Saturday, December 3, 2022

Pa. lawyer pleads guilty to stealing $1 million from his clients

A formerly prominent Chester County attorney has plead guilty to stealing over $1 million from clients, according to a story from The Daily Local News.

Thomas Evan Schindler, 62, of Newlin Township, admitted in court that he had taken money from clients that he was not entitled to, and had in one case lied about where the money was.

The total number of money stolen comes to more than $1 million, according to a summary of the cases provided by prosecutor Deputy District Attorney William J. Judge Jr.

According to the terms of his plea agreement, Schindler will be sentenced to a state prison term of 2.5 to 6 years. He will be placed on probation following his prison term, and have to make restitution to the four victims in the case, three of whom had hired him to represent them in civil and criminal cases, the news site said.

Schindler was initially charged by Easttown police in June 2021 with stealing over $991,000 from a former client who hired him for a divorce proceeding. According to the Daily Local News, Schindler failed to make the required transfers of proceeds from the sale of the couple’s home. 

He was then arrested this year by Chester County detectives, and charged with two separate cases of stealing $86,000 from former clients, looting an escrow account that had been set up to handle the victims’ funds and taking money to represent a man charged in a criminal case but doing little or no work before he was disbarred. In one case, he reported the theft to investigators himself, the news outlet reported.

Schindler, who was disbarred in 2020, will remain free on bail until he is formally sentenced, sometime early next year.

Full Article & Source:
Pa. lawyer pleads guilty to stealing $1 million from his clients

Federal Grand Jury in Louisville Indicts New York Man for His Role in "Grandparent Scam" Targeting Senior Victims

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Kentucky
Louisville, KY – A federal grand jury in Louisville returned an indictment in October charging a New York man with conspiracy to commit mail fraud for his role in a “grandparent scam” that impacted senior victims around the country, including a Meade County individual who lost tens of thousands of dollars to the scam. “Grandparent scams,” also known as “person-in-need scams,” involve perpetrators making false claims to victims that their loved one is in jeopardy and in need of money that the perpetrator will use to assist the loved one.      

U.S. Attorney Michael A. Bennett of the Western District of Kentucky and U.S. Postal Inspector in Charge Lesley Allison of the Pittsburg Division made the announcement.

According to court documents, Juan Carlos Arcena Cabrera, 28, of Yonkers, New York, conspired with others to trick seniors into sending cash payments under the false pretense that a grandchild or loved one had been in a car accident or was facing legal trouble. Scam callers would reach out to victims repeatedly, claiming more money was needed to cover additional emergency expenses. As part of this conspiracy, Cabrera posed as the grandson of a Kentucky victim and attempted to pick up a parcel full of cash that the victim had shipped from Kentucky to a FedEx store in New York.

Cabrera was arraigned yesterday in U.S. District Court. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. There is no parole in the federal system. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the United States Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The United States Postal Inspection Service is investigating the case with assistance from the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security Investigations, the United States Secret Service, and the New York Police Department.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Corinne E. Keel is prosecuting the case.

This case was investigated and prosecuted as part of the National Elder Justice Task Force and the Kentucky Elder Justice Task Force. The Department of Justice’s mission of its Elder Justice Initiative is to support and coordinate the Department’s enforcement and programmatic efforts to combat elder abuse, neglect and financial fraud and scams that target our nation’s older adults. In response to the growing need and targeting areas of greatest concern, the Department of Justice initially stood up 10 task forces made up of 11 federal districts to combat a variety of elder abuse, including elder financial exploitation. Kentucky’s federal districts make up two of the 11 districts under the Initiative. Kentucky’s task force is comprised of investigators, prosecutors, and others at the local, state, and federal level with a common objective of protecting seniors across Kentucky.

In October, the Department announced that as part of its continuing efforts to protect older adults and bring perpetrators of fraud schemes to justice it is expanding the Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Force, adding 14 new U.S. Attorney’s Offices. Expansion of the Strike Force will help to coordinate the Department’s ongoing efforts to combat largest and most harmful fraud schemes that target or disproportionately impact older adults.  

An indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Federal Grand Jury in Louisville Indicts New York Man for His Role in "Grandparent Scam" Targeting Senior Victims

Caregiver arrested on elderly abuse charges

An investigation by special agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Medicaid Fraud Control Division, along with other agencies, has resulted in the arrest of a Shelbyville man, charged with the abuse and neglect of elderly patients.

In January, at the referral of Adult Protective Services, agents joined that agency and the Department of Health, in investigating a complaint that residents at an assisted living facility in Bedford County were being abused and/ or neglected. During the course of the investigation, agents developed information that identified Cody Prestwood, a licensed practical nurse at the facility, as the individual responsible for the abuse and neglect of the residents. The investigation also revealed that from December 2021 through August 2022, Prestwood failed on multiple occasions to document those incidents and failed to seek proper treatment for the individuals involved.

On November 9th, Cody Andrew Prestwood (DOB 09/17/1988) was arrested by the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office. He is charged with two counts of Aggravated Abuse of an Elderly Adult, two counts of Neglect of an Elderly Adult, and one count of Abuse of an Elderly Adult. Prestwood was booked into the Bedford County Jail, on a $250,000 bond.

Full Article & Source:
Caregiver arrested on elderly abuse charges

Friday, December 2, 2022

From One Caregiver To Another: No One Knows What We Do

We're family caregivers, you and I. And we're invisible.

By Connie Baher

My mom is 105, and I've cared for her for 13 years. So if you've been caring for your older parent, spouse, partner, or friend for the long haul, you know what I'm talking about.

It's a lonely job, caregiving. And no one knows what we do — day after day looking after someone, coping with daunting and sometimes incomprehensible medical issues, hoping that we're doing the right thing as we take on the vast, evolving and endless responsibilities of being someone else's caregiver.

A caregiver with her mom making dinner. Next Avenue, family caregivers, caregiving
It's a lonely job, caregiving. And no one knows what we do — day after day looking after someone, hoping that we're doing the right thing.  |  Credit: Centre for Ageing Better

So let's talk about what we do.

Remember how it started? You offer to help with the groceries and drive them to their doctor's appointments. You bring them to your house on the weekends to watch a movie together and have a nice home-cooked meal. And then the job expands.

Now you're paying the bills and ordering the meds. And at your place, the guest room they used to stay in is currently empty. They can't climb your stairs anymore. So you find help at their home, and it may be time for them to move to a facility.

You spend hours looking for a good place, getting them a medical checkup and TB test, signing endless documents, doing your best to help your person make new friends, acclimate to the loss of their home and the smells and routines and privations of this new place to live.

The Ways We Help

So, we visit and listen to the problem list. We clean under the bed, find the scattered pills, and throw them away, and we quietly put a new package of Depends in their closet.

Next, we bring their clothes home to wash. It's indelicate. We have breached the line between parent and child, between spouses, partners, and friends — one should not be handling their undergarments.

We wake in the middle of the night, wondering if they are also awake, and hoping that they're not having another one of those frustratingly enduring sleepless nights.

We visit again, and as we leave their room (wondering if this may be our last glimpse of them alive), we take a parting look at them and the room itself. What simple thing should I do before I go — is there a box of Kleenex too far away to reach, a flip-top can of soda that should be opened?

What can I do so they are not left imprisoned by their inabilities? How terrible it must be for them, we think. What must it be like to feel life ebbing away, to suffer the indignities as their once strong handwriting has dwindled to uneven scratch marks, as their hands and legs become mottled with bruises because they're taking blood thinners, and everything causes a bruise?

We can never honestly know what the world looks like through their failing eyes, the panic that grips them in the middle of the night, the bewilderment, the fear, the helplessness.

We're just the family, struggling along. We stumble, pick ourselves up, go at it again, and try to do better. It's hard — no question about it — to look beyond the daily challenges, but if we zoom out for a moment, there is something else to see.

Amy Abrams, a San Diego social worker who has counseled scores of long-haul family caregivers, speaks of caregiving as a transformative experience. "Caregivers find inner strength and competence they would never have thought they had," she says.

The Gift of Time Together

There is the son who nursed his mother for four years, sleeping on the floor beside her bed. But then, he told me, "I discovered that weak as I thought I was, I have such a gift of adaptability, endurance, tolerance, patience."

