Saturday, January 25, 2020

LTCCC Report: Animal Care Standards vs. Nursing Home Resident Experiences
The quality and safety of nursing homes are longstanding public concerns. Numerous studies over the years have identified widespread and significant deficiencies in care, including serious abuse and neglect, and degrading, inhumane conditions.

In light of these concerns, and the widespread persistence of substandard care and abuse, we undertook this analysis to compare the experiences of nursing home residents with the basic standards of care for animals. Can animals in a zoo or kennel expect better treatment and conditions than that which many human nursing home residents actually receive?

The following report provides the results of our findings in relation to 11 key categories of interest and concern. Click on a button on the right hand side to download an Issue Brief on any of the categories covered in the report.

Please Note: The point of this work is not to trivialize the experiences of either nursing home residents or animals but, rather, to illustrate how systemic failures to hold nursing homes accountable for abuse and neglect too often subject residents to conditions that not only fall below the federal nursing home standards of care, but also below accepted standards for the humane treatment of animals.

(Click to read report)

Full Article & Source:
LTCCC Report: Animal Care Standards vs. Nursing Home Resident Experiences

Nursing home task force focuses on staffing

By Emily Mills

Steve Piskor placed a camera in his mother’s room at a Cleveland nursing home in 2011.

From the camera’s recordings, Piskor discovered eight aides abusing his then-78-year-old mother, Esther, who had Alzheimer’s disease and died in 2018.

Eventually, two of the aides went to prison, three were fired and three were disciplined, Piskor said.

The family’s experience with elder abuse inspired Senate Bill 255 and House Bill 461, or “Esther’s Law,” companion measures introduced in the Ohio legislature in December. It would allow residents of facilities like nursing homes and assisted living facilities to set up a video recording device in their room.

“I’m not trying to say all aides are bad and all nursing homes are bad. ... What we’re trying to do is just stop the abuse,” said Piskor, 65, of Cleveland.

Piskor shared his experience during the second meeting of the Summit County Nursing Homes and Facilities Task Force on Tuesday morning in the Greater Akron Chamber office.

The group is focusing on three areas: reviewing current conditions, assessing possible solutions and best practices, and making recommendations. The group will then present its findings and recommendations to Summit County Council and the county executive in a written report this year.

At its first meeting in November, four committees were created: legislation, operations, visitation of facilities and staffing, with each committee giving an update Tuesday.

One of the primary focuses of the task force is staffing issues. Wayside Farm Nursing & Rehabilitation Center administrator and task force member Matthew Pool called staff retention and recruitment a “top priority.”

“Without staff, we’re not going to have the quality of care that we’re looking for,” he said.

Preliminary ideas from the task force include a workforce development initiative with Stark State College and a Peace Corps-style training program within the county for young people interested in health care or caregiving. The program would allow them to get experience in nursing homes and other facilities and potentially be hired permanently in the future.

“We’ve been hearing this ever since we mentioned we were looking into this, not only from the providers of the service but from families who have loved ones in the facilities,” Summit County Council President Jeff Wilhite said of staffing issues.

Wilhite proposed creating the group and is chairing the task force.

He also noted the impediments that can keep people from getting to work, like transportation or day care for their children, and said the task force could help look for solutions to those issues.

Summit County Executive’s Office senior administrator and task force member Whitney Spencer proposed working with Akron Public Schools, which offers health care-related pathways through its College and Career Academies, on the staffing issues affecting nursing homes and other facilities.

Kim Hone McMahan, a retired Beacon Journal reporter and columnist whose 103-year-old mother was injured in a nursing home in May, said staff at nursing homes and other facilities are often underpaid, under-trained and difficult to retain, saying she’s found some facilities with a turnover rate of 100%.

“Many if not most incidents in nursing homes are [due to] a lack of staffing, proper staffing,” said McMahan, saying the lack of proper staffing “has reached a crisis.”

The Summit County Council approved creating the task force in August. The idea for the group came about after a June report listed a Copley facility that closed last summer, Fairlawn Rehab and Nursing Center, among the worst in the nation.

Future task force meetings are scheduled for Feb. 18, March 24, April 21 and May 19, all at 10 a.m. in the Greater Akron Chamber conference room in Akron’s AES Building, 388 S. Main St., Suite 205. The meetings are open to the public.

For questions, call the Summit County Council office at 330-643-2725.

Full Article & Source:
Nursing home task force focuses on staffing

See Also:
Son pushes for cameras after mother's nursing home abuse

New bill called Esther's Law would allow surveillance cameras in nursing home resident rooms

British socialite stole nearly $300K from grandmother with dementia

Emily Rosina Evans-Schreiber
A British socialite stole nearly $300,000 from her dementia-suffering grandmother to fund her lavish lifestyle, including designer clothes and stays in Beverly Hills hotels, according to local reports.

Emily Rosina Evans-Schreiber, 38, had only about $50 in her bank account when she was given control of her 94-year-old grandmother Rosina Evans’ finances in April 2018, a Northampton crown court heard Friday, according to the BBC.

The former model’s mother had become worried about her daughter’s “high life” in London, and bought her a house in Naseby, tasking her with taking care of her grandma, prosecutors said.

Over the next eight months, Evans-Schreiber — who once worked as a fashion consultant for model Cara Delevingne — blew the cash on jet-setting, high-end hotels and cosmetic treatments, prosecutors said.

Eventually, her mom, Clare Evans-Schreiber, became suspicious about how her jobless daughter was managing to afford her luxe lifestyle — and called the bank and the police.

Bank statements for Rosina’s account showed the close to $300,000 in transfers to Evans-Schreiber, labeled as “bills,” “care” and “savings.”

When police searched her house in May 2019 they found “luxury products,” including brand-name clothing, shoes, handbags and sunglasses.

She also gave about $27,000 to her ex, Sam Oguche, the father of her now-eight-year-old daughter, according to the Daily Mail.

