Saturday, January 13, 2018

Carer rinsed elderly man's bank account as legal fees for guardianship of granddaughter mounted

Jill Lewis
A CARER who left a vulnerable old man overdrawn after using his bank card as if it her own has been jailed for a year.

Jill Lewis not only repeatedly withdrew cash from the 76-year-old's account but also used his details to get items from catalogues and online.

And the 50-year-old gran's deceit only came to light when she had emptied William Porter's account so he got into rent arrears on his sheltered accommodation.

Hannah Squire, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court the defendant first met the victim when she was working for Sanctuary Housing providing care services for him.

In the summer of 2015 she left that job but continued to work privately as a carer for Mr Porter, who trusted her 'implicitly'.

She said he has physical problems, leaving him essentially wheelchair bound, as well and mental issues including depression and schizophrenia.

During the time he employed her he had been very generous towards her, giving her some gifts of money when he heard she had problems in her personal life.

Among her duties were occasionally withdrawing money from cash machines so he could pay his other bills, Miss Squire said.

But within months he went from having about £11,000 in the bank to being overdrawn and in the spring of 2016 he fell into rent arrears.

When Lewis used a cheque to clear the debt staff at the housing association became concerned and when they mentioned it to him he told them he had his suspicious.

The police were called and they found not only had she been using his bank account as her own, but she had also applied for a credit card and opened catalogue accounts in his name.

Miss Squire said she had not only been withdrawing cash for herself buy also used his card to buy petrol, pay bills and on a gambling website.

"She was using it as when she chose, to buy things or supplement her income," she said.

While the police had put the loss to the victim at £14,565 Miss Squire said the Crown accepted it was just under £10,000 as some of the withdrawals had his consent.

When she was questioned she did not accept she had acted dishonestly saying everything had been given to her.

Lewis, of Willows Avenue, Pinehurst, pleaded guilty to three charges of fraud, denying a fourth count of fraud and another of theft.

She denied accessing his ISA between December 7, 2015, and January 26, 2016, and stealing a cheque to the value of £2,500 in August 2015.

Peter Binder, defending, said that the total she took over seven-and-a-half months was £9,875.

She has the care for her six-year-old granddaughter, he said, has no previous convictions.

He told the court that she could not believe she had done what she did and was extremely sorry to have put him through it.

The court heard she said she needed the money to pay for legal fees as she sought guardianship of the youngster.

Jailing her Judge Tim Mousley QC said "You targeted a vulnerable victim. The impact was serious: it had a serious detrimental effect on him.

"At one point you have taken so much money from him he was overdrawn and of course he was a person who was particularly vulnerable."  

Full Article & Source:
Carer rinsed elderly man's bank account as legal fees for guardianship of granddaughter mounted

Disbarred Lawyer Is Convicted in Theft of $1.5M From Clients

A former Jersey City solo practitioner was convicted Wednesday of charges that he stole more than $1.5 million from clients over a period of more than a decade.

A Hudson County jury found Joseph Talafous Jr., 55, of Toms River, New Jersey, guilty of three counts of theft by unlawful taking, three counts of theft by failure to make required disposition of property received, five counts of misapplication of entrusted property, two counts of theft by deception, and four counts of filing fraudulent state income tax returns. All of the convictions were for offenses of the second or third degree.

The verdict followed a six-week trial before Superior Court Judge Mirtha Ospina in Jersey City. The charges carry a term of five to 10 years in state prison. Sentencing is set for Feb. 16.

His attorney, Gerald Miller of Miller, Meyerson && Corbo in Jersey City, said Talafous plans to appeal.

Prosecutors said Talafous used a power of attorney to make unauthorized withdrawals of thousands of dollars from the investment account of an elderly client who lived in Jersey City and from the client’s estate after the client died in 2010.

Talafous was also convicted of stealing approximately $461,000 from a trust set up for the benefit of a young boy in 2005 with funds from a wrongful death suit stemming from the death of his father. The father died in 2001 in a workplace accident when the child, a West New York resident, was still an infant.

He was also convicted of stealing approximately $300,000 from the estate of an elderly Jersey City woman who died in 2009 without any immediate family. She had hired him to prepare her will and had named him executor of her estate.

And he stole approximately $400,000 from the estate of a Jersey City man who died in 2012 and whose family hired Talafous as attorney for the estate, which included several life insurance policies worth a total of more than $870,000.

Finally, from 2012 to 2015, Talafous stole $330,000 that was entrusted to him as counsel for the estate of a Jersey City woman who owned property in New York.

The case was referred to the Division of Criminal Justice by the New Jersey Office of Attorney Ethics. The Supreme Court of New Jersey revoked Talafous’ license to practice law by consent in August 2015.

“Lawyers have a duty to uphold the law and protect the interests of their clients, but Talafous treated his law license like a license to steal, sinking to the point of stealing nearly half a million dollars from a young boy who lost his father,” Attorney General Christopher Porrino said in a statement. “This verdict will send Talafous to prison, where he belongs for his deplorable conduct. I commend our attorneys, detectives and entire trial team for building a strong case and skillfully presenting it at trial.”

“This verdict sends a strong message that lawyers who abuse their licenses and break the law will face stern punishment,” Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice said in a statement. “We will not tolerate lawyers who steal from their clients.”

But Miller, the defense attorney, said Talafous has continued to deny the charges and maintained that he did not take any funds he was not entitled to. “There are substantial grounds to appeal,” Miller said, citing evidentiary rulings during trial.

 Talafous’ charges originally included money laundering in the first degree, but that charge was dismissed by the Appellate Division in June 2017.

The Appellate Division said evidence that Talafous used his trust and business accounts to facilitate the alleged thefts by itself didn’t support the charge of money laundering, the only first-degree offense among the 19 counts with which he was charged.

In that ruling, the appeals court said the money laundering statute is intended to be construed broadly to serve its purposes, but it requires proof of something more than an underlying crime.

“The State presented no evidence that the theft was concealed (as opposed to committed) through placement of the money in defendant’s accounts,” the Appellate Division said.

Deputy Attorneys General Janet Bosi and Brandy Malfitano tried the case for the state.

Full Article & Source:
Disbarred Lawyer Is Convicted in Theft of $1.5M From Clients

This New York Gallery Has An Unusual Age Limit: No Artists Younger Than 60

The Carter Burden Gallery in Chelsea only shows works by artists who 
are at least 60 years old.
Carter Burden Gallery

Some artists in New York may be wishing to get older faster. A gallery there caters to artists age 60 and older. No kids allowed.

