internet is the new frontier in marketing. Companies have learned how
to use the system to effectively and efficiently market to their desired
consumer group. Some companies have also learned how to abuse this
system. Many companies have resorted to paying a “referral fee” to
people or websites that will promote their products many times without directly acknowledging that they are being paid to do so. This unethical practice is largely unknown to
consumers who are turning to these reviewers for advice on what to
buy. Among the industries being affected by this practice is the home
health care industry. Websites dedicated to finding home health
resources in your area are paid by home health agencies like caregiving
agencies and assisted living facilities to refer people that contact the
website. This article will be focusing on Caring.com and
Aplaceformom.com but be aware that any free locator service that
operates entirely on money from home health care agencies might have a
positions itself as a platform of neutral information for consumers to
find the correct service for them or their loved ones. Caring.com, had
this to say about its role, Caring.com is the
leading online destination for those seeking information and support as
they care for aging parents, spouses, and other loved ones.
Except that it is far from a neutral platform. They accept referral
fees from agencies that receive patients from them. How neutral can
they be if they are taking money from the companies they are supposed to
be judging? This is made even worse because of the nature of their
business. They aren’t physicians, but they do provide advice that leads
consumers to choose medical care. This advice is not based entirely on
a consumer’s need but, at least partially, on the money they receive
from referring these patients. How many people using Caring.com have
been referred to a subpar service or agency because of the referral fee
this agency or service is paying?
Aplaceformom.com is not any better. They claim, A Place for Mom (APFM)
is dedicated to being a comprehensive senior living resource. We aspire
to be leaders in the senior care industry, providing valuable
information, resources, and best-in-class customer service to families
They position themselves as a repository of seemingly neutral
information about senior living. They also accept referral fees from
the agencies that they recommend. That’s how they keep everything free
for the average website user.
The danger in these websites is that what they are presenting and
what they are offering are two different things. They present a neutral
trove of information related to home health agencies. They offer
biased recommendations based on the referral fees that they receive.
Laws have been put in place to stop physicians from referring patients
to services that they have a financial stake in. These locator websites
are trying to position themselves as neutral experts on home health
care. People go to them for advice on where to seek medical care same
as a physician. But, because they are not actually physicians they can
get away with referring their customers to businesses that they are in
active financial relationships with.
At Caring.com if you click on “How We Make Money” you can find the following information,
Some of these providers pay us a referral fee when a family hires
them or moves into their community, in states that allow such payments.
Others pay us if we send them your name and contact information,
regardless of whether you start care. Still others pay an annual
subscription fee to get enhanced features on their directory listing,
such as additional photos or an option for people to schedule tours.
The “How We Make Money” tab is located at the very bottom of the page in relatively small print.
Another common theme at Caring.com and Aplaceformom.com is that their executive team is made up entirely of marketing executives and business operations executives.
These are for profit websites that are being run by individuals that
have zero real experience on anything medically related. These websites
claim to be a great source of information on senior living but they
don’t have anyone on their management team that has any professional
experience with real senior living issues. They lack the knowledge base
to make any real recommendations. Despite this, they are making
recommendations. These recommendations are based on referral fees that
they are receiving.
These “locator” sites are also notorious for scrubbing bad reviews of paying agencies off their sites. Pat B. on Sitejabber.com had this to say about Caring.com, “Caring.com won't post bad reviews.”:
My 88 year old father got kicked out of his assisted living arrangement
with no notice just as he was about to get out of rehab and go back.
When we went to move his stuff out two days later, we found that we were
already locked out of his apartment. These people are criminals and
caring.com wouldn't post my review of them. This is something that
people need to know. Caring.com said that they could get sued for
defamation if they posted my review. Why even ask for reviews if they
are afraid to post them? Shame on Merrill Gardens in Madison, Alabama
for doing that to seniors, and shame on Caring.com for not presenting
the truth when people submit it.
Many online reviewers have also mentioned the aggressive tactics that
Aplaceformom.com and Caring.com pursue when going after potential
clients. None O. on Sitejabber.com had this to say about Aplaceformom.com, “Harassment - Don't Give Your Real Phone Number!”:
I went online to look at the available and locations of assisted living
near my father. I was required to enter my email and phone number to
access the results. Literally seconds after I clicked, I got a call from
A Place for Mom. Then two more calls a few minutes apart. Then another
call 30minutes after the 3 call. I had to block the calls in my
Caller ID. What kind of scam is this. I wonder if Joan Lunden, a trusted
news person who serves as a spokesperson for these scammers is aware of
Caring.com has an average score of 1.7 on SiteJabber and Aplaceformom
has an average score of 1.9. Almost all the reviews for both sites are
in the one star or five star category which means that their service is
extremely polarizing. These sites only care about the profit and they
are willing to engage in unethical business practices to obtain it.
I am writing this article to inform readers that the services these
locator websites offer are not what they seem. If you are going to use a
website to find a home health care agency you need to find out how that
website makes its money. If it offers a “free” service and is run by a
people with non-medical backgrounds then there is a very good chance
that the site is accepting referral fees from agencies in exchange for
customers. This is not a new problem in the industry. Aplaceformom.com
has been hounded for years about their unethical referral system.
Here are exposes written by several journalists about Aplaceformom.com.
Choices in Senior Care
prides itself in never engaging in any kickback or referral fee setup
with any home health care agency or assisted living facility. We have
never accepted payment of any kind from any agency or facility that we
refer clients to.
Our Care Managers are seasoned nurses that know their way around the
various health care options you may need to consider. They always base
their recommendations on the actual performance of the facility and
never accept referral fees or any payments from their recommendations.
FE, N.M. -- A bill being proposed at the Roundhouse aims to protect the
state's citizens placed under court-ordered guardianship.
Senate Bill 19
completely re-writes New Mexico's current guardianship law. It’s a long
and complex bill coming in at 165 pages. State Sen. Jim White,
R-Albuquerque, said the state currently has a guardianship law in
place, However, it needs to be improved.
"It hasn't worked real well," he said. "Although reports have been
required and guardianships have got responsibilities, those folks have
abused the process. They’ve found a way to make the situation ugly,
taken some of the money that doesn’t belong to them and we’re trying to
straighten that all out."
For example, the feds closed Albuquerque-based guardian firm
Ayudando last year after its owners were charged with embezzling
millions of dollars from their clients' trust accounts.
“The bill corrects a lot of the problems we’ve had," White said.
The bill essentially makes the court-appointed guardianship process
more transparent by improving notification of guardianship court
proceedings and making the records public. It also improves visitation
rights and includes bonding requirements for guardianship agencies.
"So if there's a loss of funds the bonding agency will have to make up for that," White said.
If passed the bill would apply to new guardianship cases starting in January 2019.
