Archive for September, 2008

>The King of Probate

September 29, 2008

>

Phoenix New Times; Geriatric Park: A Mesa lawyer devours the fortunes of helpless old people in his care; September 1993; by Paul Rubin.

􀂄 Weber Mackey • Private Fiduciary

􀂄 Wayne Legg • Attorney

􀂄 25 Cases, 1.2 million in losses

􀂄 Civil Recovery on bonds of at least 80% by the Public Fiduciary

􀂄 News Articles revealed weakness in Court monitoring

􀂄 Wayne Legg convicted of criminal offense after second trial

􀂄 Resulting reform: Legislation in 1994 to register private fiduciaries

􀂄 Personal lobby by Probate Judge for new legislation

􀂄 Initial draft of regulations exempted Public Fiduciaries

􀂄 No exemption for trust departments

􀂄 Problem: No funding for legislation

Articles:

Legg and Mackey had access to Delores Reichwein’s money because in the late 1980s, the Reichweins had joined the 500,000 elderly Americans who are “wards” of a court. Because of advanced age or other incapacity, wards are compelled to turn their financial affairs over to a guardian-conservator, usually a family member or a court-appointed private fiduciary. Wards are among society’s most vulnerable citizens.
AS HELPLESS AS CHILDREN – A PROMINENT MESA LAWYER AND HIS FLUNKY WERE SUPPOSED TO PROTECT THE ELDERLY IN THEIR CARE. INSTEAD, THEY PLUNDERED THE OLD PEOPLE’S ASSETS

Abuses by attorneys and private fiduciaries such as Wayne Legg, Webber Mackey and others have led to proposed changes in how the Maricopa County Probate Court operates.
THE FORGOTTEN COURT

A New Times investigation of Legg and Mackey, published in September (As Helpless As Children”), uncovered a pattern of fiscal abuses that cost Cinthia Gannett’s deceased grandmother, Grace Gannett, and more than two dozen East Valley senior citizens and their heirs untold dollars and grief.
HEIR OF OPTIMISM – RELATIVES OF SENIORS WHOSE ESTATES WERE PLUNDERED HOPE FOR JUSTICE

The multicount felony arrests of Legg and Mackey marked a high point in the AG’s oft-trumpeted war against elder abuse. But endless pretrial delays in the criminal case left family and friends of the victims frustrated and confused. And that was before the death last week of the 79-year-old defendant Mackey, universally considered to be Legg’s subordinate in the lucrative scheme.
Death of a Defendant – 21 months after being charged with looting the estates of elderly Arizonans, one defendant dies. The other awaits trial

Bonding companies are expected to cut checks totaling about $800,000 to the heirs of 14 estates that were plundered by Mesa attorney Wayne Elmer Legg and his sidekick, Webber Mackey. The pair ran those estates and others into the ground while siphoning off enormous fees for themselves over a period of several years.
PROBAYE’S REPROBATES – SOME PLUNDERED ESTATES WIN COMPENSATION, BUT CRIMINAL CASE FACES DELAYS

Prosecutors from the Arizona Attorney General’s Office portrayed Legg as a vulture who stole more than $1 million from senior citizens in a scheme hatched with the late Webber Mackey, a private fiduciary who died in 1995 before facing his own criminal trial.
Barrister Behind Bars – Former “King of Probate” faces long prison term for ripping off elderly

“Wayne Legg was after my friend’s $5 million just as he was after those other people’s money,” said Lindberg, who neither sought nor received any of Davis’ estate. “Right at the end, Ellen knew that Legg was not to be trusted, and she thought she’d done something wrong by dealing with him. It was pathetic. He was like an animal, just dying to suck her bank account dry. I wanted to be in the courtroom to watch for my friend.”
A Lawyer on Trial – Wayne Legg, a prominent attorney charged with stealing from elderly clients, faces his accusers

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The King of Probate

September 29, 2008
Phoenix New Times; Geriatric Park: A Mesa lawyer devours the fortunes of helpless old people in his care; September 1993; by Paul Rubin.

