Saturday, July 20, 2019

Guardian Abuse: You Cannot Fix What Is Not Broken

by Marti Oakley

“Also, by not declaring it a crime and providing equal access to the law, you and your family are trapped in these civil tribunals with no way out. You cannot get out of the civil tribunal and into a court of common law, and instead are subjected to statutes, codes and regulations that separate you from the law. Here you have no rights, no protections and cannot claim any, most especially anything Constitutional. The Constitutions, both State and Federal have no application here. And this also is intentional. This is not an oversight, or something they just simply forgot to include. They know exactly what they are doing, or not doing whatever the case may be.”
Most of us who have been battling the abuse of the elderly or those who just simply have assets that a predator in this system has decided they want, have operated under the idea that the system just needed repairing. If we just passed a new law. If we just readjusted the statutes. If we just went to the right representative or senator and got their attention, a lot of this corruption would be done away with; we would be safe from this growing class of predators who game the system for profit. It is my opinion that we have been addressing this issue from the wrong angle.

The system is not broken or not functioning as it was intended; it is operating exactly the way it was intended. That is what we failed to realize.

There are few of us who have met with politicians and other officials who have not come away with the deep sense of disbelief with what we encountered while visiting with them. The feigned ignorance of the issues. The platitudes and pandering along with the condescension can be stifling.

 Always these meetings come with the promises that they will look into it and do what ever they can to help. Only they don’t. Many elected officials openly express their disdain for the fact that they were confronted with these issues. After all, plausible deniability is paramount to escaping accountability. Once they are faced with the evidence, many become quite irritated.

You are talking about the organizations and professional unions like the BAR Associations who not only contribute massive amounts of money to political re-election coffers, but who also put all of this in place to begin with. You just caused a tremor in their bank accounts. And besides, they have really important things to worry about…and obviously the kidnapping, psychological torture, estate theft and eventual medical murder in many cases, of the elderly, isn’t one of those things.

To placate the public, to appease them and make them go away, we get fluff & buff bills that appear on the surface to address the issues inherent in this scheme of human trafficking for profit. Only the bills themselves are a sham. Regardless of the language, and no matter what level of the warm fuzzies it gives you to read these bills, the fact is, they are useless.

As an example: A bill might read that “isolation of an elderly individual is strictly prohibited”. That’s a good start…right? But what should have followed that but is intentionally omitted?
  • A declaration that to do so is a CRIME.
  • Who would this bill be directed towards? Professional fiduciaries? Attorneys?
  • Anyone regardless of position or relationship?
  • And that crime is punishable under what authority? What law?
  • What type of crime is it? A class of felony? A misdemeanor? What?
  • What would punishment consist of? Jail time? Fines? Restitution?
  • What would be the proper agency for enforcement?
  • What would enforcement consist of?

These are just basic inclusions, but the fact is, without these minimal inclusions in these bills they are nothing more than wasted paper. And they are a waste of your time. Also, by not declaring it a crime and providing equal access to the law, you and your family are trapped in these civil tribunals with no way out. You cannot get out of the civil tribunal and into a court of common law, and instead are subjected to statutes, codes and regulations that separate you from the law. Here you have no rights, no protections and cannot claim any, most especially anything Constitutional. The Constitutions, both State and Federal have no application here. And this also is intentional. This is not an oversight, or something they just simply forgot to include. They know exactly what they are doing, or not doing whatever the case may be.

Over the last year, I have been contacted by families and individuals from several different countries exposing the fact that this system of human trafficking for profit has been implemented in virtually every one of them. While there may be slight differences in terminology due to language, or possibly structural differences as to how it is assembled based on the type of government employed in a country, the program is the exact replica of the program running here in the US. This is no accident. This is a global effort to to rid the populations of the elderly who are no longer taxable and seen as non-producers. This global culling is accomplished through a pyramid of agencies that are operating globally with a few of them operating quietly behind the scenes.

This system starts at the state level, spreads to the federal level. Then moves to the international community and becomes a global operation.

At some point we will have to accept the fact that no one in a position to end this system is about to do so. We need to be rethinking how we intend to end this as it is apparent that only we, the public can or will. Until we do, this global culling of the elderly will continue and although this is not the first time in world history this has happened, it is the first time it is done without a shot fired. No fuss, no mess to clean up.

Full Article & Source:
Guardian Abuse: You Cannot Fix What Is Not Broken

Senior center employee charged with stealing painkillers

Robin Hoffman
GOSHEN — An Elkhart County woman faces multiple felony charges after allegedly stealing dozens of doses of narcotic painkillers meant for residents at a Goshen senior facility.

Robin Hoffman, 51, is charged with four counts each of distributing a controlled substance while intentionally failing to keep records, providing false information and obtaining a controlled substance by fraud or deceit. Each count is a Level 6 felony, which carries a punishment of up to 2-1/2 years in jail.

She was arrested Monday on a warrant issued last month, with bond set at $36,000. The order for her arrest was given following an investigation by the Medicaid fraud investigation unit in the Indiana Attorney General’s Office.

According to court documents:

Hoffman was a registered nurse working at Waterford Crossing senior living facility in Goshen since 2015. A controlled substance audit on March 21, 2018, found a number of discrepancies with medication reportedly given to four residents.

The audit found a consistent pattern of Hoffman signing out at least one additional dose of medication from the controlled substance count sheet but not documenting that it was given to the patient. A review of records for medication given to the four residents in the previous few weeks found that Hoffman signed out a total of 80 doses of medication for them but did not document 32 doses as being administered.

That included 18 oxycodone tablets for one resident, who needed a tablet every four hours for pain, but seven tablets were not recorded as being administered. Hoffman also allegedly signed out 18 doses of a hydrocodone medication for another resident, who needed a dose twice daily for severe pain, but didn’t record six as being given; 20 doses for a third resident, who needed a dose every six hours for pain, with 10 not documented; and 24 doses for the fourth resident, who needed a dose every four hours, with nine tablets not documented.

Hoffman was fired for narcotics diversion on March 27 after she had documented that she removed medication from a locked medicine cart to give to one resident, but when the resident was later asked if she had requested or received any pain medication, she said no.

The investigation found that between the beginning of February and end of March 2018, Hoffman had failed to keep a record of dispensing a controlled substance, falsified her records and fraudulently acquired the prescription painkillers on as many as 31 occasions.
Full Article & Source: 
Senior center employee charged with stealing painkillers

At 75, Taking Care of Mom, 99: ‘We Did Not Think She Would Live This Long’

CreditCreditCody O'Loughlin for The New York Times
Not many years ago, Lynda Faye planned to spend her retirement gardening in Amherst, Mass., and visiting her eight grandchildren. Not on the list of golden-years pursuits: caring for a frail elderly parent.