By the time the cops were called, only about $7,000 was left in the grandmother’s account. Rosina, who recently died, never knew of her granddaughter’s scheme, the court heard.

Evans-Schreiber pleaded guilty to one count of theft.

In pleading for leniency, the defense argued Evans-Schreiber had left behind enough cash to cover her grandma’s medical bills — and sent her flowers and chocolates.

“She was out of control and wasn’t in her normal mental state,” Carolina Guiloff said about her client.

“It would be wrong for your honor to be left with the impression that this was a cold and callous woman who had no regard for her grandmother at all.”

Judge Rebecca Crane handed down a two-year sentence, suspended for 20 months. Evans-Schreiber must also do 150 hours of community service and attend an alcohol rehab program for six months.

She said her sentencing decision was “very difficult” as Evans-Schreiber was the sole carer for her daughter. She also said Evans-Schreiber had previously battled depression and alcohol addiction.

“Do not come to this court asking for a second chance,” Judge Crane said. “That is what you have been given with this sentence.”

Full Article & Source:
British socialite stole nearly $300K from grandmother with dementia

Friday, January 24, 2020

Florida Advocate Doug Franks is tonight's guest on "In the Mix With Coz and Marti" on Marti Oakley's TS Radio Network at 7:00 CST:

"Doug Franks joins us this evening to discuss the new laws along with the formation of the Office of Public & Private Guardians (OPPG) in Florida. The OPPG was started in 2016, but by 2019 almost everyone had exited the office. Noting that the OPPG will have zero effect on stopping others from being targeted and abused in the probate system, Doug has been an outspoken advocate for change. Doug became involved when his own mother was taken hostage by these predators who operate freely and openly in Florida. FREE ERNESTINE became the hallmark of Doug's public campaign to free his mother from this probate imposed, captivity.

SB994 and HB709

Both bills were supposed to be a major step in reforming what is nothing more than a government approved system of human trafficking for profit. Across the country, families and organizations have been fighting for years to halt the kidnapping, isolation, psychological abuse and theft of assets that occurs via probate tribunals. These bills might have provided a good starting point, but after being passed the state BAR Associations came in through the back door and had any language that might have held them accountable or subjected them to any repercussions, removed. The bills are now just more fluff and buff to make you think they are actually going to protect seniors from this type of exploitation." ...
LISTEN to the show LIVE or listen to the archive later

Wife accused of elderly exploitation for trying to cash $1M check from husband's account

Tampa attorney Todd Foster says his client, 26-year-old Lin Halfon is no gold-digger and even if she was, it’s not a crime.

"They’ve essentially arrested her and accused her of stealing from her husband? How do you steal from your husband?" questions Foster.

Lin Halfon and Richard Rappaport
Halfon and 77-year-old Tampa businessman Richard Rappaport tied the knot last summer. Now the young newlywed is in jail and her husband is asking for a divorce.

She’s accused of trying to cash a $1 million check, at Amscot, from her husband's bank account. Employees there refused to cash it and later grew suspicious after she returned a few times to cash checks for smaller amounts.

Court records show Halfon was so eager to get her hands on the money, she offered to pay Amscot double interest.

Halfon is charged with money laundering, exploitation of the elderly, and organized fraud charges.

However, Foster says his client had a legal right to the cash.

"You will see, as it shakes out in the courts, it’s not what it’s reported to be," Foster said. "This is a consensual transaction between a husband and wife."

Halfon is being held in jail on a bond of $1 million. Foster hopes to get that reduced.

"This was not a spur-of-the-moment, let’s get married, give me all your money type of thing. This was a marriage and a courtship and a relationship over time," explained Foster.

Halfon is in a Tampa courtroom Tuesday for a bond reduction hearing.

Full Article & Source:
Wife accused of elderly exploitation for trying to cash $1M check from husband's account

Grant pleads not guilty at arraignment

Authorities say former local businessman stole more than $1.3 million from clients

Dean Grant
 by Billy Hobbs

A 54-year-old former Milledgeville businessman, accused of stealing more than $1.3 million from clients while working as a financial advisor, pleaded not guilty to 23 felony criminal charges Monday in Baldwin County Superior Court.

Dean Harrison Grant, who formerly lived and worked in Milledgeville and now resides in Roswell, Ga., entered his plea during an arraignment hearing. Grant was represented at the hearing by his attorney, Carl Cansino, of Milledgeville.

Grant, who was arrested for the alleged crimes and who served several days in the Baldwin County Law Enforcement Center, was indicted last November by a grand jury in Baldwin County.

Grand jurors indicted Grant on two counts of trafficking an elder person by financial exploitation, 10 counts of insurance fraud, nine counts of theft by taking, and one count of forgery in the first-degree, according to records filed in the Baldwin County Superior Court Clerk’s Office.

Grant was released from jail after posting a $750,000 bond on March 15 last year.

“This devious individual stole more than $1.3 million of hard-earned money from Georgians,” said Georgia Commissioner of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John F. King. “These victims put their trust in him, and in some cases, their livelihood. He abused that trust and left the victims out to dry. This should serve as an example to all of the people who feel they are above the law; these heinous acts will not be tolerated in this state.”

King’s comments were disseminated to media outlets in a press release after grand jurors returned the 23-count indictment against Grant.

Grant was the founder and managing partner of GIF Strategic Advisors, located at 136 W. McIntosh St., Suite A in Milledgeville.

He was taken into custody on charges last February.

At that time, the state’s insurance and safety fire commissioner said Grant was accused of receiving a total of $589,384.33 from three of his victims. The money was reportedly given to Grant for him to secure insurance-related investments, a total of $447,589.26 of which was taken from two elderly customers.

“He did not obtain any insurance investments with the money he received from his customers and instead used it for personal benefit,” King said in the press release.

Later, Grant was charged with seven other additional counts of insurance fraud and seven counts of theft by taking (fiduciary), according to the state official.

“He was accused of taking an additional $785,000 from three customers for him to secure insurance-related investments, bringing the total monetary value received from the victims to $1,374,384.33,” King said.

