Saturday, October 21, 2023

Care facility resident dies after being found soaked in blood

By: Clark Kauffman

A resident of a Williamsburg care facility died after a nine-hour delay in receiving medical care for multiple serious injuries she sustained in a fall, according to state officials.

State inspection reports indicate that at 9:45 p.m. on June 2, 2023, a nurse aide at the Highland Ridge Care Center in Williamsburg found a female resident on the floor of her room complaining of pain “all over.” The aide later told inspectors she would not forget the scene as it was so traumatic, with the resident writhing on the floor in blood-soaked pajamas.

According to the inspectors’ report, the aide said there was blood on the floor, on the walls, in the woman’s hair, on her hands and legs, and on the left side of her head. There was so much blood, the aide reportedly told inspectors, that she began wiping the resident’s hands with a washcloth in an effort to find the source.

The Highland Ridge staff allegedly checked the woman’s neurological signs, then showered her and placed her in bed with no medication for pain. According to state records, a worker at the home later told inspectors they had to shower the woman “because there was so much blood they couldn’t find where it was coming from.”

An aide who worked the overnight shift later told inspectors that after being put to bed the woman lay in the fetal position “shaking really badly.”

The registered nurse who worked at the home that night contradicted those accounts and told inspectors that immediately after the fall the resident enjoyed full range of motion in both arms and both legs and had no complaints of pain.

At 6:30 a.m. the day after the fall, the resident was complaining of pain in her right arm and cried out when a nurse touched her. The woman was transported to a hospital emergency room where the staff noted her right leg was shortened and rotated outward, and that she had a head laceration with dried blood above her right eye. A series of X-rays revealed a displaced fracture of the right arm, as well as a fractured leg and hip.

The resident was then transferred to a larger hospital for a higher level of care where, according to state inspectors, the staff said the woman had sustained “significant bleeding from the head (and) two staff reportedly got her off the floor, showered her, and placed her in the bed for the night without calling the physician or family.”

State records indicate a family member of the resident complained to inspectors that the staff at Highland Ridge had left their relative “to suffer in pain all that night with a fractured hip and shoulder.”

Ten days after the fall, on June 12, the resident died.

The Iowa Department of Inspections, Appeals and Licensing has proposed a $9,000 fine against the facility for failing to provide appropriate pain management, an additional $9,000 fine for failing to assess and address a resident’s altered condition, and an $8,000 fine for failing to ensure residents remain free of neglect or abuse.

Those proposed state fines are being held in suspension while the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services considers the imposition of federal penalties.

The 59-bed care facility currently has CMS’ highest overall rating, five stars, for quality of care. No federal penalties have been imposed at Highland Ridge in the past three years, according to CMS, and state records indicate the home was last issued a fine and citation in 2013.

The Iowa Capital Dispatch was not able to reach the home’s administrator for comment Friday.

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Care facility resident dies after being found soaked in blood

The Justice Department Issues Fifth Annual Elder Justice Report

Earlier today, the Justice Department issued its fifth annual report to Congress on its efforts to combat elder fraud and abuse. The report summarizes the Department’s extensive efforts during the reporting period from July 1, 2022 through June 30.

“The Justice Department is intensifying our efforts to fight the despicable crimes of elder fraud and abuse,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “As reflected in this year’s report, the Department is aggressively pursuing perpetrators of elder fraud and abuse, supporting victims, and raising public awareness to prevent elder fraud and abuse before they occur.”

“During the past year, the Department has pursued hundreds of criminal and civil cases to bring perpetrators who prey on older adults to justice,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco. “Working with our law enforcement partners, our agents and prosecutors have employed disruption strategies and obtained restitution and forfeiture orders to deter potential offenders, minimize losses, make victims financially whole, and prevent wrongdoers from profiting from their crimes.”

“Every year, millions of older Americans experience some form of elder abuse. And sadly, the majority of elder abuse cases go unreported,” said Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta. “The Department is taking an active and multifaceted approach to addressing elder abuse, and our efforts reflect the hard work of so many, including our prosecutors, crime victim specialists, agents and investigators, program analysts, and subject matter experts.”

This year’s report reflects the four pillars of the Department’s elder justice work. 