Ms. Faye is 75, and her mother, Yetta Meisel, a widow, is 99. The former art teacher fills her days helping her mother bathe, making her meals, picking up medications, scheduling home aides and transporting a wheelchair for excursions.

“Ironically, we did not think she would live this long — she wasn’t all that healthy,” Ms. Faye said, noting years of painful stomach ailments and arthritis. Besides difficulty walking and some cognitive impairment, “she is doing fantastic.”

Ms. Faye and her mother are part of what many experts say is a growing phenomenon: Children in their 60s and 70s who are spending their retirement years caring for parents who are in their 90s and beyond.

Because of longer life spans, many adult children and their parents are now “aging together,” said Kathrin Boerner, an associate professor of gerontology at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

“People in their late 60s and early 70s thought this would be a time of life when some of their responsibilities would drop off,” Dr. Boerner said. “Even though it may be a gift to still have your parents, it can be really rough.”

Besides forcing Ms. Faye to abandon her retirement dreams, her mother’s longevity has taken a financial toll. In 2001, Ms. Faye, an only child, persuaded her parents to move to Amherst from Rochester, N.Y. They paid for an addition to Ms. Faye’s home, where they intended to live. Instead, her parents moved into a three-bedroom condominium nearby. Ms. Faye and her husband, who is 77, turned the addition into a bed-and-breakfast suite. “It was fun — I loved it,” she said.

After Mrs. Meisel’s husband died five years ago, she qualified for a state program that paid some of the costs of home aides. While Ms. Faye ran her B&B, she paid for round-the-clock care for Mrs. Meisel and her mother’s other expenses by dipping into a nest egg of about $250,000 that her father left. Within several years, the money was gone, she said.

On the advice of a financial adviser, Ms. Faye has put her house — with her “fabulous” gardens and an art studio — on the market. The B&B is closed. Ms. Faye and her husband moved into Mrs. Meisel’s condo, and her mother moved into a one-bedroom unit in the same building.

To save money, Ms. Faye cut back on the home aides. She cares for her mother three days a week, and Mrs. Meisel’s Social Security and the state program pay the balance for her care. The $200 left over each month from Mrs. Meisel’s Social Security payment does not cover the rest of her expenses; Ms. Faye said she chips in from a $1,000 monthly pension she receives from a government administrative job.

CreditCody O'Loughlin for The New York Times
With no assets of her own, Mrs. Meisel would be eligible for nursing home care paid by Medicaid. “I could have said to my mother, ‘Off to the nursing home with you,’ but I couldn’t say that to her,’” she said. As difficult as her responsibilities are, Ms. Faye said, she considers herself “incredibly fortunate” to have a mother with a good sense of humor and who thanks her regularly.

Dr. Boerner is using a federal grant to study the relationships of 120 parents who are 90 and older and whose children are 65 and older. She found that many late-in-life caregivers, typically daughters, suffer from their own failing health, which can worsen with the stress, physical tasks and isolation that often accompany caregiving. And the financial picture can become dire. “When parents outlive their resources, the child spends resources meant for their own later life,” Dr. Boerner said.

The situation can be difficult enough for families who are close and loving. But if the parent and child had a “toxic” relationship many years ago, the child can become particularly stressed as old resentments bubble up, and the quality of caregiving could suffer, she said.

The deleterious impact on an older caregiver’s health may continue after a parent’s death. One study found that married daughters who cared for their mothers were more likely than non-caregivers to become depressed and to develop high blood pressure. Single men had higher incidences of heart problems than non-caregivers. These conditions persisted after the parent died.

“It’s hard to get rid of these chronic conditions once you have them,” said Courtney Harold Van Houtven, a co-author of that study and a population health sciences professor at Duke University School of Medicine.

To alleviate stress and to stay healthy, experts recommend that late-in-life caregivers take breaks, get regular checkups, maintain social connections and exercise. Ms. Faye said her exercise regimen, Pilates and running her two Havanese through a dog agility course, “helps keep me sane.”

But taking personal time could depend on the family’s ability to pay for home aides, adult day care and other “respite” programs. Medicaid picks up some costs for people with limited assets, but the number of hours allowed differ by state.

To figure out what’s financially doable, it may help to seek professional advice. An accountant will calculate tax breaks for home care and other services. Local senior programs could offer guidance on free and reduced-cost programs, including counseling for burned-out caregivers.

A geriatric care manager can estimate the costs of different kinds of support a parent may need over time, said Steven A. Starnes, a certified financial planner with Grand Wealth Management in Grand Rapids, Mich. With these assumptions, a financial adviser can assess what the caregiver can afford.

A financial review, Mr. Starnes said, may “help people get more comfortable with spending money on some level of support” — perhaps adult day care once a week. But children who are draining their own retirement savings should consider a nursing home that accepts Medicaid, and then pay for restaurant outings and other extras, he said.

“I don’t recommend putting your own financial security at risk to help your parents,” Mr. Starnes said. “Of course, it’s easier for me to say it than for someone emotionally to do it.”

Even when they do not pay for care, many older caregivers make financial sacrifices. In some cases, children, particularly women, are retiring earlier than they planned or are cutting back on hours, experts say.

CreditCody O'Loughlin for The New York Times
Margaret Willits, 70, and Judi Flamenbaum, 72, who are sisters, left full-time professional jobs to care for their mother, Frances Silverstein, a 100-year-old widow. The three live in a two-bedroom apartment in Brookline, Mass.

Three years ago, when she was 97, Mrs. Silverstein was living alone in Brookline, and Ms. Willits was working full time as a nurse in charge of assessments at a nearby nursing home. She cooked her mother’s meals, did her laundry and ran errands. “I was no spring chicken, and I was doing all this running around,” Ms. Willits said.

Mrs. Silverstein’s walking ability had declined, so Ms. Willits decided to move her mother into the nursing home, where she could keep an eye on her. Mrs. Silverstein paid the facility with the roughly $20,000 in her Individual Retirement Account, and Medicaid picked up the tab when those funds were depleted.

Four months later, the nursing home closed. The sisters decided their mother would not fare well in another facility, so Ms. Willits found a place large enough for three people. Both sisters are divorced.

Ms. Flamenbaum retired from her job at LaGuardia Community College in Queens and moved to Brookline. Ms. Willits had found another full-time job, and Ms. Flamenbaum planned to care for their mother while her sister worked.

“I loved my job,” Ms. Flamenbaum said. “It was a difficult time, and my friends thought I was crazy. We were going to travel.”

But the demands of caregiving forced Ms. Willits to cut to part-time administrative work she could do from home — a loss of earnings she said put a dent in her retirement savings. She had planned to work for two more years.

