Saturday, April 13, 2024

Woman facing 93 charges involving financial exploitation of elderly

Pitt County deputies on Tuesday arrested 42-year-old Dekedriya Maye.(Pitt County Sheriff's Office)

By WITN Web Team

PITT COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - A Simpson woman is facing nearly 100 charges after deputies began investigating claims of financial exploitation of an elderly Pitt County resident.

Pitt County deputies on Tuesday arrested 42-year-old Dekedriya Maye. She is charged with 31 counts of identity theft, 31 counts of obtaining property by false pretense, and 31 counts of financial exploitation of an elder by a person in a position of trust.

The total amount involved was $1,800 and took place over a three-month period late last year.

Maye remains in jail on a $300,000 secured bond.

Full Article & Source:
Woman facing 93 charges involving financial exploitation of elderly

Bloomfield Township caretaker charged with identity theft, financial exploitation of elderly woman

by Brandon Carr

Marivelis Serrano (WDIV)

– Marivelis Serrano, the accused, is facing an 18-count felony warrant, including a significant charge of embezzlement of $100,000 or more, 12 counts of uttering and publishing, and five counts of identity theft.

Court documents said the Bloomfield Township Police Department was alerted to the financial exploitation of the 85-year-old woman on Jan. 16, 2024.

Officials said they launched an investigation and uncovered that Serrano, 48, from Pontiac, had stolen $160,000 from the victim and transferred the funds to her own accounts.

Police said the 48-year-old woman spent thousands of dollars on online gambling platforms.

Officials say they also discovered that Serrano had illegally used the 85-year-old woman’s debit card to buy thousands of dollars worth of goods, including $6,200 in Amazon purchases and $3,600 in Instacart purchases.

Serrano was employed by the victim and trusted as her caretaker. Her job included house cleaning, transportation, and assistance with other day-to-day tasks.

Officials say Serrano surrendered to the 48th District Court, and at her arraignment, she was given a $50,000 cash surety or 10% bond.

Full Article & Source:
Bloomfield Township caretaker charged with identity theft, financial exploitation of elderly woman

‘A breathing skeleton’: Utah couple exploits elderly man of multi-million dollar estate, charges say

by: Megan Brugger

PAYSON, Utah (ABC4) — A Utah County couple was charged last week after allegedly exploiting a vulnerable, elderly man of his multi-million dollar estate — befriending him and cutting him off from his family to do so.

Troy Lynn Lerwill, 57, and Katherine Gean Talley, 49, were charged in Fourth District Court on Thursday, April 4, with intentional aggravated abuse and financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult, both second-degree felonies.

In 2020, Lerwill reportedly became acquainted with a Payson resident, who was about 70 years old at the time. The resident had some mental health issues, according to the affidavit, including apparent hoarding tendencies, autism, and anxiety, and was “extremely private and independent,” as well as “very fixed in his routines and habits,” and was “frugal to the point of miserliness.”

The resident had financial assets exceeding $6 million, as well as valuable collections of coins and sports cards.

In March 2021, Lerwill had the resident’s landline phone disconnected, despite the resident’s regular assertion to family members that he did not want a cell phone because his home phone was “just fine,” the affidavit states. This was the resident’s only means of communication.

Additionally, Lerwill reportedly told financial advisors to contact him if they wanted to reach the resident, the affidavit states.

A few days later, the resident reportedly created a will — leaving his Beanie Baby collection to Lerwill’s girlfriend, Talley, and everything else (including his Payson home) to Lerwill. The affidavit states this was contrary to what the resident had always told his financial advisors.

In April 2021, a Power of Attorney in favor of Lerwill was executed, although improperly notarized. That same day, the affidavit states Lerwill and Talley “recorded themselves bathing [the resident], and sent the video to a few people, apparently to show that they were caring for [the resident].”

A few days later, Lerwill reportedly contacted the resident’s financial advisors, saying the resident was dying and refused medical treatment, and that Lerwill was his beneficiary.

“Lerwill wanted to know what forms he needed to get ‘his’ money,” the affidavit states.

Suspicious, the financial advisors insisted on a face-to-face meeting with the resident. When they arrived, they said Talley was sitting on the front porch. She told the advisors “what a blessing [the resident] had been in their lives,” and that being a caretaker was “the hardest thing in the world,” the affidavit states.

Additionally, she and Lerwill reportedly told the advisors that they were the resident’s best friends, and that they had been taking good care of him.

However, when the advisors entered the home, they said it smelled foul and discovered Lerwill had turned the water off. The advisors called for an ambulance despite Lerwill’s rejection.

According to the affidavit, EMS responders noticed the resident was in a bed that was covered with “a few days worth” of urine and excrement, wearing only an adult diaper.

He was “a breathing skeleton and in the midst of a heart attack,” the affidavit states.

Lerwill and Talley told the advisors that the resident had given them a verbal DNR (do not resuscitate), and that “it was a spiritual experience watching him die the way he wanted to,” the affidavit states.

Officials said no written DNR was ever located, and family members believe the resident would have wanted palliative care, pain relief, and a more dignified end of his life.

