Saturday, November 26, 2022

Wendy Williams makes 1st appearance since wellness center stay: exclusive photos

by Suzy Byrn

Wendy Williams is doin' OK these days. After a recent reboot at a wellness center, she made her first public appearance. (Photo: Wendy Williams/Calvin G Productions)

Wendy Williams
sparkled in her first public appearance since her wellness center stay.

Yahoo Entertainment has exclusive photos of the former Wendy Williams Show host, 58, at her one-time radio station's annual WBLS Circle of Sisters event in New York City on Monday.

"Contrary to what the blogs and tabloids want people to believe, Wendy is recovering amazingly well [and] looks fabulous," says her publicist, Shawn Zanotti. "Being in the public eye is truly what Wendy loves."

Williams looked ready to dazzle the crowd in a shimmering low-cut jumpsuit with black furry boots. She had the full glam going as far as makeup and straight blond locks parted down the center.

The TV and radio personality clearly seemed happy to be back commanding attention at the center of the room — the first time in quite a while that she has graced the stage.

Williams, who stepped down from her talk show in 2021 amid health issues which then morphed into a battle over her finances, gabbed with the audience about personal and professional endeavors.

Williams said at the event she has lymphedema, or tissue swelling, specifically in her feet. "I refuse to get in a wheelchair though," she told the audience. (Photo: Wendy Williams/Calvin G Productions)

At the start, she talked about having lymphedema, which is tissue swelling, specifically in her feet. "I refuse to get in a wheelchair, though," Williams told the crowd. (She's been photographed by paparazzi using one on different occasions.) She also deals with Graves disease, an autoimmune disease, that causes overstimulation of the thyroid, which can lead to puffy eyes, anxiety, fatigue, insomnia and elevated blood pressure.

Williams also spoke about her messy exit from her talk show, saying that as much as she loved being in her purple chair, she was "ready to do something new with my life. It was really becoming a burden after 14 years..." as the job was so much more than just getting glam to talk to about celebrities. She said helming the show bearing her name took a lot of work. Now, she can do anything she wants, or nothing at all. In the short term, her focus is podcasting — and she said it will finally drop in a few weeks.

While she hosts a podcast, she plans to travel. "I'm going to take a year of my life to fly and do and see things I've never done before ... while I'm young enough," she said.

She went on to share her hope that she'll fall in love again, after her bitter split from Kevin Hunter in 2019, but doesn't ever want to marry again.

"I can't wait to fall in love," Williams said. "I love men... But … I don’t want to get married. I want him to have already had kids. I want him to be someplace around my age — [between] 10 years younger than me and maybe 15 years older than me… And then we’ll be able to do things together, like if we want to all of a sudden want to fly from New York City… to France … for two days to have food or whatever, I want to be able. A man that [said], 'Come on, baby. Let’s do it. Do we fly private or do we fly public?'"

Williams became visibly emotional during the Q&A at the end when someone praised her for being a trailblazer, especially for Black women, and pressing on amid the turmoil and negativity put on her. "There are millions of us behind you holding you up," the person told Williams. "You keep going, Wendy, you don't give up." It took Williams a moment to find the right words, wiping away her tears with a tissue, and she thanked them for their support: "I appreciate you."

She also said it won't be her last sit-down like that one, promising, "I will definitely be back."

Full Article & Source:
Wendy Williams makes 1st appearance since wellness center stay: exclusive photos

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Wendy Williams

JQC Files Formal Charges Against Superior Court Judge Robert Reeves

The Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission (JQC) filed formal charges against Middle Judicial Circuit Supreme Court Judge Robert Reeves on November 16, listing 58 counts of alleged misconduct based on complaints by attorneys and others that the Judge made derogatory remarks in the courtroom, engaged in sexual harassment, and made inappropriate use of his title.

The JQC’s Investigative Panel concluded that “Formal Charges should be filed for the purpose of determining whether Judge Reeves has violated the Code of Judicial Conduct, and if so, whether he has committed willful misconduct in office, exhibited habitual intemperance, and whether his conduct is prejudicial to the administration of justice such that it brings the judicial office into disrepute.”

Charles Boring, Director of the JQC, who filed the notice of formal charges, requested that proceedings be instituted for the purpose of determining whether Judge Reeve’s conduct constitutes violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct, and if so, the appropriate discipline.

Judge Reeves was formally notified of the alleged misconduct and required to file a verified answer to these charges with the Clerk of the Georgia Supreme Court and to serve a copy to Director Boring within 30 days of notification of the charges. “Failure to answer the formal continued from page

charges shall constitute an admission of the factual allegations pursuant to JQC Rule 21 (A), according to the JQC document regarding the inquiry.

Reeves, who has been on the bench since 2007, serves as the Chief Judge in the Middle Judicial Circuit Supreme Court, which covers Toombs, Candler, Emanuel, Washington, and Jefferson Counties.

In the 60-page JQC document, several narratives of Reeves’ alleged misuse of authority are reported in a variety of situations, each divided by the nature of the offense. Improper and Intemperate Comments The JQC presented Reeves with 17 formal charges related to improper and intemperate comments that the Judge is accused of making while on the bench. In its charges, the Commission argues that Reeves “failed to act in a manner that promotes the public’s confidence in the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary,” but that the Judge “failed to establish, maintain, and enforce high standards of conduct, and to personally observe such standards of conduct in violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct.”

