Former California Judge Pleads No Contest As Elder Financial Abuse Laws Clamp Down Further

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Elder Abuse lawyers

By Attorney Michael Ehline, of Ehline Law Firm PC, elder abuse attorneys. Two separate cases that show how elderly citizens become pawns in schemes to relieve of their finances.  One case occurring in Fort Myers, Florida and the other happening on the West Coast in California, with both having the same effect on the elderly citizens.

East Coast

In a financial elder abuse lawsuit that is being pursued by Fort Myers resident Gloria J. Emmert’s son Michael Sterling, he said in an interview with The News-Press of Fort Myers on September 8th, his mother was persuaded to take out a life insurance policy for $7.5 million dollars.

The 55 year old Sterling said that his deceased mother was 79 years old, living in North Fort Myers in a manufactured home on about $1800 a month between her Social Security and her pension.

According to his elder abuse attorney, Gloria Emmert was persuaded to take a life insurance policy for $7.5 million dollars and then encumbered with a trust and it is alleged she was talked into taking out a loan for $1.1 million in order to satisfy premiums of $742,000.

Sterling said that this type of financial deception of elderly citizens should have advocates concerned. He said his mother was financially exploited in 2006. Her son said he read through the policy and that his mother and her late husband had entrusted her then financial adviser. Sterling does not understand how his mother’s financial adviser could do this to her and her husband.

Emmert’s son is carrying on with the lawsuit on behalf of his deceased mother, with the lawsuit claiming that the $7.5 million life insurance policy application contained fraudulent information that involved his mother’s finances. He said the policy premiums were $742,000 and in order to pay the premiums a loan was arranged amortized over 30 months with an interest rate of 17.95 percent. Sterling said with the total cost of the loan and interest it totaled over $1.1 million.

After Emmert passed away the financial exploitation of the elderly Fort Myers resident continued, with an Estate Reduction Trust, with the sole beneficiary named as the insurance policy, a secondary trust or sub trust that was created for the responsibility for the loan. After the cost of the $1.1 million dollar loan there still should have been a $6.4 million dollar payout on the life insurance policy. There was never beneficiary named for this primary trust.

It is believed that the defendants in the lawsuit have profited in earnings of commissions and other compensation from the issuance of the life insurance policy Emmert was talked into, according to the lawsuit.

Sterling’s financial elder abuse attorney stated that at the time the $1.1 million dollar loan was taken to pay the premiums for the $7.5 million dollar life insurance policy there were no scheduled repayments for the loan, but there were penalties for payments made prior to the loan maturing.

According to Sterling’s attorney his mother suffered from dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and was a widow. The lawsuit states that the cost of the 30 month loan was much higher than Emmert’s total assets. Emmert passed away in 2012 at the age of 86 and her son updated the lawsuit filed in Lee County Circuit Court in July.
Named in the lawsuit filed by Sterling are defendants David M. Jones, Erica Basler, Bill Basler, and Wells Fargo Advisors LLC.

Jones attorney said that the allegations in the lawsuit are without merit and Wells Fargo Advisors LLC refused to comment on the lawsuit. They did state that the firm got recognition in May for its efforts to stop elder abuse. Executive director of the National Adult Protective Services, Kathleen Quinn, who is based in Illinois said that Sterling, Emmert’s son has a difficult time understanding why anyone would give an these types of ideas to senior citizens that are vulnerable. The son that is continuing a lawsuit on behalf of his mother said that she made $1800 income monthly, with her Social Security and pension.

Florida is not the only place that financial elder abuse takes place, though it is prevalent with the number of senior citizens residing in the state and snowbirds. In order to help combat this type of abuse of senior citizens financial abuse was added to the Elder Care Justice Act in 2010, as a part of the Patient Protection and

Affordable Care Act.

According to complied information there were approximately 25 arrests made in Southwest Florida counties of Lee and Collier counties, since 2008.

West Coast

In California a former Alameda County Superior Court Judge pleaded no contest in a financial elder abuse case. The case involved former judge Paul Seeman, who became friends with Anna Nutting and her husband prior to his death in 1999.
Seeman obtained power of attorney for the couple who were his neighbors and gained control of their finances. In 1999 the year Nutting’s husband died, the former judge then barred her from her home, according to charges that were filed last year.
Nutting age 97 was relieved of her home, finances and it is alleged Seeman sold off her art collection, while she was forced to live in a hotel room until 2007 and later passed away in 2010.

