Friday, December 31, 2021

The value and cost of at-home care for older people

Readers respond to an article by Simon Hattenstone about finding the right care arrangements for his 93-year-old mother

Simon Hattenstone’s article (I didn’t want anyone else to look after Mum – until I realised what she wanted, 27 December) almost exactly mirrors my mother’s story. Aged 94, frail but still living independently in a small cottage in London, she fell in late November and spent much of one night on the floor, in pain and disorientated. Hospital followed for one week at St George’s, Tooting. There she received the most amazing care with the doctors, nurses and auxiliary staff all meeting my expectations of the amazing NHS at its very best, even during these trying times.

But it was evident that she couldn’t return to her house alone. Luck struck. A close friend had recently died and her carer was available to move in with my mother. Outcome? An elderly woman who seems more contented and at ease than previously, perhaps because the worry of living alone at a great age has now been taken away. She has support, friendship and the most amazing care, and she’s still “at home” – that being her greatest desire of all.

But here’s the bit that Hattenstone’s article doesn’t address: money. In my mother’s case, and I’m assuming in Hattenstone’s too, there is sufficient family income to cover the costs of a live-in carer. For most this simply wouldn’t be an option.

Until a system is devised, and funded, that would offer all people dignity and independence in old age, we can’t rest easy. It’s so good that Hattenstone’s mother and my mother are now thankfully content and well cared for, but that should, in a civilised society, be the lot of all older people. It clearly isn’t now.
Jol Miskin 

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94 yr old WW2 Veteran Shares His Story | Memoirs Of WWII #1

Follow Harry Shaw Jr.'s journey from D-Day to the Battle of the Bulge, to the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp.

Source: YouTube

Life Lessons From 100-Year-Olds

We asked three unique and lovely centenarians what their most valuable life lessons were, and also their regrets.

The conversations that followed were remarkable. They talked about the importance of family, people, relationships and love. Their view on life, as an elderly citizen with a lot of experience is truly an inspiration and motivation.

Source: YouTube

Thursday, December 30, 2021

“My Human Rights Are Being Violated”: Fighting A Family Guardianship

People with disabilities often must speak up for “dignity of risk”: the right to make choices freely, good and bad. This is Marie's story.
by Katie J.M. Baker and Heidi Blake
Marie Bergum wanted the chance to live her own life — and make her own mistakes. Her father said that could not happen.
Marie was in her 30s and had an intellectual disability. As a teenager, she lived a mostly independent life like other teens and took the bus to a job at McDonald’s, where she helped work the cash register. Marie also cooked at home and took care of the dogs.

After her parents divorced, her father, Jim, became her legal guardian.

Marie did not understand what this meant when she agreed to it, and she later decided she did not want her father to be her legal guardian. (In California, where Marie is from, they call legal guardians "conservators," and guardianships "conservatorships.")
She wanted to learn how to do things like budgeting and making medical decisions instead of her father doing them for her. She said, “I need help with life!” and later said, “But I want them to show me, not do it for me.”  
Marie worked together with some lawyers and family members who believed she could make her own decisions. She had to be careful that her father did not know about her meetings with them.
Sometimes Marie had to be sneaky by calling her supporters from the gym locker room because she felt she had no privacy at home. This was a risk — she said if her dad found out she was on the phone instead of lifting weights, he would call her a liar or follow her the next time she left the house. Marie said if he knew she was trying to fight for freedom to make her own decisions, he might take her phone away from her.
Marie’s lawyers told the courts that Jim was controlling her money, not allowing her to have sex with boyfriends, keeping her away from people he didn’t like, verbally abusing her by calling her “stupid” and “fat,” and moving her from city to city without including her in the decision. Marie told court officers that Jim did not allow her to have a lock on her door, take public transportation, cook meals, or choose how much money she could spend each week. “He started saying that I couldn’t do things because I wasn’t that smart,” Marie told BuzzFeed News. “Everything was taken away, a little bit every year.”
Jim told BuzzFeed News he loved his daughter, and the world was full of dangers and people looking to take advantage of her. He said, “My job is to protect her and put her on the path that she can succeed as best as she can.” He said his rules stopped her from making mistakes she might later wish she did not make. Jim said that he wanted his daughter to be happy and that being her guardian was the best way to achieve that because she, unfortunately, was not as capable as she thought she was. Jim said many of Marie’s accusations were wrong, but he didn’t take them personally.
There are many more stories like Marie’s. People with disabilities often must speak up for “dignity of risk”: the right to make choices freely, good and bad, to learn from and live full lives. Disability rights experts say that everyone, especially young adults, deserves the chance to make mistakes and learn from them.
Experts say it can be hard to get freedom from legal guardians who are family members. Many parents of children with disabilities get guardianship as soon as the child turns 18 because schools tell them they should. This is called the “school-to-guardianship pipeline.” Even if parents want to end the guardianship later, it can be hard to do so.
There are other options for people with disabilities to get support that do not take away their rights to make decisions. Supported decision-making allows people to choose who will help them make decisions instead of having another person take over the person’s life and make choices for them.
Disability rights experts say that supported decision-making can work for many people with disabilities. Researchers learned that when people with disabilities make their own decisions, they are more likely to have jobs and be healthier, happier, and more involved in their communities. Even the National Guardianship Association said supported decision-making is a “promising” measure that “should be considered for the person before guardianship.”
Marie filed to end her guardianship in March 2018. She wrote, “My human rights are being violated.” Her father disagreed and told the court, “I hate to say this, but it is a proven truth, that I must not only save Marie from outside predators just waiting for an opportunity, but Marie often requires being saved from herself and her own lack of ability to decide what is healthy and safe for her.” The judge allowed Jim to continue having control over Marie’s life.
Soon after, Marie got new lawyers so she could try again to gain her freedom. She created a supported decision-making plan and assigned family members to support her in different parts of her life, such as budgeting, housing, completing job applications, making medical decisions, cooking, making educational plans, and staying safe. This time she won, and the court removed Jim as her guardian.
Marie’s Aunt Nancy, together with a program manager from an advocacy center, will be her guardians for one year. Then a judge will decide if Marie can successfully live without a guardian. The court said Jim can never again be Marie’s guardian. “Jim can’t do anything to me anymore,” she said with a wide grin.
“Be persistent. Your dreams can come true. Don’t let anyone in your family tell you you can’t do things.”
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Jury convicts Maryland lawyer of money laundering conspiracy

Another attorney and a private investigator were acquitted in the case

By Paul Duggan

A federal jury on Tuesday convicted a prominent Maryland lawyer in a money-laundering conspiracy case but acquitted one of his colleagues and a private investigator who were co-defendants in the trial, authorities said.

