Saturday, June 2, 2018

MAGS gets first trained Volunteer Guardian Advocate

On May 24, Judge Heather Barajas led the swearing-in ceremony for the first trained Volunteer Guardian Advocate for Seniors and Incapacitated Adults in Montgomery County.

The Wabash Center’s Montgomery Adult Guardianship Services (MAGS) recruits, trains, supports and supervises volunteers to serve as limited guardians appointed by the Montgomery County Superior Court.

The new volunteer works for a hospice agency in Crawfordsville, but White declined to share his name.

“He came and just wanted more information about our program,” Sharon White, program coordinator for MAGS, said. “When I told him what we do, he asked to become one of my volunteers.”

The newly appointed MAGS volunteer is the first in Montgomery County but he joins a network of volunteer guardian advocates across the state of Indiana. She said volunteers’ daily activity is dependent on the individuals that are under guardianship. 

“The volunteer’s primary responsibility is to visit regularly with the individual and make sure that all of their needs are being met,” she said.

White said 90 percent of the individuals that they have guardianship over have either outlived their other family members or their family member have abandoned them. She said a volunteer could help a patient decide whether or not to pursue chemotherapy treatment for leukemia or just meet with them and read to them. 

Most of her volunteers currently assist with individuals who reside in a nursing facility and suffer from dementia that has left them mentally incapacitated. 

Funding for the program is provided by the state of Indiana VASIA Grant, Wabash Center, and Montgomery County. 

MAGS currently has seven adults in need of an advocate in Montgomery County. 

Interested persons, who are 21 or a full-time college student over the age of 18, can contact White at 765-423-5531 to get more information on the application process. 

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Woman accused of exploiting elderly at illegal assisted living facility

HIALEAH, Fla. - Hialeah Police Department officers said they found a house of horrors Thursday.

They were responding to reports that a man was feeling suicidal. But it wasn't the man that concerned them the most. It was the "elderly residents who had urinated themselves," the refrigerator that was under lock and key, and that there weren't enough beds, according to a report. 

"Multiple residents stated they sleep on the floor, while others share beds," a police officer wrote in an arrest report. "I observed three people sleeping on the same bed."

Officers said they found 25 adults, ages 20 to 80, in neglectful conditions at 17 E. 10 St., near the Hispanic American United Methodist Church. Officers said they were under the care of Martha Perez Rodriguez. 

The residents of the home accused the 60-year-old woman of regularly administering a drug that made them feel lethargic, police said. 

Some of the residents said they were paying Perez Rodriguez anywhere from $500 to $750 a month to be there. They told police officers she was receiving their disability checks and not giving them a penny. 

Kevin Rotter said he lived in a separate part of the property and said he had no idea that there was neglect inside of the home. He said he later saw the mess inside. The backyard of the home looked like a junk yard. 

"It looked like a crack house," Rotter said. 

Officers arrested Perez Rodriguez who is facing charges of operating an assisted living facility without a license and exploitation of the elderly and the disabled. 

Miami-Dade property records show Felix Cruz Valdes is the owner of the two-bedroom, one-bathroom home, where the arrest was made. The home is not the only one in the neighborhood. The licensed Palm Breeze Assisted Living Facility operates next door. 

Full Article & Source:
Woman accused of exploiting elderly at illegal assisted living facility

Caretaker Charged in Sepsis, Malnutrition Death of Man

DORA, Ala. (AP) — A woman charged with caring for an elderly Alabama man has been arrested in connection to his death.

News outlets report 58-year-old Sharon Kay Lewis was charged Wednesday with manslaughter and elderly abuse and neglect in the death of James Johnson Woods. Charging documents say Woods died last September from sepsis, malnutrition and pneumonia.

Court records made public Thursday say Lewis was released that same day on a written promise to appear in court. Cordova Police spokesman T.J. Armstrong says elderly abuse charges can apply to a range of cases from financial exploitation to sexual abuse.

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Caretaker Charged in Sepsis, Malnutrition Death of Man

Friday, June 1, 2018

Attorney charged in fiscal elder abuse, fraud scheme

An 82-year-old attorney is behind bars Tuesday after allegedly embezzling more than $460,000 from a 92-year-old woman and her disabled and dependent son over a four-year period, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office.

Initially the family’s attorney, Daly City resident Albert Boasberg eventually became the financial and medical power of attorney for the elderly woman, who is living with dementia at the Marymount Greenhills Retirement Center in Millbrae, as well as her son, who is in his 60s and living at the Burlingame Long Term Care Center. He allegedly filled out 12 life insurance applications using false information about the man’s medical history and listing himself as the beneficiary and stole some $17,000 from the man’s mother between 2010 and 2014, according to prosecutors.

He pleaded not guilty to felony charges of fiscal elder abuse and insurance fraud Tuesday. Boasberg is facing eight to 10 years in prison after a yearslong investigation produced a warrant for his arrest this week. The thefts were discovered when both facilities, where the victims receive 24-hour care, reported his failure to make monthly payments for the victims’ care to the county Health System’s Adult Protective Services, which resulted in his removal as the victims’ power of attorney in 2015. The county’s Public Guardian has been the victims’ conservator after Boasberg was removed as their attorney, according to prosecutors.

Boasberg is believed to have used the funds for personal reasons, including diversion of some $100,000 to his wife’s home country, the Philippines, and luxury vacations in Las Vegas, according to prosecutors.

Boasberg was ordered to have no contact with either victim when he appeared in court Tuesday and will next appear in court for a motion to reduce his bail, which has been set at $450,000, according to prosecutors.

Full Article & Source: 
Attorney charged in fiscal elder abuse, fraud scheme

Thirty-year sentence meted out in $1.2 million swindle of Nevada woman

NEVADA, Mo. — A judge sentenced a Nevada man this week to 30 years in prison for his role in a $1.2 million swindle of an elderly woman.

Circuit Judge David Munton assessed Christopher I. Buller the prison term at a sentencing hearing Tuesday in Vernon County Circuit Court. A jury had found the 40-year-old defendant guilty of a Class A felony count of financial exploitation of an elderly person in a trial the first week of April.

Buller's co-defendant in the case, Eric S. Davis, 41, of Joplin, pleaded guilty a year ago to a reduced Class B felony count of financial exploitation of an elderly person and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

The two men deceived a Nevada woman into selling all her stock in a major oil company to help bail Davis out of a supposed financial obligation to a trucking company and legal trouble with a court in Kansas City.

