NASGA is a public interest civil rights organization founded by several victims and for victims of unlawful and abusive guardianship and conservatorship cases. Please visit our website at www.StopGuardianAbuse.org for more information on how you can help stop guardian abuse.
Mon, Jul 30, 2018, 9:00 AM –Wed, Aug 1, 2018, 5:00 PM CDT
Note: For the second time in history, Marti Oakley (T. S. Radio show host and long time advocate on a variety of topics, including elder abuse) will lead a panel on the subject of guardianship and conservatorship abuse at this important summit.
Over the last ten years members from the Make it Safe Coalition (MISC) have arranged an assembly of whistleblowers in Washington, DC each year for an annual conference originally known as Washington Whistleblower’s Week. All whistleblowers and their advocates, as well as the entire civil rights community are invited to participate. Host committee members—ACORN 8 (www.ACORN8.com), Coalition for Change (C4C), Project Censored, Justice Integrity Project and Federally Employed Women Legal Education Fund (FEW-LEF), will co-host this year’s Whistleblower Summit for Civil & Human Rights on Capitol Hill. The theme for the annual conference this year is—Whistleblowing Works!
Washington Summit Beginning in May 2007, members from the Make it Safe Coalition (MISC) have arranged an assembly of whistle-blowers in Washington, DC each year for an annual conference originally known as Washington Whistleblower’s Week. The original purpose of which was multifaceted and manifold.
Purpose and Goals *Highlight the special projects and accomplishments of the whistleblowers and NGOs in the Make It Safe Coalition. *Come together to defeat the “isolation” experienced by whistleblowers and create a sense community among individual whistleblowers and the NGOs that support us. *Provide a meaningful “mutual support network” for whistleblowers and our advocates across the country the globe. *Provide lobby training for the whistleblower community to support the passage of important legislation related to transparency, whistleblowing and the First Amendment. *Publicize the successful efforts of NGOs, whistleblowers and our advocates, and provide media training to individual whistleblowers to broaden our access to the media. *Place whistle-blowing in its proper historical context, and redefine whistleblowers as beneficial and integral to democratic society and Champions of the Constitution and First Amendment. *Change the public perception of the term “whistleblower” from being a pejorative to being patriotic “persons of conscience.” *Finally, to connect Whistleblowers and First Amendment advocates to the broader Civil Rights and global Human Rights movements.
Today, this annual conference is now known as the Whistleblower Summit for Civil and Human Rights. We recently celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the passage of the Whistleblower Protection Act and we have embarked upon a national campaign to recognize National Whistleblower Appreciation Day. The theme for this year’s conference is—Whistleblowing Works!
A man was arrested after his mother and brother, both unable to care for themselves, were found living amid dog and human waste in a northwest valley house, court documents indicate.
“Immediately upon entering I could smell the overwhelming smell of dried urine and feces which covered the floor and walls,” a detective wrote in the Metropolitan Police Department arrest report for Edward Turley, 51.
Turley was the sole caretaker for his mother and brother, the report said.
Las Vegas police arrested Turley on July 2 on counts of elder neglect with substantial bodily harm and neglect of a vulnerable person. He was out of Clark County Detention Center on Saturday, records show.
The investigation began when an Elder Protective Services representative went to check on the mother about 11:15 a.m. May 24 after receiving notice of possible neglect, according to Metro. She showed up to the house on the 6800 block of Rio Sands Court, near Rainbow Boulevard and Ann Road, and did not enter the house because of the foul stench, the report said.
Police learned that his mother was twice hospitalized after she was found on the floor covered in waste, on May 24 and June 24.
Hospital staff noted that she was unable to walk to the bathroom on her own and had moisture-related wounds, the report said.
Turley would leave the house during the day to look for jobs, leaving his mother with his brother, who relied on Turley for epilepsy medication and “appeared to have the mental capacity of a small child,” police wrote.
Two days after the mother was hospitalized a second time, Metro detectives went to the house and spoke with Turley. Police learned that three malnourished dogs living in the house mostly defecated inside, and that Turley’s mother slept on a living room couch covered in human feces.
A Metro detective told Turley in a July 2 interview that he and crime scene analysts had to wear hazardous materials suits while processing Turley’s house.
Turley told police he has never helped his mother to the bathroom. Detectives asked why she was found on the floor and hospitalized twice, but Turley couldn’t give an answer, the report said.
The brother was placed on a 72-hour legal hold because of the living conditions and being unable to care for himself, the report said.
Turley told police he used his mother’s retirement checks to pay bills, the report said.
PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. - A South Florida woman and two other men are accused of duping elderly retirees into investing thousands of dollars into a phony fish farm.
Matthew Braun, Michael Creamer and Rebeca Gonzalez face charges of organized scheme to defraud, sale of unregistered securities, sale of securities by an unregistered person and securities fraud.
Braun, 36, and Gonzalez, 43, both of Boca Raton, were arrested in Palm Beach County late last month. Creamer, 48, of Largo, was arrested Monday. All three have since been released from jail on bond.
According to a news release from the Office of Statewide Prosecution, the trio preyed upon seniors in Broward, Palm Beach and St. Lucie counties, deceiving at least five people into investing more than $400,000 in a fake fish farm called Blue Ocean Farm.
"These defendants are charged with targeting seniors and trying to steal their hard-earned retirement money with false promises of big profits," Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said in a statement. "Anyone who tries to defraud Florida seniors deserves to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
According to an arrest affidavit, Gonzalez and Braun contacted Carmine Della Rocca, 84, of Tamarac, in 2013 and solicited two investment checks totaling $110,000.
