Saturday, December 16, 2017

Easing the Burden on Caregivers

This week, Hawaii launched the Kupuna Caregivers Program to help support working family caregivers.

Eleanor Thommes and her sister have reorganized their schedules and finances to take care of their 93-year-old mother, Elising Roxas, who needs round-the-clock care.

“A lot of women, especially single women, need to work,” said Ms. Thommes, 63, who lives in Mililani, Hawaii. “But at the same time they have all these responsibilities, to pay the bills, and to caregive. How can they possibly do all of that the same time?”

A new program in Hawaii, the Kupuna Caregivers Act, is designed to help lift some of the burden on people caring for an elderly family member at home by paying them stipends of up to $70 a day. The word Kupuna means elder in Hawaiian.

The program, which went into effect this week, is limited to those who work at least 30 hours per week. The money can be used for caregiving supplies, to supplement lost wages or to hire help. The legislation recognizes that many Hawaiian families prefer to have their parents and grandparents age at home, rather than in a nursing home or assisted living facility.

Long-term care continues to be a complicated equation for many Americans. Private long-term care insurance is a shrinking industry with premiums too expensive for many people to afford. For low-income families, Medicaid offers some options. At the state level, Maine and Washington are also considering their own programs.

Washington has been a leader in long-term care for many years. In 2017, it was ranked first in the quality and execution of long-term care in a study commissioned by AARP and several partner organizations. Representative Laurie Jinkins, a Democrat, and Representative Norm Johnson, a Republican, introduced a bill last winter called the Long-Term Care Trust Act, which would provide universal long-term care in the state. Everyone would contribute through a payroll deduction, and everyone would be guaranteed a long-term benefit if needed. The program would provide $100 a day to support caregiving across a range of care situations including at-home care, assisted living and nursing homes. Washingtonians have a strong track record of passing legislation on a similar model, including universal paid family leave in 2017 and universal paid sick leave in 2016. The bill is expected to be reintroduced in early 2018.

In Maine, 59 percent of the population identifies as current or former caregivers. The Maine People’s Alliance is collecting signatures for a ballot initiative calling for universal home care, which would make home caregiving available to people over 65 or those with disabilities. The proposed budget for this program would be funded by a 1.9 percent Social Security tax on people making over $127,000.
“We’ve gotten a more emotional reaction to this campaign than anything else we’ve worked on,” said Ben Chin, the political engagement director of the Maine People’s Alliance.

Health care legislation in Maine has been hotly debated recently as Gov. Paul LePage, a Republican, has vetoed Medicaid expansions five times, though a recent ballot measure did push through that expansion. The Maine’s People’s Alliance anticipates reaching its signature goal by the end of January.

The proposed legislation in Washington is limited to 365 days (consecutive or not) of caregiving support and the Kupuna Caregivers program is starting with a six-month trial period. With those limits, these programs aren’t meant to be lifetime care. But they offer options for families that can’t afford private insurance and don’t want to spend down retirement savings to qualify for Medicaid.
The programs could provide relief for struggling families and serve as models for other states.

Full Article & Source: 
Easing the Burden on Caregivers

68 Year Old Beverly Finnegan – Snatched from Condo by Court Order, Tossed in Nursing Home – Struggled to Get Released – Now on Life Support

A few names/agencies to remember:

Lawyer: Wendy K. Crawshaw, Framingham, Mass.
Lawyer: Lawrence K. Glick, Needham, Mass.
Judge: Maureen H. Monks, Middlesex County Probate and Family Court
Agency: Jewish Family and Children’s Services, Waltham, Mass.
Agency: Springwell, Inc., Waltham, Mass.

If you see any of their names, on any documents related to your loved ones, run. Run as fast as you can. That’s the hard lesson Janet Pidge says she has learned. Janet is the sister of Beverly Finnegan. Earlier this year, Janet and Beverly shared a condo unit in upscale Newton, Mass. All that changed when key individuals involved with Springwell, Inc., the Kathleen Daniel Nursing and Rehabilitation facility (Framingham), Jewish Family and Children’s Service, and others stepped into their lives.

Beverly Finnegan now “faces imminent death,” according to one court filing.

When Beverly was taken under force from her home –  on an order of Middlesex County Probate and Family Court Judge Maureen H. Monks – Beverly could walk, talk, converse, argue, read newspapers, magazines, pay her bills, handle the sisters’ finances, and was able for months to plead for her release from involuntary commitment to a nursing home.

Flash forward five months and Beverly now clings onto her life. I spent hours in the Framingham hospital where Beverly is in the intensive care unit. She’s gone from one lock-down to another – locked doors again. To get in, you have to press a buzzer outside of wire-reinforced security windows on hard steel doors.

Beverly is now on life support, assisted breathing, and a feeding tube. She’s paper-thin. A photograph of her, provided by a friend from at the hospital is shown below:

[Now 69-year old Beverly Finnegan – December 2017.  In September, she was begging for newspapers and magazines.]

How did Beverly become so emaciated? What drugs was she administered (hint: antipsychotics!)? Why was she taken, and what treatment did she receive or not receive?

We’re compiling court documents, filings, and statements from many individuals associated with Beverly. What we’ve discovered thus far is that Dr. Anne McKinley, a primary care physician filed a protective order with Springwell to force the taking of Beverly from her Newton condo. Why? Because McKinley wrote that Beverly had Mycrobocterium kansasii, a lung infection which required immediate and prolonged attention to cure, and that Beverly was refusing treatment.

That was October of 2016. Right, more than 13 months ago. Why is that significant? Because that ‘taking’ and the subsequent involuntary lockdown in a nursing home by a court-appointed guardian was based on Beverly refusing medical treatment. In short, Judge Monks supported the position that Beverly was obviously a mentally incapacitated person who wouldn’t help herself to a cure from the lung infection, and needed government protection.

Hey Doc: How About a Second Opinion?

It is now more than 13 months since that diagnosis. However, according to court filings, as of the day they placed Beverly on a feeding tube and life support approximately a week ago, she had never, ever, ever been treated for the mysterious lung infection.

You did read that, right? Beverly was assigned a court-appointed guardian, her finances locked down,  her freedom eliminated, her health apparently destroyed, because she refused treatment for an infection which the State said she had, and for which they never, ever treated her.

Are We in the Twilight Zone?

Beverly’s sister, Janet Pidge is hysterically desperate: she’s fighting daily to get anyone to help. She’s spent her savings, she and Beverly have both lost their jobs. She’s knocked on every door, every lawyer, politician, every resource she could find. She said she’s been lied to along the way the same way her sister was lied to, she says. She’s called delusional and paranoid for not believing the State. Her money is gone, and she’s stuck asking for rides daily or help to pay for the trains to take her from Newton to Framingham each day where she prays at her sister’s side.