First, holding perpetrators of elder abuse and fraud accountable is the cornerstone of the Department’s elder justice work. During the reporting period, the Department brought nearly 300 criminal and civil actions against more than 650 defendants who collectively stole more than $1.5 billion from over 2.4 million victims. Some of these defendants engaged in transnational and domestic fraud schemes, including lottery, romance, and tech support scams. The Department also pursued nursing home operators that provided grossly substandard care to their residents.

Second, the Department supports in various ways older Americans who have experienced abuse or financial exploitation. Over the past year, the Department returned hundreds of millions of dollars to victims of elder fraud schemes, while helping to freeze millions of dollars for other older victims before their funds were transferred to fraudsters. The Department also supported over 5,000 victim assistance organizations that provided services (including individual advocacy, crisis intervention, civil legal assistance, transportation, and emergency shelter) to over 240,000 victims aged 60 and older. The Department continued to support the National Elder Fraud Hotline, which helped tens of thousands of older adults report suspected fraud or connected them to available social services.

Third, as state, local, and Tribal elder justice professionals are often on the front line in responding to elder abuse and fraud cases, the Department worked to support the capacity and ability of state, local, and Tribal communities to identify, address, and combat elder abuse in its many forms. For example, the Department awarded grants to six Enhanced Multidisciplinary teams to work with older victims of financial exploitation and abuse. These grantees join the 23 local multidisciplinary teams also funded by the Department to better identify and respond to cases of elder abuse and more comprehensively serve and support victims of financial exploitation. The Department also funded the first National Center for State and Tribal Elder Justice Coalitions to support statewide coordination and collaboration among elder justice organizations, and developed and shared new resources, training, and tools for state and local law enforcement to more effectively identify and investigate elder abuse and fraud.

Lastly, the Department is committed to raising public awareness of fraud schemes and empowering older Americans and their families with the knowledge and information to protect themselves from elder fraud and abuse. For that reason, Department employees conducted or participated in over 700 elder justice outreach and training events across the country to raise public awareness of elder fraud and abuse and reached over 28 million Americans.

To report elder financial fraud, call the National Elder Fraud Hotline, 1-833-FRAUD-11 (1-833-372-8311). For more information on the Department’s elder justice activities, visit

Updated October 18, 2023

The Justice Department Issues Fifth Annual Elder Justice Report

Where the Key Players in Britney Spears’ Conservatorship Stand Today

By Megan McCluskey

Ahead of the October 24 release of Britney Spears' forthcoming memoir, The Woman in Me, the anticipation over what the pop icon will reveal about her life, career, and longtime conservatorship is high.

The book is being touted as Spears' chance to finally tell her story on her terms—an opportunity that wasn't available to her during the 13 years she spent under the conservatorship. 

"The Woman in Me is a brave and astonishingly moving story about freedom, fame, motherhood, survival, faith, and hope," the book's website reads. "[It] reveals for the first time her incredible journey—and the strength at the core of one of the greatest performers in pop music history."

Spears' conservatorship was officially terminated on Nov. 12, 2021, less than five months after she testified that the legal guardianship was “abusive” and that she wanted it to end immediately. She was originally placed under the court-approved arrangement in 2008 following a series of public incidents, including shaving her head and attacking a paparazzo’s car with an umbrella, that raised concerns about her mental welfare.

The conservatorship initially gave Britney's father, Jamie Spears, and attorney Andrew Wallet control over her finances and many facets of her personal life, with filings claiming Britney suffered from an undisclosed mental illness and substance abuse. Some aspects of the arrangement changed over the years, but Jamie remained at the center until he was suspended as conservator by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny in September 2021. According to a New York Times report published in December 2021, Jamie received an estimated $6 million over the course of the conservatorship.

In the nearly two years since the conservatorship was terminated, legal proceedings surrounding its key players have continued. Here's where things stand today with Jamie, Britney's former business manager Lou Taylor, and others.

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Where the Key Players in Britney Spears’ Conservatorship Stand Today

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Britney Spears

Friday, October 20, 2023

Domestic violence cases rising amongst Utah seniors

The Department of Adult Protective Services states that only one in every 23 domestic violence situations amongst seniors over the age of 55 are reported to law enforcement. 

They say the rise in local case numbers has less to do with incidents occurring more often, and more to do with older victims feeling more empowered to come forward in recent years. 

The October 9th death of an older Lehi woman marks the sixth person over age 55 to be killed in a domestic violence related attach in Utah this year. 

