Monday, May 24, 2010

Legalized, Court-Sanctioned Scam Allows For Vulnerable "Senior-Snatching" In Kidnapping, Ripoff Racket Of The Elderly In Arizona???

In Phoenix, Arizona, KNXV-TV Channel 15 reports:
  • Many people move to Arizona for the weather and recreation because it's considered a haven for retirees who want to live out their golden years. But something else is happening here - something haunting. For Clair's mom, Gloria Horrigan, it was a nightmare. Clair said her mother was taken to a nursing home against her will and not allowed visitors, not even family. “It's sickening...It really truly is sickening,” said Clair.
  • It was a struggle for Robert Brown to bring his wife, Rosemary, home. She was also taken and within a matter of weeks, the family wasn't allowed to see her either. What happened in both cases started in a Maricopa County Courtroom - right in front of a judge.
  • Both Rosemary and Gloria had health issues that made it hard on their families. Families can't force a loved one to get help, but a guardian can. That's why their cases ended up in probate court, which hears issues on care for vulnerable adults. The court approved a guardian in both cases. And both times, the guardian was Sun Valley Group of Tempe.(1)(2)
For more, see Guardianship in Arizona: Elder care or elder abuse?

(1) In total, Rosemary's family allegedly spent over a $100,000 for just four months of Sun Valley Group's care, the story states. It ended when the nursing home thought Rosemary was dying. They finally allowed the family to see her. As for Gloria, her daughter said the company seemed much more interested in her mom's money than her health. The final bill being just under $500,000 and included charges for an employee to open her mail at $75 an hour, the story states. The company also allegedly failed to make Gloria's house payments, allowing it to go into foreclosure, according to the story.
According to the story, the ABC15 Investigators have found more issues plaguing Sun Valley Group. Owner Peter Frenette's wife, Heather, is co-owner, but she is being investigated by the Arizona nursing board. The Maricopa County Sheriff's Organized Crime Unit is also reportedly investigating Sun Valley Group. By state law, both investigations are secret, the story states.
The ABC15 Investigators also reportedly discovered three multi-million dollar lawsuits filed this year against the company for fraud and racketeering. Grant Goodman is the attorney for three former Sun Valley Group clients:
  • It's more of a criminal enterprise,” said Goodman, “They need to be prosecuted.” He claimed to find a pattern with these cases. “They effectively medicate them to such an extent that they really are non-functional,” said Goodman, “And they do that while they're liquidating their assets.” The three lawsuits also blame probate court. “The mob isn't this efficient, nor does the mob have the luxury of having a court rubberstamp these proceedings,” said Goodman.
Reportedly, the Arizona Supreme Court last month issued an Administrative Order to investigate probate court. One of the issues is regulating fees.
(2) The fleecing of the estates of the vulnerable and the dead in probate / surrogate's court proceedings apparently is not all that unheard of. See, for example:
For one New York Times story in this regard dating back over 20 years, see 3 in Surrogate's Office Charged With Thefts:
  • Three investigators from the Brooklyn and Bronx Public Administrators' offices were arrested [] and charged with falsifying public records and stealing valuables from rooms they believed had been occupied by people who died without leaving a will. granny-snatching