Saturday, September 12, 2020

Maul & Gill Receive 2 Year Probation, $40,000 Immediate Restitution In Plea On Financial Exploitation Case

By Benjamin Cox

An elderly financial exploitation case has come to a conclusion in Morgan County Court this morning. 64 year old Joyce Gill and her daughter 39 year old Jewell Maul made a plea agreement with the state for theft over $10,000 and not exceeding $100,000 as immediate administrators to the finances of then-88 year old Norma Notson. Notson is the aunt of Gill’s husband Robert Gill, who is currently serving time in prison in the 2015 shooting death of Maul’s ex-husband Andrew Maul. Notson passed away in 2018, and her estate is currently being executed by 4 individuals.

Special Appellate Prosecutor Matthew Goetten had to substitute new counsel for the state because he is away for active military duty. Morgan County Special Prosecutor Brian Towne served in Goetten’s place before Circuit Judge John M. Madonia this morning in Morgan County Court.

Towne says that the executors of Notson’s estate wanted the case to come to an end: “Judge [Madonia] did in fact accept a negotiated plea arrangement with regard to each of the defendants. It’s very important to our office that our victims be made whole and that they are happy with any kind of resolution. In this particular case, the restitution was very sizable. It was approximately $40,000 and in many of our cases, it seems as though we are chasing the money for our victims for years sometimes. There was considerable attention brought to the fact that these defendants did pay the full $40,000 in restitution today, so the victims were very supportive. They wanted to put this behind them. They still mourn the loss of their aunt and their loved one, and they didn’t want to receive a $25 check in the mail every month for the next untold number of years. The victims really do want this to be behind them, and so they were very supportive and actually wanted this negotiation to happen.”

The case had gone through a lengthy cycle of motions based around an oral plea agreement made by Robert Gill during the Andrew Maul murder trial conclusion, which made between Special Prosecutor Ed Parkinson and Robert Gill’s attorney W. Scott Hanken. The motion was that the 2 women could not face prosecution for crimes regarding Notson’s finances. The women are accused of taking over $39,000 from Notson’s personal bank accounts. The motions to dismiss the case were denied back in February and proceedings were allowed to continue with motions to sever Jewell Maul and Joyce Gill’s cases from each other accepted in July. The cases were set for status today.
Towne says the sentence of 2 years second chance probation in the plea agreement for each of the women along with the sizable restitution has several conditions to be met: “It will be a very intensive probation. Probation officers doing their duty will search the house at times. The [defendants] will submit to random drug testing, and they won’t be able to commit any other crimes. Otherwise, we will be revisiting a sentencing in this matter. There lives will become complicated for the next couple of years.”

The two women had faced up to 4-15 years in prison plus restitution, seizure of assets, and up to a $25,000 fine had the cases went to trial and they were found guilty. If either of the women allegedly violate their probation over the next two years, they could possibly face 3 to 7 years in prison, up to a $25,000 fine, plus original fees and court costs if the sentencing is reheard should they violate probation in any way.

Full Article & Source:
Maul & Gill Receive 2 Year Probation, $40,000 Immediate Restitution In Plea On Financial Exploitation Case

See Also:
Affidavits to be filed in exploitation cases

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

Financial Exploitation Case Will Hear Plea Agreement Testimony

Trial set for ex-judge charged with ethics violations

ATHENS, Ala. (AP) — A former Alabama judge indicted on charges of using his office for personal gain will go on trial Nov. 16.

In setting a trial date for former Limestone County Judge Douglas Lee Patterson, a court said the calendar was “firm.”

Patterson was indicted last year on charges of using his position for personal gain, financial exploitation of the elderly and third-degree theft. He was accused of using his position as a district judge to steal $47,000 from a juvenile court fund. He was also accused of stealing from clients before he became a judge.

Patterson resigned in July but said his departure wasn’t an admission of guilt.

Full Article & Source:
Trial set for ex-judge charged with ethics violations

Types of Abuse: Safeguarding the Elderly

Sadly, some of our most vulnerable citizens are routinely subjected to unconscionable treatment by those entrusted with their care. In many cases, physical or mental limitations prevent these elderly victims from effectively communicating what’s happening to them. 

Sometimes, there are signs that suggest something is wrong. If your loved one is or has been the victim of mistreatment by a caregiver, his or her enjoyment of life—if not life itself—may depend on your ability to recognize those signs and take action. And if there has been abuse, an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer can help you obtain compensation for the injuries, pain and suffering, and other needless losses endured by your loved one.

Nursing home abuse can take many forms

Nursing home abuse encompasses physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and financial exploitation inflicted upon elderly residents in long-term care facilities:

  • Physical nursing home abuse includes any type of harm or violence that significantly injures an elderly person: 
    • Failing to treat health conditions such as bedsores, which are painful and, if left untreated, can lead to infection and even death
    • Improper administration of medications
    • Scratching, slapping, hitting, or punching
    • Kicking
    • Pushing or Shoving, and/or
    • Applying improper restraints
  • Emotional abuse, or elder psychological abuse, occurs when another resident or staff member undermines a resident’s self-esteem or mental well-being:
    • Blaming or scapegoating the victim;
    • Demeaning, ridiculing, or humiliating the victim;
    • Ignoring the victim’s needs;
    • Terrorizing the victim;
    • Threatening, intimidating, or behaving menacingly toward the victim; and/or
    • Screaming or yelling at the victim.
  • Sexual assault includes unwelcome advances by staff or other residents.
  • Financial exploitation is typically perpetrated by a trusted caregiver with access to the victim’s financial documents, checks, and other sources of personal information enabling improper transactions.
Nursing home abuse can be committed by a nursing home staff member or by another resident. However, because of the victim’s dependence upon caregivers, he or she may be afraid to do or say anything about abuse inflicted by a caregiver. 

Be aware of the signs of physical abuse

There are both physical and emotional signs that may point to physical nursing home abuse as well as elder abuse by relatives and other caretakers. Here are some physical signs to look for:
  • Broken or missing teeth;
  • Broken bones;
  • Bruises;
  • Burns;
  • Dislocated joints;
  • Hair loss; and/or
  • Sprains.
Sometimes, nursing home staff members fail to adequately explain a resident’s injuries. In a 2018 Colorado case, an elderly woman with Alzheimer’s sustained broken bones, and deep cuts to her head and arm. The staff told her family that she had scratched herself with a coat hanger. According to a subsequent police investigation, the resident had been beaten by a caregiver with a prior felony conviction. The caregiver received a 12-year prison sentence.

