Archive for the ‘Maine’ Category

Three accused of bilking elderly Owls Head woman of more than $20,000

October 24, 2013

OWLS HEAD, Maine — Three people have been charged in connection with the theft of more than $20,000 from an elderly woman.

Caregivers Tasha Campbell, 22, of Searsmont and Alicia Rawley, 45, of Waldoboro were charged with Class C theft, according to a news release issued Wednesday by the Knox County Sheriff’s Office.

Campbell was arrested Sept. 12 and has since been released on bail. She is scheduled to make her initial appearance in Rockland District Court on Oct. 30. Rawley was issued a summons on Oct. 2. No court date has been set for her.

Also, Terry Perry, 40, of South Thomaston was arrested Sept. 26 and charged with Class C theft in connection with the case. Perry made his initial court appearance Sept. 27 in Rockland District Court and is free on bail. He is next scheduled to appear in Knox County Superior Court on Dec. 20.
Perry is a friend of Campbell, according to the sheriff’s office.

All three admitted to Detective Donald Murray that they took the money, according to the sheriff’s office. The lengthy investigation began with a complaint fielded by Deputy Paul Pinkham.

Wednesday’s news release stated that the suspects admitted that on many occasions they used the victim’s debit and credit cards to buy items and obtain cash. The victim was unaware that her debit card was used in more than 80 transactions for cash withdrawals, the sheriff’s office reported.

Murray said Wednesday that the investigation continues and that the amount of money taken from the 75-year-old woman was significantly more than $20,000. He said the caregivers were not from a home health agency.

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Three accused of bilking elderly Owls Head woman of more than $20,000

Belfast attorney removed from having financial control over two elderly clients

October 11, 2013

BELFAST, Maine — The Waldo County Probate Court last week acted to remove two elderly women from the control of a Belfast lawyer accused of financially exploiting them in recent years.

William Dawson had been granted power of attorney by both women. According to court documents, in one year he paid himself $149,275 from the bank accounts of one 86-year-old woman, who suffers from medical conditions including memory loss and depression. In just nine months, he paid himself $178,500 from the accounts of a 98-year-old woman, who suffers from some dementia. Both women are widows with no children and few family members living nearby.

The alleged financial exploitation apparently was brought to light first by concerned bankers, who contacted the Maine Department of Health and Human Services to say that they suspected something troubling was happening, according to the 98-year-old woman’s newly appointed guardian.

Jacquelyn Parisi of Machias, whose mother had been friends from childhood with the 98-year-old, said that she was shocked to learn of the alleged financial malfeasance.

“She is the sweetest person and very trusting,” Parisi said of the woman, whom she refers to as an aunt.

Maine Department of Health and Human Services Caseworker Joanne Cookson twice last spring interviewed the two women at the Harbor Hill assisted care facility in Belfast, where they reside. In court documents filed on May 7 to request temporary guardianship appointments for the women, Cookson wrote that both were “at risk of further possible financial exploitation and [are] in need of immediate intervention in order to have all of [their] finances preserved for [their] care.”

Multiple efforts Wednesday to contact Dawson, who is still an active, registered attorney according to the Maine Board of Bar Overseers, were unsuccessful.

Eric Walker, Waldo County Deputy District Attorney, said that the matter has been referred to his department for criminal investigation and that he would not comment further at this point.

Dawson did receive a reprimand from the bar overseers in 2011, when three separate clients filed complaints alleging that he had not done his work in a timely or competent fashion.

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Belfast attorney removed from having financial control over two elderly clients

DHHS often sells property owned by people in its care for well below assessed values

August 26, 2013

This waterfront property in Owls Head, that was valued by the town at nearly $500,000, was sold by the state for $205,000 while its owner was in a psychiatric hospital.

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services routinely sells real estate owned by people in its care for well below their assessed values.

But the department defends its handling of such estates, saying that sales of properties are a last resort, that municipal valuations are not a fair gauge of a property’s worth, and that many of the properties have been allowed to deteriorate leading up to the state being appointed conservator.