There is the daughter who moved cross country to care for her mother: "I realized how lucky I was to spend time with her. To revisit the home that I was desperate to leave in my teens. I got to appreciate her and all she had been through. It gave me a purpose. So even though it was a mixed blessing, this has been a gift."

And then there is the simple gift of slowing down and spending time together. Occasionally, I have a slow, quiet visit with my mom. The chores have been taken care of, there's enough medicine on hand, we've got the TV working again, and we talk — mostly, though, I listen.

Mom talks about her life, the school where she felt so lonely except for the art teacher who recognized her talent, how she gave up a serious pursuit of art to be a wife and mother, how she rebuilt her life after my father died, finally winning long-sought approval as an accomplished artist.

She is adding it all up and preparing to let go.

I have heard these stories before, but as I listen to Mom on this day, I also hear her determination to rise above each bodily insult; I hear the grit that keeps her going, and I am thankful for what she is teaching me. So, yes, I nod; you've led a good life. It is a gentle, sweet moment that we share.

If no one knows what we give — and give up — as caregivers, perhaps also no one knows what we get. We get the chance to live out a unique kind of love.

Therefore, at this season of giving thanks, and as the country marks National Family Caregivers Month, here is a celebration of what we do as family caregivers. With indebtedness to the famous verses from First Corinthians:

A Caregiver's Love

Love is making that first sweet offer of help.

Love is being there as things get worse.

Love is loss and sadness as he or she slips away from the person you once knew.

Love is pain as you feel your helplessness to stop their suffering.

Love is the soothing music that you put behind your words of care.

Love is brave enough to confront frailty and decline.

Love is the courage to show up daily, asking, "how are you today?"

Love is the strength to hear them out when they are depressed and life to them is dismal. When they have not slept, they have awakened in the middle of the night, fearing they are dying.

Love is the moments of joy when you encourage their memories of good times, their childhood, falling in love, and the times you listen to stories of their lives that will otherwise be lost.

Love is hanging in as they lose the ability to open a jar, walk on their own, or manipulate their hearing aids.

Love is staying engaged despite the toll.

Love is reaching out to their heart.

Love is warm and embracing.

Love is saying, I love you, even when they cannot say the same to you.

Love knows you cannot fix the illness or slow death's approach.

Love is recognizing their fears and anxieties, and the unknowing that they live with every day and night as they wait

Love is learning to live on the edge of eternity.

Love is silent tears that well up from nowhere.

Love is walking ahead, while sorrow is your shadow.

Love is holding their hand as you both tread unfamiliar territory.

And love is waiting beside them, imperfect as you are, as they take their final steps.

Full Article & Source:
From One Caregiver To Another: No One Knows What We Do

Woman Finds Biological Father in Nursing Home 56 Years After Adoption — And Now She Cares for Him

"I prepared myself to find a grave, and I now found a person, and it was just absolutely mind-blowing," Deanna Shrodes said of meeting her 92-year-old father

By Abigail Adams

A daughter's search for her biological father ended when she found him in a nursing home more than 56 years after she was adopted.

Deanna Shrodes, of Florida, met her father Gus Nicholas, 92, for the very first time back in May after she matched with him using genetic testing through 23andMe, according to CBS News.

"I prepared myself to find a grave, and I now found a person, and it was just absolutely mind-blowing," Shrodes told the outlet. "Couldn't believe that I had found a person." 

Shrodes, who is an ordained minister, was an infant when she was adopted in 1966, according to a story about her search on a church website. She had spent two months in foster care beforehand.

At age 27, Shrodes found her mother Sally King and had a relationship with her for the next 20 years, per the reports. King died just a few months after she was diagnosed with cancer. 

But King never shared the name of Shrodes' biological father with her daughter. So, Shrodes set out to find him on her own.

Using the two clues her mother gave her — that her father is Greek and from Richmond, Va. — Shrodes spent 10 years searching.

Earlier this year, her prayers were answered — literally. 

"I told my husband, I told my best friend Laura … I said, 'Listen, guys, you might think I'm crazy, but I was in prayer. God spoke this to me: 'Your father's name is Gus,' " she told CBS News.

