Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Daughter found guilty of invading privacy of her Kennett Square millionaire father

WEST CHESTER >>The former owner of an art gallery in Kennett Square has been found guilty of illegally intruding into a conference between her aging father, a court-appointed attorney and psychologist trying to determine his competency by secretly videotaping it with a webcam.

The Common Pleads jury hearing the case against Megan Brooke O’Conner deliberated about three hours on Wednesday before returning to Judge Ann Marie Wheatcraft’s courtroom with guilty verdicts on charges of interception of communication, a violation of the state Wiretap Act, and criminal use of communications facility.

Both are third-degree felonies, and could be punishable by a prison term. Wheatcraft ordered a pre-sentence investigation into O’Connor’s background before setting a sentencing date later this year.

The prosecutors in the case, Assistant District Attorneys Vincent Cocco and Daniel Hollander, told the jury of seven women and five men who heard the two-day trial, that O’Connor had been upset that she was being excluded from the conference with her father, a millionaire who had been bankrolling what Cocco called “a lavish and extravagant lifestyle.”

The conference had been set up as part of a guardianship proceeding brought by O’Connor’s half-sister to determine whether O’Connor had been abusing her father’s finances.

“She had a lot to lose depending on the outcome” of that case, Cocco told the panel in his opening statement. “She had a lot at stake. She wanted to be in that room.”

O’Connor was found guilty of setting up a web camera in the room in her father’s garage apartment at their North Union Street home in January 2015 and watching and listening to the meeting between her father, David Umbs, guardianship attorney Nancy Pine, and psychologist Kenneth Carroll. The meeting was to have been confidential, but O’Connor “believes the rules don’t apply to her,” Cocco said.

In her defense, attorney Steve Jarmon said that O’Connor should not be found guilty of the offenses because the meeting was ultimately not a confidential matter. What was discussed between Ulms and the others was eventually part of the record in the guardianship hearing. Those involved had no “reasonable expectation” that it would remain private, as the law requires, he argued.

“She listened in, we concede that,” Jarmon said. “But does that make her guilty?”

Much of the two-day proceeding, which featured testimony from Ulms, Pine, and Carroll, as well as O’Connor’s ex-husband, Patrick O’Connor, concerned not the facts surrounding the wiretap violations, but the dispute over O’Connor’s handling of her father’s money and the objections by her half-sister Mary Ulms.

The two sides of the family are estranged, and O’Connor was given power of attorney over her father’s finances. With it, she took expensive trips, bought jewelry and other items, and ended up buying the Longwood Art Gallery, which closed last year. Mary Ulms brought suit against her, and Judge John Hall ended up appointing Pine as his guardian to oversee his finances.

David Ulms testified briefly, and told Jarmon that O’Connor had his permission to use his money as she saw fit. Jarmon had contended that O’Connor was his sole companion, and that his children from his third marriage did not pay him much attention.

The criminal charge she faced was brought against O’Connor by Kennett Officer Amanda Wenrich in May 2016.

According to a criminal complaint filed in the matter, Wenrich began investigating O’Connor in December 2015 when Pine contacted her about a possible wiretap violation. She said that she had scheduled a private meeting in January 2015 with Umbs and Carroll, a Swarthmore psychologist, to help determine what his mental capabilities were. There was no permission given to anyone to record the interview.

But in December 2015, 12 months after the meeting, she was contacted by Patrick O’Connor who told her he had witnessed his wife watching the meeting via a live feed through a computer camera.

Patrick O’Connor told Wenrich that he had come home the day of the meeting between Pine, Carroll, and Umbs to find his wife sitting with a laptop, “watching video and listening to conversations occurring … in her father’s garage apartment.” While doing so, the compliant states, she was speaking by phone to an attorney who was representing her in the civil action and said: “We are screwed. He can’t answer a single question.”

Patrick O’Connor told the investigator that he recognized the computer camera that O’Connor was using as a portable device that had been installed in their home’s basement to monitor the activity of her two sons. She could easily have moved it, he said, and viewed the video on her laptop.

