Saturday, February 28, 2009

Join Us Saturday,March 7, 1:-4 PM Pacific or 4-7 ET with Janet Phelan on Liberty News Radio

Starting Saturday,March 7th 2009 from 1-4 p.m. Pacific Time or 4-7 p.m. E.T .
The first scheduled show will be on the "death with dignity" laws and conservatorship/ guardianship. Attorney Margaret Dore has agreed to come on the show and I have other guests pending.

Interviews are also archived here=>>

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Lobster Rescued; Elders Abused Exploited, Kidnapped & Murdered

by Irene A. Masiello

George, the lobster, age 140, was rescued from a lobster tank in an upscale NYC restaurant on Jan. 10, 2009 by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) reported the Associated Press. Acting on a tip, incredibly, PETA was able to save this crustacean from being executed to pamper a palette.

For the last 7 years, after the death of my father via elder abuse, neglect and exploitation, I have been an advocate for awareness about elder abuse and its many hideous “faces.” I am stymied by the lack of concern, compassion and action in combating this terrible social ill that’s costing countless lives.

Though I am an animal lover myself, I was awed by the outrage of Americans at NFL’s Michael Vick for arranging and betting on dog fighting and people rushing to save a lobster when one-in-six seniors or more will be victims of some form of elder abuse.

Other social causes have made real progress. PETA can rescue a lobster and return it to the safety of the waters offshore Maine. MADD (Mother’s Against Drunk Drivers) has changed the laws of the land regarding drinking and driving. John Walsh, while courageous bearing the horrific pain of losing his little boy, took action and succeeded in revamping our laws regarding exploited and missing kids.

Yet, families of murdered, exploited and abused seniors who have suffered tragic losses have failed to awaken the consciousness of this country. While the elderly cannot picket, march in Washington, D.C., boycott or hold a rally, might we, the families of the victims, myself included, be dropping “the ball?”

Since my book, Paradise Costs—A Victim’s Daughter Fights Back against Elder Abuse, was released, I have heard from many. I have learned that everyone sees elder abuse from their own map of the world with many claiming to be victims.

Before elder abuse literally struck home, I was a transformational and holistic counselor. Through that work, I have come to recognize there are few problems but rather challenges to creativity. Therefore, from a personal perspective, I will not embrace the world of victimhood. My father was the victim and he “died” as a result of a not so mysterious sequence of events that are documented in my book which contains my dad’s forensic report.

Many of those who write and, rightfully so, are angry however I believe mustering cou-RAGE, channeling it into action and championing this cause using in-SPIRIT-ion. To me, information is power and, therefore, I seek to em-POWER.

Whether our loved ones have been victimized by guardianship or conservatorship abuse, actual physical abuse, exploitation, neglect, medical, pharmaceutical or legal malfeasance, the result is the same—a beloved person has been deprived of their right to life.

Let’s think bigger picture. Let’s redefine elder abuse in its broadest sense and turn to Amnesty International: “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is the foundation of the international system of protection for human rights. It was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10th, 1948.

“Human rights are basic rights and freedoms that all people are entitled to regardless of nationality, sex, national or ethnic origin, race, religion, language, or other status.
“Human rights include civil and political rights, such as the right to life, liberty…economic rights including the right… the right to food…Human rights are protected and upheld by international and national laws and treaties.”
With the above in mind, it seems clear, elder abuse, in whatever form it takes is, obviously, a violation of human rights. In my opinion, so long as we are separatists in approach and calling elder abuse by one of its many names, we take away from our underlying social mantra and our aspiration to STOP ALL ELDER ABUSE NOW.

Might it would serve everyone’s best interest, especially our seniors, if we borrow a phrase from Ben Franklin, “Let’s all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately?”

So long as a single senior citizen anywhere in this nation does not evoke the action taken by PETA to protect the life of George the lobster, no person in this country is safe. So long as we stand apart, we will never do what MADD has done.

It is in keeping with the spirit of oneness, I want to invite everyone to turn your cou-RAGE into action.
We must put our experience and anger to work, we need to re-define the litany of horrific abuses against our family members as violation of human rights and re-introduce the words, “ELDER ABUSE,” as an umbrella phrase covering:

*elder abuse
*elder exploitation
*elder neglect
*guardianship abuse
*conservatorship abuse
*undue influence (mentally, emotionally, physically by anyone, e.g.: family, lawyers, probate courts, social services, etc.)
*medical, pharmacological and legal malfeasance
breech of fiduciary duty
*any of the above that shortens life and wellness
*any of the above where cognitive ability is impaired or there is diminishing capacity (visual, mobility, hearing, nutritional infirmities, mental infirmities, intellectual impairment, sensory or social deprivation, etc)
*in cases were elders sign documents they are unable to understand and/or EXPLAIN the ramifications of
*power of attorney exploitation
*any action or inaction by any person including family members and professionals that impacts longevity when the elder has specified their wish to live as long as possible.

(please e-mail me if you have additional suggestions for the above list at

I am requesting, starting immediately, that volunteers unite with a common plea. Let’s stop elder abuse in all forms. Let’s get organized, let’s spread the word that none of us will tolerate members of our families being denied their human rights.

Remember: President Obama has asked this nation to serve in some capacity and, perhaps, our path to service has been defined by what we have experienced. And while speaking about our president, lets remember what Rosa Parks did in Alabama when she stood her ground and took her rightful place on a bus. Let's let the Civil Rights movement, MADD, PETA, ACT-UP, John Walsh and others be a template and inspiration to us.

Please, those who have Internet skills, watch TV, listen to the radio or simply cruise the net start data collection on any of the above. At least one volunteer from each U.S. state is needed to serve as “state captain” and another to serve as “state lieutenant.” Perhaps, military phrases may be seen offensive, however, you bet this is a war…let’s remember the casualties; let’s not let our losses be in vain.

For us, who are still standing, we aren’t victims YET. However, remember the statistics. Think about the faltering economy. The vulnerable elderly will be at the greatest risk to deviants and predators. And too many of us we will be, as well, when the expected 15 million victims plus of “elder abuse” manifests in the baby-boomer generation.

Choice time:

Are you part of the problem?

Okay, just keep calling your self a victim and lamenting. Nothing changes if nothing changes.

