Disclaimer

**** DISCLAIMER

Any Charges Reported on this blog are Merely Accusations and the Defendants are Presumed Innocent Unless and Until Proven Guilty, through the courts.

November 20, 2013

Organization Wants To Stamp Out Elder Abuse


Cherokee Triad - S.A.L.T. will hold an information session on elder abuse on Thursday in Woodstock.
 by Kristal Dixon (Editor)
November 18, 2013
An organization dedicated to advocating for Cherokee County's senior citizens will touch on an issue that's often overlooked by the public.

Cherokee Triad - S.A.L.T. will hold an information session and discussion on elder abuse at 1 p.m. Thursday at the William G. Long Senior Center in Woodstock.

Alice Irving, a member of the organization's board, said a representative from the Canton Police Department will speak on the topic. The event is designed to target not only senior citizens, but also adults children of seniors.

The session will go over the warning signs of elder abuse, which can encompass emotional, physical or financial abuse, and discuss what can be done to stop the abuse.
"Most people don't realize this occurs," she said of elder abuse. "We hear a lot about child abuse, but often elderly abuse is something that's swept underneath the rug."
The event is free and open to the public.
Cherokee Triad - S.A.L.T., or Seniors and Law Enforcement Together, is a collaborative effort among local public safety agencies and other organizations that work to educate and inform older residents about resources that can help them live a better quality of life.

SOURCE:      The Woodstock Patch
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Hebrew Home At Riverdale Celebrates Advocacy Award

November 18, 2013
By Daniel Reingold

The Hebrew Home at Riverdale received the 2013 Outstanding Advocacy Award from LeadingAge at its national conference in Dallas last month. I had the honor of accepting the award on behalf of the organization. This award, which recognizes our leadership role in the field of elder abuse prevention for the past decade, meant a lot to us.
The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Center for Elder Abuse Prevention at the Hebrew Home is dedicated to helping elder abuse victims in many ways, from providing emergency shelter to educating the community to advocating on Capitol Hill and on the state and local levels.  We are facing a national epidemic – and it will only increase as the Baby Boomer population ages.  We must take action and never stop advocating for those who cannot.
The Hebrew Home at Riverdale successfully advocated both the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and the New York State Department of Health to expand and alter their policies to prioritize senior housing applicants who are victims of elder abuse. As a result of this unwavering advocacy, we secured state funding to open The Terrace, an assisted living program on our Riverdale campus. Today, we offer long-term housing for elder abuse victims in a comfortable, home-like environment that provides healthcare, social opportunity and a safe place to call home. For some, this safety is a first in their lives.
On the federal level, the Hebrew Home advocated for HUD to permit elder abuse victims to have priority admission to our federally subsidized  low-income 202 apartment building, Hudson House. Hudson House provides apartments with amenities – close proximity to shops, nicely decorated living space and a built-in social system.
While attending the Dallas conference, I sat in the auditorium, watching the photo montage and video before accepting this award.  Each image provided a glimpse into our work and the people in our care. The photo of a woman getting her blood pressure checked. The video of another woman surrounded by the smiling and reassuring faces of our staff. Photos of elected officials visiting the Hebrew Home and learning of our mission. All of these images were gratifying and inspirational. Every day, the Hebrew Home, and the staff of the Weinberg Center, advocates.  We speak up. We take action. Ultimately, we make a difference.
I am so proud of our accomplishments, but the fight is far from over.  Our greatest hope with the receipt of this award is that long term care organizations throughout our nation will replicate our successful shelter model so that together, we can help end elder abuse.  Older Americans deserve our collective commitment.
(Daniel Reingold is the president and CEO at Hebrew Home at Riverdale.)

SOURCE:      McKnights
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Senior Victim To Valued Friend

