Archive for the ‘Idaho’ Category

>Boise Lawyer Gets 10 Years

July 10, 2011

>Do you remember Joy Cassidy?

She is the 75-year-old woman who dumped mayonnaise, maple syrup and ketchup in a library book drop.

While Cassidy was fighting her case, she became the victim of another crime.

Cassidy paid her lawyer, Richard Bergesen, $152,000 to represent her. Lawyers we talked to say she should have only paid $3,000.

Ada County prosecuting attorney Jonathan Medema said Bergesen played off Cassidy’s fears of going to jail to get thousands of dollars more.

It started when Cassidy dumped condiments in an Ada County library book drop in 2009. She hired attorney Richard Bergesen to help with her case.

“He was telling her that he needed this money to keep her out of prison,” said Medema.

Bergesen first asked for $50,000, then he said he needed $100,000 more. Cassidy paid the outrageous sum because she was scared of going to jail.

“Well, there is usually no limit on people who are stealing money, you know he can take it, so he’ll just keep taking more,” said Medema.

Bergesen was sentenced Wednesday to 10 years in prison. He will be eligible for parole after three years. He must also pay more than $153,000 in restitution.

Cassidy pleaded guilty to dumping condiments in the library book drop. In January, a judge sentenced her to at least a month in jail.

Full Article and Source:
Boise Attorney Gets 10-Years for Stealing From Elderly Client

>Idaho Sends Bill to Governor to Ban Assisted Suicide

April 14, 2011

>The House voted overwhelmingly to send a bill banning helping somebody else commit suicide to Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter for signature.

Republican Rep. Lynn Luker of Boise argued that outlawing assisted suicide was necessary to help prevent abuse of elderly residents by their caregivers who are seeking to profit from their patients’ demise.

Luker says this bill, which foresees penalties of five years in prison for violations, protects “all concerned.”

Democratic Rep. Grant Burgoyne complained this is inappropriate government intervention in a private decision.

The House voted overwhelmingly to send a bill banning helping somebody else commit suicide to Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter for signature.

Republican Rep. Lynn Luker of Boise argued that outlawing assisted suicide was necessary to help prevent abuse of elderly residents by their caregivers who are seeking to profit from their patients’ demise.

Luker says this bill, which foresees penalties of five years in prison for violations, protects “all concerned.”

Democratic Rep. Grant Burgoyne complained this is inappropriate government intervention in a private decision.

Source:
Terri’s Fight: Idaho House Sends Assisted Suicide Ban to Governor

>Idaho Bill Provides Some Free Legal Help

April 13, 2011

>Lawmakers advanced a bill to help provide free legal counsel to low-income residents in cases involving domestic violence, child abuse, and exploitation of the elderly.

The Idaho House voted 38-32 to approve the legislation. It generates money through a $10 court filing fee to help Idaho Legal Aid Services provide representation in certain cases, which can also involve veterans’ issues and foreclosures.

The bill narrowly survived the state House, where lawmakers set a clear precedent early in the 2011 session that tax and fee increases were unwelcome when dumping a small fee hike to help the state police academy.

Republican Rep. Cliff Bayer, of Boise, says Idaho is the only state that doesn’t provide financial assistance to its statewide legal aid provider.

Bayer’s bill now goes to the Senate.

Source:
Idaho bill Provides Free Legal Help in Some Cases

What Price Can Be Placed on Betrayal of Trust?

July 17, 2010

Hey, it’s just money…right? A story in today’s Bonner County Daily Bee caught my attention and got my hackles up. Apparently, Elise Anne Davidson, of Spirit Lake, Idaho, has received no more than a “slap on the wrist” for her financial exploitation of an elderly man. You see, Ms. Davidson used a financial power of attorney to steal more than $4,000.00 from the victim while he was convalescing in a nursing home. She also apparently attempted to have the victim removed from the nursing home and placed in her care. The victim, who is unidentified in the story, was confined to a wheelchair and incapable of writing or speaking. Rightfully, Ms. Davidson was originally charged with a felony — exploitation of a vulnerable adult. Unfortunately, through a plea agreement, she pled guilty to misdemeanor theft and was sentenced to 30 days in jail. She was also ordered to pay the nursing home $1,000.00 in funds which the facility was owed.

When you look at it, I suppose it is easy to say that stealing $4,000.00 should not equate with a stiffer sentence than Ms. Davidson received. This is not about the money, however. This is about the exploitation of the vulnerable adult who was the victim in this case. What price can be placed on the betrayal of trust?

Full Article and Source;
North Idaho Woman Receives and Unbeliebably Light Sentence in Exploitation Case

Victim Left Out of Hearings in DHS Case

April 29, 2010

State laws give elderly Iowans a steadfast right to attend all their legal hearings, even if they have impaired mental capacity.

That makes it all the more striking that 79-year-old Bob Queener wasn’t allowed at hearings regarding control over his care and property, advocates for the elderly say. An article in last Sunday’s Des Moines Register recounted Queener’s removal from his home in December without warning to his relatives.

Because of a quirk in Iowa law, though, families don’t have the right to be notified before the state restricts their elderly relatives’ civil rights in cases that involve the Iowa Department of Human Services.

Lori Duboys of the National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse said the Queener case illustrates issues she’s seen in some state-ordered emergency or temporary guardianships across the country.

