxes on a “finder’s fee” he received from another attorney — Kids-for-Cash figure Robert J. Powell, who admitted paying $770,000 in bribes to former Luzerne County judges Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. and Michael T. Conahan in exchange for them funneling juvenile defendants to two private detention centers Powell partly owned.

Toole was sentenced to serve 2½ years in prison and ordered to pay $5,000 in fines.

Cardoni cooperated with prosecutors, who said he “expressed genuine remorse” for his actions. He was never charged with a crime.

But the Office of Disciplinary Counsel for the Supreme Court temporarily suspended his license based on his admission to providing items of value to Toole.

In the time since, Cardoni has been helping elderly family members, managing several properties he owns and assisting a friend and family member in developing several businesses, according to a petition filed in May.

The petition says Cardoni has also completed the continuing legal education requirements since he was temporarily suspended and that he understands he will need to file a petition seeking reinstatement to the state bar association if he intends to return as a practicing attorney.

Full Article & Source:
Attorney’s discipline case finally resolved

Hinsdale woman's caregiver accused of identity theft and fraud

Katricia D. Williams
A Chicago woman who worked as a caregiver for a Hinsdale resident last year has been charged with using the resident's identity and bank accounts for her own use.

Katricia D Williams, 36, of the 1100 block of West 127th Street, Chicago, was a health care worker for a 68-year old Hinsdale woman from July to September 2016, Hinsdale police said.

While working in the woman's home on the 700 block of South Garfield Avenue, she gained access to the woman's financial information and allegedly used the patient's name, checking account and credit cards to pay bills, shop online and pay jail commissary accounts for her family members totaling an estimated $3,500, police chief Kevin Simpson said.

The crimes were reported Sept. 7. A DuPage County grand jury indicted Williams June 27 for continuing a financial crimes enterprise, financial exploitation of the elderly and 11 counts of aggravated financial identity theft, all felonies.

Officers from the DuPage County Sheriff's Office took Williams into custody Tuesday and took her to the DuPage County Jail, Simpson said.

It was "a long, drawn out case that came to a successful end," the police chief said.

Full Article & Source:
Hinsdale woman's caregiver accused of identity theft and fraud

Monday, July 24, 2017

Tonight on T.S. Radio: Danny Tate & Marti Oakley - Live from DC!

5:00 pm PST … 6:00 pm MST … 7:00 pm CST … 8:00 pm EST
Danny Tate and Marti Oakley Join us this evening for a live broadcast from Washington DC! (30) minute segment.

We will be discussing the upcoming Summit and what we hope to accomplish while there. 

We have several meetings to attend prior to our panel on the 28th and hopefully we can return with some good news for everyone caught in this trap. 

Thank you to everyone that has shown their support for all of our efforts here. It was great to know that we have that from you. 

We have already been asked to consider doing another panel next year to expand on this issue and to keep it in the public eye. Again, thank you for your support! 

We were overwhelmed with the response we got to getting this panel on guardianship/conservatorship and the misuse of the judicial system that facilitates it. 

The Whistleblower Summit is July 27th and 27 and is open to the public!

Steve Miller: Jason Hanson Sues Jared Shafer And Others For Civil Racketeering, Fraud, And Embezzlement

LAS VEGAS - 27 year old cerebral palsy victim Jason Hanson, after waiting since April 2016 for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Abuse and Neglect Detail to present Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson with Requests for Prosecution of the persons who stole the majority of his inheritance, on July 17, 2017 took the next step and filed a Civil Racketeering and Embezzlement lawsuit against his exploiters in Nevada State Court.

"I decided to take matters into my own hands," responded Hanson when asked by KTNV TV Contact 13 Chief Investigator Darcy Spears why it was taking the police so long.

Hanson hired Las Vegas attorney Jacob Hafter to determine if he had grounds to sue private guardian Jared E. Shafer of Professional Fiduciary Services of Nevada (PFSN), Clark County Public Administrator John Cahill,disgraced ex-judge Francis Fine, attorneys Dara Goldsmith and Elyse Tyrell after waiting over nine years to receive his inheritance that they collectively controlled, an inheritance that once included a Special Needs Trust fund of over $100,000, and a handicapped equipped 1,200 square foot two bedroom condominium in a gated community in southwest Las Vegas.