  • Don’t overlook emotional symptoms of physical abuse

A person being abused by a caregiver or another nursing home resident may be traumatized. He or she may exhibit signs of emotional distress as a result of the physical abuse, including withdrawal from social activities, and strained relationships with caregivers. Other clues may be the elder’s hesitation to explain how an injury occurred, or changing stories concerning what caused the injury.

  • If you believe your loved one has been physically abused, seek medical treatment immediately!

As people age, their skin and bones become frailer. Without prompt treatment, a simple injury can develop life-threatening complications. It’s therefore important to seek immediate medical attention for any injuries your loved one has suffered.

Especially if you suspect ongoing abuse, it’s imperative that your loved one be removed from the facility in which the abuse is occurring. Even if the abuse occurred on just one occasion, your loved one may be subject to retaliation once the abuse has been discovered or reported.

Changes in your loved one’s behavior or demeanor may indicate emotional abuse

Certain behaviors suggest that emotional abuse may have occurred, or is ongoing:
  • Avoiding eye contact;
  • Attempting self-harm;
  • Attempting to hurt others;
  • Showing low self-esteem;
  • Appearing depressed or withdrawn;
  • Experiencing acute mood swings; and/or
  • Changing eating or sleeping patterns.
If you suspect that your loved one is being subjected to emotional abuse, ask him or her about it. If you’re still suspicious that abuse is occurring, that should be reported to Adult Protective Services or a similar authority. A caseworker should investigate to determine whether your loved one has been emotionally abused.

If your loved one has been emotionally abused in a nursing home or an assisted care facility, he or she should be relocated to a safer, non-threatening environment. Options could include another nursing facility or home with family members. An adult daycare facility could then assist with your loved one’s care.

Visit often, be observant, and be proactive.

The key to safeguarding nursing home residents and other elders from the scourge of abuse is to visit often, look for signs that something may be wrong, and act immediately upon any suspicion of mistreatment. If your loved one has suffered from nursing home or elder abuse, contact a nursing home abuse lawyer to find out what remedies are available to you and your loved one.  

Full Article & Source:
Types of Abuse: Safeguarding the Elderly

Friday, September 11, 2020

Families with Loved Ones in State Homes Desperate for In-Person Visits

By Maria Guerrero

North Texas families with loved ones with developmental disabilities living in state supported living centers say they feel hopeless.

While some visitations at long-term care facilities are resuming amid COVID-19, others are still restricting access due to the health crisis.

Drive by Stephanie Kirby’s lawn and you’ll see yard signs across her front yard with people’s names and the words: ‘Isolation Kills, Too!’
Signs on Stephanie Kirby's lawn. Photograph provided by Kirby.
They aren’t political, but rather a plea for understanding and support.

Full Article & Source:
Families with Loved Ones in State Homes Desperate for In-Person Visits

A Dangerous Curve Ahead: Access to Florida Guardianship Proceedings at Risk

by Melody Lynch
This week, the Orlando Sentinel reported that The Florida Bar Board of Governors, at the recommendation of The Real Property Probate and Trust Law Section of The Florida Bar, is considering a proposal to change Florida’s guardianship law to further reduce and limit the information available to family members regarding their loved ones involved in guardianship proceedings. In addition to limitations on family members, the media and other groups would also be barred from accessing guardianship records if the new proposal is adopted and ultimately ends up in the legislature.
For a lawyer who frequently represents the family members of wards involved in Florida guardianship proceedings, this recommendation is extremely concerning since it would further limit information available to the families who are looking out for the best interests of their loved ones. If the new proposal becomes law, family members would be left in the dark when, for example, a guardian moves to sell a ward’s home and would be unable to receive and object to filings related to things such as the payment of fees for guardians or their lawyers – essentially giving carte blanche to utilize a ward’s assets to benefit the guardian and the lawyers who represent the guardian without appropriate checks and balances to protect the ward.
As we have repeatedly seen with the Rebecca Fierle professional guardian scandal, which resulted in the untimely death of at least one ward, family members play a vital role in keeping their loved ones safe. Sometimes guardianship proceedings are commenced without notice or an opportunity for family members to be heard at the initial hearing. When family members are not involved at the onset (and adequately represented by their own counsel), there is a higher likelihood for abuse, exploitation, and neglect of the ward and the ward’s express wishes. Pursuant to Florida law, the ward will be assigned a lawyer who is charged with representing the ward’s express wishes, not what the lawyer deems to be in the ward’s best interest. Nevertheless, left unchecked, the attorney for the ward has wide latitude and power to make significant changes affecting the ward’s life and livelihood and may not be arguing what is in the ward’s express interest.
It is extremely important for families to be represented and engaged in the guardianship process to protect their loved ones, even in cases when a professional guardian is appointed. Denying access to family members or other interested persons would further jeopardize the transparency and accountability of the guardianship system which may result in higher incidents of fraud, abuse, and neglect of Florida’s most vulnerable population.

Full Article & Source:
A Dangerous Curve Ahead: Access to Florida Guardianship Proceedings at Risk

Caregiver, father accused of bilking elderly client in Sierra Vista

By Carol Ann Alaimo

Heather Buhr
An Arizona grand jury has indicted two Cochise County residents on suspicion of stealing tens of thousands of dollars from an elderly man.

Heather Buhr, who worked as a caregiver to the alleged victim, and Buhr's father, Isaac Butts, each faces one count of theft/financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult, a news release from the Arizona Attorney General's office said.

The alleged victim, who was 83 at the time, hired a company that advertised in-home care workers to help with the tasks of daily living.

Buhr worked for the company in late 2017 when she was assigned to care for the man, and later also introduced her father to the elderly client, the attorney general's office said.

Within two months, the pair allegedly started stealing from the client, taking more than $53,000 between February and March of 2018, the news release said.

The suspects were indicted by a state grand jury Aug. 24, it said.

Full Article & Source:
Caregiver, father accused of bilking elderly client in Sierra Vista

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Lawsuit: Monroeville nursing home fired administrator for whistleblowing false covid-19 numbers

by Dillon Carr

The former administrator of a Monroeville nursing home, which shares the same owners of Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center in Beaver County, said in a civil lawsuit filed this week he was fired for pushing back against false covid-19 reporting to state and county health officials.

