Saturday, February 3, 2024

Former Nursing Home Employee, Jennifer Bryant, Sentenced to State Prison for Stealing from Elderly Resident

New Hampshire
Department of Justice
Office of the Attorney General

For Immediate Release

February 1, 2024

Concord, NH – Attorney General John M. Formella announces that Jennifer Bryant, 48, of East Rochester, pleaded guilty and was sentenced yesterday in the Strafford County Superior Court on one class A felony count of theft by unauthorized taking.

Investigation revealed that between May 7, 2019, and May 12, 2022, Ms. Bryant, while working as a nursing home billing coordinator, stole $71,548.00 in social security funds belonging to a nursing home resident. The funds should have been used to pay for the resident’s rent and care at the nursing home. Instead, Ms. Bryant used the funds to pay for personal retail purchases, salon services, restaurants, entertainment, home improvement, and vacations.

The Court sentenced Ms. Bryant to serve 5-10 years in the New Hampshire State Prison, stand committed. The Court suspended 3 years from the minimum term, with the suspended term to end 15 years following Ms. Bryant’s release from incarceration. Under the suspended sentence, Ms. Bryant is, among other things, prohibited from working in billing and accounting, and in the care of elderly, disabled, or impaired adults. Ms. Bryant must also pay $71,548.00 in restitution to the nursing home. Ms. Bryant was taken into custody at the conclusion of the sentencing hearing.

In exchange for Ms. Bryant’s plea of guilty on the theft indictment, an additional indictment of financial exploitation of an elderly adult will be nolle prossed.

This matter was jointly investigated by Investigator Frederick Lulka of the Consumer Protection and Antitrust Bureau and Investigator John Lannon of the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. The matter was prosecuted by Senior Assistant Attorney General Bryan J. Townsend, II, of the Elder Abuse and Financial Exploitation Unit, and Assistant Attorney General Andrew Yourell of the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of elder abuse or financial exploitation, please contact your local police department or the Department of Health and Human Services, Bureau of Elderly and Adult Services (1-800-949-0470).

Former Nursing Home Employee, Jennifer Bryant, Sentenced to State Prison for Stealing from Elderly Resident

Playing a musical instrument or singing is linked to better memory in older age

Piano especially associated with improved mental processes in those over 40, Exeter University research finds

by Robyn Vinter

Playing a musical instrument or joining a choir is linked to better memory and thinking skills in older age, research has found.

The piano was especially associated with a better brain in those over 40 in the study from Exeter University, which reviewed data from more than a thousand adults and looked at how much experience the people had in participating in music.

The scientists investigated their brain health, including mental processes that help in planning, focusing, remembering, and juggling tasks – known as executive function – and found those who played an instrument scored more highly.

Singing was also linked to better brain health, but the researchers said social factors of being part of a group may also play a role.

Anne Corbett, professor of dementia research at the University of Exeter, said: “A number of studies have looked at the effect of music on brain health. Our Protect study has given us a unique opportunity to explore the relationship between cognitive performance and music in a large cohort of older adults.

“Overall, we think that being musical could be a way of harnessing the brain’s agility and resilience, known as cognitive reserve.

“Although more research is needed to investigate this relationship, our findings indicate that promoting musical education would be a valuable part of public health initiatives to promote a protective lifestyle for brain health, as would encouraging older adults to return to music in later life.

“There is considerable evidence for the benefit of music group activities for individuals with dementia, and this approach could be extended as part of a healthy ageing package for older adults to enable them to proactively reduce their risk and to promote brain health.”

Caroline Scates, the deputy director of admiral nurse development at Dementia UK, said: “The results of this study are positive, and echo similar research into the benefits of both listening to and playing music for people living with dementia.

“Music can provide a valuable form of communication for people living with dementia, including listening to music that the person may have a connection with even in the later stages of the condition. The ability to make or play music – whether by singing or playing an instrument – can continue even when people living with dementia have lost other abilities and means of communication.

“If you know someone living with dementia who enjoys or has enjoyed singing or playing an instrument, it can be beneficial to keep these instruments or sheet music to hand for them to play or read.”

Full Article & Source:
Playing a musical instrument or singing is linked to better memory in older age

OLDEST Singing Contestants SHOCK Everyone!

WOW! These Got Talent contestants prove that age is just a number! Don't miss the OLDEST singing contestants to appear on Britain's Got Talent, Ireland's Got Talent and France's Got Talent that SHOCKED everyone with their unexpected auditions!

OLDEST Singing Contestants SHOCK Everyone!

Friday, February 2, 2024

Alzheimer’s Association calls for federal involvement to increase dementia care workforce, training in assisted living

by Lois A. Bowers

Joanne Pike headshot
Joanne Pike, DrPH, is president and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association and CEO of its advocacy affiliate, the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement.

“Congress should consider the steps it can take at the federal level, including expanding the necessary workforce and improving dementia training standards and access,” as part of efforts to “help ensure a quality direct care workforce that can meet the unique needs of our nation’s growing number of Americans living with Alzheimer’s and other dementia” in assisted living communities and elsewhere, the Alzheimer’s Association and its advocacy affiliate, the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement, said in comments submitted to the US Senate Special Committee on Aging for the record of the hearing it held Thursday, titled “Assisted Living Facilities: Understanding Long-Term Care Options for Older Adults.”

