Archive for September, 2013

Meet Brenda Kelley-Nelum, A Champion for Seniors (and NASGA Legislative Liaison!)

September 30, 2013

Brenda Kelley-Nelum, a loyal AARP volunteer, is a champion for senior citizens. She has been a longtime activist for standing up and protecting seniors from abuse and wrongdoings. A Washington D.C native, Brenda attended public school before they were integrated. In 1954, her 7th grade year, she went from a small six room elementary school to the quite large Eastern High School. The transformation she said is unforgettable. Brenda continued her education and received a BA from Howard University.

Brenda’s career consisted of being a federal auditor for the inspector general and a financial representative for the National Council of Senior Citizens now called Senior Service America.  She worked extensively with the Virginia Leadership Institute getting citizens in the Prince William area involved in the community through becoming members of state and local commissions. For fun, Brenda does different community service projects like planning an event educating people on healthy soul food cooking through the zeta chi omega chapter of her sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha Inc. With over 100 attendants, some of the guests included the state President of AARP, a state senator, and a city council member. In her spare time Brenda, enjoys using Facebook and Twitter to keep up with friends and family.

Brenda first got involved with AARP to advocate for a new healthcare system. She saw AARP being criticized for supporting the Medicare Part D prescription drug legislation. Watching citizens in Richmond publicly destroying their AARP membership cards pushed Brenda into action; she thought “shouldn’t these people be working with AARP in order to have their concerns fought for?” and with that, she got involved. She felt that AARP was committed to seeing healthcare reform to the very end and she wanted to be a part of that—regardless of the flack she might receive from friends and neighbors.

Brenda mostly works with AARP on healthcare issues but she is a big advocate for doing more to combat elder abuse; a cause AARP is deeply concerned about. Brenda has been very vocal about elders being abused by those in trusted with their guardianship and would like to see the issue have more light shed upon it. Brenda would like to see AARP working on more of a micro level in order to be more responsive to every senior’s needs and concerns.

Source:
Meet Brenda Kelley-Nelum – A Champion for Seniors

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Medical Clinic Owners and Patient Recruiters Charged in Miami for Role in $8 Million Health Care Fraud Scheme

September 30, 2013

WASHINGTON—Several patient recruiters, including two medical clinic owners, have been arrested in connection with a health care fraud scheme involving defunct home health care company Flores Home Health Care Inc. (Flores Home Health).

Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida; Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Steinbach of the FBI’s Miami Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Christopher Dennis of the HHS Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) Office of Investigations Miami Office made the announcement.

In an indictment returned on September 24, 2013, and unsealed this afternoon, Isabel Medina, 49, and Lerida Labrada, 59, were charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison upon conviction. Together with Mayra Flores, 49, and German Martinez, 36, Medina and Labrada also face charges for allegedly conspiring to defraud the United States and to receive health care kickbacks, as well as receipt of kickbacks in connection with a federal health care program, which carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison upon conviction.

According to the indictment, the defendants worked as patient recruiters for the owners and operators of Flores Home Health, a Miami home health care agency that purported to provide home health and physical therapy services to Medicare beneficiaries. Medina and Labrada were also the owners and operators of Miami medical clinics, which allegedly provided fraudulent prescriptions to the owners and operators of Flores Home Health.

Flores Home Health was allegedly operated for the purpose of billing the Medicare program for, among other services, expensive physical therapy and home health care services that were not medically necessary and/or were not provided.

Full Article and Source:
Medical Clinic Owners and Patient Recruiters Charged in Miami for Role in $8 Million Health Care Fraud Scheme            

Tonight on T.S. Radio: Doug Franks – Still Trying to Free Ernestine

September 29, 2013

Doug Franks joins us this evening to discuss the continued efforts to free his mother, Ernestine, from a forced guardianship.

A court date has been set, then reset, just to determine if Ernestine will be allowed future phone calls and visits with her family. It is now set for 10/1/13

What does Ernestine think when she no longer gets a daily phone call “ringer turned off” from her three sons? “Do my children care about me anymore”?

The guardian and her attorney operate under the guise of “protecting” Ernestine while they drain her financially and provide sub-standard care.
Her children have no say and she has no say, in her life. She is a prisoner in her own home!

5:00pm PST…6:00pm MST … 7:00pm CST… 8:00pm EST

LISTEN LIVE or listen to the archive later

Anderson’s civil trial postponed

September 29, 2013

Former Williamson County District Court Judge Ken Anderson’s resignation is reportedly part of a mediation process that could, upon completion, allow him to keep his judicial pension – but could also require him to surrender his law license and possibly spend time in county jail.

A scheduled Sept. 30 civil trial, pitting Anderson and his attorneys against the State Bar of Texas’ Commission for Lawyer Discipline, has been put on hold because of those negotiations.