"There are two parts to the guardianship system," White said. "First
is to take care of the individual to make sure they’re taken care of
physically they’ve got places to live and they’re taken care of
properly. But it’s also the finances part of it, so you might say it’s a
two-pronged approach to make sure both of these things are taken care
Despite this short 30-day session, White said he's optimistic the bill can make it to the Gov. Susana Martinez's desk.
Judge Diane Vettori-Caraballo walked into a federal courtroom and said hello and then told 21 News "I did not do this."
is charged in a federal criminal information and accused of stealing
cash from two shoeboxes from a dead client's home.
The FBI says the crime happened in early 2016 and Vettori-Caraballo allegedly stole between $96,200 and $328,000.
It's money the deceased woman intended for the charities Angels for Animals and Animal Charity.
who has reigned over the Sebring Court since 2002 was arraigned on the
criminal charges today in Cleveland, and when Federal Judge Dan Aaron
Polster asked her, "How does she plead?" There was a long pause. Then
after consulting with her attorneys in a surprise move Vettori-Caraballo
said not guilty.
But Assistant U.S. Attorney Dan McDonough told
the judge, "The government had anticipated a guilty plea today. So
they'll be filing a superceding indictment with additional charges."
More charges Vettori-Caraballo will have to defend herself against at trial, now scheduled for March 26th.
The judge has told Vettori-Caraballo she has until March 5th if she decides she wants to change he plea.
She will be held on a $20,000 unsecured bond.
The Ohio Supreme Court has suspended her from hearing cases on the bench.
But the Judge has not resigned.
Vettori-Caraballo's attorneys J. Gerald Ingram and John Juhasz did not wish to comment on a pending case.
A Florida woman was sentenced to prison for bilking an
elderly Martha's Vineyard woman out of $3.5 million for "repeated
BOSTON, MA — A Florida woman who claimed to be a psychic was
sentenced to two years in prison on Wednesday after bilking an elderly
Martha's Vineyard woman out of $3.5 million for repeated exorcisms.
Sally Ann Johnson, 41, also agreed to repay the victim, according to
U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling.
Johnson conducted the scheme from from 2007 to 2014, prosecutors said.
was paid over $3.5 million by an elderly woman living on Martha's
Vineyard to purportedly perform spiritual cleansing and healing services
to rid the woman of demons through repeated exorcisms," Lelling said in
Johnson admitted to concealing the money from
the Internal Revenue Service. In October, she pleaded guilty in federal
court in Boston to interfering with tax laws.
"Johnson used an
alias and directed the woman to send payments to at least three
different bank accounts with which Johnson was associated, including an
account in another person's name," then-U.S. Attorney William Weinreb
said in a statement in October. "Johnson then withdrew large portions of
the woman's payments from the accounts in cash. In addition, Johnson
accrued substantial charges on a credit card held in the name of the
elderly woman, who ultimately paid the credit card bills, thereby
concealing from the IRS the true extent of Johnson's income. Neither
Johnson nor any of the businesses she operated filed a tax return or
paid taxes on the income she received from the woman."
Johnson owned several businesses, including "Flatiron Psychic," "Psychic
Match, Inc." and "Psychic Spiritual Salon, Inc." She offered "psychic
readings," "spiritual cleansing & strengthening," and "meditation
& healing. She had several aliases, including Angela Johnson,
Angelia Johnson and Sally Reed, prosecutors said.
BOWLING GREEN — A former lawyer who stole more than $400,000 from a client took a gamble and lost, a judge said Wednesday.
Robert Searfoss III, 40, of Perrysburg was sentenced by Wood County
Common Pleas Judge Alan Mayberry to 20 years in prison and ordered to
pay $400,718 in restitution to the victim, Eric Walker.
“I think the defendant gambled and lost in this case,” Judge Mayberry
said. “Not only did he lose, but he took down his family with him, took
down his parents with him, took down his in-laws with him, and
certainly, terribly, tragically took down the Walker family with him.”
Although Searfoss had no prior criminal history, the judge noted he had not repaid a penny of restitution.
“For someone that's held to a higher standard, that's engaged in the
practice of law, and that's sworn an oath to uphold the laws of the
state of Ohio, it's beyond the pale that someone would be in a position
of trust as a trustee, entrusted with someone's life finances in their
hands, and would instead use it to their own advantage,” Judge Mayberry
Prosecutors said Searfoss was in serious personal financial straits
when he dipped into Mr. Walker's trust to buy a house and pay off debt,
including back taxes, child support, and a home-equity loan.
A jury found him guilty Nov. 29 of two counts of aggravated theft,
four counts of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, four counts of
money laundering, three counts of theft, and one count of grand theft.
In addition to restitution, Judge Mayberry ordered Searfoss to
forfeit his interest in a Shawnee Drive home in Perrysburg, a Georgetown
Drive property in Bowling Green, a 2013 Dodge Dart, and the Bowling
Green firm where he once worked, Searfoss Law, LLC.
Shackled and wearing orange jail garb, Searfoss apologized to Mr.
Walker and his family, saying that he considered Mr. Walker a friend and
knows that he violated his trust.
“I'm just ashamed of what I did,” Searfoss said. “I'm usually a very
intelligent person, also very stupid. I got lost somewhere along the
way. I had all these elaborate rationalizations in my mind. I mean, all
the way through the trial, I just couldn't see things clearly.”
He said he didn't own up to what he'd done until the morning after the jury found him guilty.
“I was an attorney in the community, and I did no service to the
public opinion of attorneys and their trust in it,” he said. “I've done a
lot of good in my life, and I've done a lot of bad here.”
Thomas Matuszak, chief assistant county prosecutor, asked for a
20-year sentence, saying repeatedly that Searfoss was figuratively
playing poker — gambling with Mr. Walker's money and with his own
“The defendant now understands that the poker hand he played was a
loser, and at the end of the day he went all-in and he took everything
from Mr. Walker in the process,” Mr. Matuszak said. “As a result, he
should be punished accordingly, not only to punish him but to deter
others who might conceive of committing similar offenses.”
Mr. Matuszak read a letter from Mr. Walker to the court, in which the
victim said the trust his grandmother had set up for him “should have
been there for the rest of my life to pass on to my children after my
death. I put my trust in someone that I would have never thought would
do me wrong.”
Mr. Walker said that if Searfoss had begun paying the restitution, he would have asked for leniency, but that was not the case.
Defense attorney Rick Kerger pointed out that prior to trial,
prosecutors offered Searfoss a plea agreement with a recommended
sentence of three years. He asked for a sentence “as short as possible”
for an otherwise law-abiding man.
Mr. Kerger said afterward that Searfoss was considering whether to appeal his 20-year sentence.
“It seems excessive for a first-time offender,” he said. “He's given
up his law license. He's lost all his assets. The court is stressing the
importance of making restitution and then sentences him to 20 years.”