Some 200 artists have exhibited at the Carter Burden Gallery since it opened nine years ago in Chelsea. Business is good, and works sell from $200 to $9,000. It's a lot like hundreds of other galleries in New York — except for one important thing: The Carter Burden has an age limit. Why?

"Older adults do not stop being who they are because they hit a particular age," said gallery director Marlena Vaccaro. "Professional artists never stop doing what we do, and in many cases we get better at it as we go along."

What does change is the art market. With rare exceptions, artists who were hot when they started out found that galleries, and certainly museums, cooled to them as years passed. They kept making art, but weren't being shown or bought. Carter Burden's mission is to give them a wall, "because walls are the thing we need," Vaccaro said.

According to Vaccaro, very few galleries represent older professional artists, unless they're really famous. "And I get that," she said. "Galleries are a business. They need to show artists that are going to bring in big bucks."

Carter Burden is different. It's a nonprofit, supported by a board, a corporate sponsor and philanthropists. "That allows us to show the work that is purely an aesthetic choice, and not be concerned if I'm going to get $25,000 for a painting that sells," Vaccaro explained. "We could not do that if we had to survive just on the sale of the work."

Artist Nieves Saah, 67, originally from Bilbao, Spain, has painted all her life. "My first show was in SoHo in '85," she said. "And I had like 28 paintings there. I sold a few, and then from that I got many shows. I think that year I was in like 15 shows."

Under the Stars by Nieves Saah.
Carter Burden Gallery 
Then things slowed down. There wasn't much interest for 10 years. Saah kept on painting her figures and fantasies in vividly colored, cheerful oils. One day she heard about Carter Burden and decided to apply online. "I was in a show one month after I sent the application," she recalled.

Carter Burden always shows two or three artists together, and it only exhibits artists who live in New York. Every artist brings their people, those people become regulars and it just builds and builds.

Shows are up for three weeks, then there's a week-long break, then another three-week show. Five hundred people can turn up at openings. (There's always wine, pretzels and chocolate.) Visitors nosh, schmooze and buy, and artists get to know each other and see and comment on one another's work.

"It is community," said Elisabeth Jacobsen, 68, an artist from Long Island. And it's necessary, she said, because "when you do your artwork, you usually are alone." Jacobsen does assemblage, putting wood, fabric and various objects together into elegant, 3-dimensional works. She has exhibited pretty consistently since the late 1980s, and at Carter Burden since 2014. But that took time.

Artists Werner Bargsten, Nieves Saah and Elisabeth Jacobsen have all shown their work at the Carter Burden Gallery.
Susan Stamberg/NPR 
She said, "When I first heard of the gallery, I sent an application, but I was rejected and got one of these letters like, you know, 'In a couple years, try again.' " She did, and now often shows and sells at the gallery.

Werner Bargsten, a newbie, had his first show this past October. It consisted of stunning, powerful sculptured wall hangings made with clay and copper tubing, and formed into what look like wrapped packages.

Bargsten had stopped doing art for 30 years. (He had a career making props for TV and films.) Now retired, he said he didn't have a lot of expectations for his first show. "It'd be great to have a lot of people here to see the work. And my expectation I guess is to just show up, put the pieces on the wall and have a cookie." (He sold some drawings, but there weren't any cookies.)

An untitled work by Werner Bargsten.
Carter Burden Gallery 
At 69, Bargsten is glad to be part of the Carter Burden over-60 crowd. "I mean, look, it's always harder to get out of bed the older you get, but most of the artists that I've met here seemed like they missed that memo that they were getting old. Most of them have the brains of a 20-year-old or a 30-year-old or something. So they haven't really aged in terms of their spirit."

When asked if the gallery's mission is ageist, director Marlena Vaccaro said, "I think it's more a defense against ageism. ... I think it's giving an opportunity to a group of people that have had the opportunity removed simply because of their age. Opportunities are few and far between at any gallery for any artist of any age, so I think we're trying to just right a wrong, rather than get in the way of anyone else having an opportunity."

It's such a lively, bustling place, the Carter Burden Gallery in Chelsea. Young New York artists may dream of reaching 60 just to be a part of it.

Full Article & Source:
This New York Gallery Has An Unusual Age Limit: No Artists Younger Than 60

Friday, January 12, 2018

Who Will Take Care of Me When I'm Old?: Plan Now to Safeguard Your Health and Happiness in Old Age

Everything you need to know to plan for your own safe, financially secure, healthy, and happy old age

For those who have no support system in place, the thought of aging without help can be a frightening, isolating prospect. Whether you have friends and family ready and able to help you or not, growing old does not have to be an inevitable decline into helplessness. It is possible to maintain a good quality of life in your later years, but having a plan is essential. Who Will Take Care of Me When I'm Old? equips readers with everything they need to prepare on their own:
  • Advice on the tough medical, financial, and housing decisions to come
  • Real solutions to create a support network
  • Questions about aging solo readers don't know to ask
  • Customizable worksheets and checklists that help keep plans on course
  • Guidance on new products, services, technology, and resources
Who Will Take Care of Me When I'm Old? goes way beyond estate planning to help readers prepare for all the changes in store. Readers are empowered to make proactive plans for their own lives rather than entrusting decisions to family and community.

Who Will Take Care of Me When I'm Old?: Plan Now to Safeguard Your Health and Happiness in Old Age

7 ON YOUR SIDE: Losing everything at probate court

If you're not careful, an attorney might take control of everything you own, charge you hundreds of dollars an hour, and you or your family won't be able to fire them. If that sounds unfair, it happens every day at probate court.

“I had an apartment building down the street and they just sold that,” said Northeast Washington resident Reggie Battle.

A D.C. Probate judge assigned Battle an attorney to look after his property after an operation and hospitalization. After recovering, Battle says he found out his property was sold while mowing the grass around his apartment building.

"He said, ‘You don't have to cut it no more, because we already sold it for $500,000 and I still haven't got any money from it,’" recalled Battle.

In fact, probate attorneys are taking money from Battle's estate, all in the name of protecting him.

“I'm paying $325 an hour. Even phone calls. They charge me for phone calls and everything,” added Battle.

"No family, no citizen should go to probate court and lose their resources, lose their dignity and lose what they worked hard for. Probate court is supposed to help, not hurt,” said Battle’s neighbor and Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Kathy Henderson.

Terri Jordan walked through her Southeast Washington home, thinking every day may be her last living there. The home actually belonged to her father before he died.

"There wasn't a will and we owe conservatorship fees, so they want to sell our house to pay for personal conservatorship fees,” said Jordan.

