Archive for December, 2009

L’Oreal Heiress Refuses Court-Ordered Testing

December 27, 2009

A lawyer for France’s richest woman says his client, L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, has refused to undergo medical tests aimed at determining whether she was in a weak state when she lavished a friend with $1.44 billion in gifts and cash.

A judge ordered 87-year-old Bettencourt to undergo the tests before the April trial of her friend, Francois-Marie Barnier. The 62-year-old photographer faces exploitation charges stemming from allegations by Bettencourt’s daughter that Barnier took advantage of the elderly billionaire’s fragility to bilk her.

Bettencourt’s attorney, Georges Kiejman, said she will not undergo the medical tests, which were supposed to be carried out before March 10.

Source:
L’Oreal Heiress Refusing Medical Treatment

See Also:
Accused of Bilking France’s Richest Woman

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WI: Incompetent Have Right to Presence of Counsel

December 26, 2009

A guardian ad litem cannot meet with a represented ward unless the ward’s adversary counsel is present.

On Dec. 22, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals reversed a non-final order that required a ward in guardianship to meet with the GAL alone.

Patricia M. Cavey, an attorney with Milwaukee Disability Law Center, who represents the ward, praised the holding as necessary to protect incompetent persons’ right to counsel and to hold GALs to the same standards as other attorneys.

Too many GALS, Cavey said, act like they are “the king of the courthouse.”

Jennifer M. is an adult woman subject to a limited guardianship. Her father is her guardian, and her parents are divorced. The circuit court has appointed an attorney to be her GAL, and she has also retained her own adversary counsel.

After Jennifer’s mother petitioned to remove the father as guardian, Jennifer moved to dismiss the petition, and to replace the GAL. The circuit court denied Jennifer’s motions, and also entered the following order:

“[Jennifer M.] is ordered to meet with Attorney Franz Maurer, her Guardian ad Litem, one-on-one … within 21 days of this order, to discuss [her] position regarding future contact with her maternal family. The Guardian ad Litem is ordered to report to the Court regarding the best interests of [Jennifer] regarding such future contact, as well as any participation by [Jennifer] in the mediation process initiated by the Guardian and [her] mother.”

The Court of Appeals’ granted Jennifer’s petition for interlocutory review, and reversed, in an opinion by Judge Edward R. Brunner.

Full Article and Source:
GAL Can’t Meet Ward Without Attorney – Incompetent Have Right to Presence of Counsel

Former DHS Employee Avoids Jail Time

December 26, 2009

A former Department of Human Services employee received a three-year probation for two Tulsa County offenses of financially exploiting vulnerable adults.

Debra Roberts, 51, pleaded guilty Oct. 5 to two felony exploitation counts.

She had no agreement with prosecutors to govern her punishment.

District Judge Kurt Glassco made a finding of guilt, giving Roberts a felony conviction in each of the cases.

Glassco imposed a three-year suspended sentence that does not require her to serve any jail or prison time.

Roberts was free on bond while awaiting sentencing in the cases, which were filed in 2008.

Roberts was a DHS Adult Protective Services specialist. She was charged in one case with taking nearly $4,500 from an 84-year-old man.

She had been a temporary guardian for the man after a court decided that he lacked the mental capacity to consent to necessary protective services. As his guardian, Roberts had the authority to use his money to pay for residential care and daily living expenses, an investigator’s affidavit states.

Prosecutors maintained that his nursing home bills went unpaid and that checks signed by Roberts on the man’s guardian account were written for cash.

In the other case, Roberts was charged with financially exploiting a 74-year-old mentally disabled man by converting about $5,900 of his money to her own use. She had been his temporary guardian.

Defense lawyer Jack Gordon said Roberts made restitution covering both cases. No restitution requirement was imposed as part of sentencing.

Full Article and Source:
Former DHS Employee Avoids Jail Time in Exploitation

Illinois Couple Gets Prison Time

December 26, 2009

A Batavia couple who bilked an elderly female relative out of more than $40,000 and then used the money to buy drugs were sentenced to prison.