According to the first couple of hundred pages of court filings we’ve secured and reviewed (before they disappear mysteriously like others in Middlesex Probate Court – see Mary Frank article), we’ve noted a clear, delineated path where the powers-that-be managed to keep Beverly locked up on a section 12: mental order, claiming that she was “paranoid” and not trusting of the medical providers and others. Hmm, they tell her she has an ailment which they don’t treat her for, and she’s the paranoid one?

Beverly’s sister is fighting to keep Beverly alive, but her efforts may not succeed: apparently, while under the care of the nursing home she suffered a cardiac arrest, and apparently suffered from deprivation of oxygen, as noted by Dr. Aba Somers of Framingham hospital. On December 8, 2017, Dr. Somers wrote “The patient has severe brain injury. ICT brain shows swelling of the brain. EEG shows no cortical brain activity. Physical exam shows minimal brain stem reflexes. She has been off sedation for more than a week. She will require a tracheotomy by the end of next week.”

Dr. Somer’s notes conflict with Janet Pidge’s statements that just two weeks ago, that her sister was responding to stimuli, and squeezing her hand, apparently before sedation was heavy. Janet didn’t trust the diagnosis of a lung infection, and now she questions if this is true.

Full Article & Source:
68 Year Old Beverly Finnegan – Snatched from Condo by Court Order, Tossed in Nursing Home – Struggled to Get Released – Now on Life Support

Wise Co. caregiver sentenced in financial exploitation case

WISE, Va.—A Pound, Virginia, woman will serve nearly two years in prison for financial crimes she committed against a disabled elderly person in he care, according to Wise County Commonwealth's Attorney Chuck Slemp.

Latricia Rae Kiser, 40, previously pleaded guilty without a plea agreement to six counts of felony uttering and five counts of felony forgery in September. The Wise County Circuit Court heard evidence Tuesday at a sentencing hearing.

Kiser received a sentence of five years in the penitentiary with three years and two months suspended. She will serve an active prison term of one year and ten months within the custody of the Virginia Department of Corrections. After her release, Kiser will be required to complete three years of supervised probation and pay restitution to the victim, Slemp said.

Between Oct. 2016 and Jan. 2017, Kiser was hired to assist with taking care of a disabled elderly adult, Slemp said in a news release. During the time Kiser served as the victim’s home healthcare worker, Kiser stole checks from the person, Slemp said.

Kiser then forged the person’s name and without permission cashed six checks for various amounts totaling $1,750, Slemp said. The fraud was discovered when the victim’s family discovered inaccuracies in the checking account and called the police. When Wise County Sheriff’s Office deputies investigated, Kiser confessed her crimes, Slemp said.

"Financial exploitation of the disabled and elderly is far too common in our community," Slemp said. "Ms. Kiser was invited into a home, paid to care for another person, and then stole that person. She was entrusted with the care of a vulnerable individual and then betrayed that trust. A crime of this nature should offend everyone in our community. We will continue to fight to protect seniors and incapacitated adults from this kind of abuse and exploitation.”

Slemp expressed his appreciation for the diligent efforts made to investigate and prosecute this case, specifically the Wise County Department of Social Services, the Wise County Sheriff’s Department, and the Southwest Virginia Joint Senior Abuse Task Force.

Full Article & Source: 
Wise Co. caregiver sentenced in financial exploitation case

The Death of Democracy in Probate ‘Court’

by David Arnold

The United States is a Democracy. Right?

I never questioned that until 2012. Someone that I loved very dearly was subjected to severe abuse by the Probate “Court.” I was also subjected to abuse. I survived. Gretchen did not.

The lasting damage done to me by this experience was the destruction of my belief that people do not have to fear abuse by government in the United States. It was not until 2016 that I finally realized the problem. The Probate Court is not a democratic institution. It is a dictatorship. It violates all the principles on which this country was founded.

The thing I find most frightening is that only a tiny fraction of the general population realizes the truth. I think the reason is that we are all blinded by our belief that the institutions of our government function in accordance with the principles of democracy. In fact, anyone who has been involved in a guardianship case has all the information needed to know that the Probate Court is not a democratic institution. It took me four years of study and research before I finally saw the truth that was sitting in plain sight.

This is not to say that all the institutions of government violate the principles of democracy. However, the Probate Court is a glaring exception. Somehow the judges and lawyers of the Probate Court have managed to eliminate all the protections of democracy designed to prevent abuse of power by government. The result is that the Probate Court has the ability to commit crimes with impunity. The reality is that no one is safe from abuse by the Probate Court. This is a very strong statement.

However, this statement is supported by extensive factual evidence. This evidence has been accumulated primarily by organizations outside the government.

Until recently, the government has passively or actively swept the problem under the rug. The Probate Court has the ability to prevent the evidence of abuse from becoming public. Other branches of government have also cooperated in concealing the evidence. Since this happened in 2012, I have filed complaints with all three branches of government with no effect. All my complaints have ended up in the hands of a lawyer who did nothing. One of the other parties in the case has also filed complaints with no effect.

The proof that the Probate Court is a dictatorship is lying in plain sight. It is a matter of seeing the obvious.

The foundations of democracy are the following:
  1. No one has absolute power. Power is distributed between three branches of government to provide checks and balances.
  2. Everyone is responsible for their actions. No one has immunity.
The Probate Court violates both of these fundamental principles of democracy in multiple ways. In particular, guardianship is riddled with absolute power and conflict of interest.
The “judge” has sole control of guardianship:
  1. The judge appoints the attorney for the incapacitated person.
  2. The judge appoints the guardian/conservator who manages the person’s affairs.
  3. The judge appoints the GAL (guardian ad litem) who investigates the facts of the case.
  4. The judge decides the case without the right to a jury trial.
  5. The judge is responsible for accountability of the GAL and guardian/conservator.
The judge gives immunity to the GAL and the guardian/conservator as agents of the court. Judges have judicial immunity and extend that immunity to those they appoint. The constitution does not give anyone immunity. The court has given itself immunity. The combination of absolute power and immunity has set up a system of legalized crime where GALs and guardians can commit crimes with impunity.

Marty Oakley, who runs an Internet talk radio show, has been pointing out for a long time that the Probate Court is not a court. It is an administrative tribunal whose authority is derived from the executive branch, not the judicial branch.

Because it is not a court, it is free to set its own rules as to how it operates. A person who goes before the Probate Court has no constitutional rights. The law is whatever the judge says it is. Responsibility for protecting a person’s constitutional rights rests with a court of law. The Probate Court is not a court of law.

The problem is that the Probate Court pretends to be a court and has usurped powers that can only be exercised by a court of law with due process. The Probate Court exercises the powers of both the executive and judicial branches of government. This is unconstitutional and violates separation of powers.

In December 2016, I met with my state senator, William Brownsberger, to discuss my complaints with the way guardianship is managed by the Probate Court. I pointed out that it violates separation of powers for a judge to be responsible for both appointment and accountability of guardians. His response was ,“Please trust me when I say: Your argument that the guardianship system is unconstitutional is not correct legally, however powerful it may seem theoretically.”