LITCHFIELD PARK, Ariz. — Nancy Root remembers when she vanished.
the exact date, but the occasion: She went shopping for a mattress.
This was a few years ago. Because the mall was so big and her legs were
so weak, she used a wheelchair, which was new to her, and had a friend
wait for service was unusually long, and later, as she used the
wheelchair more and more, she understood why. In the chair she became
invisible. In the chair she turned radioactive. People looked over her,
around her, through her. They withdrew. It was the craziest thing. She
had the same keen mind, the same quick wit. But most new acquaintances
didn’t notice, because most no longer bothered to.
told me all of this recently not in anger but in bafflement. Could I
explain why her infirmity and her age — she’s 82 — erase her? She has
her own theories. Maybe strangers worry that she’ll need something from
them. Maybe they see in her their worst fears about their own futures.
they extrapolate from her physical diminishment. “They think I’m
mentally incapacitated,” she said. “I’m sure of that. I’d stake my life
offices are the worst,” she added, describing how receptionists address
whoever’s pushing her. “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.”
it’s not just receptionists. It’s flight attendants. Movie-theater
employees. They make dismissive assumptions about people above a certain
age or below a certain level of physical competence. Or they simply
edit those people out of the frame.
met Nancy on a Baltic cruise in September, and I couldn’t edit her out
of the frame because she was smack in the middle of it, right in front
of me, asking smart questions and making even smarter observations. I
was one of five speakers giving lectures to a group of about 60
passengers, including her, who’d signed up for them. She traveled with
two younger friends who helped her negotiate the ship’s narrow
after chatting extensively with the three of them at an initial
cocktail-hour reception in one of the lounges, I didn’t spot them at our
group’s subsequent social gatherings there. An email that she sent me
the following month solved that mystery. “On our cruise,” she wrote, “I again experienced
the uneasiness of people toward us ‘physically challenged’ types. Even
among our educated group, people ignored me.” So she parceled out her
exposure to them. She and her companions did their own thing.
The more I thought about her experience, the more I realized how widespread it undoubtedly is, and how cruel.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate
that more than two million Americans use wheelchairs for their daily
activities and 6.5 million depend on canes, crutches or walkers.
the country is getting grayer and grayer. There are roughly 50 million
Americans age 65 and older, representing about 15 percent of the
population. According to projections, there will be 98 million by 2060, representing nearly 25 percent.
infirmity is unusual and goes back to when she was a 2-year-old in the
Pittsburgh area in the late 1930s. She had polio, though her parents,
knowing how ostracized children with the virus could be, kept that a
destroyed all the evidence,” she said, “and they never told me.” Only
many decades after the fact did she figure out the truth, and only in
recent years did post-polio syndrome — a condition that afflicts many
childhood survivors of the disease — degrade her muscles to a point
where she was forced to use a cane, then a wheelchair.
health was good for most of her life, as she attended Oberlin College,
married, had a daughter and went to work for the National Science
Foundation and then the Department of Agriculture, where she was an
analyst. Her career, she said, made her as conspicuous in her suburban
Washington neighborhood as she is invisible in other settings now. “It
was frowned upon,” she told me, noting that most of the other mothers
back then stayed home. “But I loved it.”
and her husband retired to the Phoenix suburb of Litchfield Park, where
she now lives alone in their three-bedroom apartment. About five years
ago, he felt a twinge on the treadmill and was found to have pancreatic
cancer. Three months later, he was dead.
sped her decline. Her arms grew feebler, her legs wobblier. Her pain
intensified. Vanity be damned, she wore one of those pendants to be
pressed if she fell. But she once forgot to put it on, tripped and lay
on the living-room floor from 9 p.m. to 8 a.m., when a housekeeper
happened to arrive. She recounted the episode to me in a tone of wonder
at life’s freaky occurrences and at our ability to get through them.
There wasn’t a scintilla of self-pity in her voice.
considers herself lucky because her daughter is nearby. She has all the
money that she needs. “I have my mind,” she said, “and I see where
others are losing theirs.” She reads for many hours every day.
were a big topic for us when I visited her a few weeks ago. It
frustrates her that she has never finished “Ulysses” or “Finnegans
Wake.” We talked about politics, too. About Singapore, where she
traveled — with a wheelchair and helpers — about two years ago. About
her job with the Agriculture Department and how ethical and
underappreciated she always found farmers to be.
nights in a row we went out for Italian food, and she insisted on using
her cane instead of her chair. She can do that if she takes a Percocet
just beforehand and reconciles herself to a snail’s pace. Toward the end
of the second night, after two glasses of wine apiece, we mulled the
vocabulary of her lot. I confessed that I cringed whenever she called
herself “crippled,” which she does, because she values directness and
has a streak of mischief in her.
“Well, ‘handicapped’ isn’t supposed to be O.K., and I’m not going to call myself ‘differently abled,’ ” she said. “You’re a writer. Give me a word.”
“What about ‘limited’?” I said. “We’re all limited in ways. You’re limited in a particular way.”
noticed that our server would stand closer to me than to Nancy and was
more voluble with me, even though she could see, if she looked, how
vibrant Nancy was.
increasingly makes peace with such neglect but told me that an elderly,
infirm friend of hers has another approach. “She tells people to go to
hell,” Nancy said. “I need to take a course from her.”
I don’t know about that. But the rest of us have a lot to learn.
Billie Mintz is a social documentary maker who first contacted NASGA years ago, after one of our Members had told him the horrible story of what happened to his Mother, a victim in New York State.
Billie was haunted by that story and a few years later when the spotlight was all over Las Vegas, Billie decided to concentrate on those cases in a film which he finished last year. "The Guardians" will soon premier on The Documentary Channel.
A Berkeley County nurse practitioner faces a slew of charges in
Georgia for her alleged role in a Medicaid fraud scheme that authorities
described as "an organized web of abuse" of elderly and disabled
Cynthia Riley, 51, is charged in a 17-count indictment
announced Tuesday by the Georgia Attorney General's Office. She was
arrested Thursday and remained in the Berkeley County jail as of Tuesday
night. Address records indicate she lives in Moncks Corner.
and two co-defendants — Michelle Oliver, 39, and Harold Hunt, 56 — are
charged with racketeering, neglect of a disabled adult or elderly
person, and exploitation.
Riley had worked at the Berkeley Community Mental Health Center on a
contractual basis from October 2016 until her arrest Thursday, according
to Tracy LaPointe, spokeswoman for the S.C. Department of Mental
Health. LaPointe said DMH ran a licensing and background check before
contracting with Riley, who does not have a prior criminal history in
Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr said Riley
allegedly gave psychotropic medications and other prescriptions to
patients transported to her by Oliver, who is accused of running an
unlicensed personal care home called Miracle One Care Center in Albany,
"The residents reported they did not receive any other psychological or medical care," a news release from Carr's office said.
have also accused Riley of providing Oliver and Hunt with medical forms
to sign the care center's residents up for government benefits. Oliver
and Hunt allegedly pocketed the funds.