85-year-old Ronald Morgan died in police custody a day after admitting to police that he beat his wife, Dora Webb, to death in their Lehi home after what court documents say he admitted was building frustration until he “just lost it.” 

“It's hard to know for sure if this was just a sudden turn of events,” commented Sonia Salari, a sociology research professor at the University of Utah. Salari has completed multiple empirical studies on domestic related homicides in the older population.

Domestic violence cases rising amongst Utah seniors

La Crosse County joins new elder abuse prevention program

La Crosse County has been chosen as one of the four Wisconsin counties to participate in a new program aimed at reducing elder abuse.

La Crosse County joins new elder abuse prevention program

Seminar in East Lansing addresses elder abuse scams

A seminar was held Monday morning to address scams involving elder abuse. 

Seminar in East Lansing addresses elder abuse scams

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Understaffing is driving force behind lawsuits against senior living communities, legal experts say

by Kimberly Bonvissuto

Broken promises about service and care levels, attributed to “grossly understaffed” at senior living communities and skilled nursing facilities, are the driving force behind a surge in class-action lawsuits against such providers, according to two legal experts.

The Long Term Care Community Coalition hosted a webinar Tuesday that included AARP Foundation Litigation, a charitable nonprofit arm of the AARP that focuses on civil rights cases, abuse and neglect in senior living communities and skilled nursing facilities. The group advocates for systemic change in federal and state courts to “change the circumstances that give rise to poor care,” AARP Foundation Litigation Vice President Kelly Bagby said.

Benjamin Davis, AARP Foundation Litigation senior attorney, said an issue arises when operators promise to provide a sufficient level of staffing but residents and their families mistakenly believe that that promise means that their loved ones will receive individualized care. The dynamics of senior living communities and skilled nursing facilities, he said, mean that staff members are devoted to all residents, not individuals.

The result, Davis said, is that providers make promises to attract residents but then don’t meet resident needs or effectively reassess residents to determine their changing needs.

Davis highlighted a current case against Chancellor Senior Management, a Columbus, OH-based organization that manages four assisted living communities in the state. The lawsuit alleges that Chancellor used a formula to determine the hours of care that each resident needed based on their individual conditions but only applied that formula for billing purposes, not to determine staffing levels. The lawsuit further alleges that staffing decisions are made at the corporate headquarters rather than at the community level.

The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia opened the door for the case to move to a class action lawsuit, Davis said. The court also further declared that the provider’s arbitration agreements in resident admission contracts were unenforceable because they were part of a larger contract rather than a stand-alone agreement. The American Health Law Association requirements incorporated into those agreements call for them to be stand-alone agreements. 

Bagby referenced a federal class action case against Brookdale Senior Living filed in 2020. The lawsuit accuses the country’s largest senior living company, based in Brentwood, TN, of “chronically insufficient staffing” at its communities, allegedly to meet financial benchmarks. The lawsuit also accuses Brookdale of misleading residents and families and of failing to provide care and services.

“Our cases are about how to force companies to change their practices around adequate staffing,” Bagby said, adding that attorneys are focusing on violations of the consumer protection statutes that allow residents to recover damages for injuries when companies do not deliver on their promises. “In every assisted living and nursing facility, the residency agreement lays out those promises to residents,” she said.

Bagby said that it is critical for providers to be transparent about their practices and to not lie about their staffing levels. 

Class action staffing lawsuits not unprecedented

Class action lawsuits against senior living providers related to staffing levels are not a recent phenomenon.

In 2021, for example, Aegis Living of Bellevue, WA, settled two class action lawsuits for a combined $16.25 million. The lawsuits alleged that Aegis based staffing levels on predetermined staffing budgets rather than on resident care needs and in doing so violated elder abuse and consumer protection laws.

Similar legal action against other senior living companies also resulted in settlements.

For instance, the former Emeritus Corp., which merged with Brookdale in 2014, settled a class action lawsuit in 2016 for $13.5 million. The suit alleged that Emeritus misled assisted living residents about the use of a computerized system to evaluate residents and determine sufficient staffing and care levels. 

Atria Senior Living settled a similar lawsuit for $6.4 million that same year, and Oakmont Senior Living settled a class action lawsuit for $9 million earlier this year. A similar lawsuit against Sunrise Senior Living is pending.