Davis befriended the woman in January 2011 and she paid for him to attend a truck driver training school, where he rolled a truck into a ditch after just three days in the program. Although he was never a truck driver or an employee of the company that ran the school, Davis told the woman that he was employed by it and needed money to pay for the truck he wrecked.

Buller assisted Davis by calling her and posing as a company employee with information about the amount of payments due.

Davis subsequently extended his deceit of the woman by telling her that he needed to pay large sums of money to a judge in Kansas City to avoid serving jail time for a past debt. Davis provided her with the fictitious name of "Judge Henry Copeland," and Buller assisted him in that part of the swindle by telephoning her and posing as the judge.

According to a probable-cause affidavit filed in the case, Davis would meet the victim outside her bank or in store parking lots, and she would bring him boxes or bags full of cash.

The swindle came to light at a guardianship hearing in July 2014 when she testified that she had sold all her stock in the oil company and gave the money to Davis so he could take it to the judge in Kansas City. An examination of her living trust account by an investigator with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services determined that between January 2011 and February 2012, she'd made 16 cash withdrawals totaling $1.2 million.

Davis told the investigator that he was a regular patron of a casino in Oklahoma and that he "may have gambled away" all the money he received from the woman.

Christopher Buller chose not to testify at his trial in April when a jury found him guilty of assisting Eric Davis in the bilking of an elderly woman.

Full Article & Source: 
Thirty-year sentence meted out in $1.2 million swindle of Nevada woman

Obstreperous older patient at Mount Auburn leads SJC to tougher nursing home precedent

Mount Auburn Hospital in West Cambridge has involved in a case that set a Supreme Judicial Court precedent. (Photo: Mount Auburn Hospital)

In a case involving Mount Auburn Hospital, the Supreme Judicial Court has restricted the ability of hospitals to force patients into a nursing home. The case is the first SJC interpretation of provisions in a 2009 reform law that strengthened protections for people in danger of having a court-appointed guardian get power to make decisions about their lives, according to lawyers who helped write the legislation and get it approved.

The law was approved after revelations of abuses in the state’s guardianship system. The May 11 ruling by the SJC “is very important,” said Thomas J. Carey Jr., who served on a Massachusetts Bar Association committee that urged state legislators to adopt the reforms. The guardianship provision that the court interpreted “is one of the most important provisions of the whole law,” which reformed the probate system, Carey said.

Mount Auburn had sought to discharge a 79-year-old woman, identified by the initials D. C., to a nursing home in 2016 after she was hospitalized for months with a broken hip as well as heart and kidney problems. The hospital went to court to have a guardian appointed so that the guardian could order D.C. transferred. The hospital asserted that D.C. refused medication, rejected hip surgery and couldn’t understand her treatment options – to the point where she was endangering her health and life.

Despite those claims, a Norfolk County Probate Court judge found that D.C. was not “incapacitated” under the law. Judge George F. Phelan said that although D.C. “may be demanding, difficult, obstreperous and plainly refused to assist or cooperate” with hospital staff, she had “the ability to discern her medical condition” and could make an “informed decision” not to participate in her medical care even though it might endanger her life.

High court takes over

Therefore the Probate Court judge refused to appoint a guardian for D.C. But he did rule that the hospital could discharge her to a nursing home. Puzzled, the hospital asked for clarification, then appealed the judge’s refusal to appoint a guardian.The judge transferred the case to the Appeals Court, asking essentially whether a judge could do what he had just ordered. The SJC took over the case because of its importance.

And the high court answered the judge’s questions with a flat “No”: A patient can’t be forced to go to a nursing home unless he or she is found to be “incapacitated” and a guardian is appointed, the SJC said. A judge must also give the guardian authority to transfer the patient to a nursing home, only after finding that the discharge would be in the patient’s best interest, the court said.

In oral argument on the case, justices seemed frustrated that the hospital couldn’t discharge a patient who didn’t need a hospital’s level of care and was willing to stay for months. “You have a perfectly competent person who loves your hospital – you can’t say, ‘We need your bed?’” one justice asked.

The lawyer for the hospital, Michael C. Boyne, said it was not that simple. “You have a 79-year-old person with a broken hip, she’s immobile with no family support, do we wheel her out?” he said.

The patient who won’t leave
 Karen Owen Talley, who represented D.C., said the Probate Court judge had actually found that D.C. did want hip surgery and “no, she doesn’t want to stay in the hospital forever.” Dealing with a competent patient who doesn’t want to follow the treatment plan may require a solution that’s not legal, such as mediation, Talley said.

A footnote in the SJC decision said: “We do not address the legal options available to an acute-care hospital where a patient who is not incapacitated fails to leave upon discharge.”

Carey and six other attorneys involved in the reform law submitted a brief in the case that described the history of the reform law, said Mark A. Leahy, one of the others. “There was a lot of history that wasn’t being briefed,” Leahy said. Without that context, the SJC might have come to a different decision, one that was less friendly to patients like D.C., he said.

Case was hidden

The attorneys came close to not even knowing that the SJC was considering the issue, Carey said. One of the group “happened to see the oral argument,” which is streamed over the Internet by Suffolk University Law School, Carey said.

Lawyers didn’t know about the case because it had been “impounded,” a common occurrence in cases in which medical, psychiatric and other private information about a person is involved. But the SJC impounded not only the personal information, but the name of the hospital and the briefs filed by lawyers in the case. (The name of the hospital was readily available in appeals court records, however).

“I don’t believe that the [reform] statute intended that once it got to the SJC the facts should not be public,” Carey said. The lawyers’ brief argued that “on a broader scale when the SJC is preparing to hand down a major decision, the public has a right to know.”

“Whatever the good intentions of the probate judge might have been, the thought that you can just decide willy-nilly ‘Well, no, you’re not incapacitated, but they can still toss you out into a nursing home anyway’ …” Carey said, describing the importance of the case to the public.

“My view is we need to revisit the way impoundment rules are being interpreted at the highest level to make sure the public can participate,” he said.

The attorneys had to ask for special permission to see the briefs of the lawyers representing Mount Auburn and D.C., he said. The documents they were allowed to examine were heavily redacted, Carey said. Their own brief was also impounded.

