(Government and Judicially Approved Stratagem for Abuse and Exploitation of the Elderly)
by Advocate Mary Claire Connors
1.) PREDATORS – can be: government agencies, APS, (Adult Protection Services) and their contract agencies, County Area Agency on Aging, State Department of Aging, social workers, nursing facility corporations, care providers, care givers, law enforcement, attorneys, (including guardian ad litem) courts, (judges, court reporters), and their associates, such as medical doctor, psychiatrist, other professionals or greedy family members / in-laws. Litigation is the slaughter of the predator bait. The predators co-operate (collude), with each other for mutual benefit: financial gain, real estate, Federal funding stream, favors, job security, political agenda, etc.
2.) PREDATOR BAIT – elders and disabled who are victims of crime, (especially white collar), accident, friendly neighbor’s call to APS, (Adult Protective Services), disagreement among family that goes to litigation, health crisis, family crisis, any event that results in litigation; you can be advised, intimidated into believing that you need a lawyer, hence – litigation. Also, elders whose family lives out of state, elder property owner, (especially if property is wanted by state / corporation or connected to others). Widows are more common targets than male elders. Also vulnerable are those with small families, especially living out of state, and those with no doctors / attorneys in immediate family. There is something of value to be taken – financial, real estate, political, (funding stream, precedent case, etc.), by the predators…the “takings”. You do not need to be rich; assets of some kind between $100,000 and millions of dollars.
3.) Unbeknownst to you, you are rapidly encircled by “predators” before the guardianship is granted which guarantees the guardianship outcome without accountability. The circle is like strangulation. You are very unlikely to get out. You are completely surrounded by the predators which includes your own attorney and / or appointed guardian ad litem. (Bar attorneys first allegiance is to the court – not their client; it’s “job security”, etc.).
4.) If you are relative or anyone acting in behalf, defense of the targeted ward and you have a DPOA, (Durable Power of Attorney); are legitimately entitled to information, etc., YOU ARE AN OBSTACLE TO THE STRATAGEM. You will be demonized; accused of the exploitation the predators are perpetrating or the criminal actions of those who victimized you. Accusations of mental illness, (you will be ordered to get psychological testing from predator’s associate, a fairly common tactic), drug addiction, etc. No proof is necessary. Maybe the, (covered), criminal will testify against you. You are not charged with anything – therefore you have no right to face your accuser and get evidence in your defense. Accusations are made off the court record, in the court hallway. Remember, it is a kangaroo court proceeding. The judge makes the decisions, issues the orders and ignores the laws with impunity and no remedy. Elders are “expected” to get ill and die. Hence, this stratagem has been practiced on them for years in darkness of no exposure without a court order. The disabled; now publicly initiated.
5.) APS, (Adult Protective Services), are often one entity in the circle of predators.
6.) Intimidation and deception are always tools of the predator’s trade.
7.) The “circle of predators”, usually thru intimidation, makes sure, (while treating you as a criminal), there are no witnesses; no written, verbal uncensored communication; demands severe unnecessary restrictions; refuses to write them down, (avoid any possibility of proof of abuse and liability), such as, no visitors; only one visitor at a time, no video cameras; telephone access, audio recorders, no vitamins, nothing from home. You may be allowed “supervised visits”. The targeted ward’s assets will pay for the “visit supervisor’s” time. You need no record of abuse whatsoever; no verifiable evidence of abuse; you may even have proof of good care giving, (an obstacle to predators “recipe”), which will never be entered into the court record.
8.) The targeted “ward” and later declared “ward” is denied specialized medical treatment even when he / she can pay for it. He / she is allowed no contact with medical professionals outside of the predators’ circle, which includes its associates. He /s is not supposed to improve, since that is an obstacle to squeezing every penny, (possible benefit), from the ward and avoiding any possibility of liability. No independent medical evaluation is allowed, though law requires it. The predators’ doctor examines the targeted ward and that is his / her “independent med evaluation”’.