Although the investigation has been ongoing for almost two years, concerning Anderson’s role in Michael Morton’s 1987 murder conviction, events sped up rapidly this week.

• In a letter with Monday’s date on it, Anderson submitted a resignation letter to Gov. Rick Perry.
• On Tuesday, Perry accepted Anderson’s resignation as judge of the 277th District Court.

• On Wednesday, Kelly Moore – the judge specially appointed to hear the civil trial – notified local officials of the postponement. The civil trial had been set to start Sept. 30 in the county’s 26th District Court.

Now, Moore is calling for both sides to meet again in court Nov. 8. That purpose of that hearing is for Moore to receive an update on the status of the mediation.

Anderson served as Williamson County’s district attorney in 1987, prosecuting Morton on a murder charge stemming from the 1986 murder of Morton’s wife, Christine. Morton was convicted and sentenced to life in prison, but was freed in 2011 on the basis of DNA evidence.

Anderson’s lawyers – and representatives from the State Bar of Texas – are neither confirming nor denying what are supposedly the mediation’s details. They will also not discuss how long ago the two sides entered negotiations.

“I cannot comment,” one of Anderson’s lawyers – Mark Dietz of Round Rock – said in a Thursday email.

A State Bar spokesperson did, however, confirm negotiations are taking place.

“The Commission [for Lawyer Discipline] continues to work toward a final resolution in this matter that will protect the interests of the public and the Bar is confident that such a resolution will be reached,” Claire Mock responded in an email. “As matters pending before the Commission for Lawyer Discipline are confidential and in light of the obligations regarding avoiding unnecessary trial publicity in our own rules of disciplinary conduct, the Commission for Lawyer Discipline will have no further public comment on this matter until it is resolved.”

Following a five-day court of inquiry held in February, in April visiting Judge Louis Sturns ruled there is probable cause to believe Anderson withheld evidence from Morton and his lawyers during that 1987 murder trial.

Full Article and Source:
Anderson’s civil trial postponed

Not guilty verdict for nursing home employee

September 29, 2013
 

BRATTLEBORO, Vt. –
A not guilty verdict for a nursing home employee accused of killing a patient in Windham County.
Jodi LaClaire of Bennington, N.H.,worked at the Thompson House in Brattleboro.

She was accused of killing 83-year-old Nita Lowery.

Prosecutors say, LaClaire injected Lowery with insulin, which caused Lowery’s death.

Investigators also found evidence that LaClaire tried to take out money from Lowery’s bank account.
The Brattleboro Reformer reports that the jury convicted LaClaire on those theft charges, but not the second-degree murder charge.

Full Article and Source:
Not guilty verdict for nursing home employee

Texas Police Repeatedly Shot and Tasered a 67-Year-Old Alzheimer’s Patient – In Her Own Home

September 28, 2013


September 26, 2013  |

SHERMAN, Texas (CN) – As her husband begged them to “put the gun away,” Texas police repeatedly shot and Tasered a demented 67-year-old woman because she wouldn’t drop a letter opener, then told the husband they had “saved his ass,” the man claims.
 
David Seyfried sued the City of Lewisville Police Department and six of its officers in Federal Court, for his wife Dolores Seyfried.
 
Seyfried says he called the Dallas Alzheimer’s Association hotline after “Dolores had become agitated with (him) and had a four [to] five-inch letter opener in her hand” at their home in Lewisville, a Dallas suburb.
 
The Dallas Alzheimer’s Association then contacted Lewisville police without his consent, Seyfried claims.
 
Defendant Lewisville Officers George Reed and Sgt. Courtney Letalien arrived as David tried to calm Delores down in their back yard, the husband says.
 
“Letalien immediately attempted to remove David from the back yard while holding an orange shotgun in his hand,” the complaint states. “David became very upset once he saw the shotgun and believed at that time that there was no need for such measures. David repeatedly pleaded with Letalien to ‘put the gun away’ and explained that he can calm her down and that no force would be needed.

Full Article and Source:
Texas Police Repeatedly Shot and Tasered a 67-Year-Old Alzheimer’s Patient – In Her Own Home

Bridgewater Financial Advisor Sentenced to 27 Months

September 28, 2013

Bridgewater resident Ralph Saviano, 72, was sentenced Wednesday to 27 months in prison, following his guilty plea to mail fraud charges, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

In June, Saviano, an investment advisor with nearly 40 years experience in the area, had entered a guilty plea to charges he stole $138,000 from two elderly clients through his financial advisory company to fund a lifestyle Fishman called “lavish.” Fishman said the clients were told the funds were invested in “conservative securities and Saviano’s business.”

At the plea hearing on June 5, U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson, in Trenton federal court, entered a consent judgment and order of forfeiture in the amount of $699,926.51, which constitutes the proceeds Saviano obtained from his known investor victims as a result of his offense.

