Saturday, June 17, 2023

John Amos Accuses Daughter of 'Elder Abuse' After Denying Her GoFundMe Health Claims: 'She Would be the Primary Suspect'

By:Samantha Benitz

John Amos pointed the finger at his daughter, Shannon, after she launched a now-defunct GoFundMe with a $500,000 goal, claiming her famous father was "the victim of elder abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation," has learned.

The Good Times actor's son K.C. Amos took to Instagram with a video update on Thursday, explaining "there are many different aspects to this situation."

"It's interesting how many people have made a conclusion while we are still discovering new elements every single day," his caption read.

Amos, 83, was seen on the phone with someone ready to offer legal advice as he remained hospitalized in Memphis with K.C. at his bedside.

"I'm not in the hospital as a result of anything that happened recently, other than the fact that about a month ago, I was hospitalized because I was suffering from water retention and a couple of other issues — all of which have been corrected, or at least addressed," the Coming to America star clarified during his call.  

"I'm very capable and I'm very confident in the doctors that I have here and the medical staff that my son has assembled all around me. So I feel very good about that," he continued. "Prior to entering the hospital, I had some ongoing issues with my daughter, who I feel has taken advantage of me."

Full Article & Source:
John Amos Accuses Daughter of 'Elder Abuse' After Denying Her GoFundMe Health Claims: 'She Would be the Primary Suspect'

See Also:
CBI investigating allegations of possible elder abuse against actor John Amos

John Amos, 83, 'is doing well' following elder abuse allegations

Montreal police visit isolated seniors on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Montreal Police officers and community groups joined forces in LaSalle on Thursday. They were checking in on seniors, providing information about abuse prevention, fraud and theft. They were also letting them know what resources are available to help. Global's Felicia Parrillo reports.

Montreal police visit isolated seniors on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Deputies save life of 82-year-old man who had stopped breathing

Two deputies are being deemed heroes after they helped save an elderly man's life when he stopped breathing inside his Rockdale County home. In body camera video, deputies are seen rushing inside a home where an 82-year-old man was lying on the floor. 

Deputies save life of 82-year-old man who had stopped breathing

Friday, June 16, 2023

Banning man arrested for elder abuse, forgery

On Thursday, June 8, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department arrested 35-year-old Banning resident Brian Marquez and charged him for elder abuse, grand theft and forgery.

According to a sheriff’s department press release, on March 22 department personnel at the Yucaipa station were notified a grand theft had occurred. According to the department, in February of 2023 the accuser hired Marquez to complete video camera work at his residence. The accuser said he paid Marquez by check for a portion of the completed work. The accuser later discovered he was missing several thousands of dollars from his bank account. He was also missing numerous checks from his checkbook and there were multiple electronic transfers out of his bank account. The missing checks appeared to have been forged and cashed by Marquez.

On June 8 deputies obtained an arrest warrant for Brian Marquez. Deputies also obtained and served a search warrant for Marquez' residence in Banning. He was arrested and booked at Central Detention Center in San Bernardino for financial elder abuse, grand theft and forgery. Marquez later posted bail and was released from custody.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is urged to contact Detective Shelton of the Yucaipa Police Station at 909-918-2305. Callers wishing to remain anonymous are urged to call the We-Tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME, or you may leave information on the We-Tip Hotline at

Full Article & Source:
Banning man arrested for elder abuse, forgery

Morgan County man arrested on multiple charges including elder abuse

By Kate Norum

MORGAN, Co., Ala. (WAFF) - The Morgan County Sheriff’s Office Fugitive Unit arrested a Hartselle man Tuesday afternoon on eight outstanding warrants.

Steven Quinn Martin, 58, was arrested and charged with a series of charges including elder abuse and six charges for failure to appear in court on a range of substance abuse-related charges.

Martin has been transported and booked in the Morgan County Jail.

He is being held without bond.

Full Article & Source:
Morgan County man arrested on multiple charges including elder abuse

Veteran Tried Selling His Car To Buy His Dogs Back, But Woman Made Him Cry

by Dee Michaels

James Pack, a Vietnam veteran, had a heart attack and was admitted to the hospital in critical condition. The First State Animal Center and SPCA took care of his 2 dogs, Bailey and Blaze, while he was being treated. The shelter, which is situated within a PetSmart store in Newark, Delaware, intended to keep the dogs until James had fully recovered.

James was in the hospital for a long time, and when he got out, he went to the shelter to get his dogs back. However, the shelter had already given the dogs up for adoption according to their policy. Even though Bailey and Blaze were still available for adoption, James didn’t have enough money to pay the $250 adoption fee to get them back.

James was unable to afford the adoption fee due to losing his savings during his hospitalization. In order to gather the funds, he decided to sell his car. Upon learning of James’ situation, the staff came together to assist him by contributing $5-$10 each until there was enough money to cover the fee.

The video below shows James entering the shelter section of the store when he is not feeling well. He is unaware of the surprise awaiting him. As soon as a worker shares the truth about Bailey and Blaze, James becomes emotional, and his voice trembles with gratitude. Make sure you have some tissues nearby while you watch this emotional clip. It features a heartwarming reunion at the end that will restore your faith in humanity.

Click the video below to witness James’ tearful breakdown at the pet store when he finally sees his beloved dogs again.  

Full Article & Source:
Veteran Tried Selling His Car To Buy His Dogs Back, But Woman Made Him Cry

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Ex-judge accused of bilking elderly veteran of savings could face new legal jeopardy

By Steve Miller

Gavel Photo credit Getty Images

(WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A retired Cook County judge who is accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from a Tuskegee Airman in his mid-90s may be facing criminal charges.

