Archive for April, 2013

Senate Special Committee on Aging Addresses National Alzheimer’s Plan Progress

April 30, 2013

Advocates at the 25th annual Alzheimer’s Association Advocacy Forum paused during a day of visits with members of Congress to attend a Senate Special Committee on Aging hearing on the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease.

The National Plan, released in May 2012, is the country’s first comprehensive approach to the Alzheimer’s epidemic and includes a goal to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer’s disease by 2025.The hearing, “Are We on Track for 2025?,” examined the plan one year after its creation and the resources needed to accomplish its goals. It featured testimonies from expert witnesses, including Ashley Campbell, who spoke on behalf of her father, country music legend Glen Campbell. Glen was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2011.

Senate Aging Committee Ranking Member Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) welcomed a room filled with advocates, sharing her personal experience with Alzheimer’s and her concerns about the disease’s estimated trajectory.

“As someone whose family has experienced the pain of Alzheimer’s time and time again, I know there is no more helpless feeling then to watch the progression of this devastating disease,” Collins said. “An estimated 5.2 million Americans have Alzheimer’s, more than double the number in 1980. Based on the current trajectory, more than 16 million Americans over the age of 65 will have Alzheimer’s disease by the year 2050.”

Collins also outlined her vision for the National Alzheimer’s Plan.

“If we fail to change the current trajectory of Alzheimer’s disease, our country will face not only a mounting national health care crisis, but an economic one as well,” she said. “The National Alzheimer’s Plan, which will be updated annually, will help us to focus our efforts and accelerate our progress toward better treatments, a means of prevention and ultimately, even a cure.”

Senator Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), chairman of the committee, shared his thoughts on the Alzheimer’s epidemic and his appreciation for advocates’ efforts on Capitol Hill.

“It is shocking that today 1 in 3 seniors will die with Alzheimer’s,” said Nelson. “And as the baby boomers age, this fact is going to confront us all the more. We are very grateful for your tireless efforts on behalf of this issue and for the Alzheimer’s Association.”

Ashley Campbell was the first to testify, re-accounting Glen’s diagnosis and their decision to launch a Glen Campbell goodbye tour, giving her father a chance to connect with family, friends and fans through music.

“Dad thought it was important for people to know you can keep doing what you love — that life doesn’t end right away when you get Alzheimer’s,” she said. “It was also so important for my dad to take action and help spread the word about the need to find a cure for Alzheimer’s.”

Full Article and Source:
Senate Hearing Addresses National Alzheimer’s Plan Progress

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CA Couple Charged With Bilking Millions From Hundreds of Senior Citizens

April 30, 2013

Michael Woodward, 50, and his wife Melissa Woodward, 47, are charged with scamming more than 230 San Diego area senior citizens out of $1.9 million – and there may be victims statewide, says California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones.

The pair is accused of burglary, grand theft, theft from an elder and other charges.

Officials are asking anyone who suspect they or someone they know have been victimized, to call the Department of Insurance at (800) 927-4357.

For over a decade the Woodwards allegedly ran a $6 million scam bilking hundreds of seniors across 10 states while operating under numerous aliases and bogus businesses, the state says.

According to department investigators, the Woodward’s sold fraudulent in-home non-medical senior service contracts. They targeted seniors by telling them that for a pre-paid annual fee they would get an unlimited amount of non-medical services.

Full Article and Source:
Couple Charged With Bilking Millions From Hundreds of Senior Citizens

Press Release: Santa Clara Superior Court Judge Thomas Cain Allegedly Prevents 83 Year Old White Woman from Being with her 58 Year Old African-American Husband

April 29, 2013

Santa Clara Conservatorship judge Thomas Cain is being charged with allegedly committing race, gender and age discrimination. According is court papers filed on Monday and Wednesday, Beatrice Pacheco-Starks is claiming that she is being discriminated against by judge Cain due to her age, gender and the race of herself and her African-American husband Mr. Marreon Gene Starks. In re Conservatorship of Beatrice K. Pacheco, 112-PR-171580

The Motion to Disqualify Thomas Cain from hearing an Emergency Petition for Removal of Conservatorship, alleges that Stephen Pacheco, Mrs. Pacheco-Starks son from previous marriage, has successfully enlisted judge Cain, along with court appointed lawyer Michael Desmerais, Baugh and Lynn Searle of San Francisco, to fabricate court records in order to prevent her from being with Mr. Starks so as to ensure that her approximately 6-million dollars is secured only for them.