In winter 2017, it had been nine years since he reached legal age of majority and was taken off guardianship, however, Hanson had yet to receive a dime of his inheritance that was looked over by the defendants in his lawsuit, and an incompetent, or collusive, Clark County Family Court system.

When Jason turned 18 in 2007, and his youth guardianship automatically terminated, Francis Fine and the other Trustees NEVER refiled to be guardian over him as an adult, and never had him mentally evaluated, rendering the whole guardianship over him for the next 8 years non-existent! Had they had him mentally evaluated, they would have learned that he's intellectually gifted, and was not in need of guardianship. For this he repeatedly asked the court to appoint him an attorney, and was repeatedly refused.

In January 2016, Hanson testified before the Nevada Supreme Court Guardianship Commission where Shafer's lawyer Elyse Tyrell was somehow appointed as a Commissioner. He confronted Tyrell on local TV news about the whereabouts of his money. Several days later, Tyrell coughed up a one year old check in the amount of $5,530.74 that she had kept secret from Hanson. When asked about the year old check by reporters, she represented that it was the total remaining balance from the sale of Jason's house after Shafer and his attorneys finished deducting their fees. It was later learned that while on Tyrell, Fine, Goldsmith, and Shafer's watch, Jason's original guardian Susan Rousselle stole $39,000 from his $100,000 trust. No thanks to Tyrell, et. al., It was only learned after the woman confessed to the crime in a plea bargain. The remaining $60,000 in the Trust was never mentioned by anyone purportedly looking out for Jason, and only recently was discovered in the unclaimed funds account of the Pennsylvania State Treasurer, the state where Rousselle lived before being caught.

In the meantime, Hanson has been living at taxpayer expense for almost ten years.

Full Article and Source:
Jason Hanson Sues Jared Shafer And Others For Civil Racketeering, Fraud, And Embezzlement

See Also:
READ Jason Hanson's lawsuit

A voice for the elderly

ELKO – Last year, a man who was appointed as permanent guardian for his 80-year-old mother was arrested on charges of converting her money for his own use. Five years earlier, a live-in caretaker convinced an 82-year-old woman to give him $8,000 for a down payment on a Hummer.

With cases like these in mind, Northeastern Nevada Special Advocacy For the Elderly (SAFE) proposes to bring an additional level of accountability to those who watch over the financial and medical welfare of the elderly, and seeks to be a voice for people under a guardianship in Elko County.

Founded by a committee led by Department 1 District Judge Nancy Porter, SAFE provides a volunteer to represent the interests “of an adult who has a guardian,” similar to a program in Douglas County.

Attorney Katie McConnell, president of SAFE, handles elder law and guardianships, and believes the organization will “deter elder abuse in guardianship cases.”

“Elder abuse can be abuse, exploitation, or neglect – financially, physically or emotionally,” explained McConnell.

According to a 2016 report by the State of Nevada Aging and Disability Services Division, there were 51 cases of elder abuse reported in Elko County between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016.

McConnell explained that in the past, people petitioned the court to become a guardian of an elderly family member, with the judge relying only upon the guardian’s report of the elder’s condition and assets.

“There are many cases in which the guardian doesn’t even visit the protected person, and may or may not pay their bills,” she said.

SAFE is a nonprofit organization with a board of directors, and is applying for grants to fund the hiring of a coordinator and obtaining office space to begin training volunteers by November, added McConnell.

“This is very similar to CASA,” McConnell said, referring to the Northeastern Nevada Court Appointed Special Advocates, volunteers who represent children removed from their home and placed in the foster system.

“These are the CASAs for elders’ guardianship cases,” said McConnell. “A court appointed friend … looking out for the best interests of the protected person.”

Currently, 325 open guardianship cases are in district court, according to Porter, who hears 300 of those cases throughout the year.

Volunteers would be given two to three cases to start with, said McConnell.

Kathy Jones, Elko County’s public guardian, is limited to seeing no more than 25 people at a time, and believes that the program will provide more resources to the elderly.

“They’re hoping for more eyeballs that are watching, a little more awareness,” said Jones, as SAFE would also offer help to caregivers to “relieve the burden and stress” of caring for parents or grandparents.