Mrs. Silverstein’s Social Security pays for part of the rent and some bills. Medicaid pays for an aide six hours a day for six days a week. When the aide is in the apartment, the sisters visit restaurants and museums, meet friends and go to the movies. “You have to be good to yourself,” Ms. Willits said.

Even with a knee replacement, Ms. Willits can move her mother from a chair to her walker. Ms. Flamenbaum’s scoliosis and osteoporosis make physical work more difficult. If their mother eventually needs additional care, the sisters said, she will probably move into a nursing home.

The sisters said they are preparing for their own longevity. Their apartment building is run by a nonprofit organization that provides a range of services for seniors, and they said they have told their children that they do not expect them to become caregivers. “I would not do this to my child,” Ms. Flamenbaum said. “Put me in a nursing home.”

Mrs. Silverstein says she keeps busy watching CNN and listening to books on tape. Though she and her daughters, she said, “don’t see eye to eye on certain things,” Mrs. Silverstein praised the care they provide.

“Their life has been really rough since I can’t really move too much,” she said. “I am very lucky — they have been wonderful in every way.”

Full Article & Source:
At 75, Taking Care of Mom, 99: ‘We Did Not Think She Would Live This Long’

Friday, July 19, 2019

“I Thought They Were Going to Kill Me”: How an Elderly Woman Was Defrauded of Her Life Savings

By Harold Gagné

Photo: Edouard Plante-Fréchette/La Presse

The shocking fate of Veronika Piela, a Montreal woman defrauded of her life savings, is symptomatic of a larger problem. Many seniors are isolated, vulnerable and unlikely to be believed—even when they're telling the truth.


The case of Veronika Piela

Short of breath, her face tensed with fear, an elderly woman struggled with her walker on a snowy sidewalk in Montreal’s Côte-des-Neiges neighbourhood. It was February 14, 2014, and, despite the biting cold, she wore no scarf, gloves or coat.

“Help me,” she asked a passerby, who was surprised to see the frail woman so underdressed. The good Samaritan covered her with some of her own clothes and called emergency services.

When the police arrived, the older woman was shaking. She had no ID. With a thick Russian accent, she kept repeating how much she disliked her new apartment. She didn’t want to return because she wasn’t allowed to have visitors or use the telephone.

The officers escorted her back to her nursing home, where they were shown a court order for 89-year-old Veronika Piela to live at the residence.

“If I stay, I’ll kill myself,” Piela told the police. She had run away by sneaking out an emergency exit.

Reliving traumas

Piela knew what it was like to be held against her will. During the Second World War, as an 18-year-old orphan, she was interned with thousands of other Ukrainians at a labour camp in Germany, unsure if she would make it out alive. There she met a Polish man named Joseph Piela. Together they survived imprisonment and, in August 1945, married in the camp before being released at the end of the war.

In 1948, the couple emigrated to Quebec’s Mauricie region and then on to Montreal, where Joseph worked as a cook and Veronika as a maid and labourer. They had no children. With their savings, they eventually purchased two homes. When Joseph died in 1987, Piela was alone. She lived on a small retirement pension and, later, on the money from their properties, which she sold in 2007.

Now, once again, Piela was trapped. But providence intervened, as it had during the war. Back at the station, the officers submitted their statement to Elizabeth Kraska, an elder-abuse case investigator for the city’s police department.

“I immediately connected it to another incident that had occurred two weeks earlier,” she said.

On January 28, Alissa Kerner, a social worker in private practice, had called the police to report an Alzheimer’s patient named Veronika Piela. Kerner claimed that Piela was living in squalid conditions and the social worker was seeking urgent help from the police to remove her from her apartment.

The call was transferred to Kraska. Kerner explained that she had been hired by Anita Obodzinski, described as Piela’s niece and legal representative, to conduct a psychosocial assessment of the elderly woman. Her conclusion was that Piela could no longer manage on her own and needed to be sent to a care facility.

“I told her to come down to the station with the protection mandate and evaluation reports,” said Kraska. But when Kerner showed up, she didn’t have any of the documents to prove the subject’s incapacity or Obodzinski’s legal authority to make decisions on her behalf. Without them, the police could only transfer Piela to hospital if they felt she needed help. Yet Kerner insisted that Piela should not be sent to a hospital.

For Kraska, something felt off. At that time, she was moving her own 91-year-old father to a care centre for Alzheimer’s patients, so she was familiar with the process. “He went through several medical assessments, and I was there every step of the way. It was clear to me that Ms. Kerner was trying to hide something,” she said.

On February 5, Kraska raised the alert with Quebec’s human rights commission and public curator. Then she set to work on the investigation. Kraska turned her attention to Piela’s police file, where she found evidence of more suspicious incidents.

On February 2, less than a week after Kerner’s call to the station, police had been summoned to Piela’s apartment. According to the report, Kerner and Obodzinski had knocked on the door, but Piela had refused to let them in. The women soon returned with Obodzinski’s husband, Arthur Trzciakowski, and forced their way in to the apartment.

“I thought they were going to kill me,” Piela had told the officers, in tears. She had alerted the police to the intrusion before her phone was unplugged. Kerner, Obodzinski and Trzciakowski were arrested but released without charges when they showed a protection mandate and claimed the incident was a misunderstanding.

Kraska also found a report from February 12, two days before Piela was discovered in the street, when officers had been called to help a bailiff with a Superior Court order to evict Piela from her apartment and bring her to a nursing home.

The court order had been granted in December 2013. Piela—described as an Alzheimer’s patient incapable of living alone—was not present during these proceedings. The judge ruled in favour of eviction, and Piela was sent by ambulance to a nursing home. The lawyer representing Obodzinski for the hearing was Charles Gelber, Kerner’s husband.

“Help me.”

Kraska had seen enough. On February 17, she and four officers went to Piela’s nursing home. There they discovered that the elderly woman had been placed in a small, stark basement room. Her only possessions were the clothes on her back.

Kraska walked toward Piela slowly, as she did with her own father, and spoke to her in Polish, a language she had learned from her parents. “Her face lit up,” said Kraska.

During their exchange, Piela appeared mentally sound and exhibited no signs of Alzheimer’s disease. The only medication Kraska found in the room was a prescription to treat Piela’s rheumatism.

“Help me,” said Piela, “or I’ll commit suicide.” Kraska put her arm around the elderly woman and promised to get her out.

“She’s only interested in the money from the two homes I sold,” Piela said of Anita Obodzinski.


Thanks to Kraska’s intervention, Piela was quickly placed in another care centre, the location of which was kept secret for her own safety. But she had another urgent problem: she’d been stripped of all her money. When Piela checked her bank accounts, she discovered that $474,000 had been transferred to a trust registered to Charles Gelber, on behalf of Obodzinski. In order to get her money back, she had to regain her legal autonomy. Piela hired a lawyer.