Court records alleges that judge Cain has used his own race, gender and age biases in deciding to side with her son and his lawyers and she demands that the judge recuse himself from making any further decisions or involvement in her future cases.

Mrs. Pacheco-Starks followed up on April 24, 2013 with an Emergency Petition to remove her son from being her conservator and seeks to terminate court appointed lawyer Desmerais, who she alleges not honestly making her wishes known to the court and otherwise siding with her son in order to unjustly enrich his law practice off of her multi-million dollar estate. The Petition also alleges that her son has not provided her the $500 per week allowance the he was ordered to provide her and once she sought to raise funds to hire her own lawyer by selling her car, he is alleged to have closed her checking account and assaulted her in an attempt to steal her car keys away from her.

Full Press Release:
Santa Clara Superior Court Judge Thomas Cain Allegedly Prevents 83 Year Old White Woman from Being with her 58 Year Old African-American Husband

Nevada Busses Hundreds of Mentally Ill Around Country

April 29, 2013

Over the past five years, Nevada’s primary state psychiatric hospital has put hundreds of mentally ill patients on Greyhound buses and sent them to cities and towns across America.

Since July 2008, Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas has transported more than 1,500 patients to other cities via, Greyhound bus, sending at least one person to every state in the continental United States, according to a Bee review of bus receipts kept by Nevada’s mental health  division.

About a third of those patients were dispatched to California, including more than 200 to Los Angeles County, about 70 to San Diego County and 19 to the city of Sacramento. In recent years, as Nevada has slashed funding for mental health services, the number of mentally ill patients being bused out of southern Nevada has steadily risen, growing 66 percent from 2009 to 2012. During that same period, the hospital has dispersed those patients to an ever-increasing number of states. By last year, Rawson-Neal bused out patients at a pace of well over one per day, shipping nearly 400 patients to a total of 176 cities and 45 states across the nation.

Nevada’s approach to dispatching mentally ill patients has come under scrutiny since one of its clients turned up suicidal and confused at a Sacramento homeless services complex. James Flavy Coy Brown, who is 48 and suffers from a variety of  mood disorders including schizophrenia, was discharged in February from Rawson-Neal to a Greyhound bus for Sacramento, a place he had never visited and where he knew no one.

The hospital sent him on the 15-hour  bus ride without making arrangements for his treatment or housing in California; he arrived in Sacramento out of medication and without identification or access to his Social Security payments.  He wound up in the UC Davis Medical Center’s emergency room, where he lingered for three days until social workers were able to find him temporary housing.

Nevada mental health officials have acknowledged making mistakes in Brown’s case, but have made no apologies for their policy of busing patients out of state.

Full Article and Source:
Nevada Busses Hundres of Mentally Ill Patients to Cities Around Country

NASGA’s Federal and Illinois Legislative Liaison, Janet Bedin, Attends Special Mass With the Pope and Speaks to Him About Elder Abuse

April 29, 2013

Rockford resident Janet Bedin has met previous popes several times but never had a visit to the Vatican like the one she had Monday.

Bedin, a lifelong member of St. Anthony of Padua Church of Rockford, attended a small, private Mass with Pope Francis on Monday morning in Casa Santa Marta and had the opportunity to speak one-on-one with the new pope for several minutes afterward.

“I couldn’t sleep at all the night before,” Bedin said by telephone from Italy on Monday afternoon. “I just kept thinking of what I was going to say. … That was the first thing I ended up telling him. I said, ‘I didn’t sleep at all. I felt like I was 9 years old and it was Christmas Eve and I was waiting for Santa Claus.’”

Francis gave a homily that was simple, but serious, Bedin said.