Are you part of the solution?

If PETA can act on a tip and save a 140-year old lobster in NYC…what can we do together to save our beloved elders and ourselves?

Please contact me at for more details (or to add to the above list regarding redefining elder abuse) about an effort to organize, collect data, spread knowledge and em-POWER ourselves and STOP ALL ELDER ABUSE NOW.

Irene A. Masiello is a certified: CORE/transformational & holistic counselor, stress management consultant and adult educator. She is author of PARADISE COSTS—A Victim’s Daughter Fights Back Against Elder Abuse, afterword by Rabbi Bennett Blum, MD. Dr. Blum and Ms. Masiello are Members of the Elder Justice Coalition. Lists of red flags of abuse, exploitation and neglect as well as high risk seniors are available for your publication. ©Copyright, January 2009, Irene A. Masiello-all rights reserved. Permission is granted to reprint the above article, however, do not separate the tag lines or copy right from the article.

Thank you.
Irene A. Masiello Author: Paradise Costs
A Victim's Daughter Fights Back Against Elder Abuse
Afterword by: Bennett Blum, M.D.
Contact: 718.776.5644

Conservator Melodie Jo Scott under investigation

By Jack Leonard and Evelyn Larrubia L.A.Times

A state agency denies a license for the former president of the industry group that represents professional guardians and says she made false claims on her application. She denies lying.

One of California's most prominent professional conservators has been denied a license by the state and is the focus of a grand jury investigation.

The decision to deny Melodie Jo Scott a license marks a significant shift in the oversight of professional conservators, who answered only to probate judges until a 2005 Times series highlighted abuse in the field and prompted a licensing requirement that took effect in January.

Until this year, conservators, who control the healthcare and finances of adults deemed in Probate Court to be incapable of looking after themselves, were less regulated than hairdressers and guide-dog trainers. The Times series described how some were able to gain control over the lives and finances of elderly adults without their knowledge or consent, neglect their wards, isolate them from relatives, run up fees and in some cases steal from their clients.

The state's Department of Consumer Affairs alleges that Scott, a former president of the state industry group that represents professional guardians, falsely claimed on her license application she had never stepped down from any case -- or settled a dispute -- after a complaint had been filed against her in court.

In denying Scott's application, the agency cited three cases it said she should have disclosed.Two of those cases were among dozens reported by The Times that examined allegations of abuse by professional conservators. The articles prompted lawmakers to enact sweeping reforms of the state's conservatorship system and to create the licensing board that denied Scott's application.

In an interview, Scott denied lying on her application. She accused state officials of singling her out for political reasons in the wake of the newspaper's reports.Scott, whose business is based in Redlands, has appealed the denial but said she will have to halt work temporarily.

Riverside County's Probate Court has scheduled hearings next month to determine whether she should be removed from several cases because she lacks a license."I'm done. I'm out," Scott said. "When I get my license back, I can start again. But, hey, I'm 50."

Scott's licensing problems come as the San Bernardino County grand jury is examining many of her cases as well as others handled by a former associate, Lawrence A. Dean II.Records show that Probate Court officials began delivering case files involving both conservators to the grand jury in October. They provided more files as recently as last month.Scott said one of her clients was called to testify before the panel. She said that the probe is the second investigation by a grand jury into her work and that she expects the panel will find she has acted properly."Let the grand jury do their investigation," Scott said. "There's nothing to find."Dean, who is licensed by the state, did not return calls seeking comment.Among the cases the state cited in refusing to license Scott was that of Helen Jones, a Yucaipa widow who fought to get out from under Scott's control. Jones' case became a symbol of the system's flaws during debates in Sacramento on the need for reform.

Nearly deaf and having a rare nervous-system disorder that limited her mobility, Jones insisted that she had not understood what she was signing when she agreed to allow Scott to become her conservator in 2002.Scott spent about $200,000 of her client's life savings on new appliances and caretakers, items Jones said she did not want nor need.

Jones sought to end the conservatorship, complaining in court papers about Scott's spending and treatment of her. In 2006, Scott resigned when Jones' step-grandson, Mike Tomazin, agreed to replace her.Jones died two years ago of pneumonia and other complications. Tomazin said Jones would have been happy to learn that Scott's license was denied as a result of her fight."I guess what goes around comes around," Tomazin said.

Scott said that she did nothing wrong in Jones' case and that she was simply caring for someone unable to manage her own affairs. She said she was unfairly portrayed in the dispute and stopped taking new cases after the Times articles.

The client's daughter complained about the arrangement in court filings. As a result, Scott settled the case, agreeing to resign as conservator in favor of the daughter.State officials said the third case cited in their denial was a San Bernardino County conservatorship that also involved the settlement of a legal complaint.Scott said she did not believe the legal objections in the three cases would be counted as complaints when she filled out her license application in March 2008. In addition, she accused the state of allowing other conservators who filled out the application form in a similar fashion to make amendments.

"I did what I should have done," Scott said. "When it got uncomfortable and she was uncomfortable with me, I resigned."In another of the cases cited by the state, Scott was accused of allowing another professional conservator, Sarah Kerley, to live rent-free in a mentally ill client's Glendale house for months. Kerley was married to Scott's brother at the time.

The state's Professional Fiduciaries Bureau, which licenses professional conservators and guardians, added a precise definition of what constitutes a complaint to its application form after Scott filed hers.

But state officials said they told conservators on their website two weeks before Scott signed her application that legal objections should be counted as complaints.

Even before then, they said, applicants should have been aware of what would constitute a complaint."It's pretty clear," said Russ Heimerich, a spokesman for the Department of Consumer Affairs, which oversees the bureau."The law said complaint, which is pretty darn broad. So any complaint of any sort would have qualified," he said.Heimerich said no applicants were given the opportunity to amend their forms if they wrote that they had not resigned or settled a case.

Melodie Scott was the subject of Probate Murders Part Two, published in The American's Bulletin last year.

Related:Guardians for Profit , Murder for Profit

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Warning: Elders Considered Soft Targets

Doug Guthrie and Charles E. Ramirez / The Detroit News

Violence against seniors on the rise; observers fault economy
More financial scams, brutal crimes reported

Eastpointe widow Joann Hornberger, 77, rented an upstairs bedroom to a 43-year-old boarder because she needed the money and help around the house.