Ron Berlingo, 45, of Greensburg used to work for Monroeville Rehab and Wellness Center, a 120-bed long-term care facility located at 4142 Monroeville Blvd.

According to a complaint filed Monday at Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, Berlingo was fired July 29. He had worked there since September, after having transferred from The Grove at Irwin, a nursing home. Both facilities are owned by the same company, Monroeville Operations LLC.

The Monroeville facility made headlines earlier this month when data from the state’s Department of Health showed the center reporting zero cases of covid-19 one week and then a week later reporting 47 cases and seven deaths.

At the time, the facility said in a statement it was “cautiously optimistic” it had turned a corner because 20 residents’ health had improved, or “resolved,” and 13 staff members had returned to work after medical clearances.

It did not, however, explain the discrepancy in reporting covid-19 cases.

Berlingo’s whistleblower lawsuit adds to the owners’ growing scrutiny in how it has handled the covid-19 outbreak.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro said Aug. 12 Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center in Beaver County is under criminal investigation to see if charges are warranted related to the “conditions and practices” there. The nursing home is where 73 residents have died of covid-19 and more than 300 residents and staffers have been infected since March.

According to Berlingo’s complaint, prepared and filed by his attorney, Adam Gorzelsky, Monroeville Rehab and Wellness Center reported its first covid-19 case in late June or early July. The discovery prompted Berlingo to contact the state Department of Health to report it.

The Allegheny County Department of Health also became involved at that point, the complaint said, and Joan Hebden was assigned as an Infection Control Specialist.

At that time, Monroeville Rehab and Wellness Center tapped a regional administrative consultant named Tom Lowden to be “more involved with the day-to-day operations.”

Hebden communicated with Berlingo, Lowden, the center’s head nurse — whom the lawsuit does not identify — and the center’s attorneys weekly to continue to monitor the situation, the lawsuit said.

During these weekly calls, Berlingo alleges, the head nurse and Lowden were not giving Hebden accurate information regarding covid-19 cases at the center.

State Department of Health data shows the center currently has 59 positive cases among residents, 20 positive cases among staff members and 11 resident deaths. The data represents an increase of 10 cases among residents since Aug. 17.

State data shows Monroeville Rehab reported its first covid-19 cases on July 7, when four of its staff members tested positive. The following week, the center reported nine cases among residents and five cases among staff. Cases decreased for the next three weeks, and on Aug. 4 the numbers hit zero cases and zero deaths.

However, the next week, on Aug. 10, cases among residents jumped to 47, with seven deaths and zero cases among staff. A week later, on Aug. 17, cases among staff shot up to 20.

In one of those weekly calls regarding cases at Monroeville Rehab, the lawsuit said, Lowden and the head nurse told Hebden that a number of employees who had fallen ill were returning back to work.

“This was not the case,” the complaint alleges.

At one point, Lowden told Hebden the center had begun working with an epidemiologist “to control the situation.” Berlingo said this also was not true.

When Berlingo informed Hebden of the discrepancies, Lowden reprimanded him on multiple occasions for talking with the state without having the center’s attorneys present, the complaint said. Lowden also told Berlingo he was not allowed to speak during the weekly teleconferences with Hebden, according to the lawsuit.

After the head nurse allegedly reported more inaccurate information during a group call on July 28, Berlingo reached out again to Hebden to set the record straight, according to the complaint. A day later, Berlingo was fired.

Monroeville Rehab management provided a written statement when asked for comment:

“As much as we would like to explain why the prior administrator was terminated and why we believe the lawsuit is frivolous, we cannot comment on pending litigation. We can say we believe it was the former administrator who gathered the numbers, logged in to the reporting portal, and reported the numbers to the state. All current numbers are accurate and past data has been addressed appropriately with the state. In accordance with guidelines, the facility sends all COVID-19-related data to the state and county.”

Gorzelsky, Berlingo’s attorney, said his client acknowledges the fact he was responsible for collecting and reporting data, along with ensuring his staff and residents were safe. But he was never made aware of any performance errors.

“If they felt he was doing something incorrect, (Berlingo) would have taken any correction,” Gorzelsky said. “The only thing he was doing ‘wrong’ was talking to (health officials) without attorneys present. Ron was genuinely doing what he could do to protect his residents and employees. But he kept hitting road block after road block.”

Full Article & Source:
Lawsuit: Monroeville nursing home fired administrator for whistleblowing false covid-19 numbers

Neal, Wyden, Casey, Bonamici Propose Legislation to Protect Seniors from Abuse and Neglect

Aug 26, 2020
Press Release 
Reauthorization and Funding for Elder Justice Act Would Support Exploited Seniors
WASHINGTON, DC – House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA), Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR), Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), and Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), today offered a bill to protect seniors across the country by reauthorizing and funding the Elder Justice Act.

“The rampant spread of COVID-19 and the devastation this deadly virus has caused among seniors has highlighted the desperate need to better protect our nation’s elderly,” Chairman Neal said. “The abuse and neglect they experience is unacceptable, and this legislation will improve the federal government’s elder justice work by enhancing existing programs and funding research for response methods.”

“Now more than ever, seniors need to know they won’t be forgotten,” Ranking Member Wyden said. “The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed just how vulnerable seniors are, whether they live at an assisted living facility, with a relative or by themselves. The Elder Justice Act is aimed at protecting American seniors from abuse and neglect – it’s time to act.”

“Elder abuse is a pervasive scourge in our society. As our population ages, seniors deserve to live out their golden years free from financial, physical and emotional abuse,” said Senator Casey. “In cases where seniors are mistreated, we must ensure there are resources available to help them seek justice. The Elder Justice Reauthorization Act would provide funding to help address suspected cases of senior abuse and neglect, including the increasing number being reported during the current pandemic. It is critical that Congress quickly pass this legislation to help protect our nation’s older adults.”

“We must do all we can to make sure the older Americans who cared for our communities throughout their lives are not taken advantage of in their later years,” said Congresswoman Bonamici. “Far too many seniors have experienced abuse and neglect, and the coronavirus pandemic has increased isolation and put even more people at risk. As Co-Chair of the House Elder Justice Caucus, I will continue fighting for this important update to the Elder Justice Act.”