Seeman stepped down from the bench in March, plead no contest to the charges. He has been barred from judicial office and has been disbarred from practicing law in the state of California. In a sentencing hearing October 22, Seeman is expected to face five years of probation, rather than jail time. Lee Elder Abuse Prevention Partnership, co-chair Dotty St. Amand said that seems like a extremely low settlement. She said that often elder abuse financial cases go underreported or unreported claims due to embarrassment. St. Amand said that cases that also go unreported are if the financial advisor is someone the victim knows.

Emmert’s financial elder abuse case this proved to be true, since the individual who had been advising her and her husband had been advising them for about 20 years, prior to the multimillion dollar life insurance policy. St. Amand said that the favorite targets of these schemes are elderly adults who live alone or suffer from dementia.
Quinn stated that the data for elder abuse is very limited.

The data suggests that approximately 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 daily in the United States and this has resulted in an increase in elder abuse cases and the need for financial elder abuse attorneys to deal with these cases. Though, still the majority of financial elder abuse case go unreported.

Governor Jerry Brown of California signed state Assembly Bill AB-381 into law, which is legislation permitting courts of law to award attorneys costs and fees to senior citizens that have been victims of powers of attorney when it is acting in bad faith or not in the best interest of the elderly resident entrusted to the attorney.



Elder Justice Act:

ACA Health Reform for Seniors:

What Questions to Ask Supervisor

Chances are that you will have many questions as you explore your options concerning

Chances are that you will have many questions as you explore your options concerning senior living communities. There are several questions that you may automatically
think to ask including cost, buy-in fees and assisted living care options. Here
are some other questions that you may not think to ask during your visiting

What Kinds of Activities are Available?

Activities are a great way to fill the hours of your day while also getting to know
your fellow residents. Most communities offer at least some activities on a daily
basis. Many of these activities are completely free of charge while others may involve
small fees for supplies or equipment. Some of the activities that might be available
include card games, movie night, church services, flower arranging, exercise classes,
jewelry making, gardening, board games, book of the month clubs, water aerobics,
mall excursions, sight-seeing tours and local area events. Each assisted living
community offers their own special brand of activates as well.

What is Included in the Monthly Fee?

This is an important question to hammer out the details of before you agree to move
in or pay a deposit for any senior living community.  You have a right to know what
to expect for your money each and every month. You also have the right to compare
prices from one community to the next with the knowledge that you are comparing
those costs on a level playing field and that you are getting exactly what you think
you are getting for the money. Most communities include meals, rent, parking, housekeeping, utilities, some activities, a flat linen services and laundry but there are no guarantees that all senior living communities will offer these services. It is important to
make sure you know what to expect before moving in.

Can You Personalize Your Space?

If you are the type of person who needs to make your space your own then this will
be an important question to ask. Little things like the ability to add color to
the walls and brighten up your home with portraits, paintings, and the things you
have collected over the years can make a huge difference in how well you enjoy your
new living arrangements.

Are Pets Welcome?

Many older adults have owned pets for many years and the idea of getting rid of their
pets in order to move into a assistance living community is one that holds them back
no matter how much they could benefit from the lifestyle and activities available
to them in this community setting. Some communities do allow pets. It is definitely
worth asking if they are welcome and if there are any additional fees for their
welcome pet policy.

These quick questions can help you clear up any potential misunderstandings before
they become issues or stressful concerns. The senior living community director is
the perfect person to turn to get the answers you need to know.

Senior Driver Crashes Through a Religious Building

The area of the church the Toyota crashed through had approximately a dozen people having a meeting and came to a stop about 20 feet from where they were located, Sgt. Adams said.

February 23, 2012 – According to reports an elderly driver crashed her car through an Church. According to Orange County Police Department Sgt. Dan Adams the accident occurred at approximately 10:00 a.m. when an 84 year-old Irvine resident drove her car into the Heritage Christian Fellowship Church.

The church is located in the 7400 block of East Chapman Avenue in Orange that the elderly driver crashed her Toyota Camry into, Sgt. Adams said.  According to Sgt. Adams the aged woman stepped on the gas pedal instead of the break, crashing through a glass door and window, with the car coming to rest inside of the church.

The area of the church the Toyota crashed through had approximately a dozen people having a meeting and came to a stop about 20 feet from where they were located, Sgt. Adams said. The police said there were no injuries reported and the cause of the crash remains under investigation.   This was a public service message from the elder abuse attorneys at Ehline Law Firm PC 213.596.9642.

