Monday, December 11, 2017

Tonight on T. S. Radio with Marti Oakley: Abolishing Probate #10: Intro into [Constitutionsal] Right to Jury

5:00 pm PST … 6:00 pm MST … 7:00 pm CST … 8:00 pm EST

Join Marti Oakley, Luanne Fleming and Randal Stone as we host Dr. C. Eric Durand and learn a thing or two about due process and our right to a trial by jury that is prohibited in most states' administrative tribunals, otherwise know as "PROBATE" courts.

BIO: I'm a Who's Who In America Physician and Law Professor, 3+ Doctorates (Psychology, Theology, Law) with Professional Degrees and Board Certifications. Enlisted in the USN-1982; Enrolled in the USArmyROTC in 1989 (Still, technically, a member and on Active Reserve with a J.A.G. and Medical Officer MOS)...Written several books, studied, taught and administered at several Colleges and Universities

Due Process
What are the requirements for meeting due process?
How could these jury's affect guardianship/probate?
In most every state, are administrative tribunal statutes written to prohibit jury trials?

"The trial jurys and grand jurys that are functioning in our courts today are also "citizens grand jurys", they belong to and are comprised of the citizens of this country. While there are provisions of law to form independent jurys, for example in emergency circumstances, there are also some very important lawful thresholds/requirements that attach thereto in order to legitimize those activities, and give them the power of law.

Most of our research has concluded that the petitioning of our currently sitting grand (12 or more) jurys is where the jurisdiction currently resides, and their involvement in the process is primary/requisite to legitimacy, efficiency, and a necessary element to the peace and security of the nation. (in addition to some of the concocted "private form a jury" ideas being basically virtual legal suicide, and a danger to anyone involved---not necessarily beneficial to anyone, and a virtual life sentence behind bars).

LISTEN to the show live or listen to the archive later

Disgraced Las Vegas lawyer sentenced to the maximum

Las Vegas - Disgraced lawyer Robert Graham, who stole millions of dollars from his clients, was sentenced to serve 16 to 40 years in prison.

He was given the maximum sentence on all five counts -- two counts of theft and three counts of exploitation of an older/vulnerable person.

There was a lot of tension inside the courtroom.

The judge made her frustrations heard as Graham and his lawyer tried to explain why the disbarred attorney stole millions from his clients -- among them -- the elderly, orphaned children and people with disabilities.

"You take an oath as an attorney when you became a member of the state bar to protect your clients," said Judge Kerry Earley, Clark County District Court.

Judge Earley did not hold back expressing how she felt about Graham's actions.

"Just tell me Mr. Graham, how can you sleep at night and account for that kind of money?"

The once successful attorney tried to justify stealing $16 million from more than 100 clients, saying his law firm fell into hard times and he did not want to disappoint his employees.

"How do you account for that with this explanation?" Judge Earley asked. "Are you not responsible for it?"

"Absolutely, judge," Graham responded.

"Well you sure wouldn't have known that with what you just told this court Mr. Graham. That rightly almost puts just such a pit in my stomach," Judge Earley said.

Almost a dozen family members spoke up during sentencing.

Victoria Pappalardo is now caring for her three grandchildren after their parents died in a car crash. The family never saw a penny from a life insurance policy.

"We tried to pick up the pieces and make sense of everything," Pappalardo said.

"She trusted the defendant," Joan Albstein said.

The daughter of Albstein is living with physical disabilities and was awarded more than $2 million in a malpractice lawsuit.

They too, never received their money.

"There's no substitution for that money to give her the care that she needs," Albstein said.

The judge went on to read letter from victims who couldn't attend before giving Graham the maximum time behind bars.

"You systematically stole from people who trusted you," Judge Earley said.

In court, Graham's attorney argued his client did not spend Thanksgiving with his family and won't be spending holidays with them for years to come.

Full Article & Source:
Disgraced Las Vegas lawyer sentenced to the maximum

Chicago-area woman charged in financial exploitation case

AURORA, Ill. (AP) — A 41-year-old suburban Chicago woman has been charged with stealing money from a resident of a long-term care facility while working for a state contractor.

A Thursday statement from the Kane County state’s attorney’s office says Mary E. Pfingston, of Joliet, faces a multi-count indictment that includes charges of financial exploitation of the elderly and public contractor misconduct.

Pfingston worked for Senior Services Associates. It was contracted with the state through the Illinois Department on Aging. The indictment alleges Pfingston stole thousands of dollars from the care-facility resident in 2015.

