Monday, August 31, 2009

Stealing Your Parents Blind 101 Part 2

A West Valley City couple are accused of bilking their elderly mother out of more than $100,000 while failing to care for the woman, who developed bedsores and other ailments as a result of the alleged neglect.

Corin Lynn Barker and his wife, Nadine Barker, both 60, were charged Tuesday in 3rd District Court with abusing Beatrice Barker, 90, who died in June.

Corin Barker was granted power of attorney for his aging parents in 2006 and gained control of their bank accounts, which included $40,000 in Social Security checks and other retirement savings, according to charging documents filed Tuesday.

When his father died in 2007, an insurance company paid his mother $62,241 in benefits, which went into a joint account, charges state.

West Valley City police began investigating Barker after receiving a complaint of neglect from staff at Pioneer Valley Hospital. Beatrice Barker was hospitalized in early June after losing weight and having renal failure and pneumonia, charges state.

Police investigating the severe bed sores discovered Nadine Barker was charged with her mother-in-law's care, including purchasing the woman's groceries, giving her medication and taking her to the doctor, charges state. Beatrice Barker required around-the-clock care.

Nadine Barker and her husband allegedly hired their daughter-in-law, Angie Barker, to provide every day care of her grandmother-in-law at one point, charges state. But Nadine was considered to be the main caretaker, police said. Nonetheless, Angie Barker also faces charges.

Police served a search warrant on Beatrice Barker's home at 3376 S. Beehive St. (2970 West), where they found mold growing in the refrigerator with no food available.

The woman's prescription bottles were empty and her bedroom contained a box spring and mattress on the floor, charges state.

Police later determined that Corin Barker had drained his mother's bank accounts, charges state.

The $102,914 of his parent's money that Corin Barker had control over dwindled to $1,829 the day of Beatrice Barker's death on June 14, charges state.

Corin Barker told investigators that he spent $56,482 of the money "for his own benefit" but spent the rest on his parents' care, according to charges.

Guardianships can spawn unintended, unwelcomed consequences

A recent investigative report about Jean and Michael Kidd, a Texas couple whose lives are now controlled by a Collin County court-appointed guardian illustrates the reality of how Americans targeted in probate venues by governmental bureaucracies and tagged as “incapacitated” can be subjected to a loss of civil liberties and/or confiscation of their property.

Read more here.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Friday, August 28, 2009

Probate Corruption.- How High Does it Go?

Janet Phelan

258 A Street #1-15

Ashland, OR 97520

August 7, 2009

To the Presiding Judge of Riverside Superior Court,

I am contacting you with grave concerns about some of the financial affairs of Commissioner John Michael McCoy. While McCoy has indeed been filing his form 700’s with the Fair Political Practices Commission, it appears that his disclosures are not consonant with his true financial dealings.

The number of reconveyances by John McCoy, which are public record and available at the Riverside Hall of Records, are not reflected in his Form 700’s. For example, Commissioner McCoy took out a reconveyance, recorded as document # 2006-0131733 on February of 2006 which he never reports to the FPPC.

Commissioner McCoy is, in fact, taking out a prodigious number of reconveyances. A partial list follows: 2009-0346345







While I am not alleging at this point in time that Commissioner McCoy is engaged in criminal money-laundering activity, it is well known that some public officials have from time to time attempted to obscure pay-offs through “loans,” which could be paid back by the bribing party. This practice obscures the money trail that is associated with bribes and pay-offs.

I recently discussed similar activity by a sitting San Bernardino County Probate Judge, Michael Welch, with the Commission on Judicial Performance and with the DA’s office. More work needs to be done to determine what is going on here.

In the meantime, I must mention that I am now in Commissioner McCoy’s court. To my shock and amazement, I was just informed today that a motion to compel, which I had generated and appropriately noticed the other side to be heard on October 8, was switched without my notification to this coming Monday, August 10th. I was also informed just yesterday that a Request for Continuance, which I had been told just last Tuesday was signed by Commissioner McCoy, was in fact NOT signed and I am to appear in court on Monday to pursue my Petition for Surcharge against Melodie Scott and attorney J. David Horspool who have refused to comply with the demand for discovery. I must protest that the switching of dates without informing the moving party

and false information being given by a clerk as to the granting of a continuance smacks of corrupt legal practices. The case number relevant to this matter is RIP 080974.

Please get back to me on this at your earliest convenience.


Janet C. Phelan

One If By Land

Liberty News Radio

Cc: Toni Eggebraaten, Esq

Mark Gutglueck, San Bernardino County Sentinel

Jack Leonard, Los Angeles Times

The Government Accountability Project


this letter was faxed to the Presiding Judge of Riverside County on a Friday. The following Monday, we had a hearing in McCoy's courtroom.

He came into the courtroom a bit late,and informed us he had been pulled off the case. The case was then assigned to a Judge Sharon Waters, in Riverside Court. I immediately checked out Waters and then called the DA, who has already received the info on McCoy, to tell him that Waters was reconveying even more than McCoy.

Within a heartbeat, before even a hearing, Waters was pulled off the case and it was reassigned to a Judge Gary Tranbarger, who, according to my search vehicle, has only taken out one loan on his property in the past ten years. Nothing suspicious about that...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Why Obamacare Could Result In The Early Deaths of Millions of Baby Boomers

Imagine lying in some government-run hospital, hospice or nursing home many years from now. Imagine languishing unattended for days in soiled sheets, suffering from hunger and thirst, covered with bed sores, your flesh aboil with untreated infections. Imagine living in fear of resentful, underpaid health aides who take out their anger on you and abuse you. And imagine spending your final moments on earth in the company of a government health care worker with a syringe, who injects you with a lethal cocktail.

Do you find this hard to imagine? You should. In any civilized country, such things should not happen – ever. But President Obama’s health care proposals have the very real potential to turn this nightmare into a reality for many Americans, according to an in-depth investigation reported in the August edition of Whistleblower magazine, titled "MEDICAL MURDER: Why Obamacare could result in the early deaths of millions of baby boomers."

Especially vulnerable are the 80 million baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964. "If you belong to that group, take note," says Richard Poe, author of the August cover story. "Your generation has been targeted for a program of age-based medical rationing such as our country has never before experienced."

Adds Whistleblower Editor David Kupelian, "If this dire end-of-life scenario sounds too awful to be possible, that is only because the reality of Obamacare has not been sufficiently reported. For this is not a fantasy – it is what is already occurring in other 'civilized' nations, including Canada and Britain, that have adopted the same government-run system."

For instance, the cover story, "Medical Murder," documents how British seniors, under a government-run system, "are routinely denied treatment for cancer, heart disease and other deadly illnesses," many dying "in filthy, overcrowded hospitals or nursing homes, rife with pestilence, including the deadly, antibiotic-resistant superbugs." Numerous horror stories of needed medical care intentionally denied reveal the stark reality of government-run health care worldwide.