A short time later, she matched with Nicholas on 23andMe, and connected with one of Nicholas' relatives, who said, "I think you're my Uncle Gus' daughter."

The next day, Shrodes got to call her father, who was also excited to find his daughter.

"He said, 'I woke up this morning and I was alone ... And now this afternoon, I have a daughter. I have a son-in-law. I have three grandchildren. I have great-grandchildren ... I 'm not alone in the world anymore,' " she recalled. "And I said, 'No, you're not. You're not.' " 

Nicholas, a retired ballroom dancer, had entered the nursing home after he was found lying on the floor of his home after a fall, per CBS News' report.

But just 75 days after meeting his daughter, Nicholas moved into Shrodes' home where she cares for him full-time and they are getting to know each other.

"It's the hardest thing. It's the most worthwhile thing. It's the most incredible miracle I've ever had the privilege to live out," she told CBS News. "I'm living the dream."

Full Article & Source:
Woman Finds Biological Father in Nursing Home 56 Years After Adoption — And Now She Cares for Him

Thursday, December 1, 2022

KIYC: Advocates say New Jersey needs to reform how its guardianship program functions

By: Walt Kane

More than 36,000 New Jersey residents are living under court-appointed guardianships. They are unable to make decisions or access their money. Some advocates say the system needs to be reformed to make it easier for them to have their rights restored.

Elberta Cohen, 80, has no access to her life savings. Her life is in the hands of a stranger, a guardian appointed by a judge. She says she isn’t happy about it.
“What gives them a right to do this to anybody?” Cohen asks rhetorically. “I'm not incapacitated.”
In the eyes of the law, she is. Kane In Your Corner first investigated Cohen’s case last month. A judge placed her under the care of a guardian after her youngest son argued she was no longer able to make decisions on her own. She says that she and her son aren’t even on speaking terms, and he was just trying to get her declared incapacitated to prevent her from revising her will. Eldercare attorney Lauren Marinaro is now representing Cohen in her effort to get her rights restored.
Terminating a guardianship is no easy task. New Jersey has no clear standard to determine if a person lacks capacity. Judges decide each case individually.
Cohen was initially evaluated by three doctors. One said she could make decisions for herself, but the other two disagreed. The judge went along with the majority.
But Marinaro has now gotten two more medical experts to weigh in. Both say Cohen is capable of making decisions on her own. Cohen’s personal physician also writes that Cohen’s “memory and judgment are intact.” The majority of experts are now squarely on her side.
Cohen’s motion to restore her rights is also unopposed – her son chose not to dispute it and her current guardian says he takes no position as to whether the guardianship should be continued. But ending the guardianship, or even relaxing it, is still not a sure thing. The judge has sole discretion under the law.
Marcia Southwick, executive director of the National Association to Stop Guardianship Abuse, says the system needs to be reformed to make terminating a guardianship easier.
“They should always have to prove that you're still incapacitated,” she says. “Instead, you have to go to court and you or your lawyer have to prove that you're not. And if you weren't in the first place, that just seems so unfair to me.”
Pam Teaster, director of the Center for Gerontology at Virginia Tech, argues courts should always view guardianship as a last resort. “If there's anything else that could be done for that individual, other than a guardianship, that's what should be happening,” she says.
New Jersey Assembly Member Carol Murphy (D – Cinnaminson) agrees. She wrote a bill that would require courts that impose guardianships to always use the “least restrictive option.” But two years later, Murphy’s bill has still not come up for a vote.
Teaster argues that another reform could help people like Elberta Cohen. While the guardianship process is currently shrouded in confidentiality, she is calling for a public database of guardianship cases that would help evaluate how well or poorly the system is working.
Peter McAleer, spokesperson for the New Jersey courts, says the judiciary is constantly trying to improve the system, including making it easier for people to challenge their guardianships.

Full Article & Source:
KIYC: Advocates say New Jersey needs to reform how its guardianship program functions

Caretaker Arrested For Making Unauthorized Purchases

By Amy Adams

Mercedez Hastie (Vanderburgh County Jail)
A caretaker is facing charges after police say she was reported for using her client’s debit card to make unauthorized purchases.