Kenneth W. Ravenell, 61, of Monkton, Md., faces up to 20 years in prison. A judge scheduled sentencing for May 14.

Ravenell was convicted of conspiracy to commit money laundering but acquitted of racketeering-conspiracy and narcotics-conspiracy charges by the jury in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Maryland. In addition, the office said, Ravenell, along with lawyer Joshua R. Treem, 73, of Columbia, Md., and private investigator Sean F. Gordon, 45, of Crownsville, Md., were found not guilty of falsifying documents, obstructing an official proceeding and conspiring to commit crimes against the federal government.

The charges were part of a long-running investigation tied to a multistate marijuana operation. Ravenell was first indicted in September 2019 and accused of coaching drug kingpin Richard Byrd, who was his client, and others about how to evade law enforcement. Prosecutors alleged that Ravenell used his law firm’s bank accounts to funnel and hide hundreds of thousands of dollars in drug proceeds and to make payments to lawyers retained by other members of the conspiracy.

Ravenell and Treem are experienced criminal defense attorneys. Treem, a former federal prosecutor, was an attorney for Lee Boyd Malvo, one of the shooters in the 2002 Washington-area sniper attacks. Treem and Ravenell practiced law at the same firm in the 1990s and early 2000s. In 2016, Treem began representing Ravenell in connection with a federal grand jury investigation into Ravenell’s work.

As part of the investigation, federal agents searched the law offices of Ravenell and Treem’s firm, Brown, Goldstein & Levy.

“The jury’s unanimous verdict confirms that Joshua Treem did nothing wrong but rather acted as the superb defense attorney that he is,” lawyer Andrew E. Levy said in a statement Tuesday.

An indictment issued last December alleged that Ravenell, Treem and Gordon worked together to impede the federal grand jury investigation into Ravenell and one of his clients.

For instance, the indictment said, Treem and Gordon traveled to an Arizona jail in 2017 to meet with a former client of Ravenell’s who was a potential witness against him. The two allegedly presented the man with a document, prepared by Ravenell, containing false statements helpful to Ravenell. At the jailhouse meeting, in Phoenix, Treem and Gordon urged the inmate to sign the document, according to the indictment.

“Treem had in front of him a document that contained 53 statements which were, in effect, false denials about Ravenell’s involvement in criminal conduct,” the indictment alleged.

Prosecutors said Ravenell, Treem and Gordon then prepared documents, including an affidavit from Gordon that referred to the inmate’s false statements and a letter Treem wrote to a federal judge in February 2018 related to the inmate.

“It’s outrageous that the government used its tremendous resources to prosecute Josh for doing his job — investigating leads and advocating for his client,” Levy said. “The United States attorney’s office owes our partner an apology.”

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He Always Wanted a Ph.D in Physics. He finally earned it at 89!

by Bill Chappell

Manfred Steiner had a successful and productive career as a doctor, helping generations of medical students learn about hematology. But all along, he had a nagging feeling he should be doing something else: studying physics. At age 89, he has finally fulfilled that dream, earning his Ph.D. in physics from Brown University.

"It's my third doctorate, but this one I really cherish a lot. That I made it — and made it at this age," said Steiner, who is weeks from turning 90, in an interview with NPR.

"I am really on top of the world," Steiner said in a news release from the college, as it announced his successful defense of his dissertation (title: "Corrections to the Geometrical Interpretation of Bosonization").

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He always wanted a Ph.D. in physics. He finally earned it at 89

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Louisiana High Court signs order holding disciplined judges financially accountable

by: Nancy Cook

SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – While some states are ill-equipped to deal with judges who are found to commit infractions, in November, the Louisiana Supreme Court Justices found a way to hold judges removed from the bench even more accountable.

After a years’ long investigation into the matter, the high court in November amended Article 5 of the Louisiana State Constitution that deals with the Judicial Branch of government.

Throughout history, when a complaint alleging disabilities, impairments or possible criminal conduct of a Louisiana municipal, district or appellate judge is submitted to the Judiciary Commission of Louisiana, it has always been fully investigated. When found viable, the judge in question has been removed.

But on Nov. 19, the Louisiana Justices handed down an order that amended Article V by actually requiring judges disqualified or removed from the bench for cause to pay costs of the investigations of the complaints against them.

In cases where a judge is on interim disqualification after being indicted or charged with a serious crime, the new order allows them to be taxed for costs of paying a pro tempore judge appointed to cover the removed judge’s docket if he or she are actually convicted.

The Nov. 19 order also speeds up investigations, requiring the Judiciary Commission to investigate and either resolve the matter or file a recommendation within a year or receiving the complaint or report of judicial misconduct, and allows the Commission or hearing officer to shorten deadlines or delays in order to expedite the matter.

The new order was signed less than a month before the High Court officially opened an investigation into a racial slur-filled video involving Lafayette City Judge Michelle Odinet and suspended her.

In an order signed Thursday, Dec. 16, High Court officially placed Odinet on suspension without pay pending the outcome of the investigation.

Although Odinet had requested a leave of absence without pay, the Court Order stated she was “disqualified from exercising judicial functions, without salary, during the pendency of further proceedings…”

A day later, the Louisiana Supreme Court appointed Retired Opelousas City Court Judge Vanessa Harris and retired St. Landry Parish assistant district attorney to fill in for Odinet.

In appointing Harris, the Justices also appointed Lafayette’s first Black city judge. She will serve as District A judge while Odinet is under investigation.

In Louisiana cities of more than 100,000 population, municipal judges earn the same as state district judges, which in 2021 was somewhere in between $155,000 and $160,000, after adding the 2.5% raise the 2019 state Legislature tacked on to the $153,143 they earned in 2019.

Lafayette’s population in 2021 is 125,813, based on US Census projections.

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TOP STORIES OF 2021: From his arrest to election as St. Clairsville councilman, Mark Thomas made headlines this year

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Mark Thomas, a former St. Clairsville attorney and past Belmont County commissioner, began making headlines in September when he was indicted by a federal grand jury for mail fraud. As his case started to make its way through the courts, Thomas remained on the ballot and was elected to a St. Clairsville City Council seat.