Meanwhile, while Mount Auburn’s appeal was being considered, it filed another petition to have D.C. declared incapacitated and a guardian appointed. This time, the probate court judge agreed that she was incapacitated and went through the other necessary steps to have her transferred to a nursing home: He appointed a guardian and gave the guardian authority to have D.C. moved after finding that the transfer was in her best interest.

Full Article & Source:
Obstreperous older patient at Mount Auburn leads SJC to tougher nursing home precedent

Thursday, May 31, 2018

NJ must bring safe staffing levels to nursing homes

To send an aging parent or loved one to live in a nursing homes is a difficult, often heart-wrenching decision.  It is self-evident why most seniors' first preference is to remain at home for as long as possible, to be cared for by family or a professional caregiver in a familiar, loving environment.  Yet there often comes a time in life, due to declining health or the lack of an available family caregiver, where seeking 24/7 care at skilled nursing facility becomes the last, best option.

As baby boomers retire in unprecedented numbers, it in incumbent that New Jersey has an adequate system of oversight and safety standards to protect the wellbeing of our state's 44,000 nursing home residents.  Yet in key respects, New Jersey's nursing home industry is failing these patients and the healthcare workers tasked with their daily care.  As an industry which receives most of its revenue from public sources--Medicaid and Medicare--nursing homes have an obligation to use this funding to directly improve care at the bedside.

Experienced caregivers are the foundation of quality care.  Without sufficient staff, no amount of money can ensure that nursing home patients receive the compassionate, personal attention they need throughout the day.  Yet despite New Jersey nursing homes being among costliest in the nation, our nursing homes rank 44th overall for certified nursing assistant (CNA) staffing hours per patient, according to data from Centers from Medicare & Medicaid Services.

This is a concern which requires urgent attention.  CNAs are the primary direct-care workforce in nursing homes.  They are the individuals responsible for assisting patients will all their daily living needs--feeding, dressing, bathing, toileting, as well as providing general emotional support and friendship to those who are lonely and who may rarely, if ever, receive visitors of their own.
Speak to just about any CNA, and stories will abound about times when they were totally overwhelmed by deficient staffing levels.

Tyshara Bonaparte, who works at a Jersey City nursing home, says that recently she was the sole CNA caring for 24 patients during her 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. shift, the busiest time of the day.

"What am I supposed to do when I have to attend to the needs of two dozen patients, all at once?  It is so unfair for them to have to wait to start their day, to delay breakfast or sit in a soiled diaper.  I put on a smile and do my best to make them comfortable, but things are not okay," she says.

Josefina Jimenez, a CNA from Passaic, recalls that "one night I was the only CNA on a floor with 50 residents.  I knew that one of my residents was close to dying, and I wanted to comfort her in her final moments because she did not have anyone else to be there with her.  But I was so overwhelmed with my other responsibilities that by the time I made it to her room she had already passed away.  It was heartbreaking."

When there aren't enough direct care staff, it bottlenecks other critical work.  "If CNAs are working short, it interferes with my nursing duties," says Miriam Douglas, a licensed practical nurse in East Orange.  "When residents aren't washed or fed in a timely manner, it takes time out of our day when we need to be administering medication to patients.  It disrupts our priorities and ultimately it's the residents who suffer."

Stories like these are commonplace in nursing homes.  But they don't have to be.  Legislation (S1612/A382) has been introduced that would require nursing homes to meet basic minimum staffing ratios on a shift-by-shift basis: 8 patients per CNA on the morning shift, 10 patients per CNA in the afternoon, and 16 patients per CNA overnight.  This is a commonsense and straightforward approach to making sure that poorly-performing facilities raise their staffing levels to an adequate number.  It empowers patients, their families and caregivers to understand how their facility compares to a clear standard, and to know when CNAs are working short at any given time.

We owe it to our state's seniors to pass this law in the current legislative cycle.  The stakes of inaction are too high for the tens of thousands of vulnerable people who depend on the type of round-the-clock care that only nursing homes can provide. This is a fight we can, and must, win.

Full Article & Source:
NJ must bring safe staffing levels to nursing homes

Attorney Accused of Stealing Millions Surrenders

The local attorney accused of stealing millions in settlement funds from his own injured clients has turned himself into police.

It was those injured clients expecting thousands in insurance payouts who tipped off investigators that attorney William “Bill” Snipes was allegedly pocketing all the money and suddenly no where to be found until this past Sunday.

According to a source with first hand knowledge of the case, Bill Snipes turned himself into police on the advice of his out of town defense attorney ten days after his brother was taken into custody at a little league baseball game in Harris County.

Bill Snipes had been a well known local attorney for more than three decades when clients started to emerge this past January with horror stories about severe injuries, mounting medical bills and millions in insurance payouts missing, along with Snipes.

“It’s pretty bad when you put your faith and trust in a lawyer, a ‘prominent attorney’ and they do this to you. I want to see him go to jail. I’d like to go visit him,” said Birdie Watford

We contacted Watford to let her know Snipes was now in the Muscogee County jail charged with three counts of felony theft by taking.

Using expletives Watford echoed the sentiments of other victims demanding their money back.

The initial victims who stepped forward are the tip of the iceberg according to financial crimes detectives who are now examining nearly two dozen claims against the disgraced attorney.
Since a First News investigation first aired, several more victims have come forward.

The brother of Bill Snipes, Malcolm Snipes was also charged in connection to the case after detectives said he withdrew thousands from a trust account intended for those injured clients.

Malcolm Snipes also remains in jail on a $125,000 bond.

Bill Snipes is scheduled to appear in Recorder’s Court Wednesday morning.

Full Article & Source:
Attorney Accused of Stealing Millions Surrenders

Dad who looted trust fund dying wife set up for their daughter can't evade prison term

A father convicted of stealing more than $160,000 from a trust fund his dying wife set up for their young daughter has failed to convince a state appeals court panel that his lawyer was incompetent.

By the way, Gary Blank represented himself during his trial.

The Superior Court's rejection of the Bucks County man's appeal means Blank's 18-month to 4-year prison term will stand. So will an order requiring him to repay $161,495 to his daughter, who was 5 when her mother, Theresa, died from breast cancer in 2002.