Wenrich had O’Connor’s laptop seized, and Chester County Detective Joseph Walton was able to find images and data that showed the laptop had been hooked up to a computer camera on Jan. 30, 2015 between 8:35 a.m. and 9:29 a.m., when the meeting between Pine and Umbs took place.

Wenrich also learned that O’Connor had testified about the video recordings during a guardianship hearing in Orphans Court in December 2015, admitting that she was able to “see it live.” O’Connor also told the officer that she had watched the meeting, but “wouldn’t have done so if she had known it was illegal.”

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Daughter found guilty of invading privacy of her Kennett Square millionaire father

New hire to help establish Nevada Guardianship Compliance Office

A guardianship compliance manager has been appointed to head the Nevada Guardianship Compliance Office, whose creation is due to legislation that took effect on the first of the year.

The Supreme Court of Nevada, Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), has hired Kathleen McCloskey to lead the newly created office.

McCloskey, formally with the Nevada Aging and Disability Services Division, will make it her focus to hire an investigator and a forensic financial specialist to support Nevada's district courts in the administration of guardianship cases.

Other priorities include the development of a toll-free hotline and assisting the Permanent Guardianship Commission in the formulation of state rules and forms for guardianship cases.

"I am honored to be appointed as the Guardianship Compliance Manager. People under guardianship are some of our most vulnerable citizens and I am excited to build an office that will be supportive to all of our district courts in the administration and oversight of guardianships, as well as provide essential services that will support and protect the rights of individuals under guardianships."

McCloskey brings 20 years of experience developing comprehensive compliance systems in both the fields of intellectual disability and aging service systems in the states of Maine and Nevada. She received her bachelor's in sociology from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell and her master's in sociology from the University of Nevada, Reno.

The Commission to Study the Administration of Guardianships in Nevada's Courts proposed seven major reforms, including the Nevada Guardianship Compliance Office, resulting in five bills approved in the Legislature and signed by Gov. Brian Sandoval.

The creation of the Nevada Guardianship Compliance Office, a Guardianship Bill of Rights, and mandatory appointment of legal counsel for persons in need of protection were all enacted by legislation.

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New hire to help establish Nevada Guardianship Compliance Office

Lyndhurst woman, boyfriend convicted of bilking elderly man of $75K

Garrett Brewster and Angel Kolasinki
A 22-year-old Lyndhurst woman and her 23-year-old boyfriend on Jan. 19 were convicted of charges relating to the theft of around $75,000 from the woman’s elderly grandfather, according to a statement issued by Lyndhurst police.

“On Sept. 1, 2017, Angel S. Kolasinski, 22, and her boyfriend, Garrett W. Brewster, 23, were indicted by a Cuyahoga County grand jury for identity fraud, telecommunications fraud, and theft for stealing approximately $75,000 of the victim’s life savings,” the statement reads.

Police confirm the victim was Kolasinski’s 89-year-old grandfather, with whom Kolasinski and Brewster had been living in his home.

“Tips from residents concerned about the welfare of their elderly neighbor sparked investigation by the Lyndhurst Police Department with assistance by the Cuyahoga County Division of Senior and Adult Services,” the Lyndhurst Police Department’s news release reads.

As part of a plea agreement, Kolasinski pleaded guilty to theft, aggravated theft and telecommunications fraud. She was sentenced to nine months behind bars for each of the three convictions, to run concurrently. She also was ordered to pay restitution to the victim.

Brewster pleaded guilty to identity fraud, attempted theft and aggravated theft. He was sentenced to two years behind bars and ordered to pay restitution to the victim.

The victim’s home also was the target of an investigation after a friend of Kolasinski and Brewster suffered a drug overdose there in May 2017, according to Lyndhurst police.

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Lyndhurst woman, boyfriend convicted of bilking elderly man of $75K

Monday, January 22, 2018

Tonight on Marti Oakley's T. S. Radio: Abolishing Probate: UCC Code Underlying Elder Abuse and Estate Theft

5:00 pm PST … 6:00 pm MST … 7:00 pm CST … 8:00 pm EST
Please join Marti Oakley, Luanne Fleming and Robin Austin as we host Rosanna Miller. Rosanna will be discussing the the underpinnings of the probate tribunals laid out in the UCC code.