I said I was not willing to trust him. I asked him to prove it. He said, “You are asking a little too much of me.” He elaborated by saying, “Separation of powers is not just a philosophical idea, it is a technical legal construct.”

The issue is not whether the present system is legal. The extermination of the Jews was legal under German law. Slavery was legal in the United States. The issue is whether guardianship is consistent with basic principles of law, democracy, civil rights, human rights, and the Constitution. In my opinion, the present system of guardianship violates all of these basic principles. It is a stain on our democracy, as bad or worse than slavery. It is a danger to everyone whether or not they realize it.

I was taken totally by surprise by the way the Probate Court handled my guardianship case. I would not have trusted the Probate Court if I knew then what I know now. The problem is that there is no appropriate system for handling guardianship.

The way to stop this abuse is to take away the secrecy that protects those who are committing these crimes. That can only be done by the free press.

I wrote an article in October 2017 in the Boston Broadside, Issue #42
(Vol. 4, No. 9), describing what happened in my guardianship case. You can read it and decide for yourself whether this is the way you want guardianship to be handled.

The guardianship case is Docket Numbers 11P 2483, 11P 3682, 12R0085. The judge was Patricia Gorman. The professional guardian was Regina Bragdon. The GAL was Fern Frolin. My first attorney was Anthony Boczenowski. My second attorney was William Brisk. My first attorney developed cancer and had to withdraw from the case. My first attorney was a very honest person. In my opinion, he was the only professional involved in the case who did anything right.

Full Article & Source:
The Death of Democracy in Probate ‘Court’

Friday, December 15, 2017

Illinois' home health care industry rife with fraud, tainted by unscrupulous physicians

His hands trembled at first. Then his vision blurred. Finally, unable to control a malignant blood pressure condition, Tinley Park cardiac surgeon Banio Koroma lost his malpractice insurance, then his operating room privileges and finally his professional standing.

Fortunately, he lived in Illinois, where medical regulation has been so lax even the most desperate of doctors can find financial reward.

Koroma took refuge in home health care, a lucrative and growing industry rife with fraud and tainted by unscrupulous physicians who travel to patients' homes in search of profit, then bleed money from taxpayer-financed programs.

The down-on-his-luck doctor took advantage of this loosely regulated world to exploit his patients and command a central role in a multimillion-dollar taxpayer swindle that breached the homes of 15,600 older adults getting services from a Chicago company called Mobile Doctors.

For adults hobbled by disability or disease who want to stay out of nursing homes or hospitals, home health care services can be a godsend.

For criminals who want to tap into federal Medicare dollars, it can represent a loosely guarded bank vault.

A Tribune investigation reveals that Illinois public health regulators proved unprepared for a surge in new home health care companies, doling out too many home health licenses too fast and failing to provide meaningful oversight.

Even today, most anyone can own a home health care business for a $25 license fee — no criminal background check required.

Consequently, the Chicago metropolitan area is a hot spot for fraud, deemed among the most corrupt regions nationally. In the last five years, federal investigators estimate, area home-health agencies have improperly collected at least $104 million of public dollars.

Many home health companies operate lawfully and in the best interests of their customers. But fraud is so pervasive throughout the industry, federal officials say, that for every conviction like Koroma's, there are many other participants who are able to skate away.

As a result, already-vulnerable patients are put at risk.

Corrupt home health companies and complicit physicians as well as nurses secretly laced medical files with false diagnoses involving tens of thousands of Chicago-area patients, the Tribune found.

An analysis of federal court and enforcement files since 2012 shows that thousands of patients have been subjected to unwarranted procedures, therapies and tests; some were prescribed unneeded and powerful drugs.

Most victims were unaware that their medical histories were hijacked by swindlers — there is no legal requirement to notify or warn patients when fraud is uncovered, or when providers are convicted of crimes.

Case files show that a disabled man in his 80s was denied a wheelchair by a government insurance program because a Chicago-area business had falsely purchased one in the man's name and then illegally pocketed the reimbursement check, according to AgeOptions in Oak Park, a federally funded advocacy group.

In another case, a hospitalized man was denied a transfer to a Chicago rehabilitation center because a home health company had fraudulently billed the government for nonexistent convalescent care.

"These scammers are really smart," said Jason Echols, statewide director for a senior Medicare program at AgeOptions. "Anybody could be a victim."  (Click to Continue)

Full Article & Source:
Illinois' home health care industry rife with fraud, tainted by unscrupulous physicians

Personal care home owner indicted on exploitation charge

The owner of an Augusta personal care business accused of stealing thousands of dollars from a patient was indicted Tuesday.
The Richmond County grand jury returned a one-count indictment against Maxine Hudson Donaldson, 51. It accuses her of exploitation of an elderly or disabled adult. The crime is punishable by up to 20 years.

According to the indictment, Donaldson is accused of obtaining access to an Alzheimer’s patient’s bank account and taking nearly $28,000 between Oct. 26, 2016, and July 24.

The victim lived at Shavonna’s Place of Care on Fairview Avenue. According to the Department of Community Health, the agency tasked with regulating personal care homes, the home was in operation and had no violations cited in its latest inspection in March. The state agency’s website which provides open access to inspection reports of personal care homes was not in operation Tuesday.

Shavonna’s Place was not licensed and had not been inspected by a fire marshal when the department inspected in March. The home was licensed by the city after an April story by The Augusta Chronicle.

Donaldson operates a second personal care home, Maxi Maxi on Damascus Road.

Full Article & Source:
Personal care home owner indicted on exploitation charge

The Five Most Common Ways Elder Financial Abuse Happens

Wrongdoers have their methods and tactics, and it’s our responsibility to counter them at every turn. What follows is an analysis of the most common ways elderly Americans are taken advantage of.

Caregiver Abuse

When a Michigan trial judge dismissed a family’s lawsuit against a home care company for sending a caregiver with two felony criminal warrants to care for a man in his eighties, the national press erupted with questions about how this could happen.

In this particular case, the Kentucky-based home care company, ResCare, sent a woman to a retired Detroit-area businessman’s house to look after his ailing wife, who had dementia. It didn’t take long until the wife’s jewelry began to disappear—as well as the businessman’s fortune. Court filings estimated the losses to be as high as $1.5 million. The caregiver, if she could be called that, moved the businessman out of his bedroom into the basement of his lakefront home and moved her own mother into the home. The businessman’s wife died, and within a matter of months, the caretaker “married” the businessman.

When the businessman’s family members finally intervened and removed him from his home, his finances were in shambles. None of his bank accounts had positive balances, nor did he have any working credit cards. He had his monthly Social Security payment—that’s it.

The businessman and his family are sadly representative of the widespread abuse affecting our growing elderly population. I have handled a number of cases where predators, posing as legitimate caregivers, quickly took advantage of their elderly charges. This misconduct includes physical and medical neglect, and is often coupled with embezzlement and theft.

