Saturday, December 17, 2022

'I couldn't find home': Once missing 90-year old Stockton woman wants to educate others

90-year old Betsy Brotby went missing for 28 hours after driving on an errand in Stockton. She's telling her story in hopes others can learn.

Author: Kurt Rivera

STOCKTON, Calif. — 90-year old Betsy Brotby is right back where she wants to be in her North Stockton home, hanging with her dogs Mya, Gracie and Nino. But, she went missing for 28 anxious hours, Sunday.

"Terrifying, one word. To be driving and be lost when you know it's your town. I couldn't find home," said Brotby, a retired secretary who worked at San Joaquin Delta College.

Brotby left home around noon Sunday and drove to the Trinity Parkway shopping area in North Stockton. She had somehow ended up in Altaville, near Angels Camp, and then to El Dorado Hills just east of Sacramento.

She then headed west again before running out of gas late Monday afternoon in downtown Sacramento.

"Fortunately right by an automotive mechanic foreign car repair place and the good samaritan that came out and saw her, she was blocked in the middle of the road, and helped her get the side of the road and invited her in," said daughter Lee Shea. "We are lucky, so lucky and know that other times that hasn't worked out for other people."

Brotby only remembers bits and pieces of her journey, like meeting "nice people" and driving around snow.

But, she admits she noticed becoming forgetful more often about a year ago when she was having trouble driving to her dentist.

"I suppose I should say we ought to quit driving earlier, but I wasn't about to say that," said Brotby.

That begs the question: How do you begin a conversation with an aging loved one whose memory is declining?

"If you approach it with empathy and respect that the older adult is likely to respond much better," said Sarah Lock, senior vice president for Policy and Brain Health for AARP and executive director for the Global Council on Brain Health.

Lock had to take care of her own parents diagnosed with dementia. She says first, pay close attention to any behavioral changes.

"If they start to become withdrawn or having trouble figuring things out that they would never have in the past," said Lock.

She also suggests having a conversation that's not confrontational, but inclusive.

"You need to be responsible, you need to help your parent. But, if you do it in such a way that robs them of their dignity, you're setting yourself and them up for failure," said Lock.

Brotby gives her own advice for those hesitant to help their aging loved ones.

"Just speak up. And for the aged mother or whatever, listen, don't be stubborn and I'm know for being stubborn," said Brotby. 

Shea is still surprised by what happened and urges people in similar situations to listen to their warning. 

"This has been so eye opening for us and anybody else that listens that if there are signs pay attention to them," said Shea.

After her frightening ordeal, Betsy has decided to hang up her car keys for good. From now on, her daughters will take over the driving duties.

Full Article & Source:
'I couldn't find home': Once missing 90-year old Stockton woman wants to educate others

S.C. ranks 49th for reports of elder abuse, gross neglect and exploitation complaints

South Carolina is ranks 49th out of 50 states for reports of elder abuse, gross neglect and exploitation complaints compared to other states, according to a recent WalletHub report. 

by Miya Payton

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) – South Carolina ranks 49th out of 50 states for reports of elder abuse, gross neglect and exploitation complaints compared to other states, according to a recent WalletHub report

Captain Heidi Jackson with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department says South Carolina’s ranking isn’t necessarily bad. “I feel like our state actually reports a lot and I had to think about it for a moment and I really came to the conclusion that we are just good at reporting this type of crime in South Carolina. I believe that people do not tolerate elder abuse here and if someone sees it they do report it and we have mandatory reporting and that’s actually a good thing.”

Captain Jackson names red flags for people to look for when it comes to elder abuse. 

“I would keep my eye out if someone is not letting you have contact with someone that would be a red flag – like why? If you speak to someone who is older or someone who is a vulnerable adult and their afraid to talk to you that would concern me also, if you see marks or bruises that are kind of unexplained, even if someone has dementia just listen to them because they can still tell you when things are happening to them and I would believe them unless we know otherwise,” says Captain Jackson. 

In Richland County the sheriff’s department sees the following  most common types of elder mistreatment.

“Sadly we see cases where someone is self neglecting and they’re just not taking care of themselves, we see situations with family members that maybe there’s problems in the family like maybe someone is addicted to drugs and then so they financially exploit someone else, and physical neglect where they just don’t care for them,“ says Captain Jackson. 

She says there are programs available to help families keep an eye on their elderly love one. 

“We have project H.O.P.E that’s helping our precious elderly and we make phone calls to them but we actually have police officers that are retired and they come back and work with us and they go out and visit people too. So having those eyes and ears in the home and if there is something going wrong they come back and let us know so we can look into it,” says Captain Jackson. 

ABC Columbia also reached out to the South Carolina Department on Aging and here is its response to WalletHub findings:

“The South Carolina Department on Aging’s (SCDOA) mission is to enhance the quality of life for seniors in South Carolina. The SCDOA collaborates with a network of state, regional, and local organizations to develop and manage services that help seniors remain independent in their homes and in their communities. 

Our agency consistently works to educate, advocate, and empower our seniors so that they can recognize and prevent potential fraud, abuse, neglect, and exploitation.”