Carr said Hunt acted as
the social security payee, in which he helped residents obtain Social
Security benefits but sent the money to Oliver and kept some for
Authorities launched a multi-agency investigation into
the trio after residents reported that people living in Oliver's
apartments were "begging for food."
BISMARCK, N.D. – Authorities have
dropped a second charge against a Bismarck woman accused of abusing and
exploiting her elderly mother during protests against the Dakota Access
oil pipeline in North Dakota.
Authorities last week dismissed a charge of felony
exploitation of a vulnerable adult against Kathleen Bennett, saying the
case had become too difficult to prove, The Bismarck Tribune reported . A
defense attorney said Bennett's mother died a few months ago.
Bennett, 59, was accused of leaving her 82-year-old
mother with dementia tied to a chair in a protest camp in North Dakota
while she attended demonstrations in December 2016. Protesters were
trying to block construction of the oil pipeline, which is operated by
Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners.
Bennett's mother was taken to a hospital during a blizzard. Hospital staff said she was frail and malnourished.
The exploitation charge resulted from Bennett allegedly
using $1,200 of her mother's money without consent to rent hotel rooms,
buy meals and pay legal fees while her mother was hospitalized.
Bennett had also been charged in Morton County with
endangering a vulnerable adult, but the defense and prosecution agreed
in November to dismiss that case with $2,050 in fines forfeited from
"The victim is deceased and the case became difficult
to prove once the Morton County companion case was dismissed," Burleigh
County Assistant State's Attorney Marina Spahr said in court documents.
It's not clear when her mother, Mary Trujillo, died.
She had been living with family in Nevada. Defense attorney William
Kirschner said Trujillo's death happened a few months ago, but he did
not have an exact date.
Elder abuse is an injustice with practical solutions. Check out this
video and our websites, ncea.acl.gov and eldermistreatment.usc.edu to
learn more about what we all can do to prevent and address abuse as we
This video was completed for the National Center on Elder Abuse situated
at Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California by
the FrameWorks Institute and is supported in part by a grant (No.
90ABRC000101-02) from the Administration for Community Living, U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Grantees carrying out
projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely
their findings and conclusions. Therefore, points of view or opinions do
not necessarily represent official ACL or DHHS policy.
After her husband died, Jo Hopper spent eight years fighting the bank
administering the estate. She won a record-setting judgment. But will
JPMorgan Chase ever pay up?
Jo Hopper is sitting in her lawyer’s office in North Dallas, slowly,
calmly telling the story of how she believes the nation’s largest bank
tried to take away her home and her possessions, and destroy the
relationship she had with her stepchildren. Her saga began eight years
ago this month at Medical City Dallas. There, on January 25, 2010, Max
Hopper, who had been a titan of early corporate information technology, a
genius who had led the development of American Airlines’ AAdvantage
program and its SABRE reservation system, died. Max had been in good
health but suffered a stroke the day before. He was 75.
“I remember at the hospital,” Jo says, “I kept saying to the doctor,
‘What else are you going to do? You do not understand. This is Max
Hopper. He cannot die.’ I would not accept it. Even today, it is hard to
Jo was 62 when the man she’d been married to for 28 years died. She
has spent much of the ensuing eight years locked in a legal battle over
$19 million in assets she and Max jointly owned. Her opponent:
Manhattan-based JPMorgan Chase, the largest bank in the country, with
$2.6 trillion in assets under management. Jo and her stepchildren hired
the bank to administer Max’s estate in 2010, after Max died without a
will, leaving his assets in financial limbo. But soon after JPMorgan had
collected its $230,000 fee for the estate administration, something
went horribly wrong between the bank and the beneficiaries. Lawsuits
ensued. Jo sued the bank. The bank sued Jo. Jo sued her stepchildren.
The stepchildren sued Jo. The stepchildren sued the bank. And so on.
In September of last year, a jury finally heard the case. It ruled in
favor of the family with a historic and headline-grabbing $8 billion
award against JPMorgan. That was the largest punitive award ever in
Texas. The jury’s ruling was so abnormally large that attorneys
representing the plaintiffs weren’t even sure how to calculate it—the
initial guess of $4 billion eventually gave way to the higher $8 billion
Jo has claimed in her court filings to be a widow wronged by the
bank, but she is no frail, little old lady. In 2007, she was diagnosed
with stage 4 lymphoma and given six months to live. She has been in
remission for almost eight years and today stands steady at 5 feet 4
inches. On the day we meet, she’s wearing a flowing white top and black
pants. Silver bracelets adorn her wrists. Her gray hair is pulled back
tightly into a bun. Her attorney, Alan Loewinsohn, is here sitting
beside her. But Jo leads the conversation.
As she weaves this narrative of endless court fights, Jo hands over
pages of documents. There’s a pamphlet produced by JPMorgan called “The
Well-Prepared Family” that explains how to choose an executor. She has
highlighted the part that says an executor “is legally responsible for
preserving the value of the estate until it is distributed” and another
passage that says, “An executor is obligated to act in the best interest
of the estate’s beneficiaries.”
Next comes a printout of a job listing at JPMorgan in Dallas. They’re
hiring someone in asset management to oversee trusts and estates. “I’m
looking for a job,” Jo says. Her attorney laughs. “No, really,” says the
Nashville native, née Jo McClendon.
Finally, she hands me a paper written by a professor at Ohio State
University called “The Stepmother’s Role in a Blended Family.” Jo has
highlighted a paragraph noting that “there have been more than 900
stories written about evil or wicked stepmothers.” Cinderella and Snow
White are just two among them.
The family feud between Jo Hopper and her stepchildren—61-year-old
Oklahoma City physician Stephen Hopper and Laura Hopper Wassmer, the
55-year-old mayor of Prairie Village, Kansas—is a big part of this
story. But Jo’s version is different from the bank’s. The bank has based
its legal defense on the toxic relationship between Jo and Max’s
children. It claims the family would have had no complaints about its
services had the three of them just found a way to get along. The three
heirs, in turn, allege the bank botched Max’s estate—committing fraud
and possibly a felony in the process, as well as driving a wedge between
stepmother and stepchildren.
Fraud. Felony. How did a jury come to believe that a bank that has
been part of the bedrock of the American financial system since 1871
might have done such things to a widow and her stepchildren? And what
made that jury so angry—or so concerned that what happened to the
Hoppers could happen to any of us—that it insisted on making an
unprecedented statement with its verdict? To be sure, Jo Hopper’s story
is a good one. But good enough to deserve $8 billion?
JPMorgan would never have been hired to manage Max Hopper’s estate, if Jo had her way. She would have done it herself.