The UCC (Universal Commercial Code) which deals with commerce and contract law. We have been commodified, sectioned off as chattel property and are bought, sold and traded under the UCC.

Rosanna will go over specific codes that pertain to fiduciary's, probate, and the uniform probate code. She will have specific information that applies directly to the lack of judicial accountability, corruption of the courts and the ongoing kidnapping, imprisoning and theft of estates from not only the elderly but also the disabled. The question remains....WHO is actually responsible for correcting and abolishing this system?

Have pen and paper ready...you will want to make notes. The show will be available in archive.

LISTEN to the show live or listen to the archive later

Stage 4 cancer patient facing eviction

WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, TennesseeGREENWOOD, IN (WXIN/CNN) - Mervin Haley is giving it all he has in what doctors said could be his final days.

Haley is diagnosed with stage four lung cancer and in the past months, Haley has had trouble paying his rent.

"He right now can't eat, drink very little, can't walk, talk and there's no way he can possibly leave this home and that was also his last wish to be home as his dying place," said Denise Haley, Mervin Haley's ex-wife and care giver.

His family reached out to property management to make a partial payment with what they had.

A leasing manager told her they could only a make a full payment on the money owed.

She said this was the first time she was given an option to sign up for a payment arrangement.

"They're still saying he's 500 something dollars behind well then come first of January went to pay it they said they couldn't accept a partial payment they had to have the full amount," said Denise Haley, Mervin’s ex wife and caregiver.

Haley owes $569 but with late fees and January`s rent the total is now $1,500.

During a court date this week a judge ruled Haley had to be off the property by Sunday.

Denise Haley wrote the judge a letter detailing her ex-husband’s condition and asked for more time to come up with the money.

"There's no way that man can possibly be out of the house by then if he goes outside he's going to get pneumonia and that's going to end him right there," Denise Haley said.

A small sign of hope as she watches her loved one struggle to survive.

"You know it's gotta be hard on him to be worrying anyway about his life and then worrying about this on top of it," Denise Haley said.

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Stage 4 cancer patient facing eviction

Lawyer charged with embezzling $426k

A former attorney has been charged with stealing $426,000 from his clients.

Connecticut State Police say 65-year-old John Butts, of Salem, has been charged with first-degree larceny after taking funds from two people he had represented in probate matters.

Police say in one of the instances, the former Salem probate judge failed to provide a woman more than $150,000 from the sale of her late father's condominium. In another instance, Butts took about $276,000 from a client.

The state Division of Criminal Justice says Butts was suspended from practicing law last February and surrendered his law license in September.

He's been released pending his arraignment in Norwich Superior Court on Jan. 25. A phone number listed for Butts was unable to accept new messages Thursday because its inbox was full.

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Lawyer charged with embezzling $426k

Nursing home chain looks to future after scandal

Marvin Rubin and Joel Landau
The Allure Group, a Brooklyn nursing home chain, has been mired in a major real estate scandal during more than 20 months of city and state investigations. Now it’s finally poised to pursue its stalled growth plans after reaching a settlement with the state late last year.

Allure, run by operators Joel Landau and Marvin and Solomon Rubin, agreed to pay $2 million in penalties and charitable contributions to local nonprofits in a deal with state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, announced Jan. 5.

The agreement marks the end of the state’s investigation into Allure’s closing and subsequent sale of Rivington House on the Lower East Side as well as its closing of a second facility, CABS Nursing Home, in central Brooklyn. For community groups, it opens up the possibility that the city will finally get new long-term-care facilities in neighborhoods that sorely need them. But mistrust persists. “They have to be watched,” said K Webster, who leads the Lower East Side community group Neighbors to Save Rivington.

In February 2015 Allure purchased Rivington House, an HIV/AIDS facility on the Lower East Side, for $28 million. It sold the building a year later to luxury housing developers for $116 million, provoking an outcry from the community, the media and the city.

Allure will pay $750,000 in fines and contribute $1.25 million to health care nonprofits on the Lower East Side. It also committed to spend $10 million in the next five years to establish health care facilities both in central Brooklyn and on the Lower East Side. Allure must run them for at least eight years each.

