Monday, March 31, 2008

Letters to Editor- Help! My Life is Being Destroyed By Corrupt a Probate System

March 29, 2008

Hi Ray;

My Name is Arthur Manthorne. I E-mailed you a while back about my wife Terri’s and my fight against abuse and legal and illegal theft within the confines of the system. You might remember that I sent you an update about Terri being taken from me and my losing conservatorship of the person. After this process it was an inevitable loss of her life orchestrated by a system of hospitals, health care families, family, lawyers, and money seeking individuals to go after the estate.

I am now alone and entrenched in the long drawn-out probate fight under which information and activity comes in small spurts and mostly troubling news. I have had several lawyers over the last 10 years that have taken money from me (and crucial evidence), made promises, and ultimately disappeared with my money and case evidence. Many times I have asked for and accounting of what they are doing with my money and all have not delivered on this promise. I would imagine that you have heard this story many, many times from others in my situation. It seems as though this is happening in slow motion and I am watching my life fall apart even further since the devastating loss of my wife Terri.

I am writing you to ask in your experiences with this troubling topic of Elder Abuse and Estate Stealing, is there any advice or direction as to who could help with my situation since the system has done nothing to aide in my fight. I fear that in a few more months that I will be out of my home and penniless with my enormous collection of abuse reports and filings which have fallen on deaf ears by a system that ignores its elderly and their cries for help.

Arthur E. Manthorne

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Dear Arthur;

I am very saddened by your letter.

I met with a rather large group of people this weekend that are experiencing what you are going through, and you are not alone !

Some of them expressed an interest in relocating out of the country and some, like the Tristani family, have already relocated .

The persecution to families that stand between the Probate courts and the victim's money is brutal, unrelenting and there is no one willing to stand up to the Judges, Attorneys, and Guardians of this multimillion dollar racket and profiteering scheme in which elders are separated from their families which enables them to get at their wealth that they have accumulated over the years.

In my interviews with families that have been victimized, I have found there are two ways to get out of a Conservatorship or Guardianship, one, is when the elder runs out of money, and two, is when they die.
Neither option is very encouraging.

Several families recently met with the FBI and with Congressman Mario Diaz Balart, and both the Congressman and the FBI said there was nothing that they could do about the situation.

We wish that the meetings would have been more encouraging.

In Costa Rica, as well as in the Dominican Republic, there is a large colony of expatriated Americans. Both cultures are very friendly as well as accomodating to Americans retirees. We know nothing will bring back your wife Terri or Dr. A. J. Fernandez, but perhaps you can prevent the system from taking what little you have left by expatriating and enjoy a few more good years living with respect and dignity, free from persecution.

Ten Reasons People Get Railroaded into Guardianship

MARGARET K. DORE, Attorney at Law Ten Reasons People Get Railroaded into Guardianship

Some professional guardians petition the court to have themselves appointed guardian of persons with whom they have no prior relationship. If appointed, the professional guardian becomes entitled to an income stream, i.e., fees from the person's assets. This practice was been termed "trolling for clients.",, The LA Times describes one version, as follows:
Conservators [guardians] find clients by sponsoring breakfasts at senior centers and networking at legal luncheons.... Once conservators [guardians] identify a prospect, they can go to court and initiate a case without the client's approval

With the professional guardian's lack of a prior relationship with the proposed ward, the professional guardian may not realize all the facts: for example, that the proposed ward was only temporarily incapacitated and is actually competent; or that the proposed ward has a valid power of attorney and his attorney-in-fact merely needs to be called. The professional guardian is then faced with a conflict of interest. He can admit that he was wrong and dismiss the guardianship, which may cause him to bear his own fees, or he can move forward for his own appointment. With the latter scenario, he may be appointed guardian even though the guardianship will be unnecessary.

Caselaw provides that the constitutionally required burden of proof for a guardianship is "clear and convincing evidence however for this task, hearsay and innuendo are often sufficient, for example, that the proposed ward is a spendthrift or the siblings of the affected person do not see eye to eye on certain issues such as how to care for the ward.

If the visitor's recommendation to impose the guardianship is accepted by the court, the guardianship will be imposed. This is a typical result. The supporting evidence will not be clear and convincing, but hearsay and innuendo.

The guardian ad litem is, regardless, more likely to be paid if the guardianship is imposed. This is because with the appointment of a guardian, there is an official person (the guardian) who will be ordered to pay the guardian ad litem's fee from the ward's assets. If, by contrast, the guardianship is not imposed, there will be no official person to pay the fee.

State statutes in Florida are clear : that guardianship is to be used only as a last resort; and that the burden of proof is clear and convincing evidence that the proposed ward is incompetent to handle his/her affairs. (and that there IS NO alternative to a guardianship in that the 'Ward' has not made it clear through pre planning documents whom him/her wants to handle his/her affairs in case of incapacitation.)

"More broadly, there are numerous conflicts of interest that allow competent individuals to find themselves forced into guardianship. The next time, it could be you." Margaret K.Dore,Esq.


Excerpts taken from American Journal of Family Law
MARGARET K. DORE Attorney at Law, excellent work on
Reasons People Get Railroaded into Guardianship

Elder Fireman Detained Against His Will.- His Crime "Owning Too Much Property"

by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman The Free Press

Norman Baker is an American hero who has been detained against his will for more than three years. His "crime": owning too much property. 


His sentence: a court-appointed guardianship on the brink of costing him everything he spent his life building.

His rights in this case: virtually none, significantly less in many ways than an actual law-breaking criminal. 


His future if this continues: long-term de facto imprisonment, followed by abject poverty, if he has anything left at all. 


A retired firefighter who once helped save a child's life, Norman Baker is not suspected of terrorism. He has never been charged with any statutory infraction, and has never been in any kind of trouble with the law. 
But he has been stripped of his right to vote and access to his own assets, which appear to have been well in excess of $1 million as little as three years ago.

Until he was placed in a nursing home against his will by the court-appointed attorney he is trying to reject, Norman Baker owned and managed two dozen rental properties, many of which he designed and built himself. He also owned a 33-acre farm, with four horses, an array of tractors and other heavy farm implements, a carefully preserved century-old barn, a restored farmhouse from which he drew steady rental income, and a 3,000-square-foot brick home, which he also designed and built.

All Norman Baker's properties were free of any liens or mortgages. 
Before he was confined against his will to a nursing home, Norman Baker also had some $250,000 in cash and liquid investments above and beyond his real estate holdings. He rented his properties and lived a quiet, private life.

Today, without writing a check or using a credit card or making a single bad investment, Norman Baker has less than $20,000 in cash. Most of his rental properties are vacant. Some have been flooded. In one, a broken pipe has resulted in a water bill in excess of $19,000. Nearly all his properties, which were once entirely rented, are now vacant. Some have been seriously vandalized. A rental property business, which yielded a steady cash flow, is now bleeding cash every month.

Baker's farm implements—including a tractor owned by his brother---were sold by his unwanted guardian without his permission. The guardian also sold the slate off the roof of Norman’s carefully preserved antique hay barn, which may now be ruined by rainwater. The roof of his farm house has also been damaged and left unmended.

The comfortable brick ranch home Norman built by hand is boarded up and rotting. Its plush carpeting has apparently been stripped out. Its interior fixtures are gone or rotting. The concrete backyard swimming pool whose construction Baker oversaw is cracked and in ruins. When we visited the property, Baker could only peer into the windows of his wrecked home. It is posted against "trespassers."


At one point in his involuntary guardianship, a medical examiner hired at Norman's expense found him competent and recommended that he no longer need a guardian. But the attorney running Baker's guardianship refused to surrender control of Norman’s assets. He then brought back the same medical examiner for yet another examination. This doctor then proclaimed he "changed his mind" and that Norman needed a guardian after all. Norman was then billed some $2,000 for both examinations.

Since then, a Harvard-trained medical examiner has repeatedly tested Baker, who just turned 80. This doctor, whose most recent examination has been videotaped, has consistently found Baker competent to manage his own affairs and to hire his own professional help.

More than a year ago, a physician for the nursing home where Norman has been confined recommended that he be given an immediate discharge to the community. Baker walks three miles a day inside the home, and does his own laundry. He is dependent on no medications.