Last fall, Argentum, the American Seniors Housing Association and the California Assisted Living Association filed an amicus brief in the Sunrise case, arguing that class actions are “unnecessary and counterproductive” because assisted living communities are highly motivated to provide quality care to residents. The brief also argued that the expense and disruption of defending class action suits diverts resources from care provision.

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Understaffing is driving force behind lawsuits against senior living communities, legal experts say

Video shows 68-year-old man with prosthetic leg attacked in Santa Ana, suspect arrested

A suspect has been arrested after he allegedly used a shopping cart to knock over a 68-year-old man with a prosthetic leg last month in Santa Ana, authorities said.

Video shows 68-year-old man with prosthetic leg attacked in Santa Ana, suspect arrested

Home caregiver arrested for allegedly stealing credit card information from hospice patient

According to police reports, Jada Harvey, 26, was filling in as an in-home caregiver for a hospice patient in December 2022.

By Justin Dorsey

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - A College Station woman is in custody for allegedly stealing and using credit card numbers from a hospice patient.

According to police reports, Jada Harvey, 26, was filling in as an in-home caregiver for a hospice patient in December 2022.

After completing her time working, the family noticed a number of charges on the bedridden patient’s card. Police say Harvey reportedly used the card information on multiple occasions making a total of 33 transactions. She allegedly purchased things from online retailers, Tiger Commissary, and the Brazos County Sheriff’s Office.

After going through her charges, authorities found she used information from four other elderly individuals.

Harvey is charged with two counts of credit card abuse, and two counts of exploitation of the elderly.

She is being held in the Brazos County Jail with bonds totaling $80,000.

Full Article & Source:
Home caregiver arrested for allegedly stealing credit card information from hospice patient

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Essex County Financial Advisor Indicted in Alleged Theft of More Than $75,000 from 90-Year-Old Victim

For Immediate Release: October 11, 2023

Office of the Attorney General
– Matthew J. Platkin, Attorney General
Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor
– Al Garcia, Interim Insurance Fraud Prosecutor

TRENTON — Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin and Interim Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Al Garcia announced today that an Essex County man has been indicted on charges related to the financial exploitation of a 90-year-old woman, after the suspect allegedly abused his authority over her finances to steal tens of thousands of dollars from the victim.

John Boston, 47, of Verona, New Jersey, has been indicted by a state grand jury on one count of theft (2nd degree) and one count of theft by failure to make required disposition (2nd degree), following an investigation by the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor’s (OIFP) Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU). The investigation began after a referral from the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman. At his arraignment last month in state Superior Court in Essex County, Boston pleaded not guilty.

According to the investigation, Boston, a registered financial advisor at the time, signed a contract with the victim, agreeing to assist in managing her affairs and assets. However, the defendant never obtained authorization from his employer to take on the victim as a client, failed to notify his employer and failed to register the victim as a client, as required by the federal Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

Boston then signed a durable financial power of attorney with the then-90-year-old victim on or about June 27, 2017, and it is alleged that through a series of transactions, including ATM withdrawals and bank transfers, Boston diverted more than $75,000 from the victim. It is alleged that Boston used his own debit card to withdraw the money and spent it on his own bills and purchases for himself and his family. Meanwhile, according to the investigation, he defaulted on the victim’s bills and neglected her care and wellbeing.

“Victimizing our senior citizens under the guise of providing professional services occurs too often, and the effects on the victims and their families can be devastating,” said Attorney General Platkin. “No one should have to fear losing their life’s savings or their home because someone purporting to be a professional violated their duty and trust. We will continue to hold accountable those who commit elder abuse.”

“We have resources in place whose sole mission is to eradicate this type of exploitation,” said Interim Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Garcia. “We are steadfast in investigating and prosecuting these cases. If you target our elderly, you will get caught, and you will face justice.”

Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in New Jersey State Prison and a fine of up to $150,000.

The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Deputy Attorney General Lawrence Krayn is prosecuting the case for the OIFP – MFCU, under the supervision of Assistant Bureau Chief Michael Klein and Bureau Chief Heather Hadley. Detectives Little Trenard and Chantel Blake led the investigation, under the supervision of Lt. Jarek Pyrzanowski, Lt. Joseph Jaruszewski and Deputy Chief Rich King. Investigator SeRonne Anderson and Analyst Keira McRae-Wiggins also played integral roles in the investigation. Interim Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Garcia thanked his staff for their work on this case, and to the Long-Term Care Ombudsman for the referral.

