Saturday, December 10, 2022

Daughter charged with kidnapping, financial exploitation of 88-year-old mother

Miami-Dade Corrections
By Peter D'Oench

MIAMI - A Miami-Dade woman is charged with kidnapping and financial exploitation of her 80-year-old mother.

The Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office said Catherine Areu Jones, 51, used a revoked Power of Attorney to twice involuntarily place her mother in assisted living and memory care facilities so that she could gain control over the woman's finances.

Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle told CBS4's Peter D'Oench, "What we are finding is that this is a tragic example of elderly exploitation. We have seen this on the increase in the last several years. In this case, the perpetrator is the daughter who was very smart and very educated and she wanted her mother's money and she wanted her house. " 

According to CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald, Areu Jones is a journalist and a former periodic Fox News guest known as the "Liberal Sherpa."

The first time, Areu Jones reportedly tricked her mother into believing that she was going on an ice cream outing with her granddaughters. When she was locked in an assisted living facility instead of getting ice cream, Areu Jones' mother could call someone she knew for help before Areu Jones could instruct the facility to stop her from using the phone or receiving visitors, according to the state attorney's office. 

The second time, Areu Jones and a "co-conspirator" allegedly dragged her mother from her home and took her to another facility. Neighbors who saw the woman's shoe in her driveway and the front door of her home left open called the police. An investigation led to her being released from the facility.

"Every incident of alleged elder exploitation or abuse touches our heart and never fails to shock us. It seems particularly harder to understand when the alleged perpetrator of the exploitation is a daughter, or a son or another blood relative," Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said.    

The Department of Children and Families began an investigation into Areu Jones in 2019 when she reportedly used of a quitclaim deed to gain control of her mother's house. Her mother denied signing it. 

Investigators say a review of Areu Jones' mother's financial records showed a total loss of over $224,000 including a missing disbursement of the proceeds of a voluntarily taken reverse mortgage on her home.

Areu Jones is also accused of exploiting her mother by opening credit cards in the woman's name as well as numerous withdrawls from her bank account.

An arrest warrant for Areu Jones was signed on June 28th, but she avoided capture by moving to numerous locations.  

She was taken into custody this week and faces multiple charges including exploitation of the elderly, organized scheme to defraud, kidnapping and false imprisonment.

At a court appearance, she was held without bond and ordered to surrender her passport and have no contact with her mother.

Fernandez Rundle urged people to look for signs of elderly exploitation such as people taking out quit claim deeds and opening up credit cards under mysterious circumstances. She said we needed "a million eyes" to be on the lookout for elderly exploitation.

Full Article & Source:
Daughter charged with kidnapping, financial exploitation of 88-year-old mother

Nevada man waives hearing on felony counts in Barton County

by Jeff Lehr

Dec. 9—LAMAR, Mo. — A Nevada man has been ordered to stand trial in Barton County on six felony counts of stealing and three counts of financial exploitation of an elderly person.

Denis Masters, 56, waived preliminary hearings Monday on the charges in Barton County Circuit Court. Associate Judge James Nichols set the defendant's initial appearance in a trial division of the court for Dec. 15.

Court documents show the charges pertain to thefts on dates going back as far as October 2020 and as recent as August of this year.

For 2020, Masters is accused of stealing a lawn mower that was left at his repair shop and not returned for more than five months and of charging an elderly woman more than $10,000 for conversion of a silo into a gazebo that was never done, and for insulation for a garage that was never provided.

He is accused of exploiting another elderly woman in 2021 and 2022 by swindling almost $30,000 out of her for a garage that was never delivered and assembled, and painting and repairs of two houses that were never completed.

In March 2021, Masters purportedly sold a metal building to a woman for $6,000 that he never delivered to her, and he charged another woman $2,000 in April of this year for gutters he never installed.

In November of this year, a couple reported to Lamar police that Masters stole $2,000 from them that was intended to purchase sections of a barn that he had advertised for sale.

Full Article & Source:
Nevada man waives hearing on felony counts in Barton County

Friday, December 9, 2022

Attorney and wife accused of exploiting vulnerable adults


Allegations of theft and misconduct against a local attorney now charged with exploitation stretch back at least 17 years, to before the earliest cases for which he was recently charged, court documents show.

Kenneth Anderson, of McCracken County, who has frequently been appointed as a guardian in cases of disabled persons, was indicted Friday on a total of 31 counts of stealing from and exploiting adults as far back as 2006.

But in a federal lawsuit filed in 2007 and dismissed on technical and jurisdictional grounds, a veteran argued Anderson stole tens of thousands of dollars from his military pension when Anderson served as the man’s guardian between 2002 and 2005.

Anderson and his wife, Gina Anderson, were both indicted Friday in McCracken County, on 25 counts of knowing exploitation of an adult of more than $300, five counts of theft by failure to make required disposition of property over $10,000 and one count of theft by failure to make required disposition of property over $1,000 but less than $10,000.