The state court's opinion was penned by Judge Jacquelyn O. Shogan, who cited county court filings that stated Blank was a drug addict when his wife set up their daughter's trust. After Theresa's death, Blank secured a $1 million settlement in a medical malpractice lawsuit.

At its height in 2006, the trust account contained $539,000. Blank, 58, and his brother-in-law, Mark Mangano, were co-trustees.

Although the money was supposed to be used only for his daughter's needs, Blank and Mangano started making regular withdrawals for their own use, investigators said.

In one case, Blank withdrew $158,676 he claimed was his share of the marital estate, Bensalem Township police said. They said that at least twice Blank and Mangano, who struck a deal with prosecutors to testify against Blank, withdrew large chunks of money and split it.

The criminal investigation began after an attorney Blank hired to work for the trust filed a lawsuit when Blank refused to pay him. Blank and Mango were removed as trustees in 2009.

Prosecutors accused Blank, who had not been employed since 2002, of using his daughter's money to, among other things, pay his mortgage and utilities, to pay fees to a dating site, buy lingerie and tickets to a U2 concert and pay a bar tab.

A county jury convicted Blank of theft, receiving stolen property, access device fraud and conspiracy charges after a three-day trial in 2012.

Blank acted as his own lawyer for two of those three days. That's the main reason his latest appeal to the Superior Court failed.

As Shogan noted, Blank claimed he was the victim of ineffective assistance of counsel tied to the cross-examination of one of his former lawyers who was called as a prosecution witness. He claimed the questioning of the lawyer violated attorney-client privilege.

Blank was the one who questioned the lawyer, Shogan observed, so that argument falls flat. "We will not entertain (Blank's) claim of ineffectiveness for failure to object to the questioning...which occurred while (Blank) represented himself," she wrote.

Full Article & Source:
Dad who looted trust fund dying wife set up for their daughter can't evade prison term

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Breen, Brady question bill allowing pension fund to pay nursing home bills for certain disabled residents

Full Article & Source:
Breen, Brady question bill allowing pension fund to pay nursing home bills for certain disabled residents

'Unlikely indeed' that anyone would trust jailed lawyer with money again

Former Napier lawyer Gerald McKay was struck off in 2014 after the New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal found him guilty of one charge of professional misconduct by acting for a number of parties in a series of transactions where there were strongly conflicting interests.
A disgraced lawyer who treated prison staff like receptionists will be getting out of jail next month, partly because the parole board is confident no-one would trust him with money again.

Napier lawyer Gerald McKay, 76, was jailed in 2016 for four years and six months after a jury found him guilty of five charges of theft, five charges of using a document for pecuniary advantage, and one representative charge of criminal breach of trust.

Between 2005 and 2010 money from clients' trusts was shifted into McKay's own business accounts for day-to-day expenses for his firm McKay Hill Lawyers.

The firm's clients lost between $650,000 to $700,000.

McKay was declined parole by the parole board last year, with the board saying he lacked genuine remorse and he "exhibits some sense of entitlement" and "sometimes treats the staff like receptionists".

When the board saw him again earlier this month it said he had demonstrated insight into the triggers of his offending and a psychologist said there was a very low risk of him re-offending.

The psychologist said McKay's offending occurred as a result of the position he held as a practicing lawyer.

The board said: "That is no longer available to him. The case itself attracted significant media attention, and the report writer opined that people would be unlikely indeed to trust Mr McKay with money in future. The board accepts that view likewise".

McKay would be released from prison next month. He would be subject to several conditions until his sentence ended in in August 2020. These included a condition that prohibited him from "handling money, provision of advice or management of the financial accounts or transactions, of any person or entity, unless you have the prior written approval of a probation officer".

McKay practised law in Napier from 1967 until his practising certificate was suspended following a Law Society investigation of his firm's trust account in 2010. He was president of the NZ Trustees Association from 2004 until 2010. He was struck off as a lawyer in 2014.

The NZ Law Society Fidelity Fund, which is funded by law practitioners, paid $448,000 toward the victims of his offending.
Full Article & Source:
'Unlikely indeed' that anyone would trust jailed lawyer with money again

Schimel, DOJ roll out elder abuse prevention program

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel has his sights set on those who target the elderly.

Schimel and the Department of Justice have rolled out a website (here) and an ad campaign meant to deal with elder abuse.

“We are working to try and raise awareness about a problem that’s pretty significant in Wisconsin,” Schimel said. “And it’s all the more significant because of the rapid pace at which our senior population is and will continue to grow.”

Schimel says over the last 12 months one in 10 seniors have experienced abuse, neglect or exploitation.

The new website, among other things, offers links to county helplines, police departments and local aging resource centers.

It is now up and running. Schimel says it's an attempt to raise awareness and create solutions for a growing problem in the state: Vulnerable seniors becoming victims, especially through financial exploitation.

“Sometimes they’re starting to struggle with late-in-life cognitive issues,” Schimel said. “Sometimes they’re just vulnerable because the internet is kind of a new world to them or maybe they’ve never been involved in financial transactions.”

Schimel says currently only one in 44 cases of financial exploitation among seniors gets reported.

“I’ve had bankers, financial planners tell me about clients they have that got wiped out, often times by a family member,” Schimel said. “Not always but often times, they could be living in poverty when they did save the resources to have a good retirement.”

Schimel says elder abuse is a problem that will continue to grow in the state with the number of seniors increasing by 72 percent by the year 2040.

Full Article & Source:
Schimel, DOJ roll out elder abuse prevention program 

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Complaint Filed in US Federal Court by Lyon County Family Alleges Two Nevada Judges Conspire to Defraud Family’s Life Savings in RICO Conspiracy

