Police: Family members bilked elderly parents out of $697,000

Wednesday November 20th 2013
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A Pike County man and his wife will be tried for allegedly bilking her elderly parents — who were living in Lancaster County — out of nearly $700,000. District Judge Rodney Hartman ordered John and Sue Fisher to stand trial on three counts of felony theft and related charges after a preliminary hearing Friday.

Northern Lancaster Regional police allege the Fishers tricked Sue’s elderly father, Robert Hoover, into signing a document in 2009 that granted them power of transfer. The Fishers then transferred $697,000 from the Hoovers’ bank account into their own, according to police.

Robert and Dorothy Hoover had no access to that account, according to First Assistant District Attorney Megan King, lead prosecutor. Robert Hoover was told the document had been sent from his bank and required a signature, police allege. Read more »

Homer City woman accused of $182K theft from mother

Monday November 4th 2013
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A Homer City woman allegedly stole more than $182,000 from her 73-year-old mother in Indiana by liquidating her $125,000 life insurance policy and taking money from her monthly Social Security and black lung benefits checks, state police said.  Kimberly Lynn Fulton, 48, allegedly stole the money from October 2008 to last February by altering her mother’s power-of-attorney documents to exclude her siblings from involvement in their mother’s finances and to take control of her financial records, police said.

Fulton was charged on Thursday with felony counts of theft, theft by deception and theft by failure to make required disposition of funds, plus a misdemeanor count of tampering with records.  Police allege that Fulton cashed the $125,000 life insurance policy and deposited the money into her own bank accounts. Read more »

To Combat Elder Abuse, Doormen Are Enlisted to Keep a Watchful Eye

Friday October 25th 2013
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Michael Marlow, a doorman at the Gracie Mews apartment building on the Upper East Side, does a lot more than just open doors for residents. He unscrews their jar lids, runs to the store for apple juice, listens to their complaints about spouses and children, and even reaches into his own pocket to lend a couple of dollars for cab fare.

Joy Solomon, director and managing attorney of the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Center for Elder Abuse Prevention, held a training session for doormen from several Manhattan buildings.

Now the amiable doorman’s ever-expanding job will include one more task: looking out for abuse of elderly residents. “We see everybody coming in and out,” said Mr. Marlow, 54, who has worked at Gracie Mews for 15 years. “If something’s wrong, we would notice.”

Mr. Marlow and his co-workers at Gracie Mews, a full-service building where the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $3,500, are part of a new program that aims to use the existing human infrastructure of city living to keep a closer eye on the elderly.

The program, which was developed by the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Center for Elder Abuse Prevention at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale, offers free on-site training and assistance to doormen, concierges, porters and other building staff across New York City. Read more »

Australian woman’s death reveals horrors of elder abuse

Tuesday October 22nd 2013
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Click here to read this important story by the Associated Press as published in USA Today.

Montco conference studies elder abuse

Monday October 21st 2013
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CONSHOHOCKEN It’s a frigid January day when a neighbor calls police after seeing an 82-year-old friend outside without a coat. Officers help the elderly woman back into her home, where they find bone-thin cats amid scatterings of kitty litter, garbage, and piles of paper. No relatives can be located to come and support their kin.

What would you do?

That was one of the case studies based on real incidents presented to panelists Friday at a conference looking at ways to prevent elderly abuse.

The conference was organized by the Montgomery County Elder Access to Justice Roundtable, which meets monthly so representatives from government and community organizations can swap information and ideas. About 130 professionals who work with the county’s elderly population signed up for the daylong gathering at the county’s fire academy in Conshohocken. The conference was a first, and organizers hope to hold it again. “One of the biggest things we noticed was there was a need to get the word out to people who work with the elderly” about how to identify and respond to such abuse, said conference coordinator Betty-Ann Izenman. Read more »

Choosing Home for Someone Else: Guardian Decisions on Long-Term Services and Supports

Friday October 18th 2013
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On October 16, the AARP Public Policy Institute released a report presenting findings from an in-depth study of how professional guardians make decisions about where incapacitated adults live.

The report, entitled Choosing Home for Someone Else: Guardian Decisions on Long-Term Services and Supports (Karp, N. & Wood, E.), includes original research on where people under guardianship live, how guardians make residential decisions, and how they seek to balance independence and perceived risk, often in the face of restricted options.  The report includes recommendations bearing on effective, person-centered guardian residential decisions.

Guardians are responsible for society’s most vulnerable at-risk adults.  One of their most important decisions is where the incapacitated person will live: in a personal residence, the community or a nursing facility.  Their choices are limited by the options available particularly as budget cutbacks have impacted home and community based services. At the same time, guardians’ consent may be necessary to make long-term services and supports function as they should.