For caregivers, looking after elderly family members can be “very overwhelming,” Jones added. Building friendships is another benefit to the program, said Porter, citing research stating that people with dementia and their caregivers are in need of “social connections.”

“It’s one more step in this system to make sure these vulnerable adults are being adequately taken care of,” said McConnell.

To become a volunteer or for information, contact McConnell at 738-1951.

Full Article & Source:
A voice for the elderly

Fraud charges leveled against New Mexico guardianship firm

Federal prosecutors are accusing a New Mexico guardianship firm of embezzling millions of dollars from the trust accounts of their clients as part of a decade-long scheme to support what court documents describe as lavish lifestyles.

The 28-count indictment against Ayudando Guardians, Inc. and co-founders Susan Harris and Sharon Moore was unsealed Wednesday. It details charges of conspiracy, mail fraud, aggravated identity theft and money laundering.

Moore and Harris were arrested and made an initial court appearance Wednesday. They were scheduled to return to court Thursday to be arraigned.

It wasn't immediately clear if the women had attorneys. Messages left at the company's office were not immediately returned.

Ayudando — which means "helping" in Spanish — specializes in guardianship, conservatorship and financial management services for hundreds of individuals with special needs, including disabled veterans. The company receives benefit payments from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and U.S. Social Security Administration on behalf of many clients.

"The victims in this case relied upon Ayudando to manage their finances and meet their needs," said Acting U.S. Attorney James Tierney. "If the allegations in the indictment are true, the principals of Ayudando cruelly violated the trust of their clients and looted their benefits."

With a court order, federal authorities have assumed control of Ayudando's business operations to ensure the clients' interests are protected as the case moves forward.

The case comes as a special commission created by the New Mexico Supreme Court studies the state's overall guardianship system with the aim recommending ways it can be improved.

The system was thrust into the spotlight following a series of investigative articles published by the Albuquerque Journal that raised questions about the lack of oversight and transparency.

According to the indictment made public Wednesday, Harris and Moore set up client trust and company bank accounts that only they controlled and transferred funds from client accounts to company accounts.

They are accused of using client funds to pay off more than $4 million in charges on a company credit card that was used by the two women and their families for personal purposes.

The indictment also accuses them of writing checks to themselves from company accounts, replenishing depleted client accounts with funds taken from other clients and mailing fraudulent statements to the VA.

Between June 2011 and March 2014, Harris is accused of writing 12 checks that totaled nearly a half-million dollars. One check in the amount of $50,950 was made out to Mercedes Benz of Albuquerque while another for $26,444 was issued to an RV dealership.

Other spending included more than $140,000 on vacations, from cruises in the Caribbean to a college basketball Final Four junket.

Full Article & Source:
Fraud charges leveled against New Mexico guardianship firm

New Mexico Women Plead Not Guilty in Federal Fraud Case

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The founders of a New Mexico guardianship firm have pleaded not guilty to federal charges that they embezzled millions of dollars from the trust accounts of their clients as part of a decade-long scheme.

Susan Harris and Sharon Moore entered their pleas Thursday in federal court in Albuquerque. They posted the equity in their homes as bond and their conditions of release include supervision pending trial.

A 28-count indictment against the women and their company — Ayudando Guardians, Inc. — includes conspiracy, mail fraud, aggravated identity theft and money laundering charges.

Federal authorities have taken over the company and have set up a special website and phone number for Ayudando clients who need information about their accounts.

Prosecutors say hundreds of clients, including disabled veterans and people with special needs, relied on Ayudando to manage their finances.

Full Article & Source:
New Mexico Women Plead Not Guilty in Federal Fraud Case

Sunday, July 23, 2017

10 ALF owners sentenced for accepting kickbacks

Ten Miami-Dade County assisted living facility owners have received sentences of federal prison time or home confinement for accepting healthcare kickbacks, the Justice Department announced Wednesday.According to court documents, the operators conspired with the former owner of Florida Pharmacy to receive kickbacks and bribes in exchange for referring residents for prescription medication and durable medical equipment paid for by Medicare and Medicaid. The scheme violated their Medicaid provider agreements as well as federal and state anti-kickback rules and regulations the Justice Department said.Nine of the owners were sentenced to federal prison terms ranging from eight months to one year and one day, and an additional owner was sentenced to home confinement. All 10 defendants also were ordered to serve three years of supervised release, pay restitution and be subject to forfeiture judgments.