The two are scheduled to appear Dec. 22 in McCracken County Circuit Court.

Kenneth Anderson also currently faces a criminal charge in Ballard County of abuse or neglect of an adult. A pretrial conference is scheduled in that case for March.

Among the initials and timeframes specified in the McCracken indictment, Anderson does not appear to be charged with the offenses alleged by Joe Browder, who filed the federal lawsuit against Anderson and others.

Browder, who was incarcerated at the time, alleged in the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Paducah, that Anderson, while serving as payee for Browder’s accounts, had stolen tens of thousands of dollars from Browder and falsified paperwork to cover his tracks. Browder also claimed that he had been found incompetent and appointed a guardian wrongfully.

Browder alleged in the suit that Anderson stole more than $36,000 in 2005 alone, in part by misrepresenting property purchases and life insurance payments.

Browder claimed the thefts represented civil rights violations, as well as violations of state law, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Hate Crimes Act.

Browder claimed in the lawsuit that he first noticed a problem when his Veterans Affairs pension payments started coming sporadically to the Daviess County Detention Center.

A letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs filed as evidence in the case, which came in response to Browder’s request for a change in fiduciary, claims that Anderson “has performed his functions on your behalf in a proper manner,” and determined a change in fiduciary was not warranted. Browder claimed Anderson had given the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Kentucky Bar Association false information related to the complaint.

The lawsuit was dismissed due to the determination that Browder didn’t state a claim for which the court could grant relief.

Anderson in his voicemail message refers to himself as “public guardian for the Western District of Kentucky.” Statutes governing the appointment of conservators or guardians allow “any suitable person or any entity, public or private, capable of conducting an active guardianship or conservatorship program” to be appointed when a person has been declared disabled.

Though administrators are appointed by local courts, U.S. District Judge Thomas Russell said in his opinion ordering the lawsuit dismissed that most courts have “found that guardians are not state actors … because they are acting in the interests of an individual and not the state.”

Russell said the U.S. Constitution “does not apply to the conduct of private persons; it applies to conduct by the government.”

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit declined to hear Browder’s appeal.

The Office of Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron investigated the McCracken criminal case, and is handling the prosecution.

Cameron’s office declined to comment on the investigation.

Anderson did not return calls seeking comment Wednesday.

Full Article & Source:
Attorney and wife accused of exploiting vulnerable adults

Missouri Developmental Disabilities Council establishes five priorities for the 2023 Legislative Session

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Developmental Disabilities Council (MODDC) is working toward achieving its goal of advocating for items in the budget and legislation that will further impact specific priorities.

MODDC will advocate for policies and practices addressing the following areas:

  • Access to Quality Care

MODDC wants to ensure that all individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) in Missouri have access to and receive quality care. This includes both direct and indirect supports that are responsive and inclusive.

  • Create a Culture of Coordinated Support

Missouri state agencies serving people with I/DD must collaborate and coordinate their work. If agencies work together to develop shared vision, goals and responsibilities, they will meet their legal obligations and provide more effective, efficient and person-centered services and supports.

  • Guardianship

To achieve this priority, Missourians need to address the systemic barriers that uniquely affect people with I/DD that are placed under guardianship. This includes addressing the school to guardianship pipeline and promoting alternatives to guardianship.

  • Restraint and Seclusion: Abuse and Neglect

This priority involves efforts to prevent and address the disproportionately high occurrences of abuse and neglect to individuals with I/DD.

  • Equitable Community Inclusion: Segregation

To promote equitable community inclusion, efforts need to be made to support equitable community inclusion of people with I/DD in Missouri. This includes in schools, workplaces and community living.

More information and opportunities to get involved are available by visiting

Full Article & Source:
Missouri Developmental Disabilities Council establishes five priorities for the 2023 Legislative Session

Former caregiver at South Abington nursing home stole resident's check, police said

by Joseph Kohut

Dec. 7—A former caregiver at a South Abington Twp. nursing home stole a check from a resident and forged her signature for $600, police said.

Lakeyah Jones, 43, 926 Green Ridge St., Scranton, faces counts of forgery, financial exploitation of an older adult or care-dependent person, theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property.

Jones is free on $5,000 bail. Reached by phone Tuesday, she denied she stole the check and then declined to comment.

"I didn't take anything," she said.

Jones was fired from Abington Manor on Oct. 24 for unrelated issues, police said. Attempts to reach a representative from the nursing home were unsuccessful Tuesday.

Patrolman Paul Wolfe in November followed up on a report of theft at the nursing home and spoke with 78-year-old resident Carol St. Clair.

St. Clair, who worked as an accountant, discovered the theft while reviewing her monthly banking statement.

The check was made payable to the Lackawanna County Clerk of Judicial Records and had the word "rent" written in the memo line. Jones recently was brought to court as her landlord sought to evict her. Jones was $2,705 in arrears, court records show.

Staff at the nursing home called the county office and found out the check had been dropped off by Jones.

