Archive for the ‘Maryland’ Category

Ex-councilwoman in Hagerstown indicted on theft, perjury charges

September 14, 2013

HAGERSTOWN, Maryland — A Washington County grand jury has indicted a formerly Hagerstown city councilwoman on theft and perjury charges for money allegedly taken from an estate.

The indictment against Kelly S. Cromer was filed in court on Tuesday. It alleges that Cromer, an attorney, stole thousands of dollars from the estate of a woman who died in 2011 and from two of her grandchildren.

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Ex-councilwoman in Hagerstown indicted on theft, perjury charges

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Kathleen Mae Littleton Sentenced For Financial Exploitation Of A Senior

July 5, 2013

A Salisbury woman will spend two months in jail after being convicted in Wicomico County Circuit Court on Tuesday of felony financial exploitation of an elderly woman under her care.

During the trial of 68-year-old Kathleen Mae Littleton, the state presented evidence that she had used her influence as a caretaker for the victim’s daughter to influence the victim, who was 88 years of age at the time and unable to care for her daily needs, into appointing Littleton as her power of attorney and to name Littleton in the victim’s will.

Court documents show that a variety of sitters who had worked for the victim made statements to Detective Jen Barnes of the Salisbury Police Department of threats made by Littleton to the victim that if the victim did not do as Littleton requested, Littleton would put the victim in a nursing home.

Witnesses told police that Littleton began firing sitters whom she believed were getting emotionally too close with the victim and once fired would not permit them to have any contact with the victim, not even by telephone. The victim’s own daughter was not permitted to have unsupervised contact with the victim, court records showed. Witnesses also indicated that the victim was not permitted to make telephone calls without first getting approval from Littleton.  One sitter was fired, she told police, because she had taken the victim for medical care without first getting approval from Littleton.  Another sitter was fired for taking the victim to watch baseball games as an outing for the victim, according to court documents.

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Kathleen Mae Littleton Sentenced For Financial Exploitation Of A Senior

Legal Matters: Petition for guardianship an option for those who need help

June 24, 2013

People have the right to make bad decisions. Dad can buy a new vacuum cleaner every week and stack them floor to ceiling. Although he is probably making his family crazy, he is not necessarily legally incompetent. But if Dad cannot buy food because he spends all his income on vacuum cleaners, he may need a guardian to manage his money.

Bad decisions become a legal issue when family members or others concerned conclude that a person is unable to make or communicate responsible decisions about his person or property because of physical or mental disability, disease, habitual drunkenness, drug addiction or other circumstances such as disappearance.

A representative payee can be appointed for a person who can no longer manage his income. The payee receives the person’s government benefits, such as Social Security or a veteran’s pension, and pays his bills.
 
A petition for guardianship may be the only good option for a person who has not given power of attorney and refuses to accept help but can no longer take care of himself. The person may need one or both types of guardian — a guardian of the person to make sure he has health care, food, clothing and shelter, or a guardian of property if he is unable to manage his property or business affairs effectively.
 
Mental incompetency is a ghost in fog, difficult to define or identify. Maryland law says a guardian of the person must be appointed if a judge determines that the individual “lacks sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate responsible decisions concerning his person, including provisions for health care, food, clothing, or shelter, because of any mental disability, disease, habitual drunkenness, or addiction to drugs, and that no less restrictive form of intervention is available which is consistent with the person’s welfare and safety.”
 
A disabled person may be competent to make some decisions but not others. For example, a developmentally disabled 20-year-old may be able to express a reasoned opinion about whom she trusts to handle her money, but unable to pay her bills on time.


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Legal Matters: Petition for guardianship an option for those who need help

Family Guardian Accused of Stealing $42K From Her Mother

November 20, 2012

A 42-year-old woman is accused of stealing more than $42,000 from her mother while acting as her court-appointed guardian, according to a State Attorney’s Office investigation.

Diana Gail Copley was arrested Thursday and released later that day on $10,000 bail, jail records show.

Copley, whom an arrest warrant lists as living in Maryland, is facing two charges: grand theft and exploiting an elderly person or disabled adult. Each is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

In October 2008, Circuit Judge J. David Langford appointed Copley to serve as guardian for her mother, Virginia Rieke, of Lakeland. The judge noted that Rieke, who at the time was 76, needed a guardian because she was “totally incapacitated.”

Another court record described Rieke as having “possible dementia and related confusion” and being unable to make her own financial and health care decisions.

Stephen R. Menge, an investigator with the State Attorney’s Office in Bartow, wrote in a complaint affidavit that Copley breached her duty as her mother’s guardian and financially exploited her.