The retired presiding judge of Cook County's child protection division, Patricia Martin, has already been ordered to pay more than $1.2 million to the estate of Oscar Lawton Wilkerson Jr.

Wilkerson was a Tuskegee Airman. He died in February.

Two-and-a-half years ago, when Wilkerson was 94, Martin agreed to help take care of his finances, but instead she stole at least a quarter of a million dollars from him, according to filings by the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission. She allegedly bought more than $100,000 in cryptocurrency with Wilkerson's savings.

Oscar Lawton Wilkerson Jr., right, is recognized at an event in 2015. Photo credit U.S. Army

Despite a judge's order to not touch the crypto accounts, now Martin is accused of accessing the accounts "within hours" of the judge's order and eight times afterward.

The judge said Monday that would amount to indirect criminal contempt. The attorney for Wilkerson has now indicated he will file documents that could essentially get the state's attorney involved, or a special prosecutor.

Full Article & Source:
Ex-judge accused of bilking elderly veteran of savings could face new legal jeopardy

Georgia Enacts Broker-Dealer and Investment Adviser Financial Exploitation Law

On May 3, 2023, Georgia became the latest state to enact legislation to protect elder and vulnerable adults from financial exploitation. The new law which goes into effect on July 1, 2023, requires broker-dealers and state-registered investment advisers to report suspected financial exploitation to the Commissioner. Firms are also allowed, but not required, to contact third parties previously designated by the eligible adult.

Georgia’s law also permits firms to delay disbursements or transactions from an account owned by an eligible adult or an account on which an eligible adult is a beneficiary if certain conditions are met. Firms that take action pursuant to these provisions in good faith and exercising reasonable care are granted civil and administrative immunity. 

Further details and other state statutes in this area can be found in Bressler’s Interactive Senior and Vulnerable Investor Issues Map.

Full Article & Source:
Georgia Enacts Broker-Dealer and Investment Adviser Financial Exploitation Law

Taking Care to Stop Elder Abuse

By : Marcy Rein

Standing in line at a bank recently, I noticed an older woman approaching the teller next door with checkbook register in hand. Her voice was very concerned as she asked for help understanding why her register did not match her bank statement. Had someone stolen her money? The teller took her to a nearby table and went item by item to help solve the mystery. The patience, understanding and thoroughness were impressive to witness. By the time I finished my business, the pair had found the source of the difference and all was well.

This woman did a good job protecting herself. She kept her paperwork up to date. She got help when she had questions. However, there are many times when all is not well, especially for our older friends and family.

Financial exploitation is a form of elder abuse. While elder abuse takes many forms, the most common is financial.  Simply put, financial exploitation is theft. It might be taking actual money, or it could be taking items that belong to an older adult. It might also be scamming an older adult into giving out their Medicare number, Social Security number, or other personal information. Then thieves can use that information to take out new credit cards and access services.

Beyond great customer service, that bank teller probably received extra training about financial elder abuse. While anyone can get scammed, this bank teller knew certain people are at higher risk, such as a person who

• Experiences a disability, memory problems or mental illness,

• Does not have access to social support and friends,

• Lives in group housing, or

• Is grieving the loss of a spouse or family member.

Unusual activity in a bank account is a key sign of financial exploitation that the bank teller understood.  Another sign might be suddenly missing important paperwork or property. Sometimes a person exploiting an older adult will make sure they do not see a bank statement so they cannot notice the unusual activity.

When older adults are lonely, thieves can use the need for companionship to get close enough to take advantage. A person trying to exploit an older adult may try to isolate them so that friends and family will not notice those missing things.  What friends and family of the victim might notice is that their loved one has less and less furniture or clothing in the closet.

Older adults can do things to help protect themselves from financial abuse.

• Use direct deposit to get your benefits.

• Keep valuable things and your cash in a safe place.

• Do not sign anything you do not understand.

• If you have ATM debit cards or credit cards you do not use, cancel them.

• Do not give your bank PIN to anyone.

• Look at your bank statements carefully.

• If you have someone to help you with your money, put the details of your agreement in writing.

• Take the time to have someone you trust review paperwork with you.

• Do not answer calls if you do not recognize the number. They can leave a message.

Often, scammers and thieves make it seem like you must hurry and “act now.” You always have time to stop and think and check. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If someone says a family member needs money, call that family member directly. Telephone scammers can fake voices now, so check in with real people.

Sometimes older adults do not report theft or scams because they are embarrassed. It is important to know that you are not alone.  Thieves often take advantage of the best intentions of good people.  It is also important to know there are other good people, like the bank teller, willing to help sort things out.  Reporting a crime is important because it could keep it from happening again.

Friends and family can help older adults keep themselves safe from elder abuse. Know the risks. Remind older adults about how to protect themselves. Know your neighbors and help older adults take part in social activities to keep connected. Report suspected abuse by calling Kentucky’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services at 1-800-752-6200. To find out more about elder abuse, visit

Full Article & Source:
Taking Care to Stop Elder Abuse

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

John Amos, 83, 'is doing well' following elder abuse allegations

Actor tells People he wants GoFundMe campaign to end 

John Amos insists he’s “doing well” following claims that he’s been victim to “elder abuse.”

The 83-year-old actor’s daughter, Shannon Amos, recently filed a complaint with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation that her dad was allegedly being abused — but the ‘Good Times’ star has now insisted that he’s actually doing fine.

He said in a statement given to People magazine: “To all of my fans, I want you to know that I am doing well. I am not in ICU, nor was I ever fighting for my life.

