Archive for the ‘Utah’ Category

Chiropractor convicted of exploiting the elderly

October 13, 2013

WEST JORDAN — A Utah chiropractor has been convicted of exploiting the elderly.

Brandon Lee Babcock, 38, was convicted by a jury following a five-day trial on six counts of exploitation of a vulnerable adult, all third-degree felonies. He was found not guilty of four other counts.

Babcock, a chiropractor from Cedar Hills, claimed he was able to cure diabetes and other health issues, according to prosecutors. He advertised that potential patients would be given a free consultation with a chance to “opt-out” within 30 days of beginning.

But between Oct. 26, 2010, and Feb. 22, 2012, prosecutors say Babcock charged potential clients tens of thousands of dollars, even though they told him they weren’t interested in his program.

Prosecutors outlined 11 cases in court documents, all from victims in their 70s and 80s, who were billed for loans they did not approve.

Babcock is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 25.

Full Article and Source:
Chiropractor convicted of exploiting the elderly

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.

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Trial begins for Utah chiropractor accused of bilking the elderly

How To Prevent Financial Abuse of the Elderly

March 28, 2013

Elder financial abuse is an expensive drain on the U.S. economy. A study of media reports from April to June 2010 “estimated that financial exploitation cost older adults at least $2.9 billion” that year, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office, or GAO. According to the report: “The money that older adults lose in these cases is rarely recovered, and this loss can undermine both the health of older adults and their ability to support and care for themselves.”

That often means that taxpayers end up footing the bill for housing and medical care once an exploited senior has been drained of his or her assets. In fact, the report says that in 80 cases involving Utah’s elderly, that state’s Medicaid program could pony up about $900,000 in Medicaid costs alone.

The GAO report points out that unless law enforcement, the courts and adult protective services get better at protecting the assets of older adults, this country could see a sharp increase in the amount of public dollars replacing private funds that are illegally drained from their estates. And as the senior population increases, those numbers will only continue to climb. Certified Fraud Examiner Steve Lee says that “pre-grave robbing” — which often goes unreported — is an issue frequently encountered by private investigators, specialists in elder care law and colleagues.

Tom Fields’ personal experience has led him to crusade for more effective legislation targeting elder financial abuse. “There is a clear lack of protection under current laws and legislation,” says Fields, who is from Mentor, Ohio. He believes that in addition to current law being insufficient, law enforcement often has little idea of how to handle these cases.

It’s true that police reaction to cases of elder financial abuse varies widely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and there is little crime-specific training available to them. Many jurisdictions treat these cases as civil, rather than criminal, cases, leaving families to struggle with stopping the siphoning of an elderly person’s assets via a sluggish court system.

Full Article and Source:
How to Prevent Financial Abuse of Elderly Parents

UTAH: Guardian of Abused Woman Kept in Closet Sent to Prison for Her Death

March 24, 2013

Those who loved Christina “Nina” Harms drove 1,500 miles from their homes in Minnesota and South Dakota to stand in front of a judge Friday and tell them about the person they lost.

They wore T-shirts printed with Harms’ smiling face. They carried a cardboard display covered in pictures of the woman throughout her life.

“Nina wanted to go to college, she wanted more kids, she was very loving,” Marilee Nelson said. “She loved her daughter more than anything. Nina was the most loving person you would ever meet.”

Harms was 22 when she died on March 25, 2011, as the result of abuse and neglect in the Kearns home she shared with the woman who was her guardian, Cassandra Marie Shepard, their children and Shepard’s mother and stepfather.

“I don’t think there will ever be understanding, but today there will be justice,” 3rd District Judge Katie Bernards-Goodman said before sentencing Shepard, 29, to prison. Shepard, who pleaded guilty to aggravated abuse of a disabled adult, a first-degree felony, and manslaughter, a second-degree felony, was sentenced to consecutive terms of five years to life and one to 15 years in prison.

