Saturday, May 4, 2024

Guardianship Reform in The Virgin Islands

Guardianship is a vital legal mechanism designed to safeguard vulnerable adults who are unable to manage their own affairs due to various reasons. Yet, its implementation often poses challenges, raising concerns about the protection of individual rights and preventing potential abuse. The Uniform Guardianship, Conservatorship, and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act (UGCOPAA) emerges as a beacon of reform, addressing these complexities and ensuring a balanced approach that prioritizes both protection and empowerment.

AARP VI is urging our elected officials to pass the Uniform Guardianship Act. The hearing for the Guardianship Reform Bill presented by AARP is set for hearing on May 24th in the Virgin Islands Legislature. This bill will protect and empower Virgin Islanders to have greater agency in their individual rights.

Traditionally, guardianships have been characterized by their dual nature—intended to protect while also potentially restricting personal freedoms. The recent spotlight on high-profile cases like that of Britney Spears has underscored the need for comprehensive reform within the guardianship system. UGCOPAA acknowledges this necessity by emphasizing the rights of individuals under guardianship, striving to make it a last resort rather than a default option.

One of the significant advancements brought by UGCOPAA is its focus on alternatives to full guardianship. By encouraging exploration of less restrictive options, the Act aims to empower individuals and preserve their autonomy whenever possible. This approach respects the dignity of those under guardianship and fosters better outcomes while reducing the burden on the judicial system in the long run.

Moreover, UGCOPAA introduces stringent requirements for guardians, ensuring they understand their responsibilities and act in the best interests of those under their care. From enhanced notice to third parties to detailed reporting and decision-making standards, the Act strengthens oversight and accountability within the guardianship process.

Crucially, UGCOPAA embraces modern principles, eliminates outdated terminology, and recognizes the evolving dynamics of familial and support structures. By expanding the pool of potential guardians beyond traditional family ties, the Act acknowledges the concept of "chosen family" and promotes inclusivity in decision-making processes.

Furthermore, UGCOPAA empowers courts to tailor orders to meet the unique needs of vulnerable individuals, providing flexibility beyond conventional guardianship arrangements. This adaptability allows for more nuanced approaches that consider the specific circumstances of each case, promoting greater effectiveness and fairness.

In essence, UGCOPAA represents a significant step forward in guardianship reform, striving to strike a delicate balance between protection and autonomy. By prioritizing the rights of individuals under guardianship, enhancing oversight mechanisms, and embracing modern principles, the Act seeks to ensure a more equitable and respectful guardianship system for all involved.

As communities continue to grapple with the complexities of caregiving and guardianship, understanding and supporting initiatives like UGCOPAA are crucial steps toward fostering a more just and compassionate community here in the Virgin Islands.

Full Article & Source:
Guardianship Reform in The Virgin Islands

‘She’s pure evil’: Nurse gets life in prison after admitting she intentionally gave patients excess insulin, prosecutors say

By Brammhi Balarajan, Jillian Sykes, Caroll Alvarado and Holly Yan

A former nurse who killed at least three patients and tried to kill more than a dozen more at nursing facilities across Pennsylvania has been sentenced to life in prison, the state’s attorney general said.

But the family of one of her victims said her real justice is yet to come.

Heather Pressdee pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree murder and 19 counts of criminal attempt to commit murder, the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office said.

Pressdee, 41, pleaded guilty to avoid the death penalty, her attorney Phillip DiLucente told CNN Thursday.

As part of the plea agreement, a Butler County judge sentenced Pressdee to three consecutive life sentences for the three counts of murder “plus 380 to 760 years of consecutive incarceration for the 19 counts of criminal attempt to commit murder,” the attorney general’s office said. She will not be eligible for parole.

“The defendant used her position of trust as a means to poison patients who depended on her for care,” Attorney General Michelle Henry said.

“This plea and life sentence will not bring back the lives lost, but it will ensure Heather Pressdee never has another opportunity to inflict further harm.”

‘She played God’

Pressdee intentionally gave lethal and potentially lethal doses of insulin to patients at five care facilities in Allegheny, Armstrong, Butler and Westmoreland counties between 2020 and 2023.

Some of the patients didn’t even need insulin, the attorney general’s office said.

CNN asked Pressdee’s attorney about her motive but hasn’t received a reply.

Some of the victims’ relatives gave impact statements in court.

The daughter of victim Irene Simons said she’ll “never forgive” Pressdee for what she did.

“We’re angry and hurt that she disguised herself as a caring nurse,” Elizabeth Simons Ozella told CNN affiliate WTAE. “She took someone from this earth that she had no right to take, and she played God when she didn’t have that right.”

How the nurse tried to conceal her crimes

Pressdee admitted to “harming, with the intent to kill” the 19 patients, ages 43 to 104, the attorney general’s office said, according to a criminal complaint filed against the former nurse.

She would often administer insulin during the low-staffed night shift hours while working the medicine cart at the facilities, the criminal complaint stated.

“Pressdee often took steps to ensure her victims would expire prior to shift change so that they wouldn’t be sent to the hospital where her scheme could be discovered through medical testing such as C-peptide tests,” according to the criminal complaint.

Despite Pressdee’s hefty sentences this week, a sister of victim Nicholas Cymbol said, “There’s no justice for this.”

“She’s pure evil,” Melinda Brown said, according to WTAE. “We’ll get justice when she meets her maker.”

Full Article & Source:
‘She’s pure evil’: Nurse gets life in prison after admitting she intentionally gave patients excess insulin, prosecutors say

See Also:
2nd lawsuit targets Lower Burrell nursing home over death blamed on rogue nurse

Former nurse Heather Pressdee now linked to 17 nursing home deaths

Friday, May 3, 2024

The Growing Epidemic of Elderly Abuse

By Dr. Robert Glatter and Dr. Peter J Papadakos
Dr. Glatter is Editor at Large for Medscape Emergency Medicine and Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell. Dr. Papadakos is the Professor of Anesthesiology, Surgery, Neurology and Neurosurgery at the University of Rochester, and a Professor of Internal Medicine at Mercer University School of Medicine

The number of senior citizens is growing rapidly; individuals aged 65 and older increased from 39.6 million in 2009 to 54.1 million in 2019 (a 36% increase) and is projected to reach 94.7 million by 2060. This has come about as a result of advances in modern medicine and improved living conditions.