In a third and separate case, Teresa Washington regrets going to court seeking help to access her ill father's bank accounts.

"You have somebody come in there and just take over. Take over the homes. Take over everything,” said Washington.

7 On Your Side found probate attorneys charge families as much as $350 dollars an hour in D.C. It's not just for legal work. They can also charge $350 an hour for making calls to get other people to do work on getting a house ready to sell. It's all legal.

7 On Your Side asked probate attorneys working with the people we interviewed for this story to explain what's going on. Those attorneys declined. We also asked the probate judges to address the complaints coming to 7 On Your Side. They declined to go on camera.

A judicial source tells ABC7 News the court "struggles" with figuring out how much probate attorneys charge families and what work they can charge at a full rate. There's admittedly little oversight.

In fact, there's a lot not known about Probate. Ask the experts, from the American Bar Association: "Their estimate is 1.3 million adults subject to guardianship," said Erica Wood of the ABA. "We don't know because data in the guardianship system is very uneven. Very scant."

To the experts at the Government Accountability Office, which tried to uncover how many probate abuse complaints existed: “What is known about the extent of abuse? The bottom line is we know very little,” said GAO Director Kathryn Larin. “Knowing which types of abuse are most prevalent, knowing where the problems are located, we really just don't know the answers to those questions.”

Probate attorneys say the best way to avoid the problems of probate court is to set up a “living revocable trust.”

Daniel Ruttenberg of SmolenPlevy legal firm answers some viewer questions about what you can do to protect yourself in this extended interview:

Full Article & Source:
7 ON YOUR SIDE: Losing everything at probate court

'Death with dignity' devalues disability

By Mike Volkman, Commentary

The debate over assisted suicide continues. A bill has not passed in New York yet, but it keeps getting reintroduced every session in the legislature. Its proponents everywhere keep using a catchphrase, "death with dignity," to describe it. They even use it as a title for it.

The main points of their argument for why we need to legalize assisted suicide is that there are incurable diseases that will end up killing people anyway, and those diseases cause intractable pain. They say they have a right to choose when and how they die, so they should have the freedom to make that choice. It is a quick and easy argument.

It's not so simple. Doctors are not perfect and don't know everything. It is impossible to make an accurate prediction with how much time a person has left. The late Ted Kennedy was told he had months, but he hung on for several years. Insurance companies deny treatments based on many factors, but in states that now allow assisted suicide they are more willing to pay for lethal doses when they are prescribed. If people are making choices based on economic factors, that is coercion, not freedom.

Another major factor that it is deeply ingrained in Western cultures is that people are better off dead than being disabled. You can find references to studies on the Not Dead Yet website and blog that show how common it is for people to choose to die not because they are in intractable pain, but because something changed in their circumstances and they acquired a disability. Nobody ever expects this to happen, and when it does they are confronted with fears they have had their whole lives. Those fears are reinforced by the most respected institutions in society: family, government, the schools, religious teachings, medicine, architecture, the arts, and the press, just to name a few. People are seriously scared of the idea that they might need some help in order to stay independent.

What does it mean to die with dignity? Or the opposite, what is death without dignity or with indignity? There is no legal definition. It is a phrase people like to use with the hope that it is sufficient and accepted. Remember the bit George Carlin did in 1992 about euphemisms? They hide the truth.

Legislative bodies should come up with legal definitions for the term. They should specify what constitutes dignified ways of dying. When they come to define what are undignified ways of dying, the challenge is how to do it without describing circumstances that go with disability. Because if they can't get around that, then it makes one thing perfectly clear.

That one thing is that it is in the interests of the state to protect all lives except those of people with disabilities. If the presence of a disability, whether it is from birth or from later acquisition, makes it justifiable to place a value judgment on a person for a life-or-death decision, that makes an entire class of people subject to a double standard. That is state-sponsored bigotry allowing up to one sixth of the population to be discarded and unprotected.

Afraid of needing help? Imagine living in a world in which no one was willing to provide it. Afraid of tubes? Imagine a time when they weren't invented. Today's tubes make life much more bearable and livable for those of us who use them. Like me.

Choice is free when people and states do all that they can to help us live better.

Mike Volkman of Albany is a longtime disability rights advocate. He is a member of the board of Not Dead Yet.
Full Article & Source:
'Death with dignity' devalues disability

Thursday, January 11, 2018

UPDATE | Mahoning County judge charged with stealing

Diane Vettori-Caraballo
Judge Diane Vettori will not be able to hear cases at the Mahoning County Area Court in Sebring while criminal charges against her are pending.

A spokeswoman for the Ohio Supreme Court cited a rule which states that judges are disqualified from acting as a judge while there is an indictment or information charging them with a crime punishable as a felony.

An information filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court charges Vettori, 49, of Canfield with stealing at least $92,000 from a former client’s home after the client died. 

Vettori-Caraballo, 49, of Youngstown, was charged via criminal information with one count of fraud, one count of structuring cash deposits and one count of making false statements to law enforcement.

She was charged in federal court with stealing at least $96,200 from a former client, said U.S. Attorney Justin E. Herdman and FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen D. Anthony.

Vettori-Caraballo stole between $96,200 and $328,000 in cash that was in the home of a client when that client died in March 2016, according to the information.

Vettori-Caraballo was elected to position of judge in Mahoning County Court #3 – Sebring Court in 2002, with jurisdiction over misdemeanor criminal and traffic charges and other matters in Sebring and Beloit Villages and Berlin, Green, Goshen,, Ellsworth, Smith and Washingtonville Townships. She was reelected in 2006 and 2012, according to the information.

She also provided estate planning services to Robert Sampson, including drafting his will. On Nov. 20, 2015, Vettori-Caraballo filed an application in Mahoning County Probate Court to administer Sampson’s estate. The application stated Sampson died without a will. The probate court, unaware of Sampson’s will, appointed his closest living relative his sister, Dolores Falgiani ,as the administrator three days later, according to the information. 

Sampson died in 2015.

Vettori-Caraballo prepared Falgiani’s will on Nov. 3, 2015. The will made 16 specific bequests to relatives and friends and bequeathed the rest of the estate to Animal Charity Human Society of Boardman and the Angels for Animal Charity in Canfield, according to the information.

Sometime in October or November 2015, Falgiani stated she was in possession of several shoeboxes of cash stored at her residence. Falgiani was found dead in her home on March 10, 2016, according to the information.

