Fall 2013 Protective Services Basic Training

Monday August 12th 2013
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Fall 2013 Protective Services Basic Training

October 22nd to 25th, we are offering Protective Services Basic Training in State College.

This 3 ½ day course is the mandatory training for staff that will conduct protective service investigations. The training is focused on the basic knowledge and tools that AAA staff need to know to conduct thorough and comprehensive investigations. Training modules are based on OAPSA and related regulations. Participants must complete all 3 ½ days of training.

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Elder Abuse: Allegations of Financial Exploitation

Monday August 12th 2013
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PRESS RELEASE:  District Attorney Stefanie J. Salavantis has announced that the Dallas Borough Police  Department and the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office, with the assistance of Pennsylvania Department of Aging, Luzerne/Wyoming Counties Area Agency on Aging and the Institute on Protective Services at Temple University, have made the arrest of Sharon Mae Jacobosky on three counts of theft by failure to make required disposition of funds required.

Ms. Jacobosky was arraigned today at the Office of District Justice James Tupper, receiving a  $5,000.00 cash bail and has since been incarcerated at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility. An investigation commenced after Dallas Borough Chief James Drury received a complaint that  Ms. Jacobosky, who was the caregiver and Power-of-Attorney for Clemetine Moseman, was  removing funds for her own personal benefit.  A forensic audit was performed by the Institute on Protective Services at Temple University on all accounts belonging to Ms. Moseman and Pamela Wehrenberg, Ms. Moseman’s disabled daughter, to determine if funds were stolen.  The audit found evidence that Ms. Jacobosky received $258,538.30 of Ms. Moseman’s funds between January 1, 2009 and November 4, 2011.

The preliminary hearing has been scheduled for August 22, 2013 at 9:30 a.m. at the office of  District Justice Tupper.

District Attorney Salavantis stated, “An overwhelming number of cases of elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation go undetected each year.  Unfortunately, some of these vulnerable adults are abused by family members, service providers and caregivers as seen by today’s arrest of Ms. Jacobosky.  If you know of an elder whom you believe may be the victim of abuse, please call Luzerne/Wyoming Counties Area Agency on Aging at (800) 252-1512 or the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office at (570) 825-1674.”

Nephew stole 93-year-old’s life savings

Monday August 12th 2013
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A Pen Argyl man is charged with 17 counts of theft and related crimes for depleting the life savings of his 93-year-old uncle by using power of attorney and converting property and money for his personal use, according to the Lehigh County’s District Attorney’s Office.

Scott Lee Bartholomew, 52 of the 100 block of Acker Street, is accused of stealing more than $200,000 from his uncle, Wilbur B. Stiles, authorities said. The crimes happened from January 2006 to June 2012, the district attorney’s office said.  Because he lost his home to foreclosure and his life savings, police said, Stiles is living in a veterans center in the Scranton, Pa., area.

Bartholomew is being held in Lehigh County Prison in lieu of 10 percent of $200,000 bail.

An investigation by South Whitehall Township police, with help from the Institute for Protective Services at Temple University, alleged that a minimum of $217,498 had been diverted from Stiles to Bartholomew, authorities said.  According to an affidavit filed by South Whitehall police Sgt. Michael A. Sorrentino, Sorrentino conducted numerous interviews with agencies and individuals since December 2012 when investigators learned Bartholomew was acting with power of attorney for Stiles.  Read more »

Cellphone video prompts Action News investigation into elder abuse

Thursday August 8th 2013
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GLASSPORT, Pa. —One in 10 older people will likely be abused this year — that’s more than 4 million people.

But in the media and society, elder abuse often goes unnoticed and is underreported.

With the help of a viewer who shared his evidence, a Channel 4 Action News investigation hopes to expose an old problem in Pennsylvania that’s expected to get worse with age. Thomas Spradlin contacted WTAE for help after he captured cellphone video of an elderly woman who was slapped in the back of the head by her daughter at the Glassport Diner. He turned the video over to the Department of Human Services, but he wanted to make sure they pursued an investigation.