27-year-old Mercedez Hastie was given the client’s debit card information to make grocery, food and essential purchases for them as needed.

She is now facing charges for making fraudulent purchases on the card determined to be over $7,000.

She is facing three counts of fraud, forgery, identity deception and theft.

Hastie was booked into the Vanderburgh County Jail, but has since been released.

Full Article & Source:
Caretaker Arrested For Making Unauthorized Purchases

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Concord Nursing Home To Pay $2.3 Million To Settle Allegations Of Grossly Substandard Care

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of California 
Tuesday, November 29, 2022

SAN FRANCISCO – Tranquility Incorporated, a corporation doing business as San Miguel Villa (San Miguel Villa) which is a 190-bed nursing home located in Concord, Calif., has agreed to pay $2.3 million to settle allegations that it submitted false claims by billing the Medicare and Medi-Cal programs for grossly substandard nursing home services it provided to its residents between 2012 and 2017, announced United States Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds and Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) Special Agent in Charge Steven J. Ryan. 

The settlement resolves allegations that from 2012 to 2017 San Miguel Villa submitted, or caused to be submitted, claims to the Medicare and Medi-Cal programs for payment of its services that were grossly substandard and failed to meet minimum required standards of skilled nursing care in multiple ways. The United States alleges that nursing home residents at San Miguel Villa were overmedicated with psychotropic drugs, suffered excessive falls, were exposed to resident-on-resident altercations, and experienced other mental and physical harm. 

“Residents of nursing homes are among the most vulnerable in our community, and they rely on Medicare and Medi-Cal programs to provide the care and services they must have,” said United States Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds. “Nursing homes are entrusted to impart competent and quality care to their residents. This case demonstrates that when federal funds are provided but substandard care is delivered, this office is committed to seeking accountability.” 

“Nursing homes are intended to be places of comfort and healing, but the provision of substandard care jeopardizes the residents’ health and safety,” stated Steven J. Ryan, Special Agent in Charge with HHS-OIG. “HHS-OIG and our law enforcement partners are staunchly dedicated to investigating allegations of inadequate care at Medicare- and Medicaid-certified nursing homes.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Gioconda Molinari investigated the matter with the assistance of Paralegal Lillian Do and Auditor Garland He. The United States Attorney’s Office initiated the investigation with assistance from HHS-OIG as part of its ongoing commitment to ensure that nursing home residents receive the necessary skilled nursing home services that they are entitled to and require. The United States Attorney’s Office acknowledges and thanks HHS-OIG as well as the California Department of Justice’s Division of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse for their assistance in investigating this matter.

Working in conjunction with the United States Department of Justice Elder Justice Initiative, the United States Attorney’s Office runs an Elder Justice Task Force to identify and investigate nursing homes that provide grossly substandard care, and to support the efforts of state and local prosecutors, law enforcement, and other elder justice professionals who combat elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation. If you or a loved one is experiencing abuse at a nursing home, please contact the California Long Term Care Ombudsman Crisis line at 1-800-231-4024, or the National Elder Fraud Hotline at 1-833–FRAUD–11 (or 833–372–8311).

Full Article & Source:
Concord Nursing Home To Pay $2.3 Million To Settle Allegations Of Grossly Substandard Care

Bedford County caregiver charged with elderly abuse, neglect

by: Lucas Wright

SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Complaints against a worker at a Bedford County assisted living facility have now landed a caregiver behind bars.

Cody Prestwood, 34, of Shelbyville, was arrested on Nov. 9.

Cody Prestwood (Courtesy: Tennessee Bureau of Investigation)

In January, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation joined Adult Protective Services and the Department of Health in investigating a complaint that residents at a Bedford County assisted living facility were being abused and/or neglected.

Over the course of the investigation, Prestwood, a licensed practical nurse at the facility, was found to be the person allegedly responsible for the abuse and neglect of patients.

According to the investigation’s findings, Prestwood failed on multiple occasions to document those incidents and failed to seek proper treatment for the individuals involved from December 2021 through August 2022. 

