Senate Special Committee on Aging Hearing

Thursday February 5th 2015
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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
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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 An additional misdemeanor level charge by the same name was withdrawn.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
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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
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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
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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.
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No contest plea in neglect case

Thursday January 15th 2015
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SUNBURY – A Mount Carmel man pleaded no contest Monday to three criminal charges for neglecting his elderly mother and forging her pension checks totaling more $1,150.

Joseph Francis Campbell, 57, entered the plea to felonies of neglect of a care-dependent person and forgery, and a misdemeanor of recklessly endangering another person on the day a jury was being selected for his trial that was scheduled for Jan. 29.  Additional charges were not prosecuted under a plea agreement with the district attorney’s office.

Northumberland County Judge Charles Saylor ordered a pre-sentence investigation.  The judge will sentence Campbell within 90 days.  Saylor proposed a sentence of 22 to 44 months in a state correctional institution followed by probation.

Campbell, who was represented by public defender Paige Rosini, was charged by Mount Carmel Cpl. David Donkochik with eight felony counts of forgery for allegedly forging and cashing eight pension checks belonging to his mother, Rose Marcoon, 86, between Aug. 5 and Nov. 4, 2013. Some of the checks were forged after Marcoon was hospitalized, police said.

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Couple pleads guilty to fatally neglecting 70-year-old stroke victim

Monday January 5th 2015
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A Ross Township couple is awaiting sentencing after entering guilty pleas Friday to third-degree murder for fatally neglecting a 70-year-old stroke victim left in their care.

John Tedesco, 45, and Tina Tedesco, 38, each face 12 to 40 years in state prison in the 2011 death of Barbara Rabins, 70. The couple entered guilty pleas to third-degree murder in exchange for other charges against them being dropped.

Had they instead gone to trial and been convicted by a jury, each would have faced a minimum of 20 years in prison, a higher minimum within the state sentencing range guidelines for this particular crime. But since both agreed to plead guilty, part of the deal is for each to face a lesser minimum within the sentencing range guidelines.

Though the couple has entered guilty pleas, Monroe County Court Judge Art Zulick will decide whether to accept their pleas after reviewing pre-sentencing investigation reports, which contain information about the defendants and their case to help the judge determine how severe to make the sentences under state guidelines. If Zulick for whatever reason denies either or both pleas, either or both defendants will go to trial.

On Aug. 18, 2011, Rabins’ body was found in the Tedescos’ living room. Rabins was in a wheelchair, wearing a soiled diaper with her body covered in sores and open wounds and her hands and fingernails caked with her own feces, according to last year’s preliminary hearing testimony and autopsy photos.

The Tedescos left Rabins — who was partially paralyzed with limited ability to move around — unkempt, unwashed and in her own filth. She died from dehydration while choking on a 2-inch piece of cheese found in her throat, county Deputy Coroner Cindy Skrzypek said.

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Gambling addicted bank manager gets federal prison for stealing from elderly customers

Monday January 5th 2015
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HARRISBURG – Former bank manager Tiffany K. Look was visibly distraught even before a federal judge walked into the courtroom Monday morning.

She had reason to be.

Moments later, U.S. Middle District Judge John E. Jones III sentenced Look, 40, of Harrisburg, to 2 years in federal prison for stealing nearly $140,000 from elderly customers.

Look’s lawyer, A. Mark Winter, said she committed the crimes while in the grip of a gambling addiction.

“At the end of the day, I knew right from wrong. And I chose wrong,” a tearful and apologetic Look told the judge. “I have no excuses.”

“This is the most virulent gambling addiction I’ve ever seen,” Jones said. “This is a fairly audacious and almost inexplicable crime. I guess the casinos pulled you down.”

Look’s sentencing came seven months after federal authorities charged her with stealing from four customers of Mid Penn Bank and Members 1st Federal Credit Union between 2007 and 2013. She was a manager at Members 1st’s Camp Hill branch when the crimes were discovered in late 2013.

Look pleaded guilty to a federal mail fraud charge.

Two of her victims were homebound with medical problems. Look also stole from the account of a customer who died from cancer in his mid-50s.

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N.H. elder abuse law meant to protect elderly from exploitation by ‘people they trust’

Friday December 19th 2014
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Lawmakers and advocates are hopeful a new law set to take effect Jan. 1 will help protect the state’s elderly and disabled populations from financial exploitation.Each year nearly $3 billion is lost nationally through abuse of elderly victims, said Concord Rep. Katherine Rogers, a prime sponsor of the bill that Gov. Maggie Hassan signed this year.
The new law makes financial abuse of elderly, disabled or otherwise impaired adults a crime, and it will authorize law enforcement to investigate such activity when accusations are made.  “Prior to this, they would say it’s a family matter,” said Susan Staples, who coordinates an elder financial abuse community response team. “With the new statute, it’s easier to investigate and prosecute.”
The law isn’t geared toward scams, Staples said, but rather financial abuse committed by a family member, caretaker or a person known by the victim, which makes up two-thirds of this type of crime. “We’re concerned about exploitation by people they trust,” Staples said.Officials warned that financial abuse picks up during this time of year, and they urged people to contact their banks or financial advisors if they suspect any crime is being committed.
This article was written for and published in the Concord Monitor.

Guilty plea in scam that left World War II veteran homeless in South Phila

Wednesday December 17th 2014
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Ray White, a 90-year-old World War II veteran, was left homeless after befriending a con man who systematically scammed him out of his South Philadelphia house, vintage Bentley and Cadillac, and everything else he valued.

On Tuesday, 61-year-old Melvin McIlwaine pleaded guilty to cheating White of his worldly possessions, clearing the way for the retiree who served in the Battle of the Bulge to put his life back together.

The guilty plea came at “the eleventh hour,” just as jury selection was about to begin for McIlwaine’s criminal fraud trial, said Assistant District Attorney Deborah Cooper Nixon.

McIlwaine was able to delay his trial by complaining about illnesses that Nixon said were just a continuation of his deceptions. This was McIlwaine’s last opportunity to plead guilty.

“When it was time to face the music, there was nobody to con except the judge and jury,” Nixon said. “He wasn’t prepared to do that.”

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