Dauphin County devotes county detective to investigation of elder abuse

Wednesday March 4th 2015

A growing caseload of senior citizens being abused in their homes has spurred Dauphin County to dedicate a county detective to these investigations.

Roxanne Snider, a former investigator in the county Area Agency on Aging’s Elder Abuse Taskforce, started in her new role in the district attorney’s office in November.

“It’s something I’m really passionate about,” Snider told the county commissioners Wednesday.

 The county investigated 450 cases of alleged elder abuse in 2014, which is an increase of 157 percent from 2004, when the Elder Abuse Taskforce formed. More than half the cases last year were substantiated, with most involving theft by family members or trusted caregivers, said Commissioner George Hartwick.

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Legal Education Course: Collaboration Between Prosecutors and the Aging Services Network in Protecting Older Pennsylvanians

Sunday March 1st 2015

The Pennsylvania Department of Aging and Institute on Protective Services is offering 1 day Attorney training in three locations on May 20, May 27, and June 3, 2015.  The sessions are open only to district attorneys, assistant district attorneys, county detectives, and Area Agencies on Aging attorneys covering all 67 counties throughout the Commonwealth.  Sessions are free of charge, but advance registration is required. Lunch will be provided. Read more »

Woman charged with stealing $11,400 from her 99 year old grandmother with dementia

Wednesday February 18th 2015

HARRISBURG, PA(WPMT)  A Schuylkill County woman is accused of stealing $11,400 in Social Security benefits from her grandmother, who has dementia and was not capable of consenting to the withdrawals from her bank account.

State Attorney Office agents charged Kelly McAlonis, 41, of Pottsville,  with one count each of Theft by Deception, Theft by Unlawful Taking and Receiving Stolen Property.

From November 2013 to June 2014, McAlonis personally drove her grandmother from her nursing home to her bank to make $1,000 withdrawals for her own use, according to the criminal complaint.

McAlonis was arrested on Friday February 13, arraigned and released on $5,000 unsecured bail.
To report possible crimes against Pennsylvania senior citizens or for information on elder abuse, contact the Attorney General’s Elder Abuse Hotline at (866) 623-2137 or visit www.attorneygeneral.gov.

The Attorney General’s Elder Abuse Unit investigates and prosecutes those who would cheat, deceive or abuse older Pennsylvanians.

This article was written by Howard Sheppard for Fox43 News.

A safe place for abused seniors

Thursday February 12th 2015

Senior citizens who become the victims of abuse now have access to a special, temporary shelter through a new program run by a Rockville-based organization that provides housing and services for seniors.

The ElderSAFE Center, established within the Charles E. Smith Life Communities in September 2014, offers “a full panoply” of senior-focused medical services that other shelters might not be able to provide, said Tovah Kasdin, a former prosecutor who is now the director of the center.

An inaugural celebration for the center was held Jan. 28.

The abuse encountered by seniors can be physical, psychological, sexual or even financial, Kasdin, said. Read more »

Pittsburgh woman accused of swindling more than $13,000 from elderly aunt

Thursday February 12th 2015

A Pittsburgh woman accused of using her power of attorney to swindle more than $13,000 from her elderly aunt surrendered Tuesday in Pittsburgh Municipal Court.  Stacey Bright, 52, was charged Feb. 6 with misuse of entrusted property and theft by unlawful taking after the district attorney’s office received a tip from Department of Aging investigator Carol Catanzaro.
According to the criminal complaint, Bright’s aunt, Julie Bright, suffered a stroke in her San Francisco home in 2011. She had given her power of attorney to Stacey Bright, who moved her aunt to her North Side home in April 2013.   From Sept. 1, 2013 until now, Julie Bright has been in three different assisted-care homes, according to the complaint. Catanzaro told police she obtained copies of Julie Bright’s bank records — still held in San Francisco — and found various debit card purchases that did not appear to be for her, according to the complaint. In addition, several large checks were made payable to Stacey Bright.
Court papers listed no attorney for Bright. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Feb. 18.
This article was written by Megan Guza for TribLive.com

Senate Special Committee on Aging Hearing

Thursday February 5th 2015

The Senate Special Committee on Aging held a hearing on financial exploitation of vulnerable older adults on Wednesday, February 4. The hearing is titled, “Broken Trust:  Combating Financial Exploitation of Vulnerable Seniors.”

Present at the hearing was: U.S. Senator Susan M. Collins (Maine); U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (Missouri); Judith Shaw, Securities Administrator of Maine and president-elect of the North American Securities Administrators Association; Kathleen Quinn, Executive Director of the National Adult Protective Services Association; and Page Ulrey, Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, Elder Abuse team, King County, Washington.

View the taped hearing on C-Span.org.