The proceedings to invalidate the protection mandate—which provides someone control of another person’s physical and financial care in case of their incapacity—began at the end of February 2014 and continued for two years. During that time, Piela had to go to court 20 times. The anxiety she experienced caused her to develop heart problems and high blood pressure, for which she was hospitalized. Despite her poor health, Piela was determined to provide her testimony.

“I met Anita Obodzinski in 2007,” she explained to Superior Court judge Hélène Langlois in November 2015. “She showed up at my house with her mother, an acquaintance of mine, and wanted to buy one of my duplexes.”

The sale fell through, but Obodzinski offered to take Piela to her medical appointments and help her with chores for $100 a week. Their arrangement came to an end in June 2013, when Piela said she accused Obodzinski of stealing from her purse.

In her defence, Obodzinski claimed she was officially mandated to care for Piela and manage her property. But the protection mandate, dating from March 2013, when Piela had undergone knee surgery, was shown to have been forged. An expert witness from the forensic-science laboratory testified that the signature on the document wasn’t Piela’s.

Under Quebec law, the protection mandate requires both a medical assessment and a psychosocial report to be put into effect. Kerner had supplied the latter. And she had asked Dr. Lindsay Goldsmith, a Montreal family doctor, to conduct the medical evaluation. Goldsmith claimed that she had carried out her evaluation in November 2013, in Piela’s kitchen, with Obodzinski translating the questions and answers to and from Russian. Goldsmith concluded that Piela wasn’t able to take care of herself or her property and that she suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. Piela, however, maintained that she had never met with a doctor.

In court, geriatric physician Dr. Catherine Ferrier disputed Goldsmith’s findings. After completing her own medical tests, she found that Piela was capable of making decisions and administering her affairs. Ferrier told the court that it was unlikely that Piela was suffering from Alzheimer’s in November 2013, since the disease may stabilize, but it doesn’t improve.

The court ruled that the reports by Goldsmith and Kerner were unreliable. The mandate was revoked in November 2015, and Piela was declared able to take care of herself and her property and exercise her civil rights. She was free, and her money was returned to her.

Not an isolated incident

Meanwhile, Piela’s attorney contacted Quebec’s order of social work, urging them to investigate Alissa Kerner. In September 2014, they suspended her. Given the allegations, the order initiated a review of the social worker’s assessments of other seniors. Thanks to that inquiry, three more stories were brought to their attention and investigated.

One of those cases involved Rose Stein Brownstein. In 2011, when the Montrealer was 76, her son had encouraged her to sign a protection mandate in case of incapacity. The following year, social worker Alissa Kerner had performed an assessment that determined Brownstein had trouble managing her finances and making rational decisions. In October 2012, despite inconclusive medical reports, the protection mandate was put into effect, with her son as mandatary.

But just two months later, Brownstein’s son died of cancer. The replacement named on his mother’s protection mandate was his close friend: Charles Gelber. Over the course of the following year, Brownstein stopped receiving her financial statements, which had been rerouted to Gelber. When she requested copies, she noticed that money was disappearing from her accounts. In December 2013, Gelber had paid himself $17,000 for “administrative services rendered.” Additionally, regular payments, amounting to thousands of dollars, were being transferred to an account belonging to Alissa Kerner.

Brownstein reported the incident to the police and took legal action to prove she wasn’t suffering from Alzheimer’s. She hired a lawyer to demonstrate that the protection mandate should be nullified, and a new medical assessment proved that her cognition was just fine. In March 2015, over Gelber’s objections, a judge found in Brownstein’s favour and she regained her autonomy. The court has yet to rule on the amounts in dispute, but no criminal charges were brought.

Justice is served

For her misconduct, Alissa Kerner faced 11 ethical violations before her professional order—six of them for her involvement in Piela’s case. Another seven disciplinary charges were filed against her in July 2015, and in August 2016, Kerner was suspended for three years and ordered to pay $2,000. She has admitted fault on most counts but expressed no remorse.

“This is the first time we’ve seen collusion and such serious transgressions against seniors by one of our own members,” said Marcel Bonneau, trustee of Quebec’s order of social workers.

In criminal court in September 2017, Kerner pleaded guilty to mischief and breaking and entering into Piela’s home. She was given six months’ probation and ordered to pay $2,000 to the Crime Victims Assistance Centre.

In January 2018, Obodzinski pleaded guilty to a number of charges, including mischief and obstruction of justice. Her husband, Arthur Trzciakowski, also pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful entry and mischief. Obodzinski was sentenced to two years’ house arrest, three years’ probation and 240 hours of community service. Trzciakowski received a conditional discharge and 170 hours of community service.

Before rendering his decision, Justice Pierre Labelle read from a statement: “You latched on to an elderly victim and altered her life. You falsely used the court’s authority to have the victim declared incapable of taking care of herself. You took her life savings, and then you had her forcibly thrown out of her own home. I have no words to express the disgust I feel.”

In October 2018, Charles Gelber was suspended for 18 months by the Quebec bar after he pleaded guilty to seven infractions. The disciplinary committee ruled that his actions “were a direct infringement of Mrs. Piela’s fundamental rights.” Gelber did not appeal the decision.

In March 2014, Piela’s lawyer submitted a complaint against Dr. Lindsay Goldsmith to the province’s order of physicians. No charges were laid. However, Goldsmith, Kerner, Gelber, Obodzinski and Trzciakowski are all named in a civil suit that has been filed by Piela’s estate. The court documents indicate that each party will defend the claims against them. The case is scheduled for November 2019.

With her until the very end

Unfortunately, Veronika Piela can no longer testify.

Exhausted by the proceedings, she died following a stroke in December 2016, at the age of 92. She spent her final months in a Montreal residence for Ukrainian seniors. But she couldn’t shake her suspicion of others.

“She was afraid of becoming a victim of fraud again,” explained Kraska. “When she had to renew her lease or sign documents, she’d call me to make sure everything was in order.”

Piela would tell the officer that she had saved her life.

“I just did my duty,” said Kraska. She was with Piela until the very end.

Full Article & Source:

Oakland County Probate judges hire attorney under criminal investigation

By: Heather Catallo
She was terminated from her position by the Attorney General and she was at the center of a 7 Action News investigation. So why are taxpayers now paying the salary of this local lawyer?

A criminal investigation was launched after we exposed how some public officials and real estate brokers were cashing in on probate estates, often leaving rightful heirs with very little.

So why is one of the public officials being investigated by Oakland County -- now working for Oakland County’s Probate Court?

The 7 Investigators first exposed probate attorney Barbara Andruccioli a year ago.

“How can the taxpayers have any confidence with you working here,” asked 7 Investigator Heather Catallo.

“Really, I think you probably need to talk to the judges,” said Andruccioli.