􀂄 Weber Mackey • Private Fiduciary

􀂄 Wayne Legg • Attorney

􀂄 25 Cases, 1.2 million in losses

􀂄 Civil Recovery on bonds of at least 80% by the Public Fiduciary

􀂄 News Articles revealed weakness in Court monitoring

􀂄 Wayne Legg convicted of criminal offense after second trial

􀂄 Resulting reform: Legislation in 1994 to register private fiduciaries

􀂄 Personal lobby by Probate Judge for new legislation

􀂄 Initial draft of regulations exempted Public Fiduciaries

􀂄 No exemption for trust departments

􀂄 Problem: No funding for legislation

Articles:

Legg and Mackey had access to Delores Reichwein’s money because in the late 1980s, the Reichweins had joined the 500,000 elderly Americans who are “wards” of a court. Because of advanced age or other incapacity, wards are compelled to turn their financial affairs over to a guardian-conservator, usually a family member or a court-appointed private fiduciary. Wards are among society’s most vulnerable citizens.
AS HELPLESS AS CHILDREN – A PROMINENT MESA LAWYER AND HIS FLUNKY WERE SUPPOSED TO PROTECT THE ELDERLY IN THEIR CARE. INSTEAD, THEY PLUNDERED THE OLD PEOPLE’S ASSETS

Abuses by attorneys and private fiduciaries such as Wayne Legg, Webber Mackey and others have led to proposed changes in how the Maricopa County Probate Court operates.
THE FORGOTTEN COURT

A New Times investigation of Legg and Mackey, published in September (As Helpless As Children”), uncovered a pattern of fiscal abuses that cost Cinthia Gannett’s deceased grandmother, Grace Gannett, and more than two dozen East Valley senior citizens and their heirs untold dollars and grief.
HEIR OF OPTIMISM – RELATIVES OF SENIORS WHOSE ESTATES WERE PLUNDERED HOPE FOR JUSTICE

The multicount felony arrests of Legg and Mackey marked a high point in the AG’s oft-trumpeted war against elder abuse. But endless pretrial delays in the criminal case left family and friends of the victims frustrated and confused. And that was before the death last week of the 79-year-old defendant Mackey, universally considered to be Legg’s subordinate in the lucrative scheme.
Death of a Defendant – 21 months after being charged with looting the estates of elderly Arizonans, one defendant dies. The other awaits trial

Bonding companies are expected to cut checks totaling about $800,000 to the heirs of 14 estates that were plundered by Mesa attorney Wayne Elmer Legg and his sidekick, Webber Mackey. The pair ran those estates and others into the ground while siphoning off enormous fees for themselves over a period of several years.
PROBAYE’S REPROBATES – SOME PLUNDERED ESTATES WIN COMPENSATION, BUT CRIMINAL CASE FACES DELAYS

Prosecutors from the Arizona Attorney General’s Office portrayed Legg as a vulture who stole more than $1 million from senior citizens in a scheme hatched with the late Webber Mackey, a private fiduciary who died in 1995 before facing his own criminal trial.
Barrister Behind Bars – Former “King of Probate” faces long prison term for ripping off elderly

“Wayne Legg was after my friend’s $5 million just as he was after those other people’s money,” said Lindberg, who neither sought nor received any of Davis’ estate. “Right at the end, Ellen knew that Legg was not to be trusted, and she thought she’d done something wrong by dealing with him. It was pathetic. He was like an animal, just dying to suck her bank account dry. I wanted to be in the courtroom to watch for my friend.”
A Lawyer on Trial – Wayne Legg, a prominent attorney charged with stealing from elderly clients, faces his accusers

The King of Probate

September 29, 2008
Phoenix New Times; Geriatric Park: A Mesa lawyer devours the fortunes of helpless old people in his care; September 1993; by Paul Rubin.