Thomas is facing four charges of felony mail fraud stemming from allegations that he abused his status as power of attorney and stole more than $500,000 from an elderly client with dementia.

Thomas, 61, was arrested during a traffic stop in the alley behind the St. Clairsville Public Library.

He was transported to the Belmont County Jail on a federal warrant and held there without bond until federal authorities arrived to transport him to another location.

If convicted of all four mail fraud charges, Thomas could serve 20 years in prison.

Jennifer Thornton, spokeswoman with the U.S. Department of Justice office in Columbus, said Thomas made an initial appearance in federal court in early October. He appeared before Magistrate Judge Chelsey Vascura.

Chief Judge Algenon Marbley is assigned to Thomas’ case.

According to the indictment, Thomas is accused of defrauding a client from 2012 through August 2019 while serving as her power of attorney. It is alleged that Thomas took the victim’s money without her knowledge or permission to use for his own benefit.

The woman was 85 years old at the time the alleged crimes began. The indictment states that Thomas improperly used the victim’s power of attorney and his status as a lawyer — even after his law license was revoked in 2015 — to convince various entities, including banks and life insurance companies, to transfer the victim’s money for his use.

Since that first court appearance, Thomas’ trial date in the U.S. District Court Southern District of Ohio has been scheduled for July 11.

Thomas is being represented by attorney Andy Avellano. According to court documents, Thomas had hoped to represent himself, but Marbley ruled against self-representation.

David Twombly with the Columbus-based U.S. Attorney’s Office is prosecuting.

Avellano said he has not completed reviewing the discovery and requested eight months to prepare for trial.

“There’s several gigabytes of data that needs to be reviewed and the case will probably be considered complex, due to the nature of the allegations of financial fraud,” Avellano said. “We’d probably be moving the court for an expert to review the financial documents. It’s not an area that I’m well-versed in, so I’d need assistance there.”

Marbley said he expects the trial to last a month. He asked Avellano to submit his requests for assistance before the close of the year.

In November, Thomas ran an uncontested campaign for the 3rd Ward seat on St. CLairsville City Council. Since Thomas met all eligibility requirements and has not been convicted of a crime, he was elected to the post. Elections officials said should Thomas be convicted, it would be up to council to remove him from office.

The city charter — under Article III Council, Section 4. Vacancy-Creation of. — states that “Once elected and sworn in, a member of Council shall vacate his office … By conviction while in office of a crime involving moral turpitude. …”

Thomas is expected to take his seat on council next month. He has not responded to calls seeking comment about the charges.

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Man in hospital 10 months due to COVID fights to keep his rights


SAN ANTONIO (KABB/WOAI) — A Texas man hospitalized for about 10 months due to COVID complications faces yet another hurdle.

When KABB first met Mark Miranda six months ago, he was barely able to speak. 

Three months later, the husband and father of two was making slow, but steady progress on a ventilator.

Today, he's talking and moving on his own.

But that's been overshadowed by an ongoing legal fight for Mark's rights to make decisions on his behalf.

In September, Christus Santa Rosa served the Miranda family papers, asking that Mark be stripped of rights to make his own decisions and forfeit them to a group called Angel Guardians LLC.

After appearing in court, it was determined that Mark would not be appointed a guardian.

"I do not need a guardian to make my decisions," says Mark.

But in October, the court appointed Mark a temporary guardian despite protests from Mark and his wife Kim.

Now, Mark is no longer at Christus Santa Rosa, but in another hospital in San Antonio recovering from pneumonia.

Just two days ago they were served papers yet again requesting permanent guardianship from Christus Santa Rosa, stating Mark is "incapacitated".

"I don’t think it’s right for them to serve us again," says Mark.

"If he’s able to demonstrate that he is of sound mind, capable of making decisions, has a sense of awareness, then it would be completely inappropriate for a guardianship to be appointed," says personal injury attorney Erica Maloney.

When KABB spoke to Maloney about the Mirandas in September, she said Christus would have to prove Mark was incapacitated.

KABB asked Christus Santa Rosa why they wanted to pursue permanent guardianship since Mark is no longer a patient there.

A statement says in part:

Any decision that is made about the care of our patients is carefully made and only in the best interest of our patients. This is an ongoing legal matter and we can’t speak about specifics.

Mark and Kim continue to advocate for Mark's independence and warn others if this could happen to them, it can happen to you.

"If you’re going into the hospital, make sure you make your wishes known, tell somebody what you want to have done with you," says Kim. "If not, things like this can happen to you."

A court date has not been set for the Mirandas yet, but Mark says he's going to tell the judge he's making progress and can make his own decisions.

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Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Robed in secrecy: How judges accused of misconduct can dodge public scrutiny

Thousands of complaints are filed against judges every year, but very few result in discipline. Ethics experts say the time for states to transform the judiciary is now.


By Erik Ortiz

When litigants anger Michael F. McGuire, the county judge in New York state’s Catskills region, he might hit them with “judicial contempt” and order them handcuffed or, in extreme cases, jailed for 30 days.

McGuire, who was elected in Sullivan County in 2011, did it several times over the years without warning: to a man who asked him to recuse himself because, he said, McGuire knew his son, to a mother who had an outburst when she felt ridiculed by McGuire and to a grandmother who contested turning over her grandson to his allegedly abusive father.

That wasn’t his only concerning behavior, according to an ethics complaint filed in 2018 by a state watchdog agency, which accused McGuire of berating court staff members; making “undignified” comments, such as suggesting that people in his court would date a “drug dealer” or a “slut”; presiding over cases in which his impartiality could be called into question; and representing family members and friends in personal cases. The watchdog agency, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct, said he “lacked candor” during its investigation.

For his pattern of “serious” judicial lapses, a state appeals court agreed last year that McGuire — who earned a salary of $210,161 a year — be removed from the bench, the harshest sanction a judge can face. The public, however, had learned about the ethics charges only months before, in March 2020, more than a year and a half after McGuire was first served with the ethics complaint and when the appeals court said he had been notified of the commission’s unanimous recommendation to punish him.

McGuire ended up resigning in May 2020, but with another job already lined up — as Sullivan County’s head attorney, a position he still holds.

McGuire did not respond to requests for comment. In his resignation letter last year, he wrote that “I am quite proud of our achievements” on the bench and “deeply regret the issues that brought me before this Court.”

Joseph LaPiana, who went before McGuire in a family court case last year and is unable to see his 1-year-old daughter as a result, said, “Judges work for the public — we should know if they are being investigated for any misconduct.”