Norman Baker's case is not an isolated one. Usually guardianships are necessary where someone has no assets or no family and there has been no estate plan appointing a fiduciary. However, throughout the United States, tens of thousands of elderly citizens with significant assets have been placed under court-appointed guardians.

Though regulations vary from state to state, the attorney-guardians are required to report periodically to the county probate court on the disposition of the assets. Commonly, the attorneys charge fees for "managing" the property of their wards.

The law requires a guardian to act in the ward’s best interests. But often that is a major issue between the guardian and his ward that must be balanced by the Probate Judge, who is expected to act as the "superior guardian".


By and large, legal guardians are expected to pay regular visits to their wards. According to Baker, his court-appointed attorney has visited him just twice in more than two years.

Norman Baker has continuously requested that he have input in to the property management of his estate. But he has been ignored. Decisions have been made about Norman’s bank account and his properties without his knowledge or input, and over his continued objections and complaints.

Baker's court-appointed guardian was recently more than six months late in providing the court with a report on the status of Norman’s assets. Such reports are required by the Fairfield County court every two years, although the better practice is an annual account. Baker's cash assets have been drained, and many of his properties have been brought to the brink of ruin. But it is unclear whether or not all his bills have been properly paid.

Acting on his own, Baker has managed to contract with independent counsel. Susan Wasserman and Lewis E. Williams of Columbus have asked, on his behalf, that Fairfield County Probate Court Judge Stephen Williams set Baker free of his guardianship. But Judge Williams has refused and Norman Baker remains confined to a nursing home against his will.


Baker's troubles began in January, 2005, when he suffered a urinary tract infection. Reports for elder abuse are confidential and it is unclear who made the recommendation that his affairs be turned over to a guardian.

Whatever the situation at that time, Baker has long since recovered. But he still remains under a guardianship established at a hearing in front of Judge Williams where Norman was not represented by legal counsel, and was not in the presence of a blood relative. 


This fall, after numerous attempts to terminate the guardianship, Attorneys Wasserman and Williams moved in the Fairfield County court that Baker's guardianship be vacated.

Ohio law stipulates that someone being subjected to a guardianship has the right to have his closest relative from within the state be present at the determination hearing. Norman Baker’s daughter was not notified because she was out of state, and notification to her was therefore not required by law. But it was mandatory under the law that Norman Baker's brother Robert be noticed, as he lives in-state and is "next of kin."

Because guardianships are invasive proceedings, strict requirements are meant to safeguard situations in which a probate court has such unfettered power over a human being. Norman’s brother, Robert Baker, of Celina, Ohio, has since stated under oath that he would have attended the hearing had he known about it, and that he would have argued then---as he does now---that his brother did not want or need a legal guardian then, and does not want or need one now.

Robert Baker also charges that the attorney appointed by the court to be his brother's guardian sold his own personal antique tractor---inherited from his father---from his brother Norman's farm, and has never accounted for the proceeds.

Norman Baker's farm has also been stripped of many of its accouterments without a full accounting. Its buildings have been left to rot. The land itself may be worth a million dollars or more. Baker's guardian has stated that he has gotten numerous calls from developers wanting to buy it. 


Judge Williams has repeatedly refused to vacate the guardianship. Nor has he set for hearing the objections filed by Baker to the late and incomplete accounting as to what precisely the Guardian has accomplished on his behalf.

By Ohio law, such an accounting was many months overdue until Norman Baker demanded that the account be filed. 
 In December, 2007, at Norman Baker's behest, Attorneys Wasserman and Williams filed a motion with the Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court, Thomas Moyer, asking that Judge Williams be removed from the case. Baker's chosen attorneys argued that Judge Williams's handling of the case "gives the appearance" that there is little hope of Norman Baker escaping his unwanted guardianship, and regaining his freedom with due process of law as guaranteed under the Ohio and U.S. constitutions.

Chief Justice Moyer has recently established a high-level commission charged with looking into the guardianship system in Ohio.
 Nationwide, hundreds of cases similar to Norman Baker's have been reported at places such as the www.stopguardianabuse.org web site. The Los Angeles Times ran a major expose several years ago which has resulted in reform in many states. Extreme as Baker's case may seem, numerous state and local court records are filled with cases of guardianship discord.

Moyers turned down the request that Judge Williams be removed from the case. An appeal on Judge Williams’s denial of the motion to vacate the guardianship has been filed in the Ohio Court of Appeals, Fifth Appellate District.

Thus far, Norman Baker has been in constant litigation for three years against the guardian appointed over him by the court. Norman’s guardianship was imposed in a hearing at which he was unpresented by counsel, and had no relative at his side, even though his brother lives in the state. He is no longer allowed to drive a car or vote. He has been deprived of the management of his properties and of his cash accounts, which by all indications have been seriously mismanaged. The home Norman built with his own hands has been largely ruined through neglect. He has been unable to obtain a full accounting of what has been done with his assets.

In essence, someone who has committed a murder or robbed a bank has more rights than have been granted Norman Baker.

Though the furthest thing imaginable from a terrorist, Norman Baker has no access to habeas corpus, or to a speedy trial.

Every night, Norman Baker goes to bed in his unwanted nursing home, praying for his freedom. If anything, his case stands as a bizarre warning against getting inconveniently ill, even briefly, while being in possession of enough assets to attract a legal guardian to "protect" you in your later years.

As a Franklin County firefighter, Norman Baker worked to save lives. Now he must fight to save his own. "I never dreamed such a thing could happen in this country," he told the Free Press. "I just want to go home."

Letters of support for Norman Baker can be sent to Box 09683, Bexley, OH., 43209 or to harvey@freepress.org.

Robert Fitrakis is an attorney, and publisher of the Columbus Free Press. Harvey Wasserman is author or co-author of a dozen books, and senior editor of The Free Press . He is the spouse of attorney Susan Wasserman. Originally published by http://freepress.org

Oklahoma Drops the Ball on Elder Abuse Bill

Mcalester,OK,USA

Senate Bill 1900 would have increased penalties for abusing the elderly. I would have fully supported this bill; unfortunately, it will not be heard. The chairman of my committee (Criminal Justice and Corrections) and/or the speaker of the House decided that SB 1900 would not be heard.

District 17 state Rep. Brian Renegar: House of Representatives, 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd., Room 326, Oklahoma City, OK, 73105. Capitol office 405-557-7381.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Sumter duo faces theft, forgery, fraud charges

South Carolina,USA

Michael L. Baxley, 33, of 5370 Christine Drive, and Janet M. Baxley, 38, of 31 Gaddy St., were charged Wednesday with exploitation of a vulnerable adult; financial transaction card fraud; burglary; petit larceny; and multiple counts of forgery.

According to a release, the Sumter County Sheriff's Office Investigation Division has been working on several cases involving these two suspects for more than a year. Reports said the two befriended an 83-year-old man and forged more than $20,000 worth of checks in the man's name.
The suspects also, according to reports, pried open the victim's window and stole money from his wallet, resulting in the burglary charge. Investigators said the suspects have admitted to removing copper from air conditioners from approximately 100 residences throughout the county, and the investigation is ongoing. More charges are likely, investigators said, as information is gathered and victims are identified.

Thank you Thank You, Sumter County Sheriff's Office Investigation Division. post by EMalone

Friday, March 28, 2008

Elderly KC Woman Found in Own Waste Dies

An 85-year-old woman who had been allowed to lie in her own waste for several years died at a hospital this morning.

Police arrested a man and two women last Thursday after finding Hazel L. Byes in her bed in the 5700 block of Forest Avenue. An ambulance took Byes to a hospital for treatment.

Police said today they were presenting a case to prosecutors today for possible criminal charges.
According to a police report, firefighters had been called to help transfer Byes, described as “bedridden and overweight,” to a hospital. An officer who responded noted a strong odor of human waste when he entered the home. The source became clear when he saw Byes’ bed, the officer wrote in his report.

Source=>>

Open Estate Planning a Good Thing? Maybe Not

I mentioned in a previous column that open estate planning might be used as a tool to prevent elder abuse. I received a letter from an attorney who didn’t agree. In fact, he believes that open estate planning may cause elder abuse.

He routinely advises clients not to read their Last Will and Testament to their children or give them copies of it, or tell them what is in it. He feels that almost invariably, when they have gone against his suggestions, there is an uproar in the family and it causes a split in the family relationships. He cites some examples, without using names, where open estate planning has led to abuse.