􀂄 Weber Mackey • Private Fiduciary

􀂄 Wayne Legg • Attorney

􀂄 25 Cases, 1.2 million in losses

􀂄 Civil Recovery on bonds of at least 80% by the Public Fiduciary

􀂄 News Articles revealed weakness in Court monitoring

􀂄 Wayne Legg convicted of criminal offense after second trial

􀂄 Resulting reform: Legislation in 1994 to register private fiduciaries

􀂄 Personal lobby by Probate Judge for new legislation

􀂄 Initial draft of regulations exempted Public Fiduciaries

􀂄 No exemption for trust departments

􀂄 Problem: No funding for legislation

Articles:

Legg and Mackey had access to Delores Reichwein’s money because in the late 1980s, the Reichweins had joined the 500,000 elderly Americans who are “wards” of a court. Because of advanced age or other incapacity, wards are compelled to turn their financial affairs over to a guardian-conservator, usually a family member or a court-appointed private fiduciary. Wards are among society’s most vulnerable citizens.
AS HELPLESS AS CHILDREN – A PROMINENT MESA LAWYER AND HIS FLUNKY WERE SUPPOSED TO PROTECT THE ELDERLY IN THEIR CARE. INSTEAD, THEY PLUNDERED THE OLD PEOPLE’S ASSETS

Abuses by attorneys and private fiduciaries such as Wayne Legg, Webber Mackey and others have led to proposed changes in how the Maricopa County Probate Court operates.
THE FORGOTTEN COURT

A New Times investigation of Legg and Mackey, published in September (As Helpless As Children”), uncovered a pattern of fiscal abuses that cost Cinthia Gannett’s deceased grandmother, Grace Gannett, and more than two dozen East Valley senior citizens and their heirs untold dollars and grief.
HEIR OF OPTIMISM – RELATIVES OF SENIORS WHOSE ESTATES WERE PLUNDERED HOPE FOR JUSTICE

The multicount felony arrests of Legg and Mackey marked a high point in the AG’s oft-trumpeted war against elder abuse. But endless pretrial delays in the criminal case left family and friends of the victims frustrated and confused. And that was before the death last week of the 79-year-old defendant Mackey, universally considered to be Legg’s subordinate in the lucrative scheme.
Death of a Defendant – 21 months after being charged with looting the estates of elderly Arizonans, one defendant dies. The other awaits trial

Bonding companies are expected to cut checks totaling about $800,000 to the heirs of 14 estates that were plundered by Mesa attorney Wayne Elmer Legg and his sidekick, Webber Mackey. The pair ran those estates and others into the ground while siphoning off enormous fees for themselves over a period of several years.
PROBAYE’S REPROBATES – SOME PLUNDERED ESTATES WIN COMPENSATION, BUT CRIMINAL CASE FACES DELAYS

Prosecutors from the Arizona Attorney General’s Office portrayed Legg as a vulture who stole more than $1 million from senior citizens in a scheme hatched with the late Webber Mackey, a private fiduciary who died in 1995 before facing his own criminal trial.
Barrister Behind Bars – Former “King of Probate” faces long prison term for ripping off elderly

“Wayne Legg was after my friend’s $5 million just as he was after those other people’s money,” said Lindberg, who neither sought nor received any of Davis’ estate. “Right at the end, Ellen knew that Legg was not to be trusted, and she thought she’d done something wrong by dealing with him. It was pathetic. He was like an animal, just dying to suck her bank account dry. I wanted to be in the courtroom to watch for my friend.”
A Lawyer on Trial – Wayne Legg, a prominent attorney charged with stealing from elderly clients, faces his accusers

>DHS Worker Arrested

September 27, 2008

>

Tulsa County prosecutors have alleged that a state Department of Human Services employee stole thousands of dollars from a vulnerable adult.

Debra Maxine Roberts, a DHS Adult Protective Services specialist, is accused of abusing, exploiting or neglecting a 74-year-old mentally disabled man.

According to a DHS special agent’s affidavit, Roberts received a court order assigning her as a temporary guardian. During that time, she had the authority to use the Ward’s money to pay for residential care and daily expenses.