The ward is expected to be and almost always is a ward until death. The ward is sentenced to enforced health decline. The family has NO SAY AT ALL. If the ward is dying, the family member who is the “obstacle” to predator’s profit is often not told. THE GUARDIAN OWNS THE WARD and the fruits of his / her and his / her spouse’s lifetime of labor. Wards and slaves are regarded as property, not as humans, and are owned as a result of NO ACCOUNTABILITY, NO REMEDY, just as in the Terri Schindler display of corruption and murder.
9.) Deception and no exposure: two fundamental keys to success. The media will not print the real story if they print anything at all. Notice how most people think Terri’s case is uncommon! If exposed, there would be no predator bait.
10.) Felony crimes committed against you are suppressed, covered up. Authorities will not prosecute the crimes against you because the predators are likely to use alleged criminal against you as witness(es), etc. The acknowledgment of crime might be obstacle to gaining guardianship over the targeted ward, which is the lock down of the “takings”. Any and all ‘obstacles’ are removed with no regard for laws, crimes, human rights, abuse and exploitation. Obstruction of justice is a predator specialty. No law enforcement nor remedy, recovery, justice for the crimes committed against you is allowed.
11.) An “emergency temporary plenary guardianship of the person and estate” may be granted to one of the PREDATORS without a hearing, in the judge’s chambers. Your lawyer will play dumb or fabricate an explanation such as, “it’s just temporary until things can be investigated” and “it’s normal”.
NO! It is the initial stage of OWNERSHIP (GUARDIANSHIP) of the “ward” and the beginning of HELL.
12.) The ward’s mail, finances, health care or lack, complete existence is taken over by the emergency temporary guardian/permanent guardian. You, her advocate, will be allowed no information at all. You become non-existent. The ward has no family, for all practical purposes. If you make a complaint about the facility; you are not allowed to know the results, etc.; all information goes to the guardian. You have rights, on paper; in reality, you must know them; your attorney probably won’t tell you. When you exercise them, you will be considered angry, aggressive or something equally negative. Sometimes you are punished and can never see your loved one again.
13.) If your family seeks help thru government agencies, state government, Federal government, legislative representatives, you will get a run around, shut down, and told to leave. The more grievous the violations, the more of a closed door, “get out” reaction you get. The greater the wrong committed toward you, the more impossible to get any help.
14.) Most attorneys seem to equate “guardianship” cases with leprosy – untouchable. If you have $100,000 or more remaining, an attorney may take your case; that has nothing to do with the outcome. Contingency does not exist for guardianship. Public interest law groups will not “touch” it.
15.) Your attorney does not make a good record for appeal since he must be favorable to the probate judge. If you can still afford an attorney, you are most likely to appeal and lose. If you can’t; you can try to find remedy as a “pro per” litigant. I have been more successful learning from experienced “pro per” litigants and representing myself. The State Supreme Courts: Pennsylvania., Florida, Nevada, Massachusetts, Oregon, Virginia, and more have a negative reputation and are not known for “upholding the rule of law”.
16.) If you try federal court or bankruptcy court, (both Federal), you may delay some of the confiscation of property. Remedy is unlikely; exposing corruption in high, (Government), places is taboo. Then the excuse of “abstention doctrines”, (abstention doctrines are not in the Constitution), covers for the “taboo”. Federal courts do not take jurisdiction of cases litigated in state court if the outcome would trump a state court decision, even in matters of Constitutional violations. It is possible to get past the abstention doctrines, though much more likely, there is no remedy, as seen in Terri Schindler’s case.
17.) The ward and advocating family member pay for your own abuse, exploitation and involuntary institutionalization. After the guardianship is permanent, involuntary institutionalization may be paid by Medicare fraud; the predators want as much as possible of the “takings” to divvy among themselves.