“He spoke about how Jesus Christ tells us the way to my father is through me. I am the door. … He said, ‘He didn’t say go through the window. He didn’t say go through the back. … It’s very simple.’”
Bedin sent a letter to the Vatican on April 15 asking if she could attend one of the Pope’s Masses the next week. It was a long shot, she said, but she had heard about the small morning Masses the Pope had been having for visiting priests and Vatican employees and wondered if she could get an invitation. The 15-year anniversary of her father’s death was Monday, she said, and she could think of no greater honor than to attend in his memory and that of her mother, who died in 2011.

Bedin heard nothing. Then, on Saturday, she received a call with instructions to be at the Vatican at 6:15 a.m. Monday.

She brought numerous photos of friends and family members for Pope Francis to bless and a letter to the pontiff from the Rev. James M. Ciaramitaro of St. Anthony, inviting the pope to visit the Italian-American parish founded in Rockford in 1909.

She also brought along newspaper clippings about her mother’s death and spoke with the pope about fighting abuse and medical mistreatment of the elderly in the United States.

Francis blessed the photos, Bedin said, and as her eyes filled with tears when she spoke of her father — Americo Bedin, a U.S. soldier during World War II — Francis put both hands on her head.

“He was praying, and then he said, ‘God bless you and keep you strong,’” she said.

There were about 35 other people at the Mass, Bedin said. The intimacy was overwhelming.

“It was magical,” she said. “He is so soft-spoken and unassuming. … He is winning over the hearts of everyone over here.”

Source:
Rockford Woman Attends Small Mass With Pope, Speaks With Him

PA Judge Resigns After Arrest for Same Conduct She was Suspended for in July

April 29, 2013

In July, Magisterial District Judge Rita A. Arnold pleaded with the state Court of Judicial Discipline to let her keep her “dream” job at a sanctions hearing, and it agreed, citing her extreme remorse and dispensing a month’s unpaid suspension.

On Tuesday, less than eight months after she returned to her elected post, the 56-year-old jurist resigned after her arrest by state agents, a news release from the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office said.

The release said her arrest follows allegations that she concealed a citation in order to protect one of her sons from a potential probation violation, the same accusations that prompted the complaint by the Judicial Conduct Board in February 2012.

Full article and Source:
Magisterial Districe Judge Resigns After Arrest

Emotional Wife of Anthony Marshall Breaks Down During Court Appearance

April 28, 2013

“You’re not going to jail, honey.”

The swindling son of famed philanthropist Brooke Astor shared a showily tender moment in Manhattan Supreme Court [April 19]– his wife hugging him in his wheelchair and bursting into tears.

“You’re not going to jail, honey — it’s alright,” Anthony Marshall, 88, was told by his sobbing, twenty-years-younger wife, Charlene, after a judge agreed to a tentative June 17 date for Marshall’s prison surrender.

“I love you too!” she cried, as she wrapped a gray scarf around his neck before rolling him out of the courtroom.

It’s been three years since Marshall and his trusts and estates lawyer co-defendant, Francis Morrissey, were both sentenced to serve at least one year and as many as three.

The two pressured and tricked the Alzheimer’s-afflicted doyenne out of some $60 million in bequests, with Marshall awarding himself a $2 million “raise” for administering her estate, and Morrissey forging her signature on a key 2004 will amendment.

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice A. Kirke Bartley is allowing the pair to remain free on bail pending their latest appeal effort — an application to have their case considered by the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals in Albany.

If that court decides not to take the case, the pair must surrender June 17, said Bartley, who presided over the pair’s 2009 trial.

“It’s good to see you all again, three years plus,” the judge told the eight lawyers in the room, and the brief hearing did have a reunion feel to it.

Full Article and Source:
Emotional Wife of Anthony Marshall Breaks Down During Court Appearance

Florida Lawyer/Guardian Accused of Exploiting Her Elderly Wards for More Than $100K

April 28, 2013
It’s the ideal scenario for criminals — the power and legal authority to handle their victims’ finances, more so than the victims themselves.

But the judges who assigned Jacksonville attorney Cynthia Leigh Nichols, 55, as a guardian over elderly individuals wouldn’t have expected an officer of the court to follow such a scenario.
 
Nichols was arrested Friday on charges of exploiting the elderly in excess of $100,000 and grand theft. She has since been released on the condition that she appears at her next court date.
 