To a small degree, Obamacare's ominous implications are starting to leak out. Here's how columnist Charlotte Allen explained it recently in the Los Angeles Times:

In looking for a way to fund healthcare, Obama has set his eye on the oldest and sickest. You see, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, about 30 percent of Medicare spending – nearly $100 billion annually – goes to care for patients during their last year of life. What if there were no 'last year of life,' the president seems to be asking. ... [W]hy not save billions of dollars by killing off our own unproductive oldsters and terminal patients, or – since we aren't likely to do that outright in this, the 21st century – why not simply ensure that they die faster by denying them costly medical care? The savings could then subsidize care for the younger and healthier.

And for those who have been paying close attention, Obama himself has ever-so-gently hinted at his true intentions. At a town hall event in June televised by ABC News, Obama cited the case of his grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, who died on the eve of his election, suggesting one way to cut medical costs would be to stop expensive procedures on people about to die.

Families, Obama said, need better information so they don't approve "additional tests or additional drugs that the evidence shows is not necessarily going to improve care."

"Maybe you're better off not having the surgery, but taking the painkiller," the president offered.

Read it all here=>>

Estate looting 101: what is an Involuntary Redistribution of Assets (IRA)?

Bell County Legal News ExaminerLou Ann Anderson

An industry exists in which lawyers, accountants and other unethical participants - sometimes with complicity from probate and other courts - can separate any of us from our property when certain (not that unusual) circumstances occur. These situations can also be orchestrated at the behest of disgruntled family members or wannabe heirs. Whether through the misuse or abuse of wills, trusts, guardianships or other probate-related scenarios, Involuntary Redistribution of Assets (IRA) actions can and do occur as a means of calculatedly diverting assets away from intended heirs/beneficiaries.

The drive to acquire wealth dates back to beginning of man. Having the most skins or the largest cave equated to power and status. The same still applies today, but morality associated with the accumulation of wealth has seriously degraded. By adopting an “end justifies the means” attitude, too many people these days are minimally hesitant to engage in less-than-ethical activities as a way to bolster their financial position. Concepts like “earning one’s keep” and “paying your own way” are rapidly becoming obsolete.

With an entitlement mentality as a guiding force, if a way - especially with cover from the law – can be found to transfer financial holdings from someone to yourself, that’s a victory akin to a winning lotto ticket or a Las Vegas jackpot! An added incentive exists if the process, hopefully limited to cursory review, can appear clean and innocuous.

As people get older or incapacitated, the potential of being targeted for IRA increases. Sadly, it can be a known, trusted family member or friend or it can be a stranger who works their way into a person’s life gaining their confidence along the way. In either case, the consequences can be life-altering for a person and their loved ones.

To understand how our society has come to the point where people can (and do) position themselves so as to find ways in which they can acquire other people’s money, thought should be given to the evolution of how resources change hands.

The Direct Approach

Once upon a time, the involuntary separation of property from a rightful owner required some type of physical act. Be it knocking the person over the head and taking their money, utilizing a weapon in a threatening way to provoke the relinquishing of said assets or simply breaking into another’s domicile in order to remove the property from its rightful custody, some not-to-be-missed overt act generally took place as a crime was committed and one lost access to their resources.

Behind the Scenes: Clean Hands Doing Dirty Deeds

Since the 1939 introduction of the term “white-collar crime” by sociologist Edwin Sutherland, the definition of such crime has been vigorously debated. The Federal Bureau of Investigation defines white-collar crime as “. . . those illegal acts which are characterized by deceit, concealment, or violation of trust and which are not dependent upon the application or threat of physical force or violence. Individuals and organizations commit these acts to obtain money, property, or services; to avoid the payment or loss of money or services; or to secure personal or business advantage.” (USDOJ, 1989, p. 3)

Regardless of how one defines white-collar crime, we are all affected by such activities. These crimes seem on the upswing as technological advances and legitimized corruption have joined forces with social isolation and advanced moral degradation. Media forums, regardless of their ideological persuasions, have no shortage of stories reflecting a wide array of white-collar criminal activities. We’ve all heard the stories of non-violent, “clean” sounding tales from high-visibility corporate scandals like Enron to individuals like Judith Leekin, the Florida woman charged with fraudulently adopting 11 children and forcing them to exist in horrid conditions while she lived off reportedly more than $1 million of taxpayer funds meant to finance the children’s care.

As reporting opportunities constantly increase, the stigma associated with such stories seems in a decline. As long as people aren’t overtly violent, are more actions being viewed as “victimless”? Is this leading to a general desensitization to dishonest behavior? Might deceit and deception be someday viewed as a new “norm”? What could this mean for our society? Bernie Madoff aroused public anger, but many lower level Madoff-type shysters operate with near impunity. Top government officials broke laws in not paying federal income tax, but that matters little as well.

Maybe Not Illegal, But Does That Mean It’s “Right”?

In recent years, Involuntary Redistribution of Assets (IRA) activity has taken on a new look as lawyers and other parties not constrained by the boundaries of honesty and truthfulness use the legal system to influence situations in their favor. Laws may not be technically broken, but ethics violations and breaches of trust often leave people with the same feeling and the same net financial result as experiencing that physical hit over the head prior to assets being taken.

Stealing $250,000 from a bank illicits a far different law enforcement response than stealing the same amount from an estate. Estate disputes are occasionally, but not often treated as criminal matters. They usually are relegated to the civil court system. Many people pulled into IRA battles are simply ill-prepared for the fight. Not everyone has first-hand knowledge of the legal or court systems, especially those whose lives center around being productive, law-abiding citizens. If your life experience hasn’t included things like divorce, child custody disputes, bankruptcy, DWI/DUI charges or exposure to other criminal activity, chances are your first-hand contact with a courtroom may be limited to an occasional stint of jury duty. With that, you may not realize what a “racket” the court system can be and the amount of good money that can be thrown away on legal fees and court costs with the disposition of even a simple case.

Ironically, the money sometimes targeted for IRA exists because of a responsible lifestyle in which people avoided legal entanglements yet the avoidance of such experiences later creates a real disadvantage in dealing with IRA practitioners familiar with the jurisprudential system either as members of the legal profession or through personal life circumstances.

The Scoop on Not Becoming a “Dupe”

America’s senior citizens are particularly at risk of being duped out of resources that a lifetime was spent accumulating or resources that represent the hard work and values of a multi-generational family effort. People with any means need to understand that our world contains predators seeking to separate you from your wealth – by Involuntary Redistribution of Assets (IRA), if necessary. Remember also that money, like many other things, is relative. What may seem modest or respectable to you could be a veritable fortune to someone feeling desperate or someone whose poor life choices has left them unacquainted with having financial resources.

Our aging population is a magnet for all types of scams and dishonest enterprises. In his book, People Get Screwed All the Time, attorney Robert Massi provides insight as to the creativity and boldness of IRA practitioners operating amongst us. Many of the situations addressed by Mr. Massi illustrate how legal maneuvering and basic business practices can be used to separate unsuspecting people from their money or prized assets.

The act of reaching into one’s own pockets to help a fellow man in need is praiseworthy and laudable. Reaching into someone else’s pocket is despicable and worthy of condemnation.

-Walter E. Williams, professor of economics and regular guest host on The Rush Limbaugh Show, Compassion Versus Reality, June 6, 2007

Individuals must beware the threats posed to their property and their heirs'/beneficiaries' rights of inheritance. IRA can happen anywhere, but areas with large retirement populations can be especially appealing to financial predators. Some communities may have to take a stand in support of their residents' property rights and in opposition to IRA property poachers. As public officials and prominent community members have been known to participate in these illicit activities, doing the right thing may take some courage.