“I just wasn’t satisfied with them saying they were going to send an investigator,” Spradlin said.  Then he called Channel 4 Action News to help keep tabs on the case.  He said he captured the abuse at the diner several weeks ago after he noticed disturbing behavior.  “I saw her get up once and actually slap her (the elder woman’s) hand and was yelling at her because she was lifting a fork to her mouth without food on it, and after that, I started to tape it on my phone. I mean, it was just disgusting,” said Spradlin.  During his seven-minute clip, other eyebrow-raising behavior can be seen. You can’t hear the pair’s conversation, but Spradlin said others wouldn’t want too.  “She was saying ‘you’re (expletive) me off’ and I heard ‘you stupid (expletive).’ Basically, stuff like that, yelling at her like she was a child or something,” said Spradlin.  Diner staff members Channel 4 Action News spoke to would not go on camera, but they said the mother has been abused by her daughter at the same table, on and off, for at least 10 years.  Spradlin said there were four other people at the diner. While he regrets not speaking up during the abuse, he did not stay quiet afterwards and filed a report with the county.

Donald Grant, with Allegheny County’s Department of Human Services, said elder abuse is on the rise, with the victims age 60 and older. The abuse can take several forms, including neglect, financial exploitation and physical harm. Channel 4 showed him Spradlin’s cellphone video. Read more »

Officials spell out threat to elderly

Friday August 2nd 2013
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DALLAS TWP. — Beware of a S.C.A.M.

That was the message for seniors and their caregivers Monday as state Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane, area legislators and members of the Elder Abuse Task Force of Luzerne and Wyoming Counties gathered at Misericordia University to discuss strategies for preventing older people from becoming the victims of abuse, including scams to separate them from their money.

Advocates have turned the word “scam” into an acronym to underscore the key points for seniors to watch for whenever they are presented with a deal that sounds too good to be true: “sudden,” “contact,” “act immediately” and “money.”

“The number-one type we see is the sweepstakes or lottery scam,” said Kane spokeswoman Carolyn E. Myers, describing solicitations in which seniors are asked to submit money or account information to claim some kind of cash prize.

“The bottom line is, as quickly as we shut one down, another one pops up,” added state Rep. Phyllis Mundy, D-Kingston. “People are immensely creative in terms of how they try to bilk other people out of the money they’ve saved.”

Trula Hollywood, executive director of the Area Agency on Aging for Luzerne and Wyoming Counties, agreed.  “They are very prevalent. Scams can show up in people’s mail boxes several times a week,” Hollywood said. Read more »

Marple woman charged in theft of $137,000 from 86-year-old woman

Monday July 22nd 2013
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A Marple woman accused of stealing more than $137,000 from an 86-year-old family friend allegedly told the senior victim that she needed the money to cover her husband’s medical expenses.  In reality, Madeline J. Guglielmo allegedly used the ill-gotten money for shopping sprees at Coach, Nordstrom, Victoria’s Secret and several other places, none providing health care services, authorities said.

As a result of the fraud, authorities say the unwitting senior victim suffered a financial loss totaling $137,302.31.

Charged Friday with felony theft and related offenses, Guglielmo, 51, of the 2500 block of Franklin Avenue in Broomall, was remanded to the county prison in lieu of posting 10 percent of $10,000 bail, according to online court documents.

“I want to commend the detectives who work diligently to protect our elderly residents from being victimized,” Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan said in announcing Guglielmo’s arrest. “We consider crimes against seniors especially heinous because they are our more vulnerable residents and we prosecute those who commit these terrible crimes to the fullest extent of the law.”