Roadblocks lifted

Schneiderman withdrew his objection to Allure’s purchase of Greater Harlem Nursing Home on West 138th Street, where Allure has served as the state-appointed receiver of the financially distressed facility since 2014. Under the settlement, Allure must keep the facility open for at least nine years.

Allure can now resume the expansion plans that Schneiderman blocked in 2016 during the investigation. “Now that the roadblocks holding up our full control have been lifted, we look forward to turning our Harlem center into a world-class facility similar to all other Allure facilities,” Landau said.

Landau and the Rubins entered the nursing home business in 2010 with the backing of Leibel Rubin, Marvin and Solomon’s father, who has run nursing homes for decades. The partners bought the vacant nursing home portion of the former Victory Memorial Hospital in Bay Ridge for $20 million and set up Hamilton Park Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

Landau and the Rubins went on to acquire four more Brooklyn facilities. They successfully raised occupancy at these struggling locations. Its six homes generate about $200 million a year in revenue, according to Landau.

When they sought to buy Rivington House from nonprofit VillageCare, the property had a deed restriction that required it to be used as a nonprofit residential health care facility. 

Because Allure is a for-profit company, the city informed Landau and Marvin Rubin that they would have to pay $16 million to lift that restriction. Landau told the city that the price, which was five times higher than anyone had ever paid to lift a deed restriction, undermined the financial viability of operating a Medicaid-funded nursing home. 

By May, three months after buying the 219-bed Rivington House, Allure had an agreement to sell the building for $116 million to investors including Slate Property Group, Adam America and China Vanke. A partial stop-work order that limits construction and demolition remains in place.

In November 2015 Allure paid the city, and the deed restriction was lifted, facilitating the sale to developers, but they didn’t disclose the deal until several months later. The city Department of Investigation found that City Hall officials ranking as high as then-First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris either were aware or should have been that the deed restriction was being removed, causing the property to lose its public purpose designation. 

“This was a mistake. It was ridiculous, and I’ve said it a thousand times,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in June during a town hall meeting on the Lower East Side. “Not only did we entirely change the rules around anything like this; now it will require a personal signature from me to happen, which did not happen in this case.”

De Blasio said last week that NYC Health and Hospitals is adding 60 beds at its Gouverneur facility in Lower Manhattan to offset the Rivington closure. The beds are a welcome addition in a neighborhood that lost 335 beds when the Bialystoker and Cabrini nursing homes closed in 2011 and 2012, respectively. Still, a larger facility is needed, said Webster. “We don’t want any more stopgap measures,” she said. “We really have a crisis on our hands, and it’s going to get worse.”

The Rivington sale ultimately passed legal muster, as Schneiderman’s office concluded that the developers’ title to the property “is not subject to effective legal challenge.” But Schneiderman enforced penalties on Allure because his office found that designated members of the company’s board of directors failed to fulfill oversight duties. When Allure purchased Rivington from VillageCare, it appointed four board members: the brother-in-law of Allure CEO Solomon Rubin, two Allure employees and a truck driver for a food-delivery business who had no prior nursing home experience. But it was ultimately Landau and Marvin Rubin’s decision to sell. 

Besides failing to question the move, the board did not notify the state Supreme Court or the attorney general before the nonprofit sold its assets. Allure did not admit to or deny any of the attorney general’s findings.

“It was a big struggle for us the last two years while this was going on, and it affected our focus,” Marvin Rubin said. “Now we can continue to do what we do best, which is constantly improving long-term care.”

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Nursing home chain looks to future after scandal

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Tonight on Marti Oakley's T. S. Radio: TNT Tanya talkS

Our Guest is: Patrick Cross

4:00 pm PST … 5:00 pm MST … 6:00 pm CST … 7:00 pm EST

Tonight's guests expose local authorities in Oklahoma ignoring proofs of a hate crime. Patrick Cross’s strong voice and warrior for his son, 20 year old Christian-victim who is struggling yet surviving a brutal attack.

But that's not all that will be shared tonight.

Patrick Cross, father of victim- is ready to “show and tell” more sad truths about other injustices far too many are experiencing in this little municipality where the comforts of crimes by the true criminals upon citizens will no longer be tolerated.