On June 6, 2007, the man came home drunk, beat Hornberger and tried to smother her with a pillow. He shot up the house, terrorizing her until dawn. Friends found Hornberger battered but alive.
"It was a nightmare," said Hornberger, who is sharing her experience as a volunteer at local senior centers. "I had known him for about four years ... I thought he could stay with me and maybe do some odds and ends around the house."

Senior citizens increasingly are being victimized by desperate people looking for soft targets in Michigan's hard economy.

Fraud and violence against the elderly are on the rise throughout Metro Detroit, according to law enforcement and advocates for senior citizens.

"It's stunning, the level of violence we are beginning to see," said Thomas Wenzel, principal Wayne County prosecutor for elder abuse.


Plots Against Helpless Elderly Pick Up

by Megan Boehnke as published in The Arizona Republic

Five people were indicted last week in four separate fraud schemes all aimed at weaseling elderly Valley residents out of their money, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office announced Monday.

Sylvia Cubit, 40, a phlebotomist at Scottsdale Healthcare Shea, was indicted in a plot to steal patients' checkbooks and credit cards while they were staying in the hospital. When police searched her home, they found receipts for a TV, video-game system and gift cards.

Janice E. Lindahl, 58, faces 10 counts of fraud theft and elder abuse after police say she fleeced a 91-year-old neighbor who suffers from Alzheimer's, out of $85,000. Police say she convinced the Phoenix woman to sign over her power of attorney and allow Lindahl to pay her bills. According to the probable-cause statement, Lindahl purchased televisions, video-game systems and car work with the victim's money, and hired Lindahl's mother to care for the woman, even though the mother had no caregiving experience.

Nicholas King, 23, and Nathan Cameron Spotten, 18, have also been indicted. Police say they called elderly residents, claimed to be bank representatives and convinced the victims to give up debit-card and pin numbers.

Benjamin Baker, 28, pled guilty to attempting to take the identity of another on Feb. 6, when he opened a charge account using his 78-year-old grandmother's identity.

Social Worker Snatches 4 year Old and Puts up for Adoption


Mum’s heartbreaking fight to get her daughter back. (Sarah And Ian Walton; Pictured with Their Daughter Crystal)

SUNDAY MIRROR EXCLUSIVE by Lori Campbell and Martyn Halle 14/02/2009

A mum and dad have been told they will never see their young daughter again… after she was snatched away at only four days old.

Tiny Baby A was taken from her mum by social workers who claimed the tot, who we will call Emily, was at risk in the family home.
Not because of the mum’s failure to care for her – but because of a six-year-old unproven claim that her husband had injured his son from a previous marriage.

Yet, although interviewed by police, he never faced a criminal court over that allegation. And he has even been allowed unsupervised access to watch his boy grow up.

Now the High Court, in a devastating civil court ruling, has decided that a decision to forcibly adopt Emily – now aged four – away from her parents (who we are calling Tania and Stephen) must stand.

Revealing her agony for the first time, mum Tania said: “I had my beautiful baby girl snatched from me at just four days old. Only a mother could understand the horror of that.

Related Article's

(The Story of Sarah, Ian Walton and their Daughter Crystal) (Our Story)
I Ian Walton Take Responsibility For Naming Our Selves In This Article And Not The Sunday Mirror write us at

( These ‘legal reasons’ allow wicked and incompetent social workers, highly questionable ‘expert witnesses’ in the pay of social workers and the family courts, to operate in complete secrecy and to be protected from the public scrutiny which used to be the essential cornerstone of (Universal) Justice and Democracy. Not any more !

Our State continues to erode our freedoms one by one as it seeks to control every aspect of citizens lives.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

2 years and $672,808 Wealth Transferred , Why?

Why Do I have to write the same story about my mother, Why ? Let it stop in the Southermost Probate Court and Let it Stop Now !


It still feels like heaven for Peggy Greer to wake up in her own bed. One of her sons checks on her each day, but she's happy enough on her own in her Excelsior home, writing stories alongside her 20-year-old cat, Nyse.
Greer will be 86 in March. That month will mark the fourth anniversary of her strange journey through the justice system in which she overcame a life crisis but her assets disappeared with the approval of a Hennepin County judge.

For more than two years, Greer was among a growing number of Minnesotans living under the authority of a guardian and conservator. The court- appointed officials had broad power over her life once a judge deemed Greer incapable of making decisions about her housing, health care or finances.

Disturbed by the decisions made on her behalf, Greer repeatedly fought to regain control of her affairs. During that time, the guardian, Professional Fiduciary Inc. (PFI), and the conservator, Wells Fargo Elder Services, spent more than $600,000 of her money, much of it on health care for her that some family members called excessive. Nearly $100,000 went to lawyers.
"My money was all used up, was all gone, without my knowledge or OK or anything," Greer said.

The system was set up to protect the vulnerable. Guardians make decisions about an individual's living situation and medical care. Conservators manage a person's finances with the purpose of preserving as much as possible. But it is an industry with little regulation: In Minnesota, there are no licensing requirements for guardians and conservators.

Last month, a state study concluded that the system has inadequate procedures for dealing with complaints, evaluating a ward's well-being and keeping track of money.

Nationally, groups that represent guardians and conservators and senior citizens have raised concerns about how well the courts oversee the actions of guardians and conservators, even as the nation's aging population places greater and greater demands on them.

Read and Post Your Comments Here =>>

There is only one problem with this story "The deadbeat son living off his mother. That forced the other children to seek a guardian to deal with the situation. Once the government, laws, and lawyers get involved, the money goes real quickly."

This is a clear attempt to vilify and slander the family often without any proof and usually based on innuendos but short on evidence when a son or a daughter puts his career on hold to be there for his parents he is vilified and labeled a "Deadbeat" keeping in mind that it costs on the average $10,000 per month to keep the elder in a nursing home.
Elders are usually very clear about their preference to be taken care of at home.

I bet you that "deadbeat" son wasn't charging anywhere near that to lovingly take care of his parent and they were much better taken care off than in a nursing home.