Guglielmo’s arrest capped a month-long investigation by Detective Michele Deery, assisted by Detectives Matthew Cresta and Anthony Ruggieri, all members of the Delaware County Criminal Investigation Division’s Senior Exploitation Unit. The probe was initiated after Deery received a call on June 4 from a representative from the Newtown Square branch of Customers Bank, reporting a possible theft. Read more »

Man arrested after elderly men found in squalid Texas home

Monday July 22nd 2013
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The 31-year-old grandson of the owner of a house in Houston was arrested and charged Saturday after police discovered four malnourished men locked in a garage that investigators say was turned into a prison with no bathroom or beds.  Walter Renard Jones is charged with injury to the elderly by act and injury to the elderly by omission., according to police.  Investigators believe Jones used an old garage in north Houston to imprison the men in deplorable conditions. The garage had no beds or bathrooms and had only minimal furniture, police said.

“They apparently were given scraps to eat, very little food was provided to them, they didn’t have access to a restroom,” said Jodi Silva, a spokeswoman for the Houston Police Department.

While in captivity, the men said Jones stole their social security and veterans benefits checks. Read more »

Couple charged in death of older woman, misused victim’s trust fund

Monday July 15th 2013
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When John and Tina Tedesco moved into a picturesque home in a rural Monroe County neighborhood seven years ago, they took in an older woman John Tedesco met while managing an apartment complex where she lived.

According to Tedesco, helping Barbara Ellen Rabins became “difficult” after she suffered a stroke in 2010 that had her in and out of care facilities. Twice, court records say, the Tedescos took Rabins out of a facility against the recommendation of doctors. John Tedesco maintained Rabins could no longer afford to pay for it because of an issue with her medical insurance, the records say.

While under the Tedescos’ care, Rabins’ health continued to deteriorate. When she died in August 2011 at age 70, she had lost more than 100 pounds in less than a year and was wearing an adult diaper stained with urine, feces and blood, the court records say. She had numerous bed sores and died from a combination of dehydration and choking on her own vomit, authorities said.
Almost two years after her death, police have charged John and Tina Tedesco with third-degree murder, alleging they neglected her to the point of killing her. Authorities also said they stole more than $110,000 from Rabins’ trust fund and an unspecified amount from her $1,300-a-month Social Security payment.

The couple’s “prolonged denial” of adequate nutrition and professional care led to Rabins’ death, according to court records filed Tuesday against the Tedescos. Read more »

Financial Advisor Faces Charges for Stealing $120K from Client

Friday July 12th 2013
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HOUTZDALE – Charges have been filed against a financial advisor from Ramey for allegedly taking $120,000 from a client’s annuity and depositing it into his business account in October of 2010, according to the office of Magisterial District Judge James Hawkins.

Frank Charles Stewart, 47, of Ramey has been charged with forgery/ unauthorized act in writing, three counts; forgery/utters forged writing, three counts; theft by unlawful taking; theft by deception; receiving stolen property; and access device issued to another person who didn’t authorize use. Stewart’s preliminary hearing has been scheduled for 11:45 a.m. July 24 at the Clearfield County Jail.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, on Oct. 26, 2010, Stewart deposited a check into his business account that belonged to the victim. The check was from an annuity that the victim had invested in through Stewart’s business, Best Financial. Stewart also forged the victim’s signature on documents to obtain the check from Sun Life Financial.

As of July 3, the date charges were filed, Stewart had not paid the victim. He had taken $120,000 out of the annuity, the affidavit states.

The Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging Inc. obtained several documents. The primary focus has been on a CNB Check, a policy/contract receipt, a handwritten note by Stewart on Oct. 25, 2010, an annuity withdrawal form and a check from Sun Life Financial, the affidavit states. Read more »

No Higher Calling — Representing Victims of Financial Exploitation

Monday July 8th 2013
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Elder abuse cases often highlight the reality that the same frailties and vulnerabilities that make older clients easy victims also make them imperfect witnesses and poor advocates for their cause. Despite the difficulties and resource demands that financial exploitation cases involving the elderly present, there are no cases where a legal aid provider such as ours, Legal Services for the Elderly (LSE) in Maine, believes we are more clearly discharging our duties as advocates for our vulnerable elderly clients. Dogged pursuit of, and repeated success in, these civil cases is just one among the many actions that must be taken to rid our society of elder abuse. Read more »

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