Andruccioli was a partner at Kemp Klein law firm. She was also an Attorney General-appointed Public Administrator: a public official with the authority to open probate estates after someone dies if there are no heirs available.

Court records show Andruccioli teamed up with real estate broker Ralph Roberts and his companies to open those estates, sell the homes, and cash in.

We uncovered court filings that show Andruccioli and one of Roberts’ companies, Probate Asset Recovery, were billing for thousands of dollars, while the actual heirs ended up with very little.
“They should be held accountable,” Joanne Zaremba told Catallo in 2017.

Until the 7 Investigators got involved, Zaremba had no idea that Andruccioli had opened an estate in her late mother’s name, even though under the law, Andruccioli had a duty to find the heirs.

After our investigation, Attorney General Bill Schuette terminated Andruccioli as a Public Administrator. And that’s not all: the FBI and Oakland County Sheriff’s detectives raided Ralph Roberts offices, and launched a criminal probe into the Public Administrators.

So why did the Oakland County Probate judges recently hire Andruccioli as the Probate Register for the county?

“How can the taxpayers have any confidence -- when you’re now under criminal investigation -- with you working in this court,” asked Catallo.

"That’s not true,” said Andruccioli.

“It struck me as the wolf guarding the hen house,” said Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner.

Oakland County Clerk Lisa Brown described her reaction when she first heard that the judges from the Probate Court (which Brown and Meisner do not oversee) hired Andruccioli: “Shock, absolute shock and bewilderment… So out of having a wonderful pool of applicants, why would you choose this person who has a cloud over them?”

In the wake of our reporting, Brown and Meisner successfully fought to change the state laws that allowed this probate practice to go on. Two bills sponsored by Rep. Jim Runestad (R-White Lake) and Rep. Jim Ellison (D-Royal Oak) were signed into law in February.

Neither Meisner nor Brown can understand why the four Oakland County Probate judges would hire Andruccioli.

“It’s natural that people that work together are going to get to know each other and establish relationships,” said Meisner. “The unusual part is when those relationships and friendships result in inappropriate preference, self-dealing, and lack of due process.”

The Probate Register oversees the daily operations of the Probate Courts Estates and Mental Health division.

Chief Probate Judge Kathleen Ryan would not talk to us on camera, but she did tell 7 Action News that the decision to hire Andruccioli as the Probate Register of the court was unanimous among all four judges and she said, “we’re confident in our hire.”

Judge Ryan also confirmed they hired Andruccioli at the top of the county pay scale, at $102,650. Also, in the past Andruccioli has given small campaign contributions to two of the judges who hired her (Judge Ryan and Judge Jennifer Callaghan), but Judge Ryan says that had no bearing on the hiring decision.

“I think it is a slap in the face to a lot of people,” said Brown. “It reduces confidence that justice will be served here.”

Officials from both the Oakland County Prosecutor’s office and Sheriff’s office tell the 7 Investigators that the criminal probe into the probate scheme and the Public Administrators is ongoing.

County officials such as the Clerk, the Treasurer and the County Executive do not have control over who the judges hire.

If you have a story for Heather, please email her at or call 248-827-4473.

Full Article & Source:
Oakland County Probate judges hire attorney under criminal investigation

State Supreme court disbars by default Lee's Summit attorney acquitted of double homicide

JEFFERSON CITY — Lee's Summit attorney Susan E. Van Note, acquitted more than two years ago in the 2010 double homicide of her father and his longtime girlfriend, has been disbarred by default following a March 22 Missouri Supreme Court order.

Van Note failed to respond to "a recommendation for discipline and suggestions in support thereof" filed by the office of chief disciplinary counsel and the state Supreme Court disbarred the attorney by default, according to the court's order.

The order referred to "information" filed by the chief disciplinary counsel "that there is probable cause to believe" Van Note "is guilty of professional misconduct" but the order did not disclose the information or describe the alleged professional misconduct.

The court also ordered Van Note to pay costs.

On Feb.14, 2017, a 26th Judicial Circuit jury in Laclede County found Van Note not guilty in the Oct. 2, 2010 shooting and stabbing deaths of Van Note's father, Liberty businessman William Van Note, and his girlfriend of 15 years Sharon Dickson.

The two were attacked inside their vacation home in Lake of the Ozarks. Dickson was declared dead at the scene while the elder Van Note later was taken off life support at the direction of his daughter as next of kin, according to news reports at the time.

Prior to the murders, Susan Van Note had been an estate planning attorney.

The Supreme Court clerk's office reportedly ran into difficulty earlier this year trying to officially inform Susan Van Note about the default proceedings against her. A letter dated Jan. 9 to Susan Van Note about the notice of default that had been entered against her was returned marked "UTF," or unable to forward, on Jan. 14, according to docket entries listed on the court's website.

The following day, a letter and copy of information with notice of default was returned marked "REFUSED-COMMERCIAL MAIL RECEIVING AGENCY NO AUTHORIZATION TO RECEIVE MAIL FOR THIS ADDRESS."

As with the court's order, the docket entries do not describe the nature of the professional misconduct allegations against Susan Van Note.

Full Article & Source:
State Supreme court disbars by default Lee's Summit attorney acquitted of double homicide

New York's top nursing homes less likely to admit poor

A resident is escorted down the hall at the Elderwood at Lancaster, a five-star nursing home near Buffalo. In 2017, poor people whose bills were paid by Medicaid represented only 1 percent of the nursing home’s admissions. (Robert Kirkham/News file photo)
New York's top nursing homes admit poor people at a lower rate than the state's worst nursing homes despite regulations prohibiting discrimination.

That is especially true for one-third of the poor people who enter New York nursing homes – those whose bills are paid from Day One by Medicaid.

Across the state, these nearly 22,000 people were twice as likely to be admitted to one-star than five-star homes, The Buffalo News determined from state Department of Health data from 2017. In Western New York, they were four times more likely to be admitted to one-star homes.

The situation is better for poor people who started out with their nursing home bills paid for by Medicare, the federal program that provides health care for those over 65. Statewide, they were slightly more likely to wind up in top-rated nursing homes than in the worst.

Why would five-star nursing homes admit one group of poor people at a greater rate than the other?

Advocates and relatives contend it comes down to money. Medicaid pays nursing homes the lowest reimbursement, an average of $216 a day in Erie and Niagara counties. Medicare pays nursing homes more than double that, about $475 a day on average, according to estimates from Buffalo-area nursing home operators.

State and federal regulations prohibit nursing homes from discriminating against individuals because of their payment source, and executives at top-rated nursing homes said they do not.