Wolfe interviewed Jones, who denied she stole the money. Jones said she told St. Clair she was "having a situation" and the 78-year-old woman cut her a check for $600.

St. Clair told police Jones lied.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled Dec. 20.

Full Article & Source:
Former caregiver at South Abington nursing home stole resident's check, police said

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Court Hearing in Controversial Guardianship Case

NBC New York’s Sarah Wallace reports.

Court Hearing in Controversial Guardianship Case

2 Upstate nurses accused of neglecting nursing home patients

by: Robert Cox

SPARTANBURG CO., S.C. (WSPA) – Two nurses are accused of neglecting patients at a Spartanburg nursing home.

44-year-old Heather Starr Gowan and 22-year-old Alyssa Page Morris were each charged with two counts of neglect of a vulnerable adult.

According to the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office, the two were employed as licensed practical nurses at Magnolia Manor in Spartanburg.

Investigators said Gowan and Morris knowingly failed to provide necessary care to two residents.

The attorney general’s office said the two failed to change the victims’ wound dressings, resulting in the wounds getting larger and causing unnecessary harm and risk to their health.

The case was reported to the Spartanburg Police Department and the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office Medicaid Fraud Control Unit by Magnolia Manor.

Gowan and Morris were both booked into the Spartanburg County Detention Center Monday and have since been released.

Full Article & Source:
2 Upstate nurses accused of neglecting nursing home patients

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Rhode Island Woman Appointed to Serve as a Conservator for a Disabled Veteran Sentenced to Jail for Stealing the Veteran's Federal Benefits

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts

BOSTON – A Rhode Island woman, formerly of North Easton, Mass. was sentenced on Dec. 2, 2022, in federal court in Boston for stealing approximately $74,000 in Veteran Affairs (VA) and Office of Personnel Management (OPM) benefits from a veteran she was supposed to be protecting.    

Lisa Heino, 55, of Newport, R.I., was sentenced by U.S. Senior District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock to two months in prison followed by three years of supervised release, with the first 10 months to be served in home confinement. Heino was also ordered to pay restitution of $74,045. On Aug. 2, 2022, Heino pleaded guilty to two counts of theft of public funds. 

In May 2014, Heino was appointed by the Massachusetts state court to serve as the conservator for the victim who was a disabled veteran and retired federal employee. Later, in October 2014, Heino became the OPM representative payee for the victim as well. As a court appointed conservator and representative payee, Heino had access to the federal VA and OPM monthly benefit payments that were directly deposited into the victim’s bank account. In this capacity, Heino transferred federal VA and OPM benefit payments from the victim’s bank account to her own bank account and used the funds for her own expenses. Specifically, from in or about June 2017 through August 2018, Heino stole or converted approximately $44,191 in VA funds she was not entitled to for her own use. Additionally, from in or about January 2017 through January 2019, Heino stole or converted approximately $29,853 in OPM funds she was not entitled to for her own use. 

After Heino was removed as conservator in 2017 and representative payee in 2019, she continued to access the victim’s bank account and federal benefits. When interviewed by authorities, Heino admitted to withdrawing the benefit payments from the victim’s bank account and depositing the funds into her own account for her personal use while serving as conservator and representative payee.

United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins; Christopher Algieri, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General, Northeast Field Office; and Scott A. Rezendes, Special Agent in Charge of the Office of Personnel Management made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorney Suzanne Sullivan Jacobus of Rollins’ Major Crimes Unit prosecuted the case.

Updated December 5, 2022

Full Article & Source:
Rhode Island Woman Appointed to Serve as a Conservator for a Disabled Veteran Sentenced to Jail for Stealing the Veteran's Federal Benefits

Colorado youth pastor arrested on charges of bilking elderly couple out $250,000

by Carol Mckinley, The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.)

Dec. 5—Denver prosecutors want to know if there are any more victims of a Morrison contractor and youth pastor who is accused of bilking an elderly couple out of $250,000, according to a news release.

Investigators allege Tilo Lopez, 35, funneled money paid for the couple's retirement home on everything from fancy hotel stays and Las Vegas trips to Oriental back massages, athletic shoes and clothing, according to the arrest warrant.

Lopez was arrested and charged with two felony counts of criminal exploitation of an at-risk adult after an investigation which took just over a year.

Investigators say that the 71 and 74 year old man and wife own a restaurant which Lopez had been frequenting since he was a child. They told police that they trusted him not only because they'd known him for so long, but also because he was a religious minister, according to the arrest affidavit. They hired Tilo's company, Remodeling Specialists LLC, in March 2020 to remove their home and replace it with a duplex where their daughter could take care of them in their old age.

According to the arrest affidavit, Lopez' company dug the foundation for the couple's new condominium and then abandoned the project.

Lopez was known as "Pastor Tilo" and produced religious YouTube videos "spreading the gospel" for Forge Denver Church. Records show the church was located in Arvada and opened in Jan. 2019.

The Open Corporates website reported that Forge Denver Church had financial problems and showed a status of non-compliance by Feb. 2022.