Investigators have accused Nichols of using the bank accounts of her wards to make purchases on items that include furniture, cars and even a house from which she, her friend and her friend’s daughter benefited.
 
The Department of Children and Families alerted the State Attorney’s Office in November after conducting a three-month investigation into Nichols’ activities, DCF spokesman John Harrell said.
 
Investigators found that Nichols had been making purchases from the account of her ward, Mary Vest, before Vest died in November at the age of 78, an arrest report said.
 
Three 2011 payments or down payments on two automobiles were made at Arlington Toyota, totaling $32,600. The arrest report said one of the cars was titled to Nichols’ longtime friend, Gina Bateh, 48, a five-time felon with at least 93 arrests in her criminal history. The other was titled to Bateh’s then-19-year-old daughter, Micheil Brooke Bateh.
 
Nichols is also accused of purchasing a house off Southside Boulevard with Vest’s money. Vest never lived there, although the home now is in the name of her estate. Instead, investigators said while Vest lived at an assisted living facility, Gina Bateh was actually residing at the home, which property records show to be valued at about $200,000.

Full Article and Source:
Jacksonville Attorney Accused of Exploiting Her Elderly Wards for More than $100,000

Florida Woman Charged With Stealing Money From Her Son’s Guardianship Account

April 28, 2013

A Lake Worth woman has been charged with stealing more than $37,000 from her son’s guardianship bank account.
Melody May Henderson of Lake Worth was arrested by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and charged with one count of grand theft.

Palm Beach County Clerk of Courts Sharon Bock’s Division of Inspector General conducted the investigation of Henderson.

Fraud investigators from the Clerk and Comptroller’s Office received a tip in September 2012 about the possible misuse of funds from the account.

Investigators say that Henderson told them that she used the money from her son’s account to pay for his medical bills and to purchase a car to drive him, however she couldn’t account for $20,000 of the $37,000 lawsuit settlement.

The PBC Clerk’s Office says that the settlement money was placed in a restricted bank account which required a judge’s permission to be withdrawn.

The arrest is the second by the Guardian Fraud program according to the Palm Beach County Clerk’s Office.

Source:
Melody Henderson Charged With Stealing Money From Her Son’s Guardianship Account

FL Financial Advisor Found Guilty of Attempted Financial Exploitation of the Elderly

April 28, 2013

Longtime Lake Forest resident and financial advisor James P. Richter was found guilty of Attempted Financial Exploitation of the Elderly on April 4 by the Lake County Circuit Court. According to public records, the Class A misdemeanor carries a sentence of 12 months conditional discharge including 100 hours of community service and a $500 contribution to a charity. He’s also required to avoid all contact with the two senior citizens at the center of the case.

They’re a married couple in their late-70s/early-80s who have lived in Lake Forest for 45 years and, they said, had been clients of Richter’s since 1993. They spoke with GazeboNews on the condition of anonymity to raise awareness of the issue of exploitation of the elderly. GazeboNews called and emailed Richter and his attorney several times but were unable to get a comment from them.

The story of People vs. James P. Richter began in February 2010, when, according to Lake County Assistant State’s Attorney Stephen Scheller, Richter asked the couple for a $45,000 loan, which they gave him. Approximately one year later, he said, Richter asked for a second loan, this time in the amount of $15,000, which the couple also gave him. Scheller said that in both cases, Richter signed promissory notes.

In the fall of 2011, the couple contacted the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office, which opened an investigation and eventually reached an agreement with Richter and his attorney, in which Richter pleaded to a misdemeanor if he paid the couple back in full, which he did, according to Scheller. He said that the amount of money involved would have warranted a felony charge if the money had not been repaid.

“Obviously, we want to charge the offender, but if we can get the victims’ money back, it doesn’t do us any good to throw the offender in jail for three years and not get a cent,” said Scheller. “This is a conviction on his record that won’t be expunged or go away. We’re happy we got the victims their money back, and we’re happy we got the conviction.”

Full Article and Source:
Lake Forest Financial Advisor Found Guilty of Attempted Financial Exploitation of the Elderly