Hour 2 -- Steve Miller on guardianship abuse and the conviction of April Parks
2017-03-15 Hour 2 Steve Miller from Ernest Hancock on Vimeo.
Steve Miller, a former Las Vegas City Councilman, former Clark County Regional Transportation Commissioner, Chairman Emeritus of Goodwill Industries of Southern Nevada, and President Emeritus of Opportunity Village, a charity, has been writing about guardianship fraud for over ten years. One of his stories prompted a television ad in a highly charged political race in Nevada. The story is about a "guardian" Jared E. Shafer who is being sued for "embezzling" $420,000.00 from a 95 year old former "ward" by his daughter. Guadalupe Olvera was a WWII veteran; fortunately his daughter was warned to get her father out of Nevada by any means in the dead of night. Shafer came after her and the person who helped her in a legal fight to avoid relinquishing control by claiming the daughter "kidnapped" her father. Olvera's daughter wrote to Catherine Cortez Masto in December 2011, asking for help terminating the guardianship relationship. When the family pleaded directly with then Attorney General Cortez Masto for help, according to the daughter, Cortez Masto turned them away.
The laws surrounding guardianship are well intended, in that they were written to discourage the predatory behavior of a greedy family member and others seeking a family's inheritance. But the loopholes in the courts have made it possible for the unscrupulous to join hands in exploitation. Efforts to contest these rulings in court do nothing more, usually, than trap people in a loop of legal fees and costs, where they can never escape and end up destitute as a result.
Guardianship: An American Horror Story by M Larson
A Must-Read new Book that Details an Epidemic of Abuse of the Elderly
Guardianship: How Judges and Lawyers Steal Your Money is a must-read about a greedy plague among our elderly and disabled. Appointed by courts for various reasons, guardianships strip an otherwise sane, engaged older adult of their freedom while depleting their resources in an ugly loop that seems to mostly benefit lawyers. It is the definitive roadmap of solutions for concerned relatives who try to correct the crimes against a loved one's estate, health and even life. Guardianship is a compilation of articles written by journalist, attorneys, and other advocates across the nation (with permission). Our collective goal is to make this serious crime public since the process needs to be changed.
Exploitive Guardians are a very real threat to the Boomer generation, the last of our financially secure generations, a group of some 76 million individuals. 76 million people who, at the whim of a court, can have their personal freedoms stripped away, have their assets taken forcibly, and are subject to abuse in many cases. As a society, we have allowed for the active victimization of a massive segment of our population.
"Professional guardians are a cottage industry that is becoming more organized and powerful as lawyers and probate judges realize what a gold mine it is to take over the lives and assets of elderly Americans to the detriment of their heirs. Once a court ordered guardianship is established, the elderly person's finances are under complete control of the appointed guardian who may or may not be a loving family member," says Dr. Sam Sugar from South Florida, on behalf of Americans against Abusive Probate Guardianship (AAAPG). "It's just another indication of how this racket has infiltrated and corrupted our most sacred judicial process and turned it into a cash cow for the stakeholders in this predatory legal system, which threatens every single older adult in America."
The Government Accountability Office (GOA) identified hundreds of allegations of abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation by guardians in 45 states and the District of Columbia between 1990 and 2010. In another study, the GAO found that in 20 cases, guardians "stole or improperly obtained $5.4 million in assets from 158 incapacitated victims."
Steve's previous interviews on the Declare Your Independence with Ernest Hancock Radio Show:
Grand Jury Indicts Four People at the Center of Private Guardianship Abuse Investigation
Today, the Grand Jury returned an indictment against April Parks, Mark Simmons, Gary Neal Taylor and Noel Palmer Simpson in a guardianship exploitation case that has been the focus of an ongoing investigation for activities ranging from 2011 through 2016.