Full Article and Source:
Bridgewater Financial Advisor Sentenced to 27 Months

I-Team: Court Disregards Preneed Plan, Appoints Professional Guardian

September 27, 2013

 We’ve learned that even when a person has legal protections in place to avoid being assigned a professional guardian, the court can disregard signed and notarized legal documents and appoint a guardian anyway.

This latest case involves 90-year-old Paulette Karpa, whose family and friends have been fighting against Florida’s guardian system for years.

 “She kept a beautiful house and she always dressed nicely. She took care of herself,” said neighbor Nancy Leewe, describing Paulette Karpa,

 Karpa, Leewe’s former neighbor, was known for taking long walks, gardening and weekly card games.

 But in 2009, Karpa’s life changed.

 After making a series of calls from her house to police about attempted burglaries…each turning out to be unfounded….the Florida Department of Children and Families was called.

 Soon after, professional guardian Patricia Johnson asked the court to have Karpa declared incapacitated, even though Karpa had made prior arrangements for a family member to care for her.

 In Florida, guardians can be given complete control over their wards’ lives.

Source:
I-Team: Court disregards preneed plan, appoints professional guardian

See Also:
Elderly Pinellas Man Freed From Alzheimer’s Unit After I-Team Looks at His Case

Elderly Pinellas Man Freed From Alzheimer’s Unit After I-Team Looks at His Case

September 26, 2013

On a Sunday morning last month, a spry 99-year-old Pinellas County retiree got his first taste of freedom in weeks.

William Berchau says he doesn’t get out of an assisted living facility much anymore. “No, I’m not allowed,” Berchau told the ABC Action News I-Team. “My court-appointed guardian doesn’t allow me to leave the premises.”

A month before his Sunday visit to church in August, Berchau was placed in a locked Alzheimer’s unit at the Grand Villa of Pinellas Park. Berchau and his pastor contend Florida’s guardianship system has let him down and their complaints about his guardian have been ignored by the Pinellas judiciary.
“He seems to be very mentally sharp and alert,” Berchau’s pastor, David Priebe, said of his church member. “I just can’t believe that somebody would think he’s incompetent mentally.”

The I-Team pointed out to the clergyman that the Pinellas probate court has ruled Berchau to be incapacitated three times since 2010. Priebe just shook his head. “Wow,” the pastor said.

“There’s nobody that’s more vulnerable than a ward who has assets and can’t keep track of where they’re going or what’s happening with them,” said Robert W. Melton, who retired in 2009 as inspector general for the Pinellas circuit court clerk. “The ward basically has no rights.”

During his nine years as the Pinellas clerk’s internal watchdog, Melton was a critic of the county guardianship system’s lack of transparency. “It’s a very closed process and, in many cases, the public is not aware of the things that have gone on or are going on in guardianships,” Melton said.

Pinellas Circuit Judge Jack St. Arnold, who presides over the Berchau guardianship and hundreds of others, says he doesn’t believe the secrecy surrounding guardianships is a problem. “I think our professional guardians do a wonderful job,” St. Arnold told the I-Team. “I’m really pleased with them.”

Full Article and Source:
Elderly Pinellas Man Freed From Alzheimer’s Unit After I-Team Looks at His Case

See Also:
I-Team: Court disregards preneed plan, appoints professional guardian

Trial begins for Utah chiropractor accused of bilking the elderly

September 25, 2013

In a flurry of papers, instructions, medical advice and fleeting hope, several elderly patients said the West Jordan chiropractor they trusted to take care of them instead collected their financial information and defrauded them of hundreds and thousands of dollars.

Their stories were all similar: Elderly patients suffering from diabetes or thyroid conditions who wanted a cure, who wanted to believe that Brandon Babcock, 38, could help.

“When you’re old and you’re poor and you’re desperate, you’ll do anything if you think it might help,” said Elsie Breault, 77. “I saw [Babcock’s] ad on television. It said he could stop diabetes. That he would talk things over with you and it would be free.”

He is charged in 3rd District Court with 10 counts of exploitation of a vulnerable adult, a third-degree felony, along with communications fraud, a second-degree felony. He faces prison time if he’s found guilty of any of the charges.

Babcock appeared in court wearing a white collared shirt and pink tie and sat quietly as his former patients — who ranged in age from 61 to 84 — took the stand to testify.

Consistent in their testimony was the hope, confusion and fear they felt in turning to Babcock to help with their medical maladies.

According to charging documents, potential patients were initially treated to a free gourmet dinner where they were shown video testimonials and given information about the chiropractor’s “diabetes breakthrough.”

When they expressed interest in the program, some said, Babcock and his staff duped them into signing up for credit without their knowledge or consent. Others said Babcock refused to refund their money despite a 30-day opt-out guarantee and a promise for 100 percent satisfaction.

“How much did that free consultation end up costing you?” the prosecutor asked Breault.

      
Full Article and Source:
Trial begins for Utah chiropractor accused of bilking the elderly