New Jersey MFCU’s total funding for federal fiscal year (FY) 2023 is $9,418,641. Of that total, 75 percent, or $7,063,984, is awarded under a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The remaining 25 percent, totaling $2,354,657 for FY 2023, is funded by the State of New Jersey.

OIFP’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit specifically protects Medicaid beneficiaries and the Medicaid Program from fraud, waste, and abuse. Further, the Unit may review complaints of abuse or neglect of patients or residents in care facilities regardless of the funding source. To report fraud, abuse or neglect, please email or call 609-292-1272. If you are concerned about insurance cheating in general, and have information about insurance fraud, you can report fraud anonymously by calling the toll-free hotline at 1-877-55-FRAUD, or visiting State regulations permit a reward to be paid to eligible persons who provide information that leads to an arrest, prosecution, and conviction for insurance fraud.

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Essex County Financial Advisor Indicted in Alleged Theft of More Than $75,000 from 90-Year-Old Victim

Sedgwick County prosecutors warn seniors their nest eggs make them targets for elder fraud


This story was originally published by The Wichita Beacon, an online news outlet focused on local, in-depth journalism in the public interest.

It can start with something as small as a gallon of milk.

An adult daughter helping her mother shop for groceries mentions that she needs milk and her mother says, “Put it in with mine. I’ll pay for it.”

Then the daughter asks for more and more each time — for rent, a credit card payment, maybe even a car.

“It doesn’t feel like stealing until it becomes thousands of dollars,” said Robert Short, a chief attorney in the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office. “We’ve prosecuted spouses, children, grandchildren.”

His office prosecutes cases of elder abuse, including:

  • An attorney who restructured a woman’s estate plan so many times that he eventually positioned himself to inherit her entire estate.
  • A nurse who paid all the bills on time for a patient in a nursing home. When the patient died, the family discovered her account had been drained of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
  • A home health care worker who routinely used a patient’s debit card daily to buy liquor.
  • A daughter with durable power of attorney who used her mother’s checking account for her personal use.

Boomer wealth big target for elder fraud

Financial scams against older adults rank among the fastest growing crimes in the country. They hit people across all income and education levels. Victims range from people who remain sharp mentally to those in cognitive decline. It wrecks family relationships and robs older people of financial security in retirement. “In the next 10 years, (baby boomers) will hand off to the next generation billions of dollars,” Short said. “Some (heirs) want their money now.”

American baby boomers — born between 1946 and 1964 — are the wealthiest generation ever. Their mean net worth is about $1.2 million, according to Fortune.

The FBI reported that about 88,000 people over the age of 60 lost a combined $3.1 billion to financial elder abuse in 2022. A 2023 AARP study puts the figure at $28.3 billion, based on an assumption that nearly 9 in 10 older adults victimized by someone they know never report it to the authorities.

Hotline fields elder fraud and abuse calls

The state of Kansas tracks reports of elder abuse reported to its hotline, 800-922-5330. The hotline is operated by Adult Protective Services, or APS, at the Kansas Department for Children and Families.

Hotline calls increased 30% from 2022 to 2023, said Chrisy Khatib, APS deputy director. About 1 in 5 reports leads to an investigation, she said. That rate has held steady over the past few years.

Khatib said people are reluctant to make reports out of fear of simply giving life to false suspicions or appearing to pry in someone’s personal affairs. She said reports can be made anonymously.

“It’s OK to be nosy,” she said. “I would rather have someone make an error than have somebody lose all their life assets.”

Who must report?

Licensed health care professionals, therapists, social workers, bank officers, attorneys and care facilities are required under Kansas law to report suspected elder abuse and neglect. That includes theft. Failure to report is a Class B misdemeanor involving fines.

According to the Kansas Department for Children and Families, these are red flags to watch for:

  • Sudden changes in a will or other financial document.
  • Transferring assets.
  • Withdrawals of cash at ATMs.
  • Unexplained missing funds.
  • Unpaid bills.
  • Added names to bank accounts.
  • New applications for credit cards.
  • Forged signatures on checks.
  • Previously uninvolved relatives or friends becoming the elder’s representative.

Adults going through cognitive decline before they’ve been diagnosed with dementia can prove especially vulnerable, said Kathy Adkins, a nurse, dementia specialist and educator in Wichita. Dementia can sometimes start as early as 20 to 30 years before diagnosis.