RENO, NV The complaint alleges Judge Frances Doherty and Judge David Clifton, both of Reno, Nevada, have colluded and conspired to keep 79 yr. old Susan L. Hillygus locked up and isolated against her pre-estate planning documents and trust.
Judge Frances Doherty is a family court judge with the Second Judicial District Court of Washoe County, Nevada, who has a long history of imposing abusive guardianships upon individuals and their family, even against the family’s protests. The complaint alleges Doherty, a former executive for Washoe Legal Services and past president and on the board of director of the 501-c-3, continues to conspire with current and past members (who are all lawyers) to keep elderly and vulnerable adults locked up against the family’s wishes. The judge is still an active participant of the organization whose mission is to provide pro bono legal services to the indigent among the community. The complaint goes on to state that the judge uses her associations within the organization known as WLS to fill the court room with up to three to five court appointed lawyers, whose job it is to ensure the frightened and anxious senior is kept locked away, while the lawyers dismantle her estate. Mrs. Susan Hillygus estate was worth close to one million dollars when the court imposed itself upon the family and the family’s trust through an alleged illegal and abusive guardianship close to five years ago.
Judge David Clifton is a Justice Court Judge for the city of Reno. His jurisdiction lies with residents of the city of Reno, Nevada. Mrs. Susan Hillygus is a widow as her husband fell victim to the illegal guardianship of Judge Frances Doherty and was dead less than two months after the guardianship was imposed through neglect of his court appointed guardian, the complaint alleges. After the passing of Herbert E. Hillygus August of 2015 the judge set her sights on the family residence of Susan Hillygus who lived outside the jurisdiction of the Reno City limits and ordered the home sold and Mrs. Hillygus sent to a locked facility (Stone Valley Alzheimer’s Center) even though she had lived in the home for 45 years and was living and being cared for by her son and daughter-n-law, each of whom are professionals with backgrounds in the medical field.
The son of Mrs. Hillygus, Roger, who was appointed as her trustee, appealed the order to the Supreme Court of Nevada. On appeal Judge David Clifton using perjured affidavits and testimony from local attorney and associate of Judge Doherty, Todd Torvinen, allegedly illegally filed eviction papers with his former high school class mate, Judge Clifton to have the Roger locked out of the residence which has sat vacant now for close to two years.
According to the recently filed complaint in the US Federal District Court of Northern Nevada, each of the Judges are being hit with multiple violations of civil rights and federal statutes pertaining to the rights of Mrs. Hillygus and her family. Judges are not above the law, and their immunity can be challenged if they are involved in a criminal conspiracy known as RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act).
The complaint is being forwarded to the US Attorney General’s Office and the FBI for criminal charges and investigation, as some of the violations committed against Mrs. Hillygus include theft of her assets and are currently being investigated by the State of Nevada Department of Business and Industry through the Division of Financial Institutions and the Nevada Attorney General’s Office, Adam Laxalt, who is currently running for Governor for the State of Nevada as a Republican candidate.
Contact: Roger Hillygus, (775) 232-5583 or

Press Release

Former District Court Judge Sentenced To 20 Years In Prison For Human Trafficking

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) – A former Campbell County District Judge Timothy Nolan was sentenced to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to numerous charges related to human trafficking.
Prosecutors accepted a guilty plea from Nolan Feb. 9 on 21 counts, including human trafficking of adults, promoting human trafficking of minors and unlawful transaction with minors, against 19 victims. At that time, prosecutors’ recommended sentences totaling 20 years in prison.
As part of his plea agreement, Nolan will pay $110,000 in asset forfeiture and to the Human Trafficking Victims Fund –  within the executive branch’s Justice and Public Safety Cabinet – which was established in 2013.
Nolan paid $10,000 to the victims fund and $40,000 in asset forfeiture today. He is to pay an additional $60,000 in asset forfeiture.
Nolan, 71, of California, Ky., a former local school board member, was originally charged in a criminal complaint by the Campbell County Police Department for crimes that occurred between 2010 and 2017. That complaint alleged that Nolan committed human trafficking with a minor by subjecting a child under age 18 to engaging in commercial sexual activity.
He was later indicted on 28 felony counts and two misdemeanor counts.
Nolan is subject to lifetime sex offender registration.
Full Article & Source:
Former District Court Judge Sentenced To 20 Years In Prison For Human Trafficking

Financial abuse of elders often leads to family crises, lasting harm

Frank Purdy, a disabled military veteran in Northbridge, has five words tattooed on the inside of his forearms. On the right arm, it says “Strength” and “Honor.” On the left reads “Loyalty,” “Family,” “Trust.”

A form of ALS, so far crippling his leg, is sapping his physical strength.

The harm to his sense of loyalty, family and trust, after his 30-year-old niece allegedly purchased and registered to herself a used Toyota RAV4 sports utility vehicle last October, using $20,000 from a Department of Veterans Affairs grant intended for a handicapped-accessible minivan for Mr. Purdy, is much worse.

“What I believed in deteriorated,” Mr. Purdy, 52, said in an interview.

“I’ve got to depend on others. I can only walk a couple of feet. My anger toward her is astronomical.”

In another Northbridge case last year, Gloria S. Morvan, 62, an informal caregiver for then-83-year-old Harold Swart, who is legally blind, wrote herself a check for $195,000 from Mr. Swart’s bank account and purchased a condominium.

She told police, “He said he wanted to help me because I helped him.” Mr. Swart denied that claim.

Ms. Morvan was charged in Uxbridge District Court, in April 2017, with larceny of more than $250 from a person over 65 or disabled. The case is currently awaiting a jury trial in Worcester’s Central District Court.

Cases of alleged financial abuse of seniors or disabled adults are only the tip of the iceberg, experts in elder services say.

According to the National Adult Protective Services Association, just one in 44 cases of financial abuse is reported.

Nationally, as many as five million seniors are robbed or defrauded of $36.5 billion annually, according to the National Council on Aging.

The Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs reported 9,799 confirmed abuse and neglect cases in 2017. More than one in eight, nearly 1,300, were financial abuse.

Maureen Siergie, executive director of Elder Services of Worcester, said her agency receives up to 200 reports of abuse a month from Worcester and 14 surrounding towns served by the agency. Roughly 15 percent of those, or 30 a month, are for financial exploitation.

As the regional elder protective services agency, one of 20 in the state, Ms. Siergie said, “It’s our job to get to the bottom of whether that person willingly made a decision (to give up resources) and whether they had the capacity” to make such a decision.

Elder Services of Worcester serves as the clearinghouse locally for allegations of abuse or exploitation for people age 60 and older.

The Disabled Persons Protection Commission investigates cases of abuse of people with disabilities under the age of 60.

If the loss is more than $250, the agency refers the case to the district attorney’s office for potential criminal prosecution, according to Ms. Siergie.

June 15 is the United Nation’s World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

While many are aware of scams often perpetrated on the elderly, such as calls claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service demanding money, or a grandchild needing emergency cash overseas, people find it harder to grasp exploitation or theft committed by trusted family members and caregivers.