All four wills that Max drafted before his death, but never signed,
said Jo should serve that role. She’d handled the family finances for
decades, and, like her husband, she’d worked as an executive at American
Airlines, once managing a staff of five systems analysts, a personal
assistant, and a multimillion-dollar budget.
Plus, the law, Jo figured, was easy to understand. When someone dies
“intestate,” as a lack of a will is called, Texas law stipulates that
the decedent’s share of the community property—anything Max and Jo owned
jointly—will go half to the surviving spouse and half to the decedent’s
children. Any property owned outside of the marriage should go
two-thirds to the children and one-third to the surviving spouse. “So
all we had to do,” Jo says, “was go through the assets, divide
everything by two and then divide again by two. Then we’re out of here.”
Max didn’t grow up to become a cowboy, but he was a maverick in his industry. Before that, he spent time in the armed services.
Stephen and Laura didn’t see it that way. In March 2010, two months
after Max died, the Hoppers met at the $2 million, 8,000-square-foot
Preston Forest home on Robledo Drive that Jo and Max had bought in 1997.
The children, as Jo calls them, even though they were both adults when
she married Max, insisted on hiring JPMorgan as an independent
administrator in part because they wanted someone impartial to handle
any disputes that might arise. “That’s what the children wanted,” Jo
says. “They wanted assurances. So I agreed.”
Days later, the family settled on JPMorgan for the job. The bank was
charged with doing what Jo had proposed to do: find all the assets, add
them up, divide by two, and divide by two again. But the Hoppers found
the process to be too slow. They say the bank didn’t act quickly enough
in executing stock options Max owned. They allege taxes were improperly
filed. And they say the bank was tardy in responding to other requests
to make financial transactions. All of that cost the children and Jo
tens of thousands or possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost
income, attorneys for both parties have claimed.
Jo and the children placed much of the blame for that on Susan Novak,
a 66-year-old JPMorgan executive who had worked on estate cases for
nearly 20 years both at JPMorgan and at Bank of America and was the
person in charge of the Hopper estate. The family painted Novak as
inexperienced, noting that she had worked on only one intestate case
before in her career. The bank has said Novak did her job flawlessly.
Novak, in court, said that although she had 25 to 30 other estate cases
to manage, she spent 70 percent of her time—about 1,800 hours per
year—working on the Hopper estate.
In many of those hours, court records indicate, she was trying not to
get involved in the mistrust between Jo and her stepchildren. To cite
just one example out of many: early on in the bank’s administration of
the estate, Stephen contacted the bank to complain that he believed his
stepmother might have been using Max’s share of American Airlines
AAdvantage miles—a share that, legally, would belong to the children.
In fact, there were no miles needed. Jo and Max were R-class flyers
on American, meaning they both had a lifetime pass to claim available
seats on flights. That was thanks to Max’s long tenure as a top
executive at the airline. The children claim that Novak never told them
about the R-class status, never cleared up the issue of potentially
missing AAdvantage miles. Without information to the contrary, the
children continued to believe—until the facts came out in court
filings—that their stepmother was taking trips using miles that belonged
(Novak retired from JPMorgan in the spring of 2017, but she
represented the bank in an official capacity during the jury trial.
JPMorgan declined to make any individuals involved in the case available
for comment for this story.)
The children allege that there were other imbalances that also put
them off. For one, the bank flew Jo to New York and sent her, gratis, to
The Phantom of the Opera, trying to woo her to open a wealth
management account. She did, and as assets were divided and released to
Jo, her share was transferred to a JPMorgan investment account. Over
time, that money accumulated to more than $4 million. The children were
never told about the New York trip. They also alleged that they weren’t
told that Jo wasn’t asked to pay any of the $230,000 fee JPMorgan
charged to administer the estate.
In January 2011, Jo says that Mike Graham, her probate attorney at
the time, sent an offer to Novak saying Jo wanted to buy all of the
personal property that had not yet been distributed by the bank. That
included Max’s collection of 6,700 putters, 900 bottles of wine, the
furnishings in her Preston Forest home, jewelry, and more. Basically,
everything except the house.
Novak replied to Graham but never notified the children of the offer,
Jo says. Two more emails from Graham followed. No counteroffers came
back. “We assumed the children had rejected the offer,” Jo says.
This pattern continued. Family members mistrusted each other. Family
members contacted the bank with various allegations. The bank didn’t
share those allegations with both sides. Mistrust festered.
By the summer of 2011, Jo’s attorneys had become so concerned with
the bank’s lack of communication that they advised her to close her
wealth management account. The $4 million she had invested with JPMorgan
promised to eventually bring a nice return to the bank. Financial
institutions typically charge a fee of just under 1 percent of the total
assets in accounts worth more than $1 million. Meaning that JPMorgan,
in less than five years, could have made more off of Jo’s wealth
management account than it would make administrating Max’s estate. (The
bank says it never collected more than $5,000 in fees from Jo’s account
in that first year.)
As soon as the account was closed, Jo says, the bank turned against
her. “The relationship became adversarial,” she says. “Suddenly, if the
children objected to something I wanted, the bank sided with the
That’s what seemed to happen when a dispute arose over Jo’s Preston
Forest house. The same summer that Jo closed her wealth management
account, she asked the bank to divide the ownership of the house evenly
between her and the children. Jo had already exercised her homestead
rights on the property, meaning that as long as she could make the
payments on the house, she would have the exclusive right to live there.
Now she wanted the home divided into equal ownership. The children,
though, wanted cash for their half—Max’s half—of the home.
The way the children, and their then attorney, Gary Stolbach, figured
things, dividing ownership in a home they could not use and could not
sell so long as Jo lived there (which was her guarantee under the
homestead rules) was not a fair division of the estate. The children
wanted the property “partitioned,” meaning they would get compensated
for their half of the home and Jo would then own it outright.
There’s a lot more brain-rattling legal nuance involved from there,
but the important thing to know is that this “partition” was a novel
legal theory Stolbach had floated. Jo says such a thing had never been
done before to a widow or widower in Texas, and the bank had no
obligation to go along with it. JPMorgan, in fact, had the right to
simply declare the home equally divided, which is what Jo wanted and
what the bank also initially said it wanted.
“The bank was appointed as the independent administrator,” says James
Bell of James S. Bell PC in Dallas, who represented the children during
the jury trial but is no longer an attorney on the case. “In an
independent administration, it means the bank can do whatever, whenever,
however it wants to do. It can split the assets how it wants as long as
it is not violating the statutory guidelines. And for over a year the
bank could have divided that house how they saw fit in accordance with
the law. But they just didn’t do it until there was litigation.”
The litigation was initiated by Jo. She filed a lawsuit against both
the children and the bank in late September 2011. From the children, she
sought a court declaration that a partition was not legal. From the
bank, she sought a declaration that the bank had breached its contract
with her, that it had committed fraud and breach of fiduciary duty by
misrepresenting its expertise in handling cases like hers and by failing
to properly communicate with her and the children. Further, she sought
the bank’s removal as independent administrator.