Della Rocca, believing that Gonzalez was working for a licensed securities investment firm, promised to invest $100,000 into Blue Ocean Farm and later gave an additional $10,000 in exchange for a higher interest rate on his principal.
Della Rocca told investigators that Gonzalez told him his investment "would yield a guaranteed return." But Della Rocca never received any repayment of the principal or interest returns on his investment.
Investigators said they determined Braun, Creamer and Gonzalez defrauded investors using false promissory notes like the one signed by Della Rocca.
"Furthermore, your affiants have found no evidence that Blue Ocean Farm LLC actually owns and operates fish farms or is even a legitimate business," the affidavit said.
Instead, investigators said, Blue Ocean Farm was a "shell corporation created for the sole purpose of defrauding potential investors/victims."
In addition to Della Rocca, the suspects are also alleged to have duped a 70-year-old man in Lake Worth, an 84-year-old woman in Boynton Beach, an 84-year-old woman in Boca Raton and a Sunrise woman whose family was suing Blue Ocean Farm for investments made before her death in 2015.
Braun, Creamer and Gonzalez face up to 70 years in prison if convicted.
A suspended Indianapolis attorney who specialized in establishing special needs trusts before he was accused of stealing from those clients is facing felony theft charges in another Indiana county.
Kenneth S. Service, 45, was charged last month with Class D felony theft in Delaware County, where he is accused of stealing $23,622 from a former client, authorities said Thursday.
The charge accuses Service of exerting unauthorized control over the property of an alleged victim between April 30, 2014 and June 18, 2016. The alleged victim had been the subject of a guardianship established in 2003 when she was a minor. Online court records show Service was removed as trustee of the guardianship in December 2016.
Service was suspended from the practice of law in June 2017 for noncooperation with an investigation into a grievance filed against him, and he was suspended indefinitely the following October.
The disciplinary complaints against Service came after he was charged in December 2016 with stealing more than $85,000 from two clients in Lawrence County. Service faces a charge of Level 5 felony theft in that case and has a trial date of Aug. 1 at the courthouse in Bedford.
Service, who court records show is now representing himself in the criminal matter in Lawrence County, could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Authorities said last year they feared Service’s alleged financial crimes could be widespread, with a law enforcement investigator warning of the possibility of “multiple victims in multiple states.”
Service was the founder of Carmel-based National Foundation for Special Needs Integrity Inc., before he was fired from the organization in 2014. Special Needs Integrity was ordered by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in February to repay the estate of a woman more than $234,000 that the organization took from her trust account after she died in 2011.
The bipartisan Elder Justice Coalition today called for immediate Congressional hearings into a disturbing report issued this weekend pointing to chronic staff shortages in nursing homes.
The Coalition specifically asked the hearings to focus on the response by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to the report, specifically on how staffing shortages went unnoticed and on changes to the nursing home star rating system to prevent this problem in the future.
Bob Blancato, National Coordinator of the Elder Justice Coalition, said, “Although there may not be consensus on optimal staffing levels in nursing homes, this new data from CMS again reveals that many facilities do not have adequate staffing to protect the health and safety of their residents. Staff shortages can contribute to elder abuse—most especially neglect—and we must do everything possible to prevent this. The decision to place an individual in a nursing home is difficult enough without having concerns about the quantity and quality of the staff at a given facility, and grading facilities ‘on a curve’ is no way to ensure the safety of vulnerable older adults in nursing homes.”
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The state Supreme Court has upheld the conviction of a Center Harbor man serving 10 to 30 years in prison for stealing nearly $410,000 from his elderly father.
Prosecutors say Keith Fitzgerald stole about twice that total before his 79-year-old father died in 2010, but the charges were based on the amount directly tied to New Hampshire. He was convicted of five counts of theft in 2017, but on appeal argued that he should have faced only one charge because each indictment involved the same victim and bank accounts.
The court denied his appeal Friday.
Attorney General Gordon MacDonald said the case highlighted the growing financial exploitation and abuse of the state’s elderly population.
Deputies in Georgia searched for 20 hours — day and night — before locating the disabled 18-year-old who had disappeared.
Her parents reported her missing June 23, hours after they said she walked into the woods and didn’t come back. She turned up 15 miles from home at a residence in Nelson, Georgia, having wandered all night, deputies said. Deputies dressed the teenager in new clothes and fed her, and then took her to be evaluated, according to the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office.
But it was another search — that of her parents’ home — that revealed evidence suggesting why the teenager ran away in the first place, deputies said.
Neil Farrell, 56, and Janet Farrell, 54, disciplined the disabled 18-year-old in cruel ways, deputies said. Their daughter was confined to her bedroom routinely — sometimes for days on end, and other times for months. There was a lock on the door to keep her from getting out, according to the sheriff’s office.
The couple had active adult guardianship over the 18-year-old, who has behavioral issues, deputies said.
The parents gave their daughter “very limited opportunities” to use the bathroom, deputies said. At least once, she had to endure a “grounding period” for needing to use the restroom outside the times prescribed by her parents — and that meant she was given a bucket to use in her sparsely furnished bedroom, deputies said. The parents employed at least one form of punishment — beating the soles of her feet — that wouldn’t result in visible marks on their daughter, the sheriff’s office said.
The investigation also revealed the daughter had few if any personal belongings inside the room, deputies said.
While the teenager was locked in the room, the parents could easily keep tabs on her: Video and audio surveillance equipment was installed “to monitor all her activity,” the sheriff’s office said.