November 16, 2013
By JAN SKUTCH

Eliot Karasick is a retired Wall Street executive who moved to The Landings in 2000 with a big heart for those less blessed.
When he hired Amy Lynn Lee as a housekeeper, he thought he had found a valued friend, someone he treated like a family member.
By the time Karasick caught on, Lee had defrauded him out of more than a quarter of a million dollars, including a four-bedroom home in Pooler and a new Toyota Camry.
“I was disappointed,” Karasick, 88, said. “I couldn’t believe how any human being could do that to another human being.”
For Assistant District Attorney Shalena Cook Jones, Karasick represented a common denominator for a large portion of the more than 75 elder-abuse cases she carries as part of her caseload at any time as District Attorney Meg Heap’s elder-abuse prosecutor.
“Really, there’s so much back story to these cases,” Jones said.
She understood Karasick’s plight and moved to address it. Working with Savannah-Chatham police financial crimes detective Raymond Woodberry, Jones took an 11-count indictment to Chatham County Superior Court Judge Penny Haas Freesemann, got Lee to admit her actions and recovered a large portion of Karasik’s lost assets.
In many cases, such as Karasick’s, the issue is financial fraud or similar circumstances.
Other cases of elder abuse may involve neglect, physical violence or even death. Frequently, the person committing the abuse will be a family member, many of whom are motivated simply by greed, Jones said.
The whole area of elder abuse crimes is a fairly new one in the law and one that is still developing, Jones said.
“Elder abuse confounds people. We still don’t know what we are looking at,” she said.
“It’s much deeper than I expected.”
Point prosecutor
A prosecutor by trade, Jones acknowledges she remains “more of a social worker than anything else.”
Part of her challenge is that of community education concerning a problem that may elude much of the public’s understanding. That involves public appearances before business and professional groups.
“People don’t get elder abuse,” Jones, 36, said. “Elder abuse is wrong.
“I don’t believe it is right to hit, abuse, demean or attack people because they are women or children or patients in a mental health facility or elderly. That’s what keeps me doing this work.”
Jones, who balances her job with a husband and two children at home, rejects the burnout potential from her caseload.
“What I am thinking about is getting better,” she said.
Heap, the district attorney, is on the same page as Jones.
“Elder abuse is the fastest growing crime in the United States, and unfortunately Savannah is experiencing these crimes as well,” Heap said. “As district attorney I believe it is my duty to protect to the best of my ability our seniors and disabled adults.”
She praised Jones as “an experienced and passionate prosecutor who will work with the police to bring justice to those who have been victimized.”
When Heap resurrected the elder abuse position in January, she turned to Jones as her lead prosecutor.
Jones had been the office’s lead domestic abuse prosecutor in State Court before moving to Superior Court in August 2012. There she took on a share of elder abuse cases. In her new role, Jones still carries another 75 domestic violence cases at any one time.
With Karasick, Jones was faced the potential problem that no one would believe he was the victim of his caretaker.
“The process starts way before the crime ever begins,” Jones said. “It is a slow burning, building type of thing.”
Her immediate challenge was to amend the existing indictment against Lee as Karasick was dealing with health issues, partly because of stress from the case.
Jones calls it “kicking it into high gear. This is how we want to handle these cases going forward.”
Concerned for self, too
Karasick moved to a home at The Landings in early 2000 after he retired from a Wall Street career in stocks.
Lee started to work for Karasick as a housekeeper in 2008, helping him to deal with his wife’s aging issues and to maintain his home.
“She paid a lot of attention to me,” he said. Karasick he always — “by nature” — has compassion for those with less.
“I was concerned for her as a human being,” he said. “… She had me really fooled.”
With time he became increasingly dependent on Lee and increasingly drawn in by her tales of woe about domestic problems and hard times.
And by her 14-year-old daughter, who called him “grandpa.”
“I was a sitting duck for her (Lee) because I felt sorry for her.”