Access the full report here through the AARP Website.

Caretaker pleads no contest in Pa. dementia death

Tuesday October 15th 2013
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HUNTINGDON – The caretaker of a Huntingdon County personal care home on Thursday entered a no-contest plea to a charge of involuntary manslaughter stemming from the death of a 70-year-old resident who drowned nearly a year ago.

Huntingdon District Attorney George Zanic said Connie Ann Souders, 63, could be sentenced to a short jail term, noting the charge of involuntary manslaughter is a misdemeanor. “The guidelines call for a jail ,” Zanic said. But, Zanic said the important thing to law enforcement – the underlying message – is that those who are operating personal care homes should make sure they have the facility and the staff to care for their residents.

The woman who died, Sally Jean Fultz, 70, was blind and suffering from dementia while living at the Sleepy Hollow Personal Care Center in Tell Township. Fultz, who had fallen into a creek about 100 yards from the home and drowned, was found by a neighbor.The incident occurred Oct. 24, 2012.

Zanic said that Souders did nothing in an intentional manner that led to Fultz’s death, but negligence was a factor. The plea that was presented to Judge Stewart Kurtz did not specify what Souders’ sentence would be. She entered what is called an “open plea” and will appear Dec. 5 before Kurtz for sentencing.

The Huntingdon District Attorney said that the personal care home accepted Fultz as a resident after another home didn’t believe it could care for her. He said also that the home was not supposed to be accepting new residents because of violations.

This article was written by Phil Ray for the Altoona Mirror.

Daughter admits letting mother die; sentenced to 6-12 years in prison on third-degree murder charge

Monday October 14th 2013
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Daughter admits letting mother die; sentenced to 6-12 years in prison on third-degree murder charge

Janice Harmes told a county judge her crime was her desire to fulfill her mother’s final request.

“I should have gone against my mother’s wishes,” Harmes said last week in Lancaster County Court.

Instead, according to testimony, Harmes took Janet Bastendorf’s cellphone — the bedridden 88-year-old woman’s lifeline. And then left her to die. After 10 days without food, water, a bath or change of clothes, Bastendorf died Jan. 6 of an infection.

Harmes, who pleaded no contest Thursday to third-degree murder, said that’s what her mother, who lived in East Lampeter Township, wanted — to die in her own house, not a hospital. “Mom and I had an understanding,” Harmes, 67, said. “I made a mistake and listened to her.”

Lancaster County Judge James Cullen, however, wasn’t buying it. “This may be a lot of things,” Cullen said, while ordering a 6- to 12-year state prison sentence, “but a mistake is not one of them. “You don’t leave another human being to die in these circumstances, then try to say that’s what she wanted.” Cullen scolded Harmes, Bastendorf’s primary caregiver, for not taking the woman to a hospital or a hospice. “It’s inexcusable and reprehensible,” the judge said while numerous relatives listened from the courtroom gallery. Cullen said he accepted the plea agreement only to spare the grieving family from sitting through a trial. Read more »

Wesleyville man charged with stealing from elderly woman

Monday October 14th 2013
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Investigators said an elderly woman lost thousands of dollars and her car in a series of thefts that they say a Wesleyville man committed over a nine-month period. David A. Burrows, 52, is accused of stealing a total of $25,235.66 from the 90-year-old woman and of taking and selling her 1990 Toyota Camry for $2,500 between Oct. 10 and July 25, according to a criminal complaint filed Tuesday by Erie County Detective Jon Reddinger.  Burrows is not related to the woman, investigators said Wednesday.

Investigators charged that Burrows took a $9,334.61 check from the woman after she closed her bank account in October 2012, deposited the check in his bank account and wrote checks to himself and to his business, according to the affidavit of probable cause that was filed with the charges. A report about the matter was reported to the Greater Erie Community Action Committee’s Adult Protective Services later that month, according to the affidavit. Read more »

There’s help for seniors being abused

Monday October 14th 2013
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MERCER COUNTY — An elderly woman is dropped off at a senior center in a horrible state – starving and emaciated. Her grandson said she ran out of money and he couldn’t pay the rent. Turns out he spent $86,000 of her money on drugs and other amenities for himself.

“This is not an untypical case for us,” Mercer County District Attorney Robert G. Kochems said. It was just one example Kochems used Monday to illustrate the horrors of elder abuse in the county. “She said it was OK because he takes care of her,” Kochems said.

Through a state grant, AWARE Inc. of Mercer County was able to team up with the district attorney’s office and the Area Agency on Aging for the past three years to fight elder abuse. The agencies’ mission is to create awareness with the public, and help seniors in need. Read more »

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