Both parents were arrested June 24, according to jail records. They are being held at the Pickens County Adult Detention Center and are scheduled to appear in court for a bond hearing on Thursday at 2 p.m., deputies said.
Authorities have now moved the adult daughter to “a safe environment where she could begin receiving aid and assistance,” the sheriff’s office said.
The parents face a litany of charges, including exploitation and intimidation of a disabled adult, false imprisonment and first-degree cruelty to children, according to the sheriff’s office.
Investigation into the incident continues, deputies said.
ead more here: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/national/article213871709.html#storylink=cpy
Read more here: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/national/article213871709.html#storylink=cpy
5:00 pm PST … 6:00 pm MST … 7:00 pm CST … 8:00 pm EST Join our show this evening and welcome our guest Lawrence Black. Lawrence is going to share with us what his father went through at the end of his life. Lawrence has great suggestions to restoring the culture of life after what his family went through in the medical field. He also supports many causes and designs clothing at phmstwclothingco.com. He is an advocate and we look forward to his appearance.
BRIEF TIMELINE FOR ULYSSES BLACK
My dad was doing extremely well despite his dementia while at his assisted living facility just prior to moving to the Fountains at Franklin assisted living in Southfield, MI around the first of March 2015. Once he moved there my dad was still doing pretty well but things did definitely go downhill. I do not recall a specific treatment plan being put into place upon his arrival, but the facility was supposed to take care of my dad’s needs. After a month or two I signed up with the assisted living facility’s new elderly or geriatric care doctor who was Dr. De Morales, and the ONLY time I ever heard from him regarding the care or care plan for my dad was once right after I signed up with this doctor for my dad who came recommended by the Fountains.
A thorough evaluation of self-neglect and abuse amid elderly and vulnerable adults was done June 27 during a symposium at the Crawford County Administration Building. About 25 professionals, from the health and human services sectors across Crawford and the surrounding counties, discussed the issues and determined what might be done to prevent them from enabling self-neglect and vulnerable adult abuse. A few senior citizens joined the two-hour conversation as well.
Jim McGrath, a Crawford County social worker, led the session, which started with panelists Loretta Weipert, Crossing Rivers RN; Ryan Fradette, lieutenant with the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department; and Dan McWilliams, Crawford County Health and Human Services director. They addressed signs and symptoms of self-neglect, law enforcement contacts and the home environment, response considerations and self-determination.
Then, the group talked about what neglect and abuse are and why it occurs. Self-neglect occurs when a vulnerable adult lives in a way that puts his or her health, safety or well-being at risk. Elder abuse is physical abuse, neglect, emotional or psychological abuse, verbal abuse and threats, financial abuse and exploitation, sexual abuse, abandonment or other mistreatment. Seniors can be abused, neglected and exploited often by people they trust most. Abusers may be spouses, family members, acquaintances, professionals in positions of trust or opportunistic strangers preying on the vulnerable.
Significant factors that may reveal why this happens include physical or sensory impairment, dementia, depression, mental illness, substance abuse, addiction, fear of losing independence, spousal devotion, limited finances, living alone, pride or lack of resource awareness.
“The crisis and shortage of workers in all health care professions is another factor of the ‘silver tsunami,’” McGrath stated.
Research indicates one in 10 elders may experience some type of abuse, but only one in five cases or fewer are reported. Abuse can occur in the home, nursing home or other institutions. It affects seniors across all socio-economic groups, cultures and races. Women and older elders are more likely to be victimized.
Don’t assume someone else has already reported a suspicious situation. To report suspected abuse in the community, contact health and human services at 326-0248. Callers can remain anonymous when reporting concerns.
To address prevention of some of the main contributing factors, the group brainstormed during break-out sessions and then presented their findings.
The number one, most common answer that emerged from the groups was awareness about self-neglect and abuse as well as the resources necessary to prevent and combat these issues. Suggestions were: public education about available services via local media, Facebook, mailers and by gathering at the many natural meeting places of seniors, such as coffee clutches, card clubs and other organizations. Both vulnerable adults and their family members are the target audience for this education. One participant also mentioned sharing resource information with clergy, postal workers, doctors and other frequent contacts who could potentially make referrals to them.
“Doctors are gods to a lot of these people; they’ll do whatever they say,” one woman noted. “It might also help if [the doctors were willing to] ask them about their support system.”
In addition to services, the participants felt public enlightenment about overcoming resource obstacles, like insurance and private pay, along with spreading information about nutrition, financial assistance, powers of attorney and estate, the different types of mental illness, contact numbers, etc., would be important among the course of action.
One woman shared an additional example that she felt would be beneficial in Crawford County. She said, the Lancaster Police Department website offers registries for Alzheimer’s/dementia as well as autism. There, she said, individuals can register their personal details voluntarily, and then if a situation occurs where that info is needed, it’s already available to law enforcement.
It was noted that Project Lifesaver bracelets are offered in Crawford County for people at risk of wandering. However, the registries may be an additional, useful process.
These were the main recommendations made at the symposium. McGrath said all the ideas will be given to Crawford County’s interdisciplinary team at its next meeting with intent of implementing some of them.
Three assisted living center employees were arrested by Georgia police after the trio appeared in a profanity-laden Snapchat video surrounding a dying elderly woman.