“But, I was concerned for myself too,” he said, noting that he increasingly relied on Lee.
Because she allegedly had no place to stay, he located a $400,000 home in Pooler he could get for $200,000 and loaned her the money with an agreement she would pay rent.
When her old Volkswagen fell apart, he went with her to shop for a new car, a 2012 Toyota Camry Sports Model. He would help her pay for it, including a $10,000 gift to cut costs.
When he moved to the Marshes on Skidaway Island, he offered to allow her to move temporarily into his Landings residence, then on the market. She declined, he said.
He even left the Pooler home at 306 Village Green Lakes to Lee in his will, Karasick said.
“I had so much,” Karasick said. “She had so little or nothing. She’s like an adopted child.”
The bottom dropped out when Karasick needed a hip replacement in December 2011. Lee volunteered to spend the first night at the hospital with him.
Before he was wheeled into surgery, he gave Lee his wallet for safe keeping. Within minutes, she was off on a three-day spending spree with his credit cards, including Sam’s, Target and Kroger.
He did not discover that until later when he reviewed his credit card statements.
Her greed extended to creating two $300 checks to herself, which she cashed at a bank without any signature, he said.
“I didn’t know that she was a thief,” he said.
Concerns initially dismissed
When he went to a lawyer about possible legal action against Lee, Karasick said the response was, “I wouldn’t bother. This happens many times a day. … You’re just asking for a lot of heartaches.”
Karasick said he initially took that advice but after realizing the depth of Lee’s fraud, “I got really angry. I wanted to do something about it.”
That got him to Detective Woodberry and ultimately to Jones in the prosecutor’s office.
“We talked constantly,” Karasick said. “She called me her coach. … If it hadn’t of been for her, I don’t know what would have happened.”
At the end, Lee, 44, chose to plead guilty as part of a negotiated plea to three counts of identity fraud, three counts of forgery and single counts of elder exploitation and theft by taking.
Her sentence: 10 years in prison with 30 days to serve and the balance probated.
Special conditions of probation bar Lee from having any contact with Karasick or his family members and requires that Lee:
• May not be primary care giver or manage the finances of anyone over 65 years old who is not related to her.
• Vacate the home at 306 Village Green Lakes in Pooler and return title and ownership to Karasick.
• Sign title to the 2012 Toyota Camry over to Karasick.
• Make restitution of $6,500 or the cost of outstanding home owner’s association fees on the Pooler property.
Because the plea was entered under the First Offender Act, adjudication of guilt was withheld. If Lee successfully completes her probation, no conviction will follow her.
In the end, Karasick said he was satisfied.
“She has nothing else to give except her life. By taking that, what do I gain?”
To have forced the case to trial could have meant Lee’s teenage daughter would have been caught up in it, a result he did not want.
“I was terribly angry but not angry enough to do anything stupid to hurt her or her child.”
SHALENA COOK JONES
Age: 36
Title: Chatham County Assistant District Attorney
Hometown: Brooklyn, N.Y.
Education: Bachelor of Arts, Spelman College, Atlanta, (1999), University of Georgia School of Law (2002), Member Henry Lumpkin Inn of Court and Order of Barristers
Professional experience: Chatham County assistant district attorney (2010-13); attorney, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Western District of Texas (2009-10); private practice, Law Offices of Shalena Cook Jones (2008-09); senior associate, Cruser & Mitchell LLP (2005-08)
Achievements: President-elect of the Port City Bar Association, Chair Chatham County SALT (Seniors and Law Enforcement Together) and Multi-Disciplinary Team on Elder Abuse, member of the Savannah Council on Aging, certified ACT specialist qualified to instruct law enforcement, social agencies and community members on crimes involving at-risk adults.
IF YOU NEED HELP
The law provides that a person who suspects elder abuse of any kind should contact Adult Protective Services at 1-866-55-AGING (1-866-552-4464).
Or you may contact your local police agency to make a crime report.
Source: Shalena Cook Jones
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT ELDER ABUSE, GO TO:
helpguide.org/mental/elder_abuse_physical_emotional_sexual_neglect.htm
ncea.aoa.gov
nccafv.org/state_elder_abuse_hotlines.htm