“The bipartisan Elder Justice Coalition commends Chairman Neal, Ranking Member Wyden, Senator Casey and Congresswoman Bonamici for the expected introduction of legislation to reauthorize the landmark Elder Justice Act,” said Bob Blancato, National Coordinator of the Elder Justice Coalition. “This bill recognizes two realities. The first is that elder abuse wherever it is committed remains a grave problem impacting millions of older adults annually. The second reality it recognizes is that we need a comprehensive and coordinated federal response to this problem, which must include dedicated funding for adult protective services, a stronger, better-trained long term care ombudsman program, forensic centers to better detect and report elder abuse, and adequate and well-trained staff working in nursing homes.”

The bill, called the Elder Justice Reauthorization Act, reauthorizes the Elder Justice Act and funds the bill’s provisions with over $2.2 billion. Key provisions of the bill would fund elder justice coordination and research activities, enhancements to the long-term care workforce and patient safety, grants to Adult Protective Services (APS) programs and protections for residents of long-term care facilities, among other activities.

The bill would also provide $200 million for the Social Services Block Grant to provide targeted support for APS programs and ensure their capacity to address abuse, neglect and exploitation of older adults and people with disabilities. This new funding is essential to meet the health and safety needs of APS program workers and the vulnerable individuals they serve by providing support to purchase personal protective equipment for APS staff and increase their capacity to investigate the skyrocketing reports and cases of abuse, neglect and exploitation associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Together, these activities are an important step toward a comprehensive federal response to ensure the safety and dignity of older adults and people with disabilities. The Elder Justice Act was first passed as a part of the Affordable Care Act, but authorizations for its programs and activities expired in 2014.

A one page summary of the bill can be found here. A section-by-section summary of the bill can be found here. The legislative text of the bill can be found here.

Full Article & Source:
Neal, Wyden, Casey, Bonamici Propose Legislation to Protect Seniors from Abuse and Neglect

Michigan nursing home prohibited employees from wearing masks amid coronavirus outbreak, reports say

The family of a woman who died while staying at a Michigan nursing home, and some former staffers, have accused bosses of refusing to allow employees to protect themselves from the coronavirus while at work, according to multiple reports.

Denny Williams’ mother, Wanda Parker, died from COVID-19 April 7, just days after she was taken to an area hospital from the Villages of Lapeer Nursing and Rehabilitation, where she had been staying, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Williams and his family, and a handful of employees from Villages of Lapeer Nursing and Rehabilitation have sued, alleging the facility prohibited workers from wearing masks.

Williams told the newspaper that workers – who he said didn’t appear to wear face coverings or other protective equipment when he visited his mother through a window – told him they “could not” wear it.

“All she kept saying was, 'please help me'. I still don’t sleep well because of that. I have nightmares about it,” Williams later told local news station WXYZ Detroit. “She was taken from us for no good reason.”

Taylor Minifield, who worked for the Villages as a certified nursing assistant, told WXYZ she tried wearing a mask at work to protect her mother, who had cancer, per doctors’ advice.

She said her boss “snatched it off my face and threw it in the trash.”

Minifield and Harden are now suing.

Another former CNA, Tasha Harden, told WXYZ their boss once sent two employees home, “both because they refused to take their masks off.”

According to the Detroit Free Press, nursing home managers also “refused to test residents or staff,” and would not let its workers stay home sick unless they had fevers.

Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services reported that 19 people who lived at the 87-bed home died from COVID-19, according to the outlet. Meanwhile, 47 other patients, and 16 employees, contracted the virus, WXYZ reported.

As of July 31, more than 2,000, or 31%, of Michigan’s coronavirus-related deaths were linked to nursing homes.

In a statement provided to both outlets, the Villages of Lapeer said it was “not in a position to provide comment.”

“We can say that The Villages of Lapeer has been and will continue to cooperate with the involved parties,” the statement further reads. “Please be assured that The Villages of Lapeer is committed to continuing to provide high quality care and support to our residents and their families, as well as support for all of our staff during these challenging times.”

Full Article & Source:
Michigan nursing home prohibited employees from wearing masks amid coronavirus outbreak, reports say

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

$1.6 million elder abuse case

By US Attorney, Oregon District
Press Release,

A Portland couple with previous fraud convictions was sentenced to federal prison today for defrauding a local elderly couple of approximately $1.6 million in a scheme lasting more than two years, announced U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams.

Ronnie Stevens aka Tim Ephrem, 51, was sentenced to 71 months in federal prison and three years’ supervised release. Steven’s wife, Tina Ephrem aka Lisa Ann Peterson, 44, was sentenced to 60 months in federal prison and three years’ supervised release.

“Elder abuse is a devastating crime that can leave its victims financially and emotionally damaged for the rest of their lives,” said U.S. Attorney Williams. “Seniors fall victim to fraud schemes at far greater rates than the rest of the population. We all need to watch out for our elderly friends and loved ones. Your vigilance will make a difference. Our office remains committed to stopping the full range of criminal activities seeking to exploit Oregon’s seniors.”

“Prison sentences and restitution are what we can offer in the justice system. But, how can these elderly victims recover their sense of security and ability to trust others in what should be their golden years?” said Renn Cannon, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon. “Stevens and Ephrem can never truly repair the damage they have done through their selfishness.”

“On behalf of the Tigard Police Department, I want to express our appreciation to our federal partners who assisted us with investigation,” said Tigard Police Chief Kathy McAlpine. “This was a serious crime occurring in Tigard as individuals preyed upon our elder community, one of our most vulnerable populations. The successful prosecution of this case has ensured the perpetrators are held accountable for their actions.”

According to court documents, between September 2016 and December 2018, Stevens and Ephrem conspired with one another to defraud an elderly couple, Adult Victim 1 (AV1) and Adult Victim 2 (AV2).

The scheme began in September 2016 when AV1, who was 76 years old at the time, offered a commercial trailer for sale at his business. Stevens claimed he brokered vehicle sales and could sell the trailer in exchange for a cut of the profit. Stevens did not ultimately sell the trailer, but quickly ingratiated himself with the victim.