However, over the last few years, reports not only in the U.S., but from around the world, have brought to light a major new pandemic that may reach deeply into the fabric and soul of our society: The usual respect and care of our aging population is decaying into a growing incidence of neglect and abuse. Increasing reports of horrific events that affect our aging population detailing prolonged suffering and premature death are now commonplace.

Frankly, elder abuse reflects a decay of basic human rights in a major segment of our society. This type of neglect has many faces which may include physical, sexual, emotional, and psychological abuse. Victims are also commonly subjected to financial abuse, often losing savings, assets, homes, and other material property. Individuals may also be exposed to abandonment and loss of contact with family and friends.

This form of neglect may impact the elderly the most, leading to emotional issues such as loss of dignity, self-worth, and respect. Such abuse may be a single event or a cycle of repeated acts. It can vary from subtle—such as not acting in a protective or loving manner in a relationship where there is an expectation of trust, but also within a family or in a senior care facility. 

Prior to the COVID-19, 1 in 10 elderly adults in the U.S. experienced elder abuse. A major review in 2017 of 52 studies from 28 nations reported that 15.7% of people over 60 were subjected to some form of abuse.

In 2020, this number doubled to 1 in 5—a nearly 84% increase. A study by the Administration for Aging stated that hundreds of thousands of seniors were abused, neglected and exploited by family and others. What is even more disturbing is that in 90% of cases, the abuser is a member of the family, based on findings in the study. In fact, two-thirds of the abusers were adult children or spouses. We, of course, find this to be a shocking statistic; since the dawn of recorded history the elderly have been given great respect and were cared for by both the family and the community as a whole.

Why did this natural relationship so greatly change in such a short period of time? We believe the root cause are shifts in family demographics: over time, adult children now live great distances from parents, but also may have stressful careers, leading to personal issues that distract from attention to parents.

The pandemic further aggravated this issue with a marked decline in visits and travel related to restrictions. Families were also unable to visit elderly relatives in senior care facilities in most states. This may have been a mechanism that loosened family bonds and connections that were never fully restored since the onset of the pandemic. Moreover, growing economic pressures brought on by the pandemic also impacted families. In most households, fewer individuals are free from the obligation to care for parents on a daily basis. The reason is that children must work in order to pay bills, rent, and buy food.  

The pandemic also pressured families to care for elderly and frail family members at home because nursing homes were not accepting admissions. Caring for individuals with cognitive issues such as dementia and Alzheimer’s at home without help of course created many issues. This stressful home environment can trigger strong negative emotions in caregivers and lead to physical and verbal abuse. Use of alcohol and drugs also peaked during the pandemic and may also have played a key role in the rise of such abuse.

The escalating opioid crisis also led to an uptick in misuse and diversion of opioids by the elderly, which has transformed into an increase in pain and suffering of elderly persons with chronic pain. The increased prevalence of substance abuse has encouraged family members to raid the financial assets and valuables of elderly family members. Widespread layoffs and job loss during the pandemic are other factors underlying the exploitation of elderly parents by family members.

Social isolation, a byproduct of lock downs, further magnified these events in that typical family interactions abruptly ended, leading to a breakdown in families’ ability to spot early signs of decline in function or cognitive impairment.

Family members being unprepared or unable to take on the role of caregivers are  an additional factor in the elderly being more susceptible to becoming victims of abuse and violence . Data indicates that it’s more likely for children to be raised without an extended family, devoid of exposure to elderly relatives living in the same household.

The pandemic also disrupted access to community centers, social workers, and support agencies that often aid families by offering staffing and education. Rising food and utility prices added further financial stress, ultimately leading to moral injury and burnout among care givers. 

Technology has also played a role in the rise of financial abuse. It is now very easy to transfer financial assets electronically with a few key stokes from an elderly individual—often no signatures are necessary. Media reports are filled with stories of family raiding retirement accounts, selling assets, and taking homes away from the elderly. Elderly individuals may not be tech savvy and therefore vulnerable to financial abuse. They can also be easy targets for telemarketing schemes and internet fraud, placing them at risk for identity theft. 

Many families may believe that placement of loved ones into a senior living facility may be representative of a loving and supportive “safety net.” However, this industry is also in crisis. Over 3.2 million adults are currently living in nursing homes and other long term care facilities in the US. As many as one-third of all adults will enter a nursing at point during their lives as the US population ages. Sadly, nursing homes are not a safe haven: abuse is increasing due to understaffing, improper training and staff burn out. The industry was greatly affected by the pandemic with loss of beds, lost income, and loss experienced caregivers. These factors have led staff members to take out their anger on they people they should be caring for. A shocking report by the World Health Organization reported that 66% of nursing home staff members admitted to abusing individuals under their care.

How can families and society deal with this pandemic of abuse? The most effective approach involves increased focus on education and community support. Families need access to home care services, including social workers, occupational therapists and physical therapists—team members who make important contributions to the comprehensive care of our loved ones. In some cases, this may also involve placement in a long-term care facility when the needs of a loved one are more complex in nature. Families should also be able to evaluate and monitor the care loved ones receive in long-term facilities. The need for transparency is essential, with “report cards” issued by government agencies available to the public.

At the very least, we should all attempt to reconnect with the elderly members in our lives. It can be transformative for both parents, children, and all members of an extended family and community—and can also address the nationwide epidemic of loneliness that so many elderly people suffer from.

Full Article & Source:
The Growing Epidemic of Elderly Abuse

Jefferson County Contractor Admits Aiding Financial Exploitation of Elderly Victim

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

ST. LOUIS – A man from Jefferson County, Missouri on Wednesday admitted helping to defraud an elderly St. Louis woman out of more than $500,000.

Austin James, 27, of Hillsboro, St. Louis County, Missouri, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to one felony count of identity theft. He admitted knowingly possessing or using, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person to commit bank fraud and the financial exploitation of the elderly.