The resident was taken to a hospital, where Lerwill claimed to be his caregiver. Additionally, Lerwill said the resident was “estranged” from his family members, although the resident’s family later said that was not true, the affidavit states.

The resident died of cancer on April 12, 2021. He was also malnourished and dehydrated, the affidavit states.

Lerwill and Talley reportedly tried to have the resident cremated immediately, but the affidavit states a hospital staff member recognized the resident and contacted his family.

“The nephew and nieces responded immediately to the hospital, but [the resident] died a half hour before they arrived,” the affidavit states.

Those family members went to the resident’s home and found that his coin collection, estimated to be worth more than $1 million, was missing. Additionally, his safe had been completely emptied, the affidavit states.

Full Article & Source:
‘A breathing skeleton’: Utah couple exploits elderly man of multi-million dollar estate, charges say

Friday, April 12, 2024

Greedy son forced wealthy NY philanthropist to walk without cane in ploy to send her to early grave, siblings claim in lawsuit

By David Propper

A greedy son sent his wealthy mother to an early grave with abuse that included forcing her to walk up stairs without her cane – leading to a brutal fall, his older siblings claim.

Jeffrey Cutler, 43, dipped into his philanthropist mother Cecelia’s pricey wine collection at her tony Westchester County mansion and pried a diamond from her ring before he cut his brother and sister out of medical decisions in a quest to keep her $10 million fortune for himself, the steaming siblings claim in an explosive new lawsuit.

But Jeffrey Cutler argues the fiery claims are “all bogus” and he painted his family-turned-plaintiffs — Robert, 45, and Cynthia Triggs, 45, — as the real heartless offspring who are only after mom’s money.

“They allege all sorts of things. None of it is true,” he told The Post while claiming that his siblings didn’t even attend their mom’s funeral.

Cecelia Cutler and her husband Kenneth. Cecelia Cutler and her husband Kenneth. Westchester County

The lawsuit filed this week piles up accusations against Jeffrey, including that he instructed NewYork-Presbyterian Westchester doctors not to intubate the trio’s mother, which resulted in her suffocation and death on April 19, 2022.

A month before, the 82-year-old, who previously ran a charity foundation, landed in the hospital after Jeffrey allegedly “ordered” her to climb a set of stairs in her swanky Bronxville mansion without her cane, causing her to fall and injure her head, the lawsuit states.

“In addition to ignoring her health problems, on information and belief, Defendant Jeffrey physically and verbally abused Decedent, stole various items of her personal property, including jewelry, artwork, and bottles of wine from Decedent’s wine collection,” the lawsuit claims.

Jeffrey initially moved in with his mother and father Kenneth in 2012, according to the claims. Kenneth, a former general counsel and partner at a large investment management firm, died in 2015.

That’s when Jeffrey began receiving a $125,000 spending allowance, the lawsuit alleges. Jeffrey denied the allowance in an interview with The Post this week.

In 2017, Cutler forced his mother to change her will so he collected most of her money, which totaled more than $10 million at the time of her death, the lawsuit alleges. Originally, the three children were supposed to split the inheritance evenly, according to the allegations.

Triggs and Robert, who is a lawyer representing himself and his sister in the suit, were left $100,000 each, according to the suit. Cecelia raised five children with her husband but two predeceased her.

The plaintiffs are seeking as much as $15 million in damages, including their $6.7 million cut of the inheritance.

When Cecelia suffered brain trauma from the alleged stairs incident in March 2022, she was taken to the hospital, where Triggs and Robert discovered a ring she had on was missing the diamond and one of the prongs bent back, and the plaintiffs accused Jeffrey of taking it in their lawsuit.

Their mother’s condition improved after surgery, and she was sent to Sprain Brook Manor, a nursing facility in Scarsdale, though her cognitive abilities were “severely impaired” and she could not answer questions, according to the allegations.

Around the same time, doctors arranged an agreement that Triggs, Robert, and Jeffrey each had to sign off on any medical decision made for their mother, according to legal papers.

But family relations quickly spiraled when Robert petitioned a state court in Westchester on April 7, 2022, to take over as guardian for his ailing mom after he found out about what allegedly led to her fall and the missing diamond, the lawsuit states.

When Jeffrey discovered his brother’s move, he allegedly began to misrepresent himself as his mother’s sole guardian to the nursing home and filled out a form that would end life-sustaining treatment if the situation arose, the suit claims.

After the matriarch suffered a respiratory setback on April 17, 2022, she was moved back to NewYork-Presbyterian and placed on a ventilator, according to the children. When that aid began to falter, Cutler decided against intubating his mother without the other two siblings weighing in, the lawsuit alleges.

NewYork-Presbyterian and Sprain Brook Manor are also defendants in the lawsuit because they “recklessly” followed Jeffrey’s directions at the nursing home and hospital, the suit states.

Sprain Brook declined to comment while NewYork-Presbyterian didn’t return a message seeking comment.

Jeffrey objected to the totality of the lawsuit as he slammed his siblings for allegedly not going to their mother’s or father’s funeral. He also claimed they hadn’t spoken to their mother for 10 years starting in 2012.

Jeffrey said in a recent interview he wasn’t even in the room when his mother fell inside her home, and believes she likely collapsed from an ongoing brain condition. He also said she didn’t use a cane to walk.