The entities also urged the committee to take steps to support states in implementing and improving dementia training for direct care and other workers in assisted living communities.

Thursday’s Aging Committee hearing was its first one focused strictly on assisted living in more than 20 years and was held in response to recent articles in The Washington Post and the New York Times and KFF Health News. The Post articles, published in December, reported on the deaths of several senior living residents with dementia who had eloped from communities. The Times / KFF articles, published in November, reported on an assisted living industry pricing structure that adds fees on top of basic charges to cover additional services, as well as rate increases and the for-profit status of most providers.

The committee now awaits responses from three large senior living operators about their efforts related to safety, staffing and pricing; has asked the US Government Accountability Office to study federal assisted living-related spending as well as industry pricing and transparency; has announced a website and email address where consumers can share their bills and their experiences interacting with providers; and is pondering increased federal involvement in the industry.

The Alzheimer’s Association and Alzheimer’s Impact Movement focused on dementia and workforce issues in their eight-page letter.

“Assisted living is one of the fastest-growing options for residential housing for older Americans,” the groups said in their letter, noting that there are approximately 30,600 assisted living communities with almost 1.2 million licensed beds in the United States today. Thirty-four percent of assisted living have Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia, they said (the federal government estimate is higher, at 42%).

By 2050, the organizations said, it is projected that the Medicare and Medicaid programs will be paying $1.1 trillion toward the healthcare and long-term care of people living with dementia as the number of people in that group increases.

“While the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease increases, so does the need for well-trained members of the paid dementia care workforce,” the groups said, noting that the industry already is experiencing workforce challenges.

Fifty-eight percent of assisted living communities care for residents who are living with dementia, and 19% have a dementia care unit, the Alzheimer’s Association and Alzheimer’s Impact Movement said. They added, however, that “most states do not specify minimum staffing levels or ratios in dementia care.”

Although noting that “there is limited research identifying an optimal ratio of staffing,” the groups said that literature “verifies that there is a clear association between higher levels of licensed staff and higher quality of care” and that “there is an association between higher turnover rates and lower quality of care.”

Beyond potential mandatory staffing requirements, however, “there is a growing awareness of the need to deploy staff in a matter that aligns with resident routines and needs,” the organizations said, noting that recommendations made in a 2020 research article about staffing levels in nursing homes could “inform facilities and policymakers.”

Support of state efforts encouraged

Regulation of staff training in long-term care primarily occurs at the state level, the groups said, but they encouraged the Aging Committee “to consider proposals that support state health departments in implementing and improving dementia training for direct care workers and their oversight of these activities.”

Training-related policies, the Alzheimer’s Association and Alzheimer’s Impact Movement said, should be based on competency and should target providers in a broad range of settings. Additionally, the groups said, such policies should enable staff members to provide person-centered dementia care “based on a thorough knowledge of the care recipient and their needs, advance optimal functioning and high quality of life and incorporate problem-solving approaches into care practices.”

The organizations also urged the Aging Committee to support state dementia-related efforts by calling for any training curriculum to be delivered by knowledgeable staff members who have hands-on experience and demonstrated competency in providing dementia care, for continuing education to be offered and encouraged, and for training be portable, meaning that workers have the opportunity to transfer their skills or education from one setting to another.

Efforts to improve the quality of dementia care in three states are “instructive,” the Alzheimer’s Association and Alzheimer’s Impact Movement said, adding that they could provide the committee with additional examples on request.

  • In Georgia, House Bill 987, signed into law in 2020, established memory care licensure and dementia training requirements for all direct care workers and all other staff members in memory care centers. Among other things, the law requires all assisted living communities and personal care homes that offer memory care to obtain a certificate to operate and to have at least one dementia-trained direct care staff member for every 12 residents during the daytime and one such staff member per 15 residents overnight, based on a monthly average. All staff members must undergo four hours of dementia training within the first 30 days of employment, and all direct care staff members must obtain at least 16 hours of specialized dementia training within their first 30 days of employment and eight hours of dementia training each year thereafter. The law specifies the topic areas to be covered in the training.
  • In Indiana, Senate Bill 169, introduced in 2021, requires assisted living communities that provide memory care services to disclose their dementia-specific care, staffing levels and transfer/discharge policies. And Senate Bill 353, introduced in 2022, establishes dementia training standards for home health aides caring for people who are living with dementia, requiring three hours of annual continuing education about dementia and six hours of initial dementia training for newly hired individuals.
  • In Pennsylvania, regulations updated in 2022 require skilled nursing facilities to provide dementia training as part of all staff members’ orientation.

Dementia Care Practice Recommendations detailed

The letter also detailed the Alzheimer’s Association’s Dementia Care Practice Recommendations for professional caregivers, released in 2018, which contain goals related to person-centered care; detection and diagnosis; assessment and care planning; medical management; information, education and support; ongoing care for behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia, and support for activities of daily living; staffing; supportive and therapeutic environments; and transitions and coordination of services — and the letter relayed what assisted living communities “should” do based on the recommendations.