James admitted aiding Gino Rives in exploiting the 80-year-old victim, who had hired Rives sometime before Jan. 17, 2021 to repair her roof for $7,500. Rives falsely claimed to be a licensed contractor and the victim hired him to renovate the interior of her home. Rives told the woman to write checks to himself, James and others that totaled more than $550,000 for renovations on the one-bedroom, one-bath, 1,100 square-foot home that was worth no more than $135,000 in 2021. James received eight checks totaling $94,606 between January 2021 and March 2023 for purportedly performing work on the victims, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, basement and foundation. But he did not do the work for which he had been paid.

Due to the volume of checks being written on the victim's account and being cashed by Rives, James and others, her bank contacted the St. Louis City Building Inspector’s Office, which determined that any work done on the house was worth no more than $50,000, if it included and plumbing or electrical work. 

Rives, 36, of Edmundson, in St. Louis County, pleaded guilty last year and admitted defrauding two elderly victims. He and his mother, Zella Rives, pleaded guilty to separate charges this year and admitted falsely claiming that Rives was too disabled to work. They are scheduled to be sentenced next month.

James is scheduled to be sentenced on August 14. The charge carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, or both prison and a fine.

The Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Secret Service investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracy Berry is prosecuting the case.

Anyone with concerns about suspected abuse or neglect of the elderly or disabled should contact Missouri’s Adult Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 800-392-0210.


Robert Patrick, Public Affairs Officer,

Updated May 1, 2024

Jefferson County Contractor Admits Aiding Financial Exploitation of Elderly Victim

Elders at higher risk as targets of fraud and scams

REGIONAL- In a brand new report, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) says there was a significant uptick in elder fraud complaints in 2023.

The Elder Fraud Report, released on Tuesday, indicates that elder fraud increased by 14 percent over the past year, with associated financial losses growing by about 11 percent to over $3 billion.

FBI Assistant Director Michael D. Nordwall said, “Combatting the financial exploitation of those over 60 years of age continues to be a priority of the FBI. Along with our partners, we continually work to aid victims and to identify and investigate the individuals and criminal organizations that perpetrate these schemes and target the elderly.”

The annual report specifically highlights fraudulent activities against older Americans, as perpetrators target their financial resources including money and cryptocurrency.

The 2023 report outlines several critical points:

• Financial impact – Elder fraud resulted in over $3.4 billion in losses in 2023, with the average victim losing $33,915.

• Demographic disproportion – Over 101,000 victims aged 60 and over reported to IC3, versus just 18,000 victims under age 20.

• Common scams – Tech support, personal data breaches, confidence and romance scams, non-payment, and investment scams were the top fraud types reported by seniors.

• Costliest scams – Investment scams topped the list in terms of financial impact, costing victims over $1.2 billion in 2023.

• Cryptocurrency targeting – Over 12,000 seniors reported scams involving cryptocurrency.
The document notes that the incidence of elder fraud may be far higher, as many seniors may not report fraud due to lack of knowledge on how to report, shame, or fear of losing financial autonomy in the eyes of their families. When they do report, detailed information may be scarce.

Common elder fraud schemes

Elder fraud can take on many guises, reinforcing the need for elders to be vigilant but increasing the challenges of doing so. Some common financial scams are:

• Romance scams – Criminals pose as romantic interests on digital platforms.

• Tech support scams – Scammers claim to solve non-existent technology issues to gain remote access to computers or smartphones.

• Grandparent scams – Imposters pose as an elder’s relative in financial distress.

• Government impersonation – Criminals impersonate officials and even law enforcement and threaten legal action to extort money.

• Sweepstakes/charity scams – Scammers pretend to be from charities or claim the victim has won a prize requiring a fee.

• Home repair scam – Fraudsters charge upfront for never-provided services.

• TV/radio/social media scams– Scammers use illegitimate ads to lure victims with services like reverse mortgages.

• Family/caregiver scams – Relatives or caregivers financially exploit the elderly.

And, according to various sources, scammers are becoming more efficient and effective through the use of artificial intelligence (AI). If scammers can obtain a voice recording of a relative, they can create an interactive AI audio “bot” that sounds just like the real person. That interactive bot can increase the perceived realism of a call for financial assistance. With pictures found online, a fake AI video of someone can be used to scam elders, who are less adept at recognizing the signs of deepfakes.

AI can be used to create automated chat bots that can mimic customer service representatives from well-known retailers to steal personal information, online, through robocalls, or through automated text and email scams.

What you can do

• Attempt to recognize and cease communication with scammers.

• Verify contact information and offers online. A reverse phone search can often reveal numbers commonly used by scammers.

• Resist the urgency to act hastily – scammers will pressure you to act quickly.

• Be wary of unsolicited communications and offers.

• Secure your personal and financial information.

• Update security software and enable pop-up blockers.

• Get assistance in setting any social media accounts to the highest privacy/security levels available.

• Consider using a prepaid debit card instead of your bank card or credit card for online purchases.

• Monitor for any suspicious activity on your accounts.

• Report suspected fraud attempts immediately.

If you or someone you know may have been a victim of elder fraud, contact your local FBI field office or submit a tip online at If the suspected fraud was internet-facilitated, you can also file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at

By staying informed and cautious, seniors can better protect themselves from the financial and emotional damage caused by fraud.

Full Article & Source:
Elders at higher risk as targets of fraud and scams

Thursday, May 2, 2024

Editorial: Florida should find better ways to stop financial abuse

Orlando City Commissioner Regina Hill, seen here at a sculpture unveiling in 2022, is facing accusations of elder exploitation with a state agent saying she used her power of attorney to take more than $100,000 from the estate of a 96-year-old Orlando resident. (Willie J. Allen Jr./Orlando Sentinel)

By Orlando Sentinel Editorial Board

In the right hands, a power of attorney can make it much easier to manage the finances of someone who can’t make their own decisions, or ensure they get the health care they need.

But too often, these powerful documents fall into what turn out to be the wrong hands — sometimes strangers, sometimes family or friends. That can result in shocking financial abuse, particularly for vulnerable people who lack close connections to provide oversight. Orlando residents are watching this narrative play out in the case against City Commissioner Regina Hill, who has been indicted on seven felony charges related to allegations that she abused a power of attorney that gave her control of a 96-year-old constituent’s finances. Prosecutors say Hill used that power in suspicious real-estate transactions, and to drain $100,000 from the woman’s bank accounts, spending the money on a  hotel stay, vitamin injections, plastic surgery and other purchases. Hill (who has been suspended from office) maintains her innocence — and may yet be acquitted. But this story is shining a light on the inadequacies in Florida’s elder-protection laws.