When there is a disagreement like this the family needs compassion,and helpful advise not a bunch of opportunists to pile on like vultures or a pack of wild dogs
to take whatever they can stuff their greedy pockets with.

Ray Fedz

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Citizens for Legal Reform

Lary Holland (.com). As you can tell we have been quite busy putting together a new experience for our listeners, readers, and viewers across all of our media platforms as well as setting up opportunities for advertisers. You might notice that we now have Get Off The Bench schedules listed here as well as at the show website. ( and have added some additional programming for your benefit and to better meet the needs of some of our listener base. We are working hard to expose those issues that need to have immediate reform.
Our media network focuses on important social issues, such as protecting our children from dangerous governmental policies, encouraging judicial reform, promoting concepts such as equal parenting where parents are both fit, and many other important social and political subjects that reject government intrusion without sufficient protective thresholds for the citizenry.

The Media Network involves such projects as our blog, targeted newsletters with extended nationwide reach, and talk shows such as Get Off The Bench and Get Off The Bench Q&A. We are unmatched in our consistent reach to people in need of help. Our network opens up opportunities for advocacy organizations to connect with volunteers, legal firms that support complete representation of client interests instead of their own to connect with clients, and advertisers to all connect on one platform for maximum exposure and synergy.

Letters to Editor How Can I ?

Rudy wrote:

I would like to know just how terrified we should be to speak up? The court appointments lie in their reports, in their motions, misuse facts, use their credentials to diagnose people with mental illnesses they have never met and we have to quake in our boots over every word.

Ray, thanks to you I now have the guts to put my mother's recording on the internet.

Please tell me how?


You bet I will Rudy! You can count on me...........

I suggest we make a video, first you need the soundbite of your mother as she is being manhandled screaming in horror as they kick down the door and lead her down the Guardianship Gulag kicking and screaming a scene reminiscent of Nazi Germany , preferably in Mp3 format then we can add photos of your Mother, it is more meaningful and it creates more of an impact and makes it a bit more personal then we will upload it into a server, YouTube is good then we can publish the video, or the link anywhere,preferably on your own blog so you can tell the whole story and add to it as you have time...

Ray Fedz

Free Speech is Worth Preserving

I light of the recent disclosure in blogs and Radio Shows of how Melody Scott is in trouble, much to the credit of Janet Phelan who published names,details which led up to the de licensing of these yes, I say it and I am not afraid 'Monsters' guilty of crimes against humanity.

People that commit crimes against the elderly do not deserve Restraint while blogging that is unless you think that the offenses are not that bad.

It is refreshing to see Estate Of Denial "Not Afraid" naming names and talking notes.

Many people who get drawn into probate-oriented environments come to feel helpless and victimized by the system.

One trend that I have observed is that the people who brazenly come out and denounce people for what they are doing to us get results while others linger for decades and are reduced to being intimidated complaining in private groups but afraid to go public with their stories.

Please understand one thing, when you bring action against these people only the people who have access to the court files know about your story and what these people are doing. If you are lucky to get your story published in a newspaper it comes out once then the newspaper is discarded and forgotten, however when you put your story up in the Internet on a blog or website it is there forever 24/7 and gets the attention of investigators,regulators and legislators that frequently surf the Internet looking for information and gauging public sentiment.

Is it any surprise that people that are most vocal about their abuse get resolution for their case? Have you heard the saying "Squeaky Wheel Gets the Grease"

Well known Probate and Estate attorney Adrian Thomas credited ElderAbuseHelp.Org for Clara Fernandez guardianship being terminated and plans to take over her estate foiled.

Did he NOT know what he was talking about? Or could there be some truth to the fact that these people hate to be exposed when their story is all over the Internet for the future potential clients and the whole world to see that they start looking for a quick resolution and a exit strategy.

I would place my bets for the latter,and agree with Mark Bilk, of CosmicPenguin.Com If you really want resolution and justice , every one should have their own blog, they can call Janet,Mark or me a "fruitcake" but when tens of thousands of stories published on the Internet are available to readers 24/7, causing deep embarrassment to the G'ship system and serves as a warning to others, believe me results follow.

If you are exaggerating and looking for sympathy Do use extreme caution while blogging or better yet "Don't Blog at all"

But if you are telling the truth,have nothing to hide and are fed up having decided you are not going to take it anymore and feel that the culture surrounding the legal industry and associated government entities need todevelop some sense of responsibility toward the “consumers” then my advise is "Let it all hang out" for the whole world to see , above all tell the truth and then let the cards fall where they may.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Call to Action !

Janet's radio show on Wednesday nite was on fire and there were some real progress made. Dr. Shirley Moore, National President of Disclosure Watch.US, offered some concrete actions.

We urge you to write Dr. Shirley Moore at and join the legal joint effort and class actions being put into motion to address elder exploitaion as a means for personal enrichment, as the perpetrators wantonly destroy lives,causing untold suffering and needless and premature deaths.

Those in Florida can write the to participate in these efforts against unscrupulous looters and grave robbers that have caused so many people so much pain.

"Melodie Scott has lost her license to be a conservator or fiduciary, due to allegations of criminal misconduct. She has robbed the elderly and made inappropriate health care decisions, resulting in client death. Possibly now she will be tried, convicted and justice will be delivered to this monster."

This is a review for C.A.R.E. Inc, which is a conservatorship mill run by Melodie Scott, of "Probate Murders" infamy. We trust all of you will post here and encourage others to post here your opinion regarding this abusive practice that is causing so many to lose faith in our legal system and our Judges to take care of our most vulnerable citizens, the elderly and disabled.

Destroying Citizens Trust of Our Courts

by Brenda Durant

A recent article in the Statesmen about Chief Justice Jefferson's plea for reform and discussions for the need to reform, shows that "too much is wrong in Texas".

Of-course there are laws which were put in place to deter such crimes against citizens, like the crime of "Criminal Official Mis-conduct", a felony. The problem is enforcement.

Local D.A.'s won't prosecute a member of the "good old boys club", and the Attorney General says that the Legislatures must first engage him to take action against those who have committed the most egregious crime, of destroying citizens trust of our courts which are supposed to serve and protect.