If McGuire’s misconduct violations had happened in a neighboring state, like New Jersey, Pennsylvania or Vermont, the public would have been alerted earlier — at the outset of the filing of ethics charges.

The timing in when the public is allowed to know about allegations against judges can differ broadly among states. Some allow judges to go months or years before even credible complaints are in the open. As more than 100 million cases are filed in local and state courts every year and as judges exert near-absolute power in deciding who wins custody of children to who can get married to whether people go to jail, the public’s ability to scrutinize judicial conduct is crucial for transparency’s sake, and it deserves as much attention as recent calls for policing and prosecutorial overhauls, judicial ethics experts argue. 

Judicial misconduct “undermines confidence in our justice system,” said Susan Saab Fortney, the director of the Program for the Advancement of Legal Ethics at Texas A&M University School of Law.

Secretive states

Misconduct findings are rare in the judicial complaint process. Legal ethics experts say the minuscule share of judges punished every year isn’t necessarily indicative that all is well in the judiciary — it suggests a lack of accountability.

Each state has a form of a judicial conduct commission to which the public can file misconduct allegations against judges. Generally, it’s up to that body, which can be made up of fellow judges, lawyers and laypeople, to determine whether complaints violate a state’s code of judicial conduct — guidelines for judges to act with independence, integrity and impartiality. A judge’s conduct inside a courtroom as well as outside, including on social media, can be subject to discipline.

NBC News’ review of various states’ judicial conduct commission data from 2016 to 2020 indicates that thousands of complaints are filed across the country every year but that about 1 percent of them result in judges’ being publicly disciplined or stepping down after investigations are opened.

While the commissions maintain that most complaints are frivolous — for instance, a litigant is merely disgruntled over how a judge ruled — for a state to typically record zero public sanctions against judges sounds incredible, said Robert Tembeckjian, the administrator and counsel of the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct.

“It’s highly unlikely that any state would have a judiciary that is so above reproach that year after year no one gets disciplined,” Tembeckjian said. “Even in places like New York, where we have very sophisticated judicial education programs, there are numerous cases every year.”

New York’s commission, which oversees about 3,500 state and local judges, has received upward of 2,000 complaints annually in the past five years, and each year, the state has sanctioned a judge or one has resigned for misconduct in one to two dozen cases. Other large states, such as California and Texas, sanction multiple judges every year.

The level of transparency around misconduct cases varies by state. Some that have reported that no or few judges were publicly sanctioned in recent years, such as Iowa, Mississippi, South Dakota and Wyoming, don’t make cases public until the court or panel that decides discipline gets involved. And in three states — Delaware, Hawaii and North Carolina — misconduct cases are made public only in the final stages of investigations when judges are to be punished.

In about two-thirds of states, however, the public can learn much sooner, such as when judicial conduct commissions first charge judges with misconduct or when the judges respond to the allegations.

States where information is kept under wraps argue that confidentiality is necessary for as long as possible to protect judges should they ultimately be cleared. But it turns out that in some cases, depending on the type of transgression, judges can be privately admonished by other judges or sent warning letters, meant to jolt them into correcting their behavior.

NBC News found that many states opt to reprimand judges privately more often than publicly. For instance, Pennsylvania filed formal charges against judges 17 times but issued private letters of warning or reprimand 172 times from 2016 to 2020.

A sweeping Reuters analysis last year of judicial misconduct, which examined thousands of discipline cases over a dozen years, determined that 9 out of 10 sanctioned judges were allowed to return to the bench.

“We have to recognize that oftentimes we have judges judging judges, and they’re ultimately in control and judging their own,” said Charles Gardner Geyh, an Indiana University law professor who studies judicial conduct.

Tembeckjian believes that states, including New York, should be as transparent as possible once there’s sufficient evidence to back up allegations against judges, similar to how grand jury investigations are made public when indictments are unsealed.

Tembeckjian said he’d like his judicial conduct commission to have the authority to suspend judges during investigations, as other states’ commissions can do, and to continue investigating cases even after judges resign. Such changes, however, would require the approval of the New York Legislature.

Ultimately, ensuring that judges are being rightfully held accountable is essential, because guidance from the U.S. Supreme Court allows them to be largely immune from lawsuits for acts done in their official capacity, Tembeckjian said.

“If there’s no sense that you can get a fair shake by going into a court of law and have confidence that the judge is going to be neutral and fair and apply the law honestly and responsibly, it’s ultimately going to lead to anarchy,” he said. “Then why not just settle our disputes in the streets rather than a court of law?”

Making them pay

Efforts are underway to enact meaningful judicial reforms at various levels. On Dec. 1, the U.S. House overwhelmingly passed bipartisan legislation to require federal judges to report their financial holdings in response to a Wall Street Journal investigation. The Journal found that 131 federal judges had broken the law and violated judicial ethics by hearing cases in which they had financial interests. A similar bipartisan bill is pending in the Senate.

On the state side, the Louisiana Supreme Court last month expanded its rules about errant judges when it tacked financial burdens onto the disciplinary process. Not only can judges be made to pay for the costs of investigations if discipline is recommended, but they can also be ordered to repay the costs of installing replacement judges. And if judges decide to retire or resign before formal disciplinary processes conclude, they can still be required to pay investigative costs.

The state’s chief justice, John Weimer, said in a statement that the updated rules ensure that even retiring judges are “held accountable” and that Louisiana taxpayers aren’t on the hook for costs, which in recent investigations have been about $2,000 to $3,000.

About a dozen other states, including Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Kansas, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and South Dakota, fine judges or have similar cost recovery rules, according to the Center for Judicial Ethics at the National Center for State Courts, a nonprofit organization that seeks to improve the judiciary.

Marni Bryson, a judge in Palm Beach County, Florida, faces a public reprimand, an unpaid suspension for 10 days and a fine of $37,500 after the state judicial conduct commission said she was excessively absent from her duties over a four-year period, records show.

In New Hampshire, former Circuit Judge Julie Introcaso was ordered to pay her investigation’s costs, almost $75,000. Introcaso pleaded guilty last month to two counts of tampering with public records and submitting false statements in connection with a child custody case in which she was friends with a lawyer.

Janine Geske, a Wisconsin Supreme Court justice in the 1990s, said she’d like the state to implement similar penalties, which might “encourage judges to take responsibility early on” if their violations are tethered to their finances.