He claimed the diamond fell from his mother’s ring at least a month earlier and never turned up — well before she landed in the hospital.

And he also insisted when the form to end life-saving treatment was filled out at the nursing home, a nurse asked his mother, and she mouthed she wanted to “go in peace,” though it’s unclear what her mental capacity was at the time.

“I know I didn’t do anything wrong,” he declared, adding, “My brother hates me” and the lawsuit accusations are “complete nonsense.”

He accused his siblings of being angry over receiving a much smaller inheritance than him.

Jeffrey’s legal team did not return an email seeking comment.

Robert Cutler declined to comment when reached Monday and did not return a text message Tuesday following his brother’s allegations.

Cecelia Cutler was president of the Kenneth and Cecelia B. Cutler Foundation, which supported many charities.

“She was a very caring lady,” Jeffrey said.

Full Article & Source:
Greedy son forced wealthy NY philanthropist to walk without cane in ploy to send her to early grave, siblings claim in lawsuit

Father and Daughter Charged in Fraud Scheme that Allegedly Exploited a Vulnerable Adult

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

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Defendants Allegedly Stole Victim’s Social Security Benefits

            WASHINGTON – Linda Laird, 59, and her father, James Blizzard, 80, both of Cordova, Maryland, are charged in a five-count indictment, unsealed today, with conspiracy to commit Social Security fraud and theft of public money, conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, mail fraud, financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult or elderly person, and fraud in the first degree against a senior citizen. The charges were announced today by U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves and Daniel W. Lucas, Inspector General for the District of Columbia. The defendants appeared in District Court today and were released pending trial.

            The indictment was returned on April 9, 2024, by a grand jury in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. According to court documents, beginning in November 2017, Laird and Blizzard conspired and engaged in a scheme to deceive the Superior Court of the District of Columbia into appointing them as co-guardians and co-conservators of a vulnerable adult. At the time, the vulnerable adult was 81 years of age and suffered from severe cognitive impairments that rendered her incapacitated and required her to reside in a nursing home located in Washington, D.C. 

            While the vulnerable adult resided in the nursing home, Laird and Blizzard were required, in part, to act as fiduciaries and apply the vulnerable adult’s money towards her support, care, habilitation, and treatment. Instead, the indictment alleges, Laird and Blizzard used their authority as co-guardians and co-conservators to redirect U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) benefits intended for, and checking account funds belonging to, the vulnerable adult to their personal bank accounts for their own benefit. In total, Laird and Blizzard diverted more than $21,000 in Social Security benefits and obtained over $85,000 from the vulnerable adult’s bank account for their personal use. Laird and Blizzard did not use these funds to pay for the vulnerable adult’s care.

            This case is being investigated by the D.C. Office of the Inspector General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, the U.S. Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General, and the Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. It is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Facci, on detail from the D.C. Office of the Inspector General.

            An indictment is merely an allegation that a defendant has committed a violation of criminal laws and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.

Updated April 11, 2024

Father and Daughter Charged in Fraud Scheme that Allegedly Exploited a Vulnerable Adult

Limestone County man arrested for home repair fraud, financial exploitation of 92-year-old

By Sarah Broadway

According to court documents, on Wednesday, authorities arrested a Limestone County man after he agreed, and received payment, to repave a 92-year-old’s driveway and didn’t do the repairs.

Court records say 45-year-old Jack Clifford Lovell, Jr., agreed to pave the elderly man’s driveway and was paid $3,600 for the work he allegedly didn’t do in October of last year. Lovell is charged with home repair fraud and financial exploitation of an elderly person in the first degree.

Lovell is being held in the Lauderdale County Jail. His bond has not yet been set.

Full Article & Source:
Limestone County man arrested for home repair fraud, financial exploitation of 92-year-old

Thursday, April 11, 2024

After Jay Leno made heartbreaking decision for his wife of 44 years, so did a judge

By Sara Vallone

Months after Jay Leno filed for conservatorship over his wife’s estate, a judge has made a decision. 

The conservatorship hearing took place on April 9 at Los Angeles County Superior Court. People magazine was in attendance. 

According to People, during the hearing, Mavis’ lawyers confirmed that they were “in agreement” with Leno’s move to become Mavis’ conservator, adding that she is “receiving excellent care with her husband, Mr. Leno.”

The judge agreed with Mavis’ counsel, saying, “I think she’s in the least restrictive environment. I think she’s in very good care with Mr. Leno.” As People reports, the judge then directed his statements at Leno.

“Everything you’re doing is right,” the judge told him. “I totally understand this is a difficult period.” The judge then confirmed that Mavis “consents” to the conservatorship and that Jay is “fit” to serve as conservator as Mavis continues to battle Alzheimer’s. 

This decision comes after Leno filed documents with the court revealing Mavis “sometimes does not know her husband, Jay, nor her date of birth.” The documents continued Mavis deals with “a lot of disorientation, [and] will ruminate about her parents who have both passed and her mother who died about 20 years ago.” 

Despite her health battles, Mavis is said to still be a “delightful person” with a “charming personality.” 

Mavis and Jay have been married for the last 44 years. They do not have any children.