The Denver D.A.'s office believes that Lopez may have had other victims. If you or anyone you know has been a victim of Lopez and Remodeling Specialists LLC, please call Denver DA Investigator David Dawson at 720-913-9054.

Full Article & Source:
Colorado youth pastor arrested on charges of bilking elderly couple out $250,000

Taking Care Of Someone Who Didn't Take Care of Me - Tuesday's Tip for Caregivers

Taking Care Of Someone Who Didn't Take Care of Me - Tuesday's Tip for Caregivers

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Orphans’ Court judge quits amid Facebook-related ethics charges

By: Steve Lash

A Charles County Orphans’ Court judge quit last week amid disciplinary allegations that he misused “the prestige of judicial office” on his Facebook page by posting a profile photo of himself in his judicial robe and engaging in partisan political discussion, giving legal advice and advertising his private business on the social media site.

William J. “Bill” Dotson, who had been on the bench since 2020, left the controversial posts online and added more despite agreeing to take them down in July, the Commission on Judicial Disabilities stated in the public charges it leveled in October.

The commission withdrew its plans to hold a hearing on the allegations in light of Dotson’s resignation from the court, which handles probate matters. The charges remain posted on the commission’s website.

Dotson, who resigned without having filed a response to the commission’s charges, said Monday that he does not believe his posts were unethical or political.

“I do not think it’s fair to hold part-time orphans’ court judges to the same standards as other (full-time) judges,” added Dotson, a nonlawyer and head of an office- management company. “It is what it is.”

Dotson, a former Carroll County Republican Party chair and state Senate candidate, posted comments on his Facebook page in the fall of 2021 endorsing then-President Donald Trump’s tariffs on foreign businesses as a way to support U.S. manufacturing, according to the commission’s charges. Dotson also “liked” like-minded comments to his posts, including one advertising an event by a partisan political group, according to the commission.

Dotson, who led protests against pandemic-related closures in Carroll County before becoming judge, also posted comments in January critical of the county council for continuing to treat COVID-19 as a pandemic rather than an endemic, the commission stated.

In these posts, Dotson gave “his personal opinions on overtly political issues as well as social and cultural issues closely aligned with national and local partisan political positions,” the commission added.

Such expressions violate the Maryland Code of Judicial Conduct’s prohibition on judges engaging “in any partisan political activities,” the commission states in its charges.

The commission also cited an October 2021 post in which it said Dotson criticized Maryland’s taxation policy toward non-resident sellers of real property and suggested that the tax not be paid, the commission stated.

“Judge Dotson participated in substantive discussion of the issue with commenters in the comments to the post during which he elaborated on his interpretation of the law, described how the law works in practice, and provided further advice on how to avoid paying the tax,” the commission stated.

This advice violated the code’s admonition that judges “shall not practice law” except when representing themselves or a family member without compensation, the commission stated.

Dotson said his views in support of U.S. manufacturing, opposing the tax and questioning pandemic policy were not intended to be partisan.

But “everything is political today,” Dotson said. “I was not going to give up my platform.”

The commission also took issue with Dotson’s Facebook posts advertising open positions at Modern Door, the White Plains-based company of which he is president.

Dotson also posted in support of the opening of a local business, a charity’s hiring efforts and a holiday-themed event by local stores that he planned to attend.

These advertisements violated the code’s prohibition on judges lending “the prestige of judicial office to advance the personal or economic interest of the judge or others, or allow them to do so,” the commission stated.

The panel added it had reached an agreement with Dotson that required him to remove his Facebook posts advocating political positions, providing legal advice or endorsing businesses and charities.

But Dotson kept the posts up and added another in August, expressing his views on “defunding the police,” the commission charged.

Dotson, a judicial appointee of Gov. Larry Hogan removed the August post after the commission sent him a letter stating that he he was not in compliance with the agreement.

The commission followed with its formal charges on Oct. 26 and gave Dotson 30 days to respond. Dotson resigned Nov. 30.

Full Article & Source:
Orphans’ Court judge quits amid Facebook-related ethics charges

Can a Probate Court Appoint a Guardian for a Person Who Already has a Medical Decision-Maker in Place?

Written by:  Warner Norcross + Judd

Under Michigan law, there are two alternate roles for making medical decisions for an incapacitated person. A patient advocate is a medical decision-maker who is appointed by an individual when planning for potential future incapacity. A guardian is a medical decision-maker who is appointed by the Probate Court for a currently incapacitated individual. In the case In re Guardianship of Tyler J. Newland, the Michigan Court of Appeals considered whether a Probate Court may appoint a guardian for an individual who already has a patient advocate in place. 2022 WL 16858981, Docket No 360274 (Mich Court App Nov 10 2022) (unpublished).