“The people who are most likely to victimize you are the people closest to you,” said Sheriff Lewis G. Evangelidis. “Unfortunately, you have to be aware of the statistics.”

More than 90 percent of all reported elder abuse is committed by family members or trusted others, according to the National Adult Protective Services Association.

Common ways family members and trusted others exploit vulnerable adults, the association notes, include: using a power of attorney, given by the victim to allow another person to handle his or her finances, as a license to steal; taking advantage of joint bank accounts for their own use; using ATM cards and stealing checks to withdraw money from the victim’s account; refusing to obtain needed care and medical services for the victim in order to keep the person’s assets available for the abuser; threatening to harm or abandon the victim unless he or she gives the abuser what he or she wants; and keeping change from errands or improperly charging for services by in-home professional care providers.

“It’s more often than I’d like to see,” said Worcester lawyer Nicholas Daviau, who represents Mr. Purdy. “When money is involved, people act differently than they usually do.”

“We see a boatload of (adult) children who live with their parents, living off their parents’ Social Security, and then you see them with nice stuff,” said Michelle Edelstein, director of the Sutton Council on Aging.

“When you talk to the elder about it, they’ll say it’s a gift. They don’t want to get the person in trouble.”

With paid caregivers, she said, it’s not uncommon for jewelry, collectibles and other items of value to disappear from the home. The caregiver typically blames it on the elder being confused.

“It’s really hard to trust people in your home,” she said.

Ms. Edelstein encouraged family members concerned about a senior’s finances or property to regularly check their bank account and mail. It’s also a good idea to take a video around the senior’s home, so there is a record of what was there. And watch for questionable behavior of relatives or other caregivers.

Ms. Edelstein, a notary public, said she’s seen people asking a senior to sign a car over to a caregiver “for safekeeping.”

In another situation, a senior signed over their house to a caregiver, since the senior didn’t have children.

“Now the senior has to find a place to live because the caregiver wants to sell the house,” Ms. Edelstein said.

Northbridge Police Chief Walter J. Warchol, whose department brought charges last year against the two alleged perpetrators of larceny on an elderly or disabled person, said he hears of about a dozen such cases a year.

“A lot of time, it’s a family member. They don’t want to press charges,” Chief Warchol said. “They just want it resolved and let it go. They feel, who is going to take care of them?”

He added it can be a delicate subject for older adults, who still feel independent, to share personal financial information with their children. If children aren’t familiar with their parents’ finances, it’s hard to detect wrong-doing.

A public-private partnership among the state Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, Executive Office of Elder Affairs, Division of Banks, Office of the Attorney General, district attorneys, Massachusetts Bankers Association and the Cooperative Credit Union Association have updated training materials to assist financial institutions in detecting and preventing elder financial abuse.

Marla Snyder, senior vice president and compliance officer at The Savings Bank in Wakefield, has spoken extensively as a trainer.

“Once you get into a fixed income situation, once you start losing money, it’s almost impossible to get the money back and their earning power is gone,” she said.

Financial exploitation can have physical impacts, affecting medical care and basic necessities, as well as emotional impacts. Seniors affected by financial abuse may suffer from fear, depression, hostility, inability to trust and other mental health issues.

Some studies looking at the relationship between elder abuse and mortality have found that abused elders die sooner.

Financial institutions have gotten savvy, Ms. Snyder said, with software aimed to monitor and flag transactions that look suspicious. When such transactions are detected, a bank employee will usually call the account holder.

Account holders can file a claim of fraudulent activity if they contest a transaction.

“Hopefully, if they didn’t catch it on the front end, they’ll catch it on the back end,” Ms. Snyder said.

But some small transactions fly below the radar. That’s why she encourages seniors to also monitor transactions and statements themselves, and alert their bank of any suspicious activity.

Even seniors living in assisted living facilities or nursing homes can be victims of financial abuse by someone close to them.

Richard Gordon, public relations specialist for SALMON Health and Retirement, said, “We usually get a sense that there may be something going on when we start to see our residents’ billing go into arrears.”

It also shows up when people are looking for senior living options. Family members might not want “to make the decision that’s right for their loved one because it’s their inheritance that’s being spent,” he said.

Mr. Gordon said all staff are trained when they’re hired and at least annually on all forms of abuse, including financial exploitation. When abuse is suspected, state agencies are contacted immediately.

Cases referred for prosecution, particularly involving abuse by a family member, are “some of the most gut-wrenching stuff we see,” according to Worcester District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr.

He said, “This generation (of seniors), they’re a very trusting generation. They want to believe people.”

Prosecuting a case can be difficult. “We have to prove the defendant knows it to be a false statement,” when endorsing a document that diverts resources from the senior victim, Mr. Early said.

And some arrangements between an elder and a defendant are not formalized, but “built on trust.”

Restitution is always ordered when a case is successfully prosecuted. But sometimes, according to Mr. Early, “It’s like getting blood out of a rock.”

In the case involving Mr. Purdy, the disabled Northbridge veteran, criminal charges against his niece, Toni Silva of North Brookfield, were dropped May 2. The motion to dismiss, co-signed by Mr. Purdy’s lawyer and the assistant district attorney, indicated the vehicle had been returned and Mr. Purdy plans to pursue the matter civilly.

Mr. Daviau said the prosecutor explained, “They would have a tough time proving the elements of larceny.”

Mr. Purdy acknowledged he had given Ms. Silva his power of attorney last May, when he was told by the VA - incorrectly, he later learned - he needed to assign a power of attorney to deal with contractors renovating his house through a VA adaptive housing grant.

He revoked the power of attorney in November after he learned Ms. Silva purchased, insured and registered the RAV4 to herself.

Neither Ms. Silva, nor her lawyer, returned calls for comment.

Mr. Purdy’s plan is to trade in the RAV4, which was driven 11,000 miles since Ms. Silva purchased it in October, depreciating its value by an estimated $3,500, for a large minivan that can be used for his transport

“She’s my godchild. I gave her money for her house,” Mr. Purdy said. “I gave her the world and she took it and stabbed me right in the back.”

He continued: “I just want justice. I served my country; I did my time.”