Regarding staffing, “[a]n adequate and well-trained workforce is fundamental to providing quality dementia care,” the organizations said, adding that, based on the workforce-related recommendations, assisted living communities should:

  • provide a thorough orientation program for new staff members, as well as ongoing training;
  • develop systems for collecting and disseminating person-centered information;
  • encourage communication, teamwork and interdepartmental/interdisciplinary collaboration;
  • establish an involved, car[ing] and supportive leadership team;
  • promote and encourage resident, staff and family relationships; and
  • evaluate systems and progress routinely for continuous improvement.

To maintain a strong dementia care workforce, the groups said, assisted living communities should:

  • have staffing levels adequate to allow for proper care at all times, day and night;
  • ensure that all staff members are sufficiently trained in all aspects of care, including dementia care;
  • adequately compensate staff members for their work;
  • provide a supportive atmosphere for staff members that appreciates their contributions to overall quality care, because improved working environments will result in reduced turnover in all care settings; and
  • ensure that staff members have the opportunity for career growth.

“Additionally, we know that consistent assignment is an important component of quality care for staff working with residents with dementia,” the Alzheimer’s Association and Alzheimer’s Impact Movement said.

“We look forward to working with the Committee and other members of Congress in a bipartisan way to advance policies that will ensure individuals living with Alzheimer’s and other dementia have adequate access to high-quality assisted living and all long-term and community-based care services, especially as the population of Americans living with dementia continues to grow,” the letter concluded.

Read the letter here.

Full Article & Source:
Alzheimer’s Association calls for federal involvement to increase dementia care workforce, training in assisted living

‘We need to tell our story much better’

by Lois A. Bowers

Lois A. Bowers
“From our perspective, we need to tell our story much better.”

That’s what Julie Simpkins, co-president and chief operating officer of Gardant Management Solutions, told the US Senate Special Committee on Aging on Thursday. She was one of four witnesses at a committee hearing titled  “Assisted Living Facilities: Understanding Long-Term Care Options for Older Adults.”

Telling stories may be one of the assisted living industry’s best bets to ward off a threat of federal regulation that several senators brought up in the wake of unflattering articles published in The Washington Post and the New York Times and KFF Health News about resident elopements, workforce challenges, the industry pricing structure and more.

Gardant, Simpkins told committee members, focuses on providing affordable assisted living to low-income older adults via home- and community-based Medicaid waiver programs.

“There are really good stories to tell from the state perspective and our home- and community-based services, and we need to do a better job of talking about those stories and the things that are going on within the states,” she said.

Part of the story is the close working relationships that providers can establish with state and local lawmakers and regulators to help ensure that they understand industry and resident needs and how various actions could affect them, Simpkins said. 

“The innovation that has happened, the times providers have been asked to sit at a table before there’s a rule change,” she said, “and not just ask for comment, but to sit face-to-face with somebody and say, ‘If this rule changes, how does it impact the resident that you’re caring for and your workforce who is caring for that resident?’” 

Hearing witnesses faced questions about the workforce, training, staff levels, affordability and other issues. But those issues are better addressed at the state level, Simpkins said, where regulations can “appropriately recognize the diversity within assisted living while holding our profession accountable.”

Industry trade associations frequently recommend that providers invite their legislators to their senior living communities to show them quality in action as well as help them understand the challenges faced by providers. Now is the time to start or continue such conversations and other efforts to help lawmakers and others become more familiar with the positive aspects of assisted living and what operators are doing for older adults of various income levels, as well as understand any assistance providers may need.

“Assisted living is a critical aspect of the long term care continuum, dedicated to delivering person-centered care to our nation’s seniors. We need collaborative, comprehensive solutions that help ensure our ability, as assisted living communities, to continue doing what we do best: providing safe, quality care to our residents,” Simpkins told senators. “From expanding more affordable long-term care options, to workforce programs to address the growing caregiver shortage, these efforts could make a real difference. We must all work together to ensure every current and future assisted living resident is seen, safe and served to enjoy the highest quality of life possible.”

You can watch a recording of the hearing and read the prepared statements of Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), committee chair; Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN), ranking member; and the four hearing witnesses on the committee website. And if you know of any consumers who would like to share their experiences with the Aging Committee, they can use the form on the committee website or send a message to this email address:

Full Article & Source:
‘We need to tell our story much better’

Dog Helps Rescue Owner From Frozen Michigan Lake

A dog worked with police to rescue her owner from a frozen lake in East Bay Township, Michigan, on Thursday, January 18, police said. 

Michigan State Police said witnesses called emergency services after they saw the man fall through the ice at around 11:45 am. 

Motor Carrier Officer (MCO) Kammeron Bennetts arrived on scene and saw the man in the water with his dog, Ruby, beside him. The officer realized he couldn’t reach the man so he called Ruby over to him and gave her a rescue disc. 

Video footage released by police shows the dog bringing the disc to her owner, allowing the officer and a firefighter to pull the man to safety. 

Police said the man, who was in the water for around 16 minutes, was transported to a local hospital and was later released. 

Because of “the quick actions of MCO Bennetts, along with help from Ruby, they were able to perform a successful ice rescue,” Michigan State Police said in a statement.

Dog Helps Rescue Owner From Frozen Michigan Lake

Thursday, February 1, 2024

DeKalb County attorney sentenced to 20 years for stealing $250k from clients, some elderly

by Austen Shipley


A former DeKalb County attorney who once hoped to be a judge will be spending the next twenty years behind bars. Teresa Darwin Phillips, 43, of Sylvania, was convicted of accessing, stealing, and spending approximately $250,000 from multiple clients.