In Newland, Tyler was hospitalized following a psychiatric emergency. His sister, Kristen, was serving as his patient advocate under medical durable power of attorney. There was some friction between Kristen and the hospital staff, which led to the hospital filing a petition to appoint someone other than Kristen as guardian for Tyler. The Probate Court initially appointed a professional fiduciary as temporary guardian for Tyler. However, the temporary guardian and Kristen worked so well together that the temporary guardian petitioned the Probate Court to appoint Kristen as temporary co-guardian. At the hearing on appointment of a permanent guardian, the Probate Court granted the petition and appointed the professional fiduciary and Kristen as co-guardians for Tyler.

Tyler filed an appeal, arguing that the Probate Court erred in granting the guardianship petition, because he already had a patient advocate in place. The Michigan Court of Appeals disagreed, noting that under Michigan law, the existence of a patient advocate does not necessarily prevent the Probate Court from appointing a guardian. First, a Probate Court may appoint a guardian to exercise powers not granted to the patient advocate. MCL 700.5306(2). Under that scenario, the guardian and patient advocate would work side by side, each with its designated sphere of authority. Second, a Probate Court may appoint a guardian when the patient advocate “is not acting consistent with the ward’s best interests.” MCL 700.5306(5). Under that scenario, the guardian supplants the patient advocate.

Here, the hospital had alleged and offered witness testimony that a guardian was needed because Kristen, as patient advocate, was taking actions not in Tyler’s best interests. Of course, the Probate Court’s appointment of Kristen as temporary co-guardian and then permanent co-guardian undermines the notion that Kristen represented any kind of threat to Tyler’s well-being. Perhaps recognizing the incongruity present, the Court of Appeals emphasized that Kristen had admitted at the final hearing that guardianship for Tyler was necessary to serve his best interests.

Full Article & Source:
Can a Probate Court Appoint a Guardian for a Person Who Already has a Medical Decision-Maker in Place?


Mobile woman charged with bilking elderly victims in sweepstakes scam

By Brendan Kirby

MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Police investigating complaints of a scam traced payments to an address on Basil Street in 2018 and charged a woman who lived there with financial exploitation of an elderly person.

A judge found probable cause to send the charge to a grand jury, but then the case stalled. In the four years since, there has been no indictment.

This week, though, police arrested Felica Jackson Terrell again – this time charging her with seven additional counts. But the allegations are not new. They stem from warrants signed by a judge before Terrell’s 2018 preliminary hearing. For reasons that remain unclear, those warrants were not served on the defendant until Wednesday.

Mobile County District Attorney-elect Keith Blackwood told FOX10 News that a grand jury delayed consideration of an indictment and that prosecutors never re-presented the case.

Terrell, 60, appeared remotely from Mobile County Metro Jail for a bond hearing. A judge set bail at $21,000 and scheduled an arraignment for Thursday.

Blackwood said it is premature to discuss the case in detail, but court records lay out allegations involving tens of thousands of dollars sent purportedly to pay taxes to unlock sweepstakes winnings. Jonathan Friedlander, an attorney who represented Terrell in 2018, told FOX10 News that his client fell for the same scam. He said she did not profit from it and, in fact, spent her own money. When it was not enough, the lawyer said, the con artist who tricked her told her she could satisfy her debt by helping to process other payments.

“She was also a victim in this case, and she had been scammed as well,” he said. “And she’s, of course, willing to help police catch whoever it was to the extent that that’s possible.”

Terrell’s 2018 arrest related to allegations that a mysterious man using the alias James Anderson told an Arizona woman that she had won the contest and that she sent an $11,000 postal money order – the first installment of her supposed sweepstakes taxes – to Terrell.

The new charges list seven other victims, although in a civil suit that the Mobile County District Attorney’s Office filed in an effort to seize funds from Terrell’s bank account, prosecutors contend she admitted to cheating aa least 15 people.

The victims listed in the criminal complaints are:

  • A woman in Jackson, Mississippi, who sent more than $2,500 in March 2018.
  • A woman in Monte Sereno, California, who sent more than $2,500 in August 2017.
  • A woman in Philadelphia who sent $12,000 in January 2018.
  • A woman in Fort Edward, New York, who sent more than $2,500.
  • A man in Northfield, Minnesota, who sent $100,000 in February 2018.
  • A woman in Williamsville, New York, who sent more than $2,500 in November 2017.
  • A woman in Kerryville, Texas, who sent more than $2,500 in October 2017.

Friedlander said his client does not know James Anderson’s real identity.

“She figured out later on that, you know, something was up,” he said. “And then she terminated the arrangement and refused to do any more transfers. By that time, unfortunately, the damage was done, and Ms. Terrell was horrified to find out that these other people have been scammed.”

People fall for these kinds of scams more often than people might think, according to experts.

“It can be very exciting, you know, getting notification that you’ve won, you know, a million dollars, or you’ve won, you know, five brand new cars,” said Alex Derencz, a spokesman for the Better Business Bureau serving in south and central Alabama.

Derencz said do far this year, people in the 50 counties his office serves have reported more than $160,000 in sweepstakes and lottery prize scams and nearly $1 million nationwide.