Full Article & Source:
S.C. ranks 49th for reports of elder abuse, gross neglect and exploitation complaints

Two Arrested For Robbing Elderly Hialeah Woman Of Cash And Jewelry

A man and a woman are facing several charges including the exploitation of an elderly person after police said the pair robbed a woman in Hialeah. Details:

Two Arrested For Robbing Elderly Hialeah Woman Of Cash And Jewelry

Friday, December 16, 2022

77-page guardianship investigation exposes lack of oversight in Florida's system

Concerns include missing jewelry, 18% real estate commission

By: Adam Walser 

CLEARWATER, Fla. — The I-Team has reported for a decade how Florida’s court-appointed professional guardians can control your life, health care decisions and finances and get paid with your assets.  

A scathing new report alleges one former guardian exploited dozens of people under her care called “wards."

In exclusive interviews, we hear from two people working to protect vulnerable seniors and how the flawed system makes that impossible.  

In 2019, professional guardian Traci Hudson was arrested and charged with exploiting an elderly man under her care.

Investigators said she used a half-a-million dollars of his money to buy herself a luxury home, jewelry and Tampa Bay Buccaneers tickets.

Days after her arrest, a judge ordered the Pinellas County Clerk’s office to investigate Hudson’s 45 guardianship cases. 

“What it produced was evidence of flagrant fraud”  

Hudson’s wards had a combined $14 million in assets at the time they entered guardianship.  

“If there are any red flags that are brought to our attention, then we’ll address that at that point in time,” Pinellas County Probate Judge Campbell said during a court hearing days after Hudson’s arrest.  

Three years later, a 77-page report filled with red flags not only exposes problems with Hudson’s cases but also with the guardianship system.

Investigation of Former Pro... by ABC Action News

Hudson declined to be interviewed.  

Her attorney Richard McKyton said he wouldn’t talk about specific allegations in the report but said he doesn't anticipate it will affect her upcoming trial.  

“What it produced was just evidence of flagrant fraud,” said retired Pinellas County Judge Linda Allan. 

Allan, who presided over thousands of guardianship cases, said many guardians receive minimal training. 

Under Florida law, they are only required to pass a background check and complete a 40-hour course.  

“There’s virtually no standards or criteria,” Allan said.  

“There’s very little direct oversight of what the guardian does,” said Pinellas County Clerk of Court Ken Burke, who oversaw the investigation.  “If there were all these safeguards, things like we found in this report would not have been found."

Hudson declined to be interviewed by the Pinellas County Inspector General’s Office.  

Guardian paid for working more than 24 hours a day  

The report shows Hudson was paid more than $406,000 from her wards’ assets in less than three years. 

“The number of hours that were allegedly expended were way out of the norm to come up with that,” Allan said.  

Seven times Hudson billed for working between 25 and 39 hours in a single day.  

Burke said investigators found that Hudson billed for being in California working on behalf of a ward on the same day she billed for visiting local banks and nursing homes.  

“There was not just a single instance, but many instances of billing over 18 hours in a day,” Burked said.  

The report said Hudson billed for working more than 18 hours in a day 83 times. 

Allan said guardians can do that because judges approve payments one case at a time.  

“There should be greater oversight. I just don’t know exactly how to accomplish that,” Allan said.  

Missing jewelry, court documents altered  

“There was jewelry missing, savings bonds worth twenty-some thousand dollars missing… not accounted for,” Burke said.  

Full Article & Source:
77-page guardianship investigation exposes lack of oversight in Florida's system

Thursday, December 15, 2022

‘Predatory’ guardianship battle killing elderly NYC woman, pals allege

 By Hannah Frishberg

Paulette Kohler is the subject of an ongoing guardianship dispute, which her friends say has been hugely detrimental to her health. Courtesy Barbara Goodstein

Friends claim the same legal arrangement that controlled Britney Spears is rapidly killing their pal Paulette. 

An Upper West Side building’s management company’s accusation that a rent-controlled tenant is indisposed has forced an elderly woman into a nightmare scenario, companions allege. 

Last December, while 92-year-old Paulette Kohler was in a rehab center following surgery, her building’s management company — suspecting something fishy — filed a petition accusing her of being incapacitated and potentially the victim of elder financial abuse, NBC first reported. The so-called abuser? Her “alleged housekeeper” Inga Eggerud, a Norwegian immigrant Kohler and her late husband had been friends with since 2011. Without providing any evidence, the petition added that Eggerud was currently the “subject of a criminal investigation.”

Despite the lack of proof, New York County Supreme Court responded to the management company’s filing by appointing a stranger to take control of Kohler’s life and finances. Then, in April, Eggerud — who Kohler named her power of attorney and beneficiary in 2021 — was barred from seeing her friend. The following month, Kohler’s friend Marie Jensen and Eggerud’s longtime employer Barbara Goodstein were also barred from seeing Kohler, who has no living relatives.