Following the money, we quickly see why our court rooms are turned into arena of deceits, robbing citizens of their rights, their trust of government, and even their lives. I found out too much, the hard way, in Hood County. I would have rather been taken out by terrorists from other countries than to be victimized by my own government, which I was once so proud of. Who are the real terrorists?

Citizens have the right and duty to demand accountability from those who are elected and appointed to serve and protect. I continue to do just that.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Do Judges Ever Take Kickbacks? In Probate and/or Family Court?


SCRANTON, Pa. -Two Pennsylvania judges agreed Monday to plead guilty to fraud charges accusing them of taking $2.6 million in kickbacks in return for placing juvenile offenders into certain detention facilities.
The plea agreements for Luzerne County President Judge Mark Ciavarella and Senior Judge Michael Conahan call for sentences of more than seven years in prison. Ciavarella resigned from the bench in a Jan. 23 letter to Gov. Ed Rendell. Conahan has agreed to resign within 10 days of a judge's acceptance of the plea.

Authorities say the judges took kickbacks between 2003 and 2007 in exchange for guaranteeing the placement of juvenile offenders into facilities operated by PA Child Care and Western PA Child Care LLC. In some cases, Ciavarella ordered children into detention even when juvenile probation officers did not recommend it.

"They sold their oaths of offices to the highest bidders," Deron Roberts, chief of the FBI's Scranton office, said at a news conference Monday.

Read it all=>>

This corruption case aside, which affected thousands of minors, brings into question the kickbacks that are received for child support enforcement and the federally subsidized family court system. For every action taken on a case in a family court involving establishing child support orders, establishing paternity orders, and associated enforcement "services" a kickback is received to the state and local offices that trickle right back to the judge making the decisions. What is worse about these kickbacks in the family court system, is that everyone knows that this is happening.

Additional Information About Title IV-D Can Be Found:

Nationwide Child Support Enforcement Fails Needy Families
Mounting Accountability Problems With Child Support Programs: Data Stolen
Child Support Clerk Charged With Embezzlement: program needs oversight
Lary Holland Explains How Federal Grants Obstruct Equal Parenting
Nationwide Blueprint for Title IV-D Reform
Title IV-D Overview - Original

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Key West Convalescent Center Nursing Home is Forced to Evict Patients 9 Die

Key West,Florida, USA by Ray Fernandez

The Key West Convalescent Center has failed to score high enough in inspections to come off a list of troubled nursing homes in the state, according to state inspectors who visited the facility Nov. 1.

State inspectors pointed to instances in which residents were injured or verbally abused during their stay at the facility, but a continuous pattern of bad inspections is what ultimately lead to the center's closing and the eviction of all the elderly living there.

People who had mothers, fathers, and family in the center gave the center high marks and blamed politics for the closing of the center and the eviction of the residents.

"Let me tell you something," Estevez said. "The people who work there are very loving people. This one [employee] will stop whatever she's doing and come out of her office to help a lady that sits in her chair in the lobby every day. She sits her in that chair with the pillow every day."

That employee, Admissions Director Dona Rosado, has come to know the residents and looks forward to seeing them every day, she said.

"These people have become my family," she said. "As soon as I park my car, they greet me every morning, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and they're glad to see you."

Patients in wheelchairs and on gurneys hugged and cried with friends and relatives in the lobby of the Key West Convalescent Center Friday as three hospital transportation vans waited outside the center's glass doors.

It was moving day for about 20 terminally ill and seriously injured residents of the embattled center, and loved ones had little time to say goodbye before they were loaded onto the vans and ambulances for transport to new quarters.

"It was the death of a family," said Lori Dombroski, her voice breaking. "It's like they tore up one big family and put us each in different foster homes."
Melba Gill started to cry as she sat on the sunbathed bench outside the Key West Convalescent Center.

At least nine former residents of the now-defunct Key West Convalescent Center have died in the month after the long-term care facility closed around Thanksgiving.

Between Nov. 25 and Christmas Day, Terrece Kell, James White, Kathleen C. Petite, Bolivia Maria Benitez, Randall Warren, Gertrude Cohen and Roy Himmelberger have died, according to nurses, funeral homes and the Monroe County Health Department's vital records office.

Though the deceased either were elderly or terminally ill, their family members and nursing home officials predicted the convalescent center's abrupt closing would hasten the deaths of residents unable to emotionally or physically handle their hasty relocation to other nursing homes around South Florida.

Shortly after 2 more elders died, Frances Colvert's daughter and Robert Kelly's friend blame the move for their deaths, sometimes called "transfer trauma" in the industry.

My own experience with elders being separated from familiar surroundings has been no less traumatic as less than three months after my mother Clara G. Fernandez was moved out of her handicapped home and into a hotel room with the complicity of the *Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) who looked the other way in spite of numerous complaints, Clara was left alone and drugged in a hotel room where she fell became permanently incapacitated and was isolated , kept from her husband well known Medical examiner Dr. A.J. Fernandez who died after being forceful separated from his wife of 58 years Clara G. Fernandez

Dr. Fernandez died a year after being separated from his wife, this was done in order to get at their money, during this time their Trust was decimated while authorities and the DCF looked the other way in the mean time attorneys divided up the cash left in the estate leaving the surviving elder paralyzed and indigent.

Source: Key West Citizen Newspaper

*Clarification : We met a lot of good people that worked for the DCF and they called me often because they were genuinely interested in our welfare, and we are well aware as they are that some of the people that we have exposed for things they have done would rather us not talk about them here and they have used the DCF as a weapon by filing numerous and frequent FALSE complaints against us.

As a result of these investigation(s) we were audited for a period of 5 years and exonerated, and these were some very capable investigators that did an excellent job, it is a shame that DCF doesn't have better internal controls so that the people that drop the ball are not made to account for all the hard working people at the Florida Division of Children and Families (DCF).

For the most part most DCF people that we know are very hard working people that and are truly interested in helping out even when politics and over regulation get in the way but I will never forget when we begged Sheryl Smith the supervisor for Bartow DCF to save our mother who was under a deadly cocktail of Lorazepam,Ambiem and Darvocet and being left alone in "Motel Rooms" .