But bank records show that Roberts made five cash withdrawals from the Ward’s accounts after her guardianship ended.

Source:
Tulsa DHS worker arrested

DHS Worker Arrested

September 27, 2008
Tulsa County prosecutors have alleged that a state Department of Human Services employee stole thousands of dollars from a vulnerable adult.

Debra Maxine Roberts, a DHS Adult Protective Services specialist, is accused of abusing, exploiting or neglecting a 74-year-old mentally disabled man.

According to a DHS special agent’s affidavit, Roberts received a court order assigning her as a temporary guardian. During that time, she had the authority to use the Ward’s money to pay for residential care and daily expenses.

But bank records show that Roberts made five cash withdrawals from the Ward’s accounts after her guardianship ended.

Source:
Tulsa DHS worker arrested

>Fatal Tube Removal

September 27, 2008

>

Janet Salas lost her say in her son’s treatment when the state turned over custody of him to a case management company.

Adult Protective Services brought a suit to remove Salas as Freddie Nichols’ guardian and award guardianship to Erin Ruscetti, owner of Necessity Case Management and Consultation LLC. At the time, the agency’s attorney alleged that Nichols was dehydrated and in a “vegetative condition” and had been hospitalized about 10 times during the preceding year for decubitus ulcers, or bed sores.

Salas rejects the allegations that she provided poor care for her son. She contends that her son’s bed sores worsened during his stay at a VA hospital. Salas also said she had no opportunity to speak or present evidence at the Aug. 27 hearing. She had a letter from her son’s physician who wrote that Salas provided her son with excellent care.

District Judge Richard Brown awarded guardianship to Ruscetti after an Aug. 27 hearing.

Janet Salas paced the sidewalk outside the Raymond G. Murphy Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Albuquerque, demanding that hospital officials restore her son’s feeding tube. Salas stood in front of a McDonald’s restaurant at Gibson and San Mateo SE nearly all day.

Her hand drawn sign said: “Please Help / The VA is killing my son.”

Salas lost the battle when her son, Freddie Nichols, died after Nichols had been without food or water and when hospital officials removed a feeding tube without his family’s consent.

Full Article and Source:
Family Opposed To Fatal Tube Removal

Fatal Tube Removal

September 27, 2008
Janet Salas lost her say in her son’s treatment when the state turned over custody of him to a case management company.

Adult Protective Services brought a suit to remove Salas as Freddie Nichols’ guardian and award guardianship to Erin Ruscetti, owner of Necessity Case Management and Consultation LLC. At the time, the agency’s attorney alleged that Nichols was dehydrated and in a “vegetative condition” and had been hospitalized about 10 times during the preceding year for decubitus ulcers, or bed sores.

Salas rejects the allegations that she provided poor care for her son. She contends that her son’s bed sores worsened during his stay at a VA hospital. Salas also said she had no opportunity to speak or present evidence at the Aug. 27 hearing. She had a letter from her son’s physician who wrote that Salas provided her son with excellent care.

District Judge Richard Brown awarded guardianship to Ruscetti after an Aug. 27 hearing.

Janet Salas paced the sidewalk outside the Raymond G. Murphy Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Albuquerque, demanding that hospital officials restore her son’s feeding tube. Salas stood in front of a McDonald’s restaurant at Gibson and San Mateo SE nearly all day.

Her hand drawn sign said: “Please Help / The VA is killing my son.”

Salas lost the battle when her son, Freddie Nichols, died after Nichols had been without food or water and when hospital officials removed a feeding tube without his family’s consent.

Full Article and Source:
Family Opposed To Fatal Tube Removal

>Accused Lawyer Found Dead

September 25, 2008

>

A prominent Duncan lawyer found himself on the wrong side of the law and on Thursday, September 18, stood accused of embezzlement and forgery. On Wednesday, September 24, investigators found him dead from a gunshot wound to the head.

Prosecutors said the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) said he spent nearly $150,000 that belonged to a client. The prosecution says he was holding the money for a family’s estate, but when they tried to get it back, it was gone.