Like the judge concluded, the documents called Jay Mavis’ “protector and she trusts him.” Her neurologist was quoted in the filing confirming just that, that Jay is “such a nice man and treats [Mavis] like gold.” 

In a 2014 interview with The Washington Post, Mavis revealed that the reason she and Jay don’t have children is because of her. “I remember telling my mother when I was 7 or 8 that I was never going to get married or have children,” she said at the time. “To me, this is the way women get caught.” 

Jay, who she called “the single kindest human being I ever met,” respected Mavis’ decision to not have children.

Full Article & Source:
After Jay Leno made heartbreaking decision for his wife of 44 years, so did a judge

Jay Leno granted conservatorship of wife Mavis Leno’s estate

by  Alli Rosenbloom

Jay Leno's request for a conservatorship of his wife Mavis Leno's estate was granted on Tuesday during a hearing in a Los Angeles courtroom.

According to documents filed with the Los Angeles Superior Court after today's hearing, the judge determined Jay Leno was "suitable and qualified" to be appointed the estate's conservator.

The judge also found "clear and convincing evidence that a Conservatorship of the Estate is necessary and appropriate," according to the court documents because Mavis Leno is "unable" to independently manage her financial affairs due to the fact that she lives with dementia.

The judge also determined the conservatorship is the "least restrictive alternative" needed for Mavis Leno's protection.

CNN has reached out to representatives of Mavis Leno for comment. A representative for Jay Leno declined to comment.

In January, the 73-year-old comedian and former "Tonight Show" host filed a petition requesting a conservatorship of his wife's estate so that he can execute an estate plan on her behalf.

The execution of her estate plan is something that Jay Leno believes she "would execute if she had the capacity to do so," according to his filing earlier this year. He has primarily managed their finances throughout their marriage and stated at the time that he'll continue to do so.

The couple have been married for more than 43 years.

Full Article & Source:
Jay Leno granted conservatorship of wife Mavis Leno’s estate

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Former Simpson County Justice Court Deputy Clerk charged with embezzlement

Former Simpson County Justice Court Deputy Clerk charged with embezzlement

Rice defends paid probate court work while sheriff’s deputy

WALHALLA— Walhalla Police Chief Tim Rice defended his compensated work for Oconee County Probate Court from 2018-20 while a full-time Oconee County Sheriff’s Office deputy, and appointed by a judge, who was the supervisor of his wife at the time.

Rice was appointed by former probate judge and current Walhalla City Councilman Kenny Johns to help care for an elderly woman, and was later appointed by Johns to serve conservator of the woman’s estate after her death — a role Johns’ successor removed him from earlier this year. Rice’s work with probate court was while he was an Oconee County Sheriff’s deputy working mostly on child abuse cases, before taking a job as a captain with the Walhalla Police Department in June 2022.

Oconee Probate Judge Danny Singleton, who was elected in 2022, removed Rice from those roles in January 2024, ruling in a document obtained by The Journal in a Freedom of Information Act request that “Mr. Rice failed to fulfill his Fiduciary responsibilities in administrating the Estate properly.” Singleton also ordered Rice to pay back $11,312.77 to the woman’s estate, saying the money should be returned because Rice didn’t complete the required work. Rice said he was allowed to keep another similar amount (estimated at $11,000-$12,000) for his care of the woman. Singleton’s order calls for the payment or a payment plan set up within 90 days scheduled of the Jan. 25 hearing, which would come later this month. Rice told The Journal in an interview last week he had not paid the money back yet.

Johns also appointed Rice to provide hospital or nursing home visits and evaluations for several people who were under the jurisdiction of the county probate court from 2018-2020, according to documents provided to The Journal in a separate Freedom of Information request last month. The documents show that he was paid $200-$250 for the one-time visits to patients, followed by a report to the court on the welfare of those patients that he sent back to the court. Rice said he was also a guardian/conservator for a woman, taking care of her needs while she was alive, and was responsible for overseeing the estate after her death. He said the request to take care of her needs as well as the hospital visits came from Johns.

‘All accounted for’

Rice denied allegations of wrongdoing in the role.

“There’s nothing,” Rice told The Journal last week. “The only thing that is new here is that in the last two or three months — whenever it was — there was a probate court hearing with Judge Singleton, where he says, ‘I’m removing you over the estate and appointing someone else, just return the money.’ Nothing else has happened with that. Even the attorneys went through the financials on top of that to make sure that those were all accounted for, what I’ve turned in. But on top of that, there’s an attorney that went through those bank records and transactions and put all that stuff down and submitted that to probate. It was all accounted for, not just something odd that I did.”

Rice added he didn’t seek the role with probate court.

“The probate judge at the time (Johns) said there was a lady that was in need of someone to look after her,” Rice said. “He appointed me to look after her, which I did. All that stuff was recorded, and I’m sure you have the stuff from probate where that was documented and guardianship/conservatorship, part of that was finalized and the accounting and all that stuff was there.” 


Use of sheriff’s office bond?

A bond was also put up using the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office’s bonding to cover Rice without approval, according to Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw. While the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) investigated the case without recommending action against Rice, Crenshaw told The Journal last week he has asked SLED to look specifically into the use of the sheriff’s office’s bond.