SOURCE:        Savannah Now
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Take Steps To Safeguard Finances For The Elderly

Prevent exploitation by knowing of friend’s or relative’s situation and keeping good records.

BY CLAUDIA BUCK
THE SACRAMENTO BEE
November 16, 2013

It started when an alert broker called to let Alan Sims know that $3,360 was being withdrawn weekly from his 103-year-old friend’s brokerage account. Turns out that a live-in caretaker was padding her hourly wages, writing checks of varying amounts that could have pushed her annual salary to more than $165,000 a year.
Sims, executor of his elderly friend’s estate, and her attorney had to step in and confront the caregiver, who was immediately fired.
“It was devastating,” said Sims, recalling the events eight years later. “Not only the amount of money that was taken, but the trust that was broken.”
Sadly, it’s not unusual. Every year, thousands of examples of financial abuse of the elderly occur, often at the hands of friends, family or caregivers. In 2010, the annual amount of losses due to financial exploitation of seniors was estimated at $2.9 billion, according to a study by the MetLife Mature Market Institute and the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse.
“Unfortunately, it’s a lot more common than we like to think,” said Marylou Robken, a Carmichael, Calif., CPA who has worked as a forensic investigator on dozens of elderly abuse cases in the past 15 years. “So many elderly people are isolated, and they may not even know that something’s wrong.”
Certainly, financial exploitation of seniors is nothing new. In recent years, local, state and national organizations have attacked the problem on numerous fronts, encouraging more awareness, better reporting and stiffer penalties.
Plenty of older Americans are more than capable of handling their own affairs and value their independence. But for many, “admitting that we can no longer manage our financial affairs can be as traumatic as having to give up driving,” noted Eleanor Blayney, consumer advocate for the Certified Financial Planner Board in Washington, D.C.
GETTING HELP
An estimated 50 million-plus U.S. residents are 62 and older. As cognitive abilities fade or health issues intervene, it’s a given that many of us will be — or already are — picking up the financial reins for aging parents, family, friends or neighbors.
That role is what’s known as being a fiduciary, someone who puts another person’s best interests above their own. It takes many forms. It could be a daughter who has power of attorney for financial or medical decisions on a parent’s behalf. It could be a trusted friend who’s the designated receiver of veteran’s or Social Security benefits for someone unable to do banking. It could be the trustee named to manage assets in a person’s living trust.
KEEP GOOD RECORDS
Fiduciaries are expected to act in the other person’s best interest, manage the finances carefully and maintain good records.
Keep a detailed list or a file of all money you receive or spend. Include the date, amount and purpose of checks paid or deposited, as well as names of people/companies involved. Keep receipts and notes, even for small expenses. For example, write on the receipt: “$50, groceries, AllBrands Grocery Store, May 2.”
After Sims was given power of attorney for the financial affairs of his 103-year-old friend, for instance, he maintained a written journal and took meticulous notes of every financial transaction he made on her behalf. Also, checkbooks and other financial documents were safely put away where they weren’t accessible to caregivers.
AVOID CONFLICTS
No matter what kind of fiduciary role you’re taking, it’s imperative to keep the senior’s money separate from your own, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says. For instance, it might be OK to buy a car with the senior’s funds to drive to doctors’ appointments or to do banking, but if you’re using the vehicle mainly for personal use, that could be a conflict of interest. Same with paying your relatives to do work at the senior’s home or apartment.
GET SIGNED UP
No matter our age, all of us should designate someone to act on our behalf, in the event we’re incapacitated due to illness or other impairments. Some financial advisers recommend that anyone reaching 18 or college age should fill out a power-of-attorney document for financial or health care reasons.
REPORT FINANCIAL ABUSE
In a 2012 national survey of certified financial planners, more than half — 56 percent — said they’d worked with older clients who were victims of “unfair, deceptive or abusive” financial practices. In its new guide, “Financial Self-Defense for Seniors,” the financial planner board outlines 10 common financial frauds that may entrap seniors, such as “free lunch” seminars or inappropriate investments.
According to the board’s survey, only 5 percent of seniors report financial abuse, either due to embarrassment, fear of naming the perpetrator or uncertainty about exactly what occurred.

SOURCE:     The Idaho Statesman
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Park Hill Woman Faces Elder Abuse Charges

She is accused of mistreating her mother, taking her money

November 16, 2013
By Anita Reding
Phoenix Staff Writer

A Park Hill woman is accused of abusing her mother and is facing felony charges.

Three counts of abuse by caretaker were filed this week in Cherokee County against Ella Milstead, 53, who is the legal guardian of her mother, Opal Murphy.

Court documents state that Milstead physically abused her mother, not providing her medications and using her financial funds for her own personal use.

The Department of Human Services was notified of allegations of caretaker neglect, caretaker abuse, caretaker exploitation, and financial neglect by Ella Milstead, according to court documents. A social worker went to Murphy’s home, which is also in Park Hill, Aug. 19 and Sept. 10. Murphy, who had bruises on her arm and back, told the social worker that “Ella had hit her” and “Ella grabbed her arm and threw her down on the floor.”

Court documents also state that the social worker determined that there were “several medications that Murphy had not been given in months. “

Milstead stated that she is the only one who gives Murphy her medications and told the social worker she is the only person who has control of Murphy’s finances and bank account, the court document states.

When asked multiple times by the social worker to provide bank statements for six months and any receipts or verification showing how she spent her mother’s money on her mother’s care, Milstead provided only four months of bank statements and no receipts or verification. Bank statements also indicated that there were other accounts “ran by Ella of Opal’s money and that account information was not provided, ” documents state.