The case was jointly investigated by Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office Detective Capt. Brad King and Special Agent Jason S. Jones with the Georgia Insurance Commissioner’s Office.

The sheriff’s office learned of the questionable activities involving the suspect in November 2017.

Full Article & Source:
Grant pleads not guilty at arraignment

California Public Health Agency Can’t Duck Federal Lawsuit

by Maria Dinzeo

OAKLAND, Calif. (CN) — A federal judge ruled Wednesday that California’s byzantine public health bureaucracy must face a lawsuit by elderly Medi-Cal patients claiming it fails to enforce laws prohibiting nursing homes from dumping them into hospitals to free up space for more profitable residents.

Bruce Anderson languished for over a year in Sutter General Hospital after he was sent there by Norwood Pines Care Center. Anderson’s traumatic brain injury and resulting behavioral issues put him at greater risk for falls. Anthony Chicotel, an attorney with California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, said Norwood Pines saw an opportunity to unload him.

“Bruce literally just sat in bed. He never went outside. He was drugged and it was a really sad situation,” Chicotel said in a phone interview Wednesday evening.

Though Anderson appealed his involuntary hospital transfer under the Nursing Home Reform Act and won, the state refuses to enforce its own readmission orders, creating a system that incentivizes nursing homes to break the law and ignore hearing decisions without consequences.

Anderson was finally sent to a nursing home, but only after Chicotel asked a friend who works in nursing home administration to accept him.

Anderson was one of three men who sued the California Health Department in 2015 alongside California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam ruled that Anderson and his co-plaintiffs had alleged a concrete injury and could proceed with their lawsuit, which has been stuck in legal limbo while the Ninth Circuit sorted out whether they had the right to sue.

Last year, the appellate court sent the case back to Gilliam, who dismissed it in 2016, overturning his decision that the Federal Nursing Home Reform Act does not give individuals the right to sue states for failing to enforce the law.

Attorney Matthew Borden of Braun Hagey & Borden, who represents the three patients and CANHR, said Wednesday that Gilliam’s order recognized the “Kafkaesque nightmare” his clients have been through.

“I have clients who are actually worse off having gone and availed themselves of the process they have the right under federal law to use to get readmitted after they’ve been unjustly kicked out,” Borden said. “That piece of paper is worth nothing because of the way the state has orchestrated itself. I think the ruling today is good because it vindicates our legal theory that the processes that the state has are just simply not effective. They’re tantamount to nothing.”

Essentially, the California California Department of Health Care Services says that once it issues an order for nursing home readmission, it no longer has jurisdiction and “has no authority to enforce its own orders.”

For Borden and his clients, the red tape is maddening.

“This is an easy problem to solve. All you have to do is commit to enforcing the orders. It’s just that they don’t want to enforce these orders,” Borden said, listing a half-dozen ways the state could intervene; by cutting of Midi-Cal funding or imposing fines that eliminate the financial incentive for nursing facilities to dump their neediest patients.

Chicotel said he believes that most of the time, nursing homes initiate hospital transfers for legitimate medical reasons, though he has seen some cases of transfers made for phony reasons.

“But once they’re in the hospital, they see their opportunity to permanently get rid of them,” he said.

Chicotel said he would hope that even if Gilliam dismissed the case again, that health and human services secretary Mark Gahly would want to resolve the issue.

“I would think the people who run these state agencies, Dr. Gahly in particular, would see this is a terrible outcome for nursing home residents and want to do something regardless,” Chicotel said.

While he is happy about Gilliam’s ruling, he knows the case faces a tough slog through the court system.

“We went to state multiple times and tried to work with them to find solutions and were basically told to get lost,” Chicotel said. “We’ve wasted four plus years on this litigation when the solutions are pretty simple. I’m hoping the state doesn’t want to wait that long. I’m hopeful the new leadership will be more amenable.”

Borden said plaintiff John Wilson, who had ALS, died while the case was on appeal. Plaintiff Robert Austin has accepted a temporary transfer to a nursing home, but it is located 400 miles away from his sister.

“He would very much like to return back to the Sacramento area to the facility near his sister,” Borden said. “There are a whole litany of people who could step in as additional plaintiffs because it’s a recurring story. It’s happening over and over again. Which is why we’re trying to get the state to do something or take the case to trial and get a judgment against them where there’s an injunction.”

California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform is exploring the option of legislation in 2020 that could force the state into compliance sooner.

A California’s Health and Human Services Agency spokesperson said in an email the agency doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

Full Article & Source:
California Public Health Agency Can’t Duck Federal Lawsuit

Thursday, January 23, 2020

‘She could do it again’: Serial nursing home killer released, moves to SC

by: Ken Kolker

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WOOD) — More than 30 years after she helped kill at least five elderly women in a West Michigan nursing home, serial killer Catherine Wood walked out of prison on Thursday.

Wood, now 57, walked out of the federal prison in Tallahassee, Florida, released over the objections of her victims’ relatives. They fear she’ll kill again.

Conditions of Wood’s parole show she won’t be returning to West Michigan to live, at least for now. Instead, WOOD learned, the Alpine Manor Nursing Home killer will live with her sister in Fort Mill, South Carolina, a city of 17,000 people just outside Charlotte, North Carolina.

“I’m glad she’s not coming back here, but on the other side of the coin, I sympathize with the people that are going to be living around her, wherever she goes,” said John Engman, son-in-law of victim Mae Mason.

He helped lead the fight against Wood’s release.

“If I was a neighbor, I would want to definitely know that we have a serial killer living next door,” Engman said.

In 1987, Wood and Gwendolyn Graham killed at least five patients — and possibly as many as a dozen — at the Alpine Manor Nursing Home, where the women were nurse’s aides. They did it for fun and to bind their love.

The Michigan Parole Board had denied Wood’s release eight times before, finding she was a potential danger and wasn’t remorseful, but that changed in September 2018. Victims’ family members tried to stop it, but a Kent County judge ruled in October 2019 that she should be released.