Easy and dangerous

Florida recognizes different types of power of attorney — or POA — contracts. They can grant a limited range of powers or extend over the entire range of a person’s finances. Some expire after a specific amount of time or when certain conditions are met. But others —so-called “durable” power of attorney — don’t expire unless they are canceled by the grantor. Florida also allows for medical power of attorney grants, which give power over health-care decisions to someone else if the grantor can’t make their own decisions.

The thing POAs have in common is this: They are very easy to execute, using standard language found on the internet, and can take force with the notarized signatures of two witnesses. And they can be  nearly impossible to challenge if the grantor can’t make their own decisions. Unlike guardianships (which give the guardian total control of another person’s life) they don’t have to be registered with any court and aren’t subject to any oversight. Theoretically, the grantor can override a POA at any time.

This is by design. Having power of attorney can make it much easier and less stressful for those who are caring for other vulnerable people. But it can also put isolated seniors and others at risk of financial abuse.

That leaves Florida with a serious problem. A legislative bill analysis of the 2023 law that forms the basis of several of the counts filed against Hill cites 2021 FBI statistics on financial abuse of seniors, claiming that 92,000 victims over the age of 60 reported claims that year. Among the states, Florida posted the second-worst record in the nation, with 9,645 victims. Not all those cases involved power of attorney abuse, but many did — and it makes sense that many of the reforms aimed at POA abuse would also stop other kinds of fraud.

This leaves lawmakers with a significant challenge: The state has already increased legal penalties for financial exploitation of elders. What more can they do to protect vulnerable Floridians? The best place to start is to look at other states that have adopted innovations Florida has yet to consider. One good example, backed by the American Bar Association, is a process called Supportive Decision Making, a less-restrictive alternative to POA agreements and guardianships which allows a team of friends, family members and professionals to advise a disabled person in making decisions that best reflect their wishes. This process is authorized in 21 states, and it’s something Florida should consider.

The state could also benefit from a suggestion by the Florida Bar: Give state investigators the ability to look into financial records when they suspect abuse. Under current law, those records can’t be accessed unless the POA’s grantor gives permission. That leads to another likely necessity of increased funding for financial-abuse investigations.

There are no easy solutions here, unfortunately. Many cases of financial abuse are likely to go unreported. Public-information campaigns can fight that, but not always successfully. That doesn’t mean Florida’s leaders should give up. In fact, it should strengthen their resolve to protect vulnerable Floridians whenever possible.

The Orlando Sentinel Editorial Board consists of Opinion Editor Krys Fluker, Editor-in-Chief Julie Anderson and Viewpoints Editor Jay Reddick.

Full Article & Source:
Editorial: Florida should find better ways to stop financial abuse

See Also:
Orlando Commissioner Hill’s case part of ‘epidemic’ of elder abuse, experts say

Buddy Dyer sets May 21 Special Election to replace Regina Hill

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

Feds say 'grandparent scam' targeted older Americans out of millions. Here's how to protect yourself and your loved ones.

by Minnah Arshad

Sixteen people have been charged in connection with a "grandparent scam" in which hundreds of older Americans across the Northeast were defrauded out of millions of dollars, federal prosecutors announced Tuesday.

The group is accused of operating a network of call centers in the Dominican Republic that targeted hundreds of older residents in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts, according to an indictment unsealed this week. Scammers would call older residents pretending to be a relative then say they were in an emergency and needed money — often claiming to be a grandchild that was arrested after suffering a car accident, said Philip R. Sellinger, U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey. 

“Grandma, I love you and I trust you more than anyone,” one conspirator cries into the phone, according to a video recovered in the investigation cited by Sellinger. "Tell Grandpa I love him."

The caller then tells the victim to follow the lawyer’s instructions, Sellinger added.

"The defendants in this case are alleged to have targeted our senior population and preyed upon grandparents’ love and devotion to their family," Sellinger said. "My office is focused on protecting the rights of all victims, and we will relentlessly prosecute those who allegedly target the vulnerable to cheat them out of their savings."

Federal authorities have warned of rising scams disproportionately targeting older Americans. Elder fraud complaints rose by 14% last year and the average victim lost $33,915, according to an FBI report released on Tuesday.

Scams targeting people 60 and older caused more than $3.4 billion in losses in 2023, the FBI said, an increase of about 11% from the previous year.

Prosecutors: Five-year scheme exploited older Americans out of millions

Scammers used voice-over-internet protocol phone services to mask the origin of their calls in the Dominican Republic, making them appear from the United States, according to court documents. The scheme allegedly ran from at least January 2019 through December 2023.

First, a group of callers referred to as the “openers” would dial victims from the call center and tell them that their loved one was in distress, the indictment said. Usually, victims were told that a relative was arrested following a car accident and needed money for bail or other expenses.

After duping victims into believing a loved one was in trouble, another group of the alleged scammers, described in court records as "closers," impersonated defense attorneys, police officers, and other court officials to convince victims to provide money for the phony expenses. 

Callers would instruct victims to give the money to couriers who visited their homes, the indictment alleged. The couriers, the release adds, then brought the cash to other members of the conspiracy, who sent the victims’ money back to the Dominican Republic.

In some instances, the victims were told to send cash by mail. The scammers used false names and sent “receipts” after receiving payment.

Eleven people from the Dominican Republic — Juan Rafael Parra Arias, 40; Nefy Vladimir Parra Arias, 39; Nelson Rafael Gonzalez Acevedo, 35; Rafael Ambiorix Rodriguez Guzman, 59; Miguel Angel Fortuna Solano, 41; Felix Samuel Reynoso Ventura, 36; Carlos Javier Estevez 45; Louis Junior Serrano Rodriguez, 27; Miguel Angel Vasquez, 24; Jovanni Antonio Rosario Garcia, 45; Jose Ismael Dilone Rodriguez, 34 — were charged with mail and wire fraud conspiracy, wire fraud, mail fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering.