Some operators of five-star nursing homes in Western New York said their Medicaid admission rates are low because most of their residents are seniors admitted for short stays to get rehabilitative services, which is usually covered by Medicare whether a resident is poor or not. None of the top-rated nursing homes that said their business model focuses on short-term rehab patients would provide statistics on their short-term and long-term admissions. The state said it does not keep that information.

Nursing homes, the executives said, look at many factors when considering admissions, including the level of care needed.

Becky DelPrince is an Erie County Medical Center vice president who oversees the hospital’s patient discharge planners. She acknowledged in an interview last December that it is difficult to place poor patients into the best nursing homes.

When asked why, DelPrince said: “They don’t give us a reason. They just don’t offer the patient a bed.”

When Medicaid pays

Across New York, top-rated five-star nursing homes actually admit more poor people on Medicaid than one-star nursing homes – a reflection of the fact that there are twice as many five-star homes as there are one-stars.

But the raw admission numbers don't tell the whole story.

At the five-star nursing homes, 7 percent of the new residents in 2017 were Medicaid admissions – poor people whose bills were paid by Medicaid from Day One. 

At the one-star nursing homes, 15 percent of the new residents were Medicaid admissions.

Executives at some of Western New York's top nursing homes said the data the state Department of Health provided to The News does not accurately reflect the poor people in their facilities.

About two-thirds of the people eligible for Medicaid admitted to nursing homes, about 36,000 individuals, were also enrolled in the Medicare program. In those cases, Medicare usually pays the nursing home bills for up to 100 days.

Those dual-enrolled individuals are not listed as Medicaid admissions even though they are poor and Medicaid-eligible, the executives said.

That's true, said Jeffrey Hammond, a spokesman for the Health Department.

But when all Medicaid-eligible people are counted – including those whose bills are initially paid by Medicare – the poor were still admitted at greater rates at one-star than five-star homes, by a small margin, according to state data. At one-star homes, 32 percent of admissions were Medicaid-eligible, compared with 27 percent at top-rated homes.

Medicaid bed ‘unavailable’

Kathleen Cattrall says that in 2012 she was told her mother would have to leave Our Lady of Peace Nursing Care Residence in Lewiston when her mother’s payment source switched from Medicare to Medicaid, which pays a lower reimbursement.

Kathleen Cattrall and her mother, Janis,
at Niagara Rehabilitation and Nursing
Center in Niagara Falls. Janis Cattrall
died in the one-star nursing home in 2015.
 (Photo courtesy of Kathleen Cattrall)
“They informed us they did not have a Medicaid bed for her. They literally told me she is going to have to leave as soon as possible,” Cattrall said. “She had been at Our Lady of Peace for rehab and we expected she would be placed in long-term care there.”

"I visited higher-ranked nursing homes pleading with administrators to find a room for mom," Cattrall said.

The only facility that would admit Janis Cattrall was the one-star Niagara Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Niagara Falls.

Janis Cattrall, 90, who suffered from severe arthritis and dementia, died there in 2015. 

Her daughter says she now knows it is against the law for nursing homes to discriminate against Medicaid recipients.

“At the time, I didn’t know Our Lady of Peace could not kick mom out. I am shocked and I am angry that mom, first of all, had to relocate, and secondly, that she wasn’t given an equal opportunity to stay at a higher-rated nursing home,” Cattrall said.

A spokesperson for Our Lady of Peace, which is owned by Ascension Health Senior Care, declined to comment on Janis Cattrall's circumstances but said the home is committed to assisting the poor.

"As part of that mission, we continually welcome new admissions who are Medicaid and Medicaid-pending," said Molly Gaus. "Today, Our Lady of Peace currently serves 250 residents and 66 percent of those are Medicaid beneficiaries and we welcome new Medicaid admissions frequently."

In 2017, Medicaid admissions accounted for 4 percent of Our Lady of Peace's new residents.

Do the best nursing homes discriminate against poor people on Medicaid?
In New York State, 10 percent of the people admitted to nursing homes in 2017 were Medicaid admissions. But at the top five-star facilities, only 7 percent were Medicaid admissions. At the lowest-rated nursing homes, 15 percent were Medicaid admissions. Here are 2017 Medicaid admission rates at 14 Buffalo area nursing homes that were five-star homes that year. (Click to Continue)

Full Article & Source:
New York's top nursing homes less likely to admit poor

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Abbott Veto is a Major Setback for Oversight of Troubled Adult Guardianship System

Note:  This is an older article that we repeat again as a reminder that States have a long way to go to protect their elderly.  Doing so will first involve a major change in thinking and priorities.

 The statewide oversight system for adult guardianships had overwhelming support. “I am truly shocked and dismayed” by Abbott’s decision, said one lawmaker.

Rosamond Bradley testifies before the
Senate State Affairs committee about
her difficulty getting her guardianship
case reviewed in Lubbock County. 
Texas House of Representatives
In one of his line-item vetoes announced Monday, Governor Greg Abbott effectively canceled a statewide program to inspect guardianship cases for signs of fraud or abuse against vulnerable Texans who are under court protection.

Abbott achieved a $5 million cut from the $217 billion state budget by eliminating a program that would, for the first time, offer a full accounting of how many elderly and incapacitated Texans are being neglected or swindled by their court-appointed guardians.

In a pilot program over the last two years, state auditors have reviewed more than 17,000 cases in 18 counties and found that more than half the cases are out of compliance with state law, missing reports from guardians appointed by a judge to look after an elderly or incapacitated person. Judges rely on these reports to ensure guardians aren’t exploiting the people in their care.

As the Observer has reported in a series of investigations, most counties in Texas either can’t or don’t pay for court staff to monitor these cases. Judges are left to oversee thousands of cases on their own, an impossible job they must handle on top of the new cases.

Without that oversight, people simply fall through the cracks. Last summer, the Observer featured the story of Rosamond Bradley, who remained stuck in a guardianship in Lubbock County for years after she recovered from her illness, despite her letters asking the county judge to restore her rights.

At the same time, a married couple in Lubbock collected thousands from the estates of elderly people, selling off houses and other investments under their authority as court-appointed guardians, with no local oversight.

In April, the Observer reported the story of Patricia Ellis, who spent three years under a temporary guardianship from Smith County, an order that should normally last just two months. Her husband used his authority as her guardian to order electroconvulsive therapy for his wife, while the rest of Ellis’ family waited years to contest the guardianship in front of a judge.

Bradley told her story again for the Senate State Affairs Committee last September, and it made an impression. Last session, the entire committee — seven Republicans and two Democrats — signed on to co-author a bill by Senator Judith Zaffirini that would expand the guardianship audit to cover the whole state, at a cost of $2.5 million a year. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 30 to 1.

In the Texas Capitol, it was that rarest of double-rainbow unicorns: a problem so grave, with a remedy so clear, that lawmakers gladly forked over the money to fix it.