Stevens later approached AV1 with an alleged lucrative investment opportunity. Stevens claimed that a friend named Tammy Ward was set to inherit an estate valued in excess of $100 million from her recently deceased father, but could not come up with the fees and legal costs necessary to release the estate. Stevens told AV1 that if he could advance the funds to release the estate, AV1 would receive a substantial return when the estate closed.

AV1 made multiple payments to Stevens over a period of time as Stevens told him various stories about delays and increased costs associated with the release of the estate. As part of the conspiracy, AV1 and AV2 both spoke to a woman on the phone who claimed to be Tammy Ward. Investigators revealed that Tammy Ward was a fictitious identity used by Stevens and Ephrem as part of the fraud scheme.

Between 2016 and 2018, Stevens placed more than 5,000 outgoing calls to AV1 and AV2 and, along with Ephrem, stole more than $1.6 million from their two victims. Stevens and Ephrem spent the stolen money on rent, utility bills, restaurants, cigars, luxury retail purchases and repeated travel to Las Vegas, Nevada and other locations including Hawaii, Anaheim, California, and Spirit Mountain Lodge in Grand Ronde, Oregon.

Stevens and Ephrem were arrested on January 11, 2019. They made their initial appearances in federal court the same day and were ordered detained.

On January 8, 2019, a federal grand jury in Portland returned a six-count indictment charging Stevens and Emphrem. Together, on November 18, 2019, they pleaded guilty to conspiring with one another to commit wire fraud.

During sentencing, U.S. District Court Judge Michael W. Mosman ordered Stevens and Emphrem to pay more than $1.6 in restitution to their victims.

This case was investigated by the Tigard Police Department and the FBI and is being prosecuted by Donna Maddux and Julia Jarrett, Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the District of Oregon.

Elder abuse is a serious crime against some of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens, affecting nearly 10% of older Americans every year. Together with our federal, state, local and tribal partners, the Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney’s Office is steadfastly committed to combatting all forms of elder abuse and financial exploitation through enforcement actions, training and resources, research, victim services, and public awareness.

If you or someone you know are in immediate danger, please call 911.

If you or someone you know needs help, abuse complaints may be filed with the FTC at or at 877-FTC-HELP. The Department of Justice provides a variety of resources relating to elder abuse victimization through its Office of Victims of Crime, which can be reached at

The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at

Full Article & Source:
$1.6 million elder abuse case

Court records helped expose flaws in Florida’s guardianship system. Industry lawyers want to make them confidential

By Monivette Cordeiro

A committee of attorneys is pushing a rewrite of Florida law that would block public access to guardianship court records by making them confidential — a move critics say would create a lack of transparency that could foster exploitation.

The guardianship industry has been plagued by a statewide scandal since last year, when former Orlando guardian Rebecca Fierle was accused of abusing and neglecting an incapacitated client who died under her care.

The Orlando Sentinel and other news outlets used court records to expose widespread flaws in Florida’s guardianship system, prompting state lawmakers to pass reforms aimed at reducing conflicts of interest and creating additional oversight for the court-appointed decision-makers, who assume full control over the lives of their wards.

But David Brennan, an Orlando attorney who is part of the committee within the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section of the Florida Bar, said the group’s goal is to protect the basic privacy rights of incapacitated people. The proposal was adopted by the section at an Aug. 22 meeting but still has to get approval from the bar’s Board of Governors before they can lobby on behalf of the bill.

“[You] do not have to show your family, neighbors and the world at large your funeral plans, your assets, how your money is spent, what medications you buy, and a thousand other personal information items,” Brennan said in a statement. “Incapacitated people did nothing to sacrifice their privacy for the sake of the curious. They are not an entertainment. Giving open access to a person’s life is not only an indignity; it is potentially dangerous, financially and emotionally.”

Orange County Comptroller Phil Diamond, whose office audited Fierle’s guardianship cases, said the investigations may not have been as “thorough” if his employees did not have access to public court records. Making them confidential could “create an atmosphere of opportunity for fraud, waste or abuse to occur more easily,” he said.

Diamond’s audits found Fierle had billed the AdventHealth hospital system roughly $4 million to care for hundreds of incapacitated clients, an arrangement not allowed under Florida law without court approval.

“In the past, the media has shined a light on problems, and you would not have been able to do that without access to the records,” Diamond said. “The effect of the media or other independent sources doing that is greater protection for our most vulnerable citizens. I think it would be wrong to take away that protection.”

The committee’s effort to “modernize” Florida’s guardianship laws, which haven’t been fully revised since the ’90s, has been ongoing since 2012, according to the proposal’s authors.

Attorneys from the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section (sometimes referred to as “reptiles” because of their acronym, RPPTL) currently chair the committee, though other lawyers from the Elder Law sections have been involved in the rewrite.

The bill proposes to “increase the protections for incapacitated individuals in Florida” by making confidential all court records related to incapacity and guardianship. Under the current law, annual accountings, inventories and guardianship plans that contain personal medical and financial information are exempt from public disclosure.

But the public is allowed to see other documents in guardianship cases, including when guardians ask judges to sell their wards’ home, open a security deposit box or bill fees from wards’ estate for themselves and their attorneys.

Under the committee’s proposal, only eight kinds of people would have access to those documents, including the judge, clerk, guardian, guardian’s attorney, ward’s attorney, a guardian ad litem, adult wards with some capacity and the Office of Public and Professional Guardians, the state’s guardianship oversight agency.

The public, family members and wards who have been deemed totally incapacitated would need to show a judge “good cause” for why they should be allowed to see the court file.

“People who are incapacitated have hardship enough,” Brennan said. “They are not zoo attractions. They should not lose their equal protection rights to accommodate the curious.”

Palm Beach County Clerk and Comptroller Sharon Bock said the proposed changes would hinder transparency and could increase the costs of guardianship, because family and watchdog advocacy groups would likely need to hire an attorney to see records — a move that could be fought by guardians and their attorneys in court.

“The whole time, the person under guardianship finances and pays for all this,” she said.

Bock and Palmieri noted the proposed bill impacts the monitoring system that clerks have in place for guardianships in several ways, including by narrowing the definition of “audit.”

“Do you really want the auditees defining what the audit is?” Bock asked. “They’re redefining what it means to monitor and provide oversight of the attorneys and the guardian.”

Attorneys on the committee did not respond when asked why they had narrowed the definition of “audit.” But committee member Sancha Brennan Whynot said the change wouldn’t thwart accountability because all financial transactions of a guardian are reported to the court and subject to an audit by the clerk.