Attorney General Steve Marshall announced the news Monday.

“Trust is fundamental to the attorney-client relationship. Once a lawyer has gained the trust of a client, particularly an elderly client, they owe that client the highest degree of honestly and loyalty,” said Marshall. “To see that trust betrayed on such a wide scale warrants a severe reaction from the justice system. Our team saw to that.”

“This case should serve as yet another warning to attorneys across our state seeking to take advantage of vulnerable clients—you will be found out and held accountable.”

A 2020 investigation led by the Dekalb County District Attorney’s Office exposed the former lawyers scheme to use funds given to her by clients and other elderly persons for whom she had been appointed as legal guardian or conservator for her own gain.

DeKalb District Attorney Summer Summerford, said that her office will never tolerate those who target the vulnerable.

“Our community deserves to have attorneys who take their jobs seriously and works with integrity and honesty,” said Summerford. “My office will not stand for the intentional, premeditated targeting of vulnerable people who rely on attorneys for help in times of need. Although this sentence will not replace what the victims lost, hopefully it will provide the closure in this long case and deter other attorneys from making the same mistakes.”

Phillips previously pled guilty on November 7, 2022, to nine felony offenses.

Full Article & Source:
DeKalb County attorney sentenced to 20 years for stealing $250k from clients, some elderly

Man Pleads Guilty to International Money Laundering Linked to Nigerian Romance Scams and Business Email Compromises

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

A Florida man pleaded guilty yesterday in the Southern District of Florida to money laundering for his role in funneling the proceeds of scams against American consumers and businesses to co-conspirators located in Nigeria.

Niselio Barros Garcia Jr., 50, of Kissimmee, was indicted by a grand jury on July 12, 2023. According to court documents, Garcia supplied bank accounts to his co-conspirators for the purpose of receiving proceeds from romance scams, business email compromises and other fraud schemes. After receiving the criminal proceeds, Garcia used a cryptocurrency exchange to conceal and transfer the funds in Bitcoin to co-conspirators in Nigeria. Garcia personally laundered over $2.3 million of criminal proceeds and earned hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees.

Business email compromises involve criminals hacking or spoofing business email accounts to initiate fraudulent money transfers. Romance scams involve fraudsters creating fake online personas to gain the trust and affection of victims, leading to financial exploitation. These schemes not only cause significant financial losses, but also deeply impact the lives of victims.

“This prosecution demonstrates our ongoing commitment to protecting the public from complex financial crimes,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian Boynton, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “This case serves as a reminder of the sophisticated methods employed by criminals and the need for vigilance in the digital age. The Justice Department remains committed to aggressively pursuing individuals and groups involved in these kinds of illicit activities.”

Garcia is scheduled to be sentenced in the Southern District of Florida on April 23. He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Four additional defendants have been charged in this scheme but remain at large.

The FBI Buffalo Field Office investigated the case.

Trial Attorneys Lauren Elfner and Matthew Robinson of the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch are prosecuting the case.

If you or someone you know is age 60 or older and has been a victim of financial fraud, help is available at the National Elder Fraud Hotline at 1-833-FRAUD-11 (1-833-372-8311). This Justice Department hotline, managed by the Office for Victims of Crime, is staffed by experienced professionals who provide personalized support to callers by assessing the needs of the victim and identifying relevant next steps. Case managers will identify appropriate reporting agencies, provide information to callers to assist them in reporting, connect callers directly with appropriate agencies and provide resources and referrals on a case-by-case basis. Reporting is the first step. Reporting can help authorities identify those who commit fraud, and reporting certain financial losses due to fraud as soon as possible can increase the likelihood of recovering losses. The hotline is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET. English, Spanish and other languages are available.

For more information about the Consumer Protection Branch and its enforcement efforts, visit Information about the Justice Department’s Elder Fraud Initiative is available at

Updated January 30, 2024

Man Pleads Guilty to International Money Laundering Linked to Nigerian Romance Scams and Business Email Compromises

Rochester woman ordered to pay $11K in financial exploitation case


(ABC 6 News) – A Rochester woman was ordered to pay more than double the estimated amount she took from a vulnerable adult’s bank account in restitution Monday, Jan. 29.

Jamie Lynn Lambert, 47, pleaded guilty to financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult in November of 2023.

On Monday, she was sentenced to 5 years of supervised probation and ordered to pay $11,491.83 in restitution.

Lambert was also ordered to complete 100 hours of community service, and may not serve as power of attorney for any vulnerable adult.

According to court documents, Lambert received a stay of adjudication — meaning that if she completes her probation and other conditions without incident, the felony will not go on her criminal record.

According to court documents, the Minnesota Adult Abuse Reporting Center spoke with a social worker in February in 2023, who provided bank statements for a woman who had suffered a stroke and been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

The woman lived in a Rochester facility.

According to court documents, Lambert was the woman’s power of attorney. Bank documents indicated that Lambert was transferring money from the senior’s account into her own checking account, then using the money to purchase food, alcohol, clothing, and sporting equipment.

According to court documents, Lambert first claimed the funds were being used for the senior’s benefit, but after viewing purchases for sports photography, sporting goods, and hotels with law enforcement, said she had “no excuse” for spending the funds herself.