With many people's ever-increasing sense of entitlement, a troubled economy and the transfer of wealth that is getting ready to occur in the next 20 or so years, Involuntary Redistribution of Assets cases will skyrocket. Next time you are at grocery store, health club, playing bridge or even in church, take a look to your left, take a look to your right. The field of people willing to participate in IRA activities is varied and growing. Never doubt that some of America’s best cons are taking place in our nicest neighborhoods.

Coming soon:

Specifics on how guardianships, wills and trusts are used in the perpetration of IRA.

For more info:

Estate looting 101: a broadcast overview (August, 9, 2009)

The 2009 MetLife Study of the American Dream

By Hook or Crook, the American Dream Remains a Desirable Goal (June 7, 2008)

Your Town, USA – a Great Place to Live, Launch and Loot? (April 4, 2008)

If you are interested in new posts from this site, please "Subscribe by E-mail" on my home page.

Elders Are being Stripped of their Civil Rights in Record Numbers Across the Land

Elderly Couple Forced into State Custody
Becky Oliver
August 25, 2009
DALLAS - They’re not criminals. They’ve broken no laws. But they’re being held against their will by the State of Texas. Why? It’s a tragic story about what can happen when you are alone in the world and lose control of your rights, your money, and your ability to complain.

Jean and Michael Kidd never imagined their retirement would play out like this. “I feel like I am not in America,” said Michael Kidd. “I can’t believe I have been hi-jacked off the street, virtually from the hospital, and imprisoned,” Kidd told FOX 4.

Michael Kidd and his wife Jean have been living out of a tiny room for months. They have lost control of their money, their home, even their car. They say they’ve been robbed of their dignity and their voice. And who do they say is responsible? The State of Texas.

“It is a shock to our system,” says Kidd. “We are still kind of in a state of shock,” Kidd told Reporter Becky Oliver.

Michael Kidd worked as an engineer at KDFW for 23 years. He retired in 2001 with a pension, retirement account, and social security. Last month, he called the station for help. The Kidds have no children or relatives nearby. In November Michael fell and broke his hip. He was taken to a Plano hospital and into surgery. After a few days, the hospital called the state Adult Protective Services to report Jean had been in the waiting room for days and wasn’t eating. What happened next is a complicated, legal tale told in hundreds of pages of documents filed with the Collin County Probate Court.

Caseworkers paint a picture of two incompetent old people, age 67 and 70, suffering from dementia. Reports say the Kidds have mismanaged their finances and used poor judgment, that Michael is verbally abusive and even attempted to assault Jean. Michael says Jean has memory trouble but denies everything else. A judge determined the Kidds were incapacitated and unable to care for themselves. The state took over the Kidds lives, sent them to the Countryside Nursing Home in Pilot Point, and is now burning through their money to pay for their care.

“You have no idea how much money you have?” Oliver asked Michael Kidd. “None at all,” Kidd responded. “I know what my income was and I know it was more than enough to take care of my bills. Now, I am deteriorating instead of getting better,” Kidd continued.

The monthly tab for a couple at Countryside is about seven thousand dollars. Court records show, for five months’ care, the guardian paid eleven thousand dollars out of the Kidds’ accounts. The state’s Medicaid program kicks in the rest. “I could be at the Hilton for this kind of money,” Kidd told Oliver.

The state appointed a financial guardian in Greenville to manage the Kidds money and pay their bills. When they asked for an accounting, the state refused. Representatives for the state stated the Kidds did not have the mental capacity to even ask for their own financial or medical records. Yet, much of their personal information is public record. The state tried to get a temporary restraining order to stop FOX 4 from reporting the Kidds’ story, saying the couple does not have the authority to consent to an interview and that our report will cause them irreparable harm. Judge Weldon Copeland ruled against the state. He said he would welcome a neighbor or family member to serve as a guardian but no one has come forward. The state is the last resort.

“We have to buy this out of our own money,” says Michael. The state gives each of the Kidds a measly sixty dollars a month of their own money. They use it to keep a small refrigerator stocked with healthy food. Jean has lost twenty pounds and two teeth and says no one has seemed to notice. They have no personal belongings in their room other than the television. All of their remaining possessions sit in their house in Richardson.

Bob Graham lived across the street from the Kidds for 21 years. He is furious about what the state is allowing to happen to their home. The yard has been neglected. The power was shut-off last spring and food left spoiling in the kitchen. Graham says the state even left the doors unlocked. “What irritates me is the gross negligence in handling their financial affairs,” Graham told Oliver. There has got to be a better way of handling this than just coming in, in a totalitarian fashion, and taking over people’s lives against their will with no advocate to speak for them,” Graham continued.

Bob Graham’s wife Aline was one of Jean Kidd’s closest friends. She says Jean was having some memory problems but she too questions the state’s heavy handedness. “They needed some kind of help but it is frightening to realize how totally helpless and without resources they are going to be,” Aline Graham told Oliver.

The Kidds did have court-appointed representation from attorney, Bert Starr. Starr would not comment but court records show he billed their account for ten hours of legal work. The work Starr performed on their case was cut from the record. The Kidds say they met with

him briefly one time before their hearing and he represented them at the hearing.

Nick Shiek is Jean Kidd’s former boss. He went to court with the Kidds and says it was clear no one was advocating for their position and for them to be allowed to go home. “There was no defending, per se.” Shiek told Oliver. “The procedure went through really quickly.”

The Kidds say the state has tried to paint them as troublemakers who are incapable of making their own decisions about their own lives. And they’re frightened that it appears to be working.

“Having help is one thing,” says Jean Kidd. “Having someone come in and take over the whole ball of wax and say you will do what I say, and you have no control over your own life…” she says, is another.

“How could this happen in a country that talks about and brags about freedom,” says Michael Kidd. “And yet this is how we treat our old people. This can happen to any of you.”

The state has the responsibility to make sure the Kidds are safe. But is a nursing home the best answer? There are other possible options such as assisted living or home health care that may be less expensive and confining. But the Kidds say those options were never discussed with them

Source=>>Fox Channel 4 News.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Elders Make Easy Prey for White Collars Looters

How far up does Government Corruption go in New Jersey? Does it reach up to the Senate? The Governor? Who is it that oversees the Office for the Public Guardian?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

People's State of Oregon's ObamaCare Denies Chemo Medicine; Offers Assisted Suicide Instead

People's State of Oregon's ObamaCare (about to go nationwide) Denies Chemo Medicine; Offers Assisted Suicide Instead

Crimes Against Elders : A Reflection of Culture

Brothers guilty of beating, urinating on grandmother

As published by Salt Lake Tribune

Two Salt Lake City brothers accused of assaulting their grandmother as she was taking a shower and urinating on her pleaded guilty Thursday to misdemeanors.

Christopher Eugene Hansen, 22, and Michael Levi Hansen Jr., 20, each pleaded guilty to abuse of an elder adult, which originally was charged as a felony and dropped to a Class A misdemeanor; lewdness, a Class B misdemeanor; and domestic criminal mischief, a Class B misdemeanor.