“Once audited, the court then has the authority to require additional reporting or disclosure by the guardian and can hold the guardian accountable in a multitude of ways,” she said.

Clay Calvert, director of the Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project at the University of Florida, argued any legislation that has a confidentiality provision should at least allow an exception for cases in which the public interest requires disclosure.

For example, when the legislature made photos and videos of autopsies exempt Florida’s public records law — amid a controversy sparked by the Sentinel’s request for photos from the autopsy of legendary NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt — it allowed for a judge to grant their disclosure on a case-by-case basis.

“The last thing that a problem-plagued system such as this needs is a confidentiality provision that thwarts transparency,” Calvert said. “Without transparency, there can’t be accountability for the guardian system. ... There is a public interest in ensuring the state is safeguarding and protecting the ward from abuse.”

Aside from the Sentinel, newspapers across Florida have used public court records to report on flaws and abuse in the guardianship system, including the Miami Herald, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Palm Beach Post and the Miami New Times.

But Brennan insisted the claim that the confidentiality provision will make exploitation by guardians easier is “wrong.”

“It provides [more] protection by keeping an elderly ward’s (or a child’s) private life out of the reach of predators, gadflies or other self-servers,” he said. “I submit that family members, helpful neighbors and the world should [never] be able to snoop an elderly person’s documents without good cause.”

Sam Sugar, founder of the South Florida-based organization Americans Against Abusive Probate Guardianship, called the change a “brazen attempt” by attorneys to turn the guardianship law into “an even more underhanded and massively profitable business model.”

“Should [the bill] become law, no senior in Florida will be safe and no one in their right mind would move to Florida in retirement,” he said.

Full Article & Source:
Court records helped expose flaws in Florida’s guardianship system. Industry lawyers want to make them confidential

Fighting for a Loved One Suffering from Elder Abuse

By Jacob Maslow

About 1 in 60 seniors experienced some form of abuse in the last year, according to the World Health Organization. In the United States alone, more than 500,000 cases of elder abuse are reported each year. Rates of abuse are high in nursing home and long-term care facilities, but there are many cases that go unreported. Those that are reported may not be met with the justice they deserve.

How can family members fight for a loved one suffering from elder abuse?

Know the Signs and Types of Elder Abuse

Many seniors suffer psychological, physical, emotional, sexual and financial abuse or are neglect by those who are supposed to care for them. This may be nursing home staff, or a loved one trusted with the care of the senior.

Elderly adults who suffer mental impairment, physical disabilities and serious illnesses are often incapable of self-care and are more vulnerable to abuse and neglect.

Common warning signs of abuse and neglect include:
  • Malnourishment
  • Unkept appearance
  • Lack of personal hygiene
  • Depression
  • Unsanitary living conditions
  • Deteriorating health
In some cases of neglect, family members refuse to speak out because they are fearful or embarrassed.

Elder abuse can take on many forms, including:

Emotional Abuse

With emotional abuse, seniors endure psychological pain by humiliation, intimidation, yelling, ridicule and blaming on part of the caregiver. Abuse caregivers may also isolate the senior from social activities and friends.

Physical Abuse

Seniors are also vulnerable to physical abuse. Caregivers may slap, hit, push, pinch or use inappropriate restraints. Signs of physical abuse include unexplained injuries, bruises, welts, abrasions, fractures, broken bones and sprains.


Neglect occurs when caregivers fail to respond to a senior’s needs. This may be intentional, or it may be simple carelessness.

Sexual Abuse

Seniors may also suffer sexual abuse, which can include forced physical contact or forced sexual acts, including sexual assault and rape.

Financial Abuse

Many seniors are financially exploited by caregivers. Financial exploitation includes the unauthorized use of money or property, such as forging checks, theft of money, and illegally changing the names on bank accounts, wills, property titles and insurance policies.

Getting Help for an Abused Loved One

If you suspect that your loved one is being abused or neglected, report it. Call 911 or the police if your loved one is in immediate danger.
  • Elder abuse and neglect can be reported to Adult Protective Services.
  • The Long-Term Care Ombudsman is a social services program that looks into reports of suspected abuse or neglect of someone living in a long-term care facility, such as a nursing home or assisted living facility.
When reporting cases of abuse, you may be asked to answer several questions, such as:
  • Have you witnessed or heard incidents of hitting, yelling or other abusive behavior?
  • Does the victim suffer from any known medical problems (e.g. memory loss or confusion)?
  • What kinds of social or family support does the victim have?
While you will be asked for your name, phone number and address, most states will take the report even if you insist on remaining anonymous. Keep in mind that the professionals taking your information are prohibited from releasing your information to the media or anyone else. They may not disclose your identity to the victim or the alleged abuser.

Full Article & Source:
Fighting for a Loved One Suffering from Elder Abuse

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

FBI raids Pennsylvania nursing home where hundreds caught coronavirus, dozens died

Federal and state investigators executed a search warrant at Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center in the Pittsburgh area.

By Tim Stelloh

Federal and state investigators raided a Pennsylvania nursing home Thursday where hundreds of residents and staff members tested positive for coronavirus and dozens have died, authorities said.

Investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the state attorney general’s office and other agencies executed the search warrant at Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center northeast of Pittsburgh, said Scott Brady, U.S. Attorney for Pennsylvania’s Western District.

The Mt. Lebanon Rehabilitation and Wellness Center, another nursing home in the Pittsburgh area operated by the same company that owns Brighton, was also searched by authorities on Thursday, NBC affiliate WPXI reported.

Brady did not offer details about the search warrant but he encouraged anyone with information about suspected fraud, abuse or victimization to contact a regional COVID-19 task force.

Last month, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said that the facility was under investigation over reports of “deeply troubling” conditions and practices.

“I can confirm that Brighton is one of the subjects of our criminal investigations into neglect at nursing homes during the pandemic,” he tweeted.

State Department of Health data show that 447 residents and staff members tested positive for the disease, and 73 people died. In late July, the facility announced that it had no cases for the first time since March, according to WPXI, but its outbreak remains the worst in a Pennsylvania.

The facility did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

In a response to Shapiro’s announcement last month, Brighton said in a statement to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that it has “faith that federal, state and local governments, which dictate the required infectious disease control practices and policies, continue to grow in their understanding and ability to support, guide and direct those who are on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“We will leave the readers to determine why some politicians seek 'investigations' into people and facilities instead of looking at governmental response to better their directives,” the statement added.