Prestwood was taken into custody by the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office. He is facing the following charges:

  • Aggravated abuse of an elderly adult (x2)
  • Neglect of an elderly adult (x2)
  • Abuse of an elderly adult

Prestwood was booked into the Bedford County Jail and is being held on a $250,000 bond.

Full Article & Source:
Bedford County caregiver charged with elderly abuse, neglect

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Butler County approves funding to address backlog of cases for in-home visit program

By Larry Seward, WCPO

HAMILTON — A watchdog frozen by court backlogs got a boost in Butler County: Commissioners signed off on $500,000 worth of American Relief Plan Act funding that will allow probate and domestic violence courts to hire staff for “essential functions.”

It is personal for Probate Court Judge John Holcomb.

“They just need a little help from the court,” Holcomb said.

His mother-in-law died fighting Alzheimer’s Disease. So, as leader of the court charged with guarding the well-being of seniors and adults unable to care for themselves, Holcomb said his team’s in-home visit program needs a quick fix.

COVID-19 pandemic protocols suspended the program for six months. That led to a two-year backlog in visits. The county had just one investigator to handle the task. In January, the court had 2,648 incoming guardianships with another 140 pending, according to state records.

While the court applied for an ARPA, Holcomb’s team hired a former intern away from a nonprofit to take on investigative duties. The two investigators are working to catch up, hold caretakers accountable and make sure the vulnerable are alive and well.

“I can tell you with adding this second investigator position we are ensuring that the needs of our senior citizens are being met,” he said.

County commissioners approved a $424,068 grant award for Butler County’s Domestic Relations Court Monday. It plans to hire a magistrate/mediator to ease the rising number of custody cases. The funding will cover the position for two years.

The $183,783 grant for probate court will pay for the second investigator and a file clerk for two years.

“That is going to take the burden off our local taxpayers of funding this,” Holcomb said.

By the time the grants expire, court administrators hope to have backlogs cleared or see a county budget big enough to keep all hands on deck.

WCPO is a content partner of the Journal-News.

Full Article & Source:
Butler County approves funding to address backlog of cases for in-home visit program

Disbarred Chesco Attorney Pleads Guilty To Stealing From Clients

(Holly Herman/Patch Staff)

by Holly Herman, Patch Staff 

WEST CHESTER — A 61-year-old disbarred attorney pleaded guilty in the Chester County Justice Center to theft of over $1 million from former law clients.

Thomas Schindler remains free on $50,000 bail to await sentencing for failing to plead guilty to theft from former clients who fired him for their divorce.

Schindler was charged with theft of nearly $1 million from former clients who hired him for a divorce case, according to prosecutors.

The charges stemmed from a 2018 financial agreement where he failed to make required transfers of proceeds from the sale of their Easttown Township home.

“Thomas Schindler misused his power and took advantage of his clients at vulnerable times in their lives,” Chester County District Attorney Deb Ryan said.

“They came to him looking for guidance, and he betrayed that trust for his own selfish gain. It is especially disheartening when those who take an oath to uphold the law are the ones who violate it.”

According to prosecutors:

In November 2021, detectives received a complaint regarding retainer money given to the defendant by a client who hired him as a defense attorney.

The victim paid the defendant $95,000 in August 2019 for representation in a criminal matter.

Detectives discovered that the victim was never paid the $84,000 balance owed to him at the time of the defendant’s disbarment despite numerous attempts and requests by the victim and his new attorney.

Full Article & Source:
Disbarred Chesco Attorney Pleads Guilty To Stealing From Clients

Smethport caretaker accused of financial exploitation

COUDERSPORT — The Coudersport Borough Police Department arrested a home health nurse on a felony warrant Wednesday.

Amber Lynn Berlin, aka Amber L. Burdick, Amber L. Johnson, is alleged to have removed five jewelry rings and a black/blue jewelry bag all valued at $3,000, between January 2000 and March 2001, from the private residence of the victim, a 70-year-old male living in the Borough of Coudersport, Potter County.

Berlin is also accused of using the victim’s credit cards to make 27 unauthorized purchases and or transfers, totaling $4,037, between September 2021 and December 2021.