Murphy owns a trailer park in Park Hill and Milstead has been managing the trailer park, which includes collecting rent,  since she became her mother’s guardian. There are 11 trailers at the park owned by Murphy, and each tenant pays $160 monthly in lot rent. All renters pay with either cash or money orders. Milstead admitted that she cashed the money orders from the renters and did not deposit the lot money in her mother’s account and “there is no indication as to where the cash money went,” court records state.

Milstead said that she quit her job to take care of her mother and that “she is living off Opal’s income,” court documents state. Milstead said that her mother does not have access to her money and said she is the only one with her mother’s debit card and the only one who has access to her mother’s bank account.

Court documents list exploitation totals at $24,881 — $10,566 in Social Security payments, $10,560 in rental property income and $3,755 which was transferred from another account in August.

Milstead is free on $5,000 bond and is scheduled to enter a plea during an initial court appearance Dec. 10, according to Ryan Cannonie, assistant district attorney.

Each felony count is punishable by imprisonment of up to 10 years and/or by a fine up to $10,000, according to court records.

SOURCE:       The Muskogee Phoenix
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Seniors, Families Can Do Plenty To Protect Themselves

By Spencer Roush

Nov. 17, 2013

Talitha Nichols thought she was doing the right thing when she gave a woman in trouble a ride.
The woman tapped on Nichols’ window as she was pulling out of Carnival Foods, 1215 N. Memorial Drive, saying her car had broken down and needed a ride to Sixth Street where the car was sitting.
“While I was talking to her, she hollered at a guy and said, ‘She’ll take us,’” Nichols recalled.
Nichols said she doesn’t normally feel like a target, but she did that day when the man and woman ended up stealing her purse and $1,500 in cash, while she was performing an act of kindness. Nichols knew something was wrong when they arrived at Sixth Street and didn’t see a broken-down car. She said the woman must have taken the purse when she was talking to the man about a jack.
“What would they have done if I had seen her grab it and I grabbed it too?” Nichols asked, knowing the outcome would have been different or she could have been hurt.
Lancaster Police Detective Bryan Underwood said crimes against seniors happen all the time, and it can be more than phone scams and petty theft.
Underwood, who specializes in senior citizen investigations, said Nichols and other elderly people are targeted and victimized because they are “a very trusting group of people.”
“They come from a time when a handshake was an honorable binding contract, and (criminals) use that as a tool to deceive seniors,” Underwood said, whether it’s someone who says they will do work around the home that never gets done or other types of financial thefts and deception.
“We have seen an increase in senior crimes over the past several years,” Underwood said. “It’s probably always occurred, but we’re seeing more, and some of that may have to do with more reporting of crimes.”
Underwood works hand in hand with Dave Kessler from the Fairfield County Prosecutor’s Office and Job and Family Service’s Adult Protective Services to investigate and prosecute crimes against seniors.
Adult Protective Services specifically investigates allegations of abuse, neglect, self-neglect and financial exploitation.
According to APS Director Patty Ciripompa, 30 percent of their case load involves financial exploitation, and in 78 percent of those cases, a family member is the perpetrator.
Ciripompa said she can’t give an explanation of why family members would take advantage of elderly relatives, but substance abuse and addiction is often involved. A lot of times, she said, it’s their adult children or grandchildren who have either moved back into the home or are providing care for them.
Prosecuting crimes of theft and deception involving family members can be difficult, according to Underwood and Ciripompa, because they don’t want to get their loved ones in trouble.
“It’s very frustrating for us,” Ciripompa said. “Because if there’s not a cooperative victim willing to follow through even though we know darn well they did it ... we can’t go further in prosecuting them. It becomes a very complicated case.”
Before 2008, Ciripompa said reports of financial exploitation were low.
“I would say it was 8 percent or less of referrals before (2008),” she added.
Self-neglect always has been the highest reported allegation, which represents 44 percent of APS’s case load this year. She said self-neglect can be a number of different things, such as unsafe living conditions, a lack of food or heat in the home or needing additional at-home care.
Adult Protective Services has received 576 referrals this year from many different sources, some of which are self-referrals. Cirimpompa said if there is an issue of self-neglect in the home, APS can assist in finding any senior older than 60 some help, including an emergency response button.
The remaining cases APS responds to include abuse — which can be sexual, emotional or physical in nature — and “neglect by other.” According to APS, 16 percent of cases this year involved some kind of abuse.
“This year we have not had a case of sexual abuse, but we have in the past,” Ciripompa said. “That’s really an under-reported kind of thing, I think.”
Twenty percent of APS cases involve neglect by someone else, such as a health care worker or family member.
Ciripompa said family members should be involved in their elderly relative’s lives to notice any changes in their behavior because it can indicate there is a problem, especially in neglect and self-neglect cases.
“Pay attention and spend time with older adult relatives,” she said.
There are small ways for family members to assist seniors living alone. Noticing potential hazards around the home, she said, such as lightbulbs that need changed, phone access around the home and in the bedroom and moving anything obstructing walkways are all helpful.
“Those are little things I think relatives should be aware of,” she added.
To report an allegation or submit a referral for assistance, call 740-653-4060 and follow the prompts to reach the Adult Protective Services line.