The brothers are slated to be sentenced Oct. 5 by Judge Robin Reese.

The elder abuse charge carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail and the Class B offenses have a punishment of up to 180 days in jail each. The two could be ordered to serve up to two years behind bars if the sentences are stacked.

The attack occurred July 2 in Salt Lake City, where the two men forced their way into a bathroom in the home they shared with their 66-year-old grandmother as she was taking a shower, according to charging documents.

Prosecutors say Christopher Hansen threw bottles of shampoo and baby powder at the woman, punched her in the face and urinated on her. They say Michael Hansen shoved and hit the grandmother as she tried to leave the bathroom and urinated on her clothing.

Police reported bruising on the victim's face and a cut on her head.


*Euthanasia is starting to sound ,more and more attractive everyday, perhaps a collar with a timer that at age 65 it emits a painful electric current forcing the wearer to go to a clinic where he/she would be euthanised. The alternatives, to have your assets confiscated, be forced into a nursing home against your will where you will be chemically restrained, and all contact with your loved ones blocked... does not sound too attractive...

Of course we could always immigrate to a country whose culture does not denigrate elders, and even thought there are sizeable retirees communities living abroad in Coasta Rica,Panama,Mexico,the D.R. and others, most Americans do no think to live until it's too late for them and they already have been committed.

*Exceptions to this would be made for the ruling class, Congress,lawmakers and other influential citizens would be exempt from this

Switzerland is on the cutting edge of this new movement towards the end of life for citizens that it has an unusual position on assisted suicide: it is legally condoned and can be performed by non-physicians. Euthanasia is illegal, but there is a debate about decriminalization that also discusses participation by non-physicians Source=>>

British Couple End Their Lives at Switzerland Euthanasia Clinic — A husband and wife have become the first British couple to commit suicide at Switzerland's voluntary euthanasia clinic, Dignitas. Both suffering from terminal cancer in an 'advanced stage' when they took the decision to end their lives.

Considering the alternatives perhaps our current administration is forward in its thinking to revisit the issue of end of lives programs...................

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Meet Rahm Emanuel’s Brother: Dr. Zeke the Bleak

Earlier this month (“ObamaCare as a Moral Clunker”), I wrote that there are three insurmountable moral objections to the president’s and Democrats’ versions of mislabeled “health care reform”:

1.They are all designed and destined to ration care. This will lead, as it has in state-run systems virtually everywhere, to long waits for even critical services. In Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal, Harvard professor and chairman of President Ronald Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers Martin Feldstein confirmed this obvious and inconvenient truth, writing that “rationing health care is central to President Barack Obama’s health plan.”

2.Under the idea of “Comparative Effectiveness Research” (CER), which has already been funded to the tune of over $1 billion, the inevitable and unavoidable rationing just described would more than likely be carried out under a regime of care denial driven by age-based and “quality of life” criteria. This will, formally or informally, lead to a system similar to that found in the UK, where its National Health Service, under the concept of “Quality-Adjusted Life Years” (QALY), won’t pay for medical procedures that “cost” more than $50,000 for each year of additional life expected to be gained (“cost” is in quotes because I believe that such “costs” are often overloaded with fixed overhead that largely should not be relevant to such decisions).

3.The people who would be in charge of implementing a state-controlled system, which remains the objective of President Obama and Congress as long as they seek any kind of “public option” or government-managed “co-operative” set-up, have viewpoints that are ethically questionable at best and morally abhorrent at worst.

The administration appears to be trying to allay the justifiable concerns about Item 3 and seems to believe that if it can do that, Americans won’t be as worried about Items 1 and 2. Sadly, despite the worldwide track record of state-run and state-controlled systems, there is some plausibility to this strategy. Even with the vocal and growing opposition to ObamaCare as a whole, Rasmussen reports that “57% oppose the plan if it doesn’t include a government-run health insurance plan to compete with private insurers.”

This is where Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel (“Zeke”), brother of President Obama’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, comes in.

Zeke has been and apparently still is chair of the Clinical Center Department of Bioethics at the National Institutes of Health, where he is still listed as an employee. I have confirmed that Zeke is still employed there. He has been with the Obama administration as health policy adviser at the Office of Management and Budget since February, and is a member of the Federal Coordinating Council on Comparative Effectiveness Research.

Hmm. He’s a busy guy. I wonder how many taxpayer-funded income streams he receives.

Zeke has an ugly paper trail that goes back a long way. What follows are just a few examples.

On the Hippocratic Oath, Zeke said in 1997 that it “represented the minority view in a debate within the ancient Greek medical community.” Well, if everyone had been following an ethical framework, the Oath wouldn’t have been necessary, would it? One might as well say that in the 1950s, the majority of white southern Democrats opposed the voting rights for black Americans. So what? Does that make Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King presumptively wrong?

In a study released in 2001 based on a review of 1996 death and patient records, Zeke and a team of researchers found, as summarized by the New York Times, that “many cancer patients receive chemotherapy at the end of life, even if their kind of cancer is known to be unresponsive to the drugs.” Sounds familiar to the risible claim by the president a few weeks ago that pediatricians are taking out tonsils for purely financial reasons, doesn’t it? But Zeke & Co. rigged the test by bright-lining the difference between “responsive” and “unresponsive” cancers. According to this American Cancer Society link, for liver cancer, one of those the study deemed unresponsive to treatment, “[chemo] drugs shrink less than 1 in 5 tumors, and the responses often do not last long.” Hold it right there. First, chemo does work at least occasionally; when you have serious cancer, “occasionally” sounds pretty good. Second, rather than giving up on chemo for liver cancer, researchers are now investigating the possible effectiveness of hepatic artery infusion (HAI) for delivering the chemo drugs. Following Zeke’s logic, attempting chemo for liver cancer would have been abandoned and it’s likely that the idea of trying HAI might never have been conceived.

Perhaps Zeke’s most infamous recommendation is in an essay (pages 12-14 at link) in the November-December 1996 Hastings Report. In it, while quite frequently using variations of the word “communitarian,” he wrote that “services provided to individuals who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens are not basic and should not be guaranteed. An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia.” Charming.

But now we’re supposed to forget about all of that old stuff. Zeke recently embarked on a reputation rehab tour and now squeaks that he’s no longer so bleak. You can tell that the administration knows it has a serious problem on its hands, because the doctor even found time in his interview rounds to get with the lefty-despised Washington Times. Here is some of what he told Times reporter Jon Ward on August 13:

“When I began working in the health policy area about 20 years ago … I thought we would definitely have to ration care, that there was a need to make a decision and deny people care,” said Dr. Emanuel, a health care adviser to President Obama in the Office of Management and Budget, during a phone interview.

“I think that over the last five to seven years … I’ve come to the conclusion that in our system we are spending way more money than we need to, a lot of it on unnecessary care,” he said. “If we got rid of that care we would have absolutely no reason to even consider rationing except in a few cases.”