Vettori-Caraballo filed an application in Mahoning County Probate Court to probate Falgiani’s estate on March 24, 2016. On May 2, she reported having found cash in the residence and depositing the $20,000 into the estate, according to the information.

On several subsequent occasions in 2016 and this year, Vettori-Caraballo filed a notice of newly discovered assets with the court. Each time, she failed to disclose the cash she had stolen, according to the information.

The information also charged Vettori-Caraballo with structuring 22 deposits of the cash she stole into five different banks within four weeks to avoid regulations that require banks to report cash transactions over $10,000 to the IRS. In addition, the information charges that Vettori-Caraballo lied to the FBI when she was confronted about the theft and the structuring of cash deposits.

This case was investigated by the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brian McDonough and Ann C. Rowland. 

If convicted, the sentence in this case will be determined by the Court after consideration of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which depend upon a number of factors unique to each case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense and the unique characteristics of the violation. In all cases the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.

An information is a charge and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Full Article & Source:
UPDATE | Mahoning County judge charged with stealing

Mahoning County judge charged with stealing over $96K from client

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – A Mahoning County judge is facing federal charges, accused of stealing at least $96,200 from a former client. The accusation is a violation of public trust but the money was also left in someone else’s will — to benefit two animal advocate groups.

Tuesday, the Supreme Court of Ohio disqualified 49-year-old Diane Vettori-Caraballo, of Youngstown, as a judge while her case is pending.

She was charged with one count of fraud, one count of structuring cash deposits and one count of making false statements to law enforcement.

Vettori-Caraballo stole between $96,200 and $328,000 in cash that was in the home of client Dolores Falgiani after Falgiani died in March of 2016, according to investigators.

“Anytime an attorney steals client funds, that’s unacceptable. Attornies have a fiduciary responsibility to their clients and in a case where you have an elected official do this, it certainly violates the public’s trust,” said U.S. Attorney Brian McDonough.

Investigators said Vettori-Caraballo drafted the will for Dolores Falgiani’s brother in 2015 but reported that he didn’t have a will. Falgiani was appointed an administrator of her brother’s estate and Vettori-Caraballo helped her to close the man’s safe deposit boxes.

The will made 16 bequests to relatives and friends, including Animal Charity in Boardman and Angels for Animals in Canfield.

At some point, investigators allege that Falgiani told Vettori-Caraballo about shoe boxes of cash she had stored in her home.

Vettori-Caraballo reported finding $20,000 cash in Falgiani’s home and depositing it into the estate. The government says she structured 22 deposits of cash she stole into five banks to avoid it being reported to the IRS. She told investigators that the money came from her father’s estate, according to court records.

“She’s being charged and they’re serious charges involved in taking money from clients, and then depositing those stolen monies and then lying about the deposits to law enforcement themselves,” McDonough said.

The bill of information outlines 33 allegations against what Vettori-Caraballo was doing, saying she devised and intended to defraud the Mahoning County Probate Court but then denied having “received a nickel” from the woman’s estate to investigators.

“A public official owes the community the highest level of integrity and honesty in all things,” McDonough said.

Vettori-Caraballo was elected to the position of judge in Mahoning County Court #3 – Sebring Court — in 2002. She serves over misdemeanor criminal and traffic charges for Sebring and Beloit villages and Berlin, Green, Goshen, Ellsworth, Smith and Washingtonville townships.

She was reelected in 2006 and 2012.

Vettori-Caraballo is due in a Cleveland courtroom at 2 p.m. on January 17.

Full Article & Source:
Mahoning County judge charged with stealing over $96K from client

New York nursing home cited for saving woman who didn't want to be saved

Nurses at a Syracuse long-term care facility saved a resident's life using cardiopulmonary resuscitation, even though the woman had a valid do-not-resuscitate order and was wearing a special bracelet to identify DNR patients.

The woman's records stated she did not want to be resuscitated or intubated, wanted limited medical interventions and wished to be sent to the hospital only if necessary, according to a state Health Department inspection.

But nurses at the former James Square Health and Rehabilitation Centre took all of those steps after they found her unresponsive and without a pulse on Aug 13., reported.

By the time a nurse noticed the DNR in the woman's chart, she had already been taken to the hospital by ambulance.

The nurse who called for help after finding the woman unresponsive said hadn't been trained on identifying DNR residents, according to

The facility was sold in December and renamed Bishop Rehabilitation & Nursing Center. New Administrator Margaret Mary Wagner said she was not familiar with the incident but told, "This is a human business and people are going to make mistakes."

"When something like that happens you have to do a root cause analysis [and] then change the process," she added.

The inspection report describes the patient as an amputee with chronic pain, anxiety and cognitive impairment. It also describes how the five nurses who responded to the emergency failed to check the patient's paperwork before starting or participating in CPR.

The home's DNR-designated residents wear white and black bracelets and have red dots on their headboards as easy-to-spot reminders. 

The home agreed to better educate nurses on determining whether advance directives exist.

After a hospital evaluation, the woman returned to the home unharmed, according to state documents.

Full Article & Source:
New York nursing home cited for saving woman who didn't want to be saved

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Medical Murder? Massachusetts Woman Medically Kidnapped from Her Home Dies After Being Denied Medical Intervention

Lawyers and guardians denied Beverley Finnegan the life-saving treatment her sister wanted her to have. The guardianship cost her life. Photo source.

by Health Impact News/ Staff

As the icy blast of the historic “bomb cyclone” chilled the heart of Boston and flooded her streets, an even more chilling battle was taking place over the life of 69 year old Beverley Finnegan.

The fight to get court-appointed guardians and attorneys to allow her to receive life-saving medical treatment has ended with her death just before noon on Friday, January 5, 2018.

See Beverley’s story here:

Active Senior Medically Kidnapped from her Home and Forced onto Drugs in Nursing Home Now Near Death 

UPDATE: Family Fights for the Life of Senior Medically Kidnapped from her Home and Forced onto Drugs

Her tragic death follows the one day that her sister and advocate Janet Pidge were not able to be by her side at Framington Union Hospital. The brutal snowstorm kept Janet, as well as many other residents in the greater Boston area, home and off the streets on Thursday.

“A Turn for the Worse” – During a Crippling Snowstorm

Beverley’s condition was largely unchanged during the last several weeks, so the Friday morning phone call came as a shock.

Gary Zalkin, attorney for Framington Union Hospital, left a voicemail at 8:30 a.m. saying that that she had taken “a turn for the worse” and would likely pass within the next hour or so.