“First, I want the GoFundMe campaign about me to stop immediately and the funds subsequently returned to those who made donations. My son and I will reveal more information at the appropriate time.”

By contrast, Shannon took to social media last week to reveal that she’d received a distressing call from her dad.

She wrote on Instagram at the time: “On May 14th, I would receive a distressing call: from my dad, sharing that he was hospitalized in Memphis, Tennessee, in immense pain. Despite being out of the country, I arranged for help to reach him. ICU revealed his life hanging by a thread. (sic)”

Shannon claimed that her dad — who also starred in the TV mini-series ‘Roots’ — was the victim of “elder abuse and financial exploitation.”

She wrote: “The past two weeks shattered our world. My dad, a victim of elder abuse and financial exploitation. We are collaborating with the Colorado Bureau of Investigations and local authorities, determined to bring the perpetrators to justice. Legal assistance is crucial to ensure their prosecution and protect my father’s future. His home, stripped bare, necessitates a safe space for his return.”

Shannon subsequently created a GoFundMe campaign, asking fans to help fund “legal, medical, future housing, and care expense”.

Full Article & Source:
John Amos, 83, 'is doing well' following elder abuse allegations

Proposal updates guardianship law to prevent abuse

By Lauren Jessop

Gagliardi Photography | Shutterstock

(The Center Square) – A proposal that could update Pennsylvania's guardianship laws and add necessary protections for some of the state’s most vulnerable residents is being tweaked as it moves through the legislature. 

The Senate Judiciary Committee, headed by Sen. Lisa Baker, R-Dallas, recently voted unanimously to amend Senate Bill 506. The proposal refines guardian certification requirements and updates the hearing review process.

Majority Chairman Sen. Lisa Baker, R-Dallas – who cosponsored the bill along with Sen. Arthur Haywood, D-Abington – said the goal is to protect those deemed incapable of making decisions for themselves by preventing unnecessary guardianships when other alternatives are available, and to limit abuse of the guardianship system.

Haywood, unable to be present, said in a statement read on his behalf that his neighbor was criminally exploited by a guardian and forced to sell property he owned. By the time Haywood learned of it, it was too late to help.

When an individual is deemed incapacitated, the court may appoint a guardian who then becomes responsible for making financial, medical, and personal decisions on their behalf. 

As previously reported by The Center Square, the bill would ensure an attorney is provided to alleged incapacitated individuals, require courts to consider alternatives before appointing a guardian, and institute certification requirements for professional guardians. 

Pennsylvania is one of a small number of states that do not mandate appointment of counsel in guardianship proceedings. Current law allows judges to use their discretion. Additionally, there is limited oversight of professional guardians, and procedures vary from county to county.

The first amendment passed establishes that a license to practice law does not constitute an equivalent license or certification for guardianship. Under the drafted bill, the court may, under certain circumstances, waive certification requirements – in which case the guardian would not be subject to oversight by a national certification organization.

Baker said there were concerns that professional guardians, who also happen to be attorneys, will seek this waiver – and an exemption from oversight and certification – which is not their legislative intent. 

The second amendment establishes a more robust and accessible review hearing procedure for incapacitated persons and updates the hearing review process. 

Permanent guardianship may be appropriate when a person’s incapacity is irreversible, but it would not be appropriate “to close the door on further review in all cases,” Baker said. When incapacity may be temporary, there appears to be a need for the court to hold a review hearing to ensure that no alternatives to guardianship exist, she said. 

Two types of review processes would be established – automatic and petition. 

If evidence presented during initial guardianship determination indicates the circumstances of an alleged incapacitated person may change, the court would be required to hold a review hearing within one year of establishing guardianship. 

It specifies factors that can be used in determining the potential for change, such as: if the incapacity can be managed by medication, rehabilitation, or other means; the possibility exists for the individual to regain physical or cognitive capacity; or the opinion of a qualified expert who has personally examined the individual. 

After a previous hearing on the matter, Baker said they received an outpouring of communication – many from family members and close friends of those placed in guardianship – “and for those passionate individuals, reform of the system is a deeply personal matter,” she said.

“Guardianship can be an essential and effective means for safeguarding the interests of people who suffer some incapacity, impairing their ability to make responsible decisions for themselves,” Baker said in a press release. 

“Some weaknesses in the system have become apparent, and some sad cases of financial exploitation make reform of the system imperative,” she added. “This bill will ensure greater accountability in our state’s guardianship system.”

Full Article & Source:
Proposal updates guardianship law to prevent abuse

June 15 Is Elder Abuse Awareness Day in Pasadena

Elderly Care (Photo – sabinevanerp)

By News Desk

At the June 12 Pasadena City Council meeting, Mayor Victor M. Gordo proclaimed June 15, 2023, Elder Abuse Awareness Day in Pasadena. Purple flags have been placed on the lawn of the Public Health Department to signify the number of abuses reported by Pasadena residents, and to honor those who have been affected by elder abuse.

“Elder abuse is a serious issue affecting one of the most vulnerable groups in our nation,” said Manuel Carmona, acting director of Pasadena Public Health Department. “Older adults deserve to live with dignity, security, and appreciation.”

In 2022, Pasadena Police Department received 31 reports of elder abuse in Pasadena. Elder abuse comes in many forms, including neglect or financial, emotional, sexual, or physical abuse. “We have a collective responsibility to protect senior residents by recognizing and reporting elder abuse when it occurs,” said Police Chief Eugene Harris. “Anyone with questions concerning elder abuse is urged to call the special victim unit supervisor, Sgt. Brian Bulaon, at (626) 744-3863.”