One instance which the JQC listed as evidence of these charges occurred when Reeves reportedly made an inappropriate remark to a Toombs County court attendee while giving instructions to the court attendees prior to excusing them for lunch. According to the JQC, Reeves had told the court attendees to remain seated while he finished his instructions. When an African-American male rose and began to leave the courtroom, Reeves is reported as saying, “Sir, you’re walking and I’m telling you to be still. Are you really that retarded?”

The JQC also lists an instance from March 18, 2022, as evidence for the charges, saying that Reeves made another inappropriate comment while presiding over a criminal calendar in Toombs County. During this instance, it is reported that a jailer asked the Judge when the court would be breaking for lunch, to which Reeves replied : “get the people (inmates) fed? You mean we have to feed these people (inmates)?” The report states that several supporters of the inmates were in the courtroom during this instance, and several became visibly upset after the comment.

In June of this year, Reeves allegedly publicly chastised a female attorney for the Middle Judicial Circuit Public Defender’s Office so intensely that she left the courtroom in tears. At the time of the event, it is reported that the attorney’s office was experiencing extreme staffing shortages, which was causing the attorney to have difficulty with the amount of paperwork required in preparation for the case. After the attorney left, Reeves is reported to have made a comment along the lines of “if you can’t handle the heat, stay out of the kitchen.” Gender-Based Improper Comments According to the JQC, from at least 2016 through 2022, Judge Reeves allegedly engaged in a pattern of improper behavior that, at a minimum, gave the appearance of constituting sexual harassment and/or bias based upon the gender of various females involved in the Middle Judicial Circuit court system. Several instances of this improper behavior were also cited as evidence for the 20 formal charges regarding these comments.

In one instance, a female employee of the Middle Judicial Circuit’s Public Defender’s Office was walking down a one-way street near the office when Reeves reportedly whistled at her and drove his car the wrong way on the road to approach her. The JQC document stated that once reaching the woman, Reeves made a statement to the effect of, “What’s a pretty girl like you doing walking alone?” The employee, who is reported to be nicknamed “Miss America” by the Judge, warned Reeves that police often ticketed motorists for driving in the wrong direction on that one-way street.

Several instances of misconduct between Reeves and the female employee were listed in the indictment, including reported touching of shoulders, rubbing of the back, and attempted hugging that the female employee stated made her uncomfortable. According to the charges, it is suspected that these instances occurred so often that the employee no longer approaches Reeves alone, and has a coworker join her when conducting business.

Reeves was also reported to have told another female attorney that she needed to choose between being a full-time mother and a full-time attorney because she was unable to accomplish both tasks, as well as making comments about her husband’s back injury he received while on vacation, saying “if you didn’t do the stuff you see on TV…you know one foot on the nightstand and one foot way over here, he wouldn’t hurt his back.”

The charges also listed instances of reported comments made by Reeves about a female Assistant District Attorney’s weight and appearance. After learning of the woman’s participation in a local race, Reeves reportedly said to her: “I knew you would have to be doing something to keep in shape, or you would have started gaining weight.”

The JQC document stated that during these instances, Judge Reeves did, in the performance of his judicial duties, by words and conduct manifest bias and prejudice and engage in harassment, based upon gender. The JQC document also charged that he failed to be dignified and courteous toward a person continued from page

with whom he deals in his official capacity and failed to act in a manner that promotes public confidence in the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary. Other Alleged Improper Contact with Court Personnel The JQC presented 10 formal charges against Reeves for other instances of alleged improper contact with court personnel, which stemmed from incidents in which Reeves reportedly asked other court officials to alter their decisions for the benefit of Reeves’s acquaintances.

A few instances discussed reports of Reeves asking judges and solicitors to avoid taking action against defendants for the benefit of these defendants, with whom Reeves was acquainted.

In one alleged incident, Reeves reportedly told an Assistant District Attorney that she should press charges against a law enforcement official for his actions regarding a serious motor vehicle accident. The incident involved a defendant in Emanuel County who left the scene of an accident and later contacted a law enforcement officer with whom he was acquainted to assist as he turned himself into authorities. Reeves allegedly told the Assistant District Attorney that the officer waited too long to relay that information and that she should also charge the law enforcement officer with a crime.

Fundraising and Promotion of Advocacy Center A total of 11 formal charges were brought against Reeves for his participation in a 2015 promotional video for an area non-profit organization, an advocacy facility serving communities in the Middle Judicial Circuit. The employees of the organization regularly testify in the Superior Court of the Middle Judicial Circuit in cases involving child victims, including but not limited to, child sexual and physical abuse cases.

In the video, which the JQC reported was still available for viewing on the Center’s website in June 2022, Reeves appears onscreen with a banner that states, “Judge Bobby Reeves, Superior Court Judge,” as he discusses the benefits of the organizatoion’s work in judicial cases.

It is also reported that Reeves hosted a two-hour fundraiser for the area non-profit organization in December 2020, footage of which was still available online in June 2022. During this fundraiser, Reeves is said to have encouraged viewers to donate to the cause, and even called out lawyers, teachers, and other members of the community to donate. He reportedly challenged lawyers and attorneys to match every $500 donated by the public, and thoroughly discussed the role of the organization in his court.

By participating in these actions, the JQC alleges that Reeves “failed to establish, maintain, and enforce high standards of conduct, and to personally observe such standards of conduct so that the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary is maintained.” Also, the JQC alleges that Reeves lent the prestige of his office to advance the private interests of others and conveyed and enabled others to advance the impression that an organization was in a position to influence him.