But to Abbott, it was “unnecessary bureaucracy and unnecessary spending,” he explained on Monday. And anyway, he wrote, “I signed multiple bills to reform the guardianship process.”

Zaffirini told the Observer she never saw Abbott’s veto coming. “I was truly shocked and dismayed, and that is an understatement. I was just flabbergasted,” she said. “We didn’t even worry about a veto. Not of this bill.”

Her best guess? That $5 million budget line was too juicy for Abbott to ignore, so he cut first and asked questions later.

“I cannot imagine that he would veto this bill if it were explained to him, and if the history were to be explained,” she said. “The governor is correct that he signed other guardianship bills, but this was the centerpiece. This was the cornerstone of the guardianship package.”

David Slayton, the director of the Office of Court Administration, said that Abbott’s veto zeroed out funding even for the limited audit that began in 2015.

“We’re going to have to step back and figure out what happens with the project,” he said. “The pilot project’s findings were shockingly disturbing, and we felt like the need for this was immense, and we felt like there was good support.”

Slayton said the program has been so popular that counties are lined up on a waitlist for auditors to visit. After Abbott’s veto, that list could be cut very short.

Full Article & Source:
Abbott Veto is a Major Setback for Oversight of Troubled Adult Guardianship System

Sheriff: Pastor accused of exploiting vulnerable adult, may be more victims

Pastor Raymond Vliet
A local pastor accused of exploiting an elderly person has been charged.

The Genesee County Sheriff’s Office announced the arrest of Pastor Raymond Vliet.

Vliet, pastor of Old Beth-el general Baptist Church in Mt. Morris Township, faces charges of embezzling $20,000 to $50,000 from a vulnerable adult and committing a financial transaction without consent.

Sheriff Robert Pickell said the investigation started after a loan officer noticed something suspicious. Pickell said that happened when Vliet, who had power of attorney for a 91-year-old parishioner and his wife, went to a credit union to get a loan for a pontoon.

"The pastor convinced the victim's wife before she died to sign over the modular home in the name of the church and it's Beth-el general Baptist Church. And she did that because she was so taken in by the pastor. He was doing God's work," Pickell said.

The loan officer denied the loan request, and while researching, found Vliet also had power of attorney for other members of the church, Pickell said. That’s when she called the Elder Abuse Task Force.

Pickell said when the credit union turned down the loan, the pastor went to another place and did secure a loan. He also got a loan for another vehicle when he learned the 91-year-old man’s vehicle couldn’t pull the pontoon.

When a welfare check was done at the victim’s house, Pickell said officials noticed some things that just weren’t right.

"That's a pastor that should go to hell," Pickell said.

Pickell believes the pastor exploited elderly churchgoers in Mid-Michigan.

"Using God and the church to bilk them out of money," Pickell said.

Pickell said Vliet has bonded out but said others may be charged.

Pickell also said there may be more victims. He has this advice for family members of loved ones who suffer from issues that affect their decision making.

"Don't be so trusting. And if you have people and family that are suffering from dementia, make sure you look in on them. Look at their records and everything every so often," Pickell said.

Full Article & Source: 
Sheriff: Pastor accused of exploiting vulnerable adult, may be more victims

Can the Nursing Home Deny Me Access to My Grandparent?

My grandmother was put into a nursing home because she needs care that we’re unable to provide. The other day I went to visit her, and I was turned away. The staff denied me access to her, and the same happened to my mother the other day.

How can the staff deny access to my grandparent’s child?

You need to be very concerned for the health and welfare of your grandmother. The issue is that you cannot be denied access if you have a right to visit your grandmother. If you or your mother have been accused of abuse or something of that nature, then you may not be allowed to visit her as a result. Otherwise, you should always be permitted to visit your grandmother as per the facility’s rules.

One of the first signs that a nursing staff may have abused a patient is denying a relative their right to see their loved ones.

There are some circumstances when denial is allowed:
  • Past visiting hours
  • Visits interfere with essential care
Federal law is such that nursing homes cannot turn guests away.

“If a resident doesn’t wish to see a certain person, that visitor will be denied access. Otherwise, nursing home residents can have visitors anytime they choose,” explains Strom & Associates.

Your grandmother’s condition may be deteriorating, and she may choose to stop all visitors from seeing her. There are times when a resident of a nursing home will decide that they’re in such a frail state that they do not want their loved ones to see them in that condition.

It’s a resident trying to be thoughtful of the memories that they leave behind for their loved ones.
A lot of people do not want their loved ones to have the last memory of them be one that has the person in a weakened state. It may be that your grandmother has chosen to deny you access, but the nursing home should alert you to this anyway.

Legal guardians of the resident have a right to deny access to visitors if they deem the person to be a harm to the resident.

Perhaps your grandfather was in a disagreement with your mother, so he decided that he would deny her access to her mother. This is always a possibility, but it‘s best to demand answers from the manager to understand what’s happening to your grandmother.

Laws require that the nursing home allow the resident’s legal guardian or resident representative access the resident immediately. You can call her doctor to do a checkup because an individual physician cannot be denied access to the patient.

If you suspect that abuse has occurred, you should contact the authorities to investigate the matter.

You want your loved one safe and sound, and sometimes, you need to take immediate action to ensure that your loved one has not been abused. If abuse has occurred, you will want to contact an attorney and take action against the nursing home. You may be saving your grandmother’s life or the lives of others who may be abused in the nursing home.

Full Article & Source:
Can the Nursing Home Deny Me Access to My Grandparent?

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

The state’s probate courts need to be fixed. Here’s how.

Michael Schless, of Boynton Beach, Florida reaches out and tries to block the camera as his picture is taken as he leaves Superior Court in New Britian Friday. Schless pleaded no contest to felony charges that, as a court appointed conservator, he stole from the savings of John Fitz, of Wethersfield. (Melanie Stengel/Special to the Courant)

A conservator stole money from her elderly and disabled clients and was prosecuted and sentenced in federal court. Connecticut Probate Administrator Paul Knierim stated that the incident was unfortunate but that safeguards are in place. Judge Knierim suggested that such abuses are rare.

These reported abuses are the tip of an iceberg. The safeguards he referred to do not address the problems.

As lawyers who represent low-income individuals with mental health conditions, we and our colleagues who represent elderly clients too often see court-appointed conservators mismanaging the conserved person’s money. Life savings, however modest, are frequently wasted due to conservators’ ignorance of the Medicaid rules. Conservators may pay a nursing home nearly all of an individual’s assets, making their return home difficult or impossible. Often, these same conservators are quick to move the person to a nursing home without exploring community supports that would allow them to remain at home. In most situations, the Connecticut law requires that a conservator explore such less restrictive options before moving an individual to a nursing home.