Pfingston was arrested Wednesday. An Illinois State Police statement says that she also had a warrant for failure to appear in a Will County case and remained in custody on Thursday. The official statements don’t name an attorney for Pfingston.

Full Article & Source:
Chicago-area woman charged in financial exploitation case

Limestone prisoner charged with bribery

Jerry Long
A Limestone County Jail prisoner has been charged with bribing a witness for calling a crime victim in jail and trying to pay her to drop charges, records show.

Limestone County Deputy Caleb Durden obtained a warrant Dec. 7 charging Jerry Dewayne Long, 39, of 17265 Blackburn Road, Athens, according to Limestone County District Court records. Deputy Casey Foxworthy served the warrant.

According to the deputy's incident report, Long is jailed for impersonating a police officer, miscellaneous theft and financial exploitation of an elderly person, the victim being James Long.  While in jail, Jerry has been calling the victim and attempting to get him to drop the charges. He told the victim he still has the money he took from him and is going to pay him back, according to Durden's report. The calls to the victim occurred between Nov. 13 and Dec. 6, records show.

The victim told the deputy he felt harassed and he asked Jerry on multiple occasions not to contact him anymore. Although the victim blocked Jerry from calling his telephone, Jerry continues to call the victim by using other inmate's calling cards, according to the report.

Jerry remains in the Limestone County Jail with bail set at $10,000. His release has not been set, however.

Full Article & Source: 
Limestone prisoner charged with bribery

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Steve Miller: Clark Co. Family Court Hearing Master Jon Norheim Dissected In "The Guardians" Documentary Film

LAS VEGAS - An emotion charged ninety-four minute documentary film about guardianship abuse in Las Vegas is about to hit the big screen and national TV networks.
The Guardians, produced by Toronto based film makers J.B. Sugar and Billie Mintz, was previewed last Thursday at the Branden Theater at the Palms Hotel in Las Vegas to an audience of reporters, victims of local for-hire guardians Jared E. Shafer and April Parks, and federal law enforcement officials from outside Nevada.
Following the showing, over one hundred invited guests were able to throw questions at the producers, and many of those questions revolved around scenes in the film showing appointed Clark County Family Court Hearing Master Jon Norheim apparently doing favors in open court for veteran private guardian Jared Shafer.
One of the scenes featuring Norheim shows Shafer giving the Hearing Master orders from the gallery to close the court after an attorney asked the whereabouts of over $500,000 missing from the account of one of Shafer's court appointed "wards."
(Court Video depicted in "The Guardians" showing Norheim complying to Shafer's order to throw the public out of the court after questions were raised about missing $500,000:
The Guardians also exposes Jon Norheim's past association with convicted organized crime associate Rick Rizzolo, and describes Norheim as once being Rizzolo's mob lawyer. Other scenes feature Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson.
Audience members described the film as "riveting" and a "cliff hanger" because it details several horrendous cases of alleged guardianship fraud and abuse, mainly by Jared Shafer, that were court approved by Hearing Master Norheim, or Family Court Judges Charles Hoskin or William Voy, cases that have been brought to the attention of federal law enforcement authorities and are currently under investigation. The film leaves viewers wondering if Shafer, Norheim, or others will be charged with crimes.
At the present time, according to the documentary, only Shafer's associates, private guardians April Parks and Patience Bristol, have been charged or convicted of fleecing wards of the court. Bristol is serving a 5 to 8 year sentence, and Parks is awaiting sentencing.
The Guardians is expected to be released in theaters and national TV sometime in early 2018.

Clark Co. Family Court Hearing Master Jon Norheim
Dissected In "The Guardians" Documentary Film

Steve Miller: More Damning Evidence Uncovered Against Private Guardian Jared E. Shafer

In August, 2009, private guardian Jared Shafer and his CPAs, Bruce Garnett and Shawn King, avoided criminal charges by secretly agreeing to pay back money Shafer converted from the accounts of his Clark County Family Court assigned "wards" into an immense Utah based Ponzi Scheme.
Even though Shafer and his CPAs were caught red handed by the US Security and Exchange Commission, they were not criminally charged and were allowed to continue handling the assets of wealthy wards of the court if they returned the money. But by that time, most of the bilked wards had died, and their heirs were never informed of the disposition of their loved one’s assets after required financial reports were allowed to go unfiled by the guardian because Family Court Judges William Voy, Charles Hoskin, and Hearing Master Jon Norheim regularly allowed the omission of financial reports when it involved Jared Shafer.
Interestingly, the public had no right to know this information based on the "Confidentiality" clause in the following Settlement Agreement obtained exclusively by INSIDE VEGAS. (The source of this information is protected under NRS 49.275, the Nevada Reporter's Shield Law.)