Janet was already en route to the hospital to be by her sister’s side. Advocate and journalist David Arnold told Health Impact News that he joined Janet in Beverley’s hospital room. He reports that her heart stopped several times, while doctors kept saying that her brain had shut down. Finally, her heart stopped beating for the last time, and she was pronounced dead at 11:48 a.m.

Janet’s attorney Lisa Belanger calls it “euthanasia” – the hastening of Beverley Finnegan’s death. Belanger attempted to file a criminal complaint on Saturday, since euthanasia is illegal in Massachusetts. However, the police denied her request, telling her to file medical malpractice instead. She told Health Impact News:
This is worse than the Twilight Zone.

Kidnapped and Denied Civil Rights over Medical Disagreement

For months, Beverley Finnegan and her sister Janet Pidge have been battling the state of Massachusetts to bring her home. The sisters owned a condo together, and they relied on each other. Several years ago Ms. Finnegan named her sister as her proxy if ever she needed someone to make decisions for her. Her wishes were completely ignored.

A doctor diagnosed her with an illness that, in hindsight, she may never have had. Dr. Anne McKinley said that she had a lung infection called Mycobacterium kansasii and that she would die without treatment. When Ms. Finnegan chose not to go back to that particular doctor, Dr. McKinley filed a protective order with the courts.

Police and social workers broke into the condo and seized her. Because she fought against her kidnappers, she was deemed mentally ill and violent. She was bodily seized and forced against her will into a nursing home and forced onto psychotropic drugs.

The door frame was broken during Beverley Finnegan’s state-sanctioned abduction, yet she was labeled “paranoid.” Photo source: Boston Broadside.

For months, she begged and pleaded to go home, saying that they were going to kill her. The presumably imaginary infection that was used as a pretense to deprive her of her liberty was never addressed – not once.

Stranger Named as Her Guardian, While Sister Fights Back

Lawyers petitioned for, and won, the ability to override Ms. Finnegan’s wishes, and a judge appointed a guardian with Jewish Family and Children’s Services. Under a draconian legal construct known as “guardianship,” Marissa Levenson was granted the authority to make life-altering decisions for a woman she had never before met.

Marissa Levenson, guardian with Jewish Family and Children’s Services, was given authority to place Ms. Finnegan into a nursing home against her will. Photo source: Boston Broadside.

According to Lonnie Brennan of the Boston Broadside, who met with Janet Pidge and has attended some of the court hearings:
Beverly’s sister, Janet, is hysterically desperate: she’s fighting daily to get anyone to help. Janet can’t stop talking about her sister, non-stop. She’s anxious, desperate, and determined to get someone to listen. She’s spent her savings, she’s knocked on seemingly every door of every lawyer or politician she could find.
She’s been lied to along the way in the same way her sister was lied to. She is called delusional and paranoid for not believing the state.
She can’t stop. She fights on. She’s determined and gets into rants about the shock of the taking of her sister, long-term problems at her condo with certain neighbors, and the tragic history of her family (for which a movie should be set).
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.

Life-Saving Medical Measures Denied

Lisa Belanger says that the decline in Ms. Finnegan’s health was directly related to fact that the state placed her under guardianship. Under that guardianship, she was forced into a nursing home that did not properly care for her. Due to their alleged neglect and possibly actively harmful practices, Ms. Finnegan wound up in a coma on November 30, and doctors have neglected basic medical care that could have saved her life.

On December 18 and again on December 22, Belanger went head to head in court with a gaggle of attorneys and guardians who were determined to pull the plug and end Beverley Finnegan’s life, against the adamant wishes of her sister.

On one side were the guardian and attorneys for Framington Union Hospital, Jewish Family and Children’s Services, and Springwell – a non-profit organization utilized by the state of Massachusetts to implement Adult Protective Services policies.

They all argued that it would be more compassionate to pull the plug than allow her to live life under the current circumstances.

Lisa Belanger argued for Ms. Finnegan’s basic Constitutional right to life. She presented an affidavit from renowned medical expert Dr. Paul Byrne dated December 22, in which he stated that she did “not fulfill any set of ‘brain death’ criteria.”

Dr. Byrne laid out specific medical protocols that should have been taken already but hadn’t. He said that if they would initiate such treatment immediately, Beverley’s health should improve.

Belanger Dr Byrne recommendations

Since that time, Lisa Belanger engaged in a life and death struggle to get the hospital to do the basic medical treatments that could have saved Ms. Finnegan’s life. She sent numerous requests to the newly appointed Guardian ad Litem Joanne Moses and to the various attorneys involved, including the hospital’s attorney Gary Zalkin.

Her every attempt was rebuffed.

Counsel for Framington Union Hospital, Gary Zalkin. Photo source.

Even though Beverley’s sister and her attorney were clear that they wanted such measures being taken, Zalkin reportedly said that they would have wait until the new Guardian ad Litem approved of the tracheostomy and they were all able to go before the judge again for approval.
Lisa Belanger countered with:
To confirm, Judge Monks expressly stated that Metro West HAS AUTHORITY to perform emergency necessitated procedures–that such procedures do not require a court order.  Again, the emergency procedures are laid out by Dr. Byrne in his provided affidavits that you have received.
As already substantiated from the documentation I provided you, you and your client’s FAILURE TO ACT continues to be knowingly and deliberately causing overt harm to my client’s sister, Beverley Finnegan.
None of the life-saving procedures were initiated. On the day that Beverley’s sister could not be with her at the hospital due to the massive snowstorm, her health suddenly declined. By the time Janet Pidge and Lisa Belanger got word of her demise, all of the government offices to which they could have turned were closed due to the storm.

They were completely helpless to stop what they see as Ms. Finnegan’s needless death. Because of the guardianship, Beverley’s trusted loved one was powerless to intervene to save her life.
This woman who was functional, in full control of her mind, and able to walk and care for herself on her own just a few months ago is gone – another victim of guardianship.

David Arnold has written several articles on the dangers of guardianship. He told Health Impact News:
Guardianship is a form of slavery, but it is actually far worse than slavery. It needs to be abolished.
With guardianship, they want to rob them and kill them.

Conflicts of Interest: Psychotherapist, Jewish Family and Child Services All Complicit in Death

Even though the sisters lived in a large metropolitan area, the small group of players involved in their case have worked together in a number of similar guardianship cases, according to public records.

Jewish Family and Child Services seems to be a major player in the region. They played a significant role in the decisions leading to the rapid decline of Beverley Finnegan’s health.