“That number could be higher; we just don’t know because, again, a lot of those scam interactions are not reported, and they really need to be,” he told FOX10 News.

Derencz said people should keep some things in mind to protect themselves. He said people should be suspicious if someone tells them they have won contests they have not entered. He said people should also keep records of contests they do enter. And, Derencz added, no legitimate contest will ask for money up front.

“If they’re saying, ‘Hey, in order to, you know, increase your chances of winning, you need to pay us this much,’ or you know, ‘You need to pay this fee,’ that should be a red flag right there,” he said.

Full Article & Source:
Mobile woman charged with bilking elderly victims in sweepstakes scam

Monday, December 5, 2022

Anne Heche's Son Homer Laffoon, 20, Named General Administrator of Her Estate

By Dana Feldman and Stephanie Wenger 

Anne Heche Homer Laffoon James Tupper. PHOTO: getty (2); Anne Heche/Instagram

Anne Heche
's older son Homer Laffoon has been named general administrator of her estate after a months-long legal battle with her ex James Tupper that began after the actress died following a car crash in August.

The 20-year-old has been vying to take legal control over Heche's remaining assets despite legal objections from Tupper, 57. In court in Los Angeles on Wednesday, Homer — whom Heche shared with ex-husband Coleman Laffoon — scored a legal victory when Judge Lee Bogdanoff named him to a permanent position of power.

Homer's attorney Bryan Phipps issued a statement to PEOPLE after the hearing: "We believe the court reached the correct result this morning, both legally and equitably, and are glad to have this phase of the process behind us. With Mr. Tupper's allegations and objections now resolved, we are hopeful the administration of the Estate can proceed without unnecessary complication." 

The judge did issue the caveat that Homer could be removed as administrator if any evidence of fraud or embezzlement surfaces related to the estate. (This proviso seemingly was issued in response to Tupper's claim that $200,000 worth of jewelry has gone missing that Heche owned at the time of their relationship just four years ago.) But up to this point, said Judge Bodganoff, there has been no evidence of wrongdoing.  

With Heche's second memoir schedule to released in January and residuals for her acting roles still incoming, Judge Bodganoff noted the estate's value is not set, so he scheduled a future hearing on the matter to address an $800,000 bond on the estate Homer previously requested. 

Wednesday's decision comes more than a month after Homer was granted expanded "special powers" as the special administrator of Heche's estate, according to court documents obtained by PEOPLE.  

Homer was granted permission to "take possession of all the personal property of the estate of the decedent and preserve it from damage, waste, and injury," according to the documents. He is required to move the property into a storage facility and inventory the items within five days of the relocation.

He was also granted the power to protect the interests of Heche in "the publication agreement" of her forthcoming book.

Additionally, Homer is able to receive copies of Heche's financial records and file personal tax returns on her behalf. The documents state that Homer is now able to "commence and maintain or defend" suits and other legal proceedings. 

Tupper previously objected to Homer's latest request for the court to "expand his authority" over his late mother's estate, citing poor treatment of his and Heche's son, 13-year-old Atlas.

Tupper, 57, previously alleged that Homer "has acted in a hostile manner" towards his half brother and "has refused to communicate with him or his representatives at all." 

"Further, Atlas has no confidence in [Homer]'s ability to meet his fiduciary obligations to Atlas," the filing stated, adding that Homer has allegedly not inventoried their mother's belongings, per his agreement with Tupper and Atlas, before they place the items in storage.

Tupper's attorney Christopher B. Johnson previously argued that Homer already had some of the powers he'd requested from the court, which they said "underscores his lack of competence and inability to preserve estate assets."

Johnson repeated those claims in court on Wednesday, claiming "mismanagement" by Homer, but Judge Bogdanoff declared there was no evidence of any malfeasance by Homer, nor any credence to Tupper's claims. (When Homer was named special administrator in late October, the filing indicated that Tupper's objection had been "reviewed and considered.")

Judge Bodganoff added at this latest hearing that he has "encouraged the brothers to talk about things" twice, noting that "Atlas was caught in the crossfire" of the legal battle over control of the estate. 

After Homer filed papers to assume control of his mother's estate in September, he and Tupper have been locked in a legal battle. Although Homer claimed that his mother didn't have a will, Tupper said Heche named him the executor more than a decade ago. Homer has since argued that the signature on his mother's purported will is not valid, while accusing Tupper of preventing him from communicating with his younger brother.

The pair has also been fighting for guardianship ad litem of Atlas, with Tupper arguing earlier this month that Homer has "conflicts of interest" in the custody battle for his biological son as it relates to Heche's estate, and that appointing him custody "would actually harm the interests" of Atlas. 

Heche died after being involved in a car accident in Los Angeles on Aug. 5. After being in a coma, the state of California declared Heche legally dead on Aug. 12. She was temporarily kept on life support in order to prepare her organs for donation. On Aug. 14, her rep confirmed to PEOPLE she had been taken off life support.  