We turned to Sheryl Smith the supervisor for the Bartow ,Florida office of the DCF for help and law enforcement refused to get involved and passed the baton , she told us that there was nothing she could do because they had "no police powers" and week and a half later Clara G. Fernandez who was under a deadly cocktail of Lorazepam,Ambiem and Darvocet lay alone in the floor on the bathroom of some motel room were she was under un familiar surroundings.

She was hemorrhaging from her brain being condemned to a wheel chair for the rest of her life because of this neglect that has been swept under the proverbial "Rug".

My only question is "Who and Why in the DCF is a party to this, and why do they protect somone that should be held accountable when lives are at a stake. The then District 14 Director Mr. James Griblle reported that the matter ought to go to the State Attorney?"

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Elderly Facing Eviction

By VANESSA HO Seattle,Washington,USA SeattlePI.Com

Complaints on rise of nursing homes forcing out residents

For two years, Irene Henderer lived at the West Woods boarding home in Olympia, where she was known for her lively stories and sharp wit. But in November 2007, the home gave Henderer an eviction notice, along with 20 other Medicaid residents.

Henderer, 89, grew depressed and refused to leave her room for meals. As her move approached, she quietly asked her guardian: "Why can't I just die here?"

Three days after moving out, Henderer's congestive heart failure worsened. A month later, she died.

"That was her home," said Pam Privette, Henderer's legal guardian. "If she could have stayed there, we would not have gone through any of this -- the depression, the giving up on life. This pre-empted a natural death, in my opinion."

As health care costs rise and Medicaid rates lag behind, nursing and boarding homes are forcing out sick, elderly and frail residents in what advocates say is a growing trend. No official data exist on eviction counts, but discharge complaints have climbed to record highs.

The Washington Long-Term Care Ombudsman program handled more than 700 such complaints last year, nearly a 50 percent increase over the year before. Nationally, discharge-related complaints have more than doubled in a decade -- to 12,000 in 2007, according to the U.S. Administration on Aging.

"The system is getting frayed around the edges," said Louise Ryan, the state's long-term care ombudsman, or chief resident advocate.
"People are getting harder to take care of," she said. "When (homes) can find an opportunity to discharge the person, they will. The problem is especially hard with nursing homes, because where else are they going to go? It's the end of the line."

The results are often tragic.
Another woman evicted from West Woods wandered outside one night before her move, barefoot and in a nightgown, saying she wanted "to fall down and die in the cold," Ryan said.

In Grays Harbor County last year, an evicted mentally ill man left his boarding home a week after moving in, and was found dead near some railroad tracks. In other areas, evicted residents have ended up in homes nearly a hundred miles away from loved ones.

In 2007, Seattle University forced out 115 residents when it decided to convert its nursing home into office and class space. Three months later, 14 of the residents had died.

Social workers have a name for such a swift decline after a move: "transfer trauma."

"When you get older, just transferring from one room to another can be very traumatic," said Paul Tosch, the regional long-term care ombudsman serving Thurston, Mason and Lewis counties. "The windows, the ceilings, the front door, the bathroom are all different. In a worst-case scenario, confusion sets in. It can start dementia or increase dementia. Depression sets in. They shut themselves off and say, 'I'm not going to live.' "

Homes can legally evict a resident who fails to pay, becomes dangerous or has needs a home can't meet. Boarding homes can evict Medicaid residents by slashing public-assistance beds, but federal law bars nursing homes from kicking out residents solely because of Medicaid.

But advocates say many homes find ways to bend the laws. They say homes mislead families to lure in residents, and use the broad "can't meet needs" reason to force out difficult or expensive residents.

One of the most common types of eviction is when homes send a resident to the hospital and refuse to take him back, in a practice that resident advocates call "dumping."

"We have a lot of experiences with nursing homes who load somebody up in an ambulance on a Friday night. ... They do it on a Friday, I think, because advocates go home," said Vicki Elting, the regional ombudsman in King County. By Monday morning, hospitals are struggling with a discharged patient with nowhere to go.

Industry representatives deny that "dumping" occurs and say homes are diligent in taking only residents they can care for. They attribute the rise in discharge complaints to a younger, more vocal generation now living in homes.

"This urban myth that people are getting kicked out all the time -- there's no evidence of that," said Gary Weeks, executive director of the Washington Health Care Association, a group of 400 nursing and boarding homes.

Advocates counter that dumping rarely occurs to private-pay people, but to Medicaid residents such as Florence Wade, who had lived at the Regency at Tacoma Rehabilitation Center for roughly three years.

In January, Wade, 85, went to the hospital for pneumonia and a urinary tract infection. The nursing home refused to take her back, saying she had been uncooperative with caregivers in using a hydraulic lift to move her, according to Wade's daughter, Barbara Arnold.

Arnold argued that her mother, who is obese and wheelchair-bound, simply needed coaxing and had used the lift in the hospital. The home then accused her of not doing a "bed hold" -- which she never had to do in the past -- and said the room was gone anyway. Someone else had moved in.

"They had already packed my mother's room up," said Arnold, who owns a computer-training business. "They had no intention of taking her back."
The eviction left Arnold with one stressful option: a nursing home 45 minutes away -- too far for regular visits from friends and family.

"It is very, very hard," said Arnold, who believes her previous complaints about the home prompted the eviction. "My feeling is that by isolating her like that, she isn't going to last long."

Dell Workman, vice president of operations for Regency Pacific, which owns the Tacoma facility, said the home had assessed Wade's condition and determined it couldn't meet her needs. He said federal law barred him from commenting further on Wade's condition.

Other families have felt deceived by boarding homes that promised Medicaid beds and later reneged. Or by nursing homes that discharged residents with advanced Alzheimer's disease, after touting expert dementia care.

"It's unfair, unethical and greedy," said Nancy Dapper, executive director of the local Alzheimer's Association chapter. "You go to these places as a family and they say, 'Oh yes, we have an Alzheimer's care unit.' Unless the family is extraordinarily knowledgeable, they're not going to say, 'Can my mom die here?' "

Doug Campbell recalled asking the administrator of his mother's Port Townsend boarding home what would happen when his mother's money ran out. "(The administrator) said, 'As long as I'm here, your mother will not have to move,' " said Campbell, a retired teacher.

But the administrator soon left, and the home -- Victoria House -- evicted his deaf, blind, 97-year-old mother soon after she converted to Medicaid.