How to protect the elderly

Adkins advises families to get power of attorney paperwork in place before a dementia diagnosis.

“Once a person has been diagnosed with dementia, it’s full stop,” she said. “They cannot sign any legal documents.”

A person given durable power of attorney can step in legally to handle finances immediately. They can also be given authority that only kicks in when a person is no longer capable of making those decisions. If no one’s been given that authority, a judge can appoint a guardian who is legally required to file an annual report about your care and expenses.

Short advises older adults do the following to protect their finances:

  • Get matters such as an estate plan in place before mental capacity becomes an issue.
  • Pick your durable power of attorney very carefully and make sure they want the job.
  • Build in checks and balances so no one person is totally in charge of spending. Make sure someone else can oversee the books.
  • Get online access to your accounts and check on your assets regularly.

The consequences of getting caught

If elder financial abuse reaches the courts, cases are tried under a Kansas law that makes anyone 60 or older or disabled adults a protected class of citizens. “It’s a complicated area,” Short said. “Often, family disputes are settled in probate court, rather than … civil courts, which can eat up thousands of dollars in lawyers’ fees.”

A felony can carry prison time, fines and restitution, but most criminal cases are resolved with plea agreements, Short said.

Judgments vary depending on the crime. A misdemeanor can carry jail, restitution fines and financial penalties. But even a $500 loss can be a quality of life issue for those on a fixed income.

“We would be very aggressive to get that $500 back,” he said. “$500,000 is harder.”

In cases of what Short describes as “embezzlement within an internal circle of trust,” his office meets with the family and asks their preference: Send the offender to prison? Get the money back? Put the abuser on probation?

Some families want someone punished. Others only want the money back. If the money’s gone, but the guilty person has a plan to pay it back, the prison sentence can be held in abeyance as long as payments are made.

But if it goes to trial, offenders should expect harsh penalties.

“Juries are very harsh and so are judges,” Short said. ”People do not like elder abuse.”

Full Article & Source:
Sedgwick County prosecutors warn seniors their nest eggs make them targets for elder fraud

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Local care company accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from elderly woman

Court documents accuse both Mark and Tyice Strahl of using 85-year-old Pat Holley as their personal piggy bank.

Author: Kyle Simchuk

SPOKANE, Wash. — An elderly woman was shocked and sickened to learn the people hired to help her are accused of stealing more than $150,000 from her bank account.

Court documents accuse both Mark and Tyice Strahl of using an 85-year-old as their personal piggy bank. Both figures are well known in Spokane's elderly care community.

The 85-year-old woman, Pat Holley, is in assisted living, and needs help. Before his death, Holley's husband hired a Spokane company called Lifestage. The Strahls founded the company, according to their website, and for the past few years, they made sure Holley's bills were paid on time. They also took her to doctor appointments, even the casino.

"They would bring some groceries in like crackers and light weight things," Holley said. "They were really nice to me."

So nice, in fact, that Holley says she let them use her car. But, when she tried to sell it to a family member, things got strange.

"They didn't want to give up the car, so then my intuition just told something more was going on," said Bonnie Gow, Holley's former ombudsman. Gow serves as a volunteer advocate for the elderly.

Gow asked Holley to call her bank and read off recent transactions. They were both shocked by what they found.

"My intuition just said there was something more to it, because she didn't have one bank statement at all," Gow said. "There was nothing."

Gow found out Mark and Tyice had taken $25,000 the previous year from January to the end of April. That's when she turned them in, but that was just the tip of the iceberg.

The Department of Social and Health Services conducted a forensic audit of Holley's finances. So did law graduates at Gonzaga University.

"And they both came up with the same amount, which was $165,000," Gow said.

Court documents say the Strahls created false documents, forged checks, tricked Holley into placing them on her checking account, overcharged for services and withdrew cash for their own personal gain.

"They were really nice people to me until I found out they were taking my money out of the bank," Holley said.

According to court documents, casino records show a large amount of the stolen money was used to gamble.

"It just isn't right that they should take your money that you worked for and do away with it like at the slot machines," Holley said. "I know it's fun."

The Strahls were arrested on Aug. 31 and charged with theft from a vulnerable adult and identity theft.

Holley wants her money back.

"Oh yes, wouldn't you?," Holley said. "I mean anybody would."

She will need it in a few years when her long-term care insurance expires.