The Michigan case didn’t work out well. Then again, by their very nature, no abuse case can really ever work out well. Even with a partial financial recovery, the seismic emotional repercussions stemming from misplaced trust don’t easily recede.

Financial Exploitation

Financial exploitation takes many forms. Even though I have been counseling families for decades, I am regularly surprised by some new form of abuse. An incomplete list of malfeasance could include the sale of an elder’s medications; grocery bills more attributable to cash withdrawals taken by caregivers than bread and milk purchased for the elder; lawn services for a small yard being billed at $300 per week; money being used for gambling fees; medical care and dental care being neglected because of a theft of funds; and assignments of bank accounts into joint tenancy with a wrongdoer. (Click to Continue)

Full Article & Source:
The Five Most Common Ways Elder Financial Abuse Happens

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Jury awards $5.2 million to nurse fired after reporting abuse

A Michigan nurse who claimed she was fired from her nursing home job after reporting alleged abuse has been awarded $5.2 million by a Livingston County jury.

Katrina Wesemann, an LPN, was fired by her employer, Bloomington-based Heritage Enterprises Inc., in 2012. The Herald-Review reported Weseman claimed she was fired because she refused to follow orders from a director of nursing to “double-dose” agitated residents with anti-anxiety medications and refused to delete records of suspicious injuries. 

Heritage operates 54 long-term facilities most in Illinois. The verdict included past wages and benefits and $5 million in punitive damages for the nurse — who worked at the facility for only about 19 months.

A Heritage Enterprises attorney told the newspaper the defendants were “deeply disappointed” in the verdict and continue to “dispute and deny” the accusations.

"We fully intend to exercise all available legal remedies to contest this result,” said A. Clay Cox in a written statement, adding that no further comments would be made until the legal process was completed.

Full Article & Source:
Jury awards $5.2 million to nurse fired after reporting abuse

Former Hendersonville attorney faces more theft charges

Andy Allman
Former Hendersonville attorney Andy Allman who was previously arrested and indicted for allegedly stealing funds from clients has been indicted and charged with 11 more counts of theft of property and falsely representing himself as a lawyer.

On Dec. 6, a grand jury indicted Allman with nine counts of theft of property and two counts of falsely representing himself as a lawyer. His arraignment is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Friday.

Last December, 18th Judicial District Attorney General Ray Whitley asked that the TBI investigate allegations of theft by the former attorney.  Several of Allman's former clients filed complaints alleging he stole funds from them while acting as their attorney.

"During the course of the investigation, agents developed information that Allman had taken funds from his clients from December 2012 through October 2016," the TBI's release said.

Allman was suspended from practicing law in September 2016.

On Aug. 9, the Sumner County Grand Jury returned indictments charging Allman with 19 counts of theft of property, seven counts of falsely representing himself as a lawyer, one count of impersonating a licensed professor and one count of practicing law without a license. 

A hearing for those charges has been scheduled for Jan. 11, 2018.

Full Article & Source:
Former Hendersonville attorney faces more theft charges

Taking the time to take care our elderly

States, like people, may be judged by how they treat the most vulnerable among us.

Texas presents a good but not consistently great picture of how it treats the elderly and protects them from abuse, according to a recent study by, a national consumer website.

The study reveals our state rates near the bottom among the 50 in the number of eldercare organizations and services and expenditures on elder abuse prevention, atop the pack in financial elderly abuse laws, presence of elder abuse forensic centers and frequency of living facility inspections. A mixed bag, that.

Texas ranks 15th for elder abuse, gross neglect and exploitation complaints; 21st for certified volunteer ombudsmen. In all: No. 14.

All of that matters a lot, not for mere numbers but for the human impact those numbers suggest. WalletHub says the percentage of those 65 and older will only increase in the U.S., and almost double in 2060. Baby Boomers are living longer.

While we might take solace in having fewer abuse cases, at least when compared to other states, every case of abuse is painful. This statistic is lamentable: WalletHub says abuse of the elderly affects 5 million people every year. Here’s another: 96 percent of abuse cases go unreported.

Angela Goins, who lectures on social work at the University of Houston-Downtown, said elder abuse might be physical, psychological or verbal. Sometimes it involves caregivers not providing medical attention or other needed resources; sometimes it involves financial exploitation.

Sometimes, the elderly suffer because they cannot speak for themselves and there is no one there to speak for them. That causes them to neglect themselves by not eating or seeking medical attention.

Policymakers – including elected and appointed state officials – can help, Goins says. The best, first steps are to recognize the issue’s importance and to seek more information. Advocate for funds for elder abuse prevention.

Families, too – no, families first – should talk with parents and family members to chart the right course for making sure their elders are on the right course to take care of themselves and that younger, trusted family members can seek power of attorney to help their elders navigate their last years safely and happily.

Visit your elderly family members, Goins said, not only to check on their safety but to help them stave off loneliness. Isolation of the elderly opens them to abuse.

Texas’ low rankings on elder care expenditures? That’s on all of us. Taking up the cause for more, effective state and community programs will follow cogent, consistent advocacy by the public. If it’s important to voters, it will become important to public leaders.

But first, we’ve got to make it important to us.

Full Article & Source:
Taking the time to take care our elderly

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Remembering Anastasia Adams: Prevent Hospitals from Seeking Guardianship As Means 2 Override Patient Rights

Inova Fairfax Hospital CMO Scott Betzelos, MD January 28, 2017 Meeting


Petition Update click here

Dec 11, 2017 —It has been 23 days since my beloved and precious sister Anastasia was killed by Inova Fairfax Hospital and their designated guardians Anne Heishman and Kenneth Labowitz. I have been re-listening to various meetings and discussions with Inova physicians and others involved in her unnatural and untimely death.  I have been going over medical records and evidence sent to me by various individuals who did not agree with what Inova’s guardians were doing.  And since her death three words amongst other things have been prevalent in my mind… premeditated, homicide, and guilty.

During the January 28, 2017 meeting with Chief Medical Officer Scott Betzelos, MD, and Inova’s outside counsel Laurie Kirkland from Blankenship & Keith, PC, Inova was informed that I agreed with Anastasia’s discharge so why did Inova still pursue and take guardianship of Anastasia.  As you listen to the meeting with Scott Betzelos, MD, the discussion with Lindsey from Inova’s Palliative Care team, and read the records and notes written by Kelly Armstrong, PhD and the head of palliative care it brings certain things to light and bring the following questions to mind:

“Pt is opioid naive” written by Mary Wheeler, NP, Inova Palliative Care Team. Naive: “not having previously been the subject of a scientific experiment, as an animal.”

Nurse Practitioner Mary Wheeler ordered increases in morphine when Anastasia came down with a hospital born infection or after the results from the pericardial effusion but decreased her morphine when she showed signs of improvement… why?

Definition of terms, we as a society work under specific definition of terms regarding social norms and morays. By inserting specific terms or language into medical charts it can and does completely change the intent and meaning. Perfect example is “irreversible” disease/condition and “terminal” disease/condition.