The Jefferson Police Department told the Athens Banner-Herald the three women made the June 13 Snapchat video inside the Bentley Senior Living center in Jefferson, Georgia. The employees were in the hospice care room of a 76-year-old resident and were waiting on a hospice nurse. The employees were seen smoking a vape pen and yelling curse words at the camera as the septuagenarian woman laid dying from a recent stroke in the background. The Snapchat video they posted online was labeled “The End.”
Three assisted living center employees were arrested by Georgia police after the trio appeared in a profanity-laden Snapchat video entitled, "The End," while standing over a dying elderly woman. Jefferson Police Department Jefferson Police charged Jorden Lanah Bruce, 21, of Jefferson; Mya Janai Moss, 21, of Colbert; and Lizeth Jocelyn Cervantes Ramirez, 19, for exploiting an elderly and disabled person. A police spokesman told WSB-TV the elderly resident seen in the video “had a stroke and [the three employees] were waiting on a hospice nurse.” Bruce, Moss and Ramirez were supposed to be monitoring and caring for the critically ill woman but instead, “one of them was smoking a vape pen, they were using profanities and making obscene hand gestures at the camera,” police alleged.
“It was going to be an extensive time before the hospice nurse could be there, so these three employees were supposed to closely monitor the patient,” a Jefferson police spokesman told the Banner-Herald. “They were completely ignoring her and posting the Snapchat video” with the caption “The End.”
Days after the June 13 video recording was made, another employee at the senior living facility discovered and reported the lewd Snap story. All three women were arrested on June 22 and were employed at the facility at the time of their arrest. Administrators did not immediately return Newsweek’s calls for comment on the incident Monday.
The pair of 21-year-old employees, Bruce and Moss, were released from custody after posting bond. But 19-year-old Ramirez is still being held by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, the Banner-Herald reported. The Georgia Department of Behavior Health and Developmental Disabilities offers a service for family members or people concerned to report potential abuse of at-risk elderly patients.
Georgia’s legal code defines separates elderly exploitation into both felony and misdemeanor crimes. The charge is defined as anyone “who knowingly and willfully exploits a disabled adult, elder person, or resident, willfully inflicts physical pain, physical injury, sexual abuse, mental anguish, or unreasonable confinement upon a disabled adult, elder person, or resident, or willfully deprives of essential services a disabled adult, elder person, or resident.”
Charleston County Probate Judge Irvin Condon decided Tuesday that Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg can no longer serve as the manager of an elderly woman's finances after finding Tecklenburg made loans to himself from her funds without getting prior approval from the court, which violated state law.
The judge’s decision came after professional conservators appointed to review the details of the case recommended that Tecklenburg be allowed to continue serving as conservator for the woman, Johnnie Wineglass, who is 93.
"I think you meant well, but we can't set a precedent of allowing self-dealing," Condon said.
In legal terms, self-dealing is when a trustee takes advantage of their position for their own personal gain. The law says "any transaction which is affected by a conflict of interest is void unless the transaction is approved by the court after notice to interested persons and others as directed by the court."
The judge temporarily suspended Tecklenburg from handling Wineglass' funds in an order filed May 1, explaining that the details of the loans were unclear and needed to be reviewed further. The hearing Tuesday was to determine whether those financial documents showed self-dealing, and whether Tecklenburg should be removed or reinstated as conservator.
Tecklenburg took out three loans totaling $80,000 over five years. He borrowed $20,000 in 2011 and $35,000 in 2014 for his wife Sandy Tecklenburg's gift shop, Meeting Street Gallery; and one personal loan in the amount of $25,000 in 2016.
He repaid each loan in full with 5 percent interest before taking out the next loan. Tecklenburg incidentally paid about $877 more than he owed in interest.
He said in a written statement to the court that the interest rate he paid is comparable to a rate he'd pay if he had borrowed the money from a bank.
"My intent with regards to each of these loans was to supplement and grow the limited funds that I was handling for Ms. Johnnie," he said in the report submitted to Condon.
Tecklenburg also purchased a tax sale property on Edisto Island in 2011 with $25,000 of her funds and sold it back to the original owner. The transaction yielded a $3,000 profit for Wineglass.
The special conservators appointed by the court, Catherine Kennedy of Columbia and Ayesha Washington of Charleston, noted in their report that it was a risky move.
"Ms. Wineglass could have been left with real estate that might have been difficult to convert to cash to pay her bills," they wrote.
Wineglass is a former neighbor of the Tecklenburgs and is now in an assisted-living facility. She did not appear in court, but several relatives and godchildren wrote letters to the judge asking that Tecklenburg remain serving as the manager of her finances.
The special conservators, who were appointed for their expertise in probate law, agreed with the family members. Kennedy served as probate court judge in Columbia from 1987 to 1999.
"Although he violated the law, his stated intent was to benefit Ms. Wineglass, and ultimately she was repaid with substantial return exceeding bank interest," they wrote.
They also noted that Tecklenburg is not a lawyer and wasn't represented by one when taking on the conservatorship about a decade ago.
Condon offered Tecklenburg the chance to testify, but he declined.
Reached by phone hours after the hearing, Tecklenburg said the judge's decision took him by surprise.
"I thought he would follow the special conservators' advice," he said. "It was just like his mind was made up. I just respectfully disagree with his opinion."
Condon said the case was difficult for the court, but he did not think Tecklenburg had acted as a responsible conservator as he had made "risky investments" with Wineglass' funds.
"It appears Mr. John Tecklenburg meant well, and did good deeds for the protected person, Ms. Johnnie Wineglass," he said. "But one cannot do a good deed and then take advantage of your position as fiduciary. A fiduciary does not make loans to himself and family-controlled businesses without court approval, especially unsecured loans."
