Archive for the ‘Arizona’ Category

Arizona Wants a Database to Track People Under Court-Ordered Mental Health Treatment

October 30, 2013

The Arizona Criminal Justice Commission wants a database to keep track of people who are under court-ordered mental health treatment.

The database known as the Mental-Health Registry is under construction and will be managed by the state Supreme Court, according to the Arizona Capitol Times (

It will tell police officers whether a person exhibiting possible signs of mental illness is undergoing treatment under the supervision of the court or deemed mentally incompetent by a court.

Proposed legislation also would close gaps in laws that prohibit certain people from possessing a firearm, such as those who are under indictment, under guardianship for mental incapacity or found to be mentally incompetent.

The state currently reports people who have been involuntarily committed to a mental institution to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, the database used for checking the backgrounds of gun buyers.

However, only about 10 percent of them are reported because of an inadequate digital record-keeping system.

The state doesn’t report people who have been determined to be incompetent.

Full Article and Source:
Correction – Mental Health Database Story

This Man’s Shocking Story of Elder Financial Abuse Will Make You Hug Your Grandparents

September 20, 2013

“I should preface this by saying that my brother has always been a sociopath,” Brian Litwak told me. “But I had no other choice than to trust him because the doctor had told him, but not me, that I was supposed to die in six months.”

A former teacher, he tells his tale in a nonchalant, matter-of-fact voice. At 78 he’s wrinkled and pale, but his eyes still twinkle and his memory seems precise. I hear flickers of anger as he sits, cane in hand, in an armchair across from me.
He has reason to be upset. 
Brian is a victim of the financial side of elder abuse. His younger brother, he tells me, stole thousands of dollars from him when Brian moved into an assisted living home in Tucson in 2003..

He came to Tucson from California with about $250,000 and ended up with $12,000. The money, which Brian earned over 33 years as a teacher, started to disappear after his brother was granted a [pwer of attorney to take care of his health issues and finances.

Although his brother thought he didn’t have much time left, Brian soldiered on. In 2008, he visited his technologically savvy son in San Francisco, who finally uncovered that Brian’s brother had lied to him about how much his California condominium had sold for (he thought it went for $139,000, he says it actually sold for $295,000).

“Feeling there was something wrong” when he returned to Tucson, Brian unsuccessfully tried to broach the subject with his brother. Things took a turn for the worse when he got a letter from Medicare that said that because he hadn’t paid his fees for five months and was suspended from the program. His brother, he said, had been neglecting these payments.

“That’s very scary for an old person, not to have medical coverage,”he said.

Brian is not alone. More than 500,000 adults will be abused or neglected annually, and that number is probably an underestimate because many people are likely too scared or otherwise unable to seek help.

This is especially concerning when you take into account that the elder population is rapidly increasing. By 2050, 20 percent of the population will be made up of people who are 65 and older, and the fastest growing portion of the population is people 85 and up.

Thankfully, Handmaker — the assisted living home where Brian lives — has a policy where if you’ve been living at their facility for at least three years and your money runs out, they don’t kick you out. Handmaker also doesn’t look like your typical assisted living home. With long, wide hallways, tall ceilings and a plethora of windows, it almost has a university feel to it.

Full Article and Source:
This Man’s Shocking Story of Elder Financial Abuse Will Make You Hug Your Grandparents

DPS sergeant fired for ‘dishonety’

August 16, 2013

Aug 15, 2013 5:09 p.m.

A Department of Public Safety Sergeant has been fired after more than 15 years on the job.

DPS spokesman Bart Graves says Sgt. Terry Lincoln has been fired for dishonesty.

Officials say her termination is linked to an on-going criminal fraud investigation with the Payson Police Department.

Payson Police Chief Donald Engler said Lincoln has been under investigation since 2011. Investigators are looking into potential financial abuse of vulnerable adults.

Full Article and Source:
DPS sergeant fired for ‘dishonety’

Elder-abuse laws mean Arizona hospitals can be sued

August 5, 2013

PHOENIX – Arizona hospitals are subject to being sued under the state’s “elder abuse” laws, the state Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.

Without dissent, the judges rejected arguments by attorneys for two major hospitals that the laws are designed to give individuals and their families a way to bring suit against nursing homes and assisted-care facilities.

Judge Patricia Orozco said the Legislature wrote the laws to cover those who “provide care.” She said there is no way to logically read the law to conclude that does not apply to hospitals.

Orozco also rebuffed the contention that including hospitals was never the intent of lawmakers.

“Nowhere in the legislative history is there any suggestion that an acute-care hospital is exempt from liability,” she wrote.

Attorney Robert Boatman, who represented one of the families who sued, called the ruling an important financial victory for victims.

They always had the option to file a medical malpractice claim. But he said state law limits the kinds of costs a successful plaintiff can recover to things like filing fees and depositions. By contrast, someone who wins an elder-abuse claim can also get the losing party to pay for all out-of-pocket costs, including expert witnesses and the costs of investigations.

Boatman said that is important in these kinds of cases, where someone who gets a bedsore might be entitled to $50,000 in damages but the costs of the necessary medical experts to pursue the case can run $100,000.

No one from the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association was immediately available to comment on the effect of the decision.

Tuesday’s ruling actually involves two cases.

Full Article and Source:
Elder-abuse laws mean Arizona hospitals can be sued

Reform Lands Maricopa County Superior Court’s Probate Court Top Honor

June 16, 2013

The National Association of Court Management has awarded Maricopa County Superior Court’s Probate Court with the 2013 Justice Achievement Award.
The award recognizes comprehensive reform efforts of judicial officers, administrators and court staff over the last three years, according to a news release from the Superior Court of Arizona.