Sentenced to home confinement was Blanca Orozco, 69. Sentenced to prison:
  • Alicia Almeida, 56;
  • Norma Casanova, 67;
  • Yeny De Erbiti, 51;
  • Maribel Galvan, 43;
  • Marlene Marrero, 60;
  • Dianelys Perez, 34;
  • Jorge Rodriguez, 57;
  • Rene Vega, 57; and
  • Osniel Vera, 47
The sentences came in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Indictments against the defendants were announced in October. All 10 subsequently pleaded guilty to receiving kickbacks in connection with a federal healthcare program.

Full Article & Source:
10 ALF owners sentenced for accepting kickbacks

Does half-brother need power of attorney?

Len Tillem and Rosie McNichol
Dear Len & Rosie,

I have a half-sister in poor health.

She wants me to I get everything that is left in her estate when she dies. Her husband died and left everything to her and they had no children.

In addition to me, she has two half-sisters; one who is very elderly and ill and another who is quite well off.

She has listed my name only on her will and my name is on all of her bank accounts as a joint tenant.

She inquired about giving me a power of attorney, but her lawyer said that is was not necessary.

Is this going to work?


Dear Joe,

Everything that you hold in joint tenancy with your half-sister will become yours if she dies before you do.

You will need only to take a certified copy of her death certificate to each financial institution to remove her name from her accounts.

There won’t be any probate for these assets. Keep one account open with her name on it so you can deposit any refund checks that come in after her death.

If your sister has any life insurance policies or retirement accounts, she should make sure that she has named you as her pay-on-death beneficiary so that upon her death you may roll over her retirement accounts into Inherited IRA’s and stretch out distributions, and your income tax liability, over your own lifetime.

If there is no named beneficiary, her retirement accounts will pay into her probate estate and you will lose any opportunity to defer paying the income tax.

If your sister owns a home, she should see an attorney and create a trust or perhaps record a transfer on death deed.

We do not recommend joint tenancy deeds to avoid probate for homes and other land, because if you’re on your half-sister’s deed, she’s no longer in complete control of her home and her home could become subject to a judgment lien from your creditors.

Her lawyer may be technically correct in that she does not need a power of attorney to avoid probate.

But what if she becomes incapacitated?

If she’s ever unable to make decisions and manage her own affairs then a power of attorney is vital.

If you or another trusted person has her power of attorney, she will not likely need a court-supervised conservatorship if she ever becomes incapacitated.

Likewise, she also needs an advance health care directive so that you or another trusted family member or friend can make medical decisions if she’s ever incapacitated.

If your half-sister, or her lawyer, is concerned that giving someone a power of attorney means losing control of her assets now, suggest to her that she sign a “springing” power of attorney.

This is the type of power of attorney that takes effect only after one or two physicians certify that she can no longer take care of herself.

Consider it as a “just in case something bad happens” document.

Full Article & Source:
Does half-brother need power of attorney?

HBO Documentary About Alzheimer's: Caregivers

5 personal stories from real Alzheimer’s caregivers
Caregivers is a moving HBO documentary about the lives of five family caregivers who are caring for spouses or parents with Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer's and other dementias are devastating diseases that affect far too many people. In the U.S., 1 in 9 people age 65+ has Alzheimer’s.

These courageous caregivers are brave enough to share their struggles, talk about what life was like before the disease, and discuss how they handle the ups and downs.

Caregivers talk about the challenges
In the film, five amazing women and men openly discuss their personal challenges in dealing with the changes in their loved ones, their own health issues, and their feelings of loss and frustration. They also share their coping techniques – including staying in the present and appreciating the little things.

Two seniors with Alzheimer’s share their experiences too
We also get to hear directly from two people who have Alzheimer’s. They talk about the changes in their brains, what they’ve lost, and how they cope and stay positive.

Hearing about their experiences helps us all get a better understanding of what it feels like to have the disease and how even simple things can be a struggle.