The JQC alleges that Reeves engaged in extrajudicial activities that cast doubt on his capacity to impartially decide issues and engaged in activities promoting an organization concerning the law, the legal system, and the administration of justice for which he personally solicited funds during public fundraising activities.

What’s Next

Reeves will continue to serve on the bench unless disciplinary action is taken by the JQC or the Supreme Court. Once the Commission receives his response to the formal charges, a hearing will be held to determine whether the case will go to trial or be dropped. If the case goes to trial, any decision may be appealed in lower courts until it is overseen by the state Supreme Court, who will make the final decision. Because of this, the case may take up to two years to be concluded. Possible outcomes if the Judge is found guilty of these claims are retirement, censure, and suspension or removal from office.

Full Article & Source:
JQC Files Formal Charges Against Superior Court Judge Robert Reeves

Friday, November 25, 2022

Crane Operator Shares Heartwarming Story About Elderly Man Who Shows Up at Work Site Every Day

A crane operator gained something unexpected from working on a work site – a new friend.

It all began when Shawn Beveridge, a crane operator, kept noticing a man on a wheelchair sitting outside a  nursing home across the construction site where he was working.

The man seemed captivated by what he was seeing and consistently showed up every day at the same spot, just watching them build all day long.

“Since day 1 when I arrived on this job site I’ve noticed him sitting there every morning from 7am he takes lunch when we do and doesn’t leave until I shut the crane down and head out,” Shawn wrote in a now viral Facebook post about the man.

Shawn thought to himself, “he’s just a curious old man and wanting to enjoy his days outside vs being cooped up in his room.” But as he would later learn, there was more to this man’s story than meets the eye.

After a couple of days, curiosity got the better of the crane operator, and he decided to approach the man who was as usual across the work site and introduce himself.

Shawn learned that the man’s name was Harold and that he had been staying in the nursing home for seven years. Their first conversation lasted for two and a half hours and in that time, Shawn learned that Harold was nearing the end of his life.

“His heart valves are clogged and some disease has been eating at him for years,” he wrote.

Before his health failed, Harold worked as a crane operator for over fifty years, which explains why he liked to stay outside and watch them work.

“He said he enjoys seeing what he use to love to do for a living and never thought he’d ever be able to see or be around a crane again and let alone be so close to see one in action,” Shawn wrote.

Harold had two daughters and a son but unfortunately, none of them have paid him a visit ever since he came to live in the nursing home seven years ago. That’s when Shawn thought of making a deal with the man.

He told him that he would come and chat with him every day at the work site after his shift so Harold could critique his work. In exchange for his advice, Shawn would bring him a black coffee every morning and buy him lunch twice a week from wherever he wishes.

“He didn’t skip a beat before ABSOLUTELY! came out of his mouth. I guess I’m writing this post because if I would have never walked over to him I would have never gotten to know him. I’m thankful to have the opportunity to make this man’s last days enjoyable. Filled with purpose and to be able to help him smile again,” Shawn wrote.

Full Article and Source:
Crane Operator Shares Heartwarming Story About Elderly Man Who Shows Up at Work Site Every Day

This Bride's Four Grandmas Were Flower Girls in her Wedding

When wedding arrangements are made, the flower girl role is typically assigned to little children. While that is the norm, a couple who recently got married chose to take a different route – by asking their four grandmothers to walk as flower girls at their wedding! Thus, they have the cutest wedding photo book ever!

The post went viral, and the photographer had nothing but praises for the four women. She told Today Style: “I was not expecting the level of sass that these girls brought. Their energy all day was that of a little girl who was in the same position. It truly just goes to show that age is just a number.” Lyndsey told the HuffPost that the grandmas were all “ecstatic” when she asked them to be her flower girls. They gave an even bigger reaction than the other people who were included in the wedding.


This bride's 4 grandmas were the flower girls at her wedding, the photos are beautiful

Thursday, November 24, 2022


 Happy Thanksgiving GIF - Happy Thanksgiving GIFs

Elderly Man Pushes His Disabled Dog on a Cart Every Day so He Can Still Go for a Walk

For an animal lover, there is no such thing as a ‘pet’ because for them, their domesticated animal is a friend, a loved one, a family. In fact, countless stories showing how much a pet means to its owner always appear from time to time. Yet, reading such stories has never failed to make someone smile.

In Vibo Valentina, Italy, you will see Tonino Vitale and his 13-year-old dog. Seeing them walking and exploring the city together will surely tug the strings of your heart.

Recently, while spending time in the city, Sabrina La Grotteria saw a remarkable sight! Apparently, Tonino is walking with Dylan, but not in the way an owner normally walks his dog. The kind and loving old man was pushing his loyal dog in a cart.

According to Tonino, Dylan is fond of taking afternoon walks. Unfortunately, due to arthritis (yes, even dogs can develop arthritis), Dylan had lost the mobility of his rear legs.
Because Tonino knew just how much Dylan loves walking around the city, the old man had decided to push him around in a cart. Although pushing a cart with an adult dog riding it seems to be a herculean task for an old man like Tonino, still Tonino does not complain. For him and his family, all that matters is that Dylan is alive and happy.