- Elder abuse reports can be filed either online at or by phone at (800) 922-2275. Elder abuse includes: physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, caretaker neglect, financial exploitation and self-neglect. Elder Protective Services can only investigate cases of abuse where the person is age 60 and over and lives in the community. To report abuse of a person with a disability under the age of 60, call the Disabled Persons Protection Commission at (800) 426-9009. To report abuse of a person by nursing home or hospital, call the Department of Public Health at (800) 462-5540.

Full Article & Source:
Financial abuse of elders often leads to family crises, lasting harm

Monday, May 28, 2018

The Unforgivable Truth

Today we pause to give tribute and deep thanks to our Veterans who have answered our country’s call. Many gave their lives or limbs in doing so. We honor them and their spouses and families who also gave the ultimate sacrifice. We call the Veterans and families of WWII “the greatest generation” and they certainly were for their time. While our Veterans bravely faced the enemy and the horrors of war, their spouses kept our country and their families going despite constant hardship and worry.
Today, the greatest generation is under fire again and this time the enemy is elder abuse and guardianship abuse.
Veterans are given constant tribute and honor in this documentary, “The Unforgivable Truth – How We Have Turned America’s Greatest Generation into America’s Abused Generation.” Please watch and share this video.

JOIN The Elder Abuse Reform Now Project


Memorial Day - Remember & Honor

Frisco Hospice Executive Admits Role in Overdosing Patients to Maximize Profits

Novus Health Services in Frisco
A former executive of a North Texas hospice on Thursday admitted her role in an alleged $60 million scheme that included overdosing patients to "hasten their deaths," according to a court document.

Melanie Murphey, operations director for Novus Health Services in Frisco, pleaded guilty to federal health-care fraud charges. She faces up to ten years in prison.

She is expected to testify against 15 others involved in the alleged conspiracy, including Novus’ owner Bradley Harris and his wife Amy.

In court documents detailing her crime, Murphey said she was the "go-between" between Bradley Harris and five nurses and five doctors who are also charged in the alleged conspiracy. The others have pleaded not guilty.

Murphey acknowledged she falsified paperwork to admit patients who weren’t even eligible for hospice services and took directions from Harris designed to maximize profits.

"These directions included Bradley Harris’s instructing nurses to intentionally overmedicate beneficiaries with medications such as hydromorphone and morphine with the intent to hasten their deaths," Murphey said in the document, known as a factual resume.

Bradley Harris, an accountant with no medical training, would decide which medications the hospice’s patients should receive, Murphey said, admitting patients were accepted into hospice care without seeing doctors face-to-face as required.

If patients were on hospice too long and no longer profitable, Harris ordered increases in "whatever narcotic was being used, generally morphine, Dilaudid or Ativan," Murphey said.

"Bradley Harris ordered these increases in medication because he wanted the beneficiaries to die," according to the document.

An FBI search warrant quoted Harris as texting a nurse: "You need to make this patient go bye-bye."

Murphey also admitted she falsified Do Not Resuscitate orders, or DNR’s, to avoid having to pay for ambulance trips to a hospital if the patient’s family called 911.

She also admitted helping destroy evidence after they became aware of the FBI investigation.

Full Article & Source:

Former Judge Casey Moreland Pleads Guilty To Federal Charges

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Former Davidson County General Sessions Judge Casey Moreland is a convicted felon.

He pleaded guilty in federal court to five felony counts.

Moreland did not want to take his case to trial which was scheduled for next month.

He stood in front of a judge and admitted to crimes that will send him to prison for years.

Moreland came into the courtroom looking older than his sixty years.

He wore a green jail outfit and had a full gray beard.

He spoke softly as he admitted to obstruction of justice, witness tampering, stealing money from an organization that receives federal funds, destroying documents and conspiracy to retaliate against a witness.

U. S. Attorney Don Cochran said after the guilty plea that Moreland's behavior violated the public's trust.

"He was sworn to uphold the law instead of doing that he violated the oath and dishonored the robe he wore," Cochran said.

Prosecutors initially charged Moreland with ten criminal counts but he pleaded guilty to five.

One charge stemmed from undercover video taken by an FBI informant inside Moreland's home last year.

It captured Moreland talking about planting drugs on his former mistress in an attempt to discredit her.

Moreland's defense attorney Peter Strianse said with the evidence against Moreland it was the right decision not to go to trial.

Moreland also pleaded guilty to stealing cash from the Drug Court Foundation which he helped start.

Nan Casey who worked along side Moreland has already pleaded guilty in the case and provided undercover audio of Moreland talking about taking cash from self paying clients at Drug Court.

Federal sentencing guidelines suggest Moreland could get up to four years in prison, but his attorney will argue for less.

He says Moreland has been kept in solitary confinement for his protection and his time in jail has taken a toll.

"Make no mistake Judge Moreland has felt the full force of this prosecution," Strianse said.

Prosecutors say they will push for a tough sentence, but it will be up to U.S. District Judge Waverly Crenshaw.

Sentencing is set for August 31.

Full Article & Source:
Former Judge Casey Moreland Pleads Guilty To Federal Charges

Kent County financial planner charged with embezzling over $300,000 from elderly client

A Kent County man was arraigned in Muskegon County on 14 felonies after being accused of stealing more than $300,000 from a widowed elderly client.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said Gary "Duke" Haynes, 57, of Comstock Park, used his relationship as the victim's agent to remove money from her accounts over four years.

According to investigators with the Elder Financial Crimes Unit, Haynes was given access to financial accounts of an 85-year-old woman with the intent of investing for her.

“Many of Michigan’s senior citizen have worked all of their lives to save for retirement,” said Schuette in a release. “My office and the Muskegon County Prosecutor’s Office are committed to stopping those who would prey on our seniors when they are the most vulnerable to theft and financial exploitation.”

Investigators said the money was used for his own personal benefit and to fund his two companies, Senior Planning Resource and Future by Design.

Hayes faces charges of embezzlement, conducting a criminal enterprise and filing false tax returns in Muskegon County.

His bond was set at $25,000.

Full Article & Source:
Kent County financial planner charged with embezzling over $300,000 from elderly client

Sunday, May 27, 2018

An Open Letter to AG Jeff Sessions: Will you protect the elderly from professional predators?