He also indicated that Wineglass herself wanted Tecklenburg removed from the role.
The judge cited a letter he received in January 2009 from attorney Kevin Eberle, who had been Wineglass' next door neighbor for 13 years. A month earlier, Tecklenburg was appointed temporary conservator. In the letter, Eberle said he was concerned because Wineglass had come to him, upset, and "adamant that she did not want Mr. Tecklenburg to serve."
In April 2009, four months after Condon received that letter, Tecklenburg was appointed permanent conservator for Wineglass.
Eberle said late Tuesday that at the time he raised those concerns, he did not realize Wineglass' mental state was deteriorating.
"I wish I had the benefit of hindsight," he said. "I regret that Judge Condon would not have picked up the phone and called me."
In his ruling Tuesday, Condon ordered Tecklenburg to cover all the court fees associated with the case. The judge said he would not be referring the case to another court for further prosecution. Tecklenburg has the right to appeal the decision within 10 days.
Tecklenburg said he didn't know if he would appeal. He's waiting to see a copy of the judge's written orders.
Wingate said one reason they might appeal is because the conservators did not find proof of self-dealing after reviewing the extensive financial records. A court order that suggests otherwise might have wide-ranging consequences for Tecklenburg, who is a real estate agent by trade.
"In his profession, he might have to answer questionnaires from insurers or entities he enters into contracts with (that ask) 'Have you ever had any form of violations under the law?' He might have to answer, 'Yes,' " Wingate said.
In an interview with the newspaper in May, Tecklenburg explained how he became the conservator for Wineglass in 2008.
She became a close family friend when they lived next to each other on Moultrie Street near Hampton Park. After the family moved elsewhere, Tecklenburg said he continued checking on her periodically.
On one visit, he discovered Wineglass had fallen victim to a series of telephone scams and had gone into significant debt. That's when he decided to help her sort out her finances, which he said was like a part-time job for the first few years.
He never charged Wineglass any fees for his services.
Once the house was sold and her debt paid off, she moved into a full-time care facility. The money she had left was about $50,000.
Tecklenburg said his goal was simply to grow that small fund so she could continue paying for her care.
CINCINNATI — The case of a man deemed mentally ill in April after a series of violent crimes was back in court Monday charged with attacking a woman who is nine months pregnant.
Anthony Smith in accused of attacking the woman near the LeBlond pool on Riverside Drive.
“Some doctor at Summit made a decision that he was suitable to be released,” said Probate Judge Ralph Winkler.
Winker said the court has little power over what happens after a person is considered to be mentally ill.
“Once he’s mentally ill, it becomes a medical decision, not a court decision. The doctors treating him decide when or if he should be released,” Winkler said.
The victim who is nine-months pregnant said she was walking her dog when Smith attacked her. The victim said Smith attempted to rape her and when she fought back, Smith hit her over and over in the face.
The victim was beaten so severely she had to be hospitalized.
Smith was released from Summit Behavioral Center despite a series of violent attacks beginning in May of 2017.
“They do take history into account. At the end of the day with competency they look at the person’s current state of mind,” said Smith’s probate attorney, James Bogan.
Summit Behavioral Center is part of the Ohio Department of Mental Health. They did not return phone calls about the case.
A new stakeholders group established to improve Kentucky’s adult guardianship program has held its first meeting.
House Joint Resolution (HJR) 33, passed during the recent legislative session, recommended creation of a WINGS program to examine adult guardianship and identify needed changes. WINGS stands for Working Interdisciplinary Network of Guardianship Stakeholders.
Guardianship occurs when a court appoints an individual or entity to oversee the care and well-being of an adult who is incapable of self-care. Many such individuals are elderly with no close family relatives. Kentucky utilizes both public and private guardians. The public guardians work within the Department of Aging and Independent Living, part of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS).
Concurrent with passage of HJR 33, the legislature passed House Bill 5, the first legislative overhaul of guardianship in Kentucky since the 1980s. The new statutes go into effect July 14.
CHFS Deputy Secretary Timothy Feeley said WINGS can help guardianship advocates achieve better outcomes for individuals who need assistance making health and legal decisions.
“As our elderly and disabled populations grow, it is essential that our safety net services for this vital portion of our community keeps pace,” he said. “We must care for those among us who cannot care for themselves, while concurrently working to build self-sufficiency where possible.”
The effort is coordinated jointly by CHFS and the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC). Twenty-six representatives from agencies throughout the state who work with our adult population were present and participated, exchanging suggestions for improving guardianship care. Subcommittees were formed to examine topics to include legislation and policy and education and outreach.
WINGS will report annually to the legislature regarding care of this vulnerable population with recommendations for building a stronger support system. Kentucky is the 25th state to adopt a WINGS program.
Those interested in contributing time or ideas to this cause, contact the AOC’s Karen Waugh by email at Karenwaugh@kycourts.net.
As he faced a judge for sentencing Tuesday, Clarence “Skip” Mielke continued to maintain that he was innocent of charges that he sexually assaulted a disabled woman who lived in the care facility he and his wife operated.
Mielke, 74, was convicted by a jury in March of second-degree sexual assault of a mentally ill victim and second-degree sexual assault by an employee of a residential facility. He was found not guilty by the same jury of four similar charges involving the same victim.
While he said he had empathy for the woman who testified at trial that he assaulted her, Mielke continued to deny he had committed any crime.
“I apologize to no one for something I did not do. I never did, nor would I ever do, anything to hurt” the woman, he said Tuesday.