Full Article & Source:
Anne Heche's Son Homer Laffoon, 20, Named General Administrator of Her Estate

This latest Alzheimer’s drug breakthrough is reason for hope – and further funding

by Michael Aylwin

 Researchers are a step closer to unravelling the cruel mystery of the dementia that afflicts my wife and so many others

Lecanemab removes clumps of a protein called beta amyloid, which clump together to form plaques (illustrated in brown) and disrupt cell function. Photograph: AP

In an age of excessive information, we have each developed a filtering system. To compensate, we acquire our own keywords, which pierce these systems, or, in the old parlance, make our ears prick up, be they the names of favourite teams, musicians, pastimes, conspiracy theories. Brexit.

In recent years, I have joined millions of others in acquiring the more unfortunate triggers of “dementia” and “Alzheimer’s”, but these keywords are not always the harbingers of bad news. Last week, the headlines linking them with others, such as “breakthrough” and “treatment”, will have set many of us off into a frenzy of information-gathering.

Behind the headlines, a more complex picture emerges. The announcement that lecanemab, a monoclonal antibody, can slow the cognitive decline of Alzheimer’s patients is a long way short of declaring an imminent cure for this terrible affliction, but it represents a qualitative shift in the decades-long search for a treatment.

Last year, a similar drug, aducanumab, was controversially granted its licence in America, because it was the first drug shown to alter the course of Alzheimer’s by clearing the brain of deposits of amyloid-beta, a protein that is thought to be the prime mover in the disease. That was another qualitative shift, but aducanumab’s FDA approval was controversial because its capacity to alleviate symptoms is less clear.

Lecanemab seems to take matters a step further by achieving a significant, if modest, degree of clinical benefit. Multiple caveats apply here too, but they are matched by at least as many other drugs and combinations of drugs being trialled. In quiet moments, neuroscientists accept that researchers in their field have been promising breakthroughs throughout those decades, all to no avail. Now, at last, they have achieved meaningful results in consecutive years with much more in the offing. The ball is rolling.

All of which will come too late for my wife, Vanessa. She has a rare genetic form of Alzheimer’s, from which her mother died in 2006, aged 58. Vanessa did not know her mum’s condition was genetic, but she always sensed the same fate awaited her. In her mid-to-late-40s, glaring lapses in memory started to creep in. Since 2018, her decline has been sharp. She has just turned 53 and has been in a nursing home for more than a year, unable to speak, feed herself, wash or dress.

The first problems with swallowing have recently presented themselves and she clings on to what is left of her beloved walking. But, when all else has fallen away, the smile and the laugh remain, however random, however much the result of stimuli unknown in her deteriorating brain.

There is no need to pull on heartstrings any further. All terminal diseases are hideous. Dementia’s twist is the way it comes for the very soul of you, brutal and enigmatic in equal measure. Only now are we starting to catch up with it. This is where we can move from heartstrings to numbers. Governments and businesses have always responded more readily to those.

As life expectancy lengthens and science grows more sophisticated, the extent of dementia’s drain on society is revealing itself at every turn. The total cost of dementia to the UK economy in 2019 was £34.7bn, more than cancer and heart disease combined. That figure is projected to treble by 2040. Meanwhile, annual funding for research from the government has settled around the £80m mark, less than a third of cancer’s allocation. If charitable contributions are included, dementia’s total is less than a fifth of cancer’s. Its cost to the economy, however, is nearly five times greater.

This disparity undoubtedly owes itself to dementia’s historic elusiveness, in contrast to the bolder, more physical nature of other conditions easier to define, identify and treat. Now that science is unravelling its mysteries and the extent of the toll it exacts, the case for prioritising research into dementia, not to mention provision for the costs of care, which are crippling in themselves (two-thirds of that £34.7bn is met by the afflicted and their families), has become unanswerable.

The relationship between funding and technological progress is direct and uncomplicated. We have seen that with Covid and cancer. Far more than a trigger to seize the attention of those affected by dementia, may the mysterious, magical word “lecanemab” prick up the ears of those allocating budgets. At least as much as it represents hope for a future cure, lecanemab must act as a lightning rod for further funding and research. We are on to dementia now. This is the time to go after it.

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This latest Alzheimer’s drug breakthrough is reason for hope – and further funding

Sunday, December 4, 2022

Ex-LPL Rep Charged With Stealing $1.3M From Client With Dementia

By Jeff Berman

What You Need to Know

  • The SEC last year charged a former LPL broker with stealing $1.295 million from an older client suffering from dementia.
  • He was arrested in Illinois on Wednesday by the Yorkville Police Department on an arrest warrant.
  • The former broker was charged with 23 felonies, including 10 counts of financial exploitation of an elderly person.

A former LPL Financial broker and registered representative was arrested in Illinois on Wednesday by the Yorkville Police Department on an arrest warrant from Kendall County, Illinois, that stemmed from a 2021 investigation into his alleged theft of $1.3 million from an older client with dementia, according to the Yorkville Police Department.