Attorneys Gary Zalkin,  Lawrence K. Glick, and Wendy K. Crenshaw each appear on the dockets of many guardianship cases in various roles – alternately as counsel for the ward, counsel for the petitioner for guardianship, the petitioner, or guardian.

There are cases where the same attorney’s name shows up in the record in more than one role. In a case from 2016, Case #BR16P0649GD, Gary Zalkin is listed as the attorney for the ward, the petitioner on behalf of the facility wanting to place the ward under guardianship, and as the guardian himself. That is three conflicting roles – all represented by the same attorney.

Zalkin practiced for 14 years as a psychotherapist (Source) before attending law school. He has lectured and written on the practice of guardianship, and has apparently found his niche. According to his website:
Attorney Gary Zalkin wrote the chapter in the Mental Health volume of the Massachusetts Practice Series that explains the new guardianship and conservatorship laws. He has additionally pioneered the affirmation of health care proxies for mental health issues in Massachusetts. He has served as chair of the Riverside Community Care Human Rights Committee and as president of the Board of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill of Massachusetts, MetroWest affiliate.
In 2005 Attorney Zalkin was honored by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly as one of fifteen “rising stars – Massachusetts lawyers who have been members of the bar 10 years or less, but who have already distinguished themselves in some manner and appear poised for even greater things.”
Attorney Gary Zalkin received his B.A. in psychology from Brandeis University in 1989 and his M.S.W. from Simmons College School of Social Work in 1992.

Gary Zalkin is also “a member of the Harvard Medical School’s Program in Psychiatry and the Law.” (Source).

Cover-up of Medical Malpractice?

How is it that a person can lose every Constitutional and human right, including the rights to make personal and medical decisions, refuse medical treatment, live in her own home, be autonomous, and choose to live – based on a letter from a doctor not backed up with evidence?

Belanger Framington Hospital

Framington Union Hospital. Photo taken by an advocate, name withheld by request.

What really happened to Beverley Finnegan – both in the nursing home before her hospitalization and in the hospital during the snowstorm, during the time that her sister could not watch over her and try to protect her?

Is there a cover-up happening of medical malpractice?

What kind of benefit is there to those parties networked together? Why are there so many entities and individuals working to take away the basic human rights of senior citizens?

How can citizens protect themselves from the tyrannical overreach of people operating under the color of law to take all their worldly goods as well as their very liberty? Is anyone safe?

Beverley Finnegan’s voice has been silenced. Will her death go unnoticed, or will it mean something? Who will speak out for justice for her and for countless others whose lives are being stolen?

Full Article & Source:
Medical Murder? Massachusetts Woman Medically Kidnapped from Her Home Dies After Being Denied Medical Intervention

See Also:
UPDATE: Family Fights for the Life of Senior Medically Kidnapped from her Home and Forced onto Drugs

Stop Financial Crimes Against Older Americans

Bankers need to help monitor and curtail fraud and exploitation.

Brooke Astor, famous victim.
Photographer: Robin Platzer/Getty Images
In 2006, Philip Marshall had to make a critical decision: turn in his father for exploiting Philip’s grandmother, or do nothing. Philip's decision to act revealed to the world what remains perhaps the world's highest profile case of elder abuse. Ultimately, Anthony Marshall was convicted of defrauding his mother, the philanthropist Brooke Astor.

While the million-dollar sums involved in the Astor case were unusual, elder financial abuse unfortunately is not. Greater data sharing among financial institutions, along with specific safeguards against financial fraud, could root out this kind of exploitation of our most vulnerable citizens.

As Americans live longer, more and more will experience cognitive impairment great enough to put them at risk of financial abuse. Consider that by 2030, 20 percent of the population will be at least 65 years old. About 12 percent of people have mild cognitive impairment or dementia by the time they're 70 to 74, and among those 85 and older, 64 percent do.

People with MCI face two big risks from the people involved in their lives: financial exploitation and outright fraud. Exploitation includes cashing someone’s checks without permission, forging signatures, or improperly using the authority of conservatorship, guardianship or power of attorney. Fraud involves efforts to deceive someone with promises of goods, services or financial benefits that may not even exist. Estimates of the extent of such abuse in the U.S. vary widely — from $3 billion to $36 billion a year — but whatever the present total, the problem stands to grow unless steps are taken.

Banks and other financial institutions can help prevent financial crime against elders at all levels of wealth and income, starting by raising awareness of the problem within their own walls. They should encourage their customers to plan for potential diminished capacity by designating one or more trusted emergency contacts, securing a power of attorney for finances, and consulting a financial manager. Financial institutions can provide read-only access to deposit accounts to enable people's trusted contacts or financial managers to monitor activity and detect anything improper. Banks should also make a habit of reporting suspicious activity to the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. And they should help local adult protective services and law enforcement investigate and prosecute those responsible for wrongdoing.

Institutions may be understandably reluctant to put holds on suspicious electronic transfers and deposits, because they are legally bound to expedite those processes. What's more, federal and state privacy laws may discourage them from sharing with other institutions information about potentially suspicious activity.

Yet there is no real need for hesitation. When elder financial fraud or exploitation is suspected, banks and other institutions are free to share a customer’s personal information with federal, state and local investigators and still be compliant with privacy laws, according to guidelines issued by banking and securities regulators in 2013. Around that same time, a check box for elder financial exploitation was added to a federal financial crimes reporting system that links financial institutions with investigators. (The Philadelphia Fed recently established the Consumer Finance Institute, which will continue to investigate elder financial abuse.)

However, clarifying regulations are still needed to encourage and facilitate information sharing between the banks themselves. Lawmakers in Congress and state legislatures should give financial institutions specific permission to delay transactions and report suspicious activity to other institutions. They should also require that all instances of financial fraud and abuse be reported to a national database. This would help the federal government measure the extent and severity of elder financial abuse in the U.S. -- and thus strengthen the urgent nationwide effort to end it.

Full Article & Source: 
Stop Financial Crimes Against Older Americans

Court official denies request to split up couple accused of scamming elderly neighbor pending fraud case

Orlin Root-Thalman
A couple charged with scamming their elderly next-door neighbor out of her home and some of her $2 million won't have to split up while their case is pending, a court commissioner ruled Monday.

Orlin Root-Thalman, 37, and his husband Craig Root-Thalman, 29, made their initial court appearances Monday. Assistant District Attorney Kurt Benkley asked for no contact orders between the two men, and their victim, and that they each sign $15,000 personal recognizance bonds.

Benkley said he was concerned because Craig Root-Thalman has indicated a willingness to cooperate with the prosecution in the case and Orlin Root-Thalman has a history of domestic violence.