Dear Mr. Sessions:

I have been hosting an internet radio show for about eight years most of which has been dedicated to exposing the ongoing trafficking of the elderly and the disabled with no other intent than to disinherit families by seizing the accumulated assets of someone else’s life’s work by professional predators. The result of these criminal acts, are the robbed and traumatized victims and family’s and the greatest transfer of wealth ever witnessed in this country. When government studies are done such as those by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) they look at only those cases that will support the contention that it is family or friends who commit these acts, without ever alluding to or even acknowledging the massive number of cases of guardianship and conservator abuses by professionals who make their living preying on the elderly who have committed the new age crime of aging with assets. 

Having called your agency numerous times, and, after hearing from numerous other individuals attempting to report to your agency the human trafficking of the elderly and disabled by predators who operate as professional “guardians”, “conservators” and “attorneys” across the country, I am appalled by your lack of action on this issue. I suppose I shouldn’t be, after all, your agency is populated by individuals who are also BAR Association members and none of this human trafficking has happened without great efforts by BAR members to pass arbitrary and unconstitutional statutes in every state that allow them to traffic the elderly and disabled without penalty. The associated professional guardians also profit handsomely from targeting elderly victims and seizing their assets. And, during this process their bank accounts, property holdings and assets of all kinds are exponentially increased as they avail themselves of every possible dime in the estate with padded billings, spurious and inflated charges of all kinds, and repeated motions in these tribunals which of course is an absolute gold mine for siphoning money off the estate. 

You do know, don’t you, that the targeted victim’s estate is forced to pay for every action brought against it. I liken this to having to pay for weaving the rope they are going to hang you with.

Maybe you could explain to me:
  • How the living, breathing human being is forced to suffer a statutory civil death, equal in its legal consequences to a physical death, and then:
  • have their identity taken from them and assigned to a known predator, who now assumes and presents themselves as the victim, along with all their assets?
  • Why is it that in these tribunals, the rules of evidence do not have to be adhered to?
  • Why does the code of civil procedure not apply?
  • Why is due process never adhered to?
  • Why are ex parte hearings allowed to occur without notice to the family or the victim?
  • Why are these professional predators allowed to levy charges of all kinds against the victim and the family and friends without ever producing any evidence that the charges are in fact valid?
  • Why are they never asked for such evidence?
  • Why is no evidence allowed to be entered into the record of the tribunal refuting the claims of the predators?
  • And why is the victim forced to pay for the actions brought against them when no crime has been committed, there is no injured party and no damage to property that the predator does not own or have an interest in….yet.

Does it not occur to you that if you are going to steal someone’s identity with the intent to profit, this should occur in a court of law with a jury present to hear the evidence justifying this theft of identity and the estate? Let me tell you why it does not happen. No crime has been committed. There is no injured party and there is no property damage nor any criminal act committed; therefore no civil or criminal charges would apply. . So they had to create this fictionalized system of statutes that declared the living person deceased with respect to the law, incompetent and vulnerable. The family and friends had to be declared a threat. No evidence needed, of course. 

For years, anyone targeted under this predatory system was claimed to be bi-polar. Of course this diagnosis was made to prove incompetency, but since no tests or scientific evidence can be produced to support this disorder and it got challenged so many times, the word “incapacitated” (which can mean absolutely anything at all) has been substituted. Also, too many times the diagnosis was made by a paid “friend of the tribunal” who was a psychiatrist. Of course this professional rarely if ever saw the targeted victim and relied solely on hearsay remarks told to him/her by others. Others being attorneys, potential guardians, charge nurses who had guardians on speed dial and other “professionals”.

Included in this list of known predators are the hearing examiners who are euphemistically referred to as “judges”. Everything pivots around this individual who facilitates the identity theft that results from a gifted guardianship or conservator-ship. With the blessings of the hearing examiner, these predators now present themselves as the victim, complete with testamentary powers so that property can be captured, sold or simply kept for personal use. Personal items of value somehow never make it into the inventories of personal possessions now claimed by the predators. I liken this aspect of human trafficking to the common practice of serial killers to keep certain items as trophies to help them remember and relive their insidious crimes.

I realize that with the passage of S.178 – Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act many people came to believe that somehow this sham bill was going to correct an ongoing criminal racketeering enterprise, wherein predators working in the above mentioned capacities, target, kidnap, isolate and steal the estates of their victims. This bill will do no such thing, as you well know. The bill simply reiterated standing state and federal laws against wire fraud, internet scams, etc.. 

Let me make myself perfectly clear here. As it exists today, probate and the ensuing kidnapping, isolation and the theft of estates is nothing less than the epitome of identity theft with the accompanying theft of assets of all kinds. 

S178 had one purpose. That was to increase the power of and, funding to, the very agencies and individuals we are fighting every day of the week in an effort to protect our family members and friends from these very same predators. This bill not only did not provide any protection for those targeted under this system of trafficking, it provided no citing of criminal acts by these predators, nor did it provide for any criminal penalties or enforcement for these criminal acts by professional predators. 

As you and I both know, if a crime is not specifically cited along with whom this criminal act would apply to, along with necessary penalties and enforcement, and who is to perform that enforcement, it has no lawful effect. But in the case of S178, resides specific language targeting family members or members of the public or community. Conspicuously absent was any reference to, or acknowledgment of, the professionals who make their living preying on the vulnerable with the intent of estate theft.

As an afterthought on S178, was a “miscellaneous” paragraph. That paragraph was the unconstitutional ceding of lawmaking power to the Department of Justice asking the DOJ to create model legislation on guardianship. Congress has no Constitutional authority to cede their lawmaking power, as doing so basically negates any need for them to even exist as a branch of government. This is a clear violation of the separation of powers. But you already know that. 

Every year, an estimated 5-10 billion in real wealth is transferred from the rightful owners to the predators. Add the 30-60 billion estimated by the federal government to be bilked out of medicare by the medical industry and I believe it becomes blatantly clear that the elderly in this country have been deemed a waste population and disposable which has also reduced them to the status of human property. Now reclassified as property, they are bought, sold, traded and profited from by professionals who are gaming a very sick system of human trafficking.

My questions to you Mr. Sessions, are: Now that you have been unconstitutionally ceded law making powers, are you actually going to address the true problems in this system? Or are you simply going to pen model legislation that will codify the trafficking of the elderly by professional predators into actual law?

Very Sincerely,

Marti Oakley
TS Radio/blogtalk
The PPJ Gazette

Full Article & Source:
An Open Letter to AG Jeff Sessions: Will you protect the elderly from professional predators?