Statistics of Medical Misconduct

So I wanted to take a moment to give them an opportunity to educate you about their state as follows: Medical Malpractice is a growing problem across the country.

Most of my friends know that med mal cases are not my specialty.  In California, we have caps on pain and suffering that make these cases very difficult to achieve a recovery that can cover all the expert fees, and other costs to win such a case.  But my friends in Arizona do take on these types of cases, and their laws are probably not identical to California.  So I wanted to take a moment to give them an opportunity to educate you about their state as follows: Medical Malpractice is a growing problem across the country.

Not many are aware of the shocking statistics and many doctors do not want to admit it. Nearly 225,000 people a year die because of some sort of misconduct across the country. Though the statistics are high, there still isn’t a large investigation in to the reasons why these fatalities occur in the hands of medics; and to decrease this number on an annual basis.

Not only do these statistics show the high rate, but it also shows the low rate amount of claims that are actually made. Even worse, only about 2% of these claims are of people who attempt to protect their rights and get compensation using a lawyer.

Medical Misconduct has become the sixth highest cause of death in the United States.
It is estimated that approximately 7,000 people die from medication errors, 12,000 people die from unnecessary surgery, 20,000 people die from various other errors in hospitals, 80,000 people die from infections acquired in hospitals, and nearly 106,000 deaths occur every year from bad effects of medications. The numbers resulting in death are shocking and should prompt further investigation from the government into health care.

This type of offense seems to be a growing problem in the United States according to statistics. The only way to stop the amount of unethical behavior occurring is for patients to step forward and make claims against professionals and institutions. If you have been a victim contact a Phoenix Lawyer that is a specialist in wrongful death and personal injury. Not only will you be protecting your rights, but an experience attorney will know what signs of negligence have been conducted and can help you should you be a victim of this growing problem.

This has been an educational message to injured victims in Arizona from Zachar Law Firm at 3301 E Thunderbird Rd  Phoenix, AZ 85032 (602) 494-4800.

Woman Arrested on Suspicion of Burglary

Woman Arrested on Suspicion of Stealing Money From Elderly Senior Living Facility Resident

December 28, 2011 – According to reports a woman has been arrested on suspicion of stealing money from an elderly man that is a Newport Beach senior living facility. According to officials at the Newport Beach Police Department a 24 year old woman was arrested on suspicion of stealing money from a man living in a senior living facility.

Newport Beach Police stated that the elderly man reported that between October 31st and December 22nd money was taken from a safe in his room. The 24 year old woman identified as Yeni Miranda Salgado a resident of Anaheim is said to have become friends with the man and on at least two occasions went to the man’s room to clean. Monday Salgado was arrested on suspicion of burglary, according to the Newport Beach Police Department. This has been a public service message from the elder abuse attorneys at Ehline Law Firm PC.

Nursing Homes Cited After Seniors Death

The woman was transported to the hospital where a large piece of meat was removed from her throat, blocking her airway. The woman died six days later from respiratory and cardiac arrest, caused by choking.

December 20, 2011 – According to reports two nursing homes have been fined in Orange County. According to the California Department of Health two nursing homes have been fined in the deaths of patients that did not receive the proper care. Each of the long term facilities received the most drastic citation possible under the law.

There was an investigative report into an incident in the Newport Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Newport Beach that was fined $100,000 after a female patient was admitted to the care facility in August and fell while left unattended in the bathroom. According to the investigation the woman was admitted after hip surgery and needed the staff to assist her when using the toilet. In September, according to the report in September she was left alone in the bathroom by a nursing assistant, when another employee found her face down on the bathroom floor without a pulse. The woman was transported to the hospital, where she later died.

The nursing facility in Newport Beach submitted a plan to the state to correct staff behavior, which stated they provided additional training. The second nursing home that was fined was Emeritus in Yorba Linda that was fined $90,000 from an incident that occurred when a female patient choked. The woman’s doctor had ordered that she be served chopped meat, because she had difficulty in chewing and swallowing. The woman was found blue with a partially eaten ham sandwich in front of her. Reportedly a nursing assistant forgot to give the woman her dentures. The woman was transported to the hospital where a large piece of meat was removed from her throat, blocking her airway. The woman died six days later from respiratory and cardiac arrest, caused by choking. Emeritis stated that they will appeal the fine and in their corrective plan the nurses will verify that the proper meal is being served to the patient.

Senior Citizens: Tips to Avoid Financial Crisis

The money you get from reverse mortgage is not required to pay back as along as you live in the house. This is considered to be a source of income for many financially crippled seniors.