SOURCE:      The Lancaster Eagle Gazette
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Carer Tied Woman, 88, Up With Her Dressing Gown Cord

Carer tied woman, 88, up with her dressing gown cord so she could have cigarette break
Sussanah Carr tied up dementia sufferer because she did not want her wandering around care home while she was working
Carr starts 12-month supervision order tomorrow after being spared jail

By DAILY MAIL REPORTER
17 November 2013

A care home assistant used a dressing gown cord to tie an  88-year-old woman with dementia to a chair while she went outside to smoke a cigarette.

A court was told that Sussanah Carr, 43, restrained the pensioner because she had been wandering around the care home.

She told a colleague what she had done and was reported to police, but denied it when interviewed by officers.

However, she later went back to the police station to admit her crime after being questioned by care home bosses at an internal inquiry.

When she was finally brought before a court, she pleaded guilty to a charge of ill-treating and wilfully neglecting a  person without capacity.

Carr was spared a jail sentence, however, when Judge Michael Addison gave her a 12-month supervision order.

When the offence came to light, she was dismissed from her job at Sutton Lodge, a Bupa care home in Weybridge, Surrey, where she had worked for about ten years.

Guildford Crown Court was told the victim had been repeatedly getting out of bed and walking around when Carr arrived during an overnight shift earlier this year.

Prosecutor Flora Page said the incident was over ‘in a matter of minutes’.

Miss Page added: ‘The victim had been wandering around . . . and Miss Carr  had been chasing after her and following her around. However, a time came when she sat her down in her chair and, using the cord of her dressing gown, tied it on  the chair.’

Summing up later, Judge Addison said a key detail was the fact that it was secured around her waist in such a way that the woman would have been able to untie herself. He told Carr, of Shepperton, Surrey: ‘You were in charge of looking after an old lady suffering from dementia.

‘She was sat in the chair and you put the dressing gown cord around her waist. It was tied in a bow. She could have undone it.

‘I sentence you on the basis that she was only tied to the chair for a number of minutes.

‘It is a serious matter to ill-treat someone who lacks mental capacity in a home, but it does seem that this offence is right at the bottom of the scale.’

Judge Addison said there was no evidence that the woman suffered any distress and he did not understand why the case had not been dealt with at an earlier hearing at North Surrey Magistrates’ Court in Staines.

Elaine Stapleton, defending, said Carr had lost her livelihood and record of previous good character because of one incident in many years of caring for people with dementia.

Miss Stapleton said: ‘She has a long history of caring for vulnerable people in that home. What happened means she has stopped taking her medication. She has had a number of difficulties with her health.’

In a statement after sentencing, Graham Brittain, of Bupa Care Services UK, said: ‘The behaviour of Sussanah Carr was clearly unacceptable.

‘We immediately suspended her and reported her to the appropriate authorities to ensure that vulnerable older people are protected. The court has now taken appropriate action.’


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November 4, 2013

Elderly Doctor Ripped Off for $3.5 Million Fraud


October 31, 2013
By Brenda Craig

San Francisco, CA: A quick check of the California Bar Journal from October 2013 gives just one more example of the financial exploitation of American senior citizens. According to the Journal, this is the largest “misappropriation in the Office of Chief Trial Counsel’s memory.”

In 2004, a young San Francisco attorney, Wade Anthony Robertson, met a wealthy 77-year-old doctor from Maryland. Robertson had a great investment for Dr. Cartinhour. He told him he could invest in a big litigation case that was going on in New York and the return on his money would result in a multimillion-dollar payback.