She was arraigned Wednesday before District Justice Kari McCleaft and remanded to the McKean County Jail on $15,000 bail on the following charges, all third-degree felonies: One count of financial exploitation of older adult, two counts of theft by deception, two counts of receiving stolen property, two counts of theft, two counts access device fraud. She is also charged with one misdemeanor access device fraud count, a third degree offense.

A preliminary hearing with Magisterial District Judge James L. Hawkins is scheduled at 12:30 p.m. Dec. 13.

Full Article & Source:
Smethport caretaker accused of financial exploitation

Monday, November 28, 2022

Texas woman scams Indiana man out of $1.2 million

Story by Matt Christy

NEW PALESTINE, Ind. - A Fort Worth, Texas, woman is accused of scamming a New Palestine man out of more than $1 million over a 16-month period in which she lied to him about medical expenses but instead used the money he sent her to gamble at Oklahoma casinos.  

Lorraine Marie Rew

According to Hancock County Prosecutor Brent Eaton, Lorraine Marie Rew, 46, was arrested in Texas on Nov. 16. She has been charged with one count of corrupt business influence, a Level 5 felony, and 10 counts of counterfeiting, all Level 6 felonies. 

Court documents reveal that Rew met and befriended the New Palestine man on a social media platform and that the two began a relationship. From October 2020 through February 2022, Rew had the man send her approximately $1.2 million.

The man reportedly gathered the funds to send to Rew by drawing from his personal IRA, a mutual fund, checking and savings accounts, along with using cash advances and personal loans.

Rew reportedly had told the man that she needed the money in order to pay for her daughter’s serious surgical procedures and expensive medications along with heart medication for herself. Rew claimed she had to pay the costs upfront but that her insurance would reimburse her later and then she could repay the man. She even made fake email accounts pretending to be her employer and promised the man that reimbursement would be forthcoming.  

A postal inspector found no record, however, of Rew using the money to pay for medical expenses and investigators learned that neither Rew nor her daughter had accounts with the hospital.

Instead, investigators discovered that Rew was using the money to finance her lifestyle, including frequenting casinos in Oklahoma. Over a two-year period, Rew visited one of the casinos 167 times and the other casino 157 times over a six-month period.

"Sadly, this is a case in which the victim's heart was in the right place and the alleged perpetrator took advantage of that," said Prosecutor Eaton.

Rew is currently in Tarrant County Jail in Texas but Eatan stated he has already filed paperwork to extradite Rew to Hancock County where she will face her charges.

Full Article & Source:
Texas woman scams Indiana man out of $1.2 million

Former caretaker from St. Marys accused of stealing client's money, identity

By Brianne Fleming

ST. MARYS — A St. Marys woman is facing charges after she allegedly used the identity of a care-dependent client to open a credit card and withdraw funds from the victim’s bank account.

Tiffany Jane Thomas, 42, is charged with accessing a device issued to another person who did not authorize its use, a first-degree misdemeanor; two counts of financial exploitation of older adult or care-dependent person; two counts of identity theft and two counts of theft by unlawful taking –moveable property, according to a criminal complaint filed at Magisterial District Judge Mark Jacob’s office Nov. 21.

According to an affidavit of probable cause, City of St. Marys Police received a call from the victim in this case on Oct. 7 concerning alleged fraud and identity theft.

Between May-October 2022, Thomas — who was employed as the caretaker of an older, care-dependent person — allegedly stole the victim’s information, including their driver’s license and social security number, using the information to open a credit card and make a cash withdraw from the victim’s bank account, according to the affidavit of probable cause.

The investigation revealed that in May 2022, Thomas did allegedly open a Capital One credit card using the victim’s name, date of birth and social security number. She secured $290.26 in charges on the card, and reportedly attempted to make several credit increases using the victim’s identity information.

In October 2022, Thomas also allegedly used the victim’s driver’s license, which was stolen at an earlier date, at a drive-thru of a bank in Clearfield to make a $400 withdraw from the victim’s bank account. Thomas was later found to allegedly be in possession of the victim’s driver’s license, as well as other financial documents, valued at $30, according to the affidavit of probable cause.

The total restitution requested is $720.26.

Thomas’ preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 13 at Jacob’s office.