Having your children find out “your” wishes after “your” death by reading “your” Last Will and Testament may not prevent any family feuds. What it does prevent is family feuds in your presence the last 10 or 15 years of your life after you have read your Last Will and Testament before them or told them what’s in it.

Caregiving brother. A woman who had no children had been widowed for about 20 years. She had a brother who lived next door to her who took her to do her shopping, to doctor appointments, to church, and everywhere she needed to go since she didn’t drive.

She had a second brother who lived more than 200 miles away from her. She came to the attorney’s office to write a Will, and left all her modest estate, around $300,000, to the brother who lived next to her because of all the kindnesses he had offered her.

She then left the office, and against her attorney’s advice, told both of the brothers that she had left all her assets to the brother who lived next to her. The brother who lived 200 miles away was furious. The following month she changed her Will so that the assets were left equally to the two brothers. She told her brothers, thinking they would accept her decision.

About a month later she got to feeling bad, came in and changed her Will to the original plan of leaving everything to the brother who lived next door. Again she told her brothers.

She came in a fourth time, and told the attorney she had been receiving constant pressure from the brother who lived 200 miles away to change her Will again, leaving him half.

Her attorney told her to write a Will and leave it all to charity, or at least tell the brothers she had left it all to charity, and only then did she have peace from the quarrelsome brother for the remaining 10 years of her life.

The wayward daughter. This situation involved a widow who had only one child. The child was raised by her parents in one faith but she married a man of another faith, and became a member of his church. Later, under pressure from her husband and the teachings of his church, she came to view the church of her youth in a less favorable light.

The widowed mother, however, remained a faithful member of her church. The attorney wrote a Will for her, and in her Will she left a substantial donation - 25 percent of her estate - to her church. Again, against the attorney’s advice, the mother told the daughter what she was going to do.

The daughter constantly harassed her mother about the Will for the last 15 years of her life, even to the point of withholding visits from her only grandchildren.

It would have been better for the daughter to discover, after her mother’s death that her mother continued to support the faith of her fathers. The mother would have had a much more peaceful final 15 years of her life and would have been able to see her grandchildren more.

The caring daughter. A widow had five daughters, four of whom were financially successful, and one who was financially poor. The mother moved in with the poorer child because she had the more generous heart. The richer daughters did not have time for their mother, although they had larger houses, smaller families, and were better off financially. The mother also gave her devoted child Power of Attorney.

The more successful daughters called daily, not wanting to talk to the mother, but to find out what checks had been written by the caregiving daughter on behalf of the mother. They would take turns calling. One would call in the morning, one would call in the afternoon, another the morning of the next day, and another the afternoon of the next day, and so on, again not wanting to talk to the mother, but to find out if and when any checks had been written.

The attorney points out that the abuse came at the hands of the greedy daughters who had all been successful financially, not by the devoted daughter who was acting out of the generosity of her heart.

No universal answer.

Each family situation and dynamics are different. By being too open, some parents may invite manipulation, conflict and abuse into their own lives. By not being open enough, some parents allow conflicts and inequities to burst after they are deceased.

Do you have examples of how openness backfired or how failure to be open lead to broken family relationships? Send your response to val@valfarmer.com or write to “Estate Planning” in care of The Preston Connection, PO Box 1135, Orem UT 84058.

For more information on estate planning, visit Val Farmer’s website at www.valfarmer.com.

For Val Farmer’s new book on marriage, “To Have and To Hold,” send a check or money order for $14.95 plus $3.95 for shipping and handling for the first book and $2 for each additional book to JV Publishing, LLC, PO Box 886, Casselton, ND 58012.

Val Farmer is a clinical psychologist specializing in family business consultation and mediation with farm families. He lives in Wildwood, Mo., and can be contacted through his website.

Source=>>

Abuse Of Older People Nation's 'Secret Shame'

UK. - Human rights amendment will help to close the 'protection gap'

Help the Aged today responded to the Government's pledge that the Human Rights Act will be extended to cover residents in private care homes, and the announcement of a a major study into abuse of elderly people in NHS hospitals and care homes. Kate Jopling, head of public affairs at Help the Aged said:

'Nine out of ten care homes are within the private or charitable sector, but as the law stands, residents at these homes are not protected by the Human Rights Act.

'Whether it be a lack of privacy and dignity, a case of bullying or sheer neglect, there have been numerous instances in which older people have been denied their most basic human rights, but have had no legal protection.

'The failure to protect these groups has been a blight on our society for too long, and Help the Aged has lobbied for many years for this scandalous loophole to be closed.

'The Government's amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill will help to close the protection gap, and ensure these most vulnerable people have proper protection.'

Ms Jopling also welcomed the annoucement of research into elder abuse in care homes and on NHS wards:

'Abuse of the some of the most vulnerable people in our society is this nation's secret shame. The previous study, published by Comic Relief, showed how widespread elder abuse is in the community; this new study will lay bare the extent of mistreatment and abuse of older people in institutional settings.

'Abuse of older people takes many forms and can happen in any context. It's vital that the Government's investigation into the extent of elder abuse leads to concrete action.

'Half a million older people are believed to be abused at any one time in the UK. This is a shocking statistic. Ignorance prevents us from recognising the true extent and nature of elder abuse. We have ignored it for too long.

'All older people have a right to live their lives free from fear of abuse and neglect, whoever is responsible for their care - the state, a private provider or the voluntary sector.'

Help the Aged is currently campaigning to secure a change in the law to outlaw age discrimination in the provision of goods, facilities and services. Please visit http://www.helptheaged.org.uk/en-gb/Campaigns/ for information about 'Just Equal Treatment'.

Right care, Right deal' is the new national campaign launched to build public awareness and support for the need for brave and innovative solutions for the social care system. With the Government indicating that social care is an urgent political priority, and in advance of the expected green paper later in 2008, the campaign combines three of the UK's largest charities working with and for older people and their families and carers, and will urge the government to renew its vision for the future of social care in England. Visit http://www.rightcare.org.uk/

Help the Aged is the charity fighting to free disadvantaged older people in the UK and overseas from poverty, isolation, neglect and ageism. It campaigns to raise public awareness of the issues affecting older people and to bring about policy change. The Charity delivers a range of services: information and advice, home support and community living, including international development work. These are supported by its paid-for services and fundraising activities - which aim to increase funding in the future to respond to the growing unmet needs of disadvantaged older people. Help the Aged also funds vital research into the health issues and experiences of older people to improve the quality of later life.

Help the Aged urgently needs donations and support to help it in the increasingly challenging fight to free disadvantaged older people from poverty, isolation and neglect.

Source: Medical News Today

Medicare's Hospital Trust Fund Will Be Insolvent by 2019, According to Trustees Report

The Medicare hospital insurance trust fund will become insolvent by 2019, the estimate given last year, according to a report released on Tuesday by the board of trustees for Medicare and Social Security, the New York Times reports (Pear, New York Times, 3/26). The trustees projected that Medicare spending will increase from 3.2% of gross domestic product in 2007 to 10.8% in 2082, which is slightly less than trustees predicted last year (Wayne, CQ Today, 3/25).

Medicare Funding Warning The trustees also issued a "Medicare funding warning," which will require the next president to propose a plan to reduce the program's use of general tax revenues, CQ Today reports. Under the 2003 Medicare law, the funding warning is triggered when trustees estimate for two consecutive years that federal general fund revenue will finance more than 45% of total program costs within seven years. In response to last year's warning, President Bush proposed a plan that would require higher-income beneficiaries to contribute higher Medicare premiums and limit awards in medical malpractice lawsuits. The proposal has been introduced in the House and Senate, but the bills are not expected to advance, according to CQ Today (CQ Today, 3/25).

Source Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report

Thursday, March 27, 2008

California Panel Approves Wolk Bill to Increase Reporting to Elder Abuse

SACRAMENTO–Legislation by Assemblywoman Lois Wolk (D-Davis) to help local district attorneys investigate and prosecute elder abuse cases that occur in long-term care facilities was unanimously approved by the Assembly Public Safety Committee.