In June, when Kohler was finally allowed to go home from the rehab center, she went to Goodstein’s apartment in search of Eggerud. When told she wasn’t allowed to see Eggerud, she asked, upset, “I know, but why?”

Inga Eggerud during an interview with NBC about her friend Paulette’s guardianship.
WNBC 4 New York

Eggerud and Kohler have been friends since 2011.
Courtesy Barbara Goodstein

For a period, Kohler was unable to see friends.
Courtesy Barbara Goodstein

“It’s not right,” Eggerud said during an interview with NBC. “They took Paulette away from me.”

“There was no explanation ever given for why I was banned and why Barbara was banned, it’s just [the court] wanted to have total control,” Jensen opined to the outlet, comparing the situation this created for Kohler to “solitary confinement.”

The real motive for effectively socially isolating an ailing senior citizen, Goodstein charges, is to open up Kohler’s prime apartment for sale. The nonagenarian pays just $1,910 a month for her two-bedroom home at 500 West End Ave., where she’s lived since 1957. Other units at the tony doorman building regularly rent for well over $8,000 a month and sell for more than $3 million, according to recent listings. 

500 West End Ave., where Kohler has a rent-controlled apartment.
Google Maps

“The avarice of the building has only been rivaled by a predatory court system that has marshaled Ms. Kohler’s entire net worth, which is being used to pay the people the court has imposed on her against her will,” Goodstein told The Post. “She has lost her civil rights, her voice and access to proper medical care. And now she will die alone, while her friends watch helplessly from a distance.”

The attorney for the building’s LLC insisted to NBC that their only concern has always been to protect a vulnerable person from being exploited. A representative of the building did not return The Post’s request for comment. 

Eggerud, Goodstein and Jensen have since been unbarred from seeing Kohler, but the guardianship has proved disastrous for her already failing health — and her friends fear she has little time left. 

“She spent the last seven months of her life completely isolated from the people she loves. This should not have happened,” said Goodstein of the period from April to October when Kohler couldn’t see her friends. “And the only person we could escalate to was the judge who imposed the restrictions to begin with, Judge Sharpe.”

Judge Carol Sharpe, who is overseeing Kohler’s case.
YouTube / @JamaicaNewsNetwork

Judge Carol Sharpe is also currently overseeing another controversial, years-long guardianship case, this one involving 57-year-old construction worker and certified home health aide Jose Verdugo who insists he’s “fine” despite Sharpe’s insistence that further medical evaluation is necessary to determine as much, NBC reported. Verdugo’s court-installed guardian says Verdugo has “refused to communicate with her” and the court-appointed attorneys says Verdugo’s family may not be operating in his best interests. His daughter, however, says they “know nothing about my father” and that the situation is very painful. She has filed to terminate the guardianship. 

“Guardianship cases are some of the most fraught, so the fact that a litigant is not pleased with the outcome is an unfortunate reality,” a NY Courts spokesperson told The Post.

The next and ninth hearing in Kohler’s case is set for Jan. 17. Her friends are continuing their fight to remove Kohler’s court-appointed guardian, but should that not happen before what Goodstein says is her “imminent” death, they hope at least that she may pass away surrounded by those she loves.

“I just want her to go in peace,” Eggerud said.

Full Article & Source:
‘Predatory’ guardianship battle killing elderly NYC woman, pals allege

Oakland County Woman Sentenced for Stealing $70,000 from Elderly Victim

LANSING – An Oakland County woman who pled guilty to stealing from an elderly veteran has been sentenced, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced today.

Margaret Risdon, 62, of Bloomfield Hills, was convicted of one count of Embezzlement from a Vulnerable Adult between $50,000 and $100,000, a 15-year felony. 

Judge David M. Cohen of the 6th Circuit Court sentenced Risdon to three years’ probation and 100 hours of community service. Risdon was also ordered to work a part-time job and is prohibited from violating any law or consuming drugs and alcohol. Risdon was also ordered to pay $72,843 in restitution to the victim’s estate.

This matter was referred to the Michigan Department of Attorney General from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which began its investigation after the victim raised concerns that someone was stealing from him.

“Protecting our most vulnerable populations is one of my top priorities,” Nessel said. “I appreciate the hard work done by investigators at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the dedication of my prosecutors who relentlessly pursue those who target our state’s most vulnerable adults.”

Between November 2016 and July 2017, Risdon wrote checks from the victim’s bank account to herself and her business, Electronic Creations, totaling nearly $56,800 and made ATM withdrawals totaling more than $16,000. Risdon would also deposit checks into her bank account and use the money for her own purposes. The victim was disabled and resided in nursing homes and hospitals. Risdon did not have power of attorney for the victim, nor serve as his guardian or conservator. 

Risdon also failed to file State of Michigan income tax returns to account for the roughly $72,000 she received from the victim.

To learn more about the Attorney General’s Elder Abuse Task force and its initiatives, visit the Attorney General’s website.

Full Article & Source:
Oakland County Woman Sentenced for Stealing $70,000 from Elderly Victim

Five symptoms of dementia and early warning signs

by  Joe Sommerlad

Dementia is a cognitive condition that affects an estimated 900,000 people across the UK.