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Woman Charged With Stealing $42,000 From Her Mother

Despite ruling, attorneys say restitution unlikely in embezzlement case

September 2, 2012

A Montgomery Village woman who admitted to embezzling $248,000 from her elderly mother will serve 10 days in jail due to her ailing condition, a Montgomery County judge ruled this week.

Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Robert A. Greenberg was unmoved by the appearance of 64-year-old Lynda Cardinali LaTour, who arrived in a wheelchair Wednesday afternoon for her sentencing hearing.

LaTour pleaded guilty to embezzlement before Greenberg on May 16.

Greenberg took a brief recess after hearing from both attorneys in the case to weigh LaTour’s punishment against her poor health and medical requirements before announcing his sentence.

“Ma’am, you stole, conservatively, a couple hundred thousand dollars from the woman who brought you into this world,” Greenberg said when he returned. “It is not my wish to impose a death sentence on you.”

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Despite ruling, attorneys say restitution unlikely in embezzlement case

See Also:
MD Press Release: Daughter Pleads Guilty to Misappropriating Elderly Mother’s Funds

Kenyan national to face elder abuse charges in Baltimore

August 28, 2012

A woman who police said attacked a 90-year-old Baltimore man she was supposed to be taking care of will return to the city to face charges after fleeing the country years ago.

In August of 2007, Anastacia Olouch, a Kenyan national, was indicted on multiple charges of assault, abuse of a vulnerable adult and reckless endangerment in the beating of Jaki Taylor’s 90-year-old father, John, as he lay helpless in a bed in his home.

Jaki Taylor said she was angered that Olouch was able to elude authorities and leave the country without facing trial for her alleged crimes.

Police arrested the 59-year-old after seeing video from the security cameras Jaki Taylor installed in their home. In the video, the caretaker was in the process of changing the elderly man’s diaper when she started hitting him. The victim was naked and couldn’t defend himself or communicate.

“This woman came into our country, beat on my dad, and the system said it was OK to do that,” Taylor said in 2007.

Police said right before Olouch was supposed to stand trial on Aug. 8, 2007, she ran.

Detectives from Baltimore’s warrant task force began searching for her, but she was able to get on a plane and fly back to Kenya. For the past five years, the FBI and Baltimore police have been working to bring her back. She is expected back in Baltimore sometime Thursday.

Full Article and Source:
Kenyan national to face elder abuse charges in Baltimore

MD Press Release: Daughter Pleads Guilty to Misappropriating Elderly Mother’s Funds

May 27, 2012

John J. McCarthy, State’s Attorney for Montgomery County, announced that Lynda LaTour pled guilty today to Misappropriation by a Fiduciary in front of the Honorable Judge Robert A. Greenberg, Circuit Court, Montgomery County, Maryland. The Defendant faces a maximum sentence of five years incarceration. LaTour will be sentenced on July 13, 2012 by the Honorable Robert A. Greenberg.

Starting in 2009, LaTour embezzled almost $250,000 from her mother, Yola Cardinali, by abusing the authority her mother gave her through a power of attorney. Mrs. Cardinali was born in 1926, and began showing signs of dementia in 2008 while she was living independently in New York City. In 2009, the Defendant obtained power of attorney to handle her mother’s finances and, in March of that year, moved her mother to Sunrise at Montgomery Village. In early September 2009, the Defendant signed a residency agreement with Sunrise of Rockville, as well as a responsible party contract under which she agreed to pay for her mother’s apartment, residential assisted living services, meals, medication,and respite care. The Defendant carried out her contractual obligations until she told Sunrise staff, in November 2010 that her mother was out of money. In fact, when attorneys for Sunrise contacted the State’s Attorney’s Office in April 2011, the Defendant owed Sunrise approximately $30,000. (In September 2011, when Sunrise filed a separate civil action against LaTour for breach of contract, she owed more than $52,000; in February 2012, Sunrise won a default judgment against LaTour for almost $76,000).

“Financial exploitation of vulnerable adults and seniors is serious crime in Maryland, and we are committed to aggressively prosecuting these offenses,” McCarthy said in reaction to the plea. “This was one of the first cases investigated under the special Senior Financial Exploitation Initiative that we started last year due to the rampant increase in this type of case in the County. The circumstances are especially egregious when, as here, family members abuse a trusted relationship to take advantage of their older relatives.”

Full Press Release and Source:
Daughter Pleads Guilty to Misappropriating Elderly Mother’s Funds

New Law Will Help Protect Maryland Seniors

May 9, 2012

Bonnie Klem, director of Montgomery County’s Adult Protective Service Investigations department, recalls a call her office received a few years ago from a bank that wanted to report the suspected financial abuse of an elderly client.

“Our intake operator said, ‘OK, what is the victim’s name?’ and the bank said ‘Oh, no, no, no! We can’t tell you that!’” she said. “It blew our minds; we were all standing in intake and we couldn’t decide whether to laugh or to cry … It tells you how uncomfortable banks were with sharing that information.”