More Damning Evidence Uncovered Against Private Guardian Jared E. Shafer

Local nursing home cited for numerous violations, no longer accepting patients

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A local nursing home will no longer be accepting new admissions after the state discovered several violations.

According to Tennessee Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner, a recent inspection discovered 11 violations at Ashton Place Health and Rehabilitation Center with regards to administration, performance improvement, physician services, nursing services, medical records, food and dietetic services and social work services.

Read the full report 

The results were completed on November 22 and the facility was notified they would not be allowed to admit new patients.

In addition, the state has fined the nursing home $50,000 and ordered a monitor to the facility.

Ashton Place Health and Rehabilitation Center has the right to a hearing before the state.

WREG reported on the Walnut Grove nursing home back in September after the Memphis Police Department confirmed they had launched an elder abuse investigation connected to the center.

According to reports, an elderly resident was rushed to the hospital after he started running a high fever. Hospital workers told investigators and a social worker they discovered five open wounds to different parts of his body and a bruise to his stomach during treatment. He also had severe dry skin that was "flaking off his body."

But that wasn't all they found.

The patient had previous health problems that led to his left foot and right leg being amputated. They found maggots inside the wound, according to police. As nurses were treating the individual, they discovered the staples had not been removed from his right leg and the bandages were labeled "October 7."

Ambulance service employees also said they had found the man in feces.

The charge nurse at the care center told police the patient had refused care.  (Click to Continue)

Full Article & Source:
Local nursing home cited for numerous violations, no longer accepting patients

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Inside a judge’s rehab: Unpaid work at Ada's Coca-Cola plant

Retired Oklahoma Judge Thomas Landrith is hailed as a hero of criminal justice reform.

He started the first rural drug court in the nation and has reaped awards for sending defendants to treatment rather than prison. Most judges in the state model their drug courts after his.

But Landrith also is involved in a more sinister byproduct of criminal justice reform.

Nearly a decade ago, Landrith started his own rehab work camp where defendants must work full time for free at a local Coca-Cola bottling plant and other companies, under threat of prison if they don’t comply. They are required to say they’re unemployed and turn over their food stamps to the program, which state regulators say is fraud. And on their days off, some worked for free mowing Landrith’s lawn and doing yard work around his property.

“It’s a joke, that’s all it is,” said Justin Manion, who was sent to Southern Oklahoma Addiction Recovery – also known as SOAR – by a judge this year. “It’s a sh***y place.”

It’s the latest discovery in an ongoing investigation by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting into rehab programs across the country that promise defendants freedom from addiction but instead turn them into indentured servants for private industry.

Coca-Cola’s guidelines for its independent bottling plants prohibit forced labor. In response to Reveal’s reporting, the Ada Coca-Cola Bottling Co. said it would suspend its use of SOAR, saying in a statement that it takes “the concerns that have been raised seriously.”

“We have participated in the SOAR program because of the good we have seen it can do for people in our community and are hopeful we can work with SOAR to revise the terms of the program so that we can resume participation in the future,” the statement said.

The involvement of one of Oklahoma’s most celebrated judges exposes just how pervasive this type of rehab model has become, implicating major corporationspowerful politicians and even those whose job is to uphold the law. And it lays bare a litany of ethical and legal problems that can arise in the process, even in programs started with the best intentions.

Many defendants sent to SOAR have not yet been convicted of crimes, making their forced labor a potential violation of the 13th Amendment ban on slavery and involuntary servitude, according to legal experts.

State ethics rules say a judge should not serve as an officer of an organization whose proceedings might come before him or her. Landrith currently is an unpaid SOAR board member – a position he’s held since 2014 – and has sent at least nine defendants from his drug court to SOAR since 2010, records from the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services show.

Landrith retired from the bench in 2014 but continues to work as the drug court judge in Pontotoc County as an unpaid volunteer. He said he tries to avoid sending men to his program, but doesn’t consider it a violation of the rules.

The rules still apply to retired judges, said Eric Mitts, director of the Oklahoma Council on Judicial Complaints.