Full Article and Source:
Elderly Man Pushes His Disabled Dog on a Cart Every Day so He can Still Go for a Walk

92-Year-Old Grandma and Grandson are on an Epic Road Trip

Since 2015, Brad Ryan has taken 92-year-old grandmother Joy to 62 of the country’s 63 national parks after she said she had never seen a mountain in person.

The conclusion to this amazing adventure is set for this year with a visit to the last national park on their list – the National Park of American Samoa.

The challenge to visit all US national parks began when Brad, a veterinarian student at the time, told his grandmother of his trip to the Appalachian Trail.

He was shocked when Joy, from Duncan Falls, Ohio, said that she had never once seen a mountain range, or had even gone camping!

She wished that she had the chance to go on a trip like her grandson, and Brad responded in the best way ever – he took his grandmother on the journey of a lifetime!

Brad said, “I felt bad that she was always living vicariously through my stories. And so just knowing that she had never seen deserts and mountains and the ocean and these incredible wild places on Earth, it just felt like a responsibility that I had to her to make sure that she had some memories to take away in her life story as well.”

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

NM lawmakers prepare bills targeting financial exploitation

By Dan McKay

Senate Majority Whip Michael Padilla, D-Albuquerque, and Ellen Leitzer, co-founder of the Senior Citizens Law Office, participate in a discussion Tuesday about their bill to make it a criminal offense to exploit vulnerable people. The bill wasn’t endorsed in the committee hearing, but Sen. Joseph Cervantes, D-Las Cruces, offered a series of suggestions he said would improve the measure. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

SANTA FE — With a 60-day session on the horizon, New Mexico legislators spent much of Tuesday exploring ways to recruit more police officers, combat organized retail crime and stop financial exploitation.

In a hearing at the Capitol, lawmakers presented a host of ideas to the Courts, Corrections and Justice Committee for feedback as they prepare to file bills ahead of the 2023 legislative session.

Two proposals centered on the financial exploitation of elders or others vulnerable to abuse — one establishing a new criminal offense, the other providing for civil remedies.

Senate Majority Whip Michael Padilla, D-Albuquerque, presented legislation that would create the crimes of financial exploitation of an adult who is older, vulnerable or disabled and unlawful use of power of attorney.

Stealing, of course, is already a crime, supporters said, but it can be difficult to prosecute cases in which a person has signed a legal document granting someone else authority over financial decisions.

“The consequences of financial exploitation can be devastating,” Padilla said. “New Mexico’s elders and vulnerable adults deserve protection from financial abuse.”

Feliz Rael and Ellen Leitzer of the Senior Citizens Law Office in Albuquerque said serial offenders prey on older people. Leitzer spoke about a client who depleted his $60,000 in savings after a younger woman picked him up at a senior center and promised a relationship.

“It’s really awful,” Rael said. Repeat offenders “are still out there preying on people.”

Sen. Katy Duhigg, D-Albuquerque, presented legislation that would create a new cause of action allowing the filing of civil lawsuits under a Financial Exploitation Act. It would include incentives, she said, designed to encourage a potential defendant to repay the money quickly to avoid punitive damages.

Without the bill, Duhigg said, the state doesn’t have any “great legal tools” to address when a person who takes advantage of an older adult or person with a cognitive impairment.

The committee didn’t offer a unanimous endorsement of either bill. But members offered suggestions and potential technical changes that could be incorporated into the legislation before the start of the Jan. 17 session.

Also Tuesday, the committee heard proposals to:

Combat organized retail crime with a new law designed to target thieves who hit one store after another while limiting how much they take from each location to avoid more severe criminal penalties.

The legislation would establish penalties based on the total value of merchandise stolen, even if it was taken on more than one occasion.

Rep. Bill Rehm, R-Albuquerque, said retail thieves are growing sophisticated enough to warrant the new law.

■ Revising rules in the state pension system to allow people to retire at their full salary if they serve long enough.

Rep. Eliseo Alcon, D-Milan, said it would help the state keep veteran police officers and encourage longer service without damaging the financial health of the Public Employees Retirement Association.

Full Article & Source:
NM lawmakers prepare bills targeting financial exploitation

With promise of 'gold fortune,' Grand Island woman defrauds $474,123 from California man, police say

by Jeff Bahr

A 65-year-old Grand Island woman was arrested Wednesday following a California-based investigation into a case of elder financial exploitation.

Constance Reimers was charged Thursday in Hall County Court with conspiracy to commit a Class 2A felony and theft by deception totaling $5,000 or more. A warrant was issued for Reimers’ arrest on Tuesday.

Her arrest was based on an investigation that was initiated by investigators from the FBI Elder Justice Task Force in San Diego County in California.

The investigation leads “the Hall County Sheriff’s Office to believe that this case has crossed into other surrounding communities in Nebraska and across state lines,” says a news release. “While some victims have been identified as a part of this investigation, we suspect that more financial victims exist. We hope that this arrest will empower victims of elder financial exploitation to come forward.”

Investigators believe that at least two victims in the case live in Nebraska, Hall County Chief Deputy Josh Berlie said Friday.

According to the affidavit, Reimers established a relationship with an Oceanside, California, man through the Zoosk dating site, as well as Google Hangouts and email. The relationship “quickly turned romantic,” and Reimers began to ask the man “to send her money for various reasons,” the affidavit says.

Those reasons included paying rent, helping with a financial burden caused by COVID-19 and “helping to pay 40 years of storage fees so that Reimers could inherit a gold fortune that she was entitled to.”