The 123 page indictment explains how April Parks, owner of A Private Professional Guardian, LLC, her office manager, Mark Simmons, her husband, Gary Neal Taylor and her attorney, Noel Palmer Simpson, committed the crimes for which they were indicted. Those crimes include Racketeering (category B felony), Exploitation of an Older or Vulnerable Person (category B felony), Theft (category B and C felonies), Offering False Instrument for Filing or Record (category C felony) and Perjury (category D felony).
Although there were legitimate guardianship activities happening at the company, Parks and Simmons engaged in a pattern of conduct which was illegal and exploitive to the vulnerable people she was charged to protect. The indictment alleges that A Private Professional Guardian, LLC was run as a criminal enterprise, with the goal of maximizing profits at the expense of people they were charged with caring for, disregarding their duties to their wards and to the court.
The investigation, which was a cooperative effort between the Clark County District Attorney's Office, the Nevada Attorney General's Office and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has culminated in a multi-defendant indictment which includes a total of 270 counts on seven different felony charges.
Grand jury indicts Nevada guardian on more than 200 charges
By COLTON LOCHHEAD
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL
As a guardian, April Parks was tasked with caring for the elderly and infirm in Southern Nevada.
As a guardian, she had full control over those people's finances, their property and nearly every aspect of their lives.
And as a guardian, Parks exploited at least 150 of those vulnerable Nevadans and "systemically bilked them out of their life savings," law enforcement officials said Wednesday.
A Clark County grand jury indicted Parks on more than 200 felony charges that include racketeering, theft, exploitation and perjury. Parks and her husband were arrested in Pennsylvania just hours after the indictment came down. It was unclear Wednesday night what agency made the arrests.
Three other people were indicted Wednesday: Parks' business partner, Mark Simmons; her husband, Gary Neal Taylor; and her former attorney, Noel Simpson Palmer. Simmons was arrested in Indiana sometime Wednesday, according to a Metropolitan Police Department press release.
But Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson made it clear in a press conference that Parks "was the No. 1 target in this investigation."
The 123-page indictment, which laid out the 212 felony charges levied against Parks, claimed she used her position and her company, A Private Professional Guardian, LLC, "to steal funds belonging to elderly and disabled persons over whom they had guardianship authority."
The indictment said that Parks used fraudulent billing practices, and that Parks and Simmons organized and directed a "criminal syndicate" while stealing roughly $559,000 from 150 victims between 2011 and 2016. Most of those victims, Wolfson said, are no longer alive.
Vegas Law Rounds Up 2nd Crooked Guardian
April Parks And Lawyer Jailed, But The Biggest Fish Remain Uncharged
Information on National Association of Guardian Abuse:
To protect the civil/human rights – life, liberty and property – of vulnerable persons described as "incompetent" and made wards of the state in unlawful and abusive guardianships and conservatorships;
To end financial exploitation of their wards' assets by court-appointed fiduciaries* who, instead of conserving their wards' assets as required by law, force previously financially able wards onto Medicaid at Taxpayer expense;
To be a support organization for families battling court-appointed "protectors" who permit due process and other violations of law to occur, including physical and mental abuse and isolation; and
To obtain reform – through outreach, education and advocacy – by meaningful amendment of existing statutes and increased penalties against violations of law.
*Fiduciary: From the Latin fiducia, meaning "trust," a person (or a business like a bank or stock brokerage) who has the power and obligation to act for another (often called the beneficiary) under circumstances which require total trust, good faith, and honesty. The title "fiduciary" is interchangeable with "guardian" or "conservator."
Note: Some states use the term "guardianship" alone, some use "conservatorship" and still others use a combination: "guardianship / conservatorship." And a few states use terms like, "Interdiction."
It is generally accepted to use the word guardianship interchangeably.
Guardianship abuse and conservatorship abuse IS elder abuse! NASGA is a public-interest organization formed by victims of unlawful and abusive guardianships and conservatorships.
NASGA is a 501(c)(3) public-interest organization formed by victims (and families) of unlawful and abusive guardianships and conservatorships of the elderly and... See More
Money Magazine named NASGA Director Sylvia Rudek as Illinois 2014 "Money Hero."