Help prevent and address elder abuse by reporting it to authorities as soon as it is suspected. This also includes reporting any suspected abuse pertaining to nursing homes and residential care facilities. Physical injury, neglect, and/or emotional or behavioral changes are all telltale signs of abuse that could be exhibited by a loved one and should compel you to take immediate action. 

Learn about scams and stay informed.

  1. Sign up for AARP’s Fraud Watch.
  2. Check out AARP’s interactive national fraud map.
  3. Review FBI Common Scams and Crimes.

In 2006, the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations (UN) launched the first World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) in an effort to unite communities around the world in raising awareness about elder abuse. WEAAD serves as a call-to-action for our communities to raise awareness about abuse, neglect, and exploitation of elders, and reaffirm our country’s commitment to the principle of justice for all.

To report elder abuse in Pasadena, call the Pasadena Police Department at (626) 744-4241.

By doing all that we can to strengthen the social support structure, we can reduce social isolation, protect communities and families against elder abuse, and build a community that lives up to our promise of justice for all.

Full Article & Source:
June 15 Is Elder Abuse Awareness Day in Pasadena

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

County officials brief seniors on cybercrime, phone scams and how to guard against ID theft

By Chris Francescani

Suffolk County Assistant District Attorneys Jennifer Milito (l) and Jessica Lightstone with Suffolk County Police Detective Thomas Gabriele at a cybercrime prevention briefing for seniors. (Credit: Chris Francescani)

Suffolk County law enforcement officials held a pair of a cybercrime prevention briefings for North Fork seniors on Wednesday to update the community on the latest and most prevalent scams being perpetrated against the elderly — online, in person and over the telephone. The officials said that so-called elder scams are on the rise and growing in sophistication and reach.

Financial exploitation accounts for up to half of all scams targeting the elderly in New York state, said Jennifer Milito, an assistant district attorney in the financial crimes bureau of Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney’s office, at the briefing at the Riverhead Senior Center.

A second session was held Wednesday afternoon at the Southold Human Resources Center. County legislator Al Krupski, who introduced the law enforcement team, and Riverhead Supervisor Yvette Aguiar, were also on hand at the Riverhead briefing.

The officials offered some sobering statistics: citing a federal National Elder Abuse Incidence Study, they said that 92% of elder scam victims are women, and that only one of every 24 cases is reported to authorities, for a variety of reasons, including shame and embarrassment.  

Officials said that senior citizens are targeted because most have a steady, predictable stream of income from either Social Security or a pension, and that often perpetrators will steal checks from the mail, or in some cases even dig up private financial information by going through people’s trash.

Suffolk County Police Detective Thomas Gabriele said that scams targeting the elderly are one of the fastest growing categories of crime over the past decade. He told the Riverhead seniors that above all else, they should protect their Social Security number. 

“Social Security numbers are the be all and end all of identity theft.”

Assistant District Attorney Jessica Whitestone, who also serves in the financial crimes bureau, said that when mailing bills, any financially-related documents or anything that contains private information, seniors should exercise extra caution.

“If you have important information in your mail that has your personal information, go in to the post office instead of just dropping it in a mailbox,” she said. “If you’re disposing of something with your information on it, invest in an inexpensive shredder and shred it. There are people that go through garbage cans” looking for discarded personal information.”

The officials — who between them have decades of experience investigating and prosecuting financial crime on Long Island — provided handouts including the top ten ways to avoid fraud (see .pdf below).

The recommendations include: 1) Spotting imposters — beware of those claiming to be government officials or charities or representatives of major retailers; 2) Put any phone number provided by a stranger contacting you into a search engine — in quotes — to see if the number may be connected to scams; 3) “Never, ever, ever believe your caller ID,” Detective Gabriele said, describing how easy it is for criminals to “spoof” a number so it appears on caller ID to be coming from a legitimate company or agency; 4) Don’t pay upfront for a promise, whether it be debt relief, loan offers or home improvement work. 5) Don’t pay with a wire transfer, gift cards or cash —these are the three most common methods of transfer that scammers use get your money.

The officials suggested that a senior who is suspicious or in doubt should 6) Ask a trusted friend’s advice before turning over money or personal information over the phone, online or in person; 7) Hang up robocalls immediately; 8) Be skeptical of free or trial offers, and research cancellation policies, especially for subscription services — whether it be a magazine subscription or any online service with recurring charges; 9) Never deposit a check for a stranger and then wire the individual money or hand over cash. 10) Sign up for Federal Trade Commission scam alerts.

The officials also talked about how criminals will use stolen personal information to leverage victims’ assets, like using a person’s personal information to take out a second mortgage on a victim’s home without their knowledge, or even trying to sell a property out from under a victim, as was the case earlier this year on Shelter Island.

The law enforcement officials encouraged those in the audience to take advantage of a free alert program offered by the Suffolk County Clerk’s Office. The system will alert a resident to any new records filings related to their property or properties. To sign up for the alerts, call the clerk’s office at 631-852-2000, the officials said.  

The Federal Trade Commission regularly updates its Consumer Alerts page, which notifies readers of the latest scams and how to avoid them. You can also file a complaint about a scam with the FTC via or by calling 877-FTC-HELP (382-4357).

Proactive internet security is another way to avoid being scammed, Detective Gabriele said. He cautioned seniors to never click on a link in an unsolicited email, which could allow the perpetrator remote access to a target’s computer and all their online files. This also applies to text messages, even if they appear to be coming from your bank or a company with which you regularly do business.