Another option, Geyh said, is to make the payout of judges’ pensions contractually contingent on good behavior.

Ethics experts say that citizen judicial watchdog programs known as court watchers could be effective but that it’s also incumbent upon other courtroom staff members and officials who witness judges’ poor conduct, particularly lawyers, to speak up. They may be reluctant to file complaints, however, because they’re afraid of retaliation if judges learn they were behind the allegations, said Fortney, the legal ethics expert at Texas A&M.

“A large percentage of states require that the complaining party be identified,” she said. “This clearly chills reporting.”

‘I don’t trust any judge’

But there have been cases in which lawyers and court staff members haven’t been afraid to stand up to jurists.

Ohio’s highest court last month suspended a 19-year municipal court judge, Mark Repp, for one year without pay after prosecutors in Seneca County relayed how he had ordered a 20-year-old woman who was sitting quietly in the back of his courtroom to watch her boyfriend’s hearing to get tested for drugs. When she refused, he sentenced her to 10 days in jail.

An investigation found that the woman was forced to take pregnancy tests and undergo full-body scans for contraband; none was detected. And while Repp assumed the woman was under the influence of narcotics, there was no evidence indicating that she was, and she had never been charged with drug-related offenses.

In a recent interview, Repp said that he has been concerned by the growing rate of overdose deaths in his community and that, in dealing with thousands of cases every year, he must “come up with some kind of decision that follows the law and also is appropriate under the circumstances.”

“I knew what I did was wrong,” Repp said. “I’ll try to make amends on that, and I have a whole year to reflect and contemplate my actions.”

But it wasn’t the only time Repp, who is up for re-election in 2025, has faced criticism.

“Imagine someone sitting in court for the first time, and now they think it’s what the judicial system is like,” said John Kahler II, a lawyer who once accused Repp of being biased against a client and unsuccessfully tried to get him disqualified from the case.

A woman who appeared before Repp in August did file a complaint to say he had labeled her a “known meth user” in open court. She wrote that she was made to feel “very embarrassed by Repp’s conduct and false accusations.” Repp said the complaint process in Ohio is a “good one” because the public does learn about judges accused of misconduct early on.

But the woman, Ana Petro, who was in Repp’s court for a traffic violation this year, doesn’t believe his suspension can remedy how he made her and others feel: worthless. A reckoning throughout the judiciary is needed, she said.

“I understand it’s not a judge’s job to be nice, but when he’s abusing his power to be a judge, that’s when I have a problem,” Petro said. “And I don’t trust any judge at all because of him.”

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Seniors advocate calls for reporting line for abuse and neglect amid rising reports

VICTORIA — British Columbia's needs a provincewide approach for reporting seniors abuse amid complaints that are "significantly rising," says the provincial advocate for seniors.

Isobel Mackenzie says there is a clear five-year pattern of increasing reports of seniors abuse and neglect, but the fragmented reporting system suggests the problem could be more widespread.

"The challenge is that the system is not reliably effective, and many vulnerable seniors may be falling through the cracks," she says in her report released Wednesday. 

Over the past three to five years, the report says there has been a 49 per cent increase in reports of abuse, neglect and self-neglect to designated agencies, or health authorities. 

Complaints to RCMP of violent crime rose 69 per cent, while reports to Vancouver police of physical abuse was up 87 per cent and financial abuse up by 49 per cent, it says. 

Among her recommendations, Mackenzie says a review of the Adult Guardianship Act should consider the need to legally report suspected abuse of vulnerable adults, similar to an existing legal requirement to report child abuse. 

The report also calls for the implementation of a central contact with one phone number to call about concerns, to be managed by professionals trained in adult protection.

"We know that seniors abuse and neglect exists in our communities and there is growing concern that it's increasing yet remains hidden and invisible to most of us," Mackenzie said during a news conference.

The Health Ministry thanked the Office of the Seniors Advocate for the report in a statement. 

"This report shows there is more that needs to be done to make it easier for people to report abuse and neglect and to make people more aware of the importance of it," the statement says. 

The ministry says it is working with federal, provincial and territorial partners on a newly established elder abuse working group to ensure B.C. is implementing the most current and effective approaches. 

In the coming weeks and months, it will also work with B.C. partners like the provincial guardian and trustee, health authorities and service providers to find solutions. It will use the advocate's report as a source, the ministry says. 

RCMP and the Vancouver Police Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

It's not clear exactly why reports of senior abuse are rising, and whether that indicates increases in abuse or simply more reporting, Mackenzie said. However, she added that there are many potential contributing factors, such as the isolation and stress created by COVID-19, poverty and an aging population. 

The fragmented reporting system means data is unreliable and it's difficult to assess patterns, identify gaps, make improvements and measure progress, the report says.

Mackenzie said a centralized reporting system would harness the strengths of agencies and the people already working on the issue. 

"What we need is a cohesive system that brings that group together and communicates to the public with one voice: 'This is what seniors abuse and neglect looks like. If you see it, report it. And here's the number you should report it to,'" she said. 

Once a centralized repository for reports is created, RCMP and municipal police would align their reporting and coding so that emergency calls that reach them first could be fed into the unified tracking system, she added.

The Adult Guardianship Act is largely responsible for protecting vulnerable seniors beyond the police protection offered under the Criminal Code.

The report says when the legislation was introduced 20 years ago, there were no provincial guidelines or standards followed, leaving a patchwork of implementation across health authorities and other organizations. 

It recommends that provincial standards and front-line training be developed, that there be a provincewide public awareness campaign, consistent data collection, and that methods and definitions be developed to monitor cases.

— By Amy Smart in Vancouver.

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Rural areas of Nebraska seeing nursing home closures

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Several nursing homes are closing in rural areas of Nebraska, with officials citing a nursing shortage and Medicaid reimbursements that can't keep up.

Nebraska Health Care Association President and CEO Jalene Carpenter told KETV-TV that at least six facilities closed or had partial closures this year.

The closures are forcing families to find new homes for loved ones. Some say they are searching up to 100 miles away for care.

Arapahoe’s Good Samaritan Society will shut down on Dec. 31. Mayor John Kollar says he is leaning on state lawmakers to take action.

Monday, December 27, 2021

Reforms to protect most vulnerable people sought

By Colleen Heild
NM Supreme Court Justice Shannon Bacon

Over the past year, dozens of people in New Mexico alleged to be incapacitated found themselves under the control of a corporate guardian – often a stranger – without prior notice or even a court hearing after a judge was told they were in danger of immediate and irreparable harm.