Do hospitals intentionally or subconsciously allow bad bedsores to justify palliative care and the ending of lives. Inova Palliative care social worker, Lindsay N. Teich, specifically stated when talking about ending life “if she had really bad wounds, maybe down to the bone, or was causing pain when you turn her” … this is almost verbatim what Labowitz claimed in his written communications. We were clear Anastasia was not going on palliative care, that we/she did not want or need to be on palliative care. Mary Wheeler, NP, pushed for comfort care.

Hospitals and nursing facilities get dinged by Medicare if patients return to the hospital within 10-30 days. So to prevent from getting dinged are hospitals and nursing facilities intentionally placing elder and disabled patients on palliative care?

How can an informed decision about discharge, a safe discharge, be made without all of the facts including if the receiving SNF is capable of providing or willing to provide all of the needed care?

Inova CMO Scott Betzelos, MD was aware discharge had been appealed to Medicare and also should have known that an appeal directly to Medicare in DC invalidates Kepro reconsideration decision.

Bottom line Inova Fairfax Hospital should not have discharged Anastasia when they did, should not have sought guardianship until after the Medicare decision was issued by the ALJ, and by doing both not only enabled and culpable in her death but also in my opinion are accessory’s to her murder.

In Fact Anastasia was discharged and sent to Dulles Health and Rehab without of all of her medications and the Lovenox was stopped right after she was admitted to DHR. If Lovenox was given by Inova as a prophylaxis and standard of care for bedridden patients and Anastasia was sent with that order why then did DHR discontinue the Lovenox?

In Fact Dulles Health and Rehab changed Anastasia’s regular nebulizer treatment to PRN. Envoy of Alexandria discontinued them entirely. They claim they were given but evidence shows they did not.

CMO Scott Betzelos states Yolanda needed to give the Inova “physicians the latitude and level of trust that they have and level of knowledge they have that they are not going to discharge somebody in an unstable condition.” Seriously??

CMO Scott Betzelos states “whatever treatment, therapy, or medication Anastasia needs we will make sure she will receive, be discharged with.” Anastasia was discharged and sent to DHR without all her needed medications. DHR tried but were unable to reach the guardians for 4 days to get authorization so they could get her medications.

I love you Anastasia and I miss you.

Your baby sister

Full Article & Source:
Remembering Anastasia Adams: Prevent Hospitals from Seeking Guardianship As Means 2 Override Patient Rights 

See Also:
Disabled woman denied food, water, and healthcare in a nursing home

Echoes of Atalissa: Federal agency sues bunkhouse owner for exploiting mentally disabled workers

Four years ago, an Iowa jury handed a group of intellectually disabled workers who had been exploited for years the nation’s largest-ever award in an employment discrimination case: a staggering $240 million.

It was intended to compensate 32 men for the decades they'd spent in indentured servitude while employed by Henry’s Turkey Service, a labor broker accused of paying the men as little as 41 cents an hour while providing them with housing in a dilapidated bunkhouse on the outskirts of Atalissa.

The jury's award was immediately slashed to just $1.6 million — less than 1 percent of the amount specified by jurors — because of federal caps on damages.

Even so, the verdict represented an uplifting final chapter in a long story of exploitation and abuse.

But now that story has an unexpected postscript.

Robert Canino, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lawyer who pursued the case against Henry's, is back in federal court.

This time, he's fighting Joseph Paul Byrd, a former Henry’s Turkey Service supervisor who took over the company’s Newberry, South Carolina, labor camp in the 1980s and kept it running for another 30 years.

In September 2016, the EEOC sued Byrd's company, Work Services Inc., alleging it had forced its intellectually disabled workers to live in a crowded, substandard bunkhouse, paid them “unconscionable wages” that were less than what nondisabled workers were paid, and subjected the men to a hostile work environment in which they were called “stupid,” “retarded” and “dumb.”

The company has denied the allegations, and a trial is scheduled for August.

"Sadly, the discovery of this situation, answers, in part, the question that has arisen since the disturbing Henry's Turkey Service operation came to light in Iowa a few years ago," Canino said. 

"After seeing how workers with intellectual disabilities had fallen between the societal cracks, being virtually invisible for decades, many have asked, 'Could there be any other situations like this out there or right in our own backyards?'

"The answer, sadly, turned out to be, 'Yes' — and what we found here serves to remind us all to remain vigilant against such abuse of our neighbors and co-workers."

Workers exploited at every turn

In a deposition taken last December as part of a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Department of Labor, Byrd acknowledged that the six disabled workers who lived in the two trailers that made up the Newberry bunkhouse were each charged $800 in monthly rent, while the three or four nondisabled men who lived there paid monthly rent of $150 to $200 each.

During his deposition, Byrd was unable to explain the disparity, except to say that he was maintaining practices established by his former employer, Henry’s Turkey Service,  decades ago.

“That’s just the way it was always done,” he told a lawyer for the Department of Labor. “That’s simply the way it was when I started.”

In his deposition, Byrd also acknowledged that he and his manager, David Perez, forged signatures on the disabled men’s paychecks and cashed them, then paid the men weekly allowances of $50 to $80 each.

Byrd also testified that he took the men’s disability checks as compensation for room and board and deposited the men’s tax refunds into a company account used to pay his personal and business expenses. 

According to Byrd, he began working for Henry’s Turkey Service in 1968, when the company was populating labor camps across the United States with intellectually disabled men recently discharged from state-run institutions in Texas.

Byrd said that because his job was to supervise the individuals running the various labor camps, he traveled from one site to the next, in Iowa, Texas, Missouri, Illinois, South Carolina and Kansas.

At one time, Iowa was home to three labor camps runs by Henry’s — in Ellsworth, Storm Lake and Atalissa.

In 1985, Byrd went into business on his own, purchasing the Henry’s labor camp operation in Newberry, South Carolina. At the time, he said, the bunkhouse consisted of 15 disabled men living in a set of trailers across the street from a turkey processing plant.

Over the next 30 years, the men who worked at the plant would arrive there in the morning, help unload live turkeys from trucks, hang them on hooks and kill them. It was, as Byrd later acknowledged, difficult and repetitive work.  

By 2009, some of the men had become too old or sick to continue working. A few of them retired but continued to live in the bunkhouse. The same was true at Henry’s last remaining bunkhouse, in Atalissa.

The Iowa operation already was winding down in February 2009 when a Des Moines Register investigation triggered a raid by state and federal authorities. All of the Atalissa workers were relocated to fully licensed care facilities, and the bunkhouse was shut down.

But Byrd’s South Carolina operation continued to do business until late 2014, when New York Times reporter Dan Barry, working on a book about the Atalissa operation, discovered the Newberry bunkhouse and reported that six of the original Henry’s workers were still living there.

Because of health problems, two of the men — Claude Wren and Johnny Hickman — had retired from work at the Louis Rich processing plant across the street from the Newberry bunkhouse, Byrd told the Department of Labor.