According to the MAARC, the senior’s monthly liability had not been paid in months, and Lambert had not responded to facilities’ requests that she provide new shoes and clothing for the senior.

Bank statements indicated that Lambert used “at least $5,000” of the woman’s money for her own benefit.

Full Article & Source:
Rochester woman ordered to pay $11K in financial exploitation case

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Jay Leno Files for Conservatorship Over Wife Mavis Amid Alzheimer's Battle

by Carly Silva

Jay Leno and Mavis Leno

Jay Leno has reportedly filed for a conservatorship over his longtime wife Mavis Leno, after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

The former late night host, 73, filed the court documents Friday, Jan. 26, TMZ reports. He requested to become the conservator of his wife's estate, listing her diagnosis as the basis for the filing.

It's not clear when Mavis, 77, was diagnosed with the degenerative disease, which progressively impairs memory and other mental functions.

Granting Jay a conservatorship over his wife's estate would give him control over Mavis' finances, a practice that isn't unusual for individuals who are incapacitated in a way that prevents them from managing their own estate.

The basis for this potential conservatorship is much different from the infamous 13-year conservatorship Britney Spears was under at the hands of her father, whom she has accused of misappropriating her funds and abusing his power both financially and in her personal affairs. The pop star's conservatorship was finally terminated in November 2021 following legal action spearheaded by her attorney, Mathew Rosengart.

As for Jay, who is in his 44th year of marriage to Mavis, the comedian and TV personality was granted a conservatorship hearing date for April 9, per Page Six.

The news comes over a year after Jay experienced his own health scare, when he severely burned one side of his face and chest in a freak accident in his car garage after one of his vehicles erupted into flames.

He subsequently received medical treatment at a burn center in Los Angeles and underwent reconstruction surgery that now has him looking good as new!

Full Article & Source:
Jay Leno Files for Conservatorship Over Wife Mavis Amid Alzheimer's Battle

Man accused of writing more than $45,000 in fraudulent checks

by Melissa Farenish

Dalmatia, Pa. — A Dalmatia man was charged for writing 44 fraudulent checks for more than $45,000 and taking advantage of his former landlord. 

Police filed felony forgery charges against Andrew John Souder, 35, after the accuser told them on Dec. 1 that she had discovered a number of fraudulent checks were written and debited out of her bank account. The checks were written from Jan. 2 to Nov. 30, 2023, according to Trooper Michael Adams of state police at Stonington.

The accuser, a 74-year-old woman, had rented a home in Lower Augusta Township to Souder from 2018 to 2022 when she moved out of the country. By October 2022, the accuser sold the home to Souder. She discovered the fraudulent transactions when she received an overdraft notice from her bank on Nov. 22. The accuser told police she had never given Souder her checks nor did she give him authorization to conduct financial transactions on her behalf, Adams wrote in the affidavit. 

Waiting lists ‘a lever for exploitation’ of patients

By Tom Cleaver

Health Minister Michalis Damianos at the committee

Long waiting lists for specialised treatments on Gesy are “a lever for the financial exploitation” of patients, Gesy’s supervision commissioner Eugenia Efstathiou said on Monday.

Efstathiou was speaking at the House human rights committee and explained that many patients who require specialised treatments end up, due to long waiting lists, being referred outside of Gesy and are therefore billed for the treatment they receive.

With this in mind, she added that the issue of long waiting lists has now extended to impact non-Gesy health services.

Health Minister Michalis Damianos was also present at the meeting and said the Health Insurers’ Organisation (HIO) is preparing protocols to categorise appointments with specialists under the Gesy umbrella so that emergency appointments can be scheduled as a priority.

He added that such protocols are expected to be completed “within days and not weeks”.

In response to Efstathiou’s comments about patients potentially being exploited, he said “any illegal actions in the context of Gesy’s operations will be examined in cooperation with the HIO, and there must be exemplary punishment so as to deter others.”

He said the matter of waiting lists is “a complex problem” and said that while some aspects of it can be dealt with immediately, others will require long-term handling.

The matter of reforming Cyprus’ health sector, he said, is unfinished business, with bills set to be submitted to parliament within the year “to give healthcare providers the tools to do their jobs more properly, so we can provide a comprehensive health service in our country.”

One of the most prominent bills set to be submitted this year, he said, is that regarding the creation of a “patients’ advocate”.

“The patients’ advocate will, among other responsibilities, be able to assess whether a health institution complies with the law,” Damianos explained.

This move was greeted at the meeting by Federation of Patients’ Associations of Cyprus (Osak) chairman Marios Charalambides, who said the patients’ advocate “will make sure efforts will be made to ensure the rights of patients”.

He added that the creation of the role “is not just about managing complaints, but also about ensuring the quality of life and access to care of those who have suffered an illness”.

Full Article & Source:
Waiting lists ‘a lever for exploitation’ of patients

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Cher dealt another blow in her request for temporary conservatorship over her son

by KiMi Robinson

Cher's attempt to place her son, Elijah Blue Allman, under a conservatorship has faced another blow.

On Monday, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Jessica A. Uzcategui denied the superstar's petition for temporary conservatorship, according to Avi Levy, one of Allman's attorneys.

In December, Cher filed a petition seeking to be Allman's sole conservator because of alleged "severe mental health and substance abuse issues," making him unable to manage his financial assets, she contends.