"Every year hundreds of cases of physical abuse in California nursing homes and assisted living centers, including potential felonies such as assault, rape, and sexual molestation, are reported to state licensing agencies, but not to local law enforcement," said Wolk. "This bill builds on the ombudsman reporting system now in place and makes sure with a simple cross-report that the most serious cases are brought to the immediate attention of local law enforcement, before evidence is lost or destroyed, or witnesses forget key details, making it impossible to prosecute the criminals committing these horrible crimes."

Under existing law, local ombudsmen are assigned to monitor facilities that provide care for elderly and dependent adults. Ombudsmen are required to report known or suspected cases of abuse to one of several state agencies in charge of licensing the facility. However, they are not required to report elder abuse to the local district attorney or law enforcement agency, those best situated to investigate and, when warranted, prosecute the case. Every year, thousands of abuse cases are reported to state agencies, but only a handful ever reach the attention of local prosecutors.

"The California Senior Legislature (CSL) strongly supports Assemblywoman Wolk´s bill," said Shirley Krohn, a senior assemblymember with CSL, the bill´s sponsor. "It sends a message that the frail elderly who must live in a long-term care facility can do so knowing they are safe from the many forms of abuse that plague them today, and that they are respected and treated with dignity."

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It is sad that elder abuse is not reported to law enforcement agencies, it is time that elder abuse be treated as a criminal matter and not a civil matter, there is nothing civil about elder abuse!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

FS 825.103 "Exploitation of an elderly person or disabled adult" means:

Title XLVI CRIMES

Chapter 825 ABUSE, NEGLECT, AND EXPLOITATION OF ELDERLY PERSONS AND DISABLED ADULTS

View Entire Chapter
825.103 Exploitation of an elderly person or disabled adult; penalties.--
(1) "Exploitation of an elderly person or disabled adult" means:
(a) Knowingly, by deception or intimidation, obtaining or using, or endeavoring to obtain or use, an elderly person's or disabled adult's funds, assets, or property with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive the elderly person or disabled adult of the use, benefit, or possession of the funds, assets, or property, or to benefit someone other than the elderly person or disabled adult, by a person who:

1. Stands in a position of trust and confidence with the elderly person or disabled adult; or
2. Has a business relationship with the elderly person or disabled adult; or
(b) Obtaining or using, endeavoring to obtain or use, or conspiring with another to obtain or use an elderly person's or disabled adult's funds, assets, or property with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive the elderly person or disabled adult of the use, benefit, or possession of the funds, assets, or property, or to benefit someone other than the elderly person or disabled adult, by a person who knows or reasonably should know that the elderly person or disabled adult lacks the capacity to consent.

(2)(a) If the funds, assets, or property involved in the exploitation of the elderly person or disabled adult is valued at $100,000 or more, the offender commits a felony of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(b) If the funds, assets, or property involved in the exploitation of the elderly person or disabled adult is valued at $20,000 or more, but less than $100,000, the offender commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(c) If the funds, assets, or property involved in the exploitation of an elderly person or disabled adult is valued at less than $20,000, the offender commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
History.--s. 4, ch. 95-158; s. 5, ch. 96-322; s. 1, ch. 97-78.

Letters to Editor - The Tragedy of Forced Guardianships

"Elder Fireman Detained Against His Will.- His Crime..."

This is yet another tradegy created by the courts help. It makes me sick. This man lost everything, but what else is new when your talking about involuntary guardianships. This is actually pretty typical.

It dumbfounds me every time I say this, but after investigating these kinds of situations for over a year now, I can say that this is a typical situation.The attorney does not want to be deemed a thief or an abuser. He does not want to lose face with the public. He certainly does not want to let go of one of his many meal tickets so he either bribes, threatens, convinces or sways the medical examiner to see things his way and the courts allow the attorney aka guardians to do this.

Everyone wins in these situations but the elderly ward.The ward loses his life, his rights and his self esteem while the blood suckers feed off the ward until the ward is left to die with nothing.Even after being in the know about these elder crimes for as along as I have, I still cannot grasp what is happening here in the United States.

It still upsets my day every day. I grieve day and night for these elderly people who have done nothing wrong, who only want to live their golden years in peace.

Animals have more rights then elderly people with involuntary court appointed guardians.I believe the judges who refuse to listen need to be jailed too. I wish more citizens would get involved, we need all the help we can get. Thanks as always for this wonderful Blog.
Everyone needs to read this, everyone.God bless you and this Blog.

Angela

The Danger of Being a Senior Citizen

By MARGIE TRAX PAGE - Staff Writer - Star Beacon

Ashtabula,OH,USA Martha Gillespie knows the danger involved with being a senior citizen.

As program administrator for the Ashtabula County Department of Job and Family Services (ACDJFS), Gillespie hands out tissues and advice to local seniors, helping them through tough times and confusing issues. But for all Gillespie’s work, her most heartbreaking cases involve elder abuse.

“Last year we had many cases of elder abuse and it was shocking to me not only that this could happen, but that seniors and the people around them don’t really know much about elder abuse, neglect and exploitation,” Gillespie said.

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Elder Woman Allowed to Lie in Her own Waste for Years.- No Charges Filed!

By MARK MORRIS The Kansas City Star

Kansas City police arrested three people Thursday during an elder-abuse investigation in which an elderly woman had been allowed to lie in her own waste for several years.

Police spokesman Rich Lockhart said firefighters called police when they answered a call to the home of Hazel L. Byes, 85, in the 5700 block of Forest Avenue Thursday evening.

“They reported that her condition was potentially life-threatening as a result of not being moved and lying in her own waste for several years,” Lockhart said.

No charges have yet been filed against those arrested, a 46-year-old man and two women, ages 47 and 50, all of whom Lockhart described as family members.

According to a police report from the scene, firefighters had been called to help transfer Byes, described as “bedridden and overweight,” to a hospital.

Police Officer Charles J. Miller wrote that he noticed a strong odor of human waste when he entered the home. The source became clear when he saw Byes’ bed.

“I observed a big indentation covered in what appeared to be dry human feces in the middle of the victims’ bed,” Miller wrote.

Police called in the domestic violence unit to continue the investigation and Byes was taken to an area hospital for treatment, according to the report.

Abducted Elder Manages to Escape to Freedom - Sues Daughter to Regain His Property

Danville,VA,USA By REBECCA BLANTON - A woman being sued by her father is barred from selling or transferring any of his real estate until the suit is resolved.

Pittsylvania County Circuit Court Judge Charles Strauss has issued an order expanding the temporary injunction that was granted on Feb. 22 against Emma and Bobby Doss.

The couple is being sued by Moncie Lee Doss, who claims Emma, his daughter, and her husband held him against his will for two years, drugged him and sold off his property after gaining power of attorney over his affairs.

Moncie Lee Doss said he managed to escape from the couple and get to safety, according to court documents filed in the case. He is now suing to regain his property and damages.

Doss alleges his daughter auctioned off his farm for approximately $670,000 and diverted $317,000 in his tobacco buyout payments for her use.

Strauss said it appeared that Moncie Lee Doss had raised a “substantial factual and legal basis for the order.”

The injunction prevents Emma Doss from receiving any installment payments associated with her father’s tobacco buyout payments, or from receiving any lump sum payment from the tobacco buyout payments.

Emma and Bobby Doss did not show up for the hearing Friday in Circuit Court.

No attorney or other representative for the couple showed for the hearing either.

Moncie Doss is asking for compensatory damages of $1.5 million and punitive damages of $350,000 in his lawsuit.

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Elder Abuse On The Rise

Fall River Herald News - MA, USA by By Deborah Allard

Bristol Elder Services investigated 243 cases of elder abuse from July to December of 2007, showing a disturbing upward trend of abuse and mistreatment of local senior citizens.
The year before, the elder advocacy agency opened 202 cases of elder abuse.

Reports ranged from physical, emotional and sexual abuse, to financial exploitation, self-neglect and caretaker neglect — the latter two ranking among the highest forms of elder abuse.
“It does seem to be an increasing problem for more and more elders,” said Karen Statser, Bristol Elder Services’ director of programs.

“A lot of people hope that if they reach that stage of life and are healthy, they should be able to enjoy it,” said Dias-Rezendes.

“We know that there are probably more cases that go unreported,” said Statser. “As much as possible, we try to preserve their way of life for them.”