The Collector:Max and Jo’s home held Max’s collection of 900 bottles of wine and 6,700 putters, which Jo tried to buy from the estate.
After it was sued, the bank asked the probate court to declare that
it had the right to do what the children had asked, even though it had
previously told Stephen and Laura that it preferred to do what Jo
wanted—divide ownership equally. From there, JPMorgan doubled down. The
bank also asked the court to affirm that it not only could “partition”
the house—forcing Jo to compensate the children for their one-half
interest in the house—but it could force Jo to sell her house to a third
party, at a price she could not negotiate.
The bank acknowledged that because Jo had exercised her homestead
rights, it could not kick her out of the house. But it maintained that
it still had the right to make her a tenant in her home, which someone
else might own. The bank further said that it had the right to take back
some of the assets it had already distributed to Jo and make her use
those assets to buy out the children’s interest in the Robledo home.
Here’s how the $8 billion jury seems to have heard those facts: the
largest bank in America told a court that it would consider forcing the
sale of a widow’s home over the widow’s objections.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Jo says, speaking in Loewinsohn’s office.
“Max and I owned that house. The probate code doesn’t allow for a
There’s a book on the table beside her—Johanson’s Texas Estates Code
Annotated. It’s a 1,661-page reference book on probate law in Texas that
Jo bought in 2011. That year she spent Thanksgiving reading it. All of
it. Every page.
Jo picks up the bulky book with one hand and flips it open to a page
she has marked. It shows the probate code’s stance against partitioning a
home after the death of a spouse. “It’s right here. It’s the law,” she
says. “The bank knew that. But the bank was bullying me, trying to
emotionally break me. This tactic was unbelievable and unprecedented as
far as I could find. They were going to sell a widow’s home.”
Initially, the bank’s stance was upheld, in part, by the probate
court. But eventually, the probate court modified its ruling, and the
litigation over the house concluded in two ways. In June 2012, the bank
decided to divide the house ownership in equal interests, as Jo had
wanted all along. Then, on December 3, 2014, the three justices who
preside over the Eighth District Court of Appeals issued a 26-page
ruling that chided the earlier probate court and declared the novel
partition theory unlawful. Jo had her house; the children had half a
JPMorgan is not wrong about the family’s blood feud. The bank says it
tried to get the sides to come to terms before the issues about the
house ended up in court. “We continually urged the family to reach an
agreement on the division of the home and personal property,” says Greg
Hassell, a spokesman for JPMorgan. The children declined to comment on
specific questions regarding their stepmother. But attorneys who have
represented both Jo and the children say neither side is speaking to the
other, except through their lawyers. That might have something to do
with a handful of nasty court filings that came out after Jo sued
JPMorgan and the children in September 2011.
In one such filing, from 2016, the children said that they “have been
antagonistic to Mrs. Hopper (personally, legally, or in both contexts)
for nearly six years. Beginning with Max Hopper’s sudden death in 2010,
distrust marred the relationship between the Heirs and Mrs. Hopper. This
uneasy relationship is precisely what prompted the Heirs to insist Max
Hopper’s estate be administered by a neutral, independent third party.
That is what the Heirs believed the Bank to be when they engaged its
services as independent administrator in 2010.”
In another filing, from 2014, Jo’s attorneys compiled a long list of
things that they wanted to be sure would never be mentioned in front of
jurors. Those included:
Jo’s “decision to pay for or not pay for any college related
expenses, including tuition, for any grandchild of Max Hopper”; why Jo
“did not sit on the front row of Laura Wassmer’s wedding in 1987”; that,
when a “document production” on Jo’s behalf in this case was held in a
garage in 2012 “it was cold outside, and/or the house was locked so if
anyone needed to use the restroom, they had to go down the street to a
public restroom”; “Any suggestion that Jo Hopper had any type of
romantic relationship with Max Hopper prior to his divorce”; and any
“reference to a book entitled How to Marry a Millionaire.”
Jo insists the bank exacerbated that infighting. “I’ll admit,” she
says, “there was a crack in our relationship. Anybody who goes through
the loss of a father with a stepmother, you’re going to have a crack.
But what JPMorgan did was they took that crack and they made it into the
Grand Canyon.” But since JPMorgan officials have said in court that the
family dynamic was toxic and unsalvageable, and since both Jo and the
children sued to have the bank removed as independent administrator, one
wonders why the bank didn’t just resign.
The answer to that question, say attorneys for the children, ends with two words: “theft” and “felony.”
“That is the key question you have to ask yourself here,” says Bell,
the attorney who represented the children during the jury trial. “Why
did the bank not step down as the independent administrator? The reason
is if they stepped down, there was a lawsuit naming them, so they would
have had to pay the legal fees for that lawsuit out of their own pocket.
But if they stayed in the case, they had a war chest to defend
themselves with. And the war chest they had just so happened to be an
account with my clients’ money in it.”
Independent administrators are allowed to hire attorneys and pay
legal fees using assets of an estate so long as they are using those
lawyers and fees to represent the interests of the estate. And when Jo
sued the bank and the children in 2011, the bank decided to cover the
legal costs of defending itself by withdrawing money from an estate
account that had nearly $4 million in it. The children claim that money
belonged entirely to them.
When the children in turn sued the bank, the bank used that same war
chest—the money that would have gone to the children—to fight their
the children discovered the estate’s money was being used to pay the
bank’s lawyers in the legal fight, they asked for the bank to stop using
the account. JPMorgan did not comply. Eventually, the account was
drained of all but $100, just enough to keep the account open. Then
JPMorgan made its own novel legal move. The estate, as administered by
the bank, took out a loan, from JPMorgan, for more than $900,000. The
bank, in other words, loaned itself money, indebting the estate in the
That was only revealed during the trial when Bell cross-examined the
lead attorney for Hunton & Williams, which JPMorgan had retained.
Just before closing arguments in the jury trial, JPMorgan decided to
forgive the estate that loan amount and pay the $900,000-plus out of its
own pocket. But it did not reimburse the estate for the nearly $4
million it had already spent on legal fees.
six jurors found that JPMorgan had committed something called
“conversion” when it took money out of the estate’s account to pay
attorney’s fees against the will of the children. “Conversion” is a term
of art that means taking something that doesn’t belong to you and
exercising control over it even when the rightful owner demands that the
something be returned to their control.
“Fiduciaries are entitled to hire counsel,” says Russell Fishkind, a
partner with Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr in New York and the author
of Probate Wars of the Rich & Famous: An Insider’s Guide to Estate Planning and Probate Litigation.
“So long as the fiduciary’s goal is to further the interest of the
estate and enhance the purpose of the estate, and their fees are
reasonable, courts will typically allow the fiduciary to hire counsel
and for the counsel fees to come out of the estate.