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DHHS often sells property owned by people in its care for well below assessed values

Task Force will grant special wish to York County senior

August 9, 2013

ELIOT, Maine — The York County Elder Abuse Task Force was created to help all York County senior citizens, but this year, its new Wishing Well program will grant a lifelong wish for one lucky York County resident age 65 or older.

As the Wishing Well flier states, “Your life has been all about those that you care for. Your family, your friends, your co-workers, your community. You have set aside your dreams, your hopes, your goals and your wishes to care for those closest to you. We believe it is time for life to be about you.”
“It’s similar to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, but our program is not necessarily for someone who is ill,” said Task Force Co-chairwoman Karen Connolly.
Eliot Police Department Community Resource Officer Candace Noble began YCEATF in 2007. She said she felt strongly that elder abuse victims needed to have voices supporting them. John Lizanecz of the York Police Department was also involved. Noble is now one of the task force’s co-chairmen.

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Task Force will grant special wish to York County senior

Former Mayor Gets Nearly 5 Years for Bilking Elderly Man Out of $600K

May 19, 2013

Peter DiRosa, former mayor of Manchester, Conn., was described in court Thursday afternoon as a one-time congressional hopeful who became obsessed with launching a Hungarian resort as a way to reclaim his past stature and who used the retirement savings of a Kennebunk man to pursue the ultimately failed scheme.

DiRosa, 66, still of Manchester, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge George Z. Singal to 57 months — four years and nine months — in prison on fraud charges and ordered to pay the now 81-year-old retiree back the $540,000 he convinced the victim to invest in the project.

DiRosa, who wore a dark suit to the afternoon hearing, was ordered to report for his sentence at 2 p.m. June 19 at a federal facility to be determined, but which Singal agreed should be “as close as possible to Manchester, Conn.”

During the sentencing hearing in the federal courthouse in Portland, several of DiRosa’s friends and colleagues spoke about his character, his background as a high school teacher and successful business owner, his active role in his church community and his time in public service.

But Singal chose a sentence closer to the 71-month prison term recommended by prosecutor Craig Wolff from the U.S. attorney’s office than the 30-day incarceration with 14 months of home detention sought by defense attorney William Maselli.

“It’s certainly a puzzle how people who knew Mr. DiRosa for so many years had one view of him, while the jury in this case, after hearing the evidence, had a very different view,” Singal said. “I think what happened here was Mr. DiRosa became obsessed. He felt like this project would make him more than what he was.”

The victim’s son told the judge during the hearing that the stress caused by DiRosa’s “trickery” forced both his mother and father to seek medical treatment.

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Former Conn. Mayor Gets Nearly 5 Years for Bilking Elderly Maine Man Out of $600,000

Nurse Indicted for Patient Abuse, Drug Possession

September 26, 2012

A Berwick, Maine woman who authorities say deprived an elderly patient of morphine so she could take the drug at a Portsmouth elderly care facility has been indicted by a Rockingham County Grand Jury.

Nina Perez, 31, of 93A Rochester St. in Berwick, Maine was indicted in September for one felony count of possession of a controlled drug and indicted for another felony count of abuse of facility patients while she worked as a nurse in May at the Edgewood Centre in Portsmouth.

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Nurse Indicted for Patient Abuse, Drug Possession

Elderly Brooks man, victim of financial exploitation, tells his story

August 8, 2012

BROOKS, Maine — All his life, Arthur Green worked with his hands.

The 74-year-old retired construction worker and carpenter used those hands for 50 years as a laborer in Massachusetts. He also used them to build himself a home and an adjoining camp on Sanborn Pond in the small town of Brooks, where he expected to peacefully enjoy his twilight years among the loons and the tall white pine trees.

But when he used them in March 2011 to take hold of a notice of eviction that was served on him by the granddaughter he had helped raise, that sense of peace disappeared.