Prosecutors say Harms, who suffered from fetal alcohol syndrome and had the mental capacity of an 8- to 12-year-old, was constantly kept in a small closet where she was forced to eat and go to the bathroom while being bound to a metal bar.

Harms had ligature marks on her ankles consistent with plastic zip ties when officials examined her, severe bruising on her thigh and head, bloodshot eyes, a pepper seed in one of her eyelids, and her hands were completely covered with bandaging material, which would have prevented her from getting the pepper seed out.

Full Article and Source:
Guardian of Abused Woman Kept in Closet Sent to Prison for Her Death

See Also:
Guardian Accused of Causing Death of Disabled Woman

Daughter Allegedly Takes More Than $143,000 From Mother With Dementia

March 31, 2012

A Sandy woman has been accused of stealing more than a hundred thousand dollars from her mom, who suffers from dementia.

Dorothy Jean Henderson, 65, was charged in 3rd District Court Thursday with exploitation of a vulnerable adult, a second-degree felony.

On Dec. 29, 2010, Henderson was appointed by the courts as a guardian and conservator over her 84-year-old mother’s needs. The appointment gave Henderson the power under law to act on behalf of her mother to make medical, residential, financial, end of life and other decisions, according to court documents.

As soon as the paperwork was done, Henderson began taking out large sums of money from her mother’s bank accounts. None of the money was spent in any way to benefit the mother, court records state.

A Salt Lake City police detective reviewed the mother’s financial records and discovered that over nearly a year, Henderson had withdrawn about $143,000 from the accounts for herself or her children. Some of the accounts included money contributed by the mother’s spouse throughout the couple’s 62 years of marriage.

When police interviewed Henderson, she said she “borrowed” about $43,600 from her mother since losing her job in April 2011. Even though Henderson was told by her attorney that these funds were not for her use, but for her mother’s well-being, she didn’t see the problem, “because she always borrowed money from her mother,” according to the charges.

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Daughter Allegedly Takes More Than $143,000 From Mother With Dementia

Two Utah Nurses Fired for Taping Woman’s Mouth Shut

December 29, 2011

Two nurses in a Utah hospital’s intensive care unit were fired this week for taping a patient’s mouth shut and laughing about it, hospital officials said.

Artalejo’s daughter, Brittany Bilson, told the television station that her mother’s teeth were chattering and she was moaning and shaking. Bilson said the nurses told her mother to shut up, taped her mouth closed and joked they would be fired if they were caught.

Penny Artalejo was admitted to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in Provo on Dec. 17 with nausea and anxiety from taking medication for chronic neck pain, her daughters told Utah radio station

“It’s not right. It’s inhumane,” Bilson said. “We put our loved ones’ lives in their hands. I left the hospital basically thinking she’s fine from here, and just more bad happened.”

Full Article,Video and Source:
Taping Patient’s Mouth Shut: Utah Nurse Fired For Treatment Of Penny Artalejo

New Resource Guide for Utahns 55 and Older Helps Dispel the Legal Mysteries of Aging

October 24, 2011

In an effort to help prevent the more than $339 million that is exploited annually from Utah’s elderly, the Department of Human Services has released a new legal guide for Utahns 55 and older.

The publication’s large-print pages attempt to demystify countless legal issues — from grandparent’s rights and estate planning to Medicare and Social Security rules — and also aims to educate older Utahns about other aging issues.

“Utah’s older adults are frequently confronted with complex and confusing legal issues,” said Alan K. Ormsby, executive director of the Utah AARP. “Not knowing where to turn or who to trust adds to the fog.”

He said the guide, titled “Navigating Your Rights: The Utah Legal Guide for Those 55 and Over,” cuts through the confusion and delivers straight-forward answers, and will be “the go-to resource for seniors facing legal questions.”

The book’s 11 chapters, as well as a new website, contain information on dozens of subjects and presents answers to more than 200 legal questions most often asked by seniors and their caregivers.