But the four others — Leon Jones, Carlos Morris, and Jay and John Koch — were still working at the plant and collecting $50 to $100 per week in compensation from Work Services.

Seeking compensation for the workers

According to corporate tax records, Work Services Inc. had annual gross receipts of almost $1 million at that time. An affiliate, Work Service Co., reported more than $600,000 in gross receipts.

In 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor filed suit against Work Services, Byrd and Perez, alleging they had failed to pay the disabled workers the legally required minimum wage; failed to pay overtime; and failed to keep adequate payroll records.

But the lawsuit was limited in scope: Under federal law, the department could seek payment of only two years’ worth of back wages.

In February, Senior U.S. District Judge Henry Herlong sided with the Department of Labor, granting the agency summary judgment before a trial could take place.

The judge called Byrd’s claim that the workers wanted the company to keep their wages for them “ludicrous,” and he ordered the defendants to pay $165,404 in back wages and damages.

Seven months later, the EEOC filed its own lawsuit against Work Services, alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The EEOC’s lawsuit, if successful, could result in far greater damages than the Department of Labor case, because it seeks compensation in three categories: money for the men’s financial losses; for emotional pain, loss of enjoyment of life and humiliation; and punitive damages for the “malicious or reckless conduct” of the company.

In his December 2016 deposition, Byrd acknowledged his bookkeeping at the bunkhouse wasn’t adequate — he kept thousands of dollars owed to the men stuffed inside envelopes hidden at his home, he said — but that he considered the workers family.

“I did a really poor job of keeping records,” he said. “I was trying real hard to take care of them and make their life a little easier and, hopefully, create a place where they could live the rest of their lives. … I had a lot of affection for each and every one of them. Well, when you’ve spent a third of your life or more with them, they become part of your family, nearly.”

Two of the disabled Henry's workers are related: Carl Wayne Jones and Leon Jones are brothers, just a year apart in age. They began working for Henry's in the late 1960s, but the company eventually split them up, sending Carl to Atalissa and Leon to Newberry.   

For decades, the two men didn't see each other.

But in 2014, Canino, the EEOC attorney, set up a Skype connection that enabled the two men, then in their mid-60s, to see and speak to each other for the first time in years.

According to the New York Times, Carl Wayne shared the news that their mother had died long ago; he also talked about his girlfriend and the group home in Waterloo where he lived with some of his friends from the Atalissa bunkhouse.

This year, Carl and his girlfriend got married. Leon rented a tuxedo and, along with some of his friends from the Newberry bunkhouse, traveled to Iowa for the wedding.

"I missed being there," Canino says, "but I am so happy the South Carolina and Iowa guys got to reconnect a bit — especially Carl and Leon."

Henry's Turkey Service still owes millions

No criminal charges were ever filed against Henry’s Turkey Service for the alleged financial exploitation of its Iowa workers, labor law violations, fire-code citations or the lack of a care-facility license at the Atalissa bunkhouse.

At the time, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said the better course of action was to have other agencies pursue civil remedies against company owner Kenneth Henry of Proctor, Texas, who was worth about $3 million.

Several state and federal agencies imposed administrative penalties, or won court judgments, against the company.

They eventually totaled $5.9 million, but Kenneth Henry refused to surrender any of his assets or enter into a payment-plan agreement with the federal government before he died in April 2016.

In recent years, however, the U.S. Department of Justice, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the U.S. Department of Labor have aggressively pursued collection efforts.

To date, they have distributed roughly $800,000 to the disabled former employees of Henry's. They expect to soon collect an additional $900,000 from the estate of Kenneth Henry, which should bring the total recovery for the Atalissa workers to $1.7 million.

Here's a look at the various judgments and penalties imposed against Henry's:
  • May 2009: Iowa Workforce Development imposed a $900,000 penalty against Henry's for violating state labor laws. The penalty was later increased to more than $1.1 million.
  • November 2009: The U.S. Department of Labor sued the company for federal labor law violations, resulting in a court judgment against the company for $1.8 million.
  • September 2012: After the company offered no resistance or defense to allegations that it violated the fair-wage provisions of the Americans With Disabilities Act, a federal judge ordered Henry’s to pay $1.3 million to 32 of its disabled workers.
  • May 2013: An Iowa jury returned a verdict of $240 million against Henry’s Turkey Service for discriminatory employment conditions, but the jury verdict was later reduced to $1.6 million because of federal caps on damages in such cases.

Full Article & Source:
Echoes of Atalissa: Federal agency sues bunkhouse owner for exploiting mentally disabled workers

Former long-term care ombudsman charged with stealing money from resident

An Illinois woman has been arrested after allegedly attempting to steal more than $15,000 from an assisted living resident while serving as a long-term care ombudsman.

Mary Pfingston, 41, was arrested Thursday and charged with felony elder theft, theft of $10,000 to $100,000, financial exploitation of an elderly person and three counts of public contractor misconduct.

Authorities began investigating Pfingston in 2015 after receiving a complaint that said she had made “several suspicious transactions” from the bank accounts of an assisted living resident she was representing. Among the reported transactions were an attempted wire transfer of $15,000 and cashing a $4,000 check, the Chicago Daily Herald reported.

Pfingston had been employed by Senior Services Associates, which was contracted by the Illinois Department of Aging to provide ombudsman services, according to the newspaper.

Bette Schoenholtz, executive director for Senior Services Associates, declined to comment to McKnight's Long-Term Care News about the specifics of the case, but stressed that residents, family members or staff who see “anything unusual” in a long-term care facility should report it to authorities or the ombudsman program in order to protect residents.

If convicted Pfingston faces up to seven years in prison; she's scheduled to appear in court Dec. 15.

Full Article & Source:
Former long-term care ombudsman charged with stealing money from resident

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Metro Detroit adults under court guardianship put in unlicensed group homes

WARREN, Mich. (WXYZ) - As part of our year-long investigation into Michigan’s probate courts, the 7 Investigators have uncovered an alarming practice: court appointed guardians putting the people they’re supposed to be caring for into unlicensed group homes. 

While it’s not illegal for certain group homes in Michigan to operate without a license, when you’re dealing with someone who’s considered legally incapacitated, experts say most people in these situations do require care from a licensed facility.

“They took her dignity from her, they took everything from her,” said Peter Klavinger.

Klavinger says his grandmother, 80-year-old Mary Helen Plummer, had lived on her own for years.

But after a family friend told the Oakland County Probate Court that Plummer was having memory loss, court records show a Judge appointed a Southfield attorney as a co-guardian.

Charlene Glover-Hogan is a Public Administrator, a lawyer appointed by Michigan’s Attorney General to handle probate estates after someone dies. 

But several judges in metro Detroit like to appoint Public Administrators as professional guardians for adults who are considered “legally incapacitated.”

“It’s awful,” said Klavinger.

Klavinger says he was outraged when Glover-Hogan moved Plummer into an unlicensed group home in Warren -- a home that was operating illegally as an Adult Foster Care facility.