“The question in this case was, ‘Is that what JPMorgan was doing?’
Clearly the jury thought not. It thought the company was working in its
own interests, not in the interests of the estate.”
The children’s attorneys, in an October filing with the probate
court, also now say that the conversion they’ve alleged in this case
qualifies as theft under the Texas Penal Code. They contend that the
theft is a first-degree felony because the value of the property stolen
is more than $300,000.
If the court agrees with the children’s attorneys, then the state’s
caps on punitive damages—Texas generally limits such damages to two
times the amount of actual economic damages—may no longer apply.
JPMorgan could face a significant payout to the children and maybe to Jo
Tom Fee, a partner with Dallas-based Fee, Smith, Sharp & Vitullo,
told me by phone in early October, “We think we can bust the punitive
damage caps in Texas. There is a provision that says if you’re a
financial institution and you basically commit a crime, the caps don’t
Still, Fee and his partner Lenny Vitullo, who was on the trial team
for the children, haven’t asked the court to uphold the jury’s huge
award—whatever that award might be. Initially, the firm said Jo had been
granted $2 billion and their clients had been granted $4 billion by the
jury. It even issued press releases to that effect. But, looking more
closely at the jurors’ paperwork, it became clear that the jurors had
gone further. The six-person panel found that JPMorgan had made
malicious breaches in its fiduciary duty to the estate—meaning Stephen
and Laura collectively. It awarded the estate $2 billion for that. The
jury also found that JPMorgan had committed fraud, for which it gave $1
billion each to Stephen and to Laura. It also awarded the same $1
billion amount to each of the children for negligence on the part of
JPMorgan. That’s $6 billion total for the children and $2 billion for
The bank has suggested the jury award is out of line and will not
stand up to judicial review. But, even though Fee believes the award is
something more than jackpot justice from a runaway jury, they won’t ask
the probate judge reviewing the jury award to uphold the unprecedented
award. Instead, they’ve asked for about $75 million, or nine times the
actual economic damages they say the children have suffered. “We realize
we’re not going to collect the $2 billion,” Fee told me just two weeks
before Stephen and Laura asked their attorneys to stop speaking with the
media. “So we’re seeking the maximum that the law does allow us to
recover. For our clients, this is about more than money. Our clients
really wish Chase would take some responsibility here. So we want to
back up the jury, back up those citizens who gave their time and
attention to this. And to protect other consumers, we believe we need to
make this stick.”
The jury verdict in the hopper case came after midnight on September
27. The jurors had deliberated for four hours. As soon as they were
done, they sought out Jo, Stephen, Laura, and their attorneys. “They
said they felt bad about what Jo had been through,” says Loewinsohn,
Jo’s attorney. “One of them told me, ‘If the bank didn’t care about Jo
Hopper and the money she had, why would they care about us when we don’t
have that kind of money?’ ”
The jurors said the same thing to Stephen and Laura, who agreed to
answer a few of my questions jointly, by email. “In talking with several
of the jury members after the trial, they commented that they felt we
had been bullied by JPMorgan, and that they awarded the huge verdict
because they didn’t want other families to go through what we have had
to go through,” the children wrote. “They were hoping that the verdict
would change the way JPMorgan conducted business.”
Funny thing about that: on the trading day immediately following the
early morning jury verdict, JPMorgan Chase stock opened at $93.70 per
share and closed up, at $95.18. Either Wall Street figured a company
with 243,000 employees and a net income of $24.7 billion could survive
an $8 billion payout, or the verdict hadn’t registered at all with
Still, the verdict did generate some bad publicity for the bank. On The Motley Fool Podcast,
for instance, co-hosts Alison Southwick and Robert Brokamp bantered
about it. “Anyone who reads about this case will be told it’s going to
get knocked down in appeals,” Brokamp said. “They’re not going to get $4
billion to $8 billion. The lesson, here, is to get an estate plan. But
if you don’t have one, hire JPMorgan. They’ll do a horrible job—”
“And,” Southwick said, “You get your payday.”
That remains to be seen. The probate court will have more hearings on
the case early this month, but a final ruling on the historic jury
award is likely months, if not years, away. The stepmother that neither
Stephen and Laura are speaking to, the stepmother who is no longer in
touch with her grandchildren because of this case, she will have to
wait. “We fought,” Jo Hopper says. “But we haven’t effected change. Not
The mother of a 22-year-old woman who was discharged from a Maryland hospital and left to fend for herself in freezing cold weather at a bus stop
is speaking out to correct misconceptions about her daughter. The
mother, who asked to be identified only as Cheryl, says she wants to
"correct the misinformation that's out there" because her daughter,
Rebecca, "was humiliated" by the incident.
"There are people who
are saying that my daughter is a drug addict, my daughter's a
prostitute, that she's deaf," Cheryl told CBS News. "She's not deaf, not
a prostitute, not a drug addict. My daughter has mental illness."
The case gained national attention when a bystander captured cellphone video
of hospital workers leaving Rebecca on a downtown Baltimore street
wearing only her flimsy hospital gown and socks in 30-degree weather.
daughter was disposed of. She literally was disposed of. It's
disgusting, heartbreaking, horrifying," Cheryl continued. "And if it's
all of those things for me, I want people to know how does Rebecca feel?
This was done to her. She was on the street with her body exposed.
There was no human dignity at all."
For the safety of her family, Cheryl chose not to disclose their last name to CBS News.
to Cheryl, Rebecca was diagnosed with mental illness — bipolar
schizoaffective disorder — when she was 16 years old, and also has
Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism. Rebecca lived in a residential
youth program called Pathways from the time she turned 18 until
Christmas Eve, when she was discharged for not taking her medication.
"She has to be on meds, otherwise she has psychosis," Cheryl said. "She will have, uh, a manic episode."
says she has been trying to get legal guardianship of her adult
daughter to gain control of her medication, housing and Social Security.
But because of HIPAA patient privacy laws, she says doctors will not
speak with her.
"This is a byproduct of what the mental health system is," she said. "I cannot get any help for my daughter."
Last month, Rebecca stopped reaching out to her family members so
Cheryl tried to file a missing persons report with police. During the
process, authorities notified her that Rebecca had been admitted to a
hospital in Baltimore.
Cheryl says she came across the disturbing
video while scrolling through Facebook. At first, she didn't even
realize that the woman in the clip was her daughter.
even know that it was my daughter initially," she said. "As he got close
enough, I saw it was her and I got hysterical because in that moment,
it was sheer fear that my daughter was going to die. I still haven't
watched all of the video."
Cheryl says she tried to contact the
hospital and was told to reach out to their media relations department
about the incident by email.