He learned that he had inadvertently signed away all his rights to the property, and that 20-year-old Nevin Bennoch of Brockton, Mass., was trying to sell some of his real estate while he was living there.

“It’s a heck of a thing to go through,” Green said this week.

What happened to Green is a tangled knot of financial exploitation, unclear understanding of estate planning and family betrayal that took months to unravel with the help of Legal Services for the Elderly, according to the attorneys who helped him recover his property.

Jaye Martin, director of the Augusta-based nonprofit agency, described Green’s situation as a “very classic scenario of a family member stealing the house and land and then trying to evict the elder from his own home.”

What separates Green from others is his willingness to talk about what happened to him, Martin and attorney Denis Culley said.

On Tuesday, Green sat at the kitchen table of the former hunting camp he had transformed into a comfortable lakeside home, his black cat Marie playing at his feet. He suffers from severe health problems and settled himself slowly and painfully into a chair. He said that he wanted to share his story so that nobody else will have to go through what he did, and Culley sat next to him as he disclosed the details of what had happened.

“Don’t sit there and think everything’s rosy, ‘cause it ain’t,” he said. “The worst ones to trust is your family.”

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Elderly Brooks man, victim of financial exploitation, tells his story

Elder abuse case in Lincoln County exposes pattern of manipulation

July 7, 2012

Gwendolyn Swank worked her entire life and when her savings account reached a certain amount, she invested in IRAs, mutual funds and the stock market. By the time she reached her 70s, she had more than $300,000 in assets plus a monthly Social Security check to cover living expenses.

She thought she was set for life. Then in 2004, Rodney Chapman came into her life.

Chapman was a longtime neighbor who for the next six years became Swank’s best friend and worst enemy at the same time. By the time Chapman was arrested at her modest mobile home in Pemaquid in 2011 and charged with theft, Swank’s retirement nest egg was gone — all except for 37 cents.

“I had a pretty good portfolio that I thought would take care of me in my old age. It’s gone,” said Swank, who is now 85 years old. “I never, ever thought he’d take me for the ride he did.”

On June 12, Swank was awarded a $1.3 million civil judgment against Chapman in Lincoln County Superior Court. Chapman is serving a five-year sentence for his crimes against Swank, and according to Denis Culley, an attorney for Maine Legal Services for the Elderly who represented Swank in the civil lawsuit, he has little or no ability to pay.

Swank, who spent most of her life working as a financial bookkeeper, is in financial ruins. She is behind on payments to credit card companies for expenses accrued on behalf of Chapman, and owes her landlord and Central Maine Power Co. thousands of dollars. She owes $60,000 in state and federal taxes for money she withdrew from stocks and IRAs and gave to Chapman. At an age when most of her peers are relaxing in retirement, Swank worked for the first part of this year as a bookkeeper for a local business in hopes of paying down some of her debts.

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Elder abuse case in Lincoln County exposes pattern of manipulation

Homeless By Choice No More

January 3, 2012

One of Biddeford’s most visible citizens, Laurette Doyon, no longer wanders the city’s downtown. Doyon, 79, had been homeless by choice for more than 25 years and efforts to move her into facilities where she could be cared for had failed until recently. In November, York County Probate Court granted the state temporary legal guardianship, and a trial is scheduled for January to decide whether the state will obtain permanent guardianship.

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A Year in Review

Maine Probate Judge Sanctioned

December 4, 2011

A Washington County probate judge has been sanctioned by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court for not dealing with cases fast enough.

Judge Lyman L. Holmes was ordered by justices on Thursday to provide a list of cases taken under advisement for more than 30 days to the executive director of the Committee on Judicial Responsibility and Disability for every month until next August.

Probate judges are elected. They handle adoptions, wills, guardianships, estates and name changes.

Holmes has been the probate judge in Washington County for 22 years.

The Bangor Daily News reports that the sanction order says some people had to wait years for Holmes to make a decision in cases that should have taken months.

Holmes could not be reached for comment.

Washington County Probate Judge Sanctioned