To nuke that “five to seven years” assertion, I only had to go to one source, namely Betsy McCaughey in the July 24 New York Post. McCaughey cited three examples from the last two years contradicting the existence, let alone the timing, of Emanuel’s conversion:

•Doctors take the Hippocratic Oath too seriously, (in Emanuel’s words) “as an imperative to do everything for the patient regardless of the cost or effects on others” (Journal of the American Medical Association, June 18, 2008).
•McCaughey says that Emanuel repeated his “not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia” assertion in a February 27, 2008, article (“The Cost-Coverage Trade-off: ‘It’s Health Care Costs, Stupid’”) in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
•She writes that “he explicitly defends discrimination against older patients” in a January 2009 Lancet article. Indeed he does, advocating something he calls “the complete lives system.” Its relevant care-determining factors include “youngest-first, prognosis, save the most lives, lottery, and instrumental value.”

I’ll add another example as a bonus. During the 2006 bird flu concerns, Zeke had his own ideas about how vaccines should be administered in a scarcity situation:

In a column in today’s issue of Science, they [Zeke and co-author Alan Wertheimer] say vaccine rationing should not be based on medical questions — such as who has the weakest immune system.

Rather, the ethicists argue, experts should consider the philosophical question of who would benefit most in the long term. …

In their column, they argue every person, ideally, should have the opportunity to experience all the stages of life. But in a pandemic, kids should not be a big priority, since they have not invested enough into their lives yet; on the other end, older people have experienced more of life’s stages, so they don’t deserve priority either.

They suggest a “cycle of life” priority that gives preference to people 13 to 40 years old — as long as they are reasonably healthy. If they have high-risk conditions that make them a lower bet for a long life, they drop down on the priority list.

It’s simply amazing. No matter what the medical issue at hand happens to be, Zeke always ends up at the same place: not treating the somehow unworthy or letting them die.

Some “conversion.”

Unfortunately, Zeke is only one of many in the Obama administration, up to and including the president himself, whose outlandish views should never be granted real power in the health care system. The mere prospect that such people might someday, as Mark Steyn aptly puts it, “nationalize your body” should be enough to persuade anyone that any and all attempts at enhancing state power over our health care system must be stopped once and for all.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Rules Deemed Lax at Elder-Care Sites

By Christine McConville

Experts say the horrific abuse that allegedly occurred last week at a $5,500-a-month assisted-living center in Quincy is not uncommon among the vulnerable population in the loosely regulated industry.

“Beatings, rape, I’ve seen it all,” said North Reading attorney David Hoey, who specializes in elder-abuse cases. He noted assisted-living facilities, unlike nursing homes, receive no governmental subsidy, and therefore have little governmental oversight.

In the Quincy case, four elderly women were allegedly assaulted by Kara Murphy, a certified nursing assistant at the Atrium at Faxon Woods. Benchmark Assisted Living LLC of Wellesley owns the facility, which specializes in treating people with Alzheimer’s disease and other memory-loss conditions. The company took in $210 million in revenue in 2007.

Beaulieu called the type of alleged abuse “sadistic.”

“It really boils down,” she said, “to them not feeling that these people whom they are caring for are really people.”


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Elderly Face Possible Beatings and Mistreatments When Confined to Nursing Homes and ALF's

QUINCY, Mass., Aug. 15 (UPI) -- A nursing assistant has been charged with hitting and beating four elderly women with Alzheimer's disease at a Boston-area assisted living facility.

Kara Murphy, 23, of Quincy was being held under home confinement, the Boston Herald reported. She was charged Friday with seven counts of assaulting the elderly.

Murphy worked at the Atrium at Faxon Woods in Quincy, a privately owned assisted living facility. A colleague reported Murphy to police, investigators said.

The co-worker described a rampage last Saturday in which Murphy allegedly attacked one woman by grabbing her head to get her to a toilet when she began defecating. Murphy then allegedly bounced on the lap of a 96-year-old woman confined to a wheelchair.

Murphy, who has been fired from her job and was arrested Thursday, faces a long prison term if convicted.

Her aunt, Loretta Palmacci, told the Herald Murphy might have been assaulted by one of the residents.

"She's been a very kind and caring person," Palmacci said. "I don't know what happened. Sometimes she would come home very tense. You can imagine all the different things that go on with Alzheimer's (patients)."


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

How Conservatorships/Guardianships Are Used As Tools Of Theft and Corruption

by Janet Phelan as published in the *Bernandino County Sentinel on June 12th 2009

Redlands Conservator’s Actions Raise Questions

A prominent and well-connected Redlands conservator is under investigation by the San Bernardino County grand jury and has had her fiduciary license denied by the California State Professional Fiduciary Bureau.

Melodie Z. Scott, President of Conservatorship and Resources for the Elderly, also known by its corporate acronym C.A.R.E.

Inc., received some bad press back in 2005 when the Los Angeles Times published a front page series exposing questionable business practices of professional conservators. As a result of the public outcry over the articles, the California State Legislature swung into action and passed the Omnibus Conservatorship Reform Act of 2006, The act established the Professional Fiduciary Bureau as a means to license and regulate professional fiduciaries and conservators, who manage the affairs of the elderly, disabled and often family trusts, as well.

Melodie Scott applied for this license and in August of 2008 it was denied on grounds that she had made misrepresentations on her application.

Blacks law dictionary defines a conservator as a ‘protector or guardian.’ A conservatorship is generally initiated through a court proceeding, when there are allegations that a person is becoming forgetful or is otherwise unable to handle his or her affairs. A “conservatorship of person” may be launched for another party to make personal decisions for the alleged incapacitated person. Upon initiation of a “conservatorship of estate,” however, all the assets are immediately transferred to the “care and protection” of the professional conservator.

This is how it works: A family member, or even a neighbor, may notice that an elderly person is alone and may be increasingly vulnerable. Depending on the morality and authenticity of the concerned party, that person may contact adult protective services, or may attempt to file for guardianship over the elder, in order to either protect or to gain access to that person’s funds. The police may become involved, if there are allegations of lack of capacity or of financial or
physical abuse. This opens the door for the professional conservator, buttressed by his or her lawyers, to take advantage of the situation.

A linchpin in this system in San Bernardino County is C.A.R.E., Inc., which is located a mere stone’s throw from the Redlands Courthouse, in a quaint, two story building at 25 E. State Street. The “C.A.R.E. Group” consists of conservator Melodie Z. Scott, president and founder of C.A.R.E. and, up until recently, Lawrence Dean II, and their attorneys, and an office support staff including caseworkers, bookkeepers and more. For many years, Scott was primarily represented by Hartnell, Horspool and Fox, which has split into two firms--Hartnell, Lister and Moore, and Horspool and Parker. Lawrence Dean disassociated himself from Scott following the denial of her license and has moved to other offices. According to the Los Angeles Times, Dean is also under grand jury investigation.

J. David Horspool appears as chief counsel on the lion’s share of C.A.R.E. cases. Horspool is a former councilman and mayor pro-tem of Moreno Valley, and was implicated in a vote fraud issue there in the nineties, during his campaign for city council.

The Horspool family was the subject of a Los Angeles Times article on September 17, 2006, which recounted how J. David

Horspool put his own father, Raymond Horspool, a WWII veteran and former chemist, under a conservatorship. Raymond Horspool

had previously granted a piece of property to another son, William Horspool, in 2005. J. David Horspool recently had that

property transfer nullified and the court has issued an eviction order for William Horspool, his wife and small children. This issue has been appealed.