"The hospital wasn't being helpful. I
called the security department (and) they laughed at me. When I told
them, 'That's my daughter in the video and I just need to find out if
she's in the hospital,' they laughed at me," Cheryl said. "Every person
that I talked to at the hospital either hung up on me or told me to
email the hospital, and that everyone was going to tell me the same
The video of Rebecca went viral earlier this week on
social media. It shows four University of Maryland Medical Center
security guards wheeling her to a bus stop in her hospital gown. She can
be heard crying out after they walk away.
"It's obvious with
looking at the video — even someone who doesn't know her, someone who
doesn't know anything about mental illness — it was very apparent that
she was having some sort of medical issue," Cheryl continued. "You could
see she has a large lump on her forehead and her face was bloody. So,
there was a medical issue. She was incoherent. A blind person, Hellen
Keller, could see that my daughter was in need of medical attention."
the man who recorded the video, called 911 and medics wound up taking
Rebecca back to the same hospital. Cheryl says she has since been
transferred to a different facility where she is receiving treatment.
was in that video was no empathy for a sick young woman, and, um, it
was just so callous and heartless how they put her out there in the
cold, exposed, and didn't know her history, didn't know her background,"
Cheryl said. "And I don't think they ever really cared because they
weren't looking at her like a human being."
The University of
Maryland Medical Center apologized Thursday and promised a thorough
investigation. In a written statement, the hospital states that they
"share the shock and disappointment of many who have viewed the video.
In the end, we clearly failed to fulfill our mission with this
"We feel comfortable in the statement that what you saw
in that video is not a process that would occur with any frequency at
all," said Dr. Mohan Suntha, president and CEO of the University of
Maryland Medical Center.
Cheryl told CBS News that Suntha claimed
that he has tried to reach out to her but couldn't get in contact with
her. As of Thursday night she said she had yet to hear anything from
"This was a hospital that has a psychiatric unit. They should
know how to deal with mental health patients without dumping them out
on the street in the cold, naked," she said. "They're supposed to be
able to deal with mental health issues, and if they don't know how to
deal with mental health issues, then they should close their doors."
CARY - An aide to an elderly
woman embezzled at least $11,000 from her, beginning before Christmas,
according to charges on which she was arrested Thursday night.
Jennifer Lynn Herrera,
36, was charged with felony embezzlement and felony exploitation of the
trust of a disabled or elderly person.
Police said in an arrest warrant Thursday that Herrera was the woman’s employee, but they did not specify her duties.
The warrant said the embezzlement began on Dec. 22 and ran through Wednesday.
Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/crime/article194371114.html#storylink=cpy
The embezzlement charge uses legal language, saying Herrera
did “knowingly misapply and convert to her own use at least $11,000”
belonging to the woman.
It was not immediately clear how police believe the embezzlement happened.
Police were alerted by a relative of the woman’s.
Herrera was convicted
last October of misdemeanor fraud. She had been arrested in March 2016
on a charge of misrepresenting information so she could get unemployment
benefits two years earlier.
A magistrate set
Herrera’s bail at $30,000. The magistrate noted that Herrera has been
arrested several times for not appearing in court when she was supposed
to after previous arrests, including last May in the fraud case.
Authorities always urge
family members to keep tabs on the finances of older relatives as a way
to prevent their having resources stolen or misplaced.
On tonight’s show we are going to have author and speaker Ms Lucy Karen Clay as our guest. Lucy is a graduate of Baylor University, an educator, mentor, and advocate for LIFE. She is the founder and owner of “Expressways To Learning-TN”, dedicated to the education of children and adults who learn differently. In addition, she founded the Simplicity Project Wellness Initiative, for the purpose of raising public awareness of the end-of-life issues.
As a Board Member of Hospice Patients Alliance, I read her book BETROTHED: Committed to Love, Light, & LIGHT! I was honored and moved to endorse her book. All of her books provide life-saving information. Lucy experienced the terrible horrors of the Culture of Death. She is going to share with our audience what happened Jack, the love of her life while under Hospice care.
Stealth Euthanasia is occurring in some hospices today and we are sharing the word to raise awareness so that you and your family do not go through the nightmares of what so many have experienced. Listen to learn how Lucy found redemption following these tragic events.
Ron Panzer of Hospice Patients Alliance provides a solution which could repair the damage done to health care and society in general.
Ron Panzer, President of Hospice Patients Alliance, is a respected nurse and witness to criminal actions consistently performed within medical settings. He presents irrefutable information about how, why this behavior is condoned by government and a positive solution to this problem: but you all will have to participate to make it work quickly.
Ron is going to clear up the misinformation spread by those who deny the harms occurring within our healthcare system and especially hospice settings. He reminds us to revere God, to develop an authentic relationship with Him, and to revere the lives of the patients we serve.
Once we do this, we will know what to do, how to live and contribute in our own way to help restore the Culture of Life.
Consider his words regarding why we are standing back and allowing ourselves to be mislead by people who should know better.
WISE COUNTY, VA (WJHL) – A home health nurse pleaded guilty to
stealing from an elderly patient in southwest Virginia. Wendy Goad, 38
of Comfort, WV, pleaded guilty to charges Thursday in Wise County.
Those charges include grand larceny, credit card fraud, attempted credit card fraud, and credit card forgery.
Prosecutors say Goad was caring for an elderly woman back in July
when she stole several items and used the victim’s bank card to purchase
nearly $500 worth of merchandise for herself.
Goad is scheduled to be sentenced March 14.
The following is a new release from Wise County Commonwealth Attorney Chuck Slemp:
Wendy Goad, age 38 of Comfort, West Virginia, pleaded guilty on
Wednesday, January 10, 2018, in the Wise County Circuit Court, for Grand
Larceny, Credit Card Fraud, Attempted Credit Card Fraud, and Credit
Card Forgery. Her plea comes on the day she was scheduled to go to trial
on the charges.
Goad pleaded guilty without a plea agreement from prosecutors,
meaning a judge will determine her sentence after listening to the
testimony of witnesses for prosecutors and the defendant at a hearing.
On or about July 20, 2017, Wendy Goad was working as a substitute
home health care nurse in Wise County, Virginia. While working to care
for an elderly woman, Goad took two bags of items belonging to the
victim out of her house. Then she took the elderly victim to another
location and came back while the victim was not at her residence to
remove more items from the house.
The victim also gave Goad her bank card to buy six grocery
items. However, Goad used the card at multiple locations.
Specifically, Goad signed the victim’s name and got $495 of items at
WalMart. Goad later returned and attempted to use the card at WalMart
again, but this attempt failed.
This prosecution was successfully brought to a conclusion through the
efforts of Commonwealth’s Attorney Chuck Slemp and assistant
Commonwealth’s Attorney Ken Lammers.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Chuck Slemp said, “We continue our efforts to
protect seniors from abuse and financial exploitation crimes. It is
even more troubling in cases like this, when a nurse is being paid to
provide medical care for someone and violates that trust by exploiting
the vulnerability of an elderly victim.”