Retired Walker Police Department Sgt. Roger Kaliniak, who helped investigate the murders at Alpine Manor in 1987, said he fears Wood could kill again.

“She’s a serial killer and she could do it again, and most of them do,” Kaliniak said.

The federal prison in Tallahassee, Florida, that held
Alpine Manor serial killer Catherine Wood.
(Jan. 16, 2020)
Wood spent most of her adult life in the Federal Correctional Institution in Tallahassee, kept separate from Graham, her accomplice, who is serving life without parole in Michigan.

Wood testified against Graham, saying Graham suffocated the victims with washcloths as she acted as a lookout.

But investigators said they believe Wood was more involved and there could have been as many as a dozen victims.

“I believe that Cathy Wood was the mastermind, she was the one that was pulling strings on Gwendolyn Graham,” Kaliniak, the retired detective said. “Gwendolyn Graham handled the dirty work and Cathy Wood was the brains behind it. “

The pair at first tried to spell ‘MURDER’ with their victims’ initials.

Graham was ultimately convicted of first-degree murder in the deaths of Mae Mason, 79, Edith Cook, 98; Marguerite Chambers, 60; Myrtle Luce, 95; and Belle Burkhard, 74. The victims all suffered from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Under the terms of a plea agreement, Wood pleaded to second-degree murder in Chambers’ death and was sentenced to 20 to 40 years in prison.

Kaliniak’s partner in the investigation, retired Detective Sgt. Tom Freeman, said he believes Wood has earned her freedom in exchange for her testimony against Graham.

“If it wasn’t for that deal, Gwen Graham would probably have been loose today,” Freeman said.

He said he doesn’t believe Wood is a threat.

Kaliniak disagrees.

“It’s a horrific crime that these two people were involved in, and I think that both of them should be in prison forever,” Kaliniak said.

“My fear is that she will find some old person, old people, incorporate herself into their family, take their property, take their lives and move on and do it again,” said Engman, the son-in-law of a victim.

The South Carolina parole board said Wood’s parole will keep her from caring for the elderly, for children and for vulnerable adults. But those conditions end when her parole ends in June 2021.

Full Article & Source:
‘She could do it again’: Serial nursing home killer released, moves to SC

94-year-old sexually assaulted at assisted living home, family says

Photo: Christina R. Matacotta / AJC
By Brad Schrade

The family of a 94-year-old widow on Tuesday offered a $2,000 reward for information that leads to the conviction of an unknown man who they say sexually assaulted her at a Clayton County assisted living facility.

Curliene Golden died just weeks after the Sept. 5, 2018, episode that sent police to Governor’s Glen Memory Care and Assisted Living in Forest Park.

Her family says she was found that morning complaining of pain to her vaginal and buttocks areas and told the staff that she had been assaulted.

The Golden family alleges that the home didn’t handle the case properly, according to Terance Madden, an attorney who represents them. The family said police were not called for five hours, and the delay hurt the gathering of crucial evidence.

“Absolutely the way they handled this was incompetent,” Madden said Tuesday during a news conference.

For their part, Governor’s Glen officials say they did nothing wrong. They point to a review by the Department of Community Health that found no violations by the facility. A Sept. 11, 2018, report says the department investigated a complaint and found no rule violations, but it doesn’t state the nature of the complaint.

Governor’s Glen officials don’t believe that Golden was the victim of a sexual assault.

“We believe nothing happened,” said Dennis Stamey, an operating partner with Canopy Lifestyles, which operates Governor’s Glen and five other facilities in Georgia.

He also denied that the facility delayed notifying police, but he did not provide a specific time they were called.

A Forest Park police report says the incident was reported at 2:16 p.m.

The day of the incident, Golden told nursing staff she had been inappropriately touched by an unknown man the night before, according to police. She said this around 9:30 a.m., according to Madden.

A Forest Park police investigation remains open but inactive. Investigators say they didn’t have enough evidence to identify a suspect and pursue the case further.
“After an investigation, which included gathering evidence from the victim, taking witness statements from employees, and sending off evidence to be analyzed by the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, no suspect was developed,” according to a statement issued by Forest Park police.
The statement says if additional evidence surfaces, such as a “DNA profile, new witnesses or new information,” the case can be reopened. Police ask anyone with info to call 404-366-4141.

Full Article & Source:
94-year-old sexually assaulted at assisted living home, family says

Affidavits to be filed in exploitation cases

by Samantha McDaniel-Ogletree

A judge has agreed to review witness affidavits regarding the motions to dismiss cases filed by two Jacksonville women facing charges of financial exploitation of an elderly person in lieu of oral testimony regarding the plea deal of a man serving time for murder.

While scheduled for a hearing Thursday to hear arguments on motions to dismiss the charges, special prosecutor Matt Goetten requested that testimony be given through affidavits.

Circuit Judge John M. Madonia agreed to the affidavits but said he may ask for live testimony at a future date.

“If I review the affidavits and am concerned about making a decision, we can prolong this and have a further hearing for testimony,” Madonia said.

His ruling will decide if the cases will move forward to trial or if an alleged plea deal between the state and Robert Gill, who is serving time for murder, prevents charges from being moved forward.

The women are accused of making $39,449 in transactions from the bank account of Norma Notson, who was 88 and in their care at the time.

Their attorneys argue the women cannot be prosecuted, though, because of an oral agreement between a prosecutor and Gill’s husband, Robert Gill — who is Maul’s father. That pact, they contend, was a condition of Robert Gill’s first-degree murder guilty plea in the 2015 shooting death of of Andrew Maul, who was Jewell Maul’s ex-husband.

That agreement between Robert Gill’s attorney, W. Scott Hanken, and then-special prosecutor Ed Parkinson allegedly stipulated there would be no charges against Joyce Gill or Jewell Maul resulting from the investigation into the shooting.

Gill’s attorney Tom Piper said he will submit an affidavit from Hanken but would like a chance to argue the motion to dismiss.