"The Court’s ruling this morning represents a significant triumph for Mr. Allman’s personal liberty and legal autonomy. We, at Cage & Miles, are pleased with the Court’s decision to deny Cher’s temporary conservatorship petition," Levy said in a statement shared with USA TODAY on Monday.

"The Court’s ruling underscores the principle that conservatorship is a measure of last resort, not a tool to be used lightly. As the Court noted, there was insufficient evidence presented by Cher to establish an emergency exists for a temporary conservatorship."

USA TODAY has reached out to Cher's attorneys for comment.

Cher's bid for conservatorship over Elijah Allman's estate isn't over

Cher and Elijah Blue at the premiere of the film
"Blow" March 29, 2001 at the Mann's Chinese
Theatre in Hollywood, Calif. Vince Bucci/Getty
Another hearing is scheduled for March 6 , according to the court's case calendar. Levy said the judge will "deliberate on the question of a permanent conservatorship" during this hearing.

Cher observed the hearing remotely. She appeared on a large screen in the courtroom throughout but did not take part in the arguments.

Her attorneys argued that the support Allman was getting was from people who tell him what he wants to hear and downplay the size of his problems. They said his current apparent sobriety and mental health were illusory. They said he suffers from bipolar disorder, has been recently homeless, and that having large amounts of money might lead to access to drugs that could endanger his life.

Cher's attorneys said that she was not necessarily seeking any direct control over Allman's money and would be happy to have a court-appointed fiduciary manage his finances.

Allman was in the courtroom with his attorneys, who acknowledged his previous struggles but argued that he is in a good place now, attending meetings, getting treatment and reconciling with his previously estranged wife.

Elijah Blue Allman said Cher is 'unfit' to be his conservator

Allman has opposed his mother becoming his conservator. Earlier this month, the judge declined to immediately approve Cher's conservatorship request. Cher's legal team did not give Allman or his attorneys enough time to review the documents they filed, Uzcategui ruled.

Allman said that after struggling addiction and making irresponsible financial decisions in the past, he receives professional treatment and regularly attends alcoholics anonymous meetings, according to court records.

"Given that I no longer have an active dissolution case, I believe that my wife would have priority to be appointed conservator, if necessary, but I do not need that either," Allman said in the objection filing. "Under no circumstances am I comfortable having my mom as my conservator even if that was necessary."

A conservatorship of his estate is not necessary and that his mother "unfit to serve" in that role, he contends.

Blue's wife, Marieangela King, also denounced the conservatorship, calling it "deeply disturbing," in a statement issued by her record label, Verdict Music, and shared with USA TODAY. King claims she "has historically been excluded from the decision-making process when it comes to her husband’s medical treatment."

Cher's conservatorship petition:Why a judge denid Cher's conservatorship request over her son

Why is Cher filing for conservatorship over her son's estate?

Cher is seeking to be the sole conservator of her son's estate and resources and per the filing, the "Moonstruck" actor has "worked tirelessly" to get her son needed help.

"Elijah is entitled to regular distributions from a trust established by his father for his benefit, but given his ongoing mental health and substance abuse issues, Petitioner (Cher) is concerned that any funds distributed to Elijah will immediately be spent on drugs, leaving Elijah with no assets to provide for himself, and putting Elijah’s life at risk," the filing stated.

Full Article & Source:
Cher dealt another blow in her request for temporary conservatorship over her son

See Also:
Look, I Don't Need Conservatorship ... Plenty Reasons Why!!!

Cher Files for Conservatorship of Son Elijah Blue Allman

Elijah Blue Allman Contests Cher's Request for Conservatorship

Cher's Son Elijah Blue Allman Looks Clean-cut in First Sighting Since Conservatorship Victory

Former Wayne County Circuit Court assistant arraigned on charges alleging embezzlement from judge


LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced that Steven Allen, 42, of Detroit, was arraigned Tuesday, Jan. 23, in the 36th District Court in Wayne County on four felonies for forgery, using a computer to commit a crime and allegedly embezzling more than $60,000 from his employer, a sitting Circuit Court judge.

Allen was employed as a judicial assistant serving a judge in the Third Circuit Court in Wayne County from 2018 to 2022. During these years it is alleged he illegally obtained an ATM card associated with the judge’s accounts, wrongfully made withdrawals and purchases, and forged checks presented to the victim to conceal his thefts. The victim became aware of the missing funds when notified of delinquent taxes on a secondary property, despite Allen presenting them with checks made to look like they were sent to satisfy the tax.

He has been charged with one count of each:

  • Embezzlement, $50,000-$100,000, a 15-year felony,
  • Using a computer to commit a crime, a 10-year felony,
  • Forgery of bank bills/promissory notes, a 7-year felony, and
  • Stealing or retaining without consent a financial transaction device, a 4-year felony.

“Everyone should exercise extreme caution in who you permit to access your financial accounts,” Nessel said. “Even judges are not immune to theft, embezzlement and fraud perpetrated against them by those they trust the most. Truly anyone can fall victim to financial exploitation crimes.”

Allen will appear before Judge Patricia Jefferson in the 36th District Court in Wayne County for a probable cause conference on January 29. A preliminary examination has been scheduled for February 5.