Tanya Hathaway is not an attorney and cannot give and does not give legal advice. She is an activist, advocate, victim-survivor-whistleblower, blogger and author and speaker. Tanya strives to give opinion and resources, discuss options and encourages moving forward in bringing Justice to Oklahoma and realizing the true “Access to Justice” as our constitution was and is meant to be.

This is so common in Oklahoma that we have countless other warrior victim- advocates; advocates coming forward and lining up. And as we are building a major case against the state of Oklahoma- we won't stop until the job is done. Reform is on it's way… ! Join us and join in.

Next Sunday, FBI undercover turned whistleblower will be our guest.

Undercover blew the lid off of what he believes to be an unlawful set up against Jerry Varnell, now facing life in prison for failed attempts to blow up bank building. Wait til you find out the twists and turns in this case and hear the recordings of FBI conversation.

Sweetwater attorney sentenced after forging millionaire's will

A Tom Green County jury sentenced Sweetwater attorney John Stacy Young to 11 years in prison and $40,000 in fines Wednesday.

The jury deliberated for about three hours. Here's a breakdown of the sentences:
  • On Count 1, forgery, state jail felony: 24 months in a Texas State Jail facility and a $10,000 fine.
  • On Count 2, forgery, state jail felony: 24 months in a Texas State Jail facility and a $10,000 fine.
  • On Count 3, theft, first-degree felony: 11 years in an institutional division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and a $10,000 fine.
  • On Count 4, money laundering, second-degree felony: 11 years in an institutional division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and a $10,000 fine.
He will serve the sentences concurrently.

Young's family was in court for the sentencing. His daughter and son, both college age, broke into sobs and hugged their father.

Young, 57, was found guilty Monday, Nov. 6, on all charges related to conspiring with a San Angelo bail bondsman to forge a will and claim a local man's estimated $8 million estate.

Because he was found guilty of theft, Young almost certainly will be disbarred, according to information from the Houston Chronicle. It's not yet clear whether restitution will be required.

During closing arguments, Shane Attaway — with the state Attorney General's Office — told the jury that Young as a criminal defense attorney "knows the laws" and started "building his defense right from the start."

The defense urged the jury to consider "restorative justice" with a community supervision or probation option requiring Young or his family to pay back the estate.

"Make them (the Young family) pay," said Daniel Hurley, an attorney on Young's defense team. The easy option, he said, was to put him in jail and "let the taxpayers pay."

The prosecution team said Young had three years to pay restitution before now and "probation is not revoked for a failure to pay restitution," especially if the defendant has no assets or income to pay with.

The prosecution also pointed out that Young transferred ownership of his 5,000-square-foot home to his wife about two and a half weeks before the trial. 

"Probation is a hammer only if it's made of plastic and comes with a McDonald's Happy Meal," said Assistant Attorney General Jonathan White, one of the prosecuting attorneys.

Young faced punishment of 180 days to two years in jail and two to 99 years in prison for theft, money laundering and two counts of forgery. The trial lasted about 3 1/2 weeks. Judge Brock Jones presided. 

The Texas Rangers charged Young and former bail bondsman Ray Castro Zapata, 66, with stealing the estate of San Angelo resident John Edward Sullivan, 77, after he died June 4, 2014.

Zapata was bail bondsman for Sullivan when Sullivan was arrested in March 2014 on charges of soliciting minors online, and possession of child pornography. Court documents said Young became Sullivan's lawyer through a referral from Zapata. 

According to previous testimony, Zapata said he found the alleged will — bequeathing Sullivan's entire fortune to Young — on the day of Sullivan's death. It was handwritten in black ink and about a paragraph long, inside a prayer book at Sullivan's residence, he said. 

Zapata, who faced the same charges as Young, was found guilty in a May trial. A Tom Green County jury sentenced him to six months in state jail and 10 years' probation.

Judge Jones also ordered him to pay $1.8 million to Sullivan's estate. Zapata is appealing the conviction.

Case recap

MAY 8: Trial begins for San Angelo bondsman accused forging will

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Sweetwater attorney sentenced after forging millionaire's will