Each of the charges in the indictment carries a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison, prosecutors said. Fraud charges also carry a potential fine of up to $250,000 and money laundering penalties reach $500,000. Five New York residents were also charged with wire fraud conspiracy.

Court records obtained by USA TODAY show the indictment was filed in January and unsealed on Monday as U.S. authorities sought to extradite defendants from the Dominican Republic.

An attorney for the defendants was not listed in court records.

How to protect your loved ones from scams

According to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, a division of the U.S. Treasury Department, financial exploitation is the most common form of elder abuse but remains widely unreported. 

Michael Jabbara, Visa’s vice president and global head of fraud services, says one of the best practices to protect loved ones from scams is to have a "tech check-in" with aging relatives and review preventive measures:

Share with care: Limit how much personal information you share online. Set your social media profiles to private. If someone asks to connect with you on social media, only accept their request if you know them.

Be wary of “emergencies”: Your family or friends can easily be hacked to send out emails or text messages claiming to be urgently in need of cash or gift cards, scamming you out of money or gift cards.

When in doubt, just ask: If you really think it could be your daughter or grandson reaching out, don’t confirm by replying to the message you received. Instead, reach out in another fashion, such as calling them directly. If the message is from a fraudster, block and report it. If you receive a call from someone who says they represent a government agency, hang up and call the phone number on your account statement or the agency's official website to verify the authenticity of the request. 

Report suspected fraud: If you believe you have become a victim of a scam, file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.

Full Article & Source:
Feds say 'grandparent scam' targeted older Americans out of millions. Here's how to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

States Across the Country Are Reforming Guardianship. New York Is Not One of Them.

New York’s system for caring for the sick and elderly is in shambles, experts say. But while lawmakers in other states are overhauling their approaches to guardianship, New York only budgeted $1 million to address its deep-seated problems.

by Jake Pearson

Across the country, states are reexamining their approaches to guardianship, overhauling decades-old laws to better protect vulnerable adults who, because of their age or ailment, can no longer care for themselves.

In Pennsylvania, legislators recently passed a sweeping bill requiring professional guardians to pass a certification exam in order to serve, among other changes. And in Illinois, lawmakers are seeking to make it harder for private guardians to profit off of vulnerable wards who have nobody else to look after them.

But in New York, where more than 28,000 people rely on guardians to ensure their personal and financial welfare, and where judges, lawyers and advocates have been warning of a growing crisis in the system, elected officials have taken little action.

The $237 billion state budget passed by the Legislature this month includes no new funding to support guardianship services, despite reporting by ProPublica that showed how the state’s system is in shambles, with authorities straining to ensure proper care of elderly and sick wards.

Guardianship Access New York, a coalition of nonprofit providers, had sought a modest sum from legislators: just $5 million to help them manage the finances and health care of poor adults who have nobody else to look after them and little to no money to pay for a private guardian — a group known in the industry as the “unbefriended.” That would have been a significant increase over the $1 million legislators had previously allotted to fund a statewide hotline that hundreds of people have consulted on behalf of friends or family.

But the budget passed April 20 only renewed the $1 million that funds the hotline.

“We’re disappointed that the Legislature is still unwilling to invest in this underfunded mandate that leaves so many people hurting,” said Brianna McKinney, who oversees advocacy for Project Guardianship, a nonprofit that serves as guardian to about 160 New York City wards.

As ProPublica reported last month, there aren’t enough guardians in New York for all of the people judges have found to be in need of one. The system relies on private attorneys, who experts say frequently refuse to take on people who do not have substantial assets, and a small network of nonprofits, two of which have shuttered in recent years because of financial constraints.

Oversight of guardians is also threadbare, ProPublica found. In New York City there are 17,411 people in guardianships but only 157 examiners to scrutinize the reports guardians must file documenting wards’ finances and care, according to state court data. With such thin ranks, reviews can take years to complete, during which time vulnerable wards have been defrauded and neglected.

In recent years, the guardianships of celebrities like Britney Spears and former NFL star Michael Oher have captured the public’s interest and prompted scrutiny of the legal arrangements.

In New York, a recent Lifetime documentary about the former talk show host Wendy Williams — and her guardian’s unsuccessful effort to prevent it from airing — has put an even brighter spotlight on the state’s guardianship system, raising questions of court oversight amid allegations of exploitation and improper care.

Spokespeople for Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Gov. Kathy Hochul, the state’s most powerful Democrats who negotiated the spending bills, didn’t respond to questions about the lack of guardianship funding in the latest budget or the prospect of future funding.

That includes whether an additional $3 million earmarked for the state’s Office for the Aging’s budget to fund “various aging initiatives” would be used to finance guardianship providers.

Agency spokesperson Roger Noyes said a plan proposed by Hochul to confront the needs of the state’s aging population “presents an opportunity for additional policy focus on guardianship access, programmatic or structural changes, and alternatives to guardianship.” But the governor has provided few specifics on how her proposal will work, particularly with respect to combating elder abuse, a key pillar of the plan.

Many people in guardianship today are elderly and suffer from dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and other ailments that require assistance, according to judges. And advocates say the demand for services will only grow, with the state estimating a population of 5.6 million New Yorkers over 60 by 2030, one of the largest concentrations in the country.

In Illinois, the state’s aging population is driving the guardianship debate. Democratic Rep. Terra Costa Howard, a lawyer, said she was inspired to write legislation after her own representation of an elderly ward. She learned that a private guardianship company and a prominent law firm representing hospitals appeared to be working together, running up costly bills at the ward’s expense.

“What this little piece of legislation has uncovered is a huge problem — elder care is a big, big mess,” Costa Howard told ProPublica. “In our chamber, in our legislature, this is an issue people are willing to fight for. People weren’t paying attention to this until I raised it. I brought it up and now we’re going to go.”

But in New York there is neither a state legislator willing to champion reform nor are there powerful lobbying groups advocating on behalf of those in guardianship, many of whom live in assisted living facilities and nursing homes.

AARP New York said in a statement that it had dedicated its efforts elsewhere this legislative session, including securing funding to support older New Yorkers “who require home- and community-based services” as well as funding an oversight program for nursing homes and adult care facilities.

“If there are additional guardianship proposals introduced in the Legislature, AARP New York will certainly evaluate them in conjunction with our national policy and decide when or if to engage in the issue,” the statement said.