Chambersburg woman pleads no contest in death of mother

Thursday February 5th 2015

CHAMBERSBURG >> A Chambersburg woman pleaded no contest Wednesday to involuntary manslaughter for allegedly criminally neglecting her mother Harriett Wolfe, resulting in her death.

Linda R. Brown, 61, entered the plea agreement to the first degree misdemeanor charge to Franklin County judge Jeremiah D. Zook, a change from her original charge of first degree felony neglect of a care-dependant person. An additional misdemeanor level charge by the same name was withdrawn. The agreement states that Brown acknowledges prosecutors have enough evidence to prove guilt.

According to court documents, Wolfe was living with her daughter Brown in May 2013 when the first complaint was filed. Wolfe had been living there for around three and a half years.

On March 13, 2013 a Comfort Keepers employee who was taking care of the bedridden Wolfe once a week said she told Brown that her mother was developing bed sores on her hips and heels. The employee told Brown that she should take her mother to the doctor.

The employee reported that the bed sores started to get bigger and deeper. She told investigators she noticed Wolfe had lost so much weight that her dentures did not fit properly, according to court documents. The employee reported that she would try to find soft food to feed Wolfe, but it was hard to find in the home. The employee said that Brown was still attempting to give her mother chicken and steak, but if her mother could not eat those options Brown would not feed her anything else.

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Engaging, Motivating and Retaining Staff

Wednesday February 4th 2015

This course will provide Personal Care Home Administrators with ways of maintaining and sustaining quality staff and providing quality resident care, the goal of every home.  It will explore current and best practices for personnel management and performance development. Chris Dubble, Director of the Institute on Protective Services, will be the instructor for this training.


SPRING 2015 Locations and Dates:

Wilkes-Barre     April 30, 2015 (Thursday)

Altoona             May 7, 2015 (Thursday)

Williamsport      May 22, 2015 (Friday)

Mars                 May 28, 2015 (Thursday)

Meadville           May 29, 2015 (Friday)

Harrisburg          June 1, 2015 (Monday)

Ft. Washington  June 4, 2015 (Thursday)

Philadelphia       June 25, 2015 (Thursday)


A new registration site has been implemented.  To register for this training, please click on the Registration link below.  New users will be prompted to create a User Profile.  This only takes a few minutes, and users will be able to track their training courses moving forward.

Registering for training basic steps:

o   Visit IPS registration page and “add to cart” the section that is in your area

o    Click “checkout”

o   Create an account if you are a new user

o   Finalize the checkout

To register for this course, Register Here 

2nd Pa. Atty Disbarred Over Role In Annuities Scheme

Monday January 26th 2015

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Friday disbarred a second attorney involved in a scheme to aggressively market living trusts to senior citizens using nonattorneys, who allegedly sold the legal services based on exaggerations and misrepresentations.

The order against Barry O. Bohmueller comes on the heels of the disbarment of his alleged partner in the scheme and law school classmate, Brett Weinstein. A five-judge panel voted 3-2 to disbar Bohmueller on Friday, with the two dissenters recommending a five-year suspension.

Sales pitches included false claims that a living trust-based plan was superior to a will-based plan. In one case, a nonattorney salesperson told a client that a will-based plan would end up incurring some $70,000 in court costs for a $700,000 estate, when in fact, the figure would have been closer to $700.

“Not only did he fail to communicate with his clients about the representation and the clients’ objectives, he allowed the nonlawyer agents to step into his role and counsel and advise his clients without his presence or oversight,” the court’s disciplinary board said in a recommendation to disbar Bohmueller.

The recommendation said Bohmueller and Weinstein had used nonlawyer agents who worked for various estate planning companies to sell policies. The agents would visit potential clients, who were usually senior citizens identified through advertisements, seminars or cold calls.
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New England financial advisor admits he stole $645,000 from elderly

Tuesday January 20th 2015

BOSTON (WGME) – A New England financial advisor is going to prison for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from his clients.

“It’s taken me awhile to get myself back on my feet. I’m still not on my feet,” fraud victim Dorothy Kerzner said.  Kerzner has a hard time accepting she lost more than $250,000 to a man she trusted with her investments.  “I had confidence in him. He came to my house. I went to his house,” she said.

She considered John Babiarz her financial advisor and a friend. He was her advisor for many years until an investigator came to her door to tell her a significant portion of her life savings was gone.  Babiarz told Kerzner he was liquidating some of her investments to purchase Facebook stock for her portfolio. Instead, he used that money to purchase a new home for his family — in cash.

“I could not get Dorothy to understand what had happened to the bulk of her life savings until I showed her a copy of the check and on the reverse of the check and she saw her endorsement and then the deposit stamp of that deposit going into an attorney account. That’s the time she realized she was defrauded,” postal inspector Fred Busch said.

Dorothy was not alone. Seven victims lost about $650,000 dollars in just 12 months.
Read more »

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