But Orlin Root-Thalman's attorney, Justin Singleton, told Court Commissioner Barry Phillips that his client's prior cases were 12 years ago, mostly involved texts and that he's known for weeks that Craig Root-Thalman gave a lengthy debriefing to investigators.

Phillips denied the order, noting that Craig Root-Thalman was not seeking any kind of protection from Orlin Root-Thalman, no one is citing specific threats and that the two continue to live together.

"I understand the concern, but it's inappropriate at this time," Phillips said. He did order that the couple to have no contact with their former next-door neighbor, who deeded her home to them when prosecutors say she was incompetent.

Phillips set the $15,000 personal recognizance bonds and gave each man until 3 p.m. Tuesday to appear at the jail to be booked and released.

A preliminary hearing was set for Jan. 22.

The victim, a retired Milwaukee Public Schools teacher, lived alone for years at her house on N. 77th St. in Milwaukee. Around 2012, the Root-Thalmans moved in next door. A cousin of the victim, a senior citizen himself, and his wife had been helping care for the woman, but as her dementia worsened, it became harder for them.

Around April 2016, the Root-Thalmans began helping the cousin care for the woman and her home. By July 2016, the Root-Thalmans had filed a quitclaim deed purporting to transfer the victim's house to them. Four days later, she signed a power of attorney document naming Orlin Root-Thalman as her financial agent. 

According to the complaint, the defendants knew their neighbor was mentally incompetent before they had her sign over her house and sign a financial power of attorney because "her dementia was obvious, chronic and longstanding."

The woman, now the subject of a guardianship, lives in an apartment with available 24-hour care.

Full Article & Source:
Court official denies request to split up couple accused of scamming elderly neighbor pending fraud case

See Also:
Couple charged with scamming home, cash from 92-year-old neighbor with dementia

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Nursing home operators' self-dealings criticized in national report

It's no secret that nursing homes outsource a wide variety of goods and services — often management, facilities maintenance, staffing and so forth — to companies in which they have a financial interest or even a controlling stake.

But a new, highly critical analysis finds that nearly three-quarters of U.S. nursing homes are involved in “related party transactions,” often funneling money to sister companies while claiming to be cash-strapped to worried employees and patients.

A Kaiser Health News review of federal inspection and quality records shows nursing homes that outsource to related organizations often have fewer nurses and aides per patient, higher patient injury rates and almost twice the number of complaints as independent facilities.

Behind the scenes, the related owners can create lucrative contracts with facilities for their services and record those higher profits away from  nursing home accounts, Kaiser reported.

“Almost every single one of these chains is doing the same thing,” said Charlene Harrington, a professor emeritus of the School of Nursing at the University of California-San Francisco. “They're just pulling money away from staffing.”

In 2015, nursing homes paid related companies 10% of their spending, according to Medicare disclosures reviewed by Kaiser. Companies argue that related transactions create efficiencies and cut tax burdens, and they are perfectly legal.

One chain whose partnerships were examined in court after a pressure-ulcer related lawsuit revealed its owners turned a 28% profit over eight years — while nurses at the buildings they owned testified about chronic supply shortages.

A financial consultant told Kaiser that typical nursing home profits are “in the 3 to 4 percent range.”

Now, Kaiser reported, the larger margins enjoyed by related companies are being scrutinized by lawyers, unions representing healthcare workers and even California's state auditors.

Full Article & Source:
Nursing home operators' self-dealings criticized in national report

State employee work teams honored with Governor’s Award for Quality and Productivity, recognized for improving state government operations

State employee work teams honored with Governor’s Award for Quality and Productivity, recognized for improving state government operations
JEFFERSON CITY, MO/December 13, 2017 (STL.News) – The Office of Administration recognized two state employee work teams with the 2017 Governor’s Award for Quality and Productivity (GAQP), which acknowledges accomplishments that serve as an example of continuous improvement, quality, efficiency and productivity in Missouri state government.

“We work for the people of Missouri, and these public servants have done an outstanding job,” said Governor Eric R. Greitens. “They are saving families as flood waters rise, building bridges, bringing jobs to Missouri, and educating our children. I am proud to be a member of this team.”

All winning nominations were required to meet criteria related to effectiveness, responsiveness and efficiency that would serve as a model of excellence for other work teams in state government. This year’s GAQP recipients include:

Customer Service

Signs of Safety Team: Department of Social Service for implementing new practices and processes to enhance the safety and well-being of Missouri children. The agency’s transformative practice uses a Signs of Safety model based on solution-focused casework that includes a clear identification of child safety risks, safety goals, the engagement of safety networks, and continuous reassessment with the use of critical thinking. The approach offers a range of tools for assessment and planning, extensive training, performance coaching, and technical support for frontline child welfare practitioners to support conversations with families about past harm, potential abuse or neglect, current safety risks, and behaviorally specific goals related to child safety. This approach has led to families being better connected to meaningful resources that can help them, and complements the efforts of the agency’s Children’s Division to safely reduce the need for foster care.

Efficiency/Process Improvement

Special Investigations Team: Department of Health and Senior Services for creating a new way to aid in the protection of vulnerable adults who are elderly or disabled from abuse, neglect and exploitation. The agency determined that as more adults became victims of abuse, neglect and exploitation by paid caregivers, it was increasingly important to hold the perpetrators accountable for their actions. This critical task was championed by a team of adult protective services workers, already responsible for ensuring the health, safety and welfare of vulnerable adults. Their goal was to improve the quality and efficiency of investigations related to allegations against paid caregivers by reducing redundant, unnecessary tasks; to build relationships with providers; to improve relationships with sister state agencies; and to ensure offending caregivers were adequatey identified to prevent further violations. During the first fiscal year of this new process, 99.5 percent of investigations were deemed legally sufficient to act upon. Further, relationships with providers, law enforcement, and other state agencies improved. Additionally, the investigations identified an estimated $1 million dollars’ worth of fraudulent Medicaid claims the state is eligible to recover.

For a complete description of each award or to learn more about the Governor’s Award for Quality and Productivity, visit Since 1988, this prestigious award program has recognized service excellence, encouraged and rewarded innovation, and reinforced pride in service to Missouri state government. The GAQP program is administered by the Missouri Division of Personnel’s Center for Management and Professional Development.

Full Article & Source:
State employee work teams honored with Governor’s Award for Quality and Productivity, recognized for improving state government operations

Henry County PD’s identity fraud seminar a success

Detectives Melinda Gleason and Shamesa Hunter leading seminar
McDONOUGH — The Henry County Police Department held a seminar last week to educate Henry citizens on how to protect themselves from identity fraud, scams and financial exploitation.