Medicare records showed that state inspectors warned of lax sanitary conditions last year that could lead to the spread of infection and diseases. The Sept. 13, 2019 report found the facility didn’t have enough trained nurses and that some residents were living in filthy conditions.

Full Article & Source:
FBI raids Pennsylvania nursing home where hundreds caught coronavirus, dozens died

This Group Is Improving Life For Hospice Patients By Letting Them Keep Their Pets

Hospice offers a better quality of life for those who are nearing the end. Holding family dear is important to many in their twilight years, as is the companionship of pets, but leaving them behind as they enter a hospice facility can be heartbreaking.

The disruption can be just as traumatic for the human as it can for their animal companion.

Rather than force patients to worry about the future of their animals, one organization is allowing them to keep their pets nearby until the end, and finding them loving homes afterwards. Pet Peace of Mind works as “an extension of hospice’s overall mission to provide care and support for patients and their families during the end of life journey,” said president Dianne McGill. “Since many patients consider their pets essential family members, the program is there to acknowledge and validate this important element of the patient’s support network.”

Source: Pet Peace of Mind
The bonds humans form with their pets are very strong.
According to Healthy Food House, Pet Peace of Mind helps hospice facilities train volunteers to help their patients with pet care, provides initial funding for equipment and training, and offers guidance to each pet program that takes shape in its network.

Source: Pet Peace of Mind
Pet Peace of Mind keeps hospice patients together with their pets.
As a nonprofit, Pet Peace of Mind is funded through donations and staffed by volunteers who see to the every need of the animals while they are in their care. They are important animals, and in some cases the only friendship a hospice patient may have.

“For many terminally ill patients, pets provide a powerful antidote – sometimes the most powerful antidote – to isolation, loneliness, and depression,” McGill said. “I know of countless patients who have said that their pet is their lifeline. Pets are great medicine for coping with the anxiety the comes from dealing with a serious medical condition.

Source: Pet Peace of Mind
Pet Peace of Mind helps hospice facilities train volunteers who help patients care for their pets.
“For many patients, keeping their pets near them during the end of life journey and finding homes for their beloved pets after they pass is one of the most important pieces of unfinished business.”

Source: Pet Peace of Mind
Best friends can be kept together until the very end.
Given the amount of time we spend together, it’s clear that humans and their pets can form very strong bonds. We humans typically live much longer than cats or dogs, and may know more than a few throughout our lives, but that doesn’t make it easy when they near the end of theirs.

Or, as we near the end of ours.

Full Article & Source:
This Group Is Improving Life For Hospice Patients By Letting Them Keep Their Pets

Indiana nurse sentenced for stealing medicine from hospice patients

Jennifer L. Daniel, 40, admitted to taking medication from patients and forging prescriptions for hydrocodone.

Credit: Floyd County Jail
Jennifer Daniel
FLOYD COUNTY, Ind. — An Indiana hospice nurse will serve time for stealing medication from patients for her personal use.

Jennifer L. Daniel, 40, admitted to taking medication from patients and forging prescriptions for hydrocodone, according to the Office of the Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.

Daniel was convicted in Floyd County for interference of medical services. She was sentenced to six years in jail with three years suspended — although the jail time could be changed to home detention once she completes a substance-abuse treatment program.

In Clark County, Daniel was convicted on felony counts of interference with medical services and obtaining a controlled substance by fraud, deceit or subterfuge. As part of a plea agreement, a Scott County charge of interference with medical services was dismissed. As a result, she got three years of home detention after she's done serving her Floyd County sentence.

“It’s a very cruel and calloused act to deprive terminally ill patients of medications that help them cope with devastating diseases,” Attorney General Curtis Hill said. “Unfortunately, we see this wrongdoing committed all too often by individuals selfishly focused on feeding their own drug habits, and we must continue to hold lawbreakers accountable for their actions.”

Full Article & Source:
Indiana nurse sentenced for stealing medicine from hospice patients

Monday, September 7, 2020

Nursing Home Claims It’s Allowed to Have COVID Positive Employees Working Amid Staffing Shortage

by Johnny Lopez

An Illinois nursing home is being investigated following an outbreak in which more than 90 people became infected and 12 died.

In response to the spread of the virus, Stearns Nursing and Rehab in Madison County claims it can let employees who have COVID-19 continue to work on the premises, reported Fox 2.

A staff member at the nursing home told the news outlet that when she tested positive for the virus she was told she could continue working. While wanting to remain anonymous, the employee disclosed she did not return to work while infected.

When contacted by the TV station, a representative for Stearns Nursing pointed to the CDC’s guidelines entitled “Strategies to Mitigate Healthcare Personnel Staffing Shortages.”

Should a staffing crisis occur, the guidelines advise health care providers (HCP) with “suspected or confirmed COVID-19,” who are well enough to work, be kept apart from others.

If no other staff is available during the crisis, the guidelines allow for infected workers to care for “suspected or confirmed” infected patients.

“As a last resort, allow HCP with confirmed COVID-19 to provide direct care for patients without suspected or confirmed COVID-19,” the CDC guidelines said. In other words, it would allow  a healthcare worker with coronavirus to look after a COVID negative patient.

The Illinois Department of Health acknowledged the CDC’s guidelines, but maintains a more stringent policy.

“While the CDC allows a positive employee who is asymptomatic to continue working if there is a staffing shortage, IDPH discourages it,” the Department of Health told the outlet.

The IDPH would allow an asymptomatic COVID positive employee to work only if all other staffing options were exhausted. In addition, the infected employee would only be allowed to cohort with “COVID-19 recovered or positive residents, and recovered or other asymptomatic positive staff.”

Stearns Nursing and Rehab would not disclose how many of the more than 90 positive cases involved members of their staff.

Full Article & Source:
Nursing Home Claims It’s Allowed to Have COVID Positive Employees Working Amid Staffing Shortage

Unpaid Family Caregivers Have Heightened Thoughts of Suicide

New CDC report finds stress and isolation of coronavirus takes a toll on mental health

by Cheryl Platzman Weinstock

digitalskillet/Getty Images
En espaƱol | Four years ago, Sandra Gilmore, 66, moved back into her childhood home in Sewickley, Pennsylvania, to take care of her 90-year-old parents. Her mother has dementia, congestive heart failure and diabetes. Her father is hard of hearing.