Keeping computer and cell phone software updated is also vital. The well-engaged crowd of Riverhead seniors laughed out loud when the detective told them what the two most common passwords are: “1234” and “password.” He said they are the first two that most criminals try.

“Use strong passwords!” Detective Gabriele urged. He also advised destroying or digitally wiping hard drives before discarding or giving away a computer. Finally, he said, be cautious about what you share on social media. Burglars nationwide scour popular social media like Facebook and Instagram, looking for families on vacation, for instance. 

The county officials also distributed the Suffolk County Police Department Identity Theft Unit’s guide to protecting yourself against identity theft and fraud. The guide offers an extensive set of best practices for anyone who either fears they are or have been the victim of identity theft. The guide, which is embedded below and printable, includes instructions and sample letters that demonstrate how to put a security freeze on your credit, how to most effectively dispute fraudulent charges on your accounts and other valuable guidance on reporting and documenting financial fraud. 

The officials said that seniors should continuously monitor and scrutinize billing statements and if they have concerns, check their credit bureau reports for any irregularities. They were also advised to be on the lookout for unexpected communications, like being contacted by a collections agency or receiving news that a loan they never sought has been denied.  

One of the most vicious and pervasive telephone scams targets grandparents at their most vulnerable pressure point. 

A caller will contact a senior citizen claiming to be a bail bondsman or a law enforcement official and claim the target’s grandchild has been arrested. The caller will insist that the grandparent send or surrender large sums of money immediately to get their relative out of custody. Urgency is a big red flag.

Detective Gabriele said the perpetrator will usually insist on cash, and cited two such cases that unfolded recently in Suffolk. In one instance, the victim gave $15,000 to a perpetrator who arrived at their home. The other victim met the perpetrator in a public place, and turned over $20,000 in cash.

The detective said that the bail scam and other telephone contact crimes are often perpetrated from outside the country by criminal organizations that are working with local thieves who meet the victim, pick up the cash and send it abroad to their bosses. 

That makes it difficult if not impossible for local or even federal law enforcement to recover cash, wire transfers or transferrable funds like gift cards. 

Prior to the presentation, as the seniors streamed into the Riverhead auditorium, a cheerful and energetic volunteer from the statewide Senior Medicare Patrol — which distributes literature, tips and best practices for older residents to protect themselves — kept reiterating a valuable series of warnings.

“Remember, folks, Medicaid never calls,” said SMP volunteer Ronnie Avnet Stoll. “Social Security never calls,” she said, urging those in attendance to hang up on anyone who claims to be calling from either of those federal agencies, or anyone seeking immediate payments in cash, via wire transfer or by any other method beside traceable transactions.

“These scammers just want your Medicaid number,” Ms. Avnet Stoll said. “They say they want to send you a brand new Medicaid card.”

She said that Medicaid and Social Security scams are a lucrative international criminal enterprise.

“On the dark web,” she told the seniors, stolen “Medicaid numbers cost more than Social Security cards.

“You’ve got to be on your toes.”

New York state residents can also call in reports and complaints to an elder abuse hotline at 844-697-3505.

Full Article & Source:
County officials brief seniors on cybercrime, phone scams and how to guard against ID theft

Pasadena Man Charged with Elder Abuse and Felony Battery


A 29-year-old Pasadena man was charged with elder abuse and felony battery after he allegedly assaulted his 73-year-old grandfather on June 11 th.

According to Pasadena police Lt.Tim Bundy , officers responded to a call of a physical fight at a residence in the 1100 block of Topeka Street at 9:20 p.m. The reporting party indicated that a person was being choked and there was yelling and screaming heard on the line.

When officers arrived, they saw the suspect, Sergio Calcanas, attempting to flee the location on foot. He was apprehended without using any force, Bundy said.

The investigation revealed that Calcanas and the victim are related.

Bundy reported that Calcanas was intoxicated and had goten into an argument with his grandfather. He then left the residence, but returned a few minutes later and broke a window to gain entry back into the house.

The grandfather tried to stop Calcanas from entering, and the two men got into a fight, according to Bundy.

The grandfather fell to the ground, hit his head, and lost consciousness, Bundy said. He was transported to the hospital for treatment of his injuries.

Calcanas was arrested and booked into the Pasadena City Jail.

Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to call the Pasadena Police at (626) 744-4241 or report information anonymously by contacting “Crime Stoppers” at (800) 222-TIPS (8477), via your smartphone by downloading the “P3 Tips” Mobile App on Google Play or the Apple App Store, or by using the website

Full Article & Source:
Pasadena Man Charged with Elder Abuse and Felony Battery

Monday, June 12, 2023

State senators move bills creating new criminal charges, enhancing guardianship protections

by Eric Scicchitano

Jun. 6—HARRISBURG — State senators voted three bills out of committee Tuesday that look to protect Pennsylvanians against porch pirates, unwanted tracking devices and elder abuse.

The measures are now on track to receive floor votes and if ultimately advanced out of the Senate, would move to the state House for further consideration.

Sen. Frank Farry, R-Bucks, introduced Senate Bill 527 in response to thieves — that is, porch pirates — swiping delivered packages from front porches and such. The act already falls under the crime of theft, however, the bill proposes a specific crime: Theft of mail.

Anyone who steals delivered goods or knowingly participates in the trade of such would be charged with the offense.

The bill defines "mail" as letters, of course, along with anything delivered by a private or commercial interstate carrier such as clothing, electronics and prescription medication.

A first offense for the theft of goods valued below $150 would be a summary violation. Additional convictions or the theft of goods worth more than $150 would bring misdemeanor charges. Defendants could be charged with a felony if the items are valued at $1,000 or more, or if it's at least their third conviction.