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Former Wayne County Circuit Court assistant arraigned on charges alleging embezzlement from judge

Monday, January 29, 2024

Peter Max’s Daughter Can’t Revive Guardianship Talks Lawsuit (1)

by Holly Barker

Artist Peter Max’s daughter lost an appeal to revive her lawsuit against a top New York City judicial official over allegedly routine and one-sided private talks between judges and guardians in adversarial proceedings like those involving her father.

Libra Max lacks standing because her alleged injury isn’t fairly traceable to Deputy Chief Administrative Judge Deborah Kaplan’s alleged oversight failures, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit said in a summary order Thursday.

Max has been fighting to remove her father’s court-appointed guardian for several years, alleging the guardian has been abusive and neglectful.

Disputes over Peter Max’s care and the family business revolving around his art have drained much of the artist’s money, as detailed in a Bloomberg Law series on the guardianship system in March 2023. That coverage prompted the guardianship court to impose a gag order barring the parties from discussing the case with the media.

Max sued Kaplan claiming the judge violated her Fourteenth Amendment due process rights by failing to prevent New York guardianship judges from engaging in ex parte communications with court-appointed guardians in contested proceedings.

But even assuming that those kinds of communications amount to an injury in fact, the injury can’t be traced to any act or omission by Kaplan, the court said.

To establish traceability, a plaintiff must show a causal connection between the alleged injury and the conduct complained of, the court said. The injury can’t be the result of independent action by a third party not before the court.

Max alleged that four different judges who have presided over her father’s highly contentious guardianship have engaged with one-sided conversations with his court-appointed representatives “pursuant to established court practice” and “consistent with guidance and instructions,” and that Kaplan has authority over those practices.

But her complaint alleged no facts showing that Kaplan “affirmatively established a court practice, policy, or custom, or promulgated any guidance, instruction or advice, permitting guardianship judges to engage in ex parte communications in adversarial proceedings,” the court said.

Without such allegations, “the complaint utterly fails to provide any basis for concluding that the state guardianship judges’ alleged practices are fairly traceable to anything Kaplan has actually done,” the court said.

Because Max claims that guardianship judges are disobeying constitutional and judicial rules barring ex parte communications, “we can only concluded that Max’s alleged injury is the result of each guardianship judge’s ‘independent action,’” the court said.

Judges Amalya L. Kearse, Gerard E. Lynch, and William J. Nardini decided the case.

Max is represented by Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP. Kaplan is represented by the New York State Office of the Attorney General.

The case is Max v. Kaplan, 2d Cir., No. 23-00201, summary order 1/25/24.

Full Article & Source:
Peter Max’s Daughter Can’t Revive Guardianship Talks Lawsuit (1)

See Also:
Federal Judge Dismisses Libra Max’s Latest Lawsuit To End Guardianship of Her Father, Pop Artist Peter Max

Free Peter Max: a daughter’s fight to remove her dad from the clutches of ‘predatory’ guardianship

Peter Max’s daughter is leading smear campaign against guardian, lawsuit claims 

‘Kafka would blush’: artist Peter Max caught in legal guardianship lawsuit

Pop artist Peter Max’s court battles are a clash between children of Holocaust survivors

Peter Max 

Two Killeen men charged with financial exploitation of 78-year-old man in Missouri

By Joe Ashley

KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - Two Killeen men are charged with financial exploitation after allegedly stealing thousands of dollars from a 78-year-old man in Jefferson City, Missouri.

Brandon Lamar Martin and Tarus Delynn Prince have been charged with fraud-financial exploitation of an elderly person and stealing $750 or more.

On Jan. 12, Jefferson City Police Department (JCPD) officers responded to a victim’s home for a fraud investigation after the victim claimed he was scammed out of $40,900, according to a probable cause statement.

The victim told police he was using his laptop on Jan. 9 when he accidentally clicked on a “pop-up” advertisement, causing his computer to lockup.

The pop-up window said the computer was infected with a virus and provided a phone number for the victim to call that claimed to be Microsoft’s technical support, according to the statement.

The victim called the number on the pop-up and spoke with a man named “James” who told the victim his contact information would be forwarded to a Microsoft fraud investigator.

On Jan. 10, the victim received a call from a man named “Steve” who claimed to be an investigator with Microsoft’s fraud department.

“Steve” said he could remove the virus if the victim provided personal information, according to the statement.

After the victim gave “Steve” the information, the statement alleges the victim watched as someone remotely accessed his laptop.

The victim saw someone gain access to his Missouri Credit Union (MCU) banking account and begin moving funds between the checking and savings accounts, according to the statement.

“Steve” then told the victim to go to the bank and withdraw $16,400 to help with restoring the laptop’s systems, according to the statement.

The victim said “Steve” asked him to remain on the phone while the victim was withdrawing the money.

After the victim withdrew the money, “Steve” told him that a runner would come to his house and provide a password to collect the money, the statement alleges.

The following day “Steve” called the victim again, this time requesting the victim withdraw $24,500.

The victim repeated the process, and this time a different runner came to collect the funds.

MCU’s fraud department director called the victim to ask why he withdrew so much money and explained the to the victim that he had been defrauded, according to the statement.

Investigators with the JCPD were assigned the case and arranged an interview with the victim on Jan. 17.

When police met with the victim, he informed police that “Steve” had continued calling him and asking him to withdraw more money, the statement alleges.

While police were at the victim’s home “Steve” called the victim to ask for $20,000 and police devised a plan to simulate a bank trip.