“It smelled, she didn’t look like her hair was brushed.  She had on the same clothes every day, it was for a week,” said Klavinger.

Desperate, Plummer’s family hired an attorney.

“He called Glover-Hogan, and said did you visit? She said no. He said, well you’re supposed to – and I can name several violations right off the top,” said Klavinger.

In Michigan, a group home must be licensed if the owner receives compensation for providing personal care, supervision, and protection, in addition to room and board to people who are mentally ill or disabled.

Clarisse Carter runs Due Season Residential Services LLC, the unlicensed group home in Warren.  State investigators from the Bureau of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs inspected the home in October and found that Carter was violating the law.

Carter applied for a license 11 months ago, but refused to answer our questions about why she was operating the home before being approved by the state.

The guardian later moved Plummer to a licensed facility, but according to state records, Glover-Hogan still has one ward inside the Warren group home.

“So you have a document that you want to show me indicating that it’s unlicensed,” asked Glover-Hogan.

During an interview Tuesday, 7 Investigator Heather Catallo shared the Special Investigation Record from the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, which oversees Adult Foster Care Facilities.  

The report, which is public record, tells Clarisse Carter that she has been providing adult foster care, and says “any person who provides foster care for 24 hours a day, 5 or more days a week, for 2 or more consecutive weeks for compensation without a license is in violation of [Public] Act 218.”

“I don’t have anything indicating that that was the case,” said Glover-Hogan.

Glover-Hogan says based on the level of care required in Plummer’s case, she didn’t think that a licensed home was needed.

“My goal, is make sure they have a roof over their head, they have heat, they have electricity, they have water and they have food,” said Glover-Hogan.  “We all serve as public servants – it’s not an easy job.”

Glover-Hogan said going forward, she will do more research, and she said often when she initially places wards, she does not have access to any of their funds yet, which can make placement extremely difficult.

“I do the best I can with what I have,” said Glover-Hogan.

“An individual that’s incapacitated that needs a higher level of service, the likelihood is that that type of facility would require a license,” said Larry Horvath, the Director of Michigan’s Bureau of Community and Health Systems.  The Bureau supervises the state’s 4200 licensed group homes.

“We would strongly try to encourage the courts and educate the courts on that, to make sure that those guardians and placing agencies are placing them in a proper setting,” said Horvath.

The owner of the group home would not return our phone calls to comment on this story.

After a legal challenge this fall, Mrs. Plummer’s son and cousin are now her guardians, and she is now living at home with relatives.

If you know of a group home that you believe should be licensed, the state wants to hear from you. 

If you prefer to contact the state via mail, please click here.

If you want to see if a certain group home is licensed, please click here.

Full Article & Source:
Metro Detroit adults under court guardianship put in unlicensed group homes

If your grandparents are neglected in SC, they won’t be as protected as you think

South Carolina does the second worst job in the union in protecting its elderly population.

The Palmetto State ranked 50th on WalletHub’s 2017’s States with the Best Elder-Abuse Protections analysis, which included all of the states and the District of Columbia. The survey by the personal finance website was published on Wednesday.

In separate key categories, South Carolina also ranked among the worst. The state ranked 49th for elder-abuse, and gross-neglect and exploitation complaints. It was 48th for how much the state spends on elder-abuse prevention and 41st for the number of eldercare organizations and services.

South Carolina has previously acknowledged its growing number of elderly residents; most notably former Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell, who warned in 2014 that the state had to prepare for an oncoming “gray tsunami.”

The Palmetto State’s senior population is expected to double by the late 2020s to nearly 2 million people who are 60 years or older.

The Greenville News has reported that the number of allegations of abuse, neglect and exploitation at the state’s disabilities agency has continued to increase over the years. Also, the paper reported that of the 929 vulnerable adult cases reported in 2015, no one tracked the outcome of more than half of the cases referred to other agencies.

The Department of Social Services’ director has previously told state lawmakers that protecting the state’s elderly and disable adults has become an “afterthought.”

WalletHub’s analysis found that many states recognize elder abuse is a real and growing issue, but few are “fighting hard enough to stop it.”

Those that came as the Top 5 on the list as the best were Nevada, District of Columbia, Arizona, Massachusetts and Iowa.

Read more here:
Full Article & Source:
If your grandparents are neglected in SC, they won’t be as protected as you think

NC Ranked Among Top States With Protections Against Elder Abuse

There's no way to sugar coat it, America is getting older, and consequently, potentially more vulnerable when it comes to personal finances. The number of adults in the U.S. age 65 and over is expected to double by the year 2060, which prompted personal finance site, WalletHub, to analyze which states have the best elder-abuse protections.

Elder abuse stands to affect as many as 5 million senior citizens annually, yet only an estimated four percent of cases are reported, according to WalletHub. When it comes to protecting the interests of the elderly, North Carolina ranks among the top states in the nation, WalletHub found.

"Fortunately, states recognize that elder abuse is a real and growing issue. But sadly, only some are fighting hard enough to stop it," WalletHub said in its study.

WalletHub analyzed elder abuse laws in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, looking at 11 key indicators. When it came to states with the best overall elder-abuse protections, Nevada came in No. 1 in the U.S., with California ranked as the worst at No. 51.

North Carolina was ranked No. 9 overall, but did very well in two specific areas. In its most recent study, 2017's States with the Best Elder-Abuse Protections, WalletHub found that North Carolina was No. 1 when it came to financial elder-abuse laws and its number of certified volunteer ombudsmen. It came in No. 13 for its number of eldercare organizations and services, and No. 18 for its total long-term care ombudsman-program funding.

There's no way to sugar coat it, America is getting older, and consequently, potentially more vulnerable when it comes to personal finances. The number of adults in the U.S. age 65 and over is expected to double by the year 2060, which prompted personal finance site, WalletHub, to analyze which states have the best elder-abuse protections.

Elder abuse stands to affect as many as 5 million senior citizens annually, yet only an estimated four percent of cases are reported, according to WalletHub. When it comes to protecting the interests of the elderly, North Carolina ranks among the top states in the nation, WalletHub found.

"Fortunately, states recognize that elder abuse is a real and growing issue. But sadly, only some are fighting hard enough to stop it," WalletHub said in its study.

WalletHub analyzed elder abuse laws in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, looking at 11 key indicators. When it came to states with the best overall elder-abuse protections, Nevada came in No. 1 in the U.S., with California ranked as the worst at No. 51.

North Carolina was ranked No. 9 overall, but did very well in two specific areas. In its most recent study, 2017's States with the Best Elder-Abuse Protections, WalletHub found that North Carolina was No. 1 when it came to financial elder-abuse laws and its number of certified volunteer ombudsmen. It came in No. 13 for its number of eldercare organizations and services, and No. 18 for its total long-term care ombudsman-program funding.