Three years later, Klem is hopeful that a bill passed by the Maryland General Assembly this session will put an end to the once strongly-held reservations of banks and financial institutions about cooperating with hers and other offices dedicated to protecting vulnerable seniors.

The bill, which is expected to be signed into law by Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) next month, requires employees of banks and other fiduciary institutions to report “knowledge of behavior or unusual circumstances or transactions,” that indicate an elder adult may be the victim of financial abuse.

The bill also requires banks to train employees to recognize the signs of financial abuse and mandates that suspected abuse cases be referred to the local adult protective services, police and state’s attorney’s offices within 24 hours, said Deborah Zuckerman, a senior legal assistant for the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office who specializes in investigating elder financial abuse cases.

Full Article and Source:
New Law Will Help Protect Maryland Seniors

MD Lawmakers Consider Increasing Penalties for Elder Abuse

February 3, 2012

The beating of an elderly man by his paid in-home caretaker is under consideration in Annapolis. Advocates for the elderly want lawmakers to impose increased penalties on people guilty of abusing vulnerable adults.

It’s hard to imagine and harder to watch. Ninety-year-old John Taylor, bedridden, was beaten by a woman hired to care for him in his home.

“I discovered that my father had endured three more beatings within that same month,” said Jacqueline Taylor.

Taylor played the tape of her father’s beating for the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday in support of a bill to increase the penalties for elder abuse and hold some suspects without bail. The woman charged with assaulting John Taylor made bail and is believed to have fled the country.

“It brings tears to your eyes,” said Taylor.

Full Article and Source:
MD Lawmakers Consider Increasing Penalties for Elder Abuse

Judge Ignores College Park Woman’s Final Wishes

January 26, 2012

When Barbara Carey moved back to College Park to care for her 88-year-old mother last March, she was well aware that Helen Carey did not want to spend her final days in a nursing home.

Court records confirm that in 2006, Helen Carey had signed a living will and durable powers of attorney specifying that she remain in her home — under her daughter’s care — until her death, with a family trust covering any necessary nursing or housekeeping expenses.

After examining Helen Carey on May 18, 2011, Dr. Peter Rabins, professor of psychiatry and behavior sciences at Johns Hopkins, stated in a report to the Prince George’s County Circuit Court that she was “an alert elderly woman … with no evidence of depression. She can remain in her home if the resources are available.”

Less than a week later, however, Judge Sherrie Krauser ignored her own medical expert and ordered Helen Carey transferred from the Lanham hospital where she had gone for observation after suffering chest pains to an Adelphi nursing home.

Attorney Jeanne Aelion, a temporary guardian appointed by Krauser, allowed her daughter only a one-hour supervised visit per week.

In a July 1, 2011, email, Helen Carey’s court-appointed attorney, W. David Allen, told Barbara Carey: “I am informed that after consulting with Dr. Peter Rabins, Helen Carey is being given Zoloft, an antidepressant. I believe this is prescribed to address her apathy.” Another email, dated Aug. 1, stated that Dr. Rabins “agreed with the use of Zoloft.”

But Barbara Carey, a physical therapist in Fairfax, knew that Zoloft (sertraline) was contraindicated for the treatment of depression in Alzheimer’s patients because Dr. Rabins himself had co-authored several articles making this very point.

She also knew her mother did not tolerate Zoloft, and that her thyroid problem mimicked symptoms of depression. On Aug. 31, she asked the court to order a second medical opinion. Her petition was denied.

Barbara Carey told The Washington Examiner that after being prevented from seeing her mother at all for two weeks, she was shocked at her condition on Sept. 15. “She was clearly still on medication. Her heart was racing. She could hardly walk.”

According to court documents obtained by The Washington Examiner, a tense standoff between the daughter and the guardian occurred that day: “My mother is in medical distress. Her pulse was over 200. The guardian was right there. I told her, ‘She is in tachycardia. She needs medical help.’ “

Five days later, while Barbara Carey was still desperately trying to get the governor’s office and the Maryland Department of Aging to intervene, Helen Carey died of cardiac arrest.

Despite Allen’s emails and Barbara Carey’s own observations, a subsequent investigation by the department found no record that Helen Carey had ever been taking any psychotropic drugs. Both Dr. Rabins and attorney Allen refused to comment when asked to explain this apparent discrepancy.

“If the investigation is correct,” Barbara Carey told The Washington Examiner, “it indicates either an error or altered records.” Medication errors should be of interest to state regulators, and altering medical records is a crime, but the state of Maryland apparently isn’t interested either way.

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Judge Ignores College Park Woman’s Final Wishes