18.) This “war” goes on for years if you persist toward remedy. Your health is negatively affected from the constant stress and you have difficulty functioning as well as you did before HELL, which compounds the stress. Depression, anxiety, ulcers, cancer, or other chronic illnesses affect the ward and family. Your financial losses are not recovered and you can easily become totally broke. A great deal of time is required for “pro per” litigation. Your family relations are difficult or shredded, due to abuse, loss, helplessness, disillusionment, etc. (This stratagem is from my experience and many others).
19.) The “ward”, (your mother, daughter, family member) is held hostage while you spend most of your time and resources attempting to free her / him.
20.) If you cannot free the ward, your family member, when he / she is no longer a profit producer, (about the time limited medical treatment produces diminished health / illness), he / she will have a “duty to die”. First, no food or water, when organs start to fail, some morphine, which hastens death by reducing respiration. The above stratagem without truthful media exposure is “silence of the lambs”.
Note: Without forewarning of this entire “recipe”, the predators almost always succeed and you and the “ward” pay, as victim(s) of crime with unimaginable loss, abuse and exploitation without remedy, an epidemic practice.
- Written Testimony of Latifa S. Ring (NOTEGA) to the Senate Special Committee on Aging for the record on recent Elder Abuse and Exploitation Hearing (larkkirkwood.wordpress.com)
- Guardianships putting thousands of elderly Texans at risk (larkkirkwood.wordpress.com)
- National Organization to Stop Elder Abuse and Guardianship Abuse (larkkirkwood.wordpress.com)
- In Regards to Ronald Richard Kirkwood & Case #11CD-PR00088 & #10CD-PR00059 (larkkirkwood.wordpress.com)
- Too often, death is the only way out of guardianship gulag…Washington Examiner (larkkirkwood.wordpress.com)
- Has elder abuse or guardianship abuse ever affected you personally? (larkkirkwood.wordpress.com)
- In Regards to Ronald R. Kirkwood: (larkkirkwood.wordpress.com)
“Imagine a guardian/conservator who has 70 “wards” they are responsible for. Say they make $5,000, give or take, per ward per year. The attorney who represents them, doing who knows what, has an income of $5,000 per ward per year. They pretend to protect, guard, & conserve for 70 human LIVES, and our LOVED ones pay them $700,000 in return. It makes me sick!”
~ Lark E. Kirkwood
TUSCALOOSA | A former Tuscaloosa County conservator has been ordered to reimburse more than $100,000 of unwarranted and undocumented expenditures she made from the accounts of 17 people.
As the county’s conservator, Zondra Hutto was responsible for the finances of elderly people who were unable to manage their affairs. Hutto resigned from her position after she pleaded guilty to a federal charge of not reporting the crimes of an employee.
Hutto’s law clerk, Brian Lunceford, has been accused of using credit cards belonging to one of Hutto’s wards to buy clothing, a designer purse, gas and a trip to Mexico. Hutto pleaded guilty to misprision of a felony because she knew about the charges Lunceford allegedly racked up. She is scheduled to begin a three-month federal prison sentence in January.
Since Hutto resigned as conservator for about 30 people in Tuscaloosa County Circuit Court, the wards’ newly- appointed guardians have scrutinized the final accounting she submitted in the cases. They have found that Hutto overcharged their accounts and kept sloppy records.
Hutto has moved to St. Petersburg, Fla., and could not be reached last week. A cellphone number listed in court documents for her is no longer working.
Circuit Judge Brad Almond has presided over court hearings in many of the cases and has ordered Hutto to reimburse $110,008 of unwarranted and undocumented expenditures to 17 wards. She will likely owe more once the remaining cases go before Almond in November.
Audits of cases revealed that Hutto charged thousands of dollars in unneeded postage, storage and lawn care fees. Other instances of mismanagement, such as overcharging for attorney’s fees and commissions and allowing health insurance policies to lapse, have been uncovered.
Hutto took $5 each month from each ward for postage and copy fees, which were found in court to be unwarranted. She charged for storage fees, but was unable to show in court that she actually stored any of the wards’ belongings. She paid lawn maintenance fees that the court found were inflated.