Michael Waters, 49, and his wife, Brenda Waters, 48, pleaded guilty to financial exploitation of an elderly person, and were sentenced to four years and three years, respectively, in prison.

As part of the plea, they were also ordered to make restitution of $41,705 to the 80-year-old woman.

According to Kane County prosecutors, the couple used a combination of deception and coercion to induce the woman to withdraw the money from Batavia-area automated teller machines throughout 2008.

When the victim discovered that the couple had been forging her name on checks, she went to police.

Full Article and Source:
Batavia Couple Sentenced for Bilking Relatives

All She Wants For Christmas is Her Parents

December 25, 2009

All Denise Vozzella wants for Christmas is her two parents.

But the 54-year-old North Naples woman won’t be allowed to spend Christmas Day with them at Windsor Place assisted-living facility in Naples.

Harold A. Foy, a legal guardian assigned to care for her parents, who both suffer from dementia, has refused her request, which she outlined in a letter.

Denise Vozzella hasn’t seen 81-year-old Marcel Vozzella and her mother, Jacqueline, 83, since Dec. 1, when she was asked to leave after the guardian contended her visits upset her parents and Windsor Place staff, who don’t want her within 100 feet of the home without being accompanied by a legal guardian.

On Dec. 10, Foy filed an emergency petition, seeking an order to further restrict her two-hour, twice-weekly supervised visitations. He contended Denise Vozzella curses at nurses, aides, and other staff, repeatedly tells her parents she’s broke to get money, and that the guardian is trying to kick her out of their house and spending all their money.

Foy said her visits upset her parents and cause her father’s blood pressure to rise, so he wanted to temporarily eliminate visitation to “stabilize” their anxiety and “maintain” their health.

“I’ve taken care of them, bathed them, clothed them and fed them,” Vozzella testified, sobbing as she detailed the last 14 years. “… I promised my parents I would do everything I could to take care of them.”

Denise Vozzella testified they cry when she leaves. And her father doesn’t like a supervisor listening to their conversations and tries to get them to leave. She called the supervised visits unfair, noting these could be the last days of her parents’ lives.

“They should be at home with their daughter … not with people who don’t love them,” Vozzella testified, her voice choking with emotion as she wiped away tears.

Full Article and Source:
North Naples Woman Says She’s Being Denied Christmas With Parents in Nursing Home

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Sisters Bring Christmas Cheer to Wards of the State

December 25, 2009

While a Christmas present of plain white socks would prompt groans from any child, the gift brought a delighted smile to 72-year-old Samuel Reed.

A stunned Reed, whose thoughts and speech are slowed by a 2004 stroke and subsequent dementia, turned the package over in amazement.

“Good dog, y’all,” Reed said.

Then, suddenly, several women’s hands flew in front of him, trying to gently pull the socks away from him. In their place, more gifts.

“There’s more,” Twylah Jenkins told him as he sat in his wheelchair at the Beechnut Harbour nursing home. “Look at this,” urged Lashunda Walker.

The two were joined by their Zeta Phi Beta sorority sisters, all gleefully pulling out from the boxes things he needed but couldn’t dare afford. All but $60 a month he receives in Social Security and other benefits goes to his care at the Beechnut Manor nursing home in southwest Houston.

From the gift boxes emerged a blanket, more socks and sweatpants the way he likes them, without elastic at the ankles. And then the one thing he wanted: a Navy winter jacket.

“I’ll be,” he said, his eyes and smile widening. “You did real good here.”

While other groups concentrate on gift drives for children and nursing home residents, the Zeta Phi Beta sorority looked this year for a service project to help a group of individuals who literally have little more than a roof over their heads: adults who have been made wards of the state.

“They are the forgotten,” said Jenkins, president of the sorority’s local chapter, which started their Adopt-A-Ward program this year.

These individuals have no close family or friends who can care for them. As a result, the probate courts take over, officially declaring them incapacitated and a guardian is appointed.