Abuse cases are up statewide, with a 12 percent rise in the last two years. Since July of 2007, there have been more than 700 elder abuse reports in the 23 communities — including the greater Attleboro, Fall River, New Bedford and Taunton areas — served by Bristol Elder Services.

The agency’s emergency abuse hot line has been busier, too. In fiscal year 2006, the hot line received 81 after-hours calls. That number rose to 195 in fiscal year 2007.
Statser said reports are up because there are simply a greater number of elders living today as baby boomers reach their senior years and medical advancements continue to prolong life. She thinks people are also becoming more knowledgeable about the mistreatment of elderly people and are stepping up and reporting abuse.
“I think people are becoming more informed,” said Dias-Rezendes. “They’re recognizing the signs and symptoms of abuse.”

She said other agencies and interested individuals can join the coalition and take part in an elder abuse training on April 2 at a time and place to be announced.
To learn more about the Elder Justice Coalition, call Statser or Dias-Rezendes at Bristol Elder Services at 508-675-2105.

To report elder abuse, call the above number during normal business hours or call the emergency hot line at 800-922-2275 after hours.

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Predatory Practices Reach Epidemic Proportions : How Many Families Must Be Destroyed?


The brazen fleecing of our elder citizens seems to get worst by the day with an out of control Judiciary system that rubber stamps the take over of elder finances in contrary to the the spirit of the laws that are clear on how Guardianships are to be established and used in the event that the elder has no one to look for him/her, is it any wonder that others are following suit in the feeding frenzy that follows . Our Question and that of our readers is :

How Bad does it need to get before our lawmakers take action ? How many families must be destroyed ?

In August 2007, investigator Eric Bremner found evidence in a shredder at Olympic Escrow that he says confirmed borrowers' complaints that they had never signed the mortgage documents that pushed them into a financial hell.

Bremner found pieces of documents that had been cut to remove signatures and notary seals. Loan applications, escrow agreements and other documents had signatures that had been taped on, he said.

"That validated the statements that the victims had been making over and over again: That they did not recall signing these documents and they did not agree to the terms of the loans they were given," says Bremner, a senior investigator in the real estate fraud unit of the San Bernardino County district attorney's office.

The discovery was the turning point in an investigation that led to this week's closure of seven brokerage and escrow companies in an ongoing campaign against predatory lenders.
A single family is suspected of leading an operation that processed thousands of home loans in California during the past several years in a widespread refinancing scam.

The case has brought renewed calls for tighter regulation of the troubled mortgage industry that threatens to take the U.S. economy down with it.

Experts say the fraud occurred in a weak regulatory environment in a business that offered huge financial incentives to brokers willing to cheat.

"There's no regulatory oversight," said Dustin Hobbs, communication director for the California Mortgage Bankers Association. "Like these people found out, until you file a complaint, there's no oversight of these brokers."

Prosecutors call it the most brazen case they have seen, and an operation that slipped past loan officers and regulators in a booming housing market fueled by greed.

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From Key West to Hawaii Elders Wealth Ripe for Picking

Honolulu,HI,USA By Alexandre Da Silva

The perpetrator Matthew M. Ako III, who was arrested during the weekend, has been charged 25 times for various offenses since 1991, state criminal records show. He was found guilty of burglary four times.

Spallina said police are still searching for another man suspected of helping Ako ransack the home of 79-year-old Yaeko Matsumoto on March 7. Police said the men locked Matsumoto in her bathroom and stole numerous items, including a portable safe, before fleeing in her 2003 Cadillac.

Matsumoto is recovering from broken ribs and a collapsed lung she suffered during the attack. Her husband, former City Councilman Toraki Matsumoto, 78, was not home when the robbery happened.

Police found the Cadillac abandoned on Loaa Street. Inside, they discovered a key chain with a photo of a man whom police determined was a victim of a separate auto theft.

Anyone with information about the cases can call Crime Stoppers at 955-8300.

Elder abuse — Ageism — The Silent Shameful Crime of America

By JOAN BURGE

Elder abuse has long been called the “The Silent Crime”, when in fact it is anything but. Research and data show the millions of elderly citizens in America are victims of abuse, neglect, and exploitation each year.

But we must recognize and not avoid the issues of elder abuse and ageism in America.

Ask The Attoney : What Can I do to Help Friend in ALF ?

Hello

I need help being pointed in the right direction to get assistance for an elderly woman currently residing in an assisted living facility in Orlando, Florida.

She is our neighbor, and over the past 13 years has become part of our family. We love her and are very concerned about her welfare. Two years ago she was afflicted with Guillian Barre Syndrome, but has since recovered and is back to her old former self, completely able to manage living alone again (with a little assistance, which we are more than willing to provide)

The problem is her family. They are mental abusing her and are keeping her in the assisted living facility against her will. Her son told an employee of the facility that he does not want her to come home because he is afraid of what she will do when she finds out they have cleaned out her house and disposed of a lot of her personal belongings and keepsakes. Bottom line is he is afraid she will disown him and write him out of the will. We are talking quite a large amount of money, as her house is completely paid for and worth about 500,000. Her son had power of attorney, which she would like to change but her refuses to give her her purse or ID's.

How can we get her assistance and transportation home (from Orlando, Florida to Lakeland, Florida, a distance of about 50 miles. (I cannot drive long distances or I would do it myself) I know there will be a confrontation at the facility when someone comes to pick her up.

Please help me to help her, it would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for your time and assistance.

Sincerely,
Sylvia B

By Maria C. Gallo, Esquire

Why does she need transportation from Orlando to Lakeland Florida? There are agencies (Angel on Board, Hughes Transportation) and other transportation facilities that can transport a perfectly competent person from one place to another.

The neighbors have little to no standing as they are not family but if the lady in the ALF has not been declared incompetent, then she needs to revoke her POA and simply, make arrangements to move back home. She is presumed to be competent to make the necessary arrangements to get services in her home.

If the neighbor thinks that the little lady is being financially or economically exploited, then they can report it to the Department of Elder Affairs at 1-800-96-ABUSE.

New York State Lawmakers Approve "Granny's Law"

New York.-USA NY1.News

State lawmakers unanimously approved a law Tuesday that toughens penalties for assaults against the elderly.

The so-called "Granny's Law" makes it a felony to assault anyone 65 or older, as long as the attacker is at least ten years younger. The penalty is up to seven years in prison. The measure was introduced in the face of public outcry over the attack last year on a 101-year-old woman in Queens.

A half hour later an 85-year-old woman was also punched in the face and robbed by the same man. Jack Rhodes was charged on numerous counts in connection with the attacks and faces up to 90 years in prison if convicted.

NY Governor Paterson Announces $800 Million in Additional Spending Reductions to Ensure Fiscal Integrity in the State Budget

New York City , USA .- Governor Paterson announced today an additional $800 million in spending reductions! It is absolutely critical that you send in letters to key legislators in support of geriatric mental health funding. Click here for the press release regarding the spending reductions.

As you know, the Assembly added $2.5 million for geriatric mental health and chemical dependency services in its one House budget bill. The Senate has added $500,000 for geriatric mental health. The mental health conference committee is beginning to meet this week to discuss final budget negotiations.

We urge you to send in the below letters to the key legislators, thanking them for their support and asking them to support the Assembly ask in the final budget. Please print and mail in the following:

Letter to Senator Golden
Letter to Senator Morahan
Letter to Assemblymember Dinowitz
Letter to Assemblymember Rivera
Letter to Assemblymember Ortiz

You can simply fill out your name and addresses, sign below, and mail them in. We also encourage you to put them on agency letterhead and send them on behalf of your organization.
Thank you for your advocacy!

Ken Onaitis LMSW
Director, Police Relations & Elder Abuse
Carter Burden Center for the Aging
1484 First Ave.
New York, NY 10075
212-879-7400 x116
onaitisk@burdencntr.org

Sweetheart Scams Alive and Well

Riverside, California.USA By JESSICA LOGAN PE.Com

A 34-year-old woman was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of stealing from a 79-year-old Riverside man who police said she had talked into proposing marriage, a news release from the Riverside Police Department stated.

Nina Costello of Perris befriended the 79-year-old man. She promised to help him do "Christ's work," the release stated.

The man, recently widowed, lived in a federally subsidized apartment on Social Security, the release stated.

The woman convinced the man to furnish her home where she told him he would eventually live and buy her a car, the release stated.