Most of you know I am an elder abuse lawyer. But not all of you can grasp that I have parents too. Yes, even us land-sharks care about our folks and I want you to check this info out to see how older adults can manage their debts and get financial freedom. Enjoy.

The elders are squeezed by the rising prices as the magnitude of crisis continues to unfold. The consumer debt is spiraling out of control and ruining your financial situation. These citizens can enroll in a debt relief program to eliminate their financial woes. Here are a few debt management strategies that the senior citizens can employ to manage their finances effectively.

1. Tapping home equity:

It is advisable to tap the home equity in your house if you are knee deep in high interest debts. Remember that reverse mortgage can be beneficial as you can convert your home equity into cash that you will receive each month. You will get this amount in a lump-sum payment or as a credit line that can be used for other purpose. The money you get from reverse mortgage is not required to pay back as along as you live in the house. This is considered to be a source of income for many financially crippled seniors.

The value of the house and age of the elder adult will determine the loan amount you shall receive. If your age is above 62 years then you can qualify for this type of transaction only if you have not default on your mortgage payment. The senior citizens can use the money to pay off this existing debt and lead a debt free life. But the children of the deceased parents need to pay the owed amount to lenders if they want to regain control over the property.

2. Use insurance policy with cash value:

If you have life insurance policy with cash value then you can take out a cash-surrender loan. The seniors can breathe a sigh of relief as they are not required to pay back this loan amount. If the older citizens cancel the policy then the policy holder will be paid a stipulated sum of money as their cash value. Remember that you can also borrow against your life insurance policy and it can build up more cash value as the policy gets old. If you are opting for cash surrender loan then you cannot take out more than 96% of the policy. After the death of the policy holder the insurance company will recover the loan balance as well as the interest.

Therefore, if you are crushed under debt then it is advisable to tap your policies to regain control over your finances.

3. Pay off bills with emergency fund:

You are advisable to pay off the bills by using your savings that you might have hoarded to secure your financial future. It will be beneficial to withdraw money from the accounts where you get 4% interest annually to pay off your 20% interest debts. Therefore, you can use your emergency fund during your financial crisis. I hope you enjoyed these great ideas and concepts.

Senior Abuse in Napa County District Tripled

According to officials Napa County is the only county to require permits for caregivers nationwide. Contra Costa County Special Deputy District Attorney Jack Waddell, stated he believes Lieberstein’s presentation at the symposium to be a good idea.

According to the Napa County District Attorney’s Office the number of elder abuse cases has tripled in the past decade. This is due to the better awareness of the public, but there are still even more cases that are not reported. The Attorney stated at a symposium last week there is still an extreme amount of elder abuse cases that go unreported Lieberstein stated. There are over 80 prosecutors, investigators and victims’ advocates throughout California that gathered to discuss combating elder care abuse in their jurisdictions at the symposium that was organized by the California District Attorneys Association.

It was partially funded by a grant from the Archstone Foundation, which is a Long Beach nonprofit organization.  The symposium discussions focused on elder abuse trends, recognizing financial scams and how to increase the public’s awareness of caregiver’s negligence.  Lieberstien’s office prosecutes approximately 25 elder abuse cases each year and he discussed Napa County’s new plans for the prevention of elder abuse. Beginning in July 2011 the new initiatives include caregivers applying for permits, which is the only rule like this in the state. Between the district attorney’s office and the counsel the public is being educated about the permit requirements, which Lieberstein state is a step in the right direction to protect the elderly.

The requirement to apply and hold a permit is believed by officials keep criminals out of elder care. Caregivers and nurses that work for either a private or public agency are exempt, since they have already undergone a background check. People applying for a permit that does not pass the background check will be allowed to receive a limited permit that will allow them to care for one person. The elder person they care for will be made aware of the failure to pass the background check and any criminal convictions.

The permit which will cost an estimated fee of $110 requires a background check and will be necessary for family members that are caregivers in exchange for free rent or other compensation. The renewal fee will be $99 the first year and $87 every year after and is issued by the Napa County Assessor’s Office. The new requirement is expected to cost approximately $50,000 per year, according to Lieberstein’s office. The Area Agency on Aging Napa-Solano, which is a nonprofit agency to help seniors, will coordinate the application process. Partial payment or the caregiver coordination payment will come from grant money and applicant fees, according to Lieberstein.