The victim in the case was a resident of Carey Manor, the residential care facility Mielke’s wife owned and operated in Pleasant Prairie. Mielke and his wife lived in an apartment inside the facility, and he acted as the caretaker and financial officer for the business. The woman he was convicted of assaulting has Huntington’s disease, a degenerative neurological disorder
Mielke, who retired as a captain with the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department, maintained Tuesday that his case received undo attention because of his involvement with law enforcement.
He asked rhetorically whether his case would have received any media attention “if I was average Joe Citizen,” then answered, “I doubt it.”
Judge Chad Kerkman said it was “unfortunate that you are not remorseful” and said that it lends credence to the victim’s testimony that Mielke had told her, “I do what I want” when she had told him she did not want his sexual attention.
Kerkman pointed out that at trial, not only did the victim testify that she had been assaulted, but Mielke’s DNA was found inside the woman’s bra and two employees of Carey Manor testified they had observed what they believed was Mielke forcing the woman to perform oral sex. Those two women reported that incident to Mielke’s wife, and then to police, bringing on the investigation that led to the charges against him.
“The jury pretty much made a finding that you lied,” Kerkman said.
Kerkman sentenced Mielke to five years in prison followed by five years of extended supervision, along with being listed on the sex offender registry for the rest of his life. He will receive credit for 119 days spent in jail since his conviction.
The state had asked for a 15-year prison sentence, saying he took advantage of a disabled woman who is dying of a degenerative disease and who was entrusted to the care of Mielke and his wife.
“That’s pretty reprehensible,” prosecutor Kevin Shomin said. “That’s preying on the vulnerable.”
Defense attorney Frank Parise had argued against a prison sentence, saying that Mielke is in poor health.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that the state’s recommendation here is a death sentence,” Parise said.
ARVADA, Colo. — A former caregiver at an assisted living community in Arvada is accused of assaulting an Alzheimer’s patient, Contact7 Investigates has learned.
Arvada police have issued a warrant for the arrest of Gwendolyn Kentris on allegations she assaulted a resident in the Ralston Creek Neighborhood in March.
According to a police report, Kentris denied the abuse but admitted to forcefully restraining 74-year-old Karlene O’Brien because she was “one of the worst patients… who was usually fighting and biting.” Kentris also told police she has no license and received very little training, noting she returned to her previous job making cardboard boxes after the incident.
O’Brien suffered broken bones and several facial injuries along with abrasions on her knee and elbow, according to a police report.
Several Ralston Creek employees reportedly told police they either witnessed or overheard Kentris yelling and cursing at the dementia patient. One employee said she saw Kentris shove the victim and pry her hand off another caregiver’s hand.
One employee told police she heard O’Brien saying “Help me,” and another reported hearing O’Brien say “She’s going to kill me.”
Contact7 Investigates obtained a voicemail placed to the family of the victim the night of the incident in which a Ralston Creek staff member claimed O’Brien had injured herself with a coat hanger.
“She did have an incident not too long ago. We were trying to calm her down because she was hitting one of our workers,” the employee said in the recording. “She ended up scratching up her face with a coat hanger.”
Robert O’Brien, Karlene’s husband, told Contact7 Investigates she had been living at Ralston Creek for less than three weeks when she was attacked. When he visited her in the hospital he was immediately skeptical she could have caused the injuries on her own, as staff had initially told him.
"She was as badly beaten as anybody I've ever seen,” Robert said. “I thought she had been scratched on the face, punched in the mouth... had a black eye... so punched in the eye. She had broken bones in both hands.”
O’Brien said Karlene was diagnosed with dementia ten years ago. He had been his wife’s primary caregiver in their home for years. Two years ago, as her symptoms progressed, their family decided to look for outside help. They said they researched about 20 facilities before settling on Ralston Creek.
After the incident, Robert O'Brien said administrators told him the “memory care” facility was unequipped to care for her and she could not return.
“I would never recommend anybody send their loved one there,” Robert said.
O’Brien’s family filed a lawsuit in April against Kentris and Ralston Creek.
A Colorado Bureau of Investigation arrest history linked to the same name and date of birth as the Kentris facing arrest in the Arvada case show numerous arrests including felony convictions for drugs in 2011, another 2011 conviction for identity theft, and a 2013 drug felony.
A spokesperson for Ralston Creek’s parent company, the Haverland Carter Lifestyle Group based in Albuquerque, N.M., told Contact7 an investigation is currently underway to determine how Kentris passed a background check to work for the facility.
In a response to the lawsuit filed in Jefferson County district court, attorneys representing Ralston Creek said the facility initiated an investigation as soon as it was made aware of abuse allegations.
An Adelaide lawyer has gone on trial in the District Court accused of stealing $850,000 from deceased estates and fabricating documents to cover his tracks.
Stephen McNamara, 63, who ran a law firm called Commercial and General Law, was arrested in February 2015 after police raided his law firm and seized computers and documents.
He was charged with 17 counts of theft — alleged to have happened between November 2011 and July 2013 — and 16 counts of using fabricated evidence.
In his opening address, prosecutor James Slocombe told the court Mr McNamara was approached by the executor of two deceased estates and the funds were transferred to the law firm's trust account.
"On the prosecution's case Mr McNamara abused the trust that was placed in him and instead of honestly and diligently holding onto the estate funds as he was suppose to do, he took the money to use for his own purposes," he said.
"He used a well-sophisticated and dishonest system involving sham investments to companies to make it look like the money was being carefully invested for the benefit of the two estates."