Sen. Wayne Langerholc, R-Cambria/Centre/Clearfield, introduced Senate Bill 159. It also proposes a new criminal offense: Unauthorized use of an electronic tracking device.

"What this really grew out of was the proliferation of Apple Air Tags and the low cost to purchase and subsequently track individuals," Langerholc told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The devices are relatively cheap. A four-pack of the standard tags sells for less than $100. They emit a secure Bluetooth signal detectable by nearby devices, and their location can be tracked through a mapping application.

They're marketed as a way for the forgetful to find lost keys and wallets, and some are designed specifically to track pets. They're easy to use, which is the danger Langerholc and others have identified as the devices that have been used to stalk victims of domestic violence, for example.

There are exceptions built into Langerholc's bill including for law enforcement when conducting investigations as well as for companies tracking fleet vehicles, and for guardians and relatives of the elderly and disabled to ensure their safety.

Parents and legal guardians, unless barred by court order, can use them to track their children, too. However, a parent without primary custody and without the permission of the parent or guardian who has primary custody couldn't use the devices for tracking their kids.

Senate Bill 506 comes from Sen. Lisa Baker, R-Luzerne/Pike/Susquehanna/Wayne/Wyoming, and Sen. Art Haywood, D-Montgomery/Philadelphia. In a statement read at Tuesday's hearing, the bill was inspired by the experience of Haywood's neighbor who was a theft victim while under a guardian's care.

And, the senators pointed to a case first investigated by the Philadelphia Inquirer where three former court-appointed guardians were charged with embezzling more than $1 million from 108 people in six Pennsylvania counties.

Courts can appoint guardians, family or professionals, for adults who are found unable to care for themselves. Guardians make decisions on their behalf, be it financial, medical or otherwise. There are over 19,000 such guardianships in place in Pennsylvania, according to a legislative memo for the bill. Not all are good-natured.

The proposed bill would have courts appoint an attorney for anyone entering guardianship regardless of their ability to pay, create a certification process largely applicable to professionals who have three or more guardianships, require the court to consider less restrictive alternatives to guardianship and, if that's not possible, show that alternatives were considered and were not feasible.

Full Article & Source:
State senators move bills creating new criminal charges, enhancing guardianship protections

Winterville woman sentenced in theft of about $18,000 from Oglethorpe court

by Wayne Ford

A former clerk in the Oglethorpe County Probate Court was given a probationary sentence recently on charges that involved the theft of more than $18,000 from the office in Lexington.

Angel Renee Bramlett, 44, of Winterville entered a guilty plea on June 1 in Oglethorpe County Superior Court to a 64-count indictment that alleged she stole the money while working as a clerk in the court. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation reported she was going into the computer and changing cash money paid for fines to show “zero dollars.”

Bramlett was indicted on 64 counts that included numerous charges of computer forgery, computer trespassing and felony theft. She was arrested in November 2021.

In a negotiated plea between her defense lawyer and the Northern Circuit District Attorney’s Office, Bramlett received 10 years on probation each on two counts that are set to run consecutive for 20 years. Probationary sentences on the remaining counts would run concurrent with those years.

In addition, she “immediately” paid $18,240 in restitution. A $10,000 fine was also imposed.

The negotiated plea also allowed her a first-offender sentence, which if she completes her probation, she can have her conviction removed from her record.

The first-offender condition gave Superior Court Judge Chris Phelps some concern due to the fact that Bramlett was stealing public money and violated the public trust of her office, according to the order.

However, Phelps relented and gave her a first offender sentence due to this being her first arrest, the fact she paid back the money, and that under the plea agreement with the state her sentence was fully probated.

The sentence also requires that the first year of probation is spent in “home confinement,” meaning she can leave her home for such matters as medical and grocery trips and to attend church, according to the document.

The theft was uncovered in 2021 and reported to the Oglethorpe County Sheriff’s Office, which asked for the assistance of the GBI. The GBI reported that it found theft of money had occurred from August 2019 to October 2021 and involved thousands of dollars.

The plea agreement was to structure the sentence in a way she could reimburse the state in full for the theft, Northern District Attorney Parks White said Wednesday.

“She has home confinement, but to put her in jail would cost about as much as she stole,” he said, adding the sentence was also structured to hold her accountable and place a significant hold on her liberty by imposing the house arrest.

This article originally appeared on Athens Banner-Herald: Winterville woman sentenced in theft from Oglethorpe Probate Court

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Winterville woman sentenced in theft of about $18,000 from Oglethorpe court

Young Adults with Disabilities Want Independence. Guardianship Is a Hurdle.

In the Kansas City area, self-advocates and public guardians see a need for a more tailored approach to support adults with disabilities

by VickyDiaz-Camacho

Nicole Noblet just celebrated her 31st birthday. She is an animal lover and athlete in the Special Olympics. 

In her downtime, she uses her compassion and dedication to advocate for people like her, who are young and living with a disability, to better understand their options.  

Although her story under guardianship was easier compared with others, she is an avid believer in giving people a chance to choose their own path. That begins with knowing what full guardianship is. 

 “I didn’t know that guardianship was so restrictive until I got involved in self-advocacy,” she said. 

“I met people who had guardians that wouldn’t let them know a lot of things, check their phone, and took their computer away as punishment. I thought, (that) is not right because they are adults.” 

When she was 24, Noblet’s mom sought guardianship after receiving advice from a lawyer at a routine Social Security benefits appointment. Noblet was diagnosed with autism as a child and has an intellectual disability.  