Full Article and Source:
Sorority Ensures Adult Wards Aren’t Forgotten

Just What the World Needed…

December 25, 2009

Source:
For Sale: Scott Rothstein Toilet Paper

Poem by Sol Ehrlich

December 25, 2009

God, keep me working, keep me fit
At windows I don’t want to sit
Watching my fellows hurrying by:
Let me stay busy ’til I die.

Grant me the strength, breath and will,
Some useful niche in life to fill,
A need to serve, a task to do:
Let me each morning arise anew.
Eager and glad that I can bear
My portion of the morning’s care.

God, I don’t want to sit about,
Broken and tired and all worn out.
Afraid of wind and rain and cold,
Let me stay busy when I am old.

Although I walk with slower pace,
Still let me meet life face to face.
This is my prayer as time goes by:
God keep me busy ’til I die.

Source:
Final Report of the Dade County Grand Jury, See page 21

Behind the Black Robes: Failed Justice

December 24, 2009

About the Book:
Behind the Black Robes: Failed Justice /is about a very serious problem, the need for court reform and the abolishment of judicial and quasi-judicial immunity.

Marinated with the makings of sizzle, the book is filled with the courts’ tricks and traps for the unwary—to alert the readers both why their law cases failed and what must be done to effect court reform. Each chapter introduces the background of the subject of that chapter and then presents a series of illustrative anecdotes intended to teach the readers by example how to avoid those court tricks and traps people are likely to encounter in their existing or potential court cases.

About the Author:
Johnson lives life her way. An unconventional 74-year-old, she has long been a fierce advocate for fathers’ rights in family courts. She is an outspoken critic of the Massachusetts court system, which she says is rife with corruption. In 2002, she ran a quixotic campaign for governor, campaigning in an antique fire truck and promising to use creativity, compassion, and a willingness to listen to the People to mend an ailing government. In 2006, Johnson was barred from practicing law in Massachusetts. “The disbarment by a kangaroo court was an effort to silence my criticism of the courts,” she said, adding laughingly, “I’ll have to write a series of judicial murder mysteries and kill off a judge in the prologue of every one.” A newspaper wrote, “While we don’t fully agree with either her politics or her methods, Johnson is a character in a humdrum world sorely in need of more characters. She’s the thorn in the side, the thumbtack on the chair. . . . Johnson speaks her mind, and loudly.”

Source:
Amazon.com

Note: Also available through AbeBooks.com and Alibris.com

"The Biggest Swindle That Elder Abuse …Has Handled"

December 24, 2009

A caretaker is accused of stealing as much as $3 million from a prominent local rheumatologist who also served as assistant dean at the Michigan State University Medical School.

Police believe it is the largest case of alleged financial exploitation ever investigated by the elder abuse task force.

Andrea R. Neil, 30, of Flint Township is accused of scamming Dr. Dorothy Mulkey, 73, of Flushing out of the funds after the doctor was diagnosed with dementia, said Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell.

Neil had worked as an office assistant for Mulkey’s private practice and was hired as her caretaker after her retirement in 2006.

“I expect it to be the biggest swindle that elder abuse … has handled,” said Pickell.

Pickell said Mulkey was worth about $4 million when she retired and planned to leave those funds to the University of Michigan.

Now, about $3 million is missing, said Pickell.

In addition to the $2,200 weekly Mulkey paid Neil and her husband for care, Neil allegedly convinced Mulkey to cash in an IRA worth $898,000 — which cost Mulkey about $365,000 in penalties — so Neil and her husband could buy a home in California, Pickell said.

The couple also had $78,000 worth of precious metals and coins that belonged to the doctor in their home, said Pickell.

“I’m sure they would have taken this entire estate,” he said.

Mulkey now has a court-appointed guardian.

Full Article and Source:
Largest Elder Exploitation Case: Andrea Neil Allegedly Scammed as Much as $3 Million From Dorothy Mulkey, 73