“I’ve asked SLED to get us a judicial answer from the solicitor because the first investigation, we didn’t have the knowledge that he had used the county bond, his sheriff’s office bond, as proof of his bond, to be able to do what he did,” Crenshaw said. “So, I’ve asked SLED to present that to a solicitor to see if that’s going to be any type of criminal misconduct in office or any violation. I haven’t heard back, so I don’t know if this is a new investigation as it is or just a continuation of the original case.”

Rice denied to The Journal that he asked the sheriff’s office bond to be used in his work with probate.

“I did not know about it, I mean, (until) afterward,” Rice told The Journal. “I don’t know why that was put on there. I guess because I worked there at the time. I’m not sure. The guardian and conservator (roles) over her didn’t have anything to do with the sheriff’s office, nor does this have anything to do with my current role.”

Johns told The Journal Monday he doesn’t remember the issue with using the sheriff office bond.


‘Don’t know much about probate’

Rice said he has also seen a Fits News report released last week that included information about Rice and his role with the probate court, adding he has not been in the conservator or guardian role since becoming police chief a few years ago.

“One article that was out there in the Fits News thing kind of portrays that it was while (I was) police chief, but it’s not that,” Rice said. “So, I think that’s pretty much that, essentially, from what I saw from it. It’s trying to make some allegation that I took somebody’s money improperly or something. That is not the case. I mean, there are documents that have shown that is not the case.”

While information obtained by The Journal shows Ashley Rice signed documents where her husband was appointed to do the visits for probate, for which he was paid, he didn’t see it “at the time” as a conflict of interest. 

“My understanding at the time is that, as a clerk of (probate) court, she’s notarizing my signature, not the validity of what’s on the paper,” he said. “That would have been for the judge. So, in hindsight, yeah, it seems like that you wouldn’t want to do that, I guess … but at the time, she said her boss at the time says ‘here, notarize this thing’ or whatever, so, she does. My wife worked in there. I don’t know much about probate at all.”


Johns: ‘We did the best we could’

Johns said he was pleased with the job Rice did in the caring of the woman who needed help and her estate as well as the hospital and nursing home visits.

“It was a tough case,” he said of Rice’s work to care for the woman Johns first appointed him for. “We did the best we could.”

Full Article & Source:
Rice defends paid probate court work while sheriff’s deputy

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

‘Good Times’ Star John Amos Elder Abuse Investigation: Police Drop Big News

 by Martin Holmes 

John Amos is not the victim of elder abuse, according to a police investigation that found no proof to substantiate the claims made by the actor’s daughter, Shannon Amos.

According to TMZ, the Los Angeles Police Department spoke to parties on both sides of the matter and officially closed the investigation. It was said that police found no wrongdoing and that there was not enough evidence to bring charges against anyone.

The latest news comes after Shannon opened a GoFundMe page for her father last June, claiming he was a victim of “elderly abuse.” However, the page was later taken down after John and his son, K.C. Amos, said the claims were false and that Shannon was the one inflicting the abuse.

At the time, Shannon claimed she’d contacted the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and alleged that her father was not receiving proper care at an intensive care unit. She also claimed her brother was exploiting her father and not providing adequate care.

“To all of my fans, I want you to know that I am doing well. I am not in ICU, nor was I ever fighting for my life,” John said in a statement last June. “First, I want the GoFundMe campaign about me to stop immediately, and the funds subsequently returned to those who made donations.”

Shannon later took down the GoFundMe page. A month later, K.C. was arrested for allegedly threatening to kill his sister. In the complaint, Shannon said she’d received several threats from her brother, including text messages with photos of “firearms and gang affiliations.”

The situation seemed to have died down in recent months; however, per TMZ, the allegations were brought up again when Shannon called Adult Protective Services this spring. The APS sent the case to the LAPD, who then launched an investigation.

Last month, John, who is best known for his roles in Good Times and Roots, once again denied that he was the victim of abuse.

“I want to first say that I am feeling well and working diligently on various projects that I am involved in at this time, including the docuseries that my son and I are producing, along with a music release,” he told People.

He added, “Now, I will say this for now: This story about neglect is false and unmerited. The real truth will come out soon and you will hear it from me. Believe it.”

Full Article & Source:
‘Good Times’ Star John Amos Elder Abuse Investigation: Police Drop Big News

See Also:
John Amos Hopes to Reconcile With Daughter Despite Accusing Her of 'Elderly Abuse'

John Amos Speaks Out After Accusing Daughter of Elder Abuse: 'I Love Her'

John Amos hopeful family rift can be repaired following elder abuse row

John Amos' Son K.C. Arrested for Allegedly Threatening to Kill Sister Shannon After Elder Abuse Claims

John Amos’ daughter speaks out against her brother amid elder abuse investigation

John Amos' Son Removed as Medical Power of Attorney

CBI investigating allegations of possible elder abuse against actor John Amos

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

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

Buddy Dyer sets May 21 Special Election to replace Regina Hill

by Jacob Ogles

Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended the Orlando City Commissioner after an elderly exploitation arrest.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer has announced a Special Election on May 21 to replace suspended City Commissioner Regina Hill.

Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended Hill last week following the City Commissioners arrest on charges of elderly exploitation and fraud. Orlando’s city charter requires the Mayor, in the event of a vacancy on the City Council, to call a Special Election for someone to temporarily fill the seat.

Candidates may file for the position beginning at noon Monday. Candidates must complete the qualification process by 5 p.m. on April 16.

That leaves fewer than eight days for candidates to commit to running and to appear on the ballot.

The city will open early voting on May 13, with Election Day set for May 21. A runoff, if necessary, will be held on June 18.

Hill held the District 5 seat on City Council, and the city holds single-member district elections, so only voters in that district will be able to vote.

Hill, 58, has served on the Commission for 10 years but was charged with three counts of elderly exploitation of more than $50,000, one count of scheming to defraud of more than $50,000, one count of mortgage fraud of more than $100,000 and one count of fraudulent use of personal identification of more than $100,000.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement officers conducted a 13-month investigation into Hill, who is alleged to have taken advantage of a 96-year-old resident, drawing down $100,000 from her account for personal expenses. According to police, those expenses included a trip to Miami, vitamins, dental surgery, perfume and a facelift.

Hill has bonded out of jail. A judge set special conditions that Hill not have any contact with the victim of the alleged crime, and that she not access any money held in joint accounts shared with the victim.

An arraignment hearing is scheduled for April 16.

Full Article & Source:
Buddy Dyer sets May 21 Special Election to replace Regina Hill

See Also:
Attorneys predict there will likely be prison time for Regina Hill

Preparations underway for Orlando special election to fill Regina Hill's city commission seat

Community members have mixed emotions over arrest of Commissioner Regina Hill

US official spends elderly woman's $100,000 savings on facelift, new home

Orlando Commissioner Regina Hill accused of financial exploitation of 96-year-old woman

Orlando Commissioner Regina Hill arrested, faces charges of elderly exploitation, mortgage fraud

Woman reports theft from elderly mother

MILTON, Ga. — A woman reported to police March 27 that a caretaker stole more than $4,000 from her 78-year-old mother while working in her Milton home.

The woman said a substitute caregiver was working at the house when she discovered that $170 was missing from her purse and around $200 was missing from her mother’s purse. She also noticed that $4,000 had been taken from an envelope belonging to her mother, according to the incident report.

The woman told police she called the suspect’s employer, who informed her the worker had been terminated for an unrelated theft incident.

Police confirmed the suspect’s termination with the company and identified her as a 35-year-old Forest Park woman. Police charged her with two counts of theft by taking and for exploitation of elderly persons.

Full Article & Source:
Woman reports theft from elderly mother

Monday, April 8, 2024

Newsom signs #FreeBritney bill to reform conservatorship laws

 by Kathryn Watson

California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed a law to reform conservatorships in California, after pop star Britney Spears' public fight to win her freedom from her father.

The new law comes as a Los Angeles judge suspended Spears' father, Jamie Spears, from the conservatorship that has controlled the singer's career, financial and personal decisions for 13 years.

The California law aims to close loopholes in a system that lawmakers say lacks accountability and transparency. Among other things, it will require nonprofessional conservators who oversee an estate valued at more than a million dollars to register as a professional, to provide training and transparency. The law also establishes a civil penalty of up to $50,000 if a court finds a conservator has not acted in the best interest of the client, and gives conservatees more control over their legal representation.

"This bill saw unanimous support throughout the process because we know there are systemic failures when it comes to conservatorships in California," said California Assemblymember Evan Low, a Democrat who introduced the bill, in a statement after the bill passed the legislature. "We've seen the heartbreaking case of Britney Spears play out in the public eye, but there are hundreds — if not thousands — of other cases in which families are struggling. We need to do everything in our power to help them and their loved ones receive the care and support they need."

A hearing focused on whether to terminate Spears' conservatorship entirely is scheduled for November 12.

"This suspension is directly what Britney wanted, she does not want Jamie in her life," Britney Spears' attorney, Mathew Rosengart, said in court Wednesday.

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Newsom signs #FreeBritney bill to reform conservatorship laws

Attorneys predict there will likely be prison time for Regina Hill

By Chantelle Navarro

ORLANDO, Fla. — The civil case against suspended Orlando City Commissioner Regina Hill is essentially closed.

On Friday, a judge ordered Hill to stay away from the elderly constituent she’s accused of exploiting.

That same woman is the victim in a criminal case against Hill.

She was arrested late last month after an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Regina Hill walked into court Friday, relying on faith and due process for her civil suit to go her way. But besides that -- she didn’t say much else.

The judge denied her request to throw out the case between her and a 96-year-old constituent. Hill is now ordered to stay away from that woman and her house where she’s accused of living and spending about 100,000 dollars of the woman’s money. Hill is wholly denying ever happened.

“I improved Ms. Curtis’ life and I love her,” said Hill, Friday. “I showed her a lot of love and attention and that’s all I can say.”

Criminal defense attorney Mark Nejame said it will be a uphill battle for her to win the criminal case against her.

“I’ve represented enough public officials in my career, that the public doesn’t tolerate this and nor do judges,” said Nejame.