For example, in one case Hutto charged a woman’s estate $5 for postage each month for 22 months — a total of $110. One month, she charged $39 for “postage for miscellaneous bills” but couldn’t provide evidence that those charges were necessary. In that same account, she lists an $890 expenditure for clothing and housecleaning, but provided no receipts.
The records also show that she paid herself hundreds of dollars to prepare tax returns. The auditors found that no tax returns or accountants were necessary because of their incomes. In one instance, she paid herself $200 to prepare a return and an accountant $125 for his services.
In another case, Hutto paid $7,220 over nine months to maintain the grounds of a woman’s home. She paid $800 monthly to Dickey Lunceford, the father of Brian Lunceford, Hutto’s employee who was indicted in the federal case. The new guardian in the case has paid $300 each month for upkeep at the same home. In another case, Hutto used a client’s money to pay Lunceford $1,160 for residential cleaning and moving services. But there were no deposits into the woman’s account to indicate that any property had been sold. Hutto paid Lunceford $700 from that same account for lawn care between April and October 2010. The judge determined that those were unreasonable fees and ordered Hutto to reimburse the estate.
In another case, Hutto was ordered to reimburse $1,100 to a couple who had moved to a nursing home, leaving behind a refrigerator and deep freezer full of food. The power had been cut off at the home, and the resulting rotten food and maggots left the appliances unable to be sold.
Leon White’s uncle is a ward in a case that will come before Almond in November.
White said that Hutto had hired a woman she claimed was a licensed practical nurse (LPN) to work for six hours each day at the home of his uncle, now 86 years old. It turned out that the woman was not a nurse at all, he said. Guardians are looking at his uncle’s accounts to determine if the woman was paid as much as an LPN would be, as well as yard work and other listed expenses.
White also wants to know the whereabouts of an antique pump organ that had been in the home. It’s more than 100 years old, he said, and was supposed to stay in the family. He said that Hutto had a refrigerator and stove thrown in a dumpster, instead of selling the appliances and putting the money into his uncle’s account.
He said that the air-conditioning at the home was out for a week in July before Hutto sent someone to make repairs, and sent her former law clerk to the home with the wrong medication for his uncle and aunt, who has since died, White said.
“Over the years, we have been trying to prove to the court system that something was wrong in these finances,” he said. “She wasn’t taking care of the family the way she was supposed to. Our case is coming up, and now we’re going to prove it in court.”
White believes that Hutto should face criminal charges. None have been filed in relation to these cases, with the exception of the federal case.
“Three months for that is just a slap on the wrist,” he said. “She should be back in court to answer for all of these.”
Judges appoint conservators, or caretakers, to handle the affairs of people who can no longer perform those tasks themselves. A person acting as a guardian ensures that the person’s basic needs, such as housing, clothing and health care, are met, but does not handle their money. Hutto served as a guardian for about 100 people. In one of those cases heard in court Thursday, Hutto had filed a document that the ward had died. Attorneys looking into her cases said in court that the man is actually alive and living in Birmingham.
A conservator manages the ward’s finances, including collecting income, paying bills and making investments. They are required to hold a bond as insurance in case of mismanagement. Hutto had let the bonds expire in some cases, or held bonds for amounts less than what the court determined she owes the estates. Almond said in court Thursday that he is not aware of any reimbursements that Hutto has paid. More cases will be heard in November and are likely to result in orders for her to pay money to those estates.
Audits show conservator mismanaged wards’ cases
October 23, 2011
- U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) Reports on Incapacitated Adults: Oversight of Federal Fiduciaries and Court-Appointed Guardians Needs Improvement (browardhomehealthcareagency.com)
- A Heartbreaking Story of Elder Abuse and Legal “Thievery”: PART 2 (ppjg.wordpress.com)
- More on Tuscaloosa Attorney Sentenced to Three Months in Federal Prison (lawprofessors.typepad.com)
- Tuscaloosa Attorney to Spend Three Months in Federal Prison (lawprofessors.typepad.com)