Such legislative action appears unlikely this session, which ends in June.

Sen. Kevin Thomas, a Long Island Democrat who first secured the $1 million to fund the statewide guardianship hotline and advocated for more funding this session, is leaving the Senate when his term ends next year. He didn’t respond to an interview request.

Full Article & Source:
States Across the Country Are Reforming Guardianship. New York Is Not One of Them.

AG Nessel Warns Seniors Against Financial Exploitation After FinCEN Analysis

LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is reiterating her warnings about exploitation after an analysis from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) revealed financial institutions reported roughly $27 billion in suspicious activity related to elder financial exploitation during a one-year period from 2022 to 2023. 

In its financial trend analysis (PDF), FinCEN identified two predominant categories of reported victimization: elder scams, where the victim does not know the perpetrator, and elder theft, where the victim knows the perpetrator. 

“While alarming, these findings reiterate the need for a group of experts like the Elder Abuse Task Force to ensure our elderly and vulnerable populations are protected from exploitation,” Nessel said. “My office will continue holding those who take advantage of some of our most vulnerable accountable.” 

“Michigan’s credit unions are working hard to ensure that our members are protected from predatory scams and abuse,” said Patty Corkery, President/CEO of the Michigan Credit Union League & Affiliates. “We are proud to work hand-in-hand with law enforcement and the Office of the Attorney General to educate the vulnerable members we serve and to continue to train our teams to detect and report suspected criminal behavior affecting these targeted populations.” 

“Banks play a crucial role in safeguarding vulnerable individuals from fin­­­ancial exploitation, often without the victims even realizing they are being targeted,” remarked Rann Paynter, President and CEO of the Michigan Bankers Association. “In light of FinCEN's findings, it's clear that banks are not merely financial entities; they are guardians of trust and security for their customers. We remain grateful for the vital role banks play in identifying, preventing, and reporting suspected instances of elder financial abuse.” 

Michigan's Elder Abuse Task Force launched in 2019 and consists of more than 55 different organizations and more than 100 individuals in the public, private and nonprofit sections - all working together to combat elder abuse.  

Achievements include the adoption of a Vulnerable Adult Incident Report form (PDF) for investigation by law enforcement across the state, including the implementation of related trainings. Additionally, the Financial Exploitation Prevention Act was signed into law in 2021 to ensure mandated reporting for financial institutions on suspected fraud or exploitation. Both were part of the Task Force’s first set of initiatives (PDF).    

It is estimated that more than 100,000 older adults in Michigan are victims of elder abuse, and that less than half of all instances are reported to authorities. Michigan residents seeking elder abuse resources are encouraged to call 800-24-ABUSE (22873), or 855-444-3911 to report suspected elder abuse.


AG Nessel Warns Seniors Against Financial Exploitation After FinCEN Analysis

Elder fraud tops $3.4 billion as schemes targeting people over 60 rise

By Holmes Lybrand

(CNN) —
People over the age of 60 in the US reportedly lost more than $3.4 billion in fraud schemes in 2023, a nearly 11% increase from the year before, according to a report from the FBI released Tuesday.

The Elder Fraud Report details the type of schemes people over the age of 60 fall victim to, from individuals falsely acting as tech support to fake investments and romance schemes as well as extortion, data breaches and identity theft.

“Combatting the financial exploitation of those over 60 years of age continues to be a priority of the FBI,” Michael Nordwall, the FBI’s assistant director at the criminal investigative division, said in a statement with the report.

“Along with our partners, we continually work to aid victims and to identify and investigate the individuals and criminal organizations that perpetrate these schemes and target the elderly,” Nordwall said.

According to the report, the average amount lost in 2023 in reported fraud of more than 100,000 elderly victims was $33,915, with nearly 6,000 victims losing more than $100,000 each.

It’s not just elderly Americans who fall victim to fraud. The FBI’s report says that, in 2023, more than 300,000 individuals under the age of 60 reported being the victim of fraud as well.

One way the FBI works to stop fraud is through the Recovery Asset Team, which can initiate a “kill chain” and communicate to financial institutions to freeze funds.

In 2023, according to the report, the Recovery Asset Team was able to freeze more than $32 million of the funds associated with 626 fraud complaints filed by individuals over 60.

Full Article & Source:
Elder fraud tops $3.4 billion as schemes targeting people over 60 rise

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Orlando Commissioner Hill’s case part of ‘epidemic’ of elder abuse, experts say

In dozens of cases reviewed by the Sentinel, power-of-attorney agreements are used to drain an older person’s resources

Orlando city commissioner Regina Hill makes a first appearance at the Orange County Jail after being arrested, Thursday, March 28, 2024. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel)

By Annie Martin

A senior with memory loss and no family members to help gave control of her finances to a younger woman. In short order, the younger woman sold the elderly woman’s home and depleted her life savings while neglecting her medical care.

In broad strokes, this tale from Miami-Dade County resembles the elder abuse case now ensnarling suspended Orlando City Commissioner Regina Hill. And there is one additional, critical element, common to the two cases and dozens more elder-abuse actions across Florida: The alleged misuse of a powerful but little-regulated legal mechanism called power of attorney.

Power-of-attorney agreements are intended to help vulnerable people who can no longer manage their own finances hand control to someone who can. But experts in elder affairs say seniors frequently end up exploited by the very people they appoint to care for them.

The United States has an “epidemic” of people abusing power-of-attorney agreements, said Roberta Flowers, a professor of law at Stetson University and director of the college’s Center for Elder Justice.

“They are an amazing tool,” Flowers said. “They are also the easiest way for people with nefarious reasons to take power away from an elderly person.”

Last month, a grand jury indicted Hill for her alleged activities after gaining power of attorney over an elderly constituent. Prosecutors say Hill drained the woman’s bank accounts as she treated herself to a facelift, expensive perfumes and IV vitamin injections. Hill maintains she loves the woman like her own family and committed no crime.

In the Miami case, investigators say the younger woman withdrew $400 in cash on the same day her newly-established power of attorney gave her authority over the elderly woman’s bank account. She eventually took another $200,000, using the older woman’s credit card to order dozens of items from Amazon, including jewelry and shoes, investigators say.

Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle recounted that story in December as she was discussing her office’s Elder and Vulnerable Adult Exploitation Task Force, drawing comparisons between the county’s large population of seniors and victims of human trafficking.

“They share these vulnerabilities and they’re just targets for all of the criminals that are out in our community,” Fernandez Rundle told reporters.

‘Orphaned adults’

Like the Miami woman, the elderly woman that Hill is accused of stealing from was especially vulnerable: She suffered from memory loss, had no living relatives and had become increasingly isolated as she aged.

This house in Lake Mann Estates is the current residence of a 96-year-old constituent that Orlando City Commissioner Regina Hill is accused of exploiting. Hill met the woman in 2021, when a code enforcement complaint said the roof was collapsing, and later allegedly took control of her finances. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel)

When code enforcement officers visited the woman’s home in early 2021, she was living in deplorable conditions. The roof on her Lake Mann Estates home was collapsing and floors were drenched with cat urine and feces.

Shortly after being told of the situation, Hill led efforts to fix up the woman’s home on Mahalia Drive, enlisting the help of volunteers to replace her roof and soiled carpet and clean the inside of the home.

But Hill also swiftly established power of attorney — completing the process within just 45 days of meeting the woman, investigators say. Recent court filings suggest the woman did not understand how much authority she was handing to Hill.

In Florida, people do not need to enlist help from a lawyer to take control over someone else’s finances — they only need to obtain signatures from the account holder, plus two witnesses and a notary. They can copy and paste sample language that is widely available online.

In Hill’s case, the document used generic language. But one of the witnesses who signed the form is a local attorney.

Some states do not even require these documents to be signed by witnesses or notaries.

Once the document is signed, the person granted power of attorney can present a copy of the record to banks, credit card companies and other financial institutions to gain access to the person’s accounts.

And unlike court-appointed guardians, who face a raft of reporting requirements, people with power of attorney do not typically have to justify their spending to anyone else.

That’s what makes these agreements such low-hanging fruit for thieves, experts say.

“This happens way more often than I think people want to believe,” said Jeff Harvey, the CEO of Community Legal Services, the nonprofit that represented Hill’s elderly constituent. “You can effectively just print out a form and as long as you have a notary stamp and witnesses — you’re good.”

But power-of-attorney agreements can also be quite worthwhile when used appropriately, financial planning experts say, urging people to assign power of attorney to someone they trust while they are mentally sharp. Common in estate planning, the agreements are intended to allow a reliable third party to pay bills and manage savings and retirement funds if and when the account holder is no longer able to do so because of their age, an accident or an illness.

“I’ve told clients before that your power-of-attorney document can be more important than a will,” said Andrew Boyer, a board-certified elder law attorney based in Sarasota.

Darby Jones, whose St. Petersburg-based firm Professional Fiduciary Services provides those services for people who don’t have a family member or friend to fill the role, agreed.

“One of the most important documents that everyone should have is a power of attorney,” she said. “The challenge is finding someone to serve in that capacity.”

Jones said Florida has a large population of what she calls “orphaned adults” who don’t have living family members or close friends. Those people, she said, are especially vulnerable to exploitation.

While it’s not unusual for people to grant power of attorney to a friend, clergy member or someone else who isn’t related to them, it should be someone they know well, she said.

There are no indications that the elderly woman in Orlando had assigned that responsibility to anyone else before Hill took over her finances three years ago. Adriane Alexander, the family friend who has since wrested power of attorney away from Hill, has acknowledged she lost touch with the woman during the pandemic.

Sometimes, even choosing a family member doesn’t protect seniors from abuse. The Sentinel reviewed more than a dozen recent Florida cases and many involved a person accused of stealing from their parent or grandparent.

Last summer, a Winter Haven teacher pleaded no contest to charges she used her grandmother’s money to pay her car loan and gym membership and opened several credit cards in her name. Over the course of a year, she stole $66,000 from the 83-year-old woman, investigators say.

In 2022, a Pinellas County attorney was disbarred after an Iowa court found he looted more than $380,000 from his mother’s estate, spending roughly $300,000 to purchase and furnish a waterfront home for himself.

And earlier this month, an Escambia County man was arrested on accusations he stole $17,000 from his 82-year-old grandfather, using the money to pay for personal bills and purchases from Netflix, DoorDash and Amazon.

‘A wrong turn’

At least initially, Hill seemed to act in the elderly woman’s interests.

A short time after meeting her, Hill appeared prominently in an episode of the TV series, “Dirty Rotten Cleaners,” which documented efforts to make the home livable again.

Orlando City Commissioner Regina Hill is seen during the agenda review session before the City Commission meeting April 1, 2024. Shortly after the meeting, Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended her from office. (Rich Pope/Orlando Sentinel)

“I am a city commissioner here in Orlando. My main focus here is making sure the constituent here in this home has quality of life, public health and public safety,” Hill said at the start of the show.

The woman, who does not appear in the episode, was not living in the home at the time.

Aside from cleaning up the home on Mahalia Drive, Hill completed an “extensive renovation” on a second property owned by the woman a short distance away, according to an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which also said Hill lived there at one point.

But at some point that has not yet been detailed in court filings, Hill allegedly started to use the woman’s finances for personal gain — spending her money on expensive bottles of perfume, a car rental, a facelift, dental surgery and a stay in a Miami Hotel room on New Year’s Eve.

She also used another legal document that investigators say was forged to purchase a third home together with the elderly woman, which Hill listed as her home address on records she submitted to the Orange County Supervisor of Elections. Again, the document required just a notary and two witnesses, with no other oversight.

Jones said it’s not uncommon for people who abuse power-of-attorney agreements to start out trying to help the person who signed it.

“I think people who may have started out with good intentions maybe take a wrong turn at some point and start to take advantage,” she said.

But experts say there’s no easy way to prevent people from exploiting vulnerable people after they’ve gained control of their finances.

A responsible attorney will make sure the elderly person understands what they are signing and that their memory is sound, said Sherrille Akin, a DeLand-based attorney whose practice includes estate planning and elder law.

“I insist on at least two meetings with the senior, sometimes three,” Akin said.

Still, meeting with an attorney isn’t necessary to complete the needed documents, and some experts say it wouldn’t be practical to require that.