“It is clear that over the past few years the Maricopa County Probate Court has experienced significant reform and innovation under the able leadership of Probate Presiding Judge Rosa Mroz,” said Superior Court Presiding Judge Norman Davis in the release.

“The process of improvement is by its nature perpetual, and the Maricopa County Superior Court has always, and will continue to strive for excellence in providing the public with the best judicial system possible,” Davis said.

The Court will accept the award at the NACM Annual Conference on July 15.

The Justice Achievement Award was established in 1988 to recognize outstanding achievement and meritorious projects that enhance the administration of justice, according to the release.

In 2010, Superior Court received a Justice Achievement Award for the re-design of its CASA website.

Reform Lands Probate Court Top Honor

AG’s task force on elder abuse catalogs successes of past 2 years

March 8, 2013

PHOENIX – The Attorney General’s office is touting the success its task force has had fighting elder abuse since its inception two years ago.

With this being Consumer Protection Week, Tom Horne is announcing the impact of the Taskforce Against Senior Abuse (TASA).

TASA has received more than 2,300 calls to report potential abuse, neglect or fraud.

Some of the results include:

-102 victims receiving restitution in a consumer fraud action against American Residential Services. 89% of the victims were senior citizens.

-5 telemarketing cases were filed and/or settled – cases in which seniors were persuaded to buy business opportunities, and one telemarketing case where seniors were solicited to buy an identity theft program.

Full Article & Source:
AG’s task force on elder abuse catalogs successes of past 2 years

High Court Concerned, Just Not Enough

December 13, 2012

The old widow wasn’t asking for much. All she wanted was a chance to plead her case to an unbiased judge, a fresh eye to decide whether the people charged with protecting her were justified in sucking up her life savings.

Two courts, after all, had said the probate commissioner overseeing her estate acted unethically, that the court-sanctioned siphoning of her bank account was “inexcusable.”

The widow’s story prompted no less than the chief justice of the Arizona Supreme Court to convene a committee to consider reforms to the Probate Court. “I’ve read your columns,” Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch told me in 2010. “They cause concern.”

As a result of what happened to Marie Long and a few others, laws were changed and reforms were enacted in the hope of better protecting the most vulnerable among us.

All, that is, except for Marie Long.

The state Supreme Court dashed her hopes recently by refusing to consider her appeal.

“It’s a very sad day for Marie Long,” attorney Candess Hunter wrote after being notified that Berch’s court denied Marie’s request to take a look at what happened.

Marie Long was worth $1.3 million when she suffered a stroke and came under the “protection” of the Probate Court in 2005. By 2009, she was destitute and dependent upon taxpayers for support, her savings sucked dry while the Probate Court looked the other way.

In 2010, then-Commissioner Lindsay Ellis wrote that the attorneys and fiduciaries were justified in helping themselves to well over $1 million. As for the lawyers who tried to stop the bleeding — the ones who were volunteering their time to help Marie — Ellis laid into them, charging that their “venomous” attacks challenging the six-figure bills forced the other side to defend itself.

With Marie’s money, naturally.

Two months after Ellis’ ruling, we learned that Ellis had her assistant slip an advance copy of her ruling to one side — the side that wound up with Marie’s money.

Full Article and Source:
High Court Concerned, Just Not Enough

See Also:
Guardianship Agency Cost Elderly Woman Dearly

AZ Couple Charged With Abusing 3 Vulnerable Adults

December 2, 2012

A Tucson couple was arrested Tuesday on felony charges alleging they physically abused three vulnerable adults who were living with them.

The Arizona Attorney General’s Office began investigating Pamela Gertrude Rasley, 61, and Edgar Lavelle Rasley, 65, when neighbors called 911 to report two mentally challenged people were forced to spend their days outside, regardless of the weather, said Assistant Arizona Attorney General Jesse Delaney.
An investigation revealed the man and the woman were not allowed to eat inside the home or use the bathroom facilities, Delaney said. They were permitted inside only to sleep.
In addition, investigators learned a blind relative of the couple was being physically abused, Delaney said.
The Rasleys are each charged with three counts of vulnerable adult abuse/domestic violence, which is punishable by probation or a prison sentence of up to 3 3/4 years.
The criminal complaint alleges the couple placed the victims in a situation where their health was endangered from Sept. 1, 2010, through Aug. 6.
All three alleged victims are now living in a safe environment, Delaney said.

A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for Dec. 10.

Full Article and Source:
Couple Charged With Abusing 3 Vulnerable Adults

7 Common Snowbird Scams

November 27, 2012

It’s not just retirees who flock to warm-weather states such as Florida and Arizona as the temperature drops up north. During snowbird season — November through April — scammers also head south to prey on the half-year residents.

“Absolutely, during snowbird season there’s an increase in scams — and many are done by organized outfits … who specifically target older seasonal residents,” says Joe Roubicek, who spent 20 years investigating scams as a Fort Lauderdale police detective before writing Financial Abuse of the Elderly: A Detective’s Case Files of Exploitation Crimes.

1. The malevolent mechanic. They wait outside shopping malls or supermarkets, watching for snowbirds (often recognized by out-of-state license plates) to park and go inside. If the car’s older or left unlocked, they can pop the hood and disable the vehicle by pulling wires. “When the elder returns, they offer help getting their car started — after driving them to the bank for money to pay for the repair,” says Roubicek. “Their main target: women in their 70s or 80s.”

Full Article and Source:
7 Common Snowbird Scams

See Also:

Financial Abuse of the Elderly

Read Sample Chapters of Mr. Roubicek’s New Work in Progress: “Kill Mom, Kill Dad; Disposing of the Elderly for Profit”

YouTube: Taking Advantage of Vulnerable Adults

November 11, 2012

YouTube: Mean Care Takers…Taken Advantage of Vulnerable Adults