The term “dementia” does not refer to a single specific ailment but rather a collection of symptoms occurring as a result of a disease like Alzheimer’s causing damage to the nerve cells that transmit messages from the brain.

It is particularly common among the elderly, with one person in 14 people aged over 65 experiencing the condition and one in six aged over 80, with women statistically more likely to suffer than men.

Everyone experiences the condition differently but common symptoms of dementia fall under three categories; memory problems, cognitive ability and communication.

What are the most common symptoms of dementia?

Five of the most common symptoms include:

  • Struggling with decision-making and reasoning

  • Difficulty understanding time and place, such as getting up to go to work in the middle of the night

  • Struggling to communicate effectively, such as not being able to find the right words

  • Repeating themselves often and finding it hard to follow a conversation

  • Changes in personality and behaviour, mood swings and experiencing anxiety or depression

As these symptoms are similar to those associated with natural decline as a result of the encroachments of old age, dementia can prove difficult to diagnose.

One study, released by Alzheimer’s Society earlier this year, revealed that as many as one in four sufferers go at least two years before their condition is finally diagnosed.

The charity surveyed 1,019 dementia patients and their carers about their experiences of diagnostic procedure and found that the primary reason for people failing to get the help they needed was confusion between their symptoms and the natural ageing process, a situation occurring in 42 per cent of cases.

Approximately 26 per cent of respondents said they had not been formally diagnosed within two years, with a quarter adding that they had already reached crisis point before their dementia was acknowledged.

“Asking the same question over and over again is not called getting old, it’s called getting ill,” said Kate Lee, CEO of the Alzheimer’s Society, as she encouraged potential sufferers or those concerned about the apparent decline of a loved one to come forward.

“If you’re worried for yourself or someone you love, come to Alzheimer’s Society for support. The stark findings of our survey released today show just how dangerous it can be to battle dementia symptoms alone and put off getting help.

“Yes, getting a diagnosis can be daunting – I know I was terrified when my mum got diagnosed. But it is worth it – over nine in 10 people with dementia told us they benefited from getting a diagnosis. It gave them crucial access to treatment, care and support, and precious time to plan for the future.

“With the pandemic causing diagnosis rates to plunge, it’s more important than ever to seek help. You don’t have to face dementia alone, we’re here to support everyone affected.”

What are the early signs of dementia?

To address the problem identified by its findings, the Alzheimer’s Society has produced a new checklist in partnership with the Royal College of GPs to help people identify the symptoms of dementia and to encourage them to get diagnosed and seek help.

Women are statistically more likely to suffer from dementia than men (Getty/iStockphoto)
Women are statistically more likely to suffer from dementia than men (Getty/iStockphoto)

It includes assessing whether people are suffering from memory problems, such as struggling to find the right words or repeating questions and phrases; experiencing issues with daily living such as struggling to pay bills or getting lost when out in public; as well as behavioural or emotional problems such as becoming aggressive or  withdrawn or acting inappropriately.

Dr Jill Rasmussen, clinical representative for dementia at the Royal College of General Practitioners, said: “It’s vital for patients, their families and GPs that conversations with the potential for a diagnosis of dementia are timely and effective.

“The new checklist developed with Alzheimer’s Society is a simple, free tool to help patients and their families clearly communicate their symptoms and concerns during an often time-pressured appointment.

“This resource could make a real difference in identifying those people who require referral for a more detailed evaluation and diagnosis of their problems.

“We’re asking anyone who is worried about possible dementia symptoms to use the checklist and share it with their primary care team.”

You can access the checklist here and find more information on dementia at the Alzheimer’s Society and NHS websites.

Full Article & Source:
Five symptoms of dementia and early warning signs

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

5 Lifelong Fitness Tips From a 96-Year-Old Swimmer Who Continues To Win Gold Medals

 by Rebecca Norris

Photo: Getty Images/Patrik Giardino

Judy Young is a force to be reckoned with in the pool. Just this year, she won seven first-place medals and set six age-group records in the seven events she competed in, including the 50-, 100- and 200-yard backstroke, and the 50-, 100-, 200-, and 500-yard freestyle.

But Young is not just any athlete. Born in 1926, she is a 96-year-old swimmer who doesn’t let her age keep her from winning gold or setting new records at YMCA National swim meets.

Young tells us she's loved to swim ever since she was a kid. “My sons eventually joined me in the swim lane, and at one point we were even on the same team and competed together,” she says. Though she’s been swimming for over half a century, it wasn’t until the late ‘80s that she started doing it competitively, qualifying locally and eventually nationally. "And I haven’t stopped since,” she reveals.

Today, she says she swims regularly at her local YMCA, noting that she’s also been a volunteer at the Y for years, and was the secretary to the executive director from 1971 to 1987. “I go to the YMCA two times per week to swim, in addition to swimming competitively through YMCA leagues,” she says. “My focus is freestyle and backstroke, and I’m gearing up to participate in the 2023 Senior games—nationals are in Pittsburgh this year.”