Permitting such temporary emergency guardianships is considered necessary in some cases. But advocates of guardianship reform, and a state Supreme Court justice, say the long-standing emergency process has been abused – sometimes to the detriment of so-called protected persons and their loved ones.

A new state Supreme Court-appointed study group hopes lawmakers in January will put more legal protections in place for people who end up in a temporary guardianship or conservatorship.

That legal action typically results in the immediate loss of many of the protected person’s rights and autonomy, and has made it difficult for families or loved ones to undo or modify once in place.

“We want to have a lot of extra safeguards in place so that it cannot be abused by anybody, recognizing that there still needs to be a path for that which is a true emergency,” state Supreme Court Justice Shannon Bacon told a legislative committee last August.

The proposed legislative changes were recommended earlier this month by the new 24-member guardianship study group that includes attorneys, guardians and judges. The group is called WINGS, for working interdisciplinary network of guardianship stakeholders.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham would have to place the proposed legislation on her agenda for the 30-day session that begins Jan. 18, which is uncertain. Given the recent record revenue projections, legislators will already have a “weighty agenda” to address, a governor’s spokeswoman said last week.

“That being said, we are reviewing proposals on the issue of guardianship and are engaged in conversations with stakeholders and legislative leadership,” said spokeswoman Nora Meyers Sackett.

The proposed legislation would require more court oversight at the onset of a temporary guardianship, and more reporting by an appointed guardian.

Currently, there is “little to no oversight at the beginning of any particular case and it leads to potentially bad outcomes,” Bacon said during a recent WINGS meeting.

The proposed amendments to state law would require a judge to hold a hearing within 10 days after a temporary guardianship is granted by a court. The hearing is to decide whether the temporary guardianship should continue and all interested parties could attend.

Currently, the law sets no deadline for the initial hearing and months can elapse before an alleged incapacitated person appears before a judge.

The proposed reform also would shorten the length of a temporary guardianship or conservatorship to a maximum of 30 days. If a hearing is held and there is good cause, a 60-day extension can be granted.

Current law states that a temporary guardianship shall not exceed 60 days, except that upon order of the court, the temporary guardianship may be extended for not more than 30 days.

Temporary guardians or conservators, who are appointed to oversee the finances of an alleged incapacitated person, would be barred from selling or disposing of that person’s property without specific authorization from the court.

Bacon, a former state district judge in Albuquerque, said in the past “I would get an emergency petition (that) would allege that Mom is in a nursing home and her son has gotten a hold of her debit card and is withdrawing funds as fast as he can. So let’s put a stop to that through an emergency petition, and that’s appropriate.”

But there have been inappropriate uses, she added.

“Attorneys will file for emergency guardianship and it may be legitimate, the need, but they’re just not doing their job and they’ll say, give me another 30 days, give me another 60 days, and the judge will kick the can down the road and not be presented with the proof that is necessary, the clear and convincing evidence that the individual is in need of a guardianship or conservatorship,” Bacon told the legislative committee last August.

Families unaware

Under state law, any interested person can petition a court to place someone under temporary guardianship. Often times, such petitions allege the person is unable to handle their own affairs and need immediate protection for their own safety or to prevent financial exploitation.

That process, according to Bacon, “allows somebody on a very bare bones petition to assert that a guardian needs to be appointed immediately and we’ll come back to you later and prove it up.”

Judges aren’t required to hold a hearing or notify the person or that person’s family members before granting an emergency petition, which has resulted in alleged incapacitated people being removed from their homes, their bank accounts frozen or transferred and their belongings seized.

The Journal in recent years has reported on cases in which close family members learned after the fact that their loved one had been placed under a temporary guardianship with a professional guardianship company and have had to wait months to appear before a judge to contest the guardianship, its conditions or the specific guardian or conservator appointed.

One such recent case involved a retired educator from Las Cruces, Dorris Hamilton, whose son spent nearly two years trying to convince a judge to permit him, rather than a professional guardian firm, to become his mother’s guardian.

An attorney had filed a petition contending Hamilton needed an emergency guardianship because she had memory loss, vascular dementia, exhibited hoarding behaviors and “may” have been the subject of financial exploitation. Hamilton’s son, who lived out of state at the time, contended he learned several weeks later about what had occurred and never sanctioned the petition.

By law, those appointed to advise the judge on whether a person should be placed under a guardianship can collect fees for their service from the protected person’s estate.

Corporate misuse

The state Administrative Office of the Courts, which had identified about 6,000 adults living under a guardianship statewide as of last summer, had no data on the number of temporary emergency guardianships granted each year.

But a Journal review of online court docket sheets identified more than 60 guardianship cases filed over the past year involving the appointment of professional, nonfamily guardians.

Of those cases, the vast majority originated as temporary guardianships. And more often than not, an initial hearing in the case wasn’t held for several months. Docket sheets for cases involving nonprofessional guardians aren’t readily accessible on the state judiciary’s website.

Corporate guardians can end up being appointed in temporary emergency guardianship cases because the alleged incapacitated person has no family living close by or the person’s family members aren’t considered suitable to become guardians.

“It’s always important in the law to find an appropriate balance between those true emergency cases where an emergency temporary guardian is appointed for a very short period of time until the parties get the opportunity to go to court and discuss this in front of a judge,” said Brwyn Downing, executive director of the Senior Citizens Law Office in Albuquerque. “However, I believe it’s become more common knowledge that this has been abused in our current system.”

The fact that a family member or attorney can “go to a judge and have that judge issue an ex-parte emergency order without the person who is going to be placed under guardianship even having knowledge of this until they are served with that order is just … it can be shocking in certain cases, and totally inappropriate,” Downing told the Journal.

During the WINGS discussion on the proposed changes, Alice Liu McCoy, executive director of the state Developmental Disabilities Planning Council, supported the proposed changes.

The idea is to make a temporary guardianship “a rare instance,” she said. “This shouldn’t be a go-to proceeding.”

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Columnist sends holiday best wishes, bye for now



First, holiday greetings to all. Here’s hoping the joy of the season follows you into 2022!

For nearly 14 years, I have written this crime and justice column. I believe it is the only weekly column dedicated to those two issues, which affect all of us.

I write today to say so long, for now.