Bryan Hartnell has contracted with the county and serves as counsel for the LPS (mental health) conservatorships. Hartnell recently received some national press, as one of the survivors of the infamous Zodiac killer, when the “Zodiac” movie hit the big screen. Hartnell had a bit part in the movie. While some detailed crime analysis has indicated that the attack on Hartnell and Cecelia Shepard was a copy-cat and not a bonafide Zodiac attack, this was not brought to light on the silver screen. Hartnell escaped with non-life threatening injuries, but Shepard died as a result of the attack.

A smattering of “independent” attorneys also serve the “C.A.R.E. Group,” such as president of the High Desert Bar Association, Sherri Kastilahn. Some of the court-appointed counsel for potential conservatees are known to regularly lob their clients in the direction of Scott and Dean. These include attorneys Donnasue Ortiz and Lenita Skoretz, among others.

By some estimates, the ”C.A.R.E. Group” now has connections to 60-70% of the conservatorship and estate administration cases in San Bernardino County.

One attorney, speaking on condition of anonymity, voiced her opinion that all San Bernardino probate cases were moved to

Redlands recently to accommodate the “C.A.R.E. Group,” most of whom maintain their offices in Redlands, within walking distance of the courthouse.

At the apex of this group is Melodie Z. Scott, who has been referred to as the richest and most powerful conservator in Southern California. A tall, well-dressed blonde with a college education and a private investigator’s license, Scott has a reputation as a bon vivant and frequently socializes with elected officials and other members of San Bernardino’s upper crust. Her resume reads like a poster-girl for an accomplished and respected conservator, and includes expert witness status, college level teaching experience (at California State University at Fullerton) a stint as president of the Professional Conservators of Southern California, as well as serving as a board member for Redlands Family Service. Like her attorney, Horspool, she has also run for public office.

However, behind the tasteful, expensive exterior at 25 E. State Street, an entirely different picture has emerged, revealing a reality both shocking and disturbing to those who have placed blind confidence in the court and conservatorship systems. The “C.A.R.E. Group” is, in fact, preying on the life-savings of its helpless and vulnerable clients, many of whom have died very quickly as C.A.R.E. has sucked the lifeblood out of their estates.

According to Jerry Villanueva, an investigator with the San Bernardino County district attorney’s office, five separate counties have received complaints alleging criminal activity by Melodie Scott and her crew. Villanueva recently revealed that all incoming reports concerning Scott are being referred to the California Attorney General’s office, which has so far
not filed criminal charges against Scott’s group. According to Ron Smetana, acting senior assistant attorney general for the state of California, a lack of resources to investigate issues such as conservatorship fraud and malfeasance has hampered the potential prosecution of individuals such as Melodie Scott. Smetana refused to discuss specifics with regard to certain embezzlement allegations or to which other departments or divisions in the attorney general’s office those
allegations may have been referred. Smetana grew particularly tight lipped with regard to inquiries about felony murder allegations touching upon Scott and her actions.

Inappropriate End-of-Life Decisions

“I don’t ‘do’ families,” Melodie Scott brusquely stated, in response to a query as to the services offered by C.A.R.E.

A review of the court files in Redlands Superior Court largely substantiates this. On numerous occasions, C.A.R.E. has filed for conservatorship of elderly women, left vulnerable after the death of a spouse, with offspring or other fam-ily members either out of state or otherwise absent from the picture. When there are family members present to witness the actions taken by Melodie Scott, in concert with other members of the C.A.R.E. Group, they generally end up quite upset.
Case in point is the Elizabeth Fairbanks case, on file in the Redlands Court. Mary Beth Fairbanks, the daughter of deceased conservatee Elizabeth Fairbanks, first contacted a reporter for the Sentinel in the Fall of 2006. Following what Mary Beth repeatedly referred to as the murder of her mother at the direction of Melodie Z. Scott, the younger Fairbanks organized a demonstration in front of the San Bernardino County Courthouse, timed with her appearance in court on October 13, 2006, to lodge her protest with Superior Court Judge Frank Gafkowski. A number of family members, conservatorship victims and others impacted by Melodie Z. Scott, showed up at the demonstration, which was covered on the local ABC affiliate and by local

A review of the medical records prior to Fairbanks’ death substantiates Mary Beth’s allegation that directives by Melodie Z. Scott, conservator of person and estate for Elizabeth Fairbanks, were instrumental in the elderly woman’s death.

Unbeknownst to the family, Melodie Scott had signed a “do not resuscitate” order (DNR) shortly after achieving conservatorship over Fairbanks. This DNR is on file with the court and Fairbanks’ signature does not appear on this document.

In 2006, Fairbanks fell ill with pneumonia, and at the apparent direction of Scott, received only two doses of antibiotics during the entire course of the illness, according to medical records. At a critical moment in her increasing respiratory distress, she was administered two doses of the opiate, Roxanol, which put Fairbanks into respiratory arrest. Two hours following the administration of the second, more powerful dose of Roxanol, Fairbanks died. Roxanol is contraindicated for patients with respiratory problems. Dr. Victoria Rains supervised her care.

It was later revealed in the accountings that Elizabeth Fairbanks had no money left to fund the conservatorship.The following statement was filed by Mary Beth Fairbanks in San Bernardino Court: “I have attempted since 2003 to find an attorney to help me with stopping what Ms. Scott was doing. No attorney would help me due to Ms. Scott’s power in the San Bernardino area....My mother died of pneumonia, which has a good success rate if treated aggressively and correctly. Why would Ms. Scott think if my mother was hospitalized and aggressively treated that she could end up a vegetable? If my mother had a stroke I could understand what Ms. Scott did but not to give my mother a chance is incomprehensible to me.”

Judge Michael Welch wrote a decision in the Fairbanks case, and diligently avoided any questions of possible criminal behavior by Melodie Scott. He took a quick detour around the issue of whether Fairbanks herself actually requested or even knew of the “do not resuscitate” order. He wrote: “Apparently, shortly after Ms. Scott became the conservator, the conservatee had requested a “do not resuscitate” (DNR) order. Ms. Scott’s notes reflect that the conservatee had the capacity to make such a decision....The children all testified that they did not know their mother had made such a request.

In fact, they were adamant that their mother had expressed to them just the opposite….”

The statement that “Apparently” Fairbanks had requested the DNR does not resolve the issue that there is no indication, other than the statement by her conservator, that Fairbanks did so. Moreover, Fairbanks was under an LPS conservatorship, which was initiated because of her lack of capacity. She had a medical diagnosis of substantial mental illness. To state that a person who has been deemed incompetent has capacity to make a decision of this magnitude is a contradiction in terms. In this way, Welch, while transparently attempting to exonerate Melodie Scott from any liability in the events that led to the elder Fairbanks’ death, encountered an equally transparent absurdity in the circle of logic he had constructed.

Welch then quickly moved on, seeking to paper over the logical absurdity by making a seemingly heartfelt but ultimately empty summation of the Fairbanks family’s loss of their mother. Welch wrote, “The last few days and, later, the last few hours before (Fairbanks’) death were very painful for her children. I could not help but note their grief and sorrow at the news of her passing.”