“I will submit an affidavit for the court’s review, but I’d like to reserve the right to an oral argument,” he said.

Madonia agreed.

Originally dismissed by Madonia because he felt it was not justifiable to hold one prosecutor to another’s agreement, Madonia re-admitted the motions in November after it was brought to his attention that, in addition to Goetten, Ed Parkinson was involved in the original filing of the charges against the women.

The attorneys have until Feb. 7 to file their affidavits, during which time Madonia will decide if he can make a ruling on the motions to dismiss based on those or if he will call both Parkinson and Hanken to testify in person. The next hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Feb. 28.

Full Article & Source:
Affidavits to be filed in exploitation cases

See Also:
Man who pleaded guilty in deadly shooting now accused with wife, daughter of elderly exploitation

Financial Exploitation Case Will Hear Plea Agreement Testimony

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

91-year-old who wanted to ‘stay alive’ dies after being removed from life-support

January 17, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Arline Lester, the 91-year-old woman from Long Island whose son recorded a video of her pleading for her life, died yesterday after being removed from her ventilator and feeding tube.

The killing of Arline Lester was shrouded in secrecy after judge Julianne Capetola allegedly issued a secret gag order forbidding the parties, attorneys or witnesses from communicating any details of the case.

The gag order, which was never made public, was reported to have been issued out of concern for the privacy rights of Arline Lester, but sources close to the family tell LifeSiteNews that the gag order was simply a way to cover up the inevitable killing of a woman against her express wish to live. Attempts, including in-person visits to the court of Judge Capetola by the Personhood Alliance to obtain the gag order in order to verify its existence, content, and scope were unsuccessful.

LifeSiteNews can also confirm that the secret gag order was used to threaten pro-life organizations such as LifeSiteNews and the Personhood Alliance who had re-posted the video recorded by Ed Lester and first published by local NY media outlets. Neither the NY Post nor the Personhood Alliance took down the distressing video, not having been able to confirm the existence or scope of the alleged gag order. Parties, witnesses and attorneys related to the case that were contacted refused to comment for fear of the secret gag order.

Family sources, who refused to give any details of the court proceedings and who requested anonymity for fear of being held in contempt of court, told LifeSiteNews that Arline Lester died yesterday after having her respirator removed while being put on aggressive "palliative sedation," a term that refers to aggressive pain medication that inevitably leads to the death of the patient.

The case of Arlene Lester is especially alarming at a time when NY's Democrat control legislature is considering openly legalizing assisted suicide. Many pro-lifers worry that if the courts are willing to enforce an old "living will" against the express wishes of an elderly woman who was conscious enough to orally communicate them, then what guarantee will there be that people who change their mind at the last moment about assisted suicide will have their right to life respected and protected?

For the last weeks, Arline Lester's two sons had engaged in an acrimonious battle in the Nassau County Supreme Court over two competing "living wills". The first will, signed decades ago, directed that no life support be administered in case she was incapacitated. The second will was drafted recently after Arline suffered medical complications for which she required the insertion of a feeding tube and ventilator at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan.

The son who was taking care of Arline, Edward, told ABC7 NY that his mother had asked him for help to revoke her "living will" seventeen times after which he helped her hire a specialized attorney who drafted the new living will. In other comments to News12, Edward stated that "My mother's perception of a living will was, 'If I'm a vegetable, if I'm brain dead and I'm laying there...pull the plug,' but that's not the situation we have now." To support his claim that his mother's clear wish was to live, Ed released a video where Arline clearly communicates that she did not want to die, but instead wanted to live.

As the NY Post reported, the other brother, Kyle Lester initiated the lawsuit asking a judge in Nassau County Supreme Court to declare him Arline's sole guardian, acknowledging that he hoped to take her off life support — but maintaining this is what their mother wanted.

Once the dramatic video of Arline mouthing the words "I want to live" was published by the NY Post and other publications, the court issued the secret gag order, prohibiting any of the parties, witnesses or attorneys from sharing details of the case with the press.

From that point forward, the repeated attempts from the Personhood Alliance to be shown the gag order or be given any information on the status of the case or medical condition were denied by Judge Julianne Capitola's court.

Full Article & Source:
91-year-old who wanted to ‘stay alive’ dies after being removed from life-support 

See Also:
Son Pleads With NY Court: Let My Mother Live

91-year-old LI woman mouths ‘I want to live’ on video amid legal battle 

California Deputies Accused of Bilking Elderly Woman With Dementia

by  Nick Cahill

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CN) – Like many Americans her age do each winter, Rosalie Achiu hopped on a flight to escape the cold for somewhere balmy. Achiu, a 75-year-old woman with dementia, was alone on her way to a tropical island less than a month after a series of bizarre incidents that seemed to stem from a seemingly routine welfare check by law enforcement.

In the weeks after the first visit by two Sacramento County sheriff deputies, Achiu’s home was suddenly put up for sale along with curious bank charges to a company called RushMyPassport and China Air.

Nine days after landing in the Philippines, Achiu was found by U.S. Marshals but she couldn’t explain how or why she left California.

Nearly two years after the impromptu flight, Achiu on Thursday sued the two deputies that came to her house along with a Sacramento attorney that she claims took advantage of her disability and conspired to wipe out her entire belongings.

“The deputies then removed Ms. Achiu from her home, obtained a power of attorney, took control of Ms. Achiu’s real property, personal property and bank accounts, emptied Ms. Achiu’s safe deposit box and then sent Ms. Achiu, unaccompanied, on a one-way flight to the Philippines,” Achiu claims in a lawsuit filed late Thursday in Sacramento County Superior Court.

Achiu says Sacramento County Sheriff’s deputies Stephanie Angel and Joseph Martin befriended her in January 2018 after responding to a welfare check call. According to the complaint, they returned the next day and again later that week in a patrol car to move Achiu to Angel’s home.

Over the next week, Achiu says the uniformed deputies took her to a doctor’s appointment and later to a Bank of America branch where they opened up joint accounts and even convinced the bank to empty her safe deposit box.