“I think that it would be difficult to justify having an attorney as a gatekeeper,” said Larry Frolik, a professor emeritus in the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Law and nationally recognized expert on elder law issues.

Requiring a court to review how the elderly person’s money is disbursed may not be practical either, given the time and expense required and the large number of power-of-attorney agreements in place.

And some seniors might chafe at the notion that their trusted person needs someone looking over their shoulder.

“Folks in one group might say that’s far too much oversight; I don’t want to pay for that extra oversight,” Boyer said. “I don’t have any issue with appointing my son or daughter — why do we need big brother looking over us?”

Full Article & Source:
Orlando Commissioner Hill’s case part of ‘epidemic’ of elder abuse, experts say

See Also:
Buddy Dyer sets May 21 Special Election to replace Regina Hill

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

Another small step in effort to make a big change

When Lynn Fiedler first met with The Daily Item weeks after news of horrendous acts of elder abuse emerged out of a local senior care center, she displayed a firmness and determination of someone about to initiate change.

As part of a new elder abuse task force that includes lawmakers, law enforcement personnel, lawyers and other advocates, Fiedler is pushing ahead.

Feidler has often been front and center, a voice for the voiceless as the legal maneuverings in the wake of extensive elder abuse charges emerging out of the Heritage Springs Memory Care Center in Union County continued. Fiedler’s mother was one of the victims of the gross actions of two individuals — a then-18-year-old woman and a then-17-year-old juvenile male — over a five-month window in late 2022 and into early 2023.

During that first meeting, Fiedler understood change was needed. It might not help her family, but she wanted to make sure individuals who perpetrated these disgusting acts were appropriately handled by the justice system and upgrades made to that system to expand punitive measures.

She knew then, and still understands a year later, the work is just beginning. It’s why she often wears a T-shirt with a “Journey to Justice” message on it.

“We realize this is going to be a long journey,” Feidler said after a task force meeting last week. “This is one of the first steps to the journey. We’re all very invested in this. Our goal is to create better legislation to protect this population. First, second, third or however many steps it takes, we’re in for the long haul.”

Fiedler’s determination is something state Sen. Lynda Schlegel Culver acknowledged is a driving force behind the task force. Learning the stories of the 17 residents and their families has forced action, she said.

“It’s one thing to read it, but it’s another to talk to folks who have family members that were impacted,” said Culver. “This impacts entire families, people who went to visit, people who support, this impacts an entire family. You never, ever think no matter how much research you do, no matter how many times you visit, that this can actually happen in that small amount of time you’re not there. We’re coming to learn that we’re not protecting our senior citizens. We’re leaving them out there very vulnerable. The law is not the same as if you were a child.”

A law is moving through the state Senate that will be named Alice’s Law, after Fiedler’s mother, Culver said.

It’s another step. But another step in a long process built on a determination to see real, significant and impactful change.

NOTE: Opinions expressed in The Daily Item’s editorials are the consensus of the publisher, top newsroom executives and community members of the editorial board.

Full Article & Source:
Another small step in effort to make a big change

Monday, April 29, 2024

Britney Spears settles long-running legal dispute with estranged father, finally bringing ultimate end to conservatorship

by Elizabeth Wagmeister

Britney Spears has reached a settlement with her estranged father more than two years after the court-ordered termination of a conservatorship that had given him control of her life, their attorneys said.

The terms of the settlement were not disclosed by the attorneys for the pop star and her father, who confirmed the settlement to CNN.

“It has been our honor and privilege to represent, protect, and defend Britney Spears,” the singer’s attorney, Mathew Rosengart, said in a statement to CNN.

“Ms. Spears is and always will be an icon and a brilliant and brave artist of historic and epic proportion,” Rosengart’s statement continued. “Although the conservatorship was terminated in November 2021, her wish for freedom is now truly complete. As she desired, her freedom now includes that she will no longer need to attend or be involved with court in this matter.”

Alex Weingarten, attorney for the singer’s father, told CNN, “Jamie is thrilled that this is all over.”

“Jamie loves his daughter very much and worked tirelessly to protect her,” Weingarten said. “He wants the best for Britney, nothing less.”

Spears’ conservatorship was terminated back in November 2021. But the legal battles have persisted with lawyers for the singer and her father going head-to-head in frequent court visits over attorney’s fees and allegations of improper behavior in handling the conservatorship. Her father has consistently denied the accusations.

The star was placed under the court-ordered conservatorship in 2008 with her father serving as her conservator for the majority of the 13-year arrangement, overseeing and controlling all of his adult daughter’s finances and medical decisions.

A 13-year conservatorship ended in 2021

In June 2021, Spears gave explosive testimony, marking the first time she had spoken in open court throughout the 13 years. She pleaded with the judge to break her free from the conservatorship, which she categorized to the judge as “abusive.”

In her testimony, Spears claimed that while she was under the conservatorship, she was forced by her management to go on tour against her will, was put on lithium that made her feel “drunk” and was not allowed to get married or have a baby as she wished and was forced to use an IUD for birth control.

“I just want my life back. It’s been 13 years and it’s enough,” Spears said during the emotional hearing.

After that testimony, Spears was granted the ability to hire her own lawyer, rather than work with a court-appointed attorney, which she had done for the 13 years prior. It was then that she retained Rosengart, a former federal prosecutor and attorney who has represented many Hollywood stars.

In September 2021, less than two months before her conservatorship was terminated, a judge suspended Spears’ father, Jamie, as his daughter’s conservator.

Since her conservatorship was terminated in November 2021, Spears has been very active on her social media, frequently posting videos of herself dancing and writing lengthy captions to her fans. She has released two songs, “Hold Me Closer” with Elton John” and “Mind Your Business” with She also released an instant best-selling memoir, “The Woman In Me.”

In her memoir, she wrote about the “soul-crushing” years of her conservatorship, writing that she felt “like a shadow of myself.”

“The conservatorship stripped me of my womanhood, made me into a child,” Spears wrote in the book. “I became more of an entity than a person onstage. I had always felt music in my bones and my blood; they stole that from me.”

Full Article & Source:
Britney Spears settles long-running legal dispute with estranged father, finally bringing ultimate end to conservatorship

See Also:
Britney Spears