But, it does not matter what the law says, because they don’t always follow the law. The law, enacted to protect vulnerable conserved individuals, is frequently ignored by those whose job it is to carry it out.
For example, the statute requires most conservators to provide a bond, which is a kind of insurance to protect the conserved individual’s assets from loss caused by fraud, negligence, theft or misrepresentation by the conservator. However, the probate courts rarely enforce that requirement, leaving people like the victims of the federally sentenced conservator unprotected.

When these issues have been exposed in the press over the years, probate court administration explains them away as isolated incidents. That is not the experience of our clients. We see theft, fraud, sloppy accounting and gross mismanagement of the conserved individuals’ funds. Sometimes the sums are smaller, because our clients are not wealthy, but the sums represent everything they have. Or had.

Too often, advocates for people who are elderly and disabled see this pattern: conservators (or their family members or colleagues) are enriched at the expense of a conserved individual under the excuse of making the conserved individual eligible for Medicaid. For example, we have seen that when someone’s home was sold to pay for a nursing home, the sale may be a “sweetheart” arrangement where the conservator is paid for doing the closing and the selling price is such that a colleague, relative or friend of the conservator purchases the real estate and flips it for a large profit. None of that profit benefits the conserved person (or the nursing home or by extension, the state and its taxpayers).

A colleague appealed one such case to Superior Court and won. The judge said that “substantial rights of the (conserved person) were gravely prejudiced” by the failure of the court to follow the statute and by the failure of the attorney to provide zealous advocacy. Despite a request to have him removed from the appointment list, he is still handling these cases.

This kind of self-dealing is not isolated or unique. Many people involved in the probate court system profit by exploiting conserved individuals.
It is unconscionable that the probate courts fail to take steps to prevent fraud and mismanagement. It is an embarrassment to the probate courts that it is the federal court and the federal prosecutors, not the probate courts, who have been addressing these problems.

It is absurd that random audits are touted as the solution to these problems when actual incidents that are pointed out are not punished or corrected by probate court judges. The offenders continue to be appointed as conservators and court-appointed attorneys.

Connecticut has a modern, even a model conservatorship statute, but it is too often ignored. The safeguards that are in place did not and would not protect the victims of the federally sentenced conservator. A bond would have protected them. A vigilant probate court might have protected them. Vigilant court appointed attorneys might have protected them. But no one protected them.

A system that required training might have protected them. A system where these cases were heard in Superior Court would have protected them.

Connecticut can choose to protect its most vulnerable residents. It just needs the political will to make the necessary changes.

Full Article & Source:
The state’s probate courts need to be fixed. Here’s how.

Caregiver arrested on elder abuse, battery charges

Cora Mildred Mason
A Milledgeville caregiver was arrested last week on felony criminal charges stemming from incidents involving an 87-year-old woman, local authorities say.

The suspect was identified as Cora Mildred Mason, 62, of the 100 block of Merry Drive, according to an incident report filed by Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Jeffrie Veal.

Mason, who was taken into custody Thursday, was charged with one count of exploitation and intimidation of an elder person and battery, records show. She was taken to the Baldwin County Law Enforcement Center where she was jailed.

The deputy said in her report that the incidents happened between 1 p.m. last Wednesday at 1 p.m. and 11 a.m. Thursday. At the time, Mason was working as an employee with Primecare, Home Care Services, according to the report.

Veal said she received a call to go to a residence on Vinson Highway last Thursday to investigate a case involving possible elder abuse and battery.

The deputy said she talked with the victim’s daughter as well as a manager with Primecare.

An in-home security surveillance camera captured the incidents.

Veal said when the victim’s daughter arrived home last Wednesday she discovered that her mother was on the floor. The caregiver reportedly said the elderly victim had slid off the sofa when as she was attempting to get up to go to the restroom. The woman said her mother refused to allow the caregiver to assist in getting her up off the floor.

The victim’s daughter said she thought that odd so she and her husband decided to review the in-home security surveillance footage.

The video recording captured water being thrown into the elderly victim’s face and Mason reportedly yelling and shaking her finger in the face of the woman she was supposed to be caring for, according to the victim’s daughter.

“You can clearly see the victim retreating as much as possible on the sofa,” Veal said in the incident report. “Then, Mason pushes a card table away from in front of (the victim) and slaps her several times across the face. It appears that Mason continues to yell at (the victim) and then she reaches over and grabs (the victim) by the shoulder and arm and pulls her in an upward manner.”

The deputy said once Mason almost got the victim into a standing position, she turned her loose.

“It appears that Mason stumbles and (the victim) slides down to the floor,” Veal said in her report.

Mason reportedly staggered over the victim, walked in front her, and attempted to pull her by the arms, the deputy added.

“Mason continues to pull (the victim) across the floor by the arms,” Veal said. “She finally lets go of (the victim’s) hands and walks away and out of the room.”

The video shows that from the beginning of the incident until the victim’s daughter came home and discovering her mother on the floor spanned from 2:54 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

“The entire video appears to have begun around 2 p.m.” Veal said.

The deputy said the manager of Primecare would provide authorities with a copy of the video and a written report to support the incident report that was filed.

Mason was taken into custody at the scene.

Veal said Capt. Brad King, who heads the sheriff’s office criminal investigations division, was informed about the incidents. Detectives Robert Butch and Reid White have been involved in following up on the investigation.   

Full Article & Source: 
Caregiver arrested on elder abuse, battery charges

New Illinois law protecting elderly from abuse doesn’t go far enough

The law foolishly requires most elderly people to give permission for their family members to be questioned


The Illinois State Capitol
The Illinois State Capitol
Seth Perlman / Associated Press

A new law to address elder abuse has reached Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk. For the first time, as required by House Bill 3065, staffers for the state’s Adult Protective Services will be required to talk to an elderly person’s entire immediate family when trying to confirm abuse complaints.

Yet the new law doesn’t go far enough. Opposed by the entire Illinois elder bureaucracy in its original form, the bill in its final form requires most elders to give permission for their family members to be questioned.

Confirming obvious physical abuse or neglect, under these conditions, may still be no problem for a visiting caseworker. But when long-term isolation and emotional abuse — not physical abuse — make up the core of the abuse complaint, it seems improbable that a cowed and isolated elder will suddenly cooperate with a visiting stranger from Adult Protective Services. 

The same goes for the APS procedural requirement that an elder’s isolation or confinement be verbally confirmed by the abused elder.

What do we still not get about elder abuse — that traumatic exploitation of an entire family through the hostage-taking of its dying parent? 

Why can’t APS confirm the abuse it’s supposed to combat without the cooperation of isolated victims under abusive control at their very end of life? 

APS must finally be allowed to harness the love and truth of good-actor family members against the predators in their midst.

Full Article & Source:
New Illinois law protecting elderly from abuse doesn’t go far enough