THE TRAGEDY OF GUARDIANSHIP FRAUD
Legislation needed to fight Elder Abuse and
2014 Compiled and Written by Michael Larsen and Anthony Domanico
As we consider all of our blessings living in the United States, one of the greatest is our civil rights. We’re witnessing a disenfranchisement of those rights through legal manipulation, over medication and isolation that perhaps can be lessened through legislation.
Improved legislation in behalf of alleged vulnerable adults and guardianship reform is needed. Currently, the supervisory boards in many states are for-profit guardianship firms that write the regulations that legislators apply towards sanctions against guardianship firms, courts, and attorneys who all may financially benefit from guardianship fraud.
Guardianship fraud is a multi-billion dollar industry often carried out by the legal system affecting the lives of approximately 5 million seniors a year.
Under court ordered guardianship in most states, the alleged vulnerable adult loses all civil rights and essentially faces civil death. They cannot vote, marry, contract, divorce, decide where they live, what medical care they can get, what drugs they can take or refuse to take and even if or when they will die. All of these decisions are assigned to a stranger in most cases who will run the person’s life. The alleged vulnerable adult looses complete control of their money and property. Current laws in some states pronounce that a death certificate of a person declared an alleged vulnerable adult can only state the death is by natural cause.
An example as reported in The Seattle Times is a matter regarding Guardian Services of Seattle (GSS), the largest for-profit guardianship firm in Washington. They obtained $82 million when a client with severe bi-polar was pronounced to have a “sound mind” by the GSS psychiatrist so that he could change his will leaving all his estate to a GSS foundation. He died unexpectedly at the age of 52. His death announcement was not posted in the newspaper; the family sued, and GSS settled out-of-court.
GSS is also recognized by the National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse in the Stamm v. Guardianship Services of Seattle – Reply Brief of attorney Margaret Dore. Ms. Dore stated in her brief: It is undisputed that GSS submitted a false statement under oath to obtain the discharge of Mr. Stamm’s attorney. In Kuvara, the attorney who engaged in similar conduct was disbarred. GSS committed other breaches of duty, many of which are established as a matter of law. GSS’s fees should be disallowed in their entirety. Otherwise, the wrong message will be sent. Ms. Dore was able to get Mr. Stamm released from guardianship.
This case is noted because no sanctions were brought against GSS. Commissioner Velategui who hears most of the cases for GSS has himself been written up by The Seattle Times and in numerous Internet articles. One especially notable article is entitled “A Horrifying Thought, Junk Justice and Judicial Serpents” and states: The victims of this judicial sham have done as I’ve done – reported the judicial malfeasance to the commissions required to monitor the judiciary, asked the Attorney General’s office to investigate this court supported crime, reported to the ACLU, to AARP, the Adult Protective Service of DSHS, the police – all with the same result- nothing.
The Seattle Times noted in articles that Commissioner Velategui sealed many of his guardianship cases that were related to apparent misconduct such as noted in the above article by Dr. Woodhull. In one guardianship case the wife brought a case against her husband’s trusted friends. A GAL was called because the attorney told the court in a petition against the friends that her husband had been diagnosed with dementia several years earlier. At the hearing the attorney told Commissioner Velategui that the actual base-line neuropsychological evaluation had been done the day prior to the hearing and wasn’t available. Instead of dismissing the case, Commissioner Velategui ordered a GAL to intervene. This same alleged vulnerable adult had filed for divorce from his wife and inherited a substantial fortune. It can only be guessed that because the GAL realized the circumstances, she recommended that he retain the right to vote, which she stated on the front of her report. The wife was given full rights to her husband by GSS, she kept visitors from seeing him, and her husband’s filing for a divorce was canceled by GSS.
Additionally, the commissioner imposed a gag order on the friends who tried to help that limited them from going to law enforcement or government agencies.
During the year following this man’s guardianship with GSS, both the attorney for GSS and the director of GSS made false statements to the guardianship court to obtain the release of confidential papers sent to Adult Protective Services by a nurse who reviewed his neuropsychological exam and thought it was highly suspicious since there was no input by his physician, and the information about his condition was stated as inconclusive. Commissioner Velategui sealed the file. GSS went after the nurse’s license to attempt to get it revoked for giving an opinion regarding the neuropsychological exam and for writing to authorities about her concerns. Because so many friends inquired about this alleged vulnerable adult’s well-being, the wife changed the locks on the door and changed the phone to an unlisted number.
It is hoped these examples indicate that in order to curtail this multi-billion dollar fraud against innocent Americans, there needs to be changes in legislation that better regulates the guardianship growth industry. Some states have already turned to CASA volunteers who do not financially profit from their investigation as a means of curtailing guardianship abuse. Since the supervisory boards in many states are for-profit guardianship firms that write the regulations, the supervisory boards need to be comprised of other agencies to safe-guard civil rights. Remember the life you safeguard may be yours or that of a loved one down the road.
In another article from the National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse, it states:
Once an appointment of a professional guardian has been made, the family can be completely excluded from the ward’s life. Worse, if there can be a worse, the ward is completely at the mercy of the guardian for better or for worse.
People who don’t understand the harm isolation can do, should spend a couple of months alone in a room with no stimulation and the only human contact (and brief words exchanged) being when someone brings a meal and picks up the tray. That experiment will give you a taste of what many under guardianship go through and what you may on day be looking forward to, if the laws are not changed.
Sequel to Barbarians at the Gate
National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse: The Trial Lawyers Association: Holding Our Courts Hostage, State of Washington : “They have enough hand-picked lawyers on the Bar Associations, in the legislature, in judicial positions and on various commissions, boards and other influential positions to control the corrupt courts we are forced to endure.
Should a citizen ‘file a complaint’ that complaint is heard by the very ‘lawyers’ that are responsible for the nature of the complaint. In other words, lawyers set the rules, interpret the rules, administer the rules, and impose penalties if they feel the rules have been broken.”
As it turns out, even attorneys cannot file a complaint in some areas where there are a large number of corrupt officials.
Activist attorney's license cancelled after exposing court's 'elder cleansing' corruption
(INTELLIHUB) – In yet another legal maneuver to shut down dissent, the attorney disciplinary board in the State of Illinois has suspended Chicago-based activist attorney Kenneth Ditkowsky’s license to practice law for four years, following a hearing where Ditkowsky’s right to speak out against corruption in the courts featured center-stage.
Ditkowsky, who has been practicing law since the early 1960′s, came to public attention after he became outspoken against what he calls “elder cleansing,” which is taking place in guardianship programs in courts throughout the United States. Ditkowsky has been sending emails to public officials, including Attorney General Eric Holder and US Senator Matt Kirk on a regular basis, asking for an “honest and complete investigation” of reported abuses going on under the mantle of adult guardianships.
Ditkowsky has defined “elder cleansing” as a three-step process: First, a court must assert its dominion over an elder person’s life and assets by appointing a guardian. Ditkowsky has detailed instances, such as in the Mary Sykes guardianship, where legal process was not adhered to. Second, the elder is systematically isolated from concerned family and friends and his assets pilfered by the very guardian who is in place to conserve the estate. The final stage of elder cleansing, according to Ditkowsky, occurs when the elder, now isolated and placed into a facility, is drugged to death.
Laws are needed that help close loopholes that may be used for fraud or abuse.