In total, the Oceanside man allegedly sent more than $474,123 to the Grand Island woman.

The affidavit alleges that Reimers and another individual “were part of a network of scammers associated with Nana Yaw Awuah Marfo, who resides in the United States but was born in Ghana.”

At Reimers’ arraignment Thursday, Hall County Court Judge John Rademacher set bond at $50,000 and scheduled a preliminary hearing for 10:30 a.m. Dec. 13.

Reimers was released on bond after posting 10% of the $50,000 amount.

Full Article & Source:
With promise of 'gold fortune,' Grand Island woman defrauds $474,123 from California man, police say

Hall County Sheriff’s Office: Beware of gift card scams this holiday season

By Now Habersham 

Gift cards are an easy option for holiday giving, but Hall County Sheriff’s investigators warn shoppers to be cautious, especially if they’re buying from racks in big box stores. The warning comes as a gift card scam has surfaced in nearby counties, the sheriff’s office says.

Investigators have found that scammers will print out their own barcodes and place those over the real barcodes on gift cards at local retailers. When the card is activated, the money is added to an existing card owned by the scammer instead of the card being purchased, so not only is the buyer being ripped off, but the gift recipient gets a card with no value.

To safeguard against such scams, HCSO offers these tips: 

  • Always examine the back of the gift card before buying it. Check for signs of tampering, such as a barcode sticker.
  • Compare the gift card’s barcode number, visible on the back of the packaging, to the number on the packaging itself.
  • Select a gift card from the middle or the back of the rack. They’re less likely to have been tampered with.

If you find you’ve been victimized by a gift card scam, you should contact the company that issued the card. You can also file a report with law enforcement in the jurisdiction where the card was purchased.

Full Article & Source:
Hall County Sheriff’s Office: Beware of gift card scams this holiday season

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

'Beyond horrible': Sisters frustrated with state’s guardianship program that’s kept them separated from older father

Benito Navarro is 92 years old. His daughters, Zoraida and Maritza Navarro, say for 63 years, their dad was married to their mom until she died. Soon after his wife’s death, Navarro started talking about marrying a woman from Peru whom he had spent time with on the phone.

His daughters worried their dad was about to enter into a fraudulent marriage. Maritza Navarro recently told WPBF 25 News. "We said, dad, you can’t do this. You don’t know this woman. This is illegal. She’s coming here for citizenship fraudulently. You cannot do this."

The sisters turned to the Palm Beach County Guardianship program hoping to protect their dad from an illegal marriage. The court placed him under an emergency temporary guardianship that is supposed to last 180 days. Nearly two years later, their father is still under a guardianship. "It's been horrible. Beyond horrible. I wouldn’t recommend anyone going through it," said Maritza Navarro.

While under the court-ordered guardianship, Benito Navarro has been moved from his home and placed in three different facilities. His long-time home was about to be sold, but the sisters went to court and managed to stop the sale. And according to his daughters, most of his belongings have moved out of his home.

Anthony Palmieri is the Deputy Inspector General & Chief Guardianship Investigator for the Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller's Office in Palm Beach County. He told WPBF 25 news that guardianship is a last resort when all other alternatives have been exhausted. Palmieri also said families need to put a plan together before considering guardianship.

"Best practices are all your advanced directives, durable powers of attorney, joint bank accounts and putting assets into a trust. The best thing that elders can do is to communicate their wishes to their family members," Palmieri said.

The sisters must now get court approval to visit their dad. Last month, a judge granted them permission to visit him. It was the first time they were allowed to see him since May. But they said he wants to come back and live with them. But they must now wait until the court decides his future.

"I feel sad that we had wasted time. It’s just been a nightmare," Zoraida Navarro said.

Full Article & Source:
'Beyond horrible': Sisters frustrated with state’s guardianship program that’s kept them separated from older father

Fake heiress Anna Delvey’s former lawyer disbarred over alleged financial crimes

By Olivia Land

A former lawyer for scammer Anna Delvey was disbarred for her own alleged financial crimes this month, leading the fake heiress to mock her with a sketch illustrating their troubled relationship.    

Audrey A. Thomas, of Queens, was disbarred on Nov. 9, court documents show. The results of a disciplinary hearing published Tuesday allege that she misappropriated $630,000 in escrow funds from Rhea Murray, an elderly client who hired Thomas to oversee the sale of her Brooklyn apartment in 2013.

Thomas, who is also the author of the book “Ego Has No Place in the Law,” claimed that she had Murray’s permission to take the money, which she reportedly used to “promote [herself] as an author and radio show host.”

Murray’s daughters confronted Thomas about the missing cash in 2016, at which point the lawyer promised to repay the money over several months. Disciplinary proceedings against Thomas began in 2018, after she defaulted on the payment plan.

Fake heiress Anna Delvey alongside former lawyer Audrey A. Thomas in an undated photo.
Fake heiress Anna Delvey alongside former lawyer Audrey A. Thomas in an undated photo.
Twitter/Audrey Thomas
Audrey A. Thomas was disbarred this month.
Audrey A. Thomas was disbarred this month.
Twitter/Audrey Thomas

The Queens District Attorney’s Office subsequently took Thomas into custody in July 2019 on second-degree larceny charges, reported. She pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial. If convicted, she faces up to 15 years in prison.

In a text message statement to The Post on Thursday morning, Thomas denied the allegations against her.