But most alarming, Achiu claims, is that somehow her house was listed for sale and her new realtor was Angel’s friend. To make matters worse, her house was “stripped down with a great deal” of her property tossed in the garbage.

Achiu, who was diagnosed with dementia prior to 2018, claims she then visited an attorney named Ernest Tuttle and legally assigned power over her personal affairs and health care to Angel and Martin. The documents were quickly notarized and Achiu says the deputies capped off the wild stretch by dropping her off at Sacramento International Airport, once again in uniform and in their patrol car.

“Defendant Angel and Martin, with the assistance of defendants Tuttle and [public notary] Anne Kirchner, were able to take over Rosalie’s bank accounts and withdraw several thousand dollars, access and empty Achiu’s safe deposit box, and list Achiu’s house for sale after removing her,” the nine-page complaint states.

Achiu is suing the sheriff’s department, the two deputies, Kirchner and Tuttle for financial and physical elder abuse, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence and civil rights claims. Through her conservator, Achiu is seeking compensatory and punitive damages.

According to local news reports from 2018, the department opened an investigation after Achiu was located and it placed Angel on administrative leave. The reports also cite neighbors who claim they saw Angel visit Achiu’s house multiple times and that the deputy told them Achiu was moving to an assisted living facility.

Achiu’s Sacramento area attorneys Heath Langle and Michael Abrate did not return phone calls after hours Thursday. The sheriff’s department declined to comment on the lawsuit, but spokesperson Teresa Deterding said the two deputies were fired in November 2018 after an “investigation into similar allegations as outlined in the lawsuit.”

Full Article & Source:
California Deputies Accused of Bilking Elderly Woman With Dementia

Indiana bill would allow for voluntary euthanasia of terminally ill

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — A newly introduced Indiana bill would allow people with terminal illnesses to request medication that would end their own lives.

Democratic Rep. Matt Pierce submitted the bill Tuesday. Its supporters call it the "Death with Dignity" bill.

The bill describes terminal illness as an "incurable and irreversible illness that will, within reasonable medical judgment, result in death within six months."

Patients must be at least 18 years old and Indiana residents to request medical aid in dying. The request must be written and cannot be accepted unless the patient is of "sound mind."

If a patient makes a request, there will first be a 15-day waiting period, then doctors are required to confirm the request with the patient. Medication is self-administered. If the patient does take the medication, an insurance company would not be allowed to deny payment of benefits based on a suicide clause.

To read the entire bill, click here.

If the bill passes, it would go into effect July 1, 2020.

Full Article & Source:
Indiana bill would allow for voluntary euthanasia of terminally ill

Woman pressured to approve death by sedation / dehydration for her Aunt.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Alex Schadenberg
Today I spoke with a woman who is the Power of Attorney for her 89 year-old aunt, who is currently in a Toronto hospital.
The niece called EPC because she is upset about the lack of care that her Aunt is receiving.

Her Aunt went to the hospital a few weeks ago with pneumonia. Her doctor decided to do nothing for her. The doctor said:
"she's not going to get better"
The doctor pressured the niece to have her Aunt sedated and dehydrated to death.

Her niece demanded another doctor and insisted on treatment. Her Aunt is now clear from the pneumonia.

Her Aunt is recovering but the hospital continues to pressure her niece to have her Aunt sedated and dehydrated to death. The only reason her niece could think of why they are doing this is that her Aunt is 89. Her niece said:
"she doesn't have cancer, she doesn't have any life-threatening condition."
I urged the niece to keep defending her Aunt's right to receive treatment and care.

I consider this to be elder abuse and discrimination. What makes it worse is that the abuse and discrimination seems to be institutionalized.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) sells the Life Protecting Power of Attorney to protect you.

The Life Protecting Power of Attorney states your wishes and enables your power of attorney to make medical decisions on your behalf. It protects you from euthanasia and assisted suicide and it defines the treatment/care decisions that you want in the event that you are unable to make medical decisions yourself.

The Life Protecting Power of Attorney gives you the piece of mind that EPC will help you if your expressed wishes are ignored or if a hospital or doctor pressures or attempts to impose medical treatment or care decisions upon you.

Purchase the Life Protecting Power of Attorney for Personal Care (Link) by contacting EPC at: 1-877-439-3348 or

If you have concerns contact the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition at: 1-877-439-3348 or Compassionate Community Care at: 1-855-675-8749.

Full Article & Source:
Woman pressured to approve death by sedation / dehydration for her Aunt.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Son Pleads With NY Court: Let My Mother Live

by Sarah Quale

NEW YORK ( - Two brothers in New York are battling for the fate of their mother — one to saveher life, and the other, to hasten her death.

New video evidence and a handwritten plea reveal 91-year-old Arline Lester of Long Island, New York wants to live, but that decision is now in the hands of a judge.

Despite using a respirator and feeding tube, Lester said in the video presented to the Nassau County Court by her son Edward that she desires to continue living. Edward is battling his brother, Kyle, who says his mother's living will, drafted in the 1990s, expresses her desire not to be kept alive by artificial means.

Kyle brought the case before the court to ask for sole guardianship over his mother so he can have Arline's feeding tube and respirator disconnected, which would lead to her starvation and suffocation.

But Edward has produced recent evidence that, he says, supersedes his mother's original living will and shows her health improving. And Arline herself has expressed clearly that she wants to live.

In a November video recorded at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan, Arline mouthed the words "I want to stay alive," and nodded her agreement with several life-affirming statements made by Edward.

Before Nassau County Court Judge Julianne Capetola issued a gag order on Monday, forbidding the brothers from speaking to the media about the case, a family member indicated that Arline "is able to communicate her wants and needs through shaking her head."But on New Year's Day, her 91st birthday, Arline regained her speech.

Another video, filmed over the weekend, was made available to the Personhood Alliance before the gag order went into effect. The video shows Arline alert and speaking on her own. When asked if she is in pain, she shakes her head no and clearly says, "Thank you."