“We can tell you that is happening more and more these days,” Duboys said. “The elderly are being treated like criminals, with this exception: Criminals are present at their trials.”

Full Article and Source:
Man Left Out of Hearings in DHS Case

See Also:
When Should the State Step In?”

Sentenced to Prison

January 24, 2010

Cindy Laws volunteered during much of her adult life, but she was placed into a prison program after taking money from elderly clients that she was entrusted to protect.

Laws, 48, was charged in March 2009 with felony abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult for allegedly stealing from a 93-year-old client whom she was assigned to help by the Twin Falls County Board of Community Guardians.

On Tuesday at her sentencing hearing in Twin Falls, Laws apologized to county commissioners. The board of guardians had dissolved after her arrest.

Judge G. Richard Bevan explained this was a cost to the community, and sentenced Laws to a 180-day retained jurisdiction prison program, followed by a potential two- to six-year term of incarceration.

Laws filed an Alford plea, which in itself is not an admission of guilt. Her lawyer, George Essma, argued for probation, saying Laws was humiliated by the case and media coverage served as punishment for her.

Bevan explained that Laws has done “so many good things” in her life, but this crime, he said, has “tainted your reputation.”

Full Article and Source:
Laws Imprisoned for Stealing From Elderly

See Also:
Guardians Back in Business Soon

Accused of Bilking Stroke Victim

November 23, 2009

Elise Ann Davidson is charged with felony exploitation of a vulnerable adult.

Davidson is free on her own recognizance while the case is pending, according to court documents. She made an initial appearance Friday in magistrate court, where Judge William Hamlett appointed a public defender to represent her.

Davidson, 40, took advantage of the 64-year-old Edgemere man between November 2008 and March 2009, according to a criminal complaint filed by Bonner County Deputy Prosecutor Larry Goins.

The alleged fraud was discovered last spring, when the man’s daughter was appointed legal guardian, a deputy’s report said. As much as $4,000 was drained from the man’s accounts through purchases and cash withdrawals, the report indicated.

The charge rose to the felony level because the amount of monetary damages exceeds $1,000. If convicted of the offense, she could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison and fined up to $25,000.

The police report said the man suffered a stroke in the fall of 2008 and within days of the event, large ATM withdrawals were made from his bank account. After the withdrawals were made, the man granted her power of attorney in order to handle his medical and financial affairs, the report alleged.

Full Article and Source:
Woman Accused of Bilking Stroke Victim

Guardians Back in Business Soon

October 2, 2009

A Twin Falls County volunteer board that provides legal guardians for the elderly, developmentally disabled and others who can’t afford such a service will soon be back in business.

County commissioners voted on Tuesday to reform the Board of Community Guardians, just seven months after they disbanded the organization over concerns about its operating practices and a lack of volunteers.

Those issues were also aggravated by the actions of former guardian and board member Cindy Laws, who in March was charged with felony abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult for allegedly stealing more than $6,000 from a 93-year-old woman with dementia. Laws, no longer involved with the organization, entered an Alford plea to the charges last month – acknowledging a jury would likely convict her without actually admitting guilt – and is set to be sentenced Oct. 26.

The guardians will now meet with clinic staff to put their board back together. Dennis Voorhees, a board member and Twin Falls attorney specializing in elder law, praised commissioners on Tuesday for their prompt and careful action on the matter and said the various parties involved in the board’s work are now focused on avoiding more problems like Laws’.

“I don’t think that the public sees this as reflecting on the board,” Voorhees said, noting his organization kept a very clean record over the years. “It’s been a wonderful experience to work through this tightening-up process with the commissioners.”

Full Article and Source:
County Commission Puts Guardians Back to Work

See also:
Laws Takes Plea Deal for Charges Related to Abuse/Neglect of Vulnerable Adults

Court-appointed caretaker accused of more crimes

Guardian Accused of Exploitation

Jack Straw Gets 15 Years

September 25, 2009

A federal judge has handed a 15-year prison sentence to a Waterloo insurance agent convicted of fraud in the bilking of elderly clients.

U.S. District Judge Linda Reade opted to go beyond the maximum recommended sentence when she sentenced Jack Straw on Tuesday.

Reade said sentencing guidelines didn’t address the hardship Straw caused for his victims. The guidelines recommended a punishment in the neighborhood of eight to 10 years.

Straw was accused of bilking clients out of at least $1 million. He pleaded guilty in February to seven fraud and money laundering charges.

Full Article and Source:
Man Gets 15 Years For Bilking Elderly

See also:
Attorney Asking for Leniency

Guardian Pleads Guilty

August 14, 2009
A Twin Falls woman, who was charged with abuse and neglect of a vulnerable adult, entered a guilty plea in district court. Cindy Laws was a member of Twin Falls County ‘Board Of Community Guardians’ and was a court appointed guardian.

A plea agreement was reached that says Laws could get two to five years with retained jurisdiction. Plus, the state seeks restitution for five individuals including one woman, whom Laws allegedly took more than $6,000 from while being her guardian.

Laws could face a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. Her restitution hearing is set for September 11th and sentencing will be on September 28th at 3:30 pm.

Full Article and Source:
Laws takes plea deal for charges related to abuse/neglect of vulnerable adults

More information:
Court-appointed caretaker accused of more crimes

See also:
Guardian Accused of Exploitation


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