According to officials Napa County is the only county to require permits for caregivers nationwide. Contra Costa County  Special Deputy District Attorney Jack Waddell, stated he believes Lieberstein’s presentation at the symposium to be a good idea. We hope you have enjoyed this message of public importance from the Los Angeles elder abuse attorney at:

Ehline Law Firm PC
11500 W. Olympic Blvd., Suite 400

(424) 217-1319

Elopement and Straying Away Dangers

The elderly can be affected by two diseases that can promote confusion and make them more at risk for wandering off without supervision or being aware it can be dangerous.

One of the dangers for the elderly is wandering off and elopement and this is something that the elderly nursing home resident should be protected from by the nursing home staff supervision. Wandering off and elopement is the wandering off or walking away unsupervised by the elderly nursing home patient.

The elderly can be affected by two diseases that can promote confusion and make them more at risk for wandering off without supervision or being aware it can be dangerous. These are the elderly Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients that have symptoms including memory loss and confusion. These are medical conditions that make it difficult for the family to care for the elderly loved one at home and they entrust a living facility to provide the proper care and protect the elderly person. There are some senior homes that are not equipped to care for the elderly patient that suffers from a condition that might cause them to wander off. Without proper supervision of the nursing home staff it can put the health and well being of the elderly patient at risk of wandering off and this can be negligent when they agree to care for the elderly patient.

The things that could make them negligent in their supervision of the elderly person at risk of wandering off can include:

  • Doors without alarms to alert the nursing staff when one is opened by an elderly nursing home resident.
  • Negligent nursing staff and inattentive physicians
  • Lack of supervision and security
  • The understaffed nursing home or care facility

The laws for senior consider it negligence when a care facility does not provide the level of care the elderly patient requires and this includes wandering off from the facility. This includes devices known as Wander Guard as not providing the level of attention, supervision can personal care this elderly patient requires when suffering from confusion, Dementia, Alzheimer’s or mental instability.

When Wandering Off and Elopement Are A Problem

When wandering off and elopement are a problem for the family of a loved one in a care facility due to poor supervision, it is negligence. Our attorneys can hold the negligent caregiver responsible when an elderly loved one has been a victim, of negligent supervision. Wandering off by an senior victim of negligent supervision can cause fear and emotional stress, but it can also put the person in danger of being hurt or killed.

To speak with our Wandering Off and Elopement Attorneys call 888-400-9721.

Untreated Infection

Untreated infections can be fatal for the elderly patient and in most cases the untreated infection can be caught and treated by the Los Angeles nursing home before it reaches this point.

Negligence is the failure to provide reasonable care and when it is in a nursing facility and many patients are affected by negligent actions of the nursing staff. When an older person that is cared for by a nursing home, hospital or physician has an untreated infection they can be held liable for negligence and physical damages suffered by the loved one and their family. The untreated infection is one of the leading causes of disease in elderly patients, it can cause pain and suffering, and could also be detrimental to others that come in contact with the elderly patient. An untreated infection can also be fatal to the elderly patient and the nursing home, hospital, certified nurse and physician can be held liable by law for the untreated infection.

Elderly Patients Die from Untreated Infections

Untreated infections can be fatal for the elderly patient and in most cases the untreated infection can be caught and treated before it reaches this point. The fact is that every day elderly patients die from untreated infections or infections that were not treated before they reached this point by the physician, staff, or care facility. Immediate attention should be provided to the elderly patient at the first sign of an infection or wound.

This immediate treatment does not always happen and it can be from negligence, an understaffed facility or an underdeveloped program. This leaves elderly people in a perilous situation to die from infections that could have been treated and infections that spread.

There are some serious infections that can affect the elderly persons health causing serious damage:

  • Staph infections can be serious causing amputation or be fatal when not treated
  • Bacterial infections can be fatal if not treated and can be spread from one person to another
  • Streptococcal infections are highly contagious and can cause serious health risks when it is an untreated infection.
  • Meningitis is a high risk infection for the elderly person’s health and can be transmitted to others
  • Sepsis can be a deadly infection if not treated immediately

Untreated Infections Are Elder Abuse

Untreated infections are serious and they are considered abuse when it occurs due to the negligence of the care taker or physician. The failure to treat an infection in an elderly patient can cause a wrongful death or permanent health damage to the patient. The family of the elderly loved one needs to hold the professional care taker responsible. The attorney can help the family hold the negligent party liable for the untreated infection, while keeping the family informed each step of the legal process.

When an elderly family member has been a victim of negligence the Los Angeles Untreated Infection Attorneys can be reached at 888-400-9721.