She uses a computer to speak, emoting with an emphatic head nod or a warm smile, especially when talking about her rescue dog Pebbles. (Unlike what his name implies, Pebbles is not small, she said, but a cuddly Pitbull.) 

But what she is most passionate about these days is being a member of People First of Missouri, a self-advocacy group run by people with disabilities. Although she knows her mom would not strip her of her rights, she remembers vividly the day she signed the guardianship papers. 

“The lawyer representing me didn’t really explain what having a guardian would mean for me and my rights. He just asked if I was okay with it,” Noblet recalled.  

“I didn’t really want one, but I knew my mom wasn’t going to try to take control of my life. So, I just went along with it.” 

Rethinking Guardianship 

Too many stories like these exist, and many have worse outcomes.  

Often, young adults with disabilities fall prey to abusive public guardians or family members who mismanage a person’s finances, medical needs or even hobbies.  

Wires get crossed and loopholes emerge too easily, advocates and experts say.  

The National Council on Disability in a 2018 report outlined the issue like this:  

“Guardianship generally involves a state-court determination that an individual lacks the capacity to make decisions with respect to their health, safety, welfare, and/or property. Although guardianship is governed by state law, it entails the removal of rights protected by the U.S. Constitution.” 

The National Council on Disability raised concerns with outdated and confusing terminology that could put a person’s independence and their rights at risk.  

Using updated data and research, the study provided alternatives that “promote self-determination.” Doing so improves not only quality of life but also mental and health outcomes.  

Recent statistics estimate that 1.3 million people in the U.S. (about the population of New Hampshire) are under guardianship. Another survey found that adults with intellectual disabilities and people on the autism spectrum were more likely to have a guardian. Nearly half of the people with IDD (intellectual and developmental disabilities) or with autism had a guardian. 

Mia Ives-Rublee, director of the Disability Justice Initiative at American Progress, said life gets complicated for young adults with disabilities in the legal sphere when guardianship comes into the fold. 

Though a widespread problem, it is controversial in the disability community because it restricts a person’s rights to engage in everyday civic activities. Few families are aware. 

Severe limitations on what rights a person with intellectual or developmental disabilities is especially complex. Under guardianship, many folks may find they are unable to vote or choose what medical care they receive. 

Self-advocates like Noblet are pushing for that to change.  

“Missouri law says that before guardianship is ordered less restrictive alternatives should be considered,” she said. “But this is not what is happening. Lawyers need to tell the people with disabilities they are representing what having a guardian means (in a way) they (can) understand.” 

Before Noblet moved to Missouri from Minnesota, she researched voting laws for people under guardianship. Having the power to vote was important to her.  

It was clear that she and her mom needed to transition to a supported-decision plan, which they had just learned about. So, she contacted Missouri Protection & Advocacy, a nonprofit public interest law firm, to draft a supported decision-making plan.  

In both Kansas and Missouri, guardianship or conservatorship is meant to be the last resort for families and young adults. Legal guidelines on both sides of the state line make that clear.  

Missouri’s “Adult Protective Services Policy Manual” outlines the severity of court intervention:  

“A guardianship or conservatorship, while intended to be helpful, may place the most severe restrictions on a person’s freedoms that a court can impose. A guardianship or conservatorship should be used only as a method of last resort and be considered only after all other lesser restrictive alternatives have been explored.” 

The Kansas Guardianship Program’s latest report uses almost the exact same language. 

Less restrictive alternatives include supported decision-making. The American Civil Liberties Union has a page full of resources, with 35 links to guides, videos and cases that outline frequently-asked-questions, and advice on self-advocacy. 

In short, that model allows people far more flexibility to be independent in certain areas of daily life and get support where they need it.  

Ives-Rublee put it like this:  

“Supported decision-making is actually very similar to what we, as individuals, not on conservatorships do on an everyday basis … Checking in with our social networks to be like, ‘Hey, what do you think about this job that I’m about to apply to?’ Or ‘Do you think I should really buy this expensive car that I’m only going to use, you know, twice a year?’” 

“Supported decision-making … prioritizes the individual’s wants and needs in helping and having a support network around them.” 

‘We Are Not Told’ 

Even public administrators who serve as public guardians agree that this model is important, but not often presented during the transition from high school to graduation.  

Enter John Pruitt Killian, who is a public administrator in Jackson County, Missouri. Killian’s caseload includes elderly folks, people with mental illness and substance abuse disorders, and those with intellectual or developmental disabilities — or IDD.  

A smaller percentage are young adults in the IDD category.  

“Our younger people that we see, they tend to come to us, either without families, or may be coming through the children’s division. Really, they have gone through juvenile court,” Killian said. 

Studies have shown the school-to-prison pipeline is especially prominent among youth with disabilities, and students of color are overrepresented. They are under-diagnosed but still face harsh disciplinary actions on school grounds.  

A National Council on Disabilities report from several years ago found that 85% of youth in the juvenile system were eligible for special education services, but only 37% received those services. 

Killian agreed that the communication breakdown in schools causes a larger ripple effect than is necessary. It is also not a one-size-fits-all approach, but that is how it is presented.  

“We are not told what our options are and immediately out of high school,” Noblet said. “We are told — and our parents are told — to get guardianship as a way to protect us.”  

Even from a public administrator’s perspective, guardianship court proceedings are an “arduous process.” He said it is like a criminal case.  

“Because you’re trying to prove that someone’s rights should be taken away from them or taking away their liberty. And it’s a very serious thing,” he said. 

Cases also impose financial burdens. On average, lawyer fees can run upwards of $1,500. The cost of a medical opinion, where a physician would write a letter of diagnosis and testify in court, can be more than $1,000.  