Victoria House and West Woods are owned by Assisted Living Concepts, a Wisconsin-based company with 200 homes nationwide and a market value of $290 million. The company did not return calls for comment.

Elting, the King County ombudsman, said some homes, desperate to fill beds, take in difficult residents with severe mental illnesses, addictions or complex medical needs. Unequipped to deal with them, the homes often end up forcing them out, creating a cycle of needing to fill beds.
"Unfortunately, there are people who have care needs who are discharged to a shelter, or the street," Elting said. "That's the most disgraceful end result of all this."

Weeks, of the state Health Care Association, disputed that practice.
"Why would (homes) admit somebody they know they're going to let go?" he said. "From a business perspective, our buildings are trying to stay as full as possible."

He said the more pressing problem is the growing gap between care costs and Medicaid payouts. Medicaid caseloads have also grown, because people are living longer and baby boomers are aging into long-term care.

With assisted living costing residents $3,000 to $6,000 a month, and nursing homes costing up to $10,000 a month, homes lose money daily on each Medicaid resident, Weeks said. On average the state pays out about $5,000 a month for a nursing home resident, and $2,000 for a boarding home resident.

To survive, nursing homes are seeking out residents with better coverage, he said.

P-I reporter Vanessa Ho can be reached at 206-448-8003 or Read the P-I's health blog at

Monday, February 9, 2009

Nursing home under Investigation

Lake Mary,Florida US by Fox News

A 90 year old hospice resident at the Spring Hills nursing home at 3655 W. Lake Mary Road will be sleeping in his bed tonight. He fell out of his bed at around 3:30 in the morning Monday and police say it was nearly two hours before a staff member at the facility found him.

?He had some blood around him,? said Officer Tony Seda with the Lake Mary Police Department, ?Lake Mary Fire Rescue responded to the scene and transported him to the hospital.?

Officer Seda said the department?s policy is to call the Florida Elder Abuse hotline to report such incidents.

When we visited the nursing home to find out why the man wasn?t discovered right away. The facility?s executive director, Charlie Goucher, met us at the door but she only said the resident is fine before telling us to leave.

Later a spokesperson for the nursing home said the facility?s policy is to check on residents every two hours but Jill Frederiksen said a staff member found the 90 year old within an hour and a half.
?We actually exceeded the policies that we currently have in place,? said Frederiksen.

This latest incident isn?t the first time the first time the nursing home has been investigated for neglect. Three years ago an 89 year old woman had to call 911 when she fell out of bed and couldn?t get anyone to help.

The nursing home was named The Gables back in 2005 when Lake Mary Police responded to help the woman but couldn?t get anyone to let them in and then found two workers asleep. A lengthy investigation that followed resulted in the arrest of two workers for neglect. The owners were also told to make changes or shut down.

The Elder Abuse hotline forwarded the latest case to the Department of Children and Families to investigate. The Agency for Healthcare Advocacy is also looking into the case. DCF received the case Monday morning and is now investigating the amount of time the man was injured on the floor. They will try to determine if his specific needs may have required even closer observation than checks every hour and a half.

Frederiksen said at this point they have no plans to change any policies.
?If we feel it necessary,? she said. ?We will review the policies but at this time it looks like we were there in time to help him.?

Massachusetts Reports Rise In Elder Abuse

Boston, MA (AHN) - Physical, emotional, financial and sexual abuse incidents involving elders in Massachusetts are on the rise partly due to the difficult times residents face.

Dale Mitchell, executive director of Ethos, a nonprofit agency based in Boston, explained that the bulk of cases they have witnessed are linked to overload. As residents lose their jobs, witness their investments shrinks and suffer from foreclosed homes, they often take out on senior citizens who live with them the stress these situations have created.

Read it all =>>

Florida's Costly Court Crisis

Palm Beach ,Florida USA Palm Beach Post

For years, lawyers have argued that the failure to adequately finance Florida's court system is bad for justice. Now the Florida Bar is getting really serious. The new push is that failing to pay for the courts is bad for business.

"I've seen a shift" in Tallahassee, Palm Beach County Chief Judge Kathleen Kroll said in an interview. "Business now knows that they have a problem." John "Jay" G. White III, a West Palm Beach lawyer and president of the Florida Bar, said, "That's why we got business involved. We wanted some help in making the point."

For all the teeth-clenched complaints about "frivolous" personal-injury cases and criminals getting plea deals, the real strain on Florida's courts has come from routine business litigation that winds up in the civil courts.

According to a study by The Washington Economics Group, the statewide caseload is up 53 percent in the past decade, and the number of cases filed per 1,000 residents has increased from 180 to 245 during the same period.
Here's how those numbers hit the public: In barely two years, the average time to resolve a civil case has increased from one month to about 13 months.

Even non-lawyers can appreciate that the main reason is the bad economy. There are more landlord-tenant disputes, and more evictions. And, of course, there are more foreclosures. The study estimated that of the 335,000 civil cases pending in Florida courts last October, 286,000 were property/foreclosure cases.

Many of those are small-money issues compared with the multimillion-dollar legal fights that are common in South Florida. But small cases matter just as much to the parties involved. And as on Interstate 95 and Florida's Turnpike, traffic is traffic. A Ford Focus clogs the road as much as a Chevy Suburban.

The Washington Economic Group calculated that abnormal court delays cost Florida $17.4 billion in economic output each year. Admittedly, such a figure may be as hard to pin down as illegal narcotics sales. But no one who understands business in Florida misses the point. Florida TaxWatch has stressed the problem for years, more urgently each time. Barney Bishop, president of Associated Industries of Florida, said: "We need to sue each other. Disputes are routine, and they need to be resolved quickly."

Circuit court backlogs also mean that probate cases drag out, frustrating people grieving the death of a loved one. Delays in family court cause divorces and child custody cases to linger. It takes a terrible toll, and most of it is needless.

The courts make up less than 1 percent of the state budget. But Florida pays for the courts through a mishmash system. The Bar and the judges want the Legislature to provide a more reliable, constant source of money and to make sure that fees in place to pay for the courts go there directly, not through another office. Another recommendation is for a review of filing fees. One quick way to get more money for the courts is to charge more to use them, but that can restrict access for people who have legitimate cases but less money.