"What the accused was really doing was not investing the money, it was all a sham."
It is alleged Mr McNamara was moving the money out of bogus investment accounts and into a number of other bank accounts which he used to pay for personal expenses including mortgage repayments.
The court heard when the beneficiaries of one of the deceased estates became fed up with Mr McNamara's "excuses and delay tactics" about why they had not received their share of the will, they made a complaint to the Law Society of South Australia.
"They weren't receiving their entitlement because Mr McNamara had used it all, the money was gone," Mr Slocombe said.
"What they did receive was a run-around, excuse after excuse, delay after delay."
The court heard the Law Society appointed a temporary supervisor to Mr McNamara's law firm while they investigated his practice.
As a result, Mr McNamara launched legal proceedings in the Supreme Court against the Law Society, challenging its decision.
On the prosecution's case, Mr McNamara then fabricated documents, including investment certificates, to cover his tracks and make it look like the estate funds had been properly invested.
"Those bogus documents were designed to hide the true nature of what happened to the estate funds and they were in effect an attempt to seemingly legitimise what were really sham investments," Mr Slocombe said.
It is further alleged that he enlisted the help of his associate, Philip John Pitman, 53, who stands co-accused in the trial of one count of using fabricated evidence.
Craig Caldicott, who is representing Mr McNamara, said that the court would hear evidence about how funds placed into a lawyer's trust account do not earn interest.
"If monies are to remain in a trust account for a long period of time, there can be an obligation of lawyers to invest that money out of the trust account into an investment body whereby interest can be earnt," he said.
The trial before Judge Paul Muscat and a jury is expected to run for two weeks.
Gabby Carrillo, a certified nursing assistant, serves a patient a meal at the Californian-Pasadena, a nursing home in Pasadena. A new state law will require that patients receive a minimum number of hours per day from CNAs, but homes fear they won't meet the requirement. (Maria Alejandra Cardona / Los Angeles Times)
The 93-year-old dementia patient was getting anxious in her wheelchair.
The woman, a resident of the Californian-Pasadena nursing home, wanted to see her husband but had forgotten he was at a nearby hospital.
Holding the chair steady was a composed Gabby Carrillo, a certified nursing assistant who had witnessed this behavior before.
“We try to see things in their shoes,” said Carrillo, a CNA for more than three years. “Doing this job can be exhausting, not just physically but mentally too. Over time, you learn to cope with it.”
Despite the challenges, the 27-year-old professes a love for her job, which involves bathing, feeding and attending to other daily needs of patients. But the stressful work — coupled with low wages and a booming economy — has made it more difficult than ever for nursing homes to fill the position.
Now, state legislation that went into effect July 1 is putting even more pressure on the state’s 1,000-plus nursing homes, which some in the industry say could be forced to turn away or even discharge patients as a result.
The law, championed by organized labor and patient advocates, tightened staffing requirements for direct caregivers and added new ones specifically for certified nursing assistants.
The Service Employees International Union, which pushed for the law and represents nursing assistants, acknowledges that nursing homes face a challenge, but said there is an overriding health-and-safety issue.
“There must be enough direct care staff to meet the quality care needs of nursing home residents and ensure a healthy workload for every caregiver,” said an SEIU local representative who declined to be identified.
Quality-of-care concerns have long plagued nursing homes and are well documented, most recently in a May report by California State Auditor Elaine Howle.
The report dinged the California Department of Public Health for its oversight of nursing homes. And it found a one-third increase from 2006 to 2015 in violations of federal regulations that were likely to cause serious injuries or death.
“We are at rock bottom,” said Patricia McGinnis, director of California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, a patient advocacy group. “I don’t ever want to go to a nursing home, and I don’t know anyone who would.
The new law requires facilities to provide 3.5 hours of direct patient care each day, up from 3.2 hours. But the primary worry for nursing home operators is a first-ever requirement that 2.4 of those hours must be filled by CNAs.
The department will begin enforcing the law July 1, 2019, and homes that fail state audits face penalties of $15,000 to $30,000. (Click to Continue)
A Little Rock lawyer, suspended over questions about more than $400,000 owed to one former client, made his first Pulaski County Circuit Court appearance Thursday to answer a felony theft charge involving $25,000 of another ex-client's money.
Matthew Mahlon Henry, 45, was arrested on the theft charge May 10, but he's been in jail since March 22 for contempt of court after he failed to obey one circuit judge's order to turn over the $25,000 and provide an accounting of his lawyer trust account. The judge has ordered Henry jailed until he surrenders the money.
By law, lawyers who handle money for their clients are required to keep those funds in a special escrow account until the monies can be dispensed.
The state regulators who suspended Henry's law license stated that he "presently poses a substantial threat of serious harm to the public and to his clients if he continues to practice law."
Among Henry's legal problems are the findings of a second judge that the divorced father of two owes about $3,400 in child support, which is about two months' worth, although his ex-wife alleges that he owes about twice that much. That judge also found Henry in contempt after he bounced a check trying to pay the money, court filings show.
Thursday, Henry was before his third circuit judge, Leon Johnson, to have his trial on the Class B felony charge scheduled. He faces up to 20 years in prison.
Henry appeared without legal representation, so the judge gave him a week to decide whether he will try to retain counsel or ask for a public defender.
Police and prosecutors say Henry stole the money last October from Texas building contractor Chris Irving, who had hired Henry to represent Irving's company, CSI Renovations, and gave Henry the money to put up for a work bond for a job he had in Fairfield Bay.