As many readers know, one of my longtime concerns has been the predatory guardianship system in this country. Called conservatorship in some states – think the Britney Spears case – it is a court-approved procedure whereby a judge, often on the flimsiest of evidence, can rule someone “incapacitated” and appoint a stranger to assume total personal and financial control of that person’s life.

I began investigating guardianship in 2015 and discovered it starts with a simple legal document, the Petition for Guardianship. It is designed to spell out, in detail, why the proposed “wards of the court” cannot care for themselves. Anyone can hire a lawyer to write this petition: an angry relative, an unrelated estate lawyer, a former lover, someone who is owed money or a scam artist posing as a caregiver. And, if a lawyer presents an Emergency Petition for Guardianship, it speeds up. Attorneys in this work are easy to find.

I also learned many petitions are exaggerated. They sometimes contain downright lies about the mental state of the prospective ward and the behavior of their family. For example, elders who simply have some memory issues are routinely declared as having dementia or Alzheimer’s. Adult children are regularly accused of physical, emotional or financial abuse of their aging parent. Fact checking of these petitions is often nonexistent. Many judges simply take the petitioning lawyer’s word as gospel, conducting secret sessions without even notifying the targeted ward or their family. Once ensnared in the system, it is virtually impossible to escape since a judge who initiates a guardianship rarely rules to undo his or her original judgment. And, now, it’s not just the elderly who are targets.

These days, younger people – those who received sizeable workmen’s comp settlements, won multimillion dollar medical malpractice suits, are veterans or intellectually or physically disabled with generous monthly government checks – have all fallen victim in states across the country.

While some states have begun to adopt laws to reform guardianship, this flawed system is the most crucial civil rights issue of our time. Millions are affected.

Guardian/ward relationships sometimes work out well, especially if a loving relative or friend is appointed. But, too often, the court capriciously decides no one in the family is fit and a for-profit stranger is appointed. That person can hire as many others as they like to care for the protected person; the ward’s estate pays the bills.

A government estimate from 2018 put the number of Americans caught up in guardianship at 1.3 million. Activists in the field believe it could now be closer to 2 million, but no one knows for sure because there is no official state or federal tally kept. To give you an idea of how much money is at stake: It’s calculated at any given time the collective amount of wards’ assets is at least $50 billion. With that much money available is it any wonder such a legally sanctioned system would attract the criminal element? Informed critics estimate predatory players illegally divert multiple billions from this monstrous money cache every year.

Thanks to the Britney Spears conservatorship battle, my pet topic has finally made headlines. And I have been engaged to write a book about my deep-dive findings. A sabbatical is in order since I don’t think I can diligently write a weekly column and a book simultaneously.

I will miss writing this weekly offering and receiving your comments, pro and con. But wish me luck. I hope my book will enlighten and prompt serious reform laws.

The guardianship system was designed to help the most helpless Americans. It’s time to either return to that or scrap the system and come up with a new plan to help those who cannot fend for themselves.

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Man Faked Being Handicapped to Trick Caregivers into Changing His Diapers

According to reports, a Louisiana man was arrested for the second time after posing as a handicapped person and tricking caregivers into changing his diapers. 

Rutledge Deas IV, 31, was arrested on Thursday at his home in Metairie, Louisiana after soliciting someone for "alternative therapy." Authorities also note that Deas tried to have the victim recruit other babysitters to care for him while posing as a person with special needs.

Deas was charged with one count of human trafficking and one count of attempted human trafficking. 

Back in 2019, Deas was arrested for "hiring babysitters who he would pay to change his diaper and treat him like a child." He was subsequently placed on probation in December 2020 following a guilty plea on four counts of human trafficking. 

Full Article & Source: 

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Nurse Adopts Patient's Elderly Dog After Ill Health Forced Him to Give Up Pet

By Kate Fowler

The kindness of a New York nurse has warmed hearts online, after she adopted a patient's puppy when the owner's health forced him to give his pet up to a shelter.

When 60-year-old John Burley was hospitalized with an illness on the day before Thanksgiving, he had no choice but to give his beloved dog Boomer to the Rome Humane Society.

Burley was previously a daily patient at the Adult Day Healthcare program at The Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing at Rome, where nurse Jennifer Smith, 41, works. Upon discovering the heartbreaking separation, Smith knew exactly what she needed to do. She adopted Boomer herself.

Jennifer Smith and Boomer.
"She went right to the Rome Humane Society that day and paid the adoption fee, took him to the vet, and went on a shopping spree for food, crate, toys, and doggy clothes. He is very spoiled," Kimberleigh Hare from The Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing at Rome told Newsweek.

"Jennifer was calling the hospital to speak with John to get updates on his condition and to support him through this tough time. John mentioned to her that he was devastated about losing his best friend, Boomer. It broke her heart to think that Boomer would be adopted by strangers and she couldn't bear to think about what would happen if no one wanted to adopt this sweet 13-year-old dog."

Unsurprisingly, Burley was "so relieved" when he got the call from Smith telling him that Boomer was in her hands. During his time in hospital, Smith called daily to give updates about how Boomer was settling in, with the dog happily sleeping in her daughter's room every night.

When it was finally time to leave hospital, Burley was informed he would need rehabilitation before being able to go home, so without question he chose The Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing at Rome.

John Burley reunited with Boomer.
"On the day of his hospital discharge, Jennifer dressed Boomer in his best Christmas shirt and brought him to work. John had no idea," recounted Hare.

"Once John was settled in his room, Jennifer and Boomer made their way over to his nursing unit—but I told her to stay out of sight. I asked John if he was feeling up to a surprise visit and he said yes.

"When he saw Jennifer and Boomer come around the corner, he just burst into tears and reached for his pal. There was not a dry eye in the room between residents and staff. He was so happy to see the dog and so thankful to Jennifer for saving him."

Now, Boomer makes daily visits to work with Smith, where he "has become the mascot of the adult day program."

"Boomer loves Jennifer and follows her everywhere! John is loving the visits," added Hare.

"We are so incredibly proud of Jennifer's dedication and selflessness. She provides the best care for our registrants and this is just one example of her outstanding commitment."

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Press Release: AG Racine Announces Wins in Two Lawsuits to Protect Vulnerable Elders from Financial Exploitation

News Release — DC Office of the Attorney General


Office of Communications

OAG Also Announced Two New Lawsuits Against Individuals Who Manipulated and Exploited Seniors and Allegedly Stole Tens of Thousands of Dollars

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Attorney General Karl A. Racine today announced that the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) achieved significant wins in two lawsuits against individuals who financially exploited vulnerable seniors. One lawsuit involved a nursing assistant at a long-term care facility who was stealing from residents and another involved a son who improperly transferred ownership of his mother’s home to himself. 