How does she keep going at such a high level? Fortunately for us, she shared her top five tips for a long, fit life.

1. Do some kind of physical exercise every day

As the saying goes: Keep moving to stay moving. “Staying active is an absolute must,” Young says. “I recently had surgery and the doctor told me the reason I’ve been able to recover so quickly is because I’ve led a very active and healthy lifestyle.”

2. Switch between aerobic and strength workouts—and don’t forget to rest

Staying active doesn’t mean you have to follow a rigorous workout plan each and every day. Young says that making time for aerobic exercises (like swimming, walking, cycling, and rowing) as well as strength exercises (like weight lifting) make for the most well-rounded fitness-focused lifestyle.

Don’t force yourself to work out seven days a week, though. “My key to avoiding injury is staying active but being patient with recovery,” Young says. She says she was able to come back from a hip replacement in 2019 by diligently following her physical therapy program, and waiting to return to swimming until she got the green light from her PT.

3. Exercise outside when weather permits—particularly by walking

No matter your age, Young proves that regular hot girl walks can be beneficial. In addition to boosting cardio health, taking your workout outside increases vitamin D levels, which can work wonders for your mood—especially during the gloomier winter months.

4. Don’t forget about mental fitness

Your body isn’t the only thing you have to worry about staying fit as you age. “Strengthen your mind through playing cards, reading, or puzzles,” Young says.

(Looking for inspo? Ordinary Habit and Piecework Puzzles have gorgeous options that double as artwork and coffee table displays.)

5. Enjoy the process

Hard as you may try, you can’t hate yourself into a fitter lifestyle. If you despise the process, it’s unlikely that you’ll stick to it. That’s why Young emphasizes the importance finding an activity you enjoy.

Full Article & Source:
5 Lifelong Fitness Tips From a 96-Year-Old Swimmer Who Continues To Win Gold Medals

3 Things to Do While Visiting Aging Parents for the Holidays

Take advantage of your holiday visit to check on older adults

During the holidays, many people will be visiting aging parents or relatives.

That makes it a perfect opportunity to observe them in their “natural habitat” – you’ll get to see how they’re really doing.

This year, use some of your time at home to do 3 things: make sure your older adults are doing well, make simple home safety updates, and start important conversations about the future.

We share tips that help you focus on important details that will make a big difference in the long run.

1. Discreetly check on independent seniors

If your parents or relatives are living independently, the holidays are a great time to discreetly check on them.

By doing this every year and keeping notes, you’ll be able to spot changes more easily in the future.

Use our handy printable PDF checklist to evaluate changes in their physical, mental, and emotional health.


2. Spend an afternoon on home safety updates

While you’re visiting, you might have an opportunity to make a few simple safety updates.

These easy fixes don’t take much time and can help older adults avoid common accidents so they can stay independent longer.

Try these:


3. Start meaningful conversations about the future

When family gets together over the holidays, it’s a good opportunity for meaningful conversations.

If you haven’t already started talking about aging and plans for the future, consider bringing up the subject at a strategic time.

You might be surprised – many parents appreciate having these conversation and will be grateful that you brought it up.

Use these tips to prepare for a successful conversation and keep a few of the conversation starters in mind to make it easier to get the ball rolling.

Full Article & Source:
3 Things to Do While Visiting Aging Parents for the Holidays

News10NBC Investigates: Assemblyman calls for action following News10NBC nursing home investigation

State Assemblyman Harry Bronson is calling for a Department of Health investigation following the News10NBC investigation of Waterview Heights, formerly The Shore Winds Nursing Home.

News10NBC Investigates: Assemblyman calls for action following News10NBC nursing home investigation

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

New Volunteer Advocates for Seniors and Incapacitated Adults sworn in

by Joseph S. Pete

Lake Superior Court Probate Commissioner Ben Ballou, second from right, recently swore in a class of four Volunteer Advocates for Seniors and Incapacitated Adults. They are, from left, Jack E. Dusek, Jr., Cynthia Moore, Rhonda Smith of Hammond and Renee Gougis

New volunteers were recently sworn in to serve as court-appointed advocates for the elderly and incapacitated.

Franciscan Health and Lake County Courts run the Volunteer Advocates for Seniors and Incapacitated Adults to help adults who are unable to represent themselves or handle their own affairs.

Lake Superior Court Probate Commissioner Ben Ballou swore in the latest class of Jack Dusek Jr. of Munster, Renee Gougis of Calumet City, Cynthia Moore of Gary and Rhonda Smith of Hammond.

“The program is so vital to the community,” Ballou said. “You’re a voice for those who don’t have a voice and who aren’t being taken care of properly. We greatly appreciate all the VASIA program does.”

Gougis felt compelled to volunteer because she's a three-year cancer survivor who understands firsthand how it feels to need help.

“I appreciate all the people I had with me who supported me through the process,” Gougis said. “This is my journey now. This is what I’m meant to do.”

Dusek's mother suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease and relied on help.

“For the last few years, she was confused and scared,” Dusek said. “I could help her, remind her, make her happy. Hopefully, I can bring joy to someone’s life.”