“In general, the judge should stay away from accepting a position that might create a conflict of interest,” he said.

‘Labor conquers all’

Landrith started SOAR in 2008 as his drug court was grappling with a shortage of affordable treatment programs. The Pontotoc County jail was so overcrowded that when Landrith meted out punishment for dirty drug tests, some defendants ended up sleeping outside. His rehab program would cost defendants and taxpayers nothing. All those in the program had to do was work.

“Labor conquers all,” Landrith said. “Some of those people have never worked a day in their life.”

Today, SOAR houses about 55 men and women who work at a Coca-Cola bottling plant, a car wash owned by a board member, a roofing company, local motels and a Leachco factory that makes pregnancy pillows sold at Babies R Us, Nordstrom and Bed Bath & Beyond.

While women in the program get to keep some of their pay, men get nothing. The companies pay SOAR for all the labor and don’t have to pay for workers’ taxes or workers’ compensation insurance, according to the rehab program.

“Here at Ada Coca-Cola, we hire SOAR men because they’re dependable, reliable and they save us money,” a company representative said in a 2015 promotional video.

Kevin Lowe, the hiring manager at Ultimate Carwashes said the company’s priority is helping the men. Putting them to work is the only way most are able to afford treatment, he said.

“If that’s against the law, then shame on the law,” Lowe said. “I see men get their lives back and become fathers and husbands and contributing members of society again.”

In addition to working, the men are required to attend a group counseling session once a week and church services twice a week. If they complete the six-month program without breaking any rules, they’re eligible for a $500 stipend.

Reveal spoke with more than a dozen men who attended the SOAR program. All but one said the program was more concerned with work than their recovery. Cody Evans called it “the worst experience of my life.” Dustin Barnes called the people who run SOAR “crooks.”

Dustin Barnes was sent to SOAR in 2015. While there, Barnes said he was ordered to do yard work for Judge Thomas Landrith, including cleaning brush from his creek bed and mowing his lawn.
Dustin Barnes was sent to SOAR in 2015. While there, Barnes said he was ordered to do yard work for Judge Thomas Landrith, including cleaning brush from his creek bed and mowing his lawn. (Credit: Shane Bevel for Reveal)

“‘If you can’t work, your ass should not be here.’ They tell you that when you first get there,” said Lee Purdy, who was court-ordered to SOAR and worked at Leachco. “This ain’t the place for you if you can’t work.”

If men got hurt or were too sick to work, the program often kicked them out, they said. Some worked despite being injured.

“It made me mad and feel like I really wasn’t worth nothing,” said Lucas Allen, one of the men Landrith sent to SOAR in 2015. He said he was forced to work with an injured hand.  “It’s like they didn’t care what happened to me.”

“It’s the best way to re-establish some kind of self-worth in those individuals,” said board President Duane Murray. “There’s nothing better, more therapeutic than getting up and doing what everybody else does on a regularly scheduled basis.”

Landrith told Reveal that he expects SOAR to get sued for its work practices, as two other Oklahoma rehabs have recently. If that happens, he said, most defendants going to work-based programs will probably end up going to prison.

“We started the SOAR program because there was no place to send anybody. It’s still that way,” he said. “I don’t know what everybody wants the endgame to be.”

Other programs that resemble SOAR pay their participants for their labor. And most don’t have their participants perform free yard work for a judge.

“We were cleaning brush in his creek bed behind his house,” said Barnes, whom a judge sent to SOAR in 2015. “Cleaning his gutters. Mowing his lawn. Doing hedges. He was there hanging out, like he was one of the guys.”

Landrith said he donated a lawnmower and their pay to SOAR.

Abusing the food stamp program

Judge Landrith started SOAR in 2008 as his drug court was grappling with a shortage of affordable treatment programs.
Judge Landrith started SOAR in 2008 as his drug court was grappling with a shortage of affordable treatment programs. (Credit: Shane Bevel for Reveal)

Cody Theriac thought he’d caught a break when a drug court judge in Tulsa decided to give him another chance at rehab instead of sending him to prison.

But when Theriac arrived at SOAR, his first stop wasn’t to a drug and alcohol counselor. It was to the local food stamp office in Ada.

Theriac never had applied for food stamps before. As he sat in the drab government office, a SOAR employee coached him on exactly what to say.

He had to say he was unemployed, he remembered, even though a few days later he would be working full time at Leachco. He should say he was in a rehab. And once he got his benefit card, he had to turn it over to SOAR.