Hill is scheduled to be appear in court for April 16. A judge will read her seven felony charges, including elder exploitation. If she’s convicted, she’s facing life in prison. Nejame said, while not impossible, he doubts the likelihood of a plea deal in the case that would avoid some amount of time behind bars.

“Her choices are going to trial are going to be limited,” said Nejame. “There will (likely) be some sort of plea agreement but under the guidelines she’s looking at prison time.

At this time -- public records show she has not officially retained a lawyer for the criminal case. The lawyer Channel 9 saw at her first appearance was only for that hearing. Although, she still has time to lawyer up or obtain a public defender.

“Of course, there’s a presumption of innocence. But the reality of it is, if the allegations as we’ve heard are true, it shows that she’s really had a tremendous fall from grace,” said Nejame.

In the meantime, Governor DeSantis issued temporarily stripped hill of her title this week.

“If she’s convicted then she’s out for good -- if not she can come back,” said DeSantis.

Even if she does accomplish that, winning another term could be difficult , but not impossible.

“This is a different time we’re living in we’ve got somebody who is running for president who has been indicted four times, and who has multiple charges and could be facing years in prison, and yet, he’s a real contender.

And the city has wasted no time setting up to find her replacement. While not official just yet, the tentative date for the special election is May 21.

Full Article & Source:
Attorneys predict there will likely be prison time for Regina Hill

See Also:
Preparations underway for Orlando special election to fill Regina Hill's city commission seat

Community members have mixed emotions over arrest of Commissioner Regina Hill

US official spends elderly woman's $100,000 savings on facelift, new home

Orlando Commissioner Regina Hill accused of financial exploitation of 96-year-old woman

Orlando Commissioner Regina Hill arrested, faces charges of elderly exploitation, mortgage fraud

Sunday, April 7, 2024

New York’s Guardianship System Is Broken. Will Lawmakers Pay for a Modest Fix?

As legislators negotiate a budget worth hundreds of billions of dollars, advocates wonder whether Albany will approve $5 million for reforms to the state’s troubled guardianship system.

By Jake Pearson

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul Credit: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images. Courtesy of ProPublica.

As New York lawmakers hammer out a more than $200 billion budget this week, they may include $5 million to improve the state’s troubled guardianship system, which oversees the physical and financial welfare of tens of thousands of New Yorkers who the courts have said cannot care for themselves.

The modest allotment, which was advanced by the state Senate, would continue to fund a statewide hotline that launched last June and has advised hundreds of people considering guardianship for their relatives or friends. And it would give new support to nonprofits that provide services to poor adults who have nobody else to help them — known in the industry as “the unbefriended.”

“It’s not going to fix the whole problem, but it’s a step in the right direction,” said Kimberly George, a leader of Guardianship Access New York, which lobbied for the additional money.

The relatively small price tag doesn’t mean the Senate’s proposal will make the final cut in this week’s budget talks. The assembly and Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, have proposed even less in their spending plans: just $1 million to continue the guardianship hotline. Neither the governor’s office nor Speaker Carl Heastie responded to requests for comment on the gap. The three parties must now reach an agreement on the issue — and the overall budget — by Thursday.

The effort to secure more public funding for guardianship follows a series of stories by ProPublica last month highlighting how New York’s overtaxed and loosely regulated guardianship system is failing thousands of vulnerable people. Part of the problem, the reporting showed, is a dearth of guardians for poor New Yorkers — something the Senate proposal would help address. New York City, for instance, relies on private attorneys who work the cases for free, along with a small network of nonprofits. In recent years, two such groups abruptly shut down due to financial strains.

But the legislative proposal does not address the system’s lax oversight of those guardians.

In New York City, there are 17,411 people in guardianships — 60% of the statewide total — and only 157 examiners to scrutinize how guardians handle their wards’ finances and care, according to data from the courts. In some cases, ProPublica found, abuse, neglect or fraud went on for years before it was noticed by authorities — if it was noticed at all.

Advocates have long pushed for a comprehensive overhaul but said any additional resources in the budget would improve the existing system, which is stretched beyond capacity. “The problem is so big, and the population is continuing to age and the need is growing so rapidly, that if we wait for a whole solution, nothing is going to be fixed and it’s just going to get worse,” said George, who also heads Project Guardianship, a nonprofit group that serves as guardian to about 160 New York City wards.

She and others hope the Senate’s proposal is just the first step in a series of legislative actions. Legislators remain in session until June.

Sen. Kevin Thomas, a Long Island Democrat who last year secured the initial $1 million to launch the statewide guardianship hotline, is leading the campaign for the additional funding. In February, he sent a letter — signed by 14 of his colleagues — to Democratic Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins asking her to back the $5 million appropriation, which would “stand to benefit thousands of aging and incapacitated New Yorkers.”

“New York State is fortunate to have strong legal protections that entitle individuals access to guardianship services when necessary,” the lawmakers wrote. “However, this mandate is underfunded and there is currently no direct funding stream to ensure statutory compliance.”

Among the signatories were the chairs of the Aging, Health and Judiciary committees in the Senate. Assembly Member Charles Lavine, another Long Island Democrat and the chair of the chamber’s Judiciary Committee, sent a similar letter to the assembly speaker in support of the $5 million proposal.

In addition to the budget deal, there are indications that Albany is considering more sweeping reforms.