The program is now in its 21st year and is sustained by funding from the Indiana Supreme Court, the Legacy Foundation and other sources. The trained, supervised volunteers provided the elderly and incapacitated with guardianship and elder law advocacy.

They're vetted and required to complete 40 hours of training on legal, social service, health and mental health issue. It's followed by 12 hours of continuing education.

“We’re excited for you four wonderful people,” VASIA Director LaVonne Jarrett said. “This will begin a new journey for you with Franciscan VASIA.”

The advocates handle one case at a time. Franciscan Health Foundation Development Director MinDee Richard said the court-appointed volunteers make a difference in people's lives.

“You’re going to be that person in someone’s life that lets them know they’re not alone in the world,” Richard said. “You may save their life in more ways than one.”

Full Article & Source:
New Volunteer Advocates for Seniors and Incapacitated Adults sworn in

Former Willmar attorney Gregory Anderson to serve 18 months for bankruptcy fraud for hiding client's assets

Now disbarred, former Willmar attorney Gregory Anderson pleaded guilty to fraud in hiding business assets of the former Mayor of Kerkhoven in bankruptcy proceedings.

Gregory Anderson

By Tom Cherveny

ST. PAUL — Disbarred Willmar Attorney Gregory Anderson, 63, will serve a federal sentence of 18 months in prison for his role in concealing the business assets of former Kerkhoven Mayor James Rothers in bankruptcy proceedings.

U.S. District Court Judge Eric C. Tostrud sentenced Anderson to the prison term on Wednesday during a court appearance in federal District Court in St. Paul. He also ordered that Anderson serve one year of supervised release following his release from prison and pay a fine of $20,000.

The sentencing follows Anderson’s guilty plea on Aug. 8 to one count of fraudulent concealment of bankruptcy assets.

A plea agreement reached at that time included a requirement that Anderson be voluntarily disbarred.

The sentence is below the sentencing range that had been approved earlier in a plea agreement. It called for a range of 24 to 30 months of imprisonment at the discretion of the court.

Prior to sentencing, U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jordan Sing supported the 24-month sentence, or the lower end of the agreement. In a filing with the court, they stated that Anderson’s remorse for his criminal conduct “appears thoughtful and genuine.”

They also described his criminal conduct as “rather extraordinary” and “remarkable.” They stated that a 24-month sentence “is necessary to reflect the seriousness of this offense, promote respect for the law, and provide just punishment for his actions.”

The sentence is the conclusion to an otherwise successful law career that began in 1987 when Anderson was sworn into the bar by his father.

Anderson filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition on behalf of Rothers in November 2015. Rothers had approached Anderson for legal counsel in mid-2011 when one of his grain-bin construction businesses, West Central Crane, was in a contract dispute and likely to be sued.

“Anderson spent the next four plus years helping Rothers hide assets and avoid liability,” the prosecuting attorney said in court filings.

The court found that Anderson created fake liabilities to create the appearance that Rothers was insolvent when, in fact, Rothers could easily have paid all of his creditors.

According to the court, Anderson arranged to have a fictitious lawsuit filed against Rothers, and then instructed Rothers to default in that lawsuit. It created a judgment of approximately $608,000 against Rothers to further the appearance that he was insolvent.

Anderson also created documents to make it appear that an Iowa company had loaned $240,000 to Rothers and that he had an obligation to repay what is now known to have been a bogus loan.

Overall, Anderson helped Rothers hide more than $1 million in assets in what the U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota called a “senseless attempt” to help Rothers discharge $173,591 in debts.

The fraud included Anderson’s help in hiding 100,000 gold coins Rothers had purchased as part of the scam. Anderson also helped place $465,640.26 in the bank account of ABS Bin of Minnesota, which Rothers falsely claimed that he did not own.

The attorney also helped Rothers in placing $227,284.26 in ABC Bin of Iowa. It’s from this business account that Rothers paid Anderson.

The attorney and Rothers also helped conceal $582,423 in cashed checks to Rothers’s businesses shortly after the bankruptcy filing. He also assisted in taking numerous vehicles and trailers out of Rothers’ name just prior to the bankruptcy filing, according to the prosecuting attorneys.

The fraud was discovered prior to any discharge of the debts. The case was the result of an investigation by the FBI.

Rothers' businesses have paid the creditors and, according to court documents, he has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal expenses. He is scheduled for sentencing later this month on one count of fraud for concealment of bankruptcy assets. Rothers pleaded guilty Nov. 7, 2019, and has assisted investigators in the case against Anderson.

Full Article & Source:
Former Willmar attorney Gregory Anderson to serve 18 months for bankruptcy fraud for hiding client's assets 

Newington Man Charged With Bilking Elderly Person

The suspect will appear in court on Thursday, Dec. 15.

by Michael Lemanski 

A Newington man has been arrested and charged with illegally writing checks to himself from an elderly man's bank account. (Shutterstock)

NEWINGTON, CT — A Newington man was arrested and charged last week with financially exploiting an elderly person.