That being said, Judge Welch summarily approved all accountings and actions by the conservator, Melodie Scott, and closed the case.

In an email to a family member, which was forwarded to the Sentinel, one of Scott’s attorneys, J. David Horspool, attempted to exonerate the withholding of antibiotics from Elizabeth Fairbanks. Providing an interpretation of the treatment choices made for Elizabeth Fairbanks during her final, fatal bout with pneumonia that clashed with the interpretation of Fairbanks’ daughter, Horspool wrote: “Mary Beth is upset because Melodie let her mother die peacefully (as was Elizabeth’s expressed wish) rather than have her hooked up to machines just to keep 4her alive. Right now I think she is trying to set up a complaint for elder abuse/neglect or medical malpractice. As I said, she is just looking for money.”

Dr. Rains is one of the doctors generally used by Melodie Scott, to care for her elderly clients. A review of death certificates reveals that Dr. Rains has listed “pneumonia” as cause of death for a number of other C.A.R.E. conservatees.

Calls to Dr. Rains requesting input as to whether she regularly withholds life-saving antibiotics from her elderly patients went unreturned.

“Just Do It!”

After gaining conservatorship over an elderly or disabled individual, Scott, as a matter of course, applies to the court for a “Power of Health Care.” Armed with this legal sanction to make life and death decisions, Scott routinely signs a DNR order, thus cementing her power to withhold medical care at the point when her client is no longer of financial use to her.In the case of Stevie Price, Scott used this “Power of Health Care” both to limit medical care and to issue directives for medical procedures which proved unnecessary and life-threatening for her disabled client.

At age nine, Stevie Price was critically injured in an emergency room foul-up, which left him with a permanent brain injury. His parents, Steve and Fae, sued Loma Linda University Medical Center and prevailed.

in 1997, in San Bernardino, when the elder Steve Price noticed an attorney sitting in the back of the courtroom, taking notes. The attorney, he later discovered, was Walter Moore (now a partner in Hartnell, Lister and Moore), one of the attorneys who regularly appears as counsel for Melodie Scott.Before the Prices knew it, the court had determined that an ‘impartial’ third party was needed to represent Stevie. Judge Kathleen Bryant appointed Walter Moore as Stevie’s attorney, who immediately nominated Melodie Z. Scott as guardian of Stevie’s person.

Scott soon gained control over Stevie’s trust, as well. After being appointed temporary guardian, Ms. Scott used $300,000 of Stevie’s trust, in attorney’s fees, expert witness fees, etc., to achieve the status of permanent guardian in a trial inexplicably held in a different city, before a traffic court judge, Judge Frank Heene of Chino Municipal court.

It should be noted that Heene was subsequently brought up on nine counts of misconduct, and retired from the bench.According to Steve Price, the “C.A.R.E. Team” manipulated Fae in order to gain control of the trust, promising her standing in the case, which never materialized. Steve Price ended up in a protracted legal battle with Scott, in an attempt to protect his son’s life and the funds so necessary to care for the child.

On the very same day that Melodie Scott was finally removed from the A couple of years after the incident, Steve and Fae separated. It was during a custody hearing case, Stevie Price died. The elder Price was then to discover, to his further horror, that Scott had run through the entire multi-million trust.

“The trust should have been banking, not losing money,” states Steve Price. Prior to Melodie Scott’s appointment, Price had carefully researched his son’s options, and had made decisions which would guarantee excellent medical care, while protecting the trust, which was anticipated to last Stevie’s lifetime. Price saw no reason that his son should not live to a ripe old age, if given appropriate care.

He had enrolled Stevie in a medical insurance plan which was funded by state tobacco taxes-- MR/MIP (Major Risk Medical Insurance Program) with Medi-Cal as a secondary insurance.
A chunk of Stevie’s malpractice settlement had gone to settle his Medi-Cal bill, and to enable his enrollment with MR/MIP as his primary. With less than $100 as a monthly premium and no pay-back requirement on death, MR/MIP also provided a far higher standard of care than the bare bones, minimal coverage provided by Medi-Cal. Upon achieving guardianship, Melodie
Scott voluntarily removed Stevie from this program, thus severely restricting his medical care to what the limited Medi-Cal program would cover. This also unnecessarily incurred a Medi-Cal claim of $532,607.39 at Stevie’s death. What remained in Stevie’s trust at that point was inadequate to cover this claim.

Steve Price claims that this action by Melodie Scott “seem(s) to have intentionally defrauded Medi-Cal into paying Stevie’s medical expenses and exposed both him and his estate to harm.” In a report to the California Attorney General’s office, Price also states that “we believe that this was a major factor in his death.” In another aggressive move, which Price believes was an effort to remove Stevie from his father’s watchful eye and to place him further under Scott’s control, she ordered that Stevie undergo a tracheotomy in 2000. Most institutional facilities which would be appropriate for someone with Stevie’s injuries generally only accept patients with tracheotomies. Scott failed to provide any diagnostic proof of the necessity of this procedure, and in defiance of the opinion of Stevie’s long term pulmonary specialist and home-health nurses, applied for and received court permission to have the tracheotomy performed.

Perched on the corner of a pleasant Yucaipa street, Steve Price’s sprawling, ranch-style home is a virtual shrine to personal tragedy. The walls are bedecked with photographs of his young son, surrounded by family and friends. A framed poem, by Stevie’s former nurse and now Price’s fiancée, Tammy Hull, urges those on this side of the grave to remain strong and loving, even in the face of such wrenching loss. But for Steve Price, justice has become elusive. The California
Attorney General’s office expressed disinterest in his meticulously documented complaint, which included evidence of Scott’s attempt to further pad her pocket by taking out two burial plots on young Stevie, one of which went unreported to the court, and was to be cashed in by Scott on the death of her client.

Equal Protection Under the Law?

The California AG’s office received another bundle of complaints in March of 2007. The carefully documented complaints alleged embezzlement, property theft, perjury, denial of due process by judges in C.A.R.E. cases, attempted murder and continued suppression of reports received by lower level justice agencies, including the Redlands and Temecula Police Departments and a local district attorney’s offices. These reports powerfully buttress the perception that the “C.A.R.E.

Group” is wielding undue influence all the way up the California justice system.

These reports were received by senior assistant attorney general Mark Geiger on March 6, 2007 and put back into the mail to the senders the same day. Casting around for a plausible explanation to explain his office’s unwillingness to take up the case, Geiger stated, “....these are matters beyond my area of developed criminal expertise.”Further, Geiger said of the alleged criminal activity that had been brought to his attention, “.... the statute of limitations has run on many of the alleged offenses.” This was in direct contradiction to the evidence and time lines

supplied in the March reports that the alleged crimes were reported well within the statutory time limits to local law enforcement agencies, which had also failed to act. Most tellingly, Geiger also neglected to assign a complaint number to the March reports.

As a matter of course, and for tracking purposes, an incoming complaint to the Department of Justice is always assigned a complaint number. By first omitting and then refusing to assign a number, Geiger tacitly revealed that he buried the reports.