Symbols are used throughout the book to denote important points, warnings and situations where an attorney might be necessary. Names and contact information for agencies and organizations that can provide additional services are listed at the end of each chapter, as the book’s author, Jilenne Gunther, said “almost no book can be a complete resource.”

Full Article and Source:
New Resource Guide for Utahns 55 and Older Helps Dispel the Legal Mysteries of Aging

See Also:
Utah Department of Human Services

Guardian Accused of Causing Death of Disabled Woman

October 10, 2011

Cassandra Shepard told police she had moved from South Dakota to get Nina away from a life of abuse.

Prosecutors say it followed the woman here.

As paramedics worked to save Christina “Nina” Harms’ life on the afternoon of March 25, Shepard told police that Harms had been acting out again, that in a tantrum she had held her breath until she passed out.

But as investigators looked at the scene — the bandages on Harms’ hands and arms, the ligature marks on her legs — they began to look at Shepard as a suspect.

“We came to the conclusion that things just weren’t adding up,” Paul Nielsen, a former Unified Police detective, said Friday during a preliminary hearing in 3rd District Court.

After hearing from police and medical experts, Judge Randall Skanchy took the case under advisement. He will rule at a later date whether Shepard, 20,should stand trial for the murder of the woman for whom she had promised to care.

Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Edward Leis, who performed the autopsy on the 22-year-old Harms, testified the woman was severely dehydrated and had toxic levels of a sedative, possibly Benadryl, in her system when she died.

Harms had a series of bruises on her body. Her hands were wrapped tightly in bandages to cover a series of wounds. And she had a pepper seed in her right, lower eyelid, Nielsen said.

“I didn’t do those,” an emotional Shepard told her attorneys after prosecutors showed a picture of the wounds on Harms’ arms. “I didn’t do those.”

Shepard was awarded legal guardianship of Harms after Harms’ mother, a relative of Shepard’s, died in 2008.

Police say Shepard and two other adults in the home locked Harms in a closet, at times binding her crucifixion-style to a pole there. Investigators have said that closet had an alarm system and a knife stuck in the door to prevent Harms from getting out. Inside the closet was a piece of cardboard with remnants of feces and urine and some air fresheners.

Full Article and Source:
Guardian Accused of Causing Death of Disabled Woman

Coma Mom Defies the Odds After Devestating Accident

September 16, 2011

Shelli Eldredge’s dream vacation nearly killed her.

After a moped accident in Hawaii broke nearly 50 of her bones, fractured her skull, snapped her spine and left her in a coma, doctors didn’t have much hope for her recovery. One recommended stopping life support.

But her husband, Dr. Stephen Eldredge, couldn’t give up.

“We made the decision we were going to move forward at all costs,” he said.

Then Shelli defied the odds — after about a month in a coma, she woke up and started speaking. She’s now back home in Utah, talking and walking with assistance. She’s working hard in physical therapy three times a week with the goal of returning to her active life.

Full Article, Video and Source:
Coma Mom Defies the Odds After Devestating Accident

>Couple to Stand Trial in Disabled Woman’s Death

June 12, 2011

>A judge on Friday ordered a Kearns couple charged with abusing a disabled woman before her death to stand trial following testimony from neighbors who said they were long worried about her well-being.

Dale Robert Beckering, 52, and Sherrie Lynn Beckering, 50, each face one count of aggravated abuse of a vulnerable adult, a first-degree felony, in connection with the death of Christina Harms

Third District Court Judge Lee A. Dever ordered the pair to stand trial after hearing testimony from neighbors, police and a medical examiner.

Sherrie Beckering’s daughter, Cassandra Marie Shepard, also lived in the Kearns home and was Harms’ legal guardian. While Shepard has been charged with murder in the case, prosecutors said Shepard and the Beckerings “took shifts” watching over Harms and all contributed to her demise in some way.

“Without that constant supervision, it would have never gotten to this point,” prosecutor Chad Platt said.

Full Article and Source:
Couple to Stand Trial in Disabled Woman’s Death

See Also:
Legal Guardian Charged With Murder