Two months later, Henry began to claim the money was his, owed to him for the work he'd done for Irving. He sued Irving in December, representing to the court that he had actual possession of the money.
The lawsuit brought him before his first circuit judge, Mackie Pierce. Court records show he asked Pierce to hold the money in a court account until a trial could be held to determine who was entitled to it.
Irving's attorney, Tre Kitchens, rebuffed Henry's claim on the money, telling the judge that Henry had no legal right to the money and could show no evidence he was entitled to it, court filings show.
"The complaint filed by the plaintiff does not contain a legal or factual basis for the plaintiff simply keeping the defendants' money," Kitchens' response to the lawsuit states. "The complaint does not include ... any other justification or basis for the plaintiff keeping the defendants' money."
Pierce sided with Irving in January, dismissing Henry's lawsuit five weeks after it was filed, and gave Henry 24 hours to to turn over the money to Kitchens.
The judge also ordered Henry to turn over copies of the lawyer's trust account bank records for the past four months.
But Henry did not comply. Two days after he missed the judge's deadline, Pierce again ordered him to turn over the records, this time warning Henry he was considering holding the attorney in contempt.
The judge even had his bailiff, Kevin Clifton, go to Henry's Spring Street office to serve the order. Irving's lawyer also had the order served on Henry at the office, court filings show.
Pierce ultimately gave Henry three chances over three months to comply with his orders. He ordered Henry arrested in March when the lawyer did not show up for a hearing on the issue. Finally, at an April 9 hearing, Pierce ordered Henry jailed until he pays Irving the money after Henry declined to answer questions about the case, citing his Fifth Amendment protections against self-incrimination.
"Matt Henry is ordered to be held in the Pulaski County jail until such time as he purges himself of contempt by delivering $25,000 to defendants' attorney," Pierce wrote in his order issued that same day.
Henry's attorney, Jeff Rosenzweig, challenged the legality of Henry's continuing incarceration, accusing Pierce of illegally punishing Henry for declining to answer questions.
In court filings, Rosenzweig states that Henry, contrary to his initial claim, does not have the $25,000. He argued that Henry should be released because, since Henry cannot come up with the money to satisfy the judge, he will never meet the release conditions Pierce has imposed.
"Civil contempt is coercive in nature, and consequently there is no justification for confining ... a person who lacks the present ability to comply," Rosenzweig wrote in a motion for Henry's release. "Such imprisonment violates the due process guarantees of the United States and Arkansas Constitutions. In addition, the continued incarceration violates the prohibition on imprisonment for debt of Article 2, Section 16, of the Arkansas Constitution."
Rosenzweig argued that Pierce should release Henry and allow prosecutors to file criminal charges, if they deem it necessary, which would allow Henry the opportunity to be released ahead of trial on bail.
Pierce rejected those arguments. The case is now on appeal before the Arkansas Supreme Court. Henry's law license was suspended on March 7 by the Arkansas Supreme Court Committee on Professional Conduct.
Court records show that Henry is one of six lawyers suspended this year. Eight were suspended in 2017.
According to the two-page suspension order, about $400,000 from one client that was deposited into Henry's trust account in August 2015 is missing.
Court records show Henry handled the probate case of a 77-year-old man, Keshavial Patel, of Jefferson, who died in India in January 2015. Patel left behind an estate of savings and property worth at least $1.7 million to his only son, a Texas man who hired Henry.
Court filings show that in February, the man hired new legal counsel to take over the case from Henry. But Henry repeatedly failed to complete the necessary paperwork to turn over the case to the new lawyer and has yet to surrender the remaining funds, $403,658, from the estate, court filings show.
The suspension order also cites Henry's failure to obey Pierce's court order to turn over his bank records and the $25,000. The order also notes his child-support issues before Judge Mike Reif and states that Henry has had 10 new grievances filed against him over the past two years.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Multiple state agencies on Friday outlined the more stringent reporting requirements and oversight mechanisms meant to improve a New Mexico guardianship system rocked by recent scandals.
The changes come courtesy of a new law that took effect July 1.
Senate Bill 19 was designed to prevent abuse and exploitation of thousands of incapacitated people in the state who are under court-ordered guardianship or conservatorship. Guardians make personal and health decisions for those they oversee. Conservators manage finances and sometimes property of those under their charge.
The legislation opens guardianship hearings to the public — previously the law required those to be closed unless the incapacitated person requested an open hearing. It also restricts guardians’ ability to ban family members from visiting their incapacitated loved ones.
Recent changes also mean guardians and conservators must keep the protected person’s financial records for seven years and comply with requirements of any audit of the person’s account, inventory, report or property; and they must submit additional information about the person’s finances and health to district courts, according to a news release.
In addition, the Administrative Office of the Courts and the Office of the State Auditor will begin a pilot project to audit and review guardianship and conservatorship cases, the release said.
District courts can now refer conservatorship cases to the auditor’s office for review and evaluation of the person’s financial affairs. The auditor also can randomly conduct financial and compliance audits of guardians for those served by a publicly funded program through the New Mexico Developmental Disabilities Planning Council and Office of Guardianship.
“All three branches of government — Legislative, Executive and Judicial — came together and worked cooperatively on guardianship reforms to promote and protect the well-being of New Mexicans unable to manage their own affairs,” Supreme Court Justice Judith Nakamura said in a statement.
The Legislature allocated $1 million to the Administrative Office of the Courts for guardianship reform, and a steering committee representing all branches of government convened to help with the law’s implementation and make recommendations about how to use the money, the release said.