Scott’s influence appears to go all the way up to the federal level. The head of the Civil Rights Division for the Riverside F.B.I. told one complainant that there were “massive civil rights violations” substantiated by the complainant, but that agency “took no action.” An agent in the Los Angeles office of the F.B.I. stated, with brazen inaccuracy, that conservatorships were a “civil” matter and that the F.B.I did not investigate civil matters. When that complainant provided evidence that crimes were being committed under the mantle of “civil” court procedures, she was funneled into a telephonic “black hole,” and was refused any more access to a duty agent.

Keep It in the Family

Melodie Scott’s business dealings have regularly benefitted members of her family. Her mother, Jo Williams, also known as Anna Williams, works out of the 25 E. State Street offices as a “client care” specialist. Williams’ name also appeared on the property at 26735 Redlands Blvd, which was formerly the site of Orange Blossom, an unlicensed assisted living center, previously owned by Melodie Scott. The property, which burned to the ground recently, was subsequently sold to Loma Linda Hospital for a cool seven figures. Scott’s sister, Dona Zinck, has appeared on accountings as being reimbursed for grocery shopping services. Another family member, Alvin Zinck, has been the recipient of at least one property transfer, which he apparently received free of charge. In 1994, Alvin and Lois Zinck were the recipients of a 1958 Terry Trailer, which had
previously belonged to one Lois B. Nightingale, who was under conservatorship with Melodie Scott. The bill of sale, signed by Melodie Scott as conservator for Lois Nightingale, notes that “This trailer traded for yard clean-up services and labor.”

The Family Home

Under the laws governing conservatorships of estate, Scott has total access to all the conservatee’s bank accounts and may, with the court’s approval, sell the conservatee’s property, in order to further pay for her services. An unusual pattern has emerged concerning the sale of real property, which is always approved by Scott’s judges. Probate property, as it is called, be it under a conservatorship case or under the estate administration of the “C.A.R.E. Group,” is generally substantially under-appraised and sold at a still deeper discount from the initially low appraisal.

Here is a short list of such transactions, garnered from the Redlands probate files and matched up with the San

Bernardino’s tax assessor’s office:

Elmer Archie Heath 23538 Court St, San Bernardino
Appraised at $60,000
Sold at $28,600
Heath’s vacant lot on Joshua Road, Palm Desert
Appraised at $8,000
Sold at $1,000
Mary Titus 49888 Senilis Ave, Morongo Valley
Appraised at $35,000
Half interest sold at $3000
Evelyn Townsend 1244 Ramona Drive, Redlands
Appraised at $140,000
Sold at $110,000
Mattie Kirby 1028 W. 9th, San Bernardino
Appraised at $65,000
Sold at $43,000

After being sold off at bargain basement prices, many of these properties suddenly and without explanation dramatically increase in assessed value. For example, the “C.A.R.E. Group” handled the estate administration for Rachel Norris, whose single family home in Victorville, California, was appraised at $2,788 - that is, $212 less than $3,000. The home was then sold to a Gary Salonsin, in November of 2004, at that price.

Incomprehensibly, the assessed value then jumped to $76,000, and Salonsin quickly sold it in a “flip” to Ilona Winegarden, where it was re-assessed at $96,900. Conservatee Arthur Gurley’s vacant Victorville lot jumped in assessed value from $7,273 to $44,880 when it passed into the hands of Eagle Assets & Management LLC in 2005, and his Victorville cabin also skyrocketed in value from $8,312 to over $57,000 when Eagle acquired this property, also in 2005.

The list goes on and on. Lena Peden’s retail business, appraised at $15,392, jumped in appraisal to over $81,000 as soon as it was acquired in 2006. The jumps and flips are too numerous to list here; however, it should be noted that former San Bernardino County assessor Bill Postmus is also being investigated by the San Bernardino County grand jury. He was arrested on drug charges this past January and resigned his office.

As the sole heir of the estate of conservatee Una Haley, Sheryl Morgan received absolutely nothing. Morgan, who was Haley’s granddaughter, had applied to be her conservator, only to have this strong-armed away from her by the “C.A.R.E. Group.”

Morgan has stated that this group outright stole the proceeds from the sale of Haley’s home. The court file reveals that

conservator Lawrence Dean and his attorney Craig Parker (of Hartnell, Horspool and Fox) did an even divvy of the remains of Haley’s estate. In the final distribution, Dean and Parker declared to the court on August 26, 2003 that they each received $4,775.15. This poses some alarming questions. Parker’s per hour fees as an attorney are roughly in the $200-$250 range, while Dean’s services are generally in the neighborhood of $40.00 an hour. There is simply no probable mathematical equation which could have resulted in the even divide of the remaining money.

Missing Checks

Another source of potential fraud involves the issue of skipped check numbers in Melodie Scott’s general ledgers. The Sentinel has unearthed partial general ledger reports on two C.A.R.E. conservatorships-- Dora Pakuts, in San Bernardino and one from a Riverside case. In both ledgers, there are numerous skipped check numbers, with no explanation provided, such as
a “void” notation, should a check be cancelled out. One of these checks, written by Melodie Scott on a conservatee’s account for over $4,000, a copy of which has been obtained by the Sentinel, was never reported to the court or noted in the general ledger.

Of grave concern is the fact that the bank and brokerage statements of the conservatees’s assets, which are filed as “confidential” with the courts, are unavailable for oversight by the conservatee or her attorney, a family member, or any member of the public. Recent bank records leaked to the Sentinel by an informant in Riverside court points to tens of
thousands of dollars siphoned off by Melodie Scott in at least one case, right after the conservatee passed on. These five figure withdrawals, listed as “miscellaneous debits” in the Redlands Community Bank statement,were never recorded or in any manner accounted for in the “official” and public accountings of the trust assets.

A critical shortcoming allowing abuses in the conservatorship process consists of the failure of governmental agencies working in conjunction with and overseeing the conservators to exercise the full range of their authority.

One of the duties of a court- employed “probate examiner” is to examine the financial records for indications of possible malfeasance or error. However, in a conversation with a Sentinel reporter two months ago, attorney David Bowker, who serves as a “probate examiner” for Riverside Court, bolted from the generic question as to whether the probate examiners had
access to the “confidential bank and brokerage” statements. He refused to answer the question as to his job description, and terminated the interview shortly thereafter. Attorney Mike Capelli, who supervises the probate examiners in Riverside Court, grew demonstrably uneasy over questions about the duties of those functioning under him. He refused to answer the
job description query previously posed to Bowker and then characterized the question as “nutty.”Capelli went on to say that he personally bore “no responsibility” for the actions of the probate examiners he supervised.

Deborah Stapleton, who also serves in a supervisory capacity at that court, however, later acknowledged that probate examiners do have access to confidential bank and brokerage statements and other financial records.

Melodie Scott did not return calls requesting input about skipped check numbers and other financial irregularities. On June 10, someone from her office, in response to repeated calls to her place of business seeking Scott’s input for this article, phoned the Sentinel to inquire about the newspaper’s circulation.

Scott is appealing the denial of license. In May, several days of hearings on her appeal took place in Oakland, and the hearings are planned to resume shortly.