Robertson kept convincing Dr. Cartinhour to pour more and more money into the scheme. In fact, Robertson was using the doctor’s money to finance his own investments.

Dr. Cartinhour became suspicious and hired another attorney in 2009 to check on Robertson. The plan to defraud Dr. Cartinhour began to unravel. Cartinhour brought a suit against Robertson and was awarded $3.5 million in compensatory damages and $3.5 million in punitive damages.

Robertson, who is no longer eligible to practice law, began a series of frivolous suits aimed at delaying repayment of Dr. Cartinhour’s funds.

In September 2013, nine years after Dr. Cartinhour’s unfortunate first meeting with Robertson, a judge in the case found Robertson “culpable of moral turpitude by engaging in a scheme to defraud, misrepresentation and abusing the legal process,” as noted in the California Bar Journal.

The judge also noted that Robertson has shown no remorse for his behaviour, and that he failed to admit any wrongdoing, and furthermore, his “misconduct occurred less than three years after he was admitted to practice law.”

Dr. Cartinhour is just one of the millions of older Americans that are targeted for financial exploitation every year in the US.

The Office of Attorney General in the State of California advises seniors to always have a family member supervise financial transactions and that professionals supervise the family members. And being rich, poor or middle income, it doesn’t seem to matter to the would-be perpetrators of financial exploitation.

Fortunately for Dr. Cartinhour, the courts in California came to his rescue. It has some of the toughest financial elder abuse laws on the books.

SOURCE:        Lawyers and Settlements
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Jeremy Hunt: UK Should Adopt Asian Culture Of Caring For The Elderly


Patrick Butler Social policy editor
The Guardian
18 October 2013

Jeremy Hunt will today tell British families they should follow the example of people in Asia, by taking in elderly relatives once they can no longer live alone.
The health secretary, whose wife is Chinese, is due to say in a speech on Friday that he is struck by the "reverence and respect" for older people in Asian cultures, where it is expected that older grandparents will go to live with their children and grandchildren rather than enter a care home.
He will say: "In those countries, when living alone is no longer possible, residential care is a last rather than a first option. And the social contract is stronger because as children see how their own grandparents are looked after, they develop higher expectations of how they too will be treated when they get old.
"If we are to tackle the challenge of an ageing society, we must learn from this – and restore and reinvigorate the social contract between generations. And uncomfortable though it is to say it, it will only start with changes in the way we personally treat our own parents and grandparents."
In his address to the National Children's and Adults Services conference, the health secretary will say society has collectively ignored what he calls the "national shame" of the "forgotten million" older people isolated at home or in care with no one to talk to, and he will urge people to visit and offer companionship to lonely older people.
"According to the Campaign to End Loneliness, there are 800,000 people in England who are chronically lonely. Some five million people say television is their main form of company – that's 10% of the population. We know there is a broader problem of loneliness that in our busy lives we have utterly failed to confront as a society."
Hunt will defend his plans to set up a rigorous, Ofsted-style inspection regime aimed at rooting out abuse and poor quality care in residential homes. Under the new chief inspector of social care Andrea Sutcliffe – who he refers to as "the nation's whistleblower-in-chief" – 25,000 care homes will be inspected by March 2016 and given online "easy to understand" ratings. Homes will be expected to pass a "good-enough-for-my-mum" test and inspections will rely heavily on the care experiences of residents.
The Care Quality Commission is to take on 600 volunteers with first-hand experience of the care system to help carry out the checks. The commission is also considering using hidden cameras and "mystery shoppers" to monitor quality standards. Failing care homes will be fined or closed down.
Hunt will say: "Simple, resident-focused inspections which look at the things that really matter, rather than simply the boxes that have been ticked [will help us achieve] an Ofsted-style rating that tells us in plain language if a service is outstanding, good, requiring improvement or inadequate."
It is important not to settle for "good enough care", Hunt will say. Society has to rise to the challenge of making Britain "the best place in the world to grow old in".