Ryan Turko, 39, of Newington, was arrested Friday by inspectors from the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit in the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney.

He was charged with one count each of second-degree larceny; first-degree identity theft; second-degree forgery; and computer crimes, according to state officials.

According to the arrest warrant affidavit, Turko, the business manager for Portland Care and Rehabilitation Centre in Portland, also known as PCRC, improperly accessed an elderly resident’s bank account, according to authorities.

State officials said he then made online withdrawals and transfers and wrote checks to himself without permission between September 2020 and February 2021.

PCRC is a facility that accepts Medicaid monies on behalf of clients for services.

Turko was released on a $25,000 non-surety bond and is scheduled to appear in Middletown Superior Court on Thursday, Dec. 15.

Second-degree larceny is a class C felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Identity theft is a class B Felony, punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Second-degree forgery and computer crimes are class D felonies punishable by up to five years in prison.

The case will be prosecuted by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.

Anyone with knowledge of suspected fraud or abuse in the public healthcare system is asked to contact the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit at the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney at 860-258-5986.

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Newington Man Charged With Bilking Elderly Person

Monday, December 12, 2022

Caretaker pleads guilty in death of 86-year-old woman at assisted living home

Colorado officials say a caretaker has been sentenced in the death of a woman at an assisted living facility.(akaratwimages via Canva)

By KKCO Staff and Jordan Gartner

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/Gray News) - Officials in Colorado say a caretaker at an assisted living facility has pleaded guilty to charges related to the death of a resident.

According to the Colorado attorney general’s office, Letticia Martinez pleaded guilty to negligence that led to the death of Hazel Place, 86, at Cappella Assisted Living and Memory Care in June 2021.

KKCO reports that Martinez was sentenced to probation for three years, 100 hours of community service and 30 days in jail.

Investigators said they found that Martinez, along with Jamie Johnston and Jenny Logan, were responsible for the death of Place. The 86-year-old was reportedly left in the heat for six hours.

Officials said Martinez pleaded guilty to caretaker neglect and a deferred sentence of negligent homicide. Cases against Johnston and Logan are currently pending.

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Caretaker pleads guilty in death of 86-year-old woman at assisted living home

Woman Featured in Creepy Pro-Euthanasia Ad Wanted to Live

A 37-year-old Canadian woman featured in a fashion company’s disturbing pro-euthanasia ad had wanted to live.

But after “falling through the cracks” for years in the government-run healthcare system, Jennyfer Hatch gave up and agreed to an assisted suicide instead, according to the Daily Mail.

“I thought, ‘Goodness, I feel like I’m falling through the cracks so if I’m not able to access health care, am I then able to access death care?’ And that’s what led me to look into medical assistance in dying and I applied last year,” she told CTV in a recently resurfaced interview from June.

New details about the woman’s story emerged this week in response to outrage about “The Most Beautiful Exit” ad from fashion company La Maison Simons. The ad showed a terminally ill Hatch celebrating her last days of life before being euthanized under the Canadian Medical Aid in Dying (MAID) law, which killed more than 10,000 people last year, the Mail reports.

The ad, which has been widely condemned for glorifying euthanasia, ends with the message “For Jennyfer, June 1985-October 2022,” suggesting she was euthanized in October. Now, questions are arising about whether she would still be alive today if she had received the proper medical care that she had sought for years.

Using a pseudonym, Hatch, of British Columbia, spoke to CTV in June about her struggles with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) and her failed battles with the Canadian medical system to receive the medical care that she needed. The news outlet confirmed this month that the individual in their June article was Hatch, according to the report.

The interview shows how hopelessness and frustration turned the woman’s thoughts to assisted suicide. Since being diagnosed with EDS a decade ago, Hatch said she has had to struggle to obtain basic medical care.

“From a disability and financial perspective as well, I can’t afford the resources that would help improve my quality of life. Because of being locked in financially as well and geographically, it is far easier to let go than keep fighting,” she told CTV in June.

When her condition became terminal, she said she did not even receive proper palliative care, the St. Thomas Times-Journal reports.

Here’s more from the report:

However, B.C. was quick to approve Hatch’s application for MAID. “There were no other treatment recommendations or interventions that were suitable to the patient’s needs or to her financial constraints,” reads a CTV excerpt of the MAID approval issued to Hatch by Fraser Health, the health agency serving B.C.’s Lower Mainland.

None of these complicating factors were mentioned in the Simons ad, which instead highlighted what it called the “hard beauty” of assisted suicide.

The fashion company recently removed the ad in response to the outrage.

The news of Hatch’s real situation comes amid numerous reports of coercion and abuse under the 2016 law. In another widely publicized case, a Paralympian and retired military corporal said the Department of Veterans Affairs offered her an assisted suicide after she repeatedly requested a wheelchair ramp for her home.