Full Article & Source:
Former caretaker from St. Marys accused of stealing client's money, identity

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Love in the aisle: Arizona couple gets married at grocery store where they first met

By Lindsey Ragas

PHOENIX - People often talk of "match made in heaven," but in this particular case involving an Arizona couple, it's a match made in a grocery store.

For 78-year-old Dennis Delgado and 72-year-old Brenda Williams, their love story began at the condiment aisle at a Fry's store in Casa Grande on Aug. 3, 2021.

"I'm walking down the aisle, and someone comes up behind me, and says…" said Brenda, recounting what happened that fateful and looking to her now-husband to finish the story.

"You know the best thing about wearing a mask?" Dennis said, finishing the story of their first encounter.

"We stood there, and we found out we had kind of had a similar situation," said Brenda.

Dennis, as it turns out, was getting olive oil mayonnaise, and Brenda was grabbing Miracle Whip from the shelf, and that was the start of a miraculous love story.

"We visited, exchanged phone numbers, and then about a week and a half later, we started," said Dennis. "I said, ‘what are you doing this Sunday?’"

Then, something big happened for the couple in April 2022.

"He came to my house, and he said I'm going to go get you an engagement ring,' and I said ‘yes, sure,'" Brenda recounted. "So he left, and a couple hours later, I called him and asked ‘have you been drinking?’"

At Brenda's request, Dennis proposed in that same aisle where they met.

"I said we met there. He wants to propose to me, and I want him to do it in the condiment aisle where we met," said Brenda.

At this point, Fry's was on board, and said they can get married there as well. On November 19th, Brenda walked down that same aisle, and this time, she and Dennis got married.

For both Brenda and Dennis, it's a unique love story that's given them each purpose, after both experienced loss.

"I’m old, he’s old," said Brenda. "There’s not that many more years left for either of us. That’s genetically true, and I said, 'well, we don’t have that many more years. Let’s just do something dumb and stupid. Go out with a bang."

For two people who started out looking for condiments and nothing else at a grocery store aisle, they found love instead.

"I wanted people to see that there is hope. Especially us older folks, especially in the condiment aisle for us," said Brenda.

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Love in the aisle: Arizona couple gets married at grocery store where they first met

Anne Heche’s Son Homer, 20, Reveals His Mom Left Behind ‘Modest Bank Accounts' And No Real Property As Fight With Late Actress’ Ex James Tupper Heats Up

By:Ryan Naumann

Late actress Anne Heche’s son Homer has gone back to court to fight his mom’s ex James Tupper as they fight over both control and how much the estate is worth, has learned.

According to court documents obtained by, Homer has objected to James’ claim Anne left behind millions. 

Homer said his mother had a few “modest bank accounts,” royalty payments and other income, a corporation in her name that was used to collect money from acting jobs, membership in her podcast, personal property of “modest value,” and the interest in the future projects from her forthcoming memoir.

Further, Homer revealed that Anne had claims for damages against James stemming from James’ alleged breach of contractual obligations related to their co-owned real properties that have since been sold. 

Homer said his initial estimate that his mom’s estate was worth around $400k is accurate.

As previously reported, after Anne’s death in September, Homer went to court asking to be named the administrator of her estate.

He said that there were only 2 beneficiaries to the estate. The two were listed as Homer and his younger brother Atlas, who Anne had with James.

James objected to Homer being named the administrator claiming Anne had emailed him a copy of her will during their relationship. He said she named him as the person to control the estate. Homer scoffed at the suggestion and pointed out the will was not signed by his mom — which is required legally. 

James has since claimed Anne’s estate is worth at least $2 million and not $400k as Homer said.

Homer said the $400k estimate is based on, “a review of [Anne’s] most recent tax returns (rounded up to the nearest hundred thousand dollar).” He revealed that Anne did not have any interests in real property at the time of her death.

The two are set to face off in court to battle it out over the estate.

As previously reported, Anne’s estate has been hit with several creditors’ claims including one by her ex-boyfriend Thomas Jane who said he’s owed $150k.

Full Article & Source:
Anne Heche’s Son Homer, 20, Reveals His Mom Left Behind ‘Modest Bank Accounts' And No Real Property As Fight With Late Actress’ Ex James Tupper Heats Up