In addition to the two judgments, OAG also announced the filing of two new suits to defend elders and vulnerable adults from abuse and exploitation. One suit involved a former property manager at senior residential buildings who allegedly stole more than $100,000 from two elderly and disabled residents and another involved a man who manipulated and exploited his elderly neighbor for his own financial benefit.

“As attorney general, I have used the law to stand up for the District’s most vulnerable residents—particularly our growing population of seniors, who have contributed so much to our community and who should be able to live their golden years safely and with dignity,” said AG Racine. “Unfortunately, elders are increasingly vulnerable because of the isolation they are facing during the pandemic. Too many fall victim to abuse or financial exploitation, often at the hands of individuals in positions of trust and authority. My office is committed to holding wrong-doers accountable for manipulating and exploiting our vulnerable neighbors.”

With over 87,000 adults over the age of 65 residing in the District, OAG is committed to helping and protecting area seniors and vulnerable adults from abuse, neglect, and exploitation. In 2019, OAG established a standalone Elder Justice Section (EJS) to pursue civil cases, and provide informational resources to residents about their rights, common scams, and other relevant issues. EJS can obtain restitution, temporary and permanent injunctions and civil penalties through civil enforcement of the Abuse, Neglect, and Financial Exploitation of Vulnerable Adults and the Elderly Act. In 2018, OAG hired the District’s financial exploitation criminal prosecutor. OAG also does a great deal of community outreach, helping raise awareness of financial exploitation and all forms of elder abuse, to increase reporting.

OAG recently resolved two cases and held perpetrators accountable for financial exploitation of elders and vulnerable adults:

Nursing Assistant at Long-Term Care Facility Held Accountable for Stealing from Seniors in Their Care

OAG filed a civil lawsuit against Fatoumata Bah and Mohamad A. Kamara for financially exploiting vulnerable nursing home residents at the facility where Bah worked as a temporary nursing assistant.  Bah stole at least six blank checks from two nursing home residents’ rooms and deposited the forged checks into their own bank accounts. On December 17, 2021, OAG secured a judgment against Bah—who also has a previous criminal conviction related to stealing checks from vulnerable adults—barring her from working with elders and vulnerable adults in the future, revoking any licenses she held, requiring her to pay $9,900 in restitution to the now-deceased victims’ estates and civil penalties of $30,000. OAG also secured a judgment against Kamara, requiring him to pay $11,475 in restitution to victims’ estates and civil penalties of $35,000.

Son Ordered to Pay $5,000 Penalty for Transferring Deed to Mother’s Home to Himself

OAG filed a civil lawsuit alleging that a son, who was his mother’s attorney-in-fact, abused his power of attorney and transferred the title of her home to himself without her knowledge or consent. He transferred ownership of the house to himself alone despite knowing that his mother wanted the house to be transferred to him and his two siblings. OAG filed an independent action as a supplement to the private case filed by the defendant’s elderly mother. The court returned title in the house to defendant’s mother in her private action and as part of a November 2021 judgment in OAG’s lawsuit, the court barred the son from acting as a fiduciary for an elder or vulnerable adult in the future and imposed a $5,000 civil penalty.

In December, OAG filed two new cases aiming to hold perpetrators accountable for financial exploitation of elders and vulnerable adults:

Property Manager at Senior Buildings Allegedly Stole More Than $100,000 From Two Residents

In December 2021, OAG filed a civil lawsuit alleging that Nicole Freeman Smith, a building manager at senior residential buildings, abused her position of trust and took more than $100,000 from two elderly and disabled residents of buildings she managed. Smith assisted one resident, who was in her late 90s and nearly blind, with writing checks to pay bills. She allegedly used her access to the resident’s checkbook and financial information to write herself checks and make electronic bank transfers totaling more than $75,000. She also intercepted mail intended for a resident of another building she formerly managed—a woman in her 70s who was suffering from dementia, memory loss and hearing loss. Smith deposited checks intended for the woman into her own account. She used the money she stole from both women to go on shopping sprees at Gucci and Louis Vuitton, eat out, pay off her own personal loans and credit cards, and pay off her 2015 Land Rover. OAG is seeking restitution for the seniors who were exploited as well as injunctive relief and penalties. A copy of the legal complaint in this case is available here.

District Man Allegedly Manipulated and Exploited Elderly Neighbor for Years, Taking More Than $50,000

In December 2021, OAG filed a civil lawsuit against a man for allegedly financially exploiting an 81-year-old neighbor by “borrowing” large sums of money, convincing his neighbor to take on debt for defendant’s own benefit, and offering to “help” the neighbor rent out his basement apartment but pocketing the rent paid by the tenants. Since 2017, the man has used deception and emotional coercion to convince his 81-year-old neighbor to “loan” his business nearly $50,000 and has made no repayment. The man convinced his neighbor to take on debt for defendant’s own benefit, including by purchasing a new truck for him to drive, claiming he would make the monthly payments. He has not paid for the truck or the insurance, and he has accumulated more than $2,000 in parking tickets, all in the name of his older victim. Additionally, the younger man offered to “help” his neighbor rent out his basement apartment and told the 81-year-old that the income from tenants would help to pay his mortgage. Instead, he identified himself as the landlord in the lease, directed his elderly neighbors’ tenants to pay rent to his company, and kept the money for himself. Because he was not receiving any rental income, the senior had to dip into his retirement savings to keep paying his mortgage. OAG is seeking restitution for the senior who was exploited as well as injunctive relief and penalties.

When elders or vulnerable adults are abused, they may be reluctant to report because of fear of retaliation, lack of physical or cognitive ability to report the abuse, or because they do not want to get the alleged abuser in trouble. Residents can help protect their loved ones and neighbors by learning how to detect, prevent, and report abuse. Click here to learn about potential warning signs and actions to take to help prevent elder abuse.

If you are a or know a District senior or vulnerable adult experiencing abuse, neglect, or exploitation, immediately get help by: 

  • Filing a report with Adult Protective Services (APS) by calling the 24-hour hotline at (202) 541-3950.   
  • Filing a police report with the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) by calling the police at (202) 265-9100.   
  • Contacting OAG’s Elder Justice Section at (202) 727-3807 or   
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