Once she left them for a week with around-the-clock care to go to Disney World with her grandson and his parents. Other than that, Gilmore says she only leaves her parents to make short trips to the grocery store or to pick up takeout.

"There's definitely a little anxiety when I leave them,” she says. She also admits to getting frustrated at times, too. “When I find myself getting testy and losing my patience, I need to put myself in time-out for a while.”

Gilmore, a retired nurse, says, “You would think I would be totally prepared for this. No, not even close. Nothing prepares you for this. It's a whole different ballgame. It's like steadily going down a dead-end street.”

When the pandemic hit, Gilmore and many other unpaid family caregivers across the nation faced a daily struggle to preserve their mental health. Now the crisis is taking its toll on them.

A recent report based on a nationwide survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about the types of mental health challenges people are facing during the pandemic found that nearly 31 percent of unpaid family caregivers, like Gilmore, reported seriously considering suicide in the preceding 30 days, compared with the 11 percent of the other adults taking the survey who were not caregivers.

Unpaid family caregivers also reported having more symptoms of depression and anxiety, and starting or increasing substance use to cope with the stress of COVID-19 on top of caring for their loved ones, compared to the other respondents. The survey was administered from June 24 to 30 and included almost 5,500 adults.

Only 4 percent of adults in 2018 had serious thoughts of suicide, according to a 2018 national survey on drug use and health by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

This new data has mental health experts concerned about its ripple effects.

"We don't really know how many people go from suicide ideation onto suicide,” says Rajeev Ramchand, senior consultant for epidemiology and suicide prevention at the National Institute of Mental Health.

However, “even thoughts about harming one's self suggest significant despair and distress. It's noteworthy and concerning, and we should pay attention to it because it could be indicative of future suicide,” says Ramchand.

However, he cautions that “what we don't know is if during normal times caregivers have higher suicidal thoughts."

Heidi Donovan, codirector of the National Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Family Support at the University of Pittsburgh, says, “Caregiving is hard in the best of times. Everyone is aware of that. I think the compounding effect of the pandemic is making the job more physically, emotionally and financially difficult.”

A lot of the services available for caregivers, such as respite and home health care, have been affected by the pandemic. With only online social support available, experts worry that the isolation of caregivers can make the situation worse.

Gilmore says, “Now I have very little social life. I always enjoyed a monthly dinner break with friends, and now I don't have that small outlet."

The survey also indicates that unpaid caregivers are doing worse over time. Experts say this is worrisome.

"I think that we as a society and as individuals need to rally around those people we know that are family caregivers. They can't care for their loved ones if they're not first caring for themselves,” says Donovan.

Susan C. Reinhard, a nurse and senior vice president and director of the AARP Public Policy Institute, says feeling alone and having no choice in caregiving can be additional major stressors on unpaid family caregivers.

Most unpaid family caregivers say they don't have a choice, and half of them are very stressed, according to the report "Caregiving in the United States 2020” by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP.

Seventy-two percent of people who say they feel alone as an unpaid family caregiver say they have high emotional stress, according to the study.

"A lot is going to depend on how long someone is giving care, but when you feel you have no control in life, or when you feel stuck, that is a big ordeal,” says Reinhard.

"All of us need to think about family caregivers. You need to reach out to them. People experiencing caregiving have no emotional energy to call you,” she says.

Full Article & Source:
Unpaid Family Caregivers Have Heightened Thoughts of Suicide

Promoting Alzheimer’s Awareness to Prevent Elder Abuse Act should be passed into law


Alzheimer’s and all dementia are often emotionally and financially devastating. As the number of people living with dementia rises, so too will their interactions with health care, social services and criminal justice services professionals. Unfortunately, those professionals currently receive little or no training in the unique needs of individuals living with dementia.

The Promoting Alzheimer’s Awareness to Prevent Elder Abuse Act would require the Department of Justice (HR 6813) to develop training materials to assist law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges, medical personnel, victims services personnel, and others who encounter and support individuals living with Alzheimer’s and related dementias. Dementia-specific training materials for these professionals will improve the quality of their interactions with individuals living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, and will also help protect them from elder abuse.

I have served the past year in the National Early Stage Advisory Group helping to advocate for those with Alzheimer’s.

It's imperative that legislation be passed to protect those living with this disease.

Please join me in asking Congressman Gohmert for him to cosponsor HR 6813 to help protect the more than 5 million American’s living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias by supporting this important bipartisan legislation.
Betty Kirkindoll

Full Article & Source:
Promoting Alzheimer’s Awareness to Prevent Elder Abuse Act should be passed into law

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Grandmother sat dead in car outside hospital for 3 days; family demands changes

by: Shaul Turner and Web Staff and Nexstar Media Wire

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (KDVR) – A Denver woman’s body was discovered three days after she died in a vehicle in Swedish Medical Center’s parking lot.

Yvette Mooney, 50, was found on Sunday, Aug. 23. She died Thursday, Aug. 20. She had two children and several grandchildren.

“A hard worker all her life. She raised amazing children,” said Kandra Garcia, Mooney’s daughter-in-law.

Mooney didn’t answer calls the day she died. Her family thought she had gone to Swedish to visit a family friend.

But when they didn’t hear from her, they contacted police.

Englewood officers discovered Mooney’s body in her car in the emergency room parking lot.

“She couldn’t make it inside. She thought, ‘I’m in an ER parking lot. They will find me –somebody will come.’ Not three days later when she’s blistered and too decomposed for us to have a proper burial,” Garcia said.

The hospital sent the following statement to KDVR:
“We offer sincere condolences and deepest sympathy to the family and loved ones. Upon discovery of the event we immediately notified the Englewood Police Department and have worked closely with them throughout the ongoing investigation.”
“Somebody dropped the ball and I want answers,” Garcia said.

The family says they want changes in security policies so cars are checked more regularly.

The Englewood Police Department said the coroner’s office is still determining Mooney’s cause of death. Detectives are requesting surveillance video from the hospital, but say the car’s windows were tinted and it would be difficult to see inside the vehicle.

Full Article & Source:
Grandmother sat dead in car outside hospital for 3 days; family demands changes