“I did not misappropriate anyone’s funds,” she wrote. “The Appellate Division got their facts wrong.” When pressed on what happened to Murray’s funds, Thomas retorted, “Call her and ask her! Or call her daughters and ask them.”

Delvey pictured near her apartment in Oct. 2022.
Delvey near her apartment in October 2022.
Getty Images

Amid her own legal woes, Thomas was reportedly hired by Delvey in March 2021, when the German native was taken into ICE custody shortly after being released from Rikers Island. The would-be socialite — whose real name is Anna Sorokin — was famously convicted in 2019 of scamming New York businesses, banks and upper-crust individuals as part of her fake heiress act. 

Delvey fired Thomas in April this year, citing a lack of progress in her criminal and immigration cases due to Thomas’ lax work habits.

“I do not work the month of April for it is my birth month,” Thomas explained in her formal response to Sorokin’s new lawyers. “Anna is fully aware of this.”

Delvey's mock book cover aimed at Thomas' disbarment.
Delvey’s mock book cover aimed at Thomas’ disbarment.

In a statement to Insider after her firing, Thomas referred to her former client as an “ungrateful b—h.”

Delvey subsequently sued Thomas in September, claiming she was withholding recordings of her deportation hearings and some of her personal effects.

Speaking to Insider this week from house arrest — where she remains since being released from ICE detention in October — Delvey says she is glad Thomas can no longer represent other clients.

“I’m happy that the real story is being told and shedding light on my issues,” she told the outlet. “I’m mostly comforted that she cannot do damage to anyone else’s case and life.”

Delvey, who is currently earning thousands of dollars hawking her prison artwork, also included a cheeky drawing of a mock book cover titled “How to Get Disbarred in 10 Days.” In addition to “ungrateful b—h,” the pencil sketch pays homage to Thomas’ “birth month” demand.

The hand-drawn details are set against what appear to be collaged elements from alleged exchanges between Thomas and Sorokin. “You are incorrigible and for now the Anna Delvey show is not my favorite program,” one text says. It is unclear if Thomas actually wrote these words or if Delvey made them up.

Thomas shared her own mock book cover with The Post on Thursday.
Thomas shared her own mock book cover with The Post on Thursday.
Audrey A. Thomas

In the image, Delvey included Thomas’ byline with her legal credentials crossed out.

Thomas, however, appeared nonplussed by her former client’s taunts, and called out both Delvey and one of the Insider authors, Jacob Shamsian, alongside an image of the mock cover on Twitter early Thursday.

“Jacob Samshian [sic] and Anna Sorokin are having a great time serving as Penninah. I guess I must be Hannah,” Thomas wrote, referring to a story in the Old Testament Book of Samuel in which Peninnah mocks her husband’s favored wife, Hannah, for her childlessness. After enduring Peninnah’s attitude for several years, God blesses Hannah with several children of her own.

Delvey's ankle bracelet that she wears after being released from ICE custody.
Delvey’s ankle bracelet that she wears after being released from ICE custody.
Getty Images

Speaking to The Post on Thursday, Thomas accused Sorokin of “puppeteering” Shamsian. 

“I can still appear [on my own behalf],” she argued. Thomas, who is Jamaican American, also said Sorokin is “evidence that it is great to be white in America.” 

Thomas also countered Delvey’s snark with her own proposed book cover. In an edited mock-up shared with The Post, the tome titled “The Anna Delvey Reality: Social Antagonism is the Worst Form of Oppression” is splashed with images of Thomas alongside Delvey. In one picture, which shows the pair in what looks like a prison yard, Delvey is clad in a high-end Canada Goose puffer.

Anna Delvey in court in May 2019.
Anna Delvey in court in May 2019.
AFP via Getty Images

“Anna and I can release our books at the same time,” Thomas wrote. “Thank G-d I can’t get disbarred again. Maybe we will both make [the New York Times] bestseller list side by side.”

News of Thomas’ disbarment comes at a busy time for Delvey, who shuttles from her East Village apartment to parole meetings in expensive Ubers with a tracking device clipped to her ankle. Earlier this month, The Post reported that she is hoping to parlay her newfound freedom into hosting a series of free, trendy dinners.

“Although not yet confirmed, the dinner series is one of the many projects Anna currently has in development,” her rep said at the time.

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Fake heiress Anna Delvey’s former lawyer disbarred over alleged financial crimes

Britney Spears hints she doesn’t want to prosecute her family over alleged conservatorship abuse

Image Group LA/Disney Channel via Getty Images Image Group LA/Disney Channel via Getty Images

Britney Spears
 unleashed another poignant essay about adjusting to her life post-conservatorship, and this one raised a few eyebrows over what she said about wanting to persecute her family.

Taking to Instagram on Sunday, the pop singer hinted that she doesn’t want to go through the lengthy process of going to court over the alleged abuse she suffered during her 13-year conservatorship.

“People say you will have to put up a lot of money and sue and sit for hours and not be able to use my feet again. When I want to run outside … NO THANK YOU to prove these allegations are true !!! I will never put up more money to go to court to see if my dad gets prosecuted,” she wrote.  

The singer added, “I choose to smile and put it in my family’s face until the day I die.”

This is an about-face from what she said a year ago to California Superior Court Judge Brenda J. Penny. “I’m in shock. I’m traumatized. … I’m so angry it’s insane,” she expressed in her bombshell testimony that laid out the alleged abuse she suffered. “I would honestly like to sue my family, to be totally honest with you.”