The police, acting with approval from the Kendall County State’s Attorney’s Office, charged Bradley A. Goodbred with 23 felonies: 10 counts of financial exploitation of an elderly person (a Class 1 Felony), two counts of financial exploitation of an elderly person (Class 2 Felony), seven counts of theft (Class 1 Felony), and four counts of theft (Class 2 Felony), according to police.

On Sept. 29, 2021, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Bradley A. Goodbred with stealing $1.295 million from the client, who had dementia, at the time and then using the funds for his personal and business expenses.

According to the SEC’s complaint, Goodbred worked as a registered representative and investment advisor representative in the Roselle, Illinois, office of an SEC-registered broker-dealer and investment advisor.

Although the SEC complaint did not identify the firm, the former broker was with LPL from 2009 to 2021, according to his report on the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s BrokerCheck website.

LPL terminated Goodbred on Jan. 13, 2021, for using “unapproved power of attorney to facilitate distribution of customer funds to a real estate company representative,” according to a disclosure on his report.

LPL did not immediately comment on Friday.

The SEC complaint alleged that, from at least 2012 to 2020, Goodbred solicited one of his clients, who was 97 years old at the time of the SEC complaint, to send him money to make purported investments in real estate investment trusts on her behalf and to transfer the money to one of his businesses.

The complaint also alleged that, to fund some of the purported investments, the client, with the advice and approval of Goodbred, sold securities in her account and transferred the proceeds to Goodbred.

According to the complaint, Goodbred didn’t use the client’s money to make investments in REITs or any other investments on her behalf. Rather, he used the client’s funds for his personal expenses and business expenses unrelated to any purported investments, according to the SEC.

Those personal expenses included credit card debt for himself and his wife, as well as income taxes and auto loans, the SEC complaint said.

As alleged in the SEC complaint, Goodbred repaid the client a total of only $454,141.

The SEC charged Goodbred with violating Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5, and Sections 206(1) and 206(2) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, and sought injunctive relief, disgorgement, prejudgment interest and civil penalties.

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Ex-LPL Rep Charged With Stealing $1.3M From Client With Dementia

Pelé says he is feeling ‘strong’ after reports of move to end-of-life care

Pelé is reportedly responding well to treatment for a respiratory infection, his hospital says. Photograph: Lucas Jackson/Reuters

The Brazilian football great Pelé posted on Instagram on Saturday evening to say that he is feeling “strong” and “with hope”, after an outpouring of concern online in response to unconfirmed reports that he had been moved to palliative care.

“I want to keep everyone calm and positive,” Pelé wrote, sharing the latest medical report from São Paulo’s Albert Einstein hospital that says he remains in stable condition. “I follow my treatment as usual.”

Pelé, 82, who helped the Brazilian national team win three World Cups, ended his message by calling on fans to watch the seleção play in this year’s tournament. Brazil will face South Korea in Doha on Monday.

Earlier, the hospital said Pelé remained in a stable condition after being hospitalised this week as he battles colon cancer. He has also responded well to treatment for a respiratory infection and his condition has not worsened in the last 24 hours, the medical staff said. He was admitted to hospital on Tuesday to re-evaluate his cancer treatment.

On Saturday morning the Brazilian newspaper Folha de S.Paulo reported that Pelé is receiving palliative care after he stopped responding to chemotherapy treatment for the cancer.

According to the newspaper, the chemotherapy has now been suspended and Pelé is receiving end-of-life care, being treated only for symptoms such as pain and shortness of breath.

The Albert Einstein hospital in São Paulo declined to confirm reports that the football legend known as The King is under palliative care and said it would only communicate through official bulletins. A medical report released on Friday said Pelé was being treated with antibiotics for a respiratory infection. His condition was “stable, with a general improvement in his health status”, the report said.

Football stars past and present, including French striker Kylian Mbappé, wished Pelé well on social media following the reports that he is receiving palliative care. “Pray for The King,” Mbappé tweeted.

Pelé had sought to reassure fans in an Instagram post on Thursday, saying that he was making his “monthly visit” to hospital. He posted a picture of a Qatar building lit up with a message wishing him a prompt recovery and thanked the World Cup-hosting nation for “the tribute”.

His daughter, Kely Nascimento, who is in Qatar for the tournament, also sought to assuage concerns surrounding the football legend’s health. “The media is freaking out again,” she said on social media on Thursday, adding that her siblings were with their father and that Pelé’s health did not require her to jump on a plane back to Brazil.

Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento, Pelé is considered one of the greatest footballers of all time. He rose to international fame aged just 17 when he scored six goals for Brazil in the 1958 World Cup, including two in the final in which Brazil beat the hosts, Sweden, to win their first world title.

Pelé, who retired from football in 1977, has been suffering from health problems in recent years. He was diagnosed with colon cancer in September 2021 and spent two weeks in hospital last December.

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Pelé says he is feeling ‘strong’ after reports of move to end-of-life care