Edward told a local ABC News reporter, "You can have respiratory failure and improve and be back to normal. You can have a feeding tube and improve and be back to normal."

Edward explained that his mother recently had her leg amputated, but that amputation is not fatal.

"She wants to live, and we're here to see that she does," he emphasized. He also told the reporter that his mother made him her power of attorney in November and "wrote 17 times on a piece of paper that she wants to revoke that 1991 living will."

Arline was also recently evaluated as mentally capable of making her own decisions. But her son Kyle is petitioning the court to grant him sole guardianship over his mother in order to withdraw life-sustaining nutrition and hydration and cause her early death.

Edward and Kyle, along with other witnesses for both sides of this case, are being heard during trial all this week in Nassau County Court.

The Personhood Alliance has set up a fundraiser, using an ethical alternative to Go Fund Me, to raise money for Arline's legal defense.

Full Article & Source:
Son Pleads With NY Court: Let My Mother Live

See Also:
91-year-old LI woman mouths ‘I want to live’ on video amid legal battle

Elderly financial exploitation is an epidemic in Illinois

by: Alexis Carpello

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — A grand jury indicts a Rockford pair accused of stealing money from a couple of senior citizens.

Angel Laster and Eugene Woods face a long list of charges, including forgery and financial exploitation of an elderly person.

This type of crime has become an epidemic throughout Illinois.

“A lot of people who are asked to help, are not worthy of that trust,” said Adult Protective Services Supervisor of Lee, Carroll, Ogle and Whiteside Counties, David Dorsey.

Police say Laster, an in-home caregiver, stole multiple checks from the victim’s checkbook. Over $4,000 was taken from the account.

Incidents like this plague the surrounding areas.

“It’s far more than common, it’s an avalanche. It’s escalating to numbers we’ve never seen before,” Dorsey explained. “It’s actually an epidemic everywhere in our state.”

The unfortunate events lead to the money sometimes not being traceable.

“Rarely is the money recoverable, cause it’s gone,” Dorsey said. “People don’t steal elder’s money to save it. They steal it, and they spend it.”

Local counties have seen the abuse happen hundreds of times.

“In the last calendar year for Lee, Carroll, Ogle and Whiteside we opened 409 abuse cases. That’s four rural communities, the number of intakes are much higher in metropolitan areas, specifically our nearest large metropolitan area is Rockford,” he mentioned.

Dorsey says banks are trained to try and prevent the fraud from happening.

“The laws have changed and now require banks to train on financial exploitation issues,” he added.

Another way to prevent the crimes is with help of loved ones.

“The most effective, absolutely the most effective solution for financial exploitation is to have involved family members,” Dorsey said. “Family members can prevent financial abuse.”

The following statement was sent to Eyewitness News by Home Instead Senior Care, where Laster worked.

“This individual is no longer employed with our company. Upon learning of these reports, we took immediate steps to suspend, and then terminate this individual. We have cooperated fully with the authorities and will to continue to do so to ensure that this individual is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

We take very seriously the responsibility we have to our clients. Before placing a CAREGiver in a client’s home, we conduct rigorous third-party criminal background checks, drug tests as well as personal and professional reference checks. These were all completed in this instance and we did not find any history of inappropriate behavior.” Dan Woodka, Owner 

Full Article & Source:
Elderly financial exploitation is an epidemic in Illinois

Former Mrs. Florida headed to prison for stealing elderly mom’s SSI checks

Mrs. Florida Karyn Turk 2016.
By Jane Musgrave

The conservative media darling is also ordered to spend 100 hours of community service at a nursing home to remind her of the time she never spent with her mother.

A conservative media commentator who was crowned Mrs. Florida 2016 is headed to prison after a federal judge on Thursday said he wanted to send a message that if you steal from the U.S. government, you’re going to jail.

Unless Karyn Turk can convince an appeals court that she doesn’t deserve to spend a month behind bars for stealing her elderly mother’s Social Security checks instead of using the money to pay for nursing home care, the Highland Beach resident must report to prison on March 2.

Turk’s looming jail sentence — to be followed by five months of house arrest — was ordered by U.S. Magistrate Bruce Reinhart after a contentious hearing.

He also ordered Turk to perform 100 hours of community service at a nursing home — a reminder of the time she never spent with her own mother who spent three years in a Lake Worth facility, ravaged by Alzheimer’s disease.

While Turk didn’t show any reaction to Reinhart’s decision, she and her lawyers sought to convince him that she has suffered enough and didn’t deserve house arrest, much less prison time.

Since pleading guilty in September to a misdemeanor charge of Social Security fraud, she has been attacked on social media, said her attorney David Tarras.

Turk, who last year was named champion of the year by Best Buddies, a teen mentoring group, has lost her position on various philanthropic groups, he said.

The damage to her reputation and her status in political, business and social circles has been enormous, he said.

Without the ability to hob-nob in the community, travel to interview celebrities for YouTube broadcasts and to host fundraisers, like those she held for now convicted political operative Roger Stone, her career is dead, he said.

“Her livelihood is based on networking and being a social media commentator,” Tarras said.

Besides, he argued, she came to court with a check for $46,000 to reimburse the government for the money she stole. That, he said, should be enough.

Reinhart disagreed. While noting that Turk had lived an otherwise law-abiding life and done good works, he said her crime was a serious one. She shouldn’t be able to “buy her way out of jail” by simply writing a check, he said.

“Choices in life have consequences, I’m sorry to tell you,” Reinhart said. “If you steal from the government, you’re not going to have a reputation as an honest person.”

As a social media commentator with a large following, he said she was well-placed to send an important message to others who might follow in her footsteps.

“The message I’m sending is: You can’t steal from the government and not go to jail,” Reinhart said.

His decision was welcomed by roughly a half-dozen employees of the Finnish American Rest Home who cared for Turk’s elderly mother until she died in July at age 83. While they said nothing during the hearing, outside the courtroom, they said they were relieved.