SOURCE:      The Guardian
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Former Alameda County Superior Court Judge Sentenced To Probation For Stealing From Neighbor

By Paul T. Rosynsky
Oakland Tribune
10/22/2013

OAKLAND -- A former Alameda County Superior Court judge was sentenced to five years probation Monday for stealing money from an elderly widowed neighbor who trusted him with her life savings.
Paul David Seeman, 58, of Berkeley, was sentenced as part of a plea deal in which he was found guilty of one count of financial elder abuse and one count of perjury. Seeman was accused of stealing from his now-deceased widowed neighbor, Anne Nutting, who was 97 when she noticed irregularities in her finances.
Investigators originally believed Seeman stole more than $1 million from Nutting, a figure that also included the estimated value of possessions Seeman sold on behalf of Nutting when he controlled her estate.
As a result, he was charged with 32 felonies, including financial elder abuse for stealing from Nutting and numerous counts of perjury for lying on state financial disclosure forms that all judges are required to complete.
But court documents revealed that, in the end, investigators could only prove that Seeman stole more than $5,000 from his neighbor.
A $250,000 "loan" Seeman claimed he took from Nutting was paid back just after police called Seeman asking questions about Nutting's finances. And investigators could not prove that Seeman took the money earned from the sale of Nutting's valuable possessions, court documents show.
"Given the entirety of the case, this was the appropriate resolution," said deputy district attorney Jason Sjoberg. "He did commit a criminal act, and he has been held accountable for it."
While Seeman avoids jail time under the deal, his career in law, at least in California, is over. As part of the plea deal, Seeman loses his bar license and his right to practice law in the state. Earlier this year, Seeman agreed never to be a judge again.
Seeman also was forced to pay Nutting's estate the $5,600 that he stole. The former judge also cannot live with, care for, or act as a financial aide to any elderly person who is not a direct relative. In addition, he is not allowed to possess any "financial instrument" in any person's name but his own.
Laurel Headley, Seeman's criminal defense attorney, said in a prepared statement that her client has paid the price and agreed to a deal to end the case.
"He appreciates that the sentence took into account the many good works he has accomplished in his life," Headley said.
Seeman, who appeared in court, turned down a request to make a comment.

SOURCE:      The OC Register
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Gardendale Couple Charged With Elder Abuse After Allegedly Stealing $24,000 From Victim

Nov 01, 2013 
By Tom Allen 
BIRMINGHAM, AL

A Jefferson County couple was arrested today in connection with defrauding an 88-year-old woman.
According to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, detectives began an investigation in August after the victim's niece reported suspicious transactions on bank and credit card accounts. Among these were the purchase of a firearm and ammunition.

Investigators say 29-year-old Nora Armstrong of Gardendale was the victim's housekeeper and sitter. Her husband, 32-year-old Lee Aaron Armstrong accompanied her to the victim's home while she worked.
The couple allegedly used her credit and bank accounts to purchase weapons, clothing, exercise equipment, food and cell phones.

They also added international calling to the victim's telephone account -- Nora Armstrong is originally from Honduras, authorities say, and her family is still there.
JCCO says the couple allegedly stole more than $24,000 from the victim.
Nora Armstrong was arrested this morning in Gardendale, while Lee Armstrong was arrested at his place of employment in Cahaba Heights. They've both been charged with elder abuse by financial exploitation and held at the Jefferson County Jail in lieu of $15,000 bond.

SOURCE:      Alabama's 13
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Visalia Man Jailed, Facing Charges of Elder Abuse

76-year-old man hospitalized
 Oct. 31, 2013
Written by Kyle Harvey

A 47-year-old Visalia man has been charged with elder abuse after Visalia police officers reportedly discovered a 76-year-old man living in substandard conditions Wednesday night in southeast Visalia.
Police responded about 9 p.m. to the 1400 block of East Sunnyside Avenue after a 911 caller reported hearing an elderly man screaming from inside a storage shed.
Officers who arrived at the scene discovered evidence that a person had been bound to a chair in the shed. The elderly male at the residence was judged by officers to be in poor physical shape, malnourished and living in a residence that was in bad condition.
The man’s nephew, Marcos Abrego, was also found at the scene. He was arrested and booked at the Main Jail, facing charges of cruelty toward an elder dependent. His bail has been set at $50,000.
The elderly male was taken to receive treatment for unspecified injuries at Kaweah Delta Medical Center in Visalia, Sgt. Ozzie Dominguez said. The man’s condition was unavailable Thursday afternoon.
If you wish to report elder abuse, contact the county’s Adult Protection Services agency at 1-877-657-3092.

SOURCE:       The Visalia Times
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Any Charges Reported on this blog are Merely Accusations and the Defendants are Presumed Innocent Unless and Until Proven Guilty.

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