The seminar was led by the Financial Crimes Unit of the department’s Criminal Investigation Division and hosted by Detectives Melinda Gleason and Shamesa Hunter.

“This seminar informed citizens of Henry County how to prevent themselves and their families from becoming victims of identity fraud, awareness of various scams, and elderly financial exploitation information,” Gleason said in a press release. “The seminar was well received by those in attendance.”

Guest speakers included David Blake, forensic specialist with the Georgia Department of Human Resources in the Division of Aging Services, Crystal McPherson, manager of community relations for the Henry County Better Business Bureau, and U.S. Postal Inspector Clifton Bell.

“The Henry County Police Department Financial Crimes Unit plans on offering this seminar again in 2018,” Gleason said.

Full Article & Source: 
Henry County PD’s identity fraud seminar a success

Monday, January 8, 2018

Tonight on T. S. Radio with Marti Oakley: Abolishing Probate #11: Families Abused by a Corrupt System

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

Open Mic Night!  Join Marti Oakley, Luanne Fleming, Robin Austin……and whoever else wants to join in!!

Join us this evening as we discuss the growing genocide of the elderly and the disabled. We will also be discussing the use of electric shock not only on the elderly, but also on children and young adults with autism.

Hospitals now employ on-staff guardians to prevent second opinions or to discharge patients when the medicare/medicaid time clock is exhausted. doctors now employed directly by the hospital (hospitalists). These hospitalists are not concerned with patient safety or care. Their primary job is to increase hospital profits.

Children are particularly vulnerable to this system. Valuable for genetic research, they are also the guinea pigs for medical research and experimentation.

The elderly are simply viewed as disposable and something that needs to be gotten out of the way.

LISTEN LIVE or listen to the archive later

The Invisibility of Being Old, Disabled or Both

An 82-year-old woman with post-polio syndrome feels erased from society


When you’re an older person in a wheelchair or walking with a cane, people treat you differently. Sure, some might be quicker to open doors for you, but most of the behavioral reactions aren’t positive ones. The combination of being old and disabled causes what many refer to as “invisibility.”

Frank Bruni, an op-ed columnist for The New York Times, explored this idea in a recent column through the lens of 82-year-old Nancy Root, a woman with post-polio syndrome Bruni met while giving a lecture on a cruise. Root taught Bruni how it felt to be seen as invisible because of her age and perceived ability.

“People looked over her, around her, through her. They withdrew,” Bruni wrote.

An Intersection of -Isms

The concept of invisible older people — specifically older women — is not new. Novelist and screenwriter Ayelet Waldman discussed with us the invisibility of turning 50 as a woman.

“I had no idea that as soon as I got to his age, to be a 50-year-old woman, the sexism gets completely complicated by this idea that not only are you incompetent as a woman, but you’re incompetent because you’ve reached your senescence! Or something,” Waldman told Next Avenue. “I really do feel like they don’t even see you.”

The intersection of ageism and sexism provides a uniquely taxing form of oppression. Add a layer of ableism to that and you start to see exactly what Root describes experiencing.

Edited Out

Root had polio as a 2-year-old in the late 1930s; now, post-polio syndrome — which many childhood survivors of the disease develop — degrades her muscles, forcing her to use a cane and a wheelchair. As she’s aged and the condition has worsened, Root has noticed that people no longer look at her the same. Instead, she’s erased.

“Doctors’ offices are the worst,” she told Bruni, recalling how people won’t address her directly, but rather speak to whoever is pushing her wheelchair. “I’m not acknowledged. ‘Does this lady have an appointment?’ ‘Does this lady have her medical card?’ They don’t allow this lady to have a brain.”

And it’s not just at doctors’ offices. This extends to nearly every situation — movie theaters, flights, grocery stores, you name it.

“They make dismissive assumptions about people above a certain age or below a certain level of physical competence,” Bruni’s column said. “Or they simply edit those people out of the frame.”

Root told Bruni she thinks strangers worry that she’ll need something from them, or perhaps they see their fears about being older manifested in her and can’t bear to face them.

Regardless of the root cause of how we see older, disabled people as “other” or less than, Root’s experience is the reality for countless older, disabled adults.

Harkening back to 2016 Influencer in Aging E. Percil Stanford’s story advocating for the humanization and value of older people, we as a society must do “everything possible to embrace the inclusion of older people in every aspect of life.”

Only then will people like Nancy Root start to see change.

Full Article & Source:
The Invisibility of Being Old, Disabled or Both

Wisconsin Attorney General announces campaign addressing elder abuse

Attorney General Brad Schimel
MADISON, Wis. - Attorney General Brad Schimel announced today a public awareness campaign around elder abuse. The campaign will provide a way of reporting abuse against seniors at senior care and Medicaid-funded facilities.

Schimel announced this campaign at the second meeting of the Attorney General's Task Force on Elder Abuse. It will be run by the Department of Justice.

The campaign will try to give people an avenue for reporting elder abuse by creating a hotline. It will also try to inform people about what elder abuse is through a series of public service announcements running on the radio and broadcast stations.

The Attorney General's Task Force also discussed dementia as it relates to the criminal justice system, AARP fraud prevention and financial exploitation at the meeting. The task force is trying to gather information and resources related to elder abuse, and decrease barriers to investigating elder abuse. Schimel said that one in nine seniors have reported elder abuse in the last year.

The Medicaid Fraud and Elder Abuse Hotline can be reached at 1-800-488-3780. 

Full Article & Source:
Wisconsin Attorney General announces campaign addressing elder abuse

Woman arrested in Arizona returned to Union County to face charge of exploiting elderly man

Mary Frances Lewis Watkins
UNION, SC (FOX Carolina) - Union County deputies said an Arizona woman accused of stealing from an elderly man while serving as his caretaker is now behind bars in Union County.

Deputies said they began investigating in September 2017 after the 78-year-old victim’s grandson filed a report, claiming Mary Frances Lewis Watkins had fraudulently used the victim’s banking accounts and defrauded him in other ways.

The fraudulent activity occurred while Watkins was caring for the victim at his home in Buffalo.

Deputies said the complainant had bank statements and other documentations to back up the claims.

Watkins was arrested in Maricopa, AZ and was booked into the Union County jail early Friday morning.

She was charged with exploitation of a vulnerable adult.

Full Article & Source:
Woman arrested in Arizona returned to Union County to face charge of exploiting elderly man