Lavine said in a statement that he was “discussing” the problems highlighted by ProPublica with judicial officials “with a view towards enacting responsive legislation.” Assembly Member Amy Paulin, a Democrat who chairs the chamber’s Health Committee, called ProPublica’s reporting “concerning, if not distressing,” and said she planned on “looking more into this” after the budget is complete. And Gustavo Rivera, a fellow Democrat and Paulin’s counterpart in the Senate, said he was “open to reviewing” reforms to guardianship after the budget is approved so that lawmakers “can adequately improve a failing system that is exploiting too many vulnerable New Yorkers while enriching the pockets of a few.”

In addition to providing more money for guardians and examiners, experts say lawmakers could strengthen the examination process, mandate more stringent training for guardians and implement maximum staff-to-ward ratios that keep caseloads manageably low.

Lawmakers have known for decades that the guardianship system is in dire need of an upgrade to meet the needs of those it serves. Indeed, shortly after they passed the law that governs adult guardianships 30 years ago, judges pleaded with Albany to provide critical funding for the indigent and to institute other reforms. Those efforts were unsuccessful, and in the decades since, others have made similar trips to the capitol, producing reports and holding roundtables highlighting the system’s failures. Yet these efforts have had little effect.

Advocates hope that will change given the state’s aging population — an estimated 5.6 million New Yorkers will be 60 or older by 2030 — and Hochul’s plan to help meet its needs. Judges have said the elderly make up a significant segment of those in guardianship since many who suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease need help caring for themselves.

Arthur Diamond, a former supervising guardianship judge on Long Island who has long called for reforms, said he was cautiously optimistic that state legislators and judicial leaders were finally serious about rectifying the system’s deep-seated problems.

“I think that if a year from now, we’re in the same spot, I’m going to give up,” he said of his advocacy. “But these people told me in good faith that they were interested and wanted to help, they told me they are working on remedies, and I take them at their word.”

Full Article & Source:
New York’s Guardianship System Is Broken. Will Lawmakers Pay for a Modest Fix?

Residents displaced as Kansas City nursing home forced to shut down

by Malik Jackson

Residents displaced as Kansas City nursing home forced to shut down

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City nursing home is on the brink of shutting down and when FOX4 showed up to ask questions we were locked out.

Our cameras were rolling as the final residents of Timberlake Care Center in south Kansas City were displaced.

Just last month, the Missouri Attorney General filed a petition in court, saying the center had “financial incapacity” and a “staffing emergency.”

“Very devastating, I live here, it kind of messes up everything. You have the stress of going to a new place, worrying about medical and appointments and all of that,” Jared Houck, a resident who has been forced to leave said.

They’ve left people like Houck in quite a predicament.

‘It’s a big deal going from place, changing homes like this,” Houck said.

A petition filed in Jackson County Circuit Court, the AG’s office alleges the owner owes more than $3 million in a loan agreement that has not been honored.

This filing would go on to lay out the issues with payroll saying the department (was) informed, that staff members’ paychecks were being returned, prompting fears employees would resign. FOX4 has learned the chief nurse did just that.

The AG near the end of this petition made it clear the danger this facility being open presented saying “noncompliance has placed the health and safety of recipients in its care at risk for serious injury, serious harm, serious impairment or death.”

“Extremely unsettling, the uncertainty not knowing what’s going to happen, there’s some employees who don’t even know where they’re going and it’s their last day,” Houck said.

It’s important to add the owners of the facility also own Hidden Lake Care Center in Raytown. That home is closing on or before May 26, according to court records.

Also, the dialysis center that is on this property will not be closed and patients that utilize it will still be able to go there.

Full Article & Source:
Residents displaced as Kansas City nursing home forced to shut down

111-Year-Old Briton, World's New Oldest Man, Reveals Secret To His Longevity

John Tinniswood, who has been retired for more than half a century, inherited the Guinness World Records title from Venezuelan Juan Vicente Perez Mora.

World News|


The world's oldest living man, 111-year-old Briton John Tinniswood, said his longevity was "just luck" and there was no special secret to his diet - although his favourite food was fish and chips every Friday.

Tinniswood, who has been retired for more than half a century, inherited the Guinness World Records title from Venezuelan Juan Vicente Perez Mora, 114, whose death was announced earlier this week.

Born in 1912 in Merseyside, northern England, retired accountant and former postal service worker Tinniswood clocks in at 111 years and 222 days.

He gave a pithy reply when asked for the secret to his longevity, however: "You either live long or you live short, and you can't do much about it."

Guinness World Records said in a statement that Tinniswood's claim to the record was assessed by its experts and by the Gerontology Research Group, which catalogues the world's confirmed "supercentenarians".

The oldest man ever was Japan's Jiroemon Kimura, who lived to 116 years and 54 days. The oldest living woman and oldest living person overall is Spain's Maria Branyas Morera, aged 117.

Tinniswood gave a somewhat measured view on the state of the world.

"The world, in its way, is always changing. It's a sort of ongoing experience... It's getting a little better but not all that much yet. It's going the right way."

Full Article & Source:
111-Year-Old Briton, World's New Oldest Man, Reveals Secret To His Longevity