"I got four more years I can stay here,"Holley said. "Then I move out, if I live that long."

"I think I came into her life for a reason," Gow said.  "I think I was meant to."

Gow wants Holley's story to serve as a warning.

"It's just really important to look at their bank statements, their bills, make sure everything checks out," Gow said.

Full Article & Source:
Local care company accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from elderly woman

Police save 8-year-old boy from live wire

A group of Michigan police officers have earned honors for their heroism for saving the life of an eight year old boy. Police say the child got shocked when he came close to a live wire. The video in this story may be disturbing to some.

Police save 8-year-old boy from live wire

Man arrested for alleged elder abuse

A man was arrested in Irvine after police said he pushed an 81-year-old woman to the ground while she was out walking her dog.

Man arrested for alleged elder abuse

Monday, October 16, 2023

Plea deal reached in death of elderly Bondurant care facility resident

by: Kelly Maricle

POLK COUNTY, Iowa – A former worker at a Bondurant elderly care facility has taken a plea deal regarding a woman’s death at the facility.

Catherine Forkpa was initially charged with dependant adult abuse-intentional/reckless abuse in the death of 77-year-old Harriet Stewart on January 21, 2022. Stewart died after being found outside the facility in below-freezing temperatures.

The charge against Forkpa was upgraded to second-degree murder in trial information filed in April of 2022.

On Friday, Forkpa pled guilty to dependant adult abuse which carries a penalty of up to two years in prison. In the plea documents, Forkpa admitted she didn’t do hourly checks on Stewart.

The deal made with prosecutors would give Forkpa a deferred judgment and two years of supervised probation. The civil penalty would also be suspended in the case.

Sentencing is set for November 7th. The judge in the case is not required to stick to the plea deal and could impose a sentence up to the maximum allowed by law.

Full Article & Source:
Plea deal reached in death of elderly Bondurant care facility resident

TBI: 6 indicted on slew of charges including identity theft, financially exploiting the elderly

The TBI uncovered clients were paying for insurance policies they did not want or authorize.

Officials with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation announced they were working with the Union County Sheriff’s Office to determine the cause of a deadly house fire in Luttrell.(TBI)

By Caleb Wethington

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Six people are facing a slew of charges following an investigation into insurance-related theft in Sumner County by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

The TBI said in March 2020 the investigation was launched by the TBI, along with assistance from the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance.

During the investigation, Johnny Ray Jackson, of Gallatin, a former insurance agent whose license was revoked in 1999, was found to have continued to operate a business in Gallatin called Senior Health and Wealth Marketing, as well as other multiple names over the years. Jackson employed several people, some of whom were licensed insurance agents in Tennessee.

Through further investigation, the TBI uncovered clients were paying for insurance policies they did not want or authorize.

“On October 4th, the Sumner County Grand Jury returned indictments charging Jackson and five other people with charges ranging from conspiracy, identify theft, financial exploitation of the elderly, and money laundering,” the TBI said.

The following individuals have been charged and booked into the Sumner County Jail:

  • Johnny Ray Jackson, Gallatin: One count Conspiracy to Commit Theft of Property, 47 counts of Identity Theft, three counts of Money Laundering, two counts of Theft of Property greater than $10,000, and one count of Financial Exploitation of the Elderly. Bond: $100,000.
  • Claude Douglas Jennings, Jr., Lebanon: One count Conspiracy to Commit Theft of Property, 27 counts Identity Theft. Bond: $100,000.
  • Timothy Earl Bennett, Lebanon: One count Conspiracy to Commit Theft of Property, 25 counts Identity Theft. Bond: $100,000.
  • Cooper Everett Jackson, Gallatin: One count Conspiracy to Commit Theft of Property, five counts Identity Theft. Bond: $10,000.
  • Stephen Dustin McDole, Bowling Green, KY: One count Conspiracy to Commit Theft of Property, one count Identity Theft. Bond: $100,000.
  • Courtney Wilson Beck, Mulga, AL: One count Conspiracy to Commit Theft of Property. Bond: $10,000.

Full Article & Source:
TBI: 6 indicted on slew of charges including identity theft, financially exploiting the elderly

Councilwoman accused of financially exploiting a incapacitated relative found not guilty

 After just over an hour of deliberation, a jury found a Chesapeake councilwoman not guilty of financially exploiting an incapacitated adult. 