Then there is the cost of time. These processes can last more than three months, with a slew of hearings. The person with a disability and family must be present, though some court hearings have moved to Zoom.  

The issue is one of accessibility — in terms of time, finances and education. Experts point to a need for better listening and empowering members of disabled communities to assert what they want. This starts in the classroom and should continue with social workers well into young adulthood.  

“There are ways to provide those supports without taking away all the individual’s rights to make decisions based on their own preferences,” Ives-Rublee said.  

“The system sort of creates a trap in itself, of keeping people poor and unable … to expand or become independent because of how burdensome these systems can be for individuals.” 

Killian believes there is a need for teachers, social workers, and case managers to be on the same page to better support families in the region on a case-by-case basis.  

Guardianship is a spectrum, with varying degrees of restrictions. 

For some, the person is provided with the support their families could not provide. For others, it provides a safety net to help guide them to make informed decisions.  

Killian, who operates with a focus on supported decision-making for all his cases, has several clients who have thrived under his oversight. Plus, he says, guardianship should not be the be-all and end-all.  

He and his colleagues try to tailor services to their clients’ needs. If that means removing or scaling back guardianship oversight, he will file what is called a restoration.  

“I would say from my office, we’re as aggressive as anybody in filing restorations and trying to get folks … out of the guardianship when we can,” he said. “The other part of the story is this: There are people that are in real need, and there aren’t other people to take care of them.” 

He added: “I feel like my job is to implement their wishes.” 

For self-advocates, the hope is that disability rights leaders, educators and case workers can better inform folks about what options are out there. This can change how folks interact with them and see them.  

When Noblet was asked what else matters to her she said: 

“Having people respect me and talk to me at the doctor’s office about my own health instead of looking at my mom, as if she needs to make decisions about my medical treatments or if she has the answer for what is happening in my body.” 

Finding resources is difficult enough in high school, not to mention following the post-graduation cliff. Tailored plans are key to setting up young adults with disabilities for success and independence.  

That means being provided with all the tools possible.  

Now 31, Noblet is determined to raise awareness for young adults with various disabilities to live an independent, fulfilling life. She is paying attention, taking classes and taking notes.  

“We are seen as vulnerable and not capable of making decisions, but the thing that makes people with disabilities vulnerable is a lack of education,” Noblet said. 

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Young Adults with Disabilities Want Independence. Guardianship Is a Hurdle.

Sunday, June 11, 2023

CBI investigating allegations of possible elder abuse against actor John Amos

CBI investigating allegations of possible elder abuse against actor John Amos

Talevski case sets national nursing home precedent

by: Ethan Dahlen

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Allen County nursing homes, and nursing homes across the nation, will be playing by a different set of rules in court thanks to an Indiana case that went all the way to the Supreme Court.

Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County v. Talevski, originated when Gorgi Talevski sued a nursing home under the Federal Nursing Home Reform Act (FNHRA).

“He alleged violations of these federal regulations and was suing to enforce those regulations as a private citizen,” said David Farnbauch, Managing Partner at Sweeney Law Firm in Fort Wayne. “The owners of the nursing home, their position was that the Indiana State Department of Health were the ones with the right to enforce the federal regulations regarding nursing homes and that private citizens and residents of nursing homes can’t rely on these regulations as a basis to sue for money damages.”

The case went to the 7th Circuit of Appeal in Chicago, which claimed that the regulations do empower residents of nursing homes to use the regulations in the course of a lawsuit against a nursing home that accepts federal Medicare and Medicare funds.

When the case went to the Supreme Court, the same decision was found.

But what does that mean for nursing homes across the nation?

For starters, in Talevski’s case, it means “he was discharged from the nursing home without complying with proper procedures for the discharge of nursing home residents,” Farnbauch said.

And the other uses the precedent can apply to are excessively broad.

“I always tell my clients when they ask what sort of rules and regulations govern nursing homes, I whip out a book at my office called the watermelon book,” Farnbauch said while making a large motion with his hands. “It’s literally that thick of regulations that govern nursing home care, literally every aspect of life in a nursing home.

One concrete example Farnbauch did give is how nursing homes are allowed to dispense medicine. 

“There are specific regulations again using medication as a chemical restraint,” Farnbauchsaid. “Drugging residents to make it easier to take care of them.”

Ultimately the decision gives residents of nursing homes and their families solid ground to stand on when pursuing legal action against a nursing home, and the county hospitals that own them.

“About 95% of the nursing homes in the state of Indiana are owned by county hospitals, that is a little-known fact. It’s a scheme that was set up years ago to increase the amount of money they could bill for nursing home services,” Farnbauch said. “They are government-owned facilities, so you can use this decision to enforce those decisions and file suits against county hospitals that own nursing homes.”

And beyond allowing greater freedom in lawsuits, it also makes the process much easier: many lawsuits against nursing homes beforehand had to go through a medical review panel. 

“When you sue nursing homes under this new right of action under section 1983, you don’t have to go through a medical review panel,” Farnbauch said. “It’s an important decision by the United States Supreme Court that gives nursing home residents and their families some important rights and their families some ammunition to sue nursing homes when they do not comply with federal regulations that govern nursing home care.”

However, with the precedent, Farnbauch also thinks it may just cause nursing homes to get creative to avoid large lawsuits.

“I would anticipate that what this decision is going to foster is some changes in the way that nursing homes perhaps try to get residents to sign what we call an arbitration agreement,” Farnbauch said. “They try to get families to sign away their legal rights as an exchange for admitting you to the nursing home.”

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Talevski case sets national nursing home precedent