An associate of the woman, who police identified as Larry Thompson, 35, also of Perris, told the 79-year-old man that he was the woman's brother and talked the man into giving him money.
The woman used the victim's credit to buy about $80,000 worth of property including a 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe, furnishings and an engagement ring that police found at a pawn shop, the release stated.

Costello and Thompson were arrested on suspicion of theft by false pretenses and elder abuse.
By law, policing agencies are not allowed to release to the public the names of people who they believe are victims of elder abuse.

Anyone who knows about this case or who may have been victimized is asked to call Riverside police Detective Brian Money at 951-353-7118.

Senator Alesi,R-Perinton Want to Make Reporting Elder Abuse 'Mandatory'

Elder abuse is an escalating and often neglected problem in the United States, as highlighted by a recent Lifespan report that documented 1,300 cases in the Rochester-Finger Lakes area alone.

Many of our families rely on institutions or specialized care at home for aging family members, and it is essential that safe, professional care be available at all times.

To combat this growing issue, I have again introduced legislation (S.1916) that would require individuals treating or caring for people with physical or emotional symptoms of abuse to report this crime to authorities.

Those who knowingly or willingly fail to report abuse shall be civilly liable for the damages caused by such failure and will be guilty of a Class "A" misdemeanor.

This legislation has now passed the Senate five years in a row but has languished in committee in the Assembly.However, by holding nursing homes and caretakers responsible for reporting symptoms of abuse, we can help protect our vulnerable citizens.

Alesi, R-Perinton, represents the 55th District in the state Senate.

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It's a Shame That We Even Need Laws to Compel People to do What is So Clearly the Moral Thing To Do.

Contra Costa Times

THE $23,095.58 WIRE transfer from Jack Whittaker's savings account at the Antioch Schools Federal Credit Union was the first sign something was fishy.

A day after the money had left his account, the 82-year-old widower went in to the credit union to make a withdrawal. He was shocked to learn that his account was nearly empty. The money he thought was there had gone to purchase an annuity he knew nothing about.

Whittaker had opened it back in the 1950s. The balance hadn't been touched in at least five years. Suddenly, in April 2005, Whittaker began coming in to the branch and withdrawing hundreds of dollars at a time. A younger man was always with him, near the counter or outside in a black truck. He claimed he was Whittaker's caretaker, but Greaff didn't believe him.

On Dec. 14, 2005, Whittaker came in to the credit union to withdraw $500. The teller, aware of the red flags on the account, asked Whittaker what he wanted it for. "I don't know," he said. "I just have to give somebody $500."

Greaff went to the authorities with suspicions that Whittaker was being taken advantage of financially.

According to Lynn Uikema, Contra Costa deputy district attorney, the credit union's vigilance foiled an ex-felon's elaborate scheme to steal everything that Whittaker owned.

Thanks to alert employees, Uilkema was able to put Joe Gonzales where he belongs - in prison, serving a 10-year sentence for elder theft.

It's because of shameless predators like Gonzales that the state Legislature passed the Financial Elder Abuse Reporting Act, which went into effect in January.

It requires all employees of financial institutions - banks, credit unions and savings and loans - to contact the police department or Adult Protective Services if they suspect that an elderly person is a victim of financial abuse.

The banking industry fought against this law to protect our seniors. Bankers argued that it wasn't their job to be policemen.

Since January, law enforcement agencies throughout the state have been deluged with invaluable tips from financial institutions. We believe state lawmakers should look at expanding the list of mandatory reporters.

Why not, for example, add title officers who routinely witness elder financial abuse in real estate transactions, but don't come forward because of confidentiality concerns?


It's a shame that we even need a law to compel people to do what is so clearly the moral thing to do.

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Related Stories by The Contra Costa Times :

Theft of Elder Nation: An editorial seriesState needs to revoke theft license

Theft of Elder Nation: An editorial series:Getting involved early is critical

Theft of Elder Nation: An editorial seriesElder court is crucial

ENDANGERED SENIORSElder financial abuse has become a hidden national epidemic

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Having a much more heightened awareness of Elder Financial Abuse, while in line at a bank , in Florida I have often witnessed an elder citizen approach a teller a withdraw a large sum of money with a younger person standing by in the shadows, without so much of a raised eyebrow from the bank teller or bank officials.

I have observed this behavior several times, and after my own attempts to report Elder Financial Abuse in my family where the paper trial is obvious, and the exploitation well documented, only to have met with ostracizing, "it's a civil matter," and unjust retaliatory complaints , I knew that I had better kept my mouth shut, lest being told to mind my own business.

It's sad to say; "We need laws to compel people to do what is clearly the moral thing to do!"

Stolen Lives

by AARP Magazine Feb 2008

Thousands of older Americans are being robbed of their freedom, dignity, and life savings by a legal system created for their protection. How can this happen?

The Christmas Day before the courts stripped Inez America Carr of her independence, she woke up earlier than usual to help prepare the traditional family feast. She started first on the rolls, dozens of them, mixing the homemade batter and allowing the miniature loaves to rise, then bake, before stacking them on sheets of wax paper. She washed the collards, set them to boil in an aluminum pot with a chunk of salt pork for flavoring, then peeled the fat sweet potatoes and dressed them with liberal amounts of butter, sugar, and nutmeg. By evening, her three-story home in San Francisco's upscale Pacific Heights was thick with the savory smells of the cooking of her Mississippi roots.

It was a typical Christmas for the Carrs. Inez, a retired practical nurse, and her husband, Carnell, a retired psychiatric technician, never had children of their own, but they never lacked invitations to holiday dinners. Over more than a half-century, the Carrs had grown kin-close to a family named the Jolivets, whose matriarch, Joanne Gentry, worked alongside Inez at the old Franklin Hospital in the Duboce Triangle in the 1950s and '60s. After Gentry's death, two younger generations of Jolivets adopted the Carrs as their own. They've shopped for the couple, shuttled them to doctor appointments, and helped with repairs to their Victorian home. "They are my family," Inez says. "They look out for us."

On that peaceful Christmas Day 2001, the assembled family had no idea of the drama that was about to unfold: Just three months later, a visit from two out-of-town relatives would set in motion a series of events that would land the Carrs in front of a San Francisco judge. He would decide the couple were incompetent to handle their own affairs, and place them—ostensibly for their own well-being—under the care of professional conservators. These total strangers would assume control of the Carrs' finances, placing them on a restrictive monthly allowance.

They would redirect their mail and try to replace Carnell's doctor—all the while billing the Carrs $90 an hour for their services. Eventually, legal and conservator fees would drain much of the couple's life savings. The court would even bar Inez from hiring her own lawyer.

Inez America Carr grew up with the rural Southern values of self-reliance and autonomy, and the sudden loss of independence—and the ensuing struggle to win it back—has left her a perplexed and angry 93-year-old.

What happened doesn't square with her vision of the country that gave her both a middle name and a lifetime of opportunity. "How in the world can they do this to me under the clear blue sky, under the guise that they're protecting me?" she asks.

The answer: It happens every day across the country to unsuspecting people just like Inez, because of a patchwork of state laws designed to care for adults who can't take care of themselves—incapacitated adults. Often the system works. But too often it backfires, leaving its victims worse off than they might have been without the system's so-called protections.

That system is known in most states as "guardianship." California calls it "conservatorship." Some places use both terms to mean slightly different things. But the upshot is the same: In every state, a judge has the right to decide that someone is no longer capable of running his or her own life. The judge can then appoint a guardian to make all major decisions for the ward (the term used to describe a person placed under guardianship).

The guardianship system, which was brought over from England during colonial times, is now considered a necessary part of elder law, to be used under narrow circumstances and only as a last resort. Without such a process, there might not be anyone to make health care decisions for, say, a person suffering from dementia who has no caregiver. But while many guardianship cases go off without a hitch, the system is also rife with opportunities for financial exploitation, medical neglect, and the wrongful usurping of a competent person's freedom.

"Guardianship is a godsend and a gulag," says Erica Wood, associate staff director of the American Bar Association's Commission on Law and Aging. "It's a lifesaver and a life stopper. It's an institution that we as a society need. But we need to make it better."
“You could be a shoe salesman at a five-and-dime store yesterday and a professional conservator or guardian today.”