Canada legalized assisted suicide, referred to as MAID, for adults in 2016. Recently, lawmakers began debating whether to expand the law to allow mentally ill people and young children to be euthanized. One bill would allow doctors to euthanize patients without their consent, according to the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

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Woman Featured in Creepy Pro-Euthanasia Ad Wanted to Live

Sunday, December 11, 2022

TV Analyst Charged With Exploiting Elderly Mother

 A journalist is facing kidnapping and other charges after authorities said she dragged her 88-year-old mother from her Miami-Dade home and had her involuntarily placed in an assisted living facility then financially exploited the elderly woman out of more than $200,000. NBC 6’s Heather Walker reports.

TV Analyst Charged With Exploiting Elderly Mother

All Things Real Estate: You can’t evict your mother from house she bought and paid for

Q: My widowed mother and I live in the same house. This is the house I grew up in and when I became an adult I moved out for almost 20 years. My father passed away two years ago and I moved back in to help take care of my mom. We both agreed it would be best if we put the house in both of our names so it would make it easier to manage it. We are both on title as joint tenants.

Throughout this year my mom’s health and mental stability has been getting worse and worse to the point where she is impossible to live with. She throws and breaks stuff, she tries to lock me out of the house, and last night she threatened me with a butcher knife. I want to put her in a nursing facility that can take better care of her and I told her that was what I intended to do. But she still thinks this is her house and she says she’s going to throw me out. She won’t listen when I explain things to her but it’s at the point where she has to go.

Obviously I have a big problem but I don’t know what to do. I hate to evict mom but that’s what it’s come down to.

A: Well, there’s a lot going on here which has nothing to do with real estate, but some of it does and because your problem isn’t as unique as you might think, I chose your email to answer this week.

First of all, Mom is right. It is her house. It may be yours, too, but she owns as much of it as you do. So from an ownership perspective, she has every right to live there.

The bad news for you is you can’t evict Mom. The good news is she can’t evict you, either.

Your email didn’t say anything about your mom having an estate plan, other than putting you on title to the house. As a joint tenant, when Mom dies, you will own the entire house.

But if Mom had an estate plan, it might include a medical power of attorney which would give you the right, probably after going to court, to become your mom’s conservator. As her conservator, you could place her in a nursing home.

But that presumes your mom is no longer able to take care of herself. Throwing things and trying to lock you out doesn’t necessarily mean she can’t take care of herself. And now that I think about it, neither does threatening you with a butcher knife. For all I know you may not be all that likable since you’re considering evicting your own mother from her own house.

Anyway, assuming there is no power of attorney, if you really believe your mother’s best interest is served by a conservatorship, you can go to court to ask to be appointed as her conservator.

This process is technical, and you will need the help of an attorney who specializes in conservatorships.

If your mother fights the conservatorship, or your appointment, she will have her own attorney who will attempt to convince the court she is able to take care of herself, both physically and financially.

Ultimately, there will be a hearing. Both sides will put on doctors to testify as to your mother’s state of mind.

The court also has a number of investigators who will interview Mom, do a little research and make recommendations to the judge.

In the end, you will either be appointed conservator of your mom and her estate or you won’t.

If you win, your problem is all but solved. If not, you’re left with three possible choices.

You can live in the home and make the best of it. You can move out. Or you can sue Mom to partition the property.

Partition actions are real estate lawsuits between co-owners of property in which one owner wants to cash out. It’s a real estate divorce.

Ultimately the court will order the sale of the property and decide how the proceeds are split.

While this is a legal remedy available to any co-owners of real estate, it seems pretty heartless in your case, considering Mom bought and paid for the house and you only got on title in order to “take care of my mom.”

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All Things Real Estate: You can’t evict your mother from house she bought and paid for

You can help caregivers spot illegal nursing home debt collection tactics

By Deborah Royster and Edwin Walker

    Deborah Royster is the Assistant Director for the Office for Older Americans, CFPB and Edwin Walker is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Aging at the Administration for Community Living, HHS.

    Today, the CFPB is releasing a new resource to help you identify and report illegal nursing home debt collection tactics. Whether you’re a long-term care ombudsman, care coordinator, elder law attorney, or other aging services provider, you can help caregivers:

    • Spot red flags in nursing home admissions contracts
    • Find help if a debt collector tries to collect nursing home bills from them
    • Report illegal activities to federal and state authorities

    Caregivers should not have to put their own finances at risk to help loved ones get care

    There are 48 million family members and friends providing support to an adult in the United States. It’s important for caregivers to understand their rights, especially when it comes to helping a loved one gain admission to a nursing home. Some nursing homes and debt collectors are billing and suing caregivers for residents’ cost of care based on illegal admission contracts. Whether you’re a long-term care ombudsman, care coordinator, elder law attorney, or other aging services provider, you can play a part in protecting caregivers.

    Illegal nursing home admission contract terms can cause serious financial harm

    During the nursing home admissions process, caregivers must decide whether to sign admission contracts. These contracts may be lengthy and confusing, and caregivers are likely unaware of the potential legal consequences of what they are signing. Some nursing home admissions contracts say that a caregiver, family member, or friend must pay the resident’s bill if the resident can’t afford to. This is generally illegal  (Click to Continue reading)

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You can help caregivers spot illegal nursing home debt collection tactics