Police brought the victim to the JCPD and pretended to do the bank transaction while “Steve” was on the phone.

Again, “Steve” told the victim a runner would come by to collect the money. Police recorded the entire conversation while “Steve” was on the phone, according to the statement.

Police coordinated with the victim to be able to have officers wait at his home for the runner to arrive in order to arrest them.

When the runner arrived, both Martin and Prince were arrested by police. During the arrest, the statement alleges police found $4,183 on Martin and paper bands with different amounts of money.

While being questioned by police, Prince told authorities that Martin owned restaurants in Texas and other states and was in Missouri attempting to franchise the restaurant, the statement alleges.

While Martin was being questioned, he told police that he was involved in illegal gambling and card games in Texas and had a significant amount of debt, according to the statement.

Martin claimed he met a group of men from India who told him of a way to make money.

The group told Martin he would go to cities across the U.S and collect money from people paying off their own gambling debts, the statement alleges.

Martin was contacted by a man named “Alex” through WhatsApp and given an address and how much money he was supposed to collect, according to the statement.

Martin told police he and Prince left their homes in Killeen to drive to the victim’s home, the statement alleges.

According to the statement, Martin claimed he had done multiple pickups on people between the age of 50 and 65-years-old.

Martin gave the police consent to search his phone and several messages were found from “Alex” detailing information about the pickups, the statement alleges.

Full Article & Source:
Two Killeen men charged with financial exploitation of 78-year-old man in Missouri

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Older adults eligible to receive free representation in Dauphin County guardianship cases

by: George Stockburger

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Adults 60 and older can now receive free legal representation during guardianship cases in Dauphin County.

The program, which runs through the Pennsylvania Courts’ Office of Elder Justice in the Courts, is paid for by a new, grant-funded pilot project with MidPenn Legal Services and the Dauphin County Orphans’ Court.

The court system says the initiative is focused on increasing the appointment of counsel and frequency of attendance for those in guardianship cases.

“Guardianship is sometimes necessary for persons with diminished capacity or persons with a disability in managing their affairs,” said the OEJC’s Senior Judge Paula Francisco Ott. “The appointment of counsel through this partnership is a tremendous benefit to all older Pennsylvanians, further ensuring that their concerns, wishes, and rights are respected and protected at every step of the legal process.”

Individuals in guardianship cases can still decline or hire their own representation.

Full Article & Source:
Older adults eligible to receive free representation in Dauphin County guardianship cases

Construction contractor indicted by Scott County grand jury on stealing, financial exploitation charges

Blake Hickman

SCOTT CITY, Mo. — A Scott County grand jury indicted a local construction contractor on stealing and financial exploitation charges.

According to Scott City Police Chief Chris Griggs, officers with the Scott City Police Department conducted an in-depth investigation into Blake E. Hickman, 34, of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and his business, Blake Hickman Construction.

In mid-2023, Hickman was hired by a local businessman to complete contractor work, and renovations at a local business. According to the victim, Hickman allegedly failed to complete work and failed to comply with request for invoices and project progress. Throughout this investigation, another victim was discovered, an elderly resident. Allegedly Hickman failed to provide the contractor service for the resident and was without project completion.

“Our officers thoroughly investigated these reports and spent time and resources to file the investigations for prosecution,” Griggs said.

On Jan. 17, Hickman was indicted by a grand jury of the 33rd Judicial Circuit of Scott County and charged with stealing-$25,000 or more and financial exploitation of the elderly/disabled person.

Hickman’s bond was set at $25,000 cash/surety. He was taken into custody Jan. 20 and posted bond and was released.

Hickman is scheduled to be arraigned at 9 a.m. Feb. 29 before Judge David A. Dolan in Scott County Court.

Full Article & Source:
Construction contractor indicted by Scott County grand jury on stealing, financial exploitation charges

Preparing for the age of AI scams

by Michelle Harven 

A Wehead, an AI companion that can use ChatGPT, is seen during Pepcom’s Digital Experience at the The Mirage resort during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada.

If a loved one called you in a panic asking for help—maybe they just got arrested or kidnapped and needed money immediately. What would you do? 

Here’s the thing, the voice on the other end of the line might not be them. It could be AI.

Artificial Intelligence is now making it possible to clone someone’s voice – and use it to trick family or friends. Scammers are taking advantage of the technology to con panicked loved ones out of hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars. AI is also being used to devise more realistic romance scams and AI generated videos, also known as deepfakes. Recently, a Taylor Swift deepfake was used in a video to shill pots and pans to unwitting fans. 

Washington has been watching. A bipartisan group of House lawmakers introduced the No AI Fraud Act this month. The bill would protect Americans likenesses and voices against AI-generated fakes. Earlier this month, the FTC created a competition with an award of $25,000 for the best ideas to protect consumers from these scams. And in November, the Senate Special Committee on Aging held a hearing on this kind of fraud and how to address it.  

We learn more about these scams and what people can do to protect themselves from falling victim.

Some tips from our guests:

  • If you suspect a voice clone scam, try to interrupt the caller and ask a question
  • Ask a question only that person would know
  • Establish a password with family and friends
  • Don’t send money through untraceable means like gift cards or cryptocurrency
  • Report all instances of fraud here:

Preparing for the age of AI scams