Finally, the courts are a branch of government, not an agency. Treating them badly isn't just wrong. It's costly.

Guardianship abuse - it’s only a crime if caught

In case you missed the story, Steven Rondos is charged with stealing more than $4 million from clients he represented via court-appointed guardianships. Many of these clients are either disabled/incapacitated children or elderly. Click here for more background. From our perspective, Rondos is the worst of the bunch, but he’s not the only “bad guy” in this story.

EoD hears from many people with guardianship horror tales. Guardianships allow the complete takeover of a person’s liberty and assets.

It gives a whole new meaning to that slang term “I own you.”

Any American prisoner has more rights than a person under a guardianship. This is an under-reported issue not understood by many people.

Steven Rondos-like guardians are operating in communities across this country. Pray they never get ahold of you or your family!


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Our Elderly Plead for Help, Compassion but there is None Forthcoming!

DEAR JANET 'Phelan', author of 'The Probate Murders'


















Monday, February 2, 2009

Estate of Denial Site Catches On

by Estate of Denial.Com

What a bittersweet position to have a web site growing in popularity and receiving positive feedback, but sadly, its attraction is tied to increased numbers of people experiencing Involuntary Redistribution of Assets (IRA) actions most often perpetrated in probate venues and/or via probate instruments such as wills, trusts and guardianships.

As if our country’s financial future isn’t enough for which to be concerned, folks should also recognize that looting hard-earned assets of honest people is becoming a path to prosperity seen as increasingly desirable.

And it’s not just in the U.S. Our recent column, 21st Century Grave Robbers: Exploit the Dead, Harm the Living, Part 1 describes an estate dispute worthy of scrutiny from Australia. And here’s another letter from outside the U.S. just posted on our Tell Us Your Story page.

"I just wanted to congratulate you on the extremely professional site that you have developed to address the problem of guardianship abuse.

I am in the midst of dealing with the court system in my attempt to regain control over my incapable husband’s assests. The power of attorney that he made prior to his illness naming me as his poa was revoked in a cunning scheme orchestrated by his sister. The grief, both financial and psychological that this had caused is beyond belief. Never in my life would I have imagined that such things could happen in a supposedly civilized society.

You are doing a great service to people by keeping your website up to date and posting feedback. The more publicity we give to this issue, the greater the chances of effectingpositive changes in the legal system so that fewer people are victimized by it. This is a nightmare beyond comprehension that no one should ever have to deal with.

Thank-you for bringing more attention to this topic by establishing your website.



Heaven Help the Elderly - No Help from the Authorities Here

by Claudia

On Monday, I sent a packet of materials to the Internal Investigation Dept. of the King County Sheriff's Office -- filing a complaint against the detective who "investigated" my elder abuse complaint.

I just got a phone call from a KC Sergeant. He said what I sent him didn't constitute a viable complaint against the detective -- so there will be no investigation.

He said that he would send the material to the Maple Valley precinct to see if what my siblings did -- spend mom's money on trying to disinherit me or buying clothes for her at the Goodwill or outlet mall stores was financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult.

He thought what my brother(s) and sister did constituted bad judgment -- but not fraud. I guess keeping mail from her, spending it on attorney to disinherit me is ok to do, spending her money on legal fees -- that ok to do.

Mom got screwed -- from the guardian, my siblings, the various attorneys, and there is nothing anyone will do. Heaven help the elderly of King County and Washington State.

God help the elderly not only from King County but in all counties, the message is " You are on your own" abuse an animal and you could go to jail, in my county you catch a lobster out of season and there is an investigation, but elders that a "civil matter" no need for an investigation there.

Call for obese children to be taken into care

In our brave new world soon parents might have to cope with having overweight children taken away.


SEVERELY obese children should be notified to child protection authorities, and even taken into care, if their parents are unwilling or unable to help them lose weight, experts have argued.

The continuing failure of parents to ensure treatment for their obese child could be considered medical neglect when the child is suffering, or is at high risk of suffering, associated severe health problems.

Clinicians already have a legal requirement to contact welfare authorities when parents fail to follow medical advice in the treatment of other illnesses, such as parents who reject medication for a HIV-infected child, or who refuse a life-saving blood transfusion for a child on religious grounds.

I think it is a great idea and if the familly has any money it should be inmediately consfiscated and the child asigned a legal guardian if not the state can subsidy and pay for the child's care.

DCF Settles Lawsuit for $2.9 Million

Jacksonville,Florida,USA By Paul Pinkham

The Florida Department of Children and Families has settled all claims with three children who were abused by other children living in their Nassau County foster home, attorneys announced this afternoon.
The settlements total $2.9 million and follow a groundbreaking ruling in December by a federal appeals court in Atlanta that upheld their right to sue on grounds that DCF was "deliberately indifferent" to the danger they were in.

"This decision represents a landmark win in the fight to protect all foster children from child-on-child sexual abuse in foster care," said attorney
Brian Cabrey, who represented the victims. He said it was the first case nationally to recognize the rights of foster children to be protected from child-on-child abuse.

According to the lawsuit, the three pre-school-aged children were left unsupervised with two teenage foster kids known to be sexually aggressive and were repeatedly molested by the teens.

For more on the settlement, see Tuesday's Times-Union and check back later today with

Elder Abuse Alive and Well in Mexico

By Debra SmithHerald Writer ARLINGTON --

Robert Hood left for a fishing trip along the coast of Mexico, and when he finally returned, he was never the same.

Mexican police arrested Hood on arson charges after someone set fire to a fishing shack near where he was staying in San Felipe. Hood, a World War II veteran with a spotless record, languished for days in a filthy, crowded Mexican prison in 1982.

Hood was eventually released after a barrage of bad press from both sides of the border began to hurt tourism.He came home 50 pounds lighter and was broken emotionally, said his son, Gary Hood of Stanwood. His father talked of hearing other prisoners being tortured and beaten.

The prison was so crowded, his father spoke of sleeping standing up."It changed my dad," Hood said. "He became reclusive, not as happy. He was like a prisoner of war."


We warn our readers of traveling to countries that have little or no respect for civil rights, therefore we warn our readers against travel to Mexico.