Britney also told the judge, “My dad and anyone involved in this conservatorship and my management who played a key role in punishing me… They should be in jail.”

ABC Audio has submitted a request for comment to Britney’s attorney Mathew Rosengart.

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Britney Spears hints she doesn’t want to prosecute her family over alleged conservatorship abuse

Monday, November 21, 2022

Making Thanksgiving Dementia-Friendly

Seven Tips from the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America

(November 15, 2022)— With Thanksgiving approaching, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) is offering seven tips to help families affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia-related illnesses ensure their Thanksgiving celebration is dementia-friendly.

“Families caring for a loved one with a dementia-related illness deserve to join together and celebrate Thanksgiving, and there a few simple steps they can take to make that celebration as joyful as possible,” said Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., AFA’s President & CEO. “Being proactive and prepared are the best tools caregivers can use to give their loved one a Happy Thanksgiving.”

AFA offers the following tips to help make a Thanksgiving celebration dementia-friendly:

Prepare your loved one. Try to familiarize them with the guests beforehand by showing photos, sharing stories, or arranging a phone or Facetime chat prior to the celebration. You could also make an invitation to the event to share with your loved one so they know details and that it will be happening.

Prepare your guests. Consider sharing beneficial information with guests about your loved one—such as ways to communicate with the person, what they respond well to, and what may cause distress—especially if they have not seen the person recently. This will help facilitate positive interactions and engagement.

Factor the person’s routine into the scheduling. Changes in daily routine can be challenging for someone living with dementia, so to the greatest extent possible, plan the celebration around that routine. For example, if the person usually takes an afternoon walk, build in time for that.

Hold the celebration early. Individuals living with dementia are prone to “sundowning,” a syndrome which can cause agitation and confusion in the late afternoon-early evening as the sun sets. This can be compounded when adding a celebration with a house full of guests. Consider holding the celebration earlier in the day so your loved one feels more comfortable.

Plan for help. Preparing and holding a holiday gathering can be stressful even without the additional responsibilities of caring for a loved one with dementia. Relatives and friends are often eager to help, but may not know how. Don’t be afraid to let them know what you need, whether it’s asking them to bring a dish, help with cooking, shopping, or decorating, or spending time with your loved one while you are preparing for the celebration.

Keep your loved one involved.  Make adaptations that enable your loved one to participate in the celebration by focusing on what they can do, rather than what they cannot. Invite them to help by preparing ingredients for a simple dish, setting the table, decorating, and other activities. Playing familiar music or going through old photos are great forms of reminiscence that can bring joy and foster positivity during the celebration. For intergenerational activities, try singing familiar songs together, doing art activities, and having a snack together.

Have a quiet space available. Prepare a quiet place away from the crowd where the person with dementia can go if the celebration becomes too much for them. Have familiar comfort items available (i.e., favorite blanket, sweater, stuffed animal) that will help them feel safe and comfortable. Try to control the flow of visitors when possible; those in early stages are better able to interact than those in later stages.

Families who have questions about creating a dementia-friendly Thanksgiving celebration or any other question relating to dementia or caregiving can contact the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s Helpline, seven days a week, by phone (866-232-8484), text message (646-586-5283), or web chat (click the blue and white chat icon in the lower corner of the page).

Full Article & Source:
Making Thanksgiving Dementia-Friendly

Fort Worth woman arrested, charged in $1.2 million ‘sweetheart swindle’ of Indiana man

By James Hartley

 A Fort Worth woman is in jail accused of scamming money from an elderly Indiana man online, according to court documents. 

Lorraine Rew, 46, is being held at the Tarrant County Jail without bail, listed as a fugitive, according to court records. 

Rew is accused of stealing around $1.2 million from the man in what authorities described as an “elaborate sweetheart swindle,” according to a search warrant affidavit filed by the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office. The warrant describes how Rew told the man she needed money for medicine and paying bills for another person. The warrant also suggests how charges of elder exploitation, theft and money laundering might be applicable based on evidence for which investigators were looking.

Rew took that money to casinos in Oklahoma, visiting nearly 160 times in the less than two years, according to the search warrant. Information from a gambling W2 included in the warrant showed Rew won more than $1.45 million at the casinos from Dec. 30, 2019, to Jan. 1, 2022. She also used the money to buy a new Buick Enclave, according to the warrant. 

Rew scammed the man starting on Twitter before moving to cell phone, according to the warrant. She would send documents to the man that looked like medical and insurance information about her and her children, asking him for money to help pay for it and promising to pay him back when the insurance company reimbursed her.

The man took money from retirement funds, savings and checking accounts, credit-card cash advances and personal loans, according to the warrant. 

Inspectors with the United States Postal Service, which investigated the scam because money was sent via the postal service, said they tried to find evidence that Rew used the money to pay medical expenses but were unable to do so, according to the warrant. 

When they interviewed the man he showed USPS inspectors pictures of himself and Rew together in August of 2021, as well as text messages the two exchanged, according to the warrant. In those texts, Rew told the man she would die if she couldn’t get money to pay $18,000 and $2,000 to doctors and pharmacies. 

In the warrant, investigators got permission to search Rew’s property and records including her home, vehicle, cell phone, computers, casino membership cards, bank records, employment documents, medical records and documents, electronic storage devices and credit- and debit-card statements.