“Resident exploitation is a serious crime and I’m glad he recognized that,” said Daniel Benson, executive director of the 45-bed nursing home.

Instead of using her mother’s Social Security, Veterans Administration and pension checks to cover $219,000 in nursing home bills, Turk used the money to pay for shopping sprees, dinners out and for a nanny to watch her children, according to Palm Beach County sheriff’s Detective Vaughn Mitchell.

The loss over three years hurt, Benson said. “We rely on the money for staff raises, to update equipment, for our operations,” he said. “It’s a significant amount for a small nonprofit.”

Some of her mother’s expenses would have been covered by Medicare if Turk had filled out the necessary paperwork. But, despite constant requests, Turk refused, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Adrienne Rabinowitz.

The nursing home even went to court to try to force Turk to pay up. While a Palm Beach County circuit judge in August 2018 ordered Turk to pay $250 a month to defray the mounting bill, Turk still didn’t do it, Rabinowitz said.

Sadly, she said, the circuit judge also ordered Turk to buy clothes for her mother instead of leaving it to the nursing home.

“I think it says a lot about who this person is when you have to be ordered to buy your mother clothes,” Rabinowitz said.

Attorney Guy Fronstin, who also represents Turk, said he plans to appeal. He said he will ask that she not be required to report to prison until the appeal is decided.

While Turk faced a maximum year-long sentence, he questioned whether Reinhart could send Turk to prison for a month to “send a message.”

Reinhart said one of the biggest mysteries is why Turk, who is married to an attorney and touts an upscale lifestyle, stole the money.

Tarras said Turk couldn’t explain her actions because of ongoing litigation with the nursing home and her legal battle to retain control of her mother’s estate.

She is suing the nursing home, claiming its negligence led to her mother’s death. It is suing her and her mother’s estate to recover the money it claims it is owed.

Meanwhile, a judge last week gave her late mother’s court-appointed guardian the go-ahead to try and remove Turk as personal representative of the estate. Turk’s criminal conviction figured prominently in that decision.

While emphasizing that a circuit judge should decide if Turk retains control of her mother’s estate, Reinhart barred her from having control over anyone’s money.

For her part, Turk initially tried to downplay her misdeeds. Later, she acknowledged that she broke the law.

“I’m doing everything I can to redeem myself and move forward as a good citizen,” she said.

This story originally published to, and was shared to other Florida newspapers in the new Gannett Media network.

Full Article & Source:
Former Mrs. Florida headed to prison for stealing elderly mom’s SSI checks

Monday, January 20, 2020

Legal battle brewing over Golden Flake fortune

by Tim Howe

Golden Flake is a familiar brand for Alabamians, proudly woven into the state’s culture as a homegrown success story. Its potato chips — ever-present on the set of Paul “Bear” Bryant’s coach’s show, along with a Coca-Cola — were known for being part of the slogan “a great pair, says the Bear.”

Throughout the years, Joann Bashinsky, wife of Golden Flake founder Sloan Bashinsky, has become one of Alabama’s most faithful philanthropists. Affectionately called “Mama B” by those who know her best, Joann Bashinsky has given generously to Alabama charities and institutions such as Samford University, Big Oak Ranch, the University of Alabama and countless others.

But now there is a bitter legal dispute brewing over the Golden Flake fortune – currently estimated to be worth $200 million – as Bashinsky’s former allies have sought to have her declared mentally unfit to manage her finances.

In recent weeks, Bashinsky’s long-time family attorney John P. McKleroy, Jr. successfully petitioned the Jefferson County Probate Court to seize Bashinsky’s estate and appoint a temporary conservator on an emergency basis, alleging that she is unfit to oversee her own finances.

This action was based on allegations that Bashinsky had in recent months displayed a pattern of irresponsible financial dealings and irregular behaviors which led to intervening on her behalf because she may be declining mentally.

In a sign that things are only beginning to heat up in this rancorous feud, some members of the Bashinsky family have gone on the offensive.

In a statement to Yellowhammer News, Bashinsky expressed a feeling of betrayal by people to whom she had once been close.

“It’s very upsetting that people I have considered to be like family have made up lies about me so that they can steal my beloved foundation and family business away from me,” she lamented. “I trusted these people.”

Yellowhammer News also obtained a copy of a letter from Bashinsky’s personal physician, Dr. W. Robert Spiegel, in which he diagnosed her mentally fit.

This is an excerpt from Spiegel’s letter dated October 3, 2019:
I have been Mrs. Joann Bashinsky’s physician for well over five years.

Based upon a recent physical exam including Mini-Mental Status Exam (MMSE) performed by me on October 3, 2019, upon a review of the recent consult by a geriatrician, and upon a review of a recent consult from a neurologist, Mrs. Bashinsky does not have dementia nor psychiatric issue. She has had a recent side effect to a medication.

She is competent to make decisions for herself.
Bashinsky contends this diagnosis should give her the right and freedom to invest, donate and spend her money however she sees fit.

In addition to their strong belief in her sound mental fitness, Bashinsky and her representatives expect Alabama law to support their position. They have asserted that there exists no basis in law for the action taken, as well as her due process rights having been violated for not having an opportunity to present evidence or have an attorney present at the proceeding.

Susan Walker, an attorney for Bashinsky, views the case ultimately as a squabble over the money Bashinsky’s late husband left behind for her.

“Several physicians, including her personal physician, have cleared her of dementia,” Walker reiterated to Yellowhammer News. “However, the disgruntled former employees have failed to apprise the Court of their financial interests in having Mrs. Bashinsky declared non compos mentis and unable to change her will in which they are beneficiaries.”

Bashinsky’s assets have been frozen, and the Jefferson County Probate Court appointed a temporary ward of her estate until March of 2020.

With both sides claiming to be acting in Bashinsky’s best interest, resolution of the case appears unlikely any time soon.

Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia

Full Article & Source:
Legal battle brewing over Golden Flake fortune