The perils of guardianship first gained public notice in 1987, when a platoon of Associated Press reporters fanned out across the United States, reviewing 2,200 case files for a six-part investigative series. The reporters uncovered "a dangerously burdened and troubled system" in which judges were committing people to guardianships without first permitting them access to attorneys or even hearings. They also discovered that "often, in the eyes of the court, being old and spending money foolishly" were criteria enough to warrant being placed in a guardianship. What's more, there were few safeguards to ensure that guardians didn't abuse or steal from their charges.

Conservators and guardians continue to siphon five- and six-figure sums from the bank accounts of the very people they are supposed to be protecting. Sometimes that siphoning is pure theft; other times guardians simply charge astronomical fees for their services.

New York's Daily News reported about guardians who billed their clients' estates $300 an hour for such routine services as reviewing bank accounts or paying bills . One guardian reportedly visited a client who was celebrating her birthday, then billed her $850 for the social call. In many cases, the client not only has to pay the guardian for his or her services, but also must pay the guardian's attorney for time spent on the case.

Adding to the potential for abuse is the fact that there is no uniformity in records states must keep. Consequently, no one knows exactly how widespread the problems are. Many experts consider abuse rampant. Bob Aldridge, a Boise, Idaho, elder-law attorney who testified recently on the issue before Congress, reviewed 250 guardianships on behalf of the state bar association and Idaho court system, uncovering more than 50 with "egregious" problems. "These are not isolated,
occasional blips," he says. "This constitutes a significant portion of the cases out there. They were flat-out rip-off situations."

Over the years, the Carrs have accumulated their share of medical problems. Carnell has dementia and heart disease. Inez suffers from high blood pressure and diabetes. Twice a day she measures her blood sugar, keeping meticulous records of her levels. With the Jolivets' help, the couple were able to juggle the constant demands of medications and doctor visits.

In early June, Kizer called San Francisco's Adult Protective Services and reported her observations. She also claimed that the Jolivets were trying to financially exploit her great-uncle and his wife.

Kizer says her sole concern was for the Carrs' welfare. Inez suspected other motives: She believed Kizer was trying to protect her father's inheritance by accusing Chris Jolivet and his family of undue influence and neglect. Regardless of Kizer's intentions, her call to APS triggered an aggressive investigation—too aggressive, says Dennis Livingston, an attorney hired by the Jolivets to help them deal with the situation. "Adult Protective Services came in like a bull in a china shop," Livingston says. "The presumption was that because Mrs. Carr was in her 90s, she couldn't possibly be competent."

For Inez, those reforms could not come soon enough. "I wouldn't want anybody else to go through this," she says. "This is too much. They're supposed to be protecting you. But you're not protected at all."

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

'Elder Torture' Alive and Well in the USA

While we are concerned with the torture of enemy combatants , our own elders are being tortured everyday in America, some face a slow death by starvation, other are stripped of their wealth , their dignity , their families are destroyed and they are held prisoners in their own homes.


This was a disturbing case of elder abuse caught on tape… a 90 year old Baltimore man beaten by his caretaker. The victim’s daughter is now pushing for a law in her dad’s name that would stiffen elder abuse penalties.

The victim’s daughter, Jaki Taylor, made the discovery thanks to cameras she had put in her home. The caretaker Anastacia Oluoch was arrested and charged in the beating. But she was able to make bail and eventually flee from the law. Taylor says, “It makes me really irate that she bailed herself out with the money I had been paying her to take care of my dad.

Eight days before the trial, she flees the country and goes back home to Nairobi, Kenya.” The caretaker never stood trial. That prompted Taylor to push for legislation in her father’s name. It’s called the John Taylor act and the bill would stiffen penalties and deny bail to anyone charged with first degree elder abuse. Senator Lisa Gladden is sponsoring the bill. “It is not right that we allow our elders be abused in this manner and if you do, we’re gonna hold you in jail until you come to court.” Since the beating, Taylor’s father has been in a nursing home. Taylor says,

“His health just rapidly declined and he has not been back home yet, he’s still in the critical care unit in the nursing home.” Although it’s unclear if the bill will pass this session, supporters say it’s a start to protecting the elderly from abuse. The bill would also allow officials to withhold the suspect’s passport to prevent that person from fleeing the country.

Source ABCNews.Com

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Abuse of The Elderly Under Reported


At a conference on the Neglect and Abuse of the Elderly in Brussels, Belgium, it was reported that more than 80% of abuse of the elderly is not reported and not well researched.
Surveys carried out in a number of European Union (EU) countries indicate that the vast majority of abuses, either physical or financial, are committed by family members or caregivers.
Speakers called for this 'hidden' abuse to be highlighted and for the elderly to be granted the same level of human rights and dignity as the rest of society.

Tell the FDA to Stand Up to Drug Companies

TV drug ads are bad enough. But now drug companies are fighting against requests for 1-800 numbers and websites that would allow people to report the side effects from these drugs. They just don't want to hear it.


The most commonly advertised drugs are the new drugs - and not all of the side effects may be known. It's a simple fact, and the drug companies need to accept it. If we can't count on them to make our drugs safe, who can we count on?

These TV ads make a person believe that the latest prescription drug can alleviate their problems, raising expectations of what a particular drug can and cannot do. So, the users of these drugs deserve to be able to report any side effects.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

THE SKY IS FALLING: One Third of Boomers May be Victims

Irene A. Masiello / author: PARADISE COSTS--

We’re living in a voracious society with predators lurking in lending and in legislation not to mention a plethora of predatory offenders ready to lash out at the vulnerable.

In nature, predatory animals stalk the weak in order to survive. They slither along the brush on the plains or in the shadows of forestry ready to devour their prey. While humankind considers itself more "civilized," too many do likewise.

In life, business or politics, if common decency or, God forbid, human life gets in the way of profit margin, people are viewed as the expendable commodity. The bottom line for too many: get all they can and when an escape from the plundering is needed let’s delve into the compelling social issues of the times.

Observe the media frenzy about how much weight the celebrities gained or who's in which rehab, what major league baseball players are alleged to be involved with steroids and Congress’ interest in less than 100 professional athletes.

Meanwhile, America is pouring its much needed resources into a war that almost no one supports. The feds are trying to bail out the mortgage/credit industry. The infrastructures in our cities are collapsing. Many are complaining about the presidential candidates, their lack of qualifications and their spending millions on campaigns that resound with inconsistency and insincerity.

Nevertheless the largest voting block in America, 78 million baby-boomers and their parents, are at risk of being nothing more than fodder for predators with the national elder advocacy groups having estimated that as many as 27 million baby boomers alone may well be just that.

Elder groups report a substantiated statistical based warning that the numbers of victims of elder abuse, neglect and exploitation are exploding. An American pandemic already exists and it’s growing into a holocaust-like picture for the future.

A U.S. Department of Justice report indicates the ways in which to abuse, exploit or neglect a senior citizen are about as endless as the blabber coming out of the presidential campaign.

Five years ago, The Journal of the American Medical Association stated that it will be 30-40 years before we, as a nation, will be as aware of the issues regarding elder abuse as we currently are about child abuse.

The Elder Justice Act, meanwhile, sits unnoticed in both Houses of the Congress while the poorly funded elder advocacy groups attempt to grab the attention of our aging nation like Chicken Little compelling us to be aware that “the sky falling.”

Not to over-state the obvious, but something is seriously wrong in this country besides the war, the stock market, the various predatory situations, the mortgage crisis, corporate CEO's getting millions as a bonus, security and exchange fraud, the healthcare crisis, etc. Yet in the height of arrogance and hypocrisy, we want to share democracy with the rest of world even if we have to invade to do so.

Has the $20 million a day being pilfered off the elderly in California alone been fueling the war or Blackwater, bailing out the mortgage industry, helping to stabilize the sub-prime lending rate or funding the investigation into the drug habits of a handful of over-paid professional athletes?

We, as a nation, require a change in priorities.

Baby-boomers, use your enormous numbers, voting power and resources to make it happen by lobbying for the Elder Justice Act. Write your senators, become a member of the Elder Justice Coalition and send a message, namely, that 78 million baby-boomers and their parents refuse to tolerate being fodder for barbaric acts of domestic terrorism.