Full Article & Source:
Fort Worth woman arrested, charged in $1.2 million ‘sweetheart swindle’ of Indiana man

Sunday, November 20, 2022

What's being done to tackle elder abuse in Humboldt County


Financial exploitation is the most common type of abuse towards elders in America (Getty Images)

EUREKA, Calif. — As an ombudsman, Leanne Langston advocated for those in skilled nursing and residential care facilities across the North Coast. Part of her job includes looking for the warning signs of elder abuse.

"I see a lot more than what I would like to see, which is unfortunate," Langston said. "It could be as simple as trying to scam somebody out of their money, it could be physical, it could be isolation, a form of neglect."

Humboldt County is home to more than 25,000 seniors and that number is expected to increase over the next few years. That segment of the population was the subject of a recent Humboldt County Grand Jury report examining the issue of elder abuse and the services and safety nets for those affected.

Adult Protective Services is one of the agencies mentioned in the report. This division of the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services is a key resource if elder abuse is suspected.

"We respond to reports of abuse and neglect and we have a phone number, where that's kind of the first start if somebody is concerned about somebody in our community," Adult Services Program Manager Keri Schrock. "One in 10, people over the age of 60, have experienced some form of elder abuse."

The Grand Jury report found in part that APS could do more to publicize elder abuse awareness.

"We have been tabling now that things have kind of opened up," Schrock said. "We do provide mandated reporter training for any agencies or programs that work with the elderly."

While the pandemic has limited its ability to do community outreach, APS has been able to start it up again recently. However, the pandemic has also created challenges when it comes to reporting given some victims could be stuck with their perpetrator.

Humboldt County District Attorney Maggie Fleming created the Elder and Vulnerable Adult Service Team or EVAST shortly after starting her term. The Grand Jury report said it has significantly improved the prosecution and conviction rates for elder abuse cases.

"We can say this is something we really have to put our resources into investigate and really see what's going on here," said Fleming.

The Grand Jury recommended the DA and APS continue their joint application for Measure Z funds for EVAST.

If you or someone you know may be a victim of elder abuse, you can contact Humboldt County Adult Protective Services at 707-476-2100. You can view more of Adult Protect Services' resources on its website.

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What's being done to tackle elder abuse in Humboldt County

Woman indicted in months-long abuse of elderly veteran

By Julie Manganis

SALEM — A Salem woman was indicted Wednesday in a months-long campaign of physical abuse and threats against an elderly Vietnam veteran who thought he could help her.

Tina Lizotte, 62, who was arrested in June, now faces a potential state prison term if convicted of charges that include five counts each of assault and battery on a person 60 or older and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, as well as a charge of witness intimidation.

The victim, 75, is a now-former neighbor of Lizotte at the Salem Heights apartment complex at 12 Pope St., a privately operated low-income development where both lived at the time.

The man’s family had grown increasingly concerned for his well-being after noticing unusual financial transactions on his bank account and that he was more and more difficult to reach. When they did see him he would sometimes have bruises, which he would attribute to falls.

Even as police, elder services and the complex’s management became involved, the man minimized the situation, telling them that Lizotte would reimburse him for expenses, and she was only holding onto his wallet inside a safe in her apartment for safekeeping.

Both the victim and Lizotte initially told investigators the man’s family was simply meddling.

But at the end of June, police encountered the man as he attempted to seek medical attention.

He would eventually disclose that over the course of their friendship, Lizotte had grown increasingly demanding and when he didn’t accede to her demands, would become physically abusive, according to police reports.

The man told investigators that Lizotte hit him with a mop, a broom and a belt, bit him, jabbed him in the eye, and cut and burned him, according to the indictments.

He said he’d felt sorry for Lizotte, who uses a wheelchair and suffers from a long list of health issues, and offered help when her daughter, who has been paid by the state to care for Lizotte as a personal care assistant, was pregnant. Later he continued caring for Lizotte because her daughter was busy with her own children.

The man, who still drove, offered to bring her to medical appointments and pick up medications for her at the pharmacy, among other chores.

But as police and other investigators began asking questions last spring, he told them, Lizotte’s anger grew — and so did the abuse, according to a police report.

At her initial court appearance in district court, Lizotte threw a headset across the courtroom. She was sent for an evaluation, which found that she suffered from multiple physical illnesses but no psychiatric diagnosis other than a personality disorder.

She did acknowledge her anger issues, a judge noted in a subsequent order releasing her on conditions in July.

The indictments move the case from Salem District Court to Superior Court.

An arraignment date had not been set as of Thursday.

Full Article & Source:
Woman indicted in months-long abuse of elderly veteran

Randolph County Circuit Court

Financial exploitation

Randolph County prosecutors charged Paula Blackston this month with financial exploitation of an elderly person and misappropriation of funds of an elderly nursing home resident.

From about Oct. 22, 2020 to Feb. 1, 2022, Blackston , a Moberly resident, took control of social security benefits and the retirement pension of her mother, according to a probable cause statement from the Special Investigations Unit of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

Blackston is accused of using $23,618 in social security benefits and $2,136 in retirement funds, two $1,400 government stimulus payments, a $600 stimulus payment and a $423 tax refund belonging to her mother for her personal use.

Some of the money was withdrawn from an ATM at Isle of Capri Casino. Blackston failed to pay the nursing home bill for her mother, esulting in a past due balance of $10,374, the court document says.

Blackston was convicted of forgery in 1996 and 1998, assault in 1997 and theft in 2009, according to the Special Investigations Unit.

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Randolph County Circuit Court