“Isn’t this fraud?” Theriac remembers asking SOAR administrators at the time. “I kept getting the same answers: ‘This is no big deal, this is how it’s done.’ The whole time I thought, if I don’t do what they said, I would go to prison.”

So Theriac did it. He left the Department of Human Services office with a food stamp card that day.

SOAR confiscated Theriac’s benefit card, locking it in a safe with those of other participants. Every few weeks, SOAR administrators would take a handful of men in the program to the local Walmart, where they were forced to use their cards to buy food for the entire rehab, they said.

A dozen other SOAR participants confirmed that they also were told what to say to qualify for a benefit card and then ordered to relinquish it to SOAR.

“It is against the law,” said Debra Martin, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. “The people who this happened to need to call us or email us and let us know.”

Some drug and alcohol rehab centers are allowed to apply for special food stamps for clients and legally purchase food on their behalf. But SOAR is not one of these approved programs and never has applied for these special benefit cards, according to the department.

“Any incorrect information on the application would be a crime in and of itself,” said Joe Glover, a department agent who investigates food stamp fraud. “The card is only for the individual. It’s not for a group.”

Murray, SOAR’s board president, called the participants of SOAR “volunteers, not employees,” saying they weren’t technically employed anywhere. He said the rehab had worked out an arrangement with the local Department of Human Services office when it came to food stamps.
Martin said the department is unaware of any such deal.

A questionable rehab model

Landrith got the idea for SOAR from Raymond Jones, a convicted meth dealer who once came through his court.

After Landrith ordered Jones to complete a similar work-based rehab program nearly 20 years ago, Jones told Landrith that he had found God and was a changed man – so much so that he decided to start a rehab of his own, called the Drug and Alcohol Recovery Program.

Jones also helped launch Christian Alcoholics & Addicts in Recovery, a rehab that provides labor to chicken processing plants using unpaid workers. As a result of Reveal’s original investigation, participants filed a total of four class-action lawsuits against the two rehabs, alleging human trafficking and fraud. The program is now the subject of two government investigations.

“Raymond is a very smart guy. We thought, ‘Well, if they could do this, why can’t we?’ ” Landrith recalled. “So Raymond and I decided to do one here. He was the person who said, ‘I think we could do this.’ ”

Jones confirmed that he consulted with Landrith on the creation of SOAR but said he is no longer involved.

Like its predecessors, SOAR has become indispensable to courts looking for alternatives to prison. At least 15 drug courts from across Oklahoma have sent defendants to SOAR since 2010, records show.

Some judges send defendants to the program to get them away from bad influences or into stable housing. But others have used the program instead of certified treatment, a potential violation of state law.

The Oklahoma Drug Court Act requires drug courts to send defendants for treatment at certified facilities with trained counselors and regular inspections. SOAR is uncertified and says the best cure for addiction is hard work.

Neither the courts nor the program have ever measured its success.

“I’ve never worked that much in my life. I was exhausted every day,” said Jesse James Ward, who worked for a roofing company and completed SOAR in 2015.

Not long after leaving the program, he was charged with drug possession.

Full Article & Source:
Inside a judge’s rehab: Unpaid work at Ada's Coca-Cola plant

Woman gets 5 years for bilking elderly Palatine man out of $4 million

A woman has been sentenced to five years in federal prison for bilking an elderly northwest suburban man out of more than $4 million.

Corinne Dziesiuta, 39, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in August, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Dziesiuta, who is originally from New Jersey, was working for a call center in Costa Rica when she made several phone calls and sent letters to the victim, a Palatine resident, prosecutors said. The victim was told that he won millions of dollars in a sweepstake, but had to pay various fees and taxes in order to collect.

Dziesiuta and her accomplices tricked and bullied the man into transferring large amounts of money to accounts they controlled, prosecutors said. He made 37 payments ranging from $23,751 to $210,000.

She perpetuated the scheme for more than six years, causing the victim to lose more than $4.1 million, prosecutors said.

In 2016, the victim began cooperating with law enforcement, who directed him to inform Dziesiuta, who was using the name “Lisa Conti,” that he would only provide additional funds in person, prosecutors said.

Dziesiuta agreed to travel to New York to meet him, and was arrested when she arrived at LaGuardia Airport in New York City.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin sentenced Dziesiuta to 60 months in prison on Tuesday, according to the statement.

Full Article & Source:
Woman gets 5 years for bilking elderly Palatine man out of $4 million