Barnes’ body was found at Washita Point in the Lake Texoma area, and he appeared to have been dead for several days. Authorities say that after Barnes posted bail, he went missing, and the OSBI feared he was on the run or had harmed himself. They say no foul play is suspected at this time.

Barnes had filed an application to resign from the bar, which means to give up his law license, and discontinued his practice. According to court records, Barnes was hired in February, 2007, to handle the probate of Faye Glenn’s estate. Her checking account was transferred to Barnes’ Attorney Trust Account at BancFirst in Duncan.

According to Stephens County District Attorney Bret Burns, despite the fact that Barnes was supposed to reimburse $150,000 to the executor of the state, Barnes had yet to do so after the probate period ended.

Burns said: “So there was a large sum of money just sitting there, They had been asking for that money back for the past year and they got different excuses, until they finally found out it was gone.”

Full Article and Source:
Duncan lawyer accused of embezzlement found dead

See also:
Probate Attorney Jailed

Accused Lawyer Found Dead

September 25, 2008
A prominent Duncan lawyer found himself on the wrong side of the law and on Thursday, September 18, stood accused of embezzlement and forgery. On Wednesday, September 24, investigators found him dead from a gunshot wound to the head.

Prosecutors said the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) said he spent nearly $150,000 that belonged to a client. The prosecution says he was holding the money for a family’s estate, but when they tried to get it back, it was gone.

Barnes’ body was found at Washita Point in the Lake Texoma area, and he appeared to have been dead for several days. Authorities say that after Barnes posted bail, he went missing, and the OSBI feared he was on the run or had harmed himself. They say no foul play is suspected at this time.

Barnes had filed an application to resign from the bar, which means to give up his law license, and discontinued his practice. According to court records, Barnes was hired in February, 2007, to handle the probate of Faye Glenn’s estate. Her checking account was transferred to Barnes’ Attorney Trust Account at BancFirst in Duncan.

According to Stephens County District Attorney Bret Burns, despite the fact that Barnes was supposed to reimburse $150,000 to the executor of the state, Barnes had yet to do so after the probate period ended.

Burns said: “So there was a large sum of money just sitting there, They had been asking for that money back for the past year and they got different excuses, until they finally found out it was gone.”

Full Article and Source:
Duncan lawyer accused of embezzlement found dead

See also:
Probate Attorney Jailed

>New Legislation Passed

September 25, 2008

>

Groundbreaking legislation, marking the most sweeping congressional reform of the U.S. foster care system in more than a decade, has passed the House of Representatives and is on its way to the Senate where it is expected to pass.

The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act (H.R. 6893) is designed to help thousands of children in foster care by promoting permanent families for them through relative guardianship and adoption.

Among its many provisions:

* the establishment of “Family Connection Grants,” which will help families facilitate the adoption of foster children with blood relatives such as grandparents or aunts and uncles

* doubles the amount of money states would receive for promoting and completing certain adoptions

* tribal governments will be able to receive foster care funds directly from the government, thus ensuring that more American Indian and Alaskan Native children can remain in their own communities

* allows states to continue providing support up to the age of 21 for young people in foster care who are pursuing education, training or work

* improves oversight of the educational progress and health care needs of children in foster care

The Honorable Maura Corrigan, Michigan State Supreme Court Justice and a Member of the Pew Commission said: “The need for all children to have safe, permanent families to love, nurture, protect, and guide them was a steady compass throughout our commission’s deliberations, State courts see tens of thousands of foster care cases a year. This legislation provides important new policy that will help judges and other professionals ensure that more abused and neglected children can leave foster care to join safe, loving homes.”

The Pew Commission, a national, nonpartisan panel established by The Pew Charitable Trusts, undertook a year-long comprehensive assessment of the nation’s foster care system and developed practical child-centered solutions to improve outcomes for foster care.

Source:

Landmark Adoption Bill Passed By House

See also:

Congress Passes Foster Child Act