Irene A. Masiello is a member of the Elder Justice Coalition and the author of a recently released book, Paradise Costs-A Victim's Daughter Fights Back Against Elder Abuse. Her book is a reality writing workbook including an actual forensic report, tear out lists of common abuse tactics, personality traits of abusers and victim's and prefabricated tear out letters to US Senators and Congress Members to lobby for the passage of Elder Justice Act as well as networking suggestions to help STOP ELDER ABUSE NOW. See http://www.paradisecosts.com/ for free downloads and networking ideas on how to participate. © January 2008, Irene A. Masiello/Starlight Network News, Inc. - all rights reserved. Reprint permission is granted providing the title of the book, author’s name and site are included in the reprint. The contents of this e-mail may not be used to draw web traffic to your services unless you reprint this story on your homepage and publish a disclaimer that the author is not endorsing your services, goods, etc. You may not use the name of this author, copyrighted book, or copyrighted reality writing technique as a Google link without the expressed written permission of the author or her legal representative. Please notify us of your intent to publish prior (Irenemasiello@msn.com) to publication and please include the link in an e-mail to the author. If publishing hard copies please send a tear out sheet to VINE COMMUNICATIONS INC. The Biltmore Hotel - Executive Offices 1200 Anastasia Avenue, Suite #240, Coral Gables, Florida 33134—THANK YOU.

Irene A. Masiello
(718) 776-5644
Author: Paradise Costs--
A Victim's Daughter Fights Back against Elder Abuse

Monday, March 17, 2008

Seniors Golden Years Turn Into Golden Fears


Yakima, WA . USA by Leah Beth Ward

Whenever Moleen Cline remembers the neighborly knock on her door two years ago, she still gets a shudder of anxiety.

Duane Lee Ortiz put on a good show, talking his way into Cline's condo in Yakima by offering to wash her windows inside and out. While he was at it, he'd shine up the mirrors, too. He was down on his luck, he told her, and just needed to make a little money. "You have this kind of maternal feeling toward him. I just let him have the run of the house," she said.

Sure enough, a day later when Cline went to put onthe diamond ring her husband had given her two years before he died, it wasgone. Yakima police immediately suspected Ortiz, who two years earlier hadswindled more than $100,000 from a retired machinist living in aYakima mobile home court. For that crime, prosecutors had to plea bargain and ended up with only a seven-day sentence.

"The punishment did not fit the crime," recalled Therese Murphy, deputy prosecuting attorney for Yakima County.

In Yakima County, reports of suspected financial exploitation of seniors increased 24 percent in 2007, compared with 2006.


Police Point finger at Social Services, DSS points finger at ?

South Carolina. USA by Patricia Burkett S.C. Now.Com

Mary Terry. She died in February as a result of severe malnutrition. Police say she had not been fed for at least 30 days when they found her. Two family members were in charge of her.

However, other family members have sued the State Department of Social Services, the Darlington County Department of Social Services, caretaker Lisa Gibson and social worker Ada Antoine, who were assigned to the case.

On Friday, Darlington Police arrested a social worker in the Terry case. D.S.S. employee Lisa Gibson turned herself in. Police say she checked on Terry and eventually Terry's mother, and did not report when Terry was near death. Her charge is a misdemeanor.

Police say Terry's son, Timothy Sims, and his cousin, Less Williams, were Terry's caretakers.
Authorities say the two men essentially starved her to death. Both men are charged with abuse of a vulnerable adult resulting in death. Family members Andrew Gurley and Clarence Sims filed a lawsuit in the case.

They claim in the lawsuit that several people and agencies were responsible for checking up on Terry, and failed to do so. According to the document, the Department of Social Services began taking care of Mary Terry back in 2001.

The lawsuit claims that in 2005, her son, Timothy Sims, began taking care of Terry and that case workers knew Sims had a severe drinking problem. The lawsuit states that despite that fact, D.S.S. released care of Terry to her son. The lawsuit claims that D.S.S. workers still came to care for Terry's 82-year-old mother though, and saw Terry's deteriorating condition.

It states that the stove in the home was not operational, that there were urine and human excrement stains on the floors and furniture, and even rat feces on the floor. The lawsuit also claims that in the months leading up to January 2008, Mary Terry weighed 52 pounds, and was lying in the same position for so long, that her body was covered with severe bed sores, some of which were infested with thousands of maggots.

The main thrust of the lawsuit is that the family claims D.S.S. workers had been in the home at least 11 times in the 75 days before authorities discovered Terry, and did nothing about her condition. The claims are only accusations in a document right now. The case will go to trial in civil court, where a jury will decide whether they are fact.

Darlington Police say it was the responsibility of the D.S.S. caregivers to report any neglect that they may have seen.

Elder Guardian Abuse Channel 13 Reports


A Life Hijacked : Must See Mary Jane is Terrified, She can't believe this is happening ! If you suddenly found someone elses's name on your accounts and taking apart your life, your mail re routed, your Social security taken over, your family villified and considered a threat , This is Happening With Alarming Frecuency ..... and reckless abandon...

What's Happen To Our System? What a Nightmare!

We need you to Contact Fox News and encourage them to do more stories like these here =>>
Also log on to Fox News and E mail the story to everyone you can think of, let the Fox executives know Americans are concerned about this alarming trend .......

Friday, March 14, 2008

"Motives of Petitioners in Contested Conservatorships and Guardianships"

by DIANE G. ARMSTRONG, PH.D.
Prepared for the Senate Special Committee on Aging


In discussing the motives that drive these involuntary conservatorship and guardianship proceedings, I am speaking for the hundreds of thousands of men and women whose retirement years have been destroyed by them. Our states designate these proceedings as "non-adversarial" in nature, brought out of the goodness of a petitioner's heart to help an elderly person in distress.

It is a powerful term, and it is almost always incorrect. These are court battles, fought over money, power and control. Sadly, the elderly lose almost 94% of the time, often in proceedings that take only minutes. Their cases are rarely appealed.

Let's begin with a brief discussion of the motives guiding family members. The majority of these petitions are Filed by adult children who are seeking some form of control over the personal and/or financial affairs of their aging relatives. They are sibling battles rooted in issues of inheritance and control, often described as "thinly veiled pre-death will contests." Anyone who reaches 62 with coveted assets is at risk.

As one forensic psychiatrist noted about these so-called protective proceedings, "For every $100,000 in a given estate, a lawyer shows up; for every $25,000, a family member shows up; and if there isn't any money, then nobody shows up" Harold T. Nedd's "Fighting over the care of aging parents," USA Today).

What motives drive members of the court? Judges and their favored professional conservators and guardians, expert witnesses and court investigators have unspoken agendas: money, power and control. When an elderly individual is brought into court and forced to prove his or her competence, we soon see that the system does not work. We have a system rife with court-sanctioned abuse of the elderly. Why? Judges override
protections that have been put in place in the codes. It happens every day. Judges disregard durable powers of attorney—the single most important document each of us can create to determine our care should we become incapacitated.

Judges ignore our lists of pre-selected surrogate decision-makers. The current system does not work. This reality is most apparent when a wealthy individual falls victim to these involuntary proceedings and his or her wealth becomes a ripe plum to be shared by the Judge's favorites.

The cost of my mother's 18-month conservatorship battle in Los Angeles
Superior Court exceeded one million dollars because no court appointee would let the matter end until my mother agreed to settle out of court and pay every bill of every person involved on both sides of the case.

Money is a lure. Once the hook is set in a wealthy potential ward, courts have a feeding frenzy. All of Riverside County in Southern California was held hostage by the collusion between a single probate judge and his favorite professional conservator. [See Cases #3 and #4 in Appendix]

Families are destroyed by these proceedings. The hundreds of thousands of unfortunate men and women who have been placed in the velvet handcuffs of contested conservatorships and guardianships in America are without hope. Their conservatorships and guardianships end only when they die—or when the system spends their estates down to $10,000 or less and spits the wards out into a harsh world of poverty.

Sibling battles rooted in issues of inheritance, control and care; social welfare petitions driven by hidden agendas of power and control; nursing hones that quietly require financial guarantees; and court actions that create the very abuse they are tasked to address—our country's involuntary conservatorship and guardianship system is out of control. It is no longer a morally permissible option.

Due to space constraints a very limited version of Diane's presentation to the the Senate is presented here click on the .PDF icon to see her complete work along with compelling case histories.