Amanda Newins, a 31-year-old councilwoman and attorney, stood accused of one count of financially exploiting her great-uncle, Bobby Davis. 

During a three-day trial, both sides agreed to a timeline: Newins' great-aunt Shirley Davis and great-uncle Bobby Davis moved in with Newins in 2020. Soon after, Bobby Davis began seeing doctors for dementia. The couple then signed paperwork to gift Newins their Virginia Beach home. Roughly a month later, Bobby Davis was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. He passed away soon after the diagnosis.

Councilwoman accused of financially exploiting a incapacitated relative found not guilty

See Also:
Chesapeake City Council member faces felony charge, is accused of stealing great aunt’s home

Trial begins for Chesapeake City councilwoman accused of elder abuse

Sunday, October 15, 2023

Letter to the editor: In family division, guardianship is in name only

How can the Legislature and judiciary allow second-class treatment of over 600 adults with developmental disabilities?

At the time the current family division system of guardianship for developmentally disabled adults was adopted in 1978, the procedural protections were in fact better than the protections in the probate court system.  

But in the following year and in amendments since, the Legislature revoked the old probate adult guardianship system and adopted a set of procedural protections and options far better than those now in the family division. For example, different from the probate division system, annual reports to the family division on the well-being of the person under guardianship are not required, nor is voluntary guardianship an option in the family division system. By today’s standards, guardianship through the family division has become guardianship in name only. 

It is not just a scattered number of cases throughout the state in which this is a problem.  A communication by the commissioner of the Department of Disabilities Aging and Independent Living to the Legislature in January 2023 shows there are more than 600 adult Vermonters with developmental disabilities over whom the family division has open guardianships.

The questions must be asked: How does the Legislature, and how does the judiciary, allow this abject impropriety to continue? Similarly, why do Vermont’s disability and civil rights organizations remain silent?  

David Searles

Full Article & Source:
Letter to the editor: In family division, guardianship is in name only

Woman faces charges after 58-year-old man dies in her care at Michigan nursing home

by Johnathan Hogan and Amaris Encinas 

A woman formerly employed at a Michigan nursing home facility is facing charges in connection to the death of one of its residents that occurred a couple of years back. 

Former certified nursing assistant Jessica Struhar was accused of elderly abuse and the placement of false information on a medical record while she was employed at MediLodge of Richmond, over 100 miles from the capital in 2021. 

The 26-year-old was arraigned nearly a week ago for those two charges, each punishable by up to four years in prison, according to the Michigan Department of Attorney General. 

“The overwhelming majority of those who provide long-term care in Michigan do so with integrity and respect for their important role. But when there is a serious breach in the responsibility entrusted to them, there are criminal consequences, and my office will seek accountability,” Attorney General Dana Nessel wrote in the news release. 

Here’s what we know.

What happened to the MediLodge of Richmond resident?

Struhar reportedly ignored standing orders related to the 58-year-old man’s care during meals repeatedly. 

Due to negation of protocol, the man had a “choking incident at the facility, ultimately resulting in the death of the resident," the news release states.

Investigators also discovered medical records regarding the patient's care had been falsified. The falsification was said to have occurred while the man was receiving lifesaving medical treatment.

What’s next for the former certified nursing assistant?

Courtroom gavel.

A probable cause hearing has been scheduled for Oct. 17 at Macomb County 42nd District Court.

How can I report elder abuse in Michigan?

More than 100,000 older adults in Michigan are victims of elder abuse, and less than half of all instances are reported to authorities, according to the Office of the Attorney General. 

Michigan residents can contact 800-24-ABUSE (22873) for elder abuse resources or or 855-444-3911 to report suspected elder abuse.

There is also a webform available online provided by the Department of the Attorney General and the Elder Abuse Task so residents can report suspected incidents of elder abuse, patient abuse and exploitation. 

“I created the Elder Abuse Task Force in 2019 to bring together a comprehensive group of experts to ensure our elderly and vulnerable populations are protected from abuse. Part of that work is ensuring the tools we provide to the public, like this form, are accessible, easy to complete, and up to date,” Nessel wrote in a news release.

Full Article & Source:
Woman faces charges after 58-year-old man dies in her care at Michigan nursing home

Officers Reunite Special Needs Person With His Family

Officers reunite a special needs person with his family.

Officers Reunite Special Needs Person With His Family