Full Article & Source:
NC Ranked Among Top States With Protections Against Elder Abuse

Monday, December 11, 2017

Tonight on T. S. Radio with Marti Oakley: Abolishing Probate #10: Intro into [Constitutionsal] Right to Jury

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

Join Marti Oakley, Luanne Fleming and Randal Stone as we host Dr. C. Eric Durand and learn a thing or two about due process and our right to a trial by jury that is prohibited in most states' administrative tribunals, otherwise know as "PROBATE" courts.

BIO: I'm a Who's Who In America Physician and Law Professor, 3+ Doctorates (Psychology, Theology, Law) with Professional Degrees and Board Certifications. Enlisted in the USN-1982; Enrolled in the USArmyROTC in 1989 (Still, technically, a member and on Active Reserve with a J.A.G. and Medical Officer MOS)...Written several books, studied, taught and administered at several Colleges and Universities

Due Process
What are the requirements for meeting due process?
How could these jury's affect guardianship/probate?
In most every state, are administrative tribunal statutes written to prohibit jury trials?

"The trial jurys and grand jurys that are functioning in our courts today are also "citizens grand jurys", they belong to and are comprised of the citizens of this country. While there are provisions of law to form independent jurys, for example in emergency circumstances, there are also some very important lawful thresholds/requirements that attach thereto in order to legitimize those activities, and give them the power of law.

Most of our research has concluded that the petitioning of our currently sitting grand (12 or more) jurys is where the jurisdiction currently resides, and their involvement in the process is primary/requisite to legitimacy, efficiency, and a necessary element to the peace and security of the nation. (in addition to some of the concocted "private form a jury" ideas being basically virtual legal suicide, and a danger to anyone involved---not necessarily beneficial to anyone, and a virtual life sentence behind bars).

LISTEN to the show live or listen to the archive later

Disgraced Las Vegas lawyer sentenced to the maximum

Las Vegas - Disgraced lawyer Robert Graham, who stole millions of dollars from his clients, was sentenced to serve 16 to 40 years in prison.

He was given the maximum sentence on all five counts -- two counts of theft and three counts of exploitation of an older/vulnerable person.

There was a lot of tension inside the courtroom.

The judge made her frustrations heard as Graham and his lawyer tried to explain why the disbarred attorney stole millions from his clients -- among them -- the elderly, orphaned children and people with disabilities.

"You take an oath as an attorney when you became a member of the state bar to protect your clients," said Judge Kerry Earley, Clark County District Court.

Judge Earley did not hold back expressing how she felt about Graham's actions.

"Just tell me Mr. Graham, how can you sleep at night and account for that kind of money?"

The once successful attorney tried to justify stealing $16 million from more than 100 clients, saying his law firm fell into hard times and he did not want to disappoint his employees.

"How do you account for that with this explanation?" Judge Earley asked. "Are you not responsible for it?"

"Absolutely, judge," Graham responded.

"Well you sure wouldn't have known that with what you just told this court Mr. Graham. That rightly almost puts just such a pit in my stomach," Judge Earley said.

Almost a dozen family members spoke up during sentencing.

Victoria Pappalardo is now caring for her three grandchildren after their parents died in a car crash. The family never saw a penny from a life insurance policy.

"We tried to pick up the pieces and make sense of everything," Pappalardo said.

"She trusted the defendant," Joan Albstein said.

The daughter of Albstein is living with physical disabilities and was awarded more than $2 million in a malpractice lawsuit.

They too, never received their money.

"There's no substitution for that money to give her the care that she needs," Albstein said.

The judge went on to read letter from victims who couldn't attend before giving Graham the maximum time behind bars.

"You systematically stole from people who trusted you," Judge Earley said.

In court, Graham's attorney argued his client did not spend Thanksgiving with his family and won't be spending holidays with them for years to come.

Full Article & Source:
Disgraced Las Vegas lawyer sentenced to the maximum

Chicago-area woman charged in financial exploitation case

AURORA, Ill. (AP) — A 41-year-old suburban Chicago woman has been charged with stealing money from a resident of a long-term care facility while working for a state contractor.

A Thursday statement from the Kane County state’s attorney’s office says Mary E. Pfingston, of Joliet, faces a multi-count indictment that includes charges of financial exploitation of the elderly and public contractor misconduct.

Pfingston worked for Senior Services Associates. It was contracted with the state through the Illinois Department on Aging. The indictment alleges Pfingston stole thousands of dollars from the care-facility resident in 2015.

Pfingston was arrested Wednesday. An Illinois State Police statement says that she also had a warrant for failure to appear in a Will County case and remained in custody on Thursday. The official statements don’t name an attorney for Pfingston.

Full Article & Source:
Chicago-area woman charged in financial exploitation case

Limestone prisoner charged with bribery

Jerry Long
A Limestone County Jail prisoner has been charged with bribing a witness for calling a crime victim in jail and trying to pay her to drop charges, records show.

Limestone County Deputy Caleb Durden obtained a warrant Dec. 7 charging Jerry Dewayne Long, 39, of 17265 Blackburn Road, Athens, according to Limestone County District Court records. Deputy Casey Foxworthy served the warrant.

According to the deputy's incident report, Long is jailed for impersonating a police officer, miscellaneous theft and financial exploitation of an elderly person, the victim being James Long.  While in jail, Jerry has been calling the victim and attempting to get him to drop the charges. He told the victim he still has the money he took from him and is going to pay him back, according to Durden's report. The calls to the victim occurred between Nov. 13 and Dec. 6, records show.

The victim told the deputy he felt harassed and he asked Jerry on multiple occasions not to contact him anymore. Although the victim blocked Jerry from calling his telephone, Jerry continues to call the victim by using other inmate's calling cards, according to the report.

Jerry remains in the Limestone County Jail with bail set at $10,000. His release has not been set, however.

Full Article & Source: 
Limestone prisoner charged with bribery

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Steve Miller: More Damning Evidence Uncovered Against Private Guardian Jared E. Shafer

In August, 2009, private guardian Jared Shafer and his CPAs, Bruce Garnett and Shawn King, avoided criminal charges by secretly agreeing to pay back money Shafer converted from the accounts of his Clark County Family Court assigned "wards" into an immense Utah based Ponzi Scheme.
Even though Shafer and his CPAs were caught red handed by the US Security and Exchange Commission, they were not criminally charged and were allowed to continue handling the assets of wealthy wards of the court if they returned the money. But by that time, most of the bilked wards had died, and their heirs were never informed of the disposition of their loved one’s assets after required financial reports were allowed to go unfiled by the guardian because Family Court Judges William Voy, Charles Hoskin, and Hearing Master Jon Norheim regularly allowed the omission of financial reports when it involved Jared Shafer.
Interestingly, the public had no right to know this information based on the "Confidentiality" clause in the following Settlement Agreement obtained exclusively by INSIDE VEGAS. (The source of this information is protected under NRS 49.275, the Nevada Reporter's Shield Law.)

More Damning Evidence Uncovered Against Private Guardian Jared E. Shafer