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New Mexico: Plea bargain catches victims by surprise

November 30, 2017 // 0 Comments

 By Colleen Heild / Journal Investigative Reporter Federal law says crime victims have a right to “reasonable and timely notice” of any public court proceedings involving the crime. But Paul Donisthorpe’s sudden plea bargain Monday in a high-profile $4 million trust fund embezzlement scheme caught victims by surprise. Armando Ramirez, of Santa Teresa, helps support his brother Omar Ramirez, who lost nearly $1 million in a trust account managed by Donisthorpe that was supposed to pay for [- more...]

BREAKING NEWS – New Mexico: Former Desert State Life CEO pleads guilty in Federal Court to fraud, money laundering

November 28, 2017 // 0 Comments

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The former CEO of Desert State Life Management pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering in federal court Monday morning. Paul Donisthorpe, 62, will be sentenced to eight to 12 years in prison, according to the recommendation in his plea agreement. He also must pay $4,812,857 in restitution to the victims of his crimes. Donisthorpe ran a decade-long scheme in which he stole more than $4.8 million from more than 70 of his company’s clients. Many of them had [- more...]

New Mexico: latest guardianship hearing held in secret

November 27, 2017 // 1 Comment

By Colleen Heild and Olivier Uyttebrouck / Journal Staff Writers From the Albuquerque Journal A guardianship court hearing for Holocaust survivor Peter Grotte-Higley was held in secret on Tuesday, three weeks after the judge in the case postponed the matter saying she wanted to research the issue of whether two Journal reporters could attend. State District Judge Denise Barela-Shepherd at an Oct. 2 hearing instructed the attorneys in the case to research the “legal authorities either in [- more...]

Nevada: Family awarded $8.5 million in guardianship abuse case

November 27, 2017 // 0 Comments

By Darcy Spears Posted: 5:41 PM, Nov 21, 2017 LAS VEGAS (KTNV) – $8.5 million dollars. It’s a figure almost impossible to fathom for 81-year-old Rudy North. “And it’s time,” North said. “It’s taken over four years.” The autumn 2013 day that April Parks came to take guardianship over Rudy and his wife, Rennie, is a day they’ll never forget. “We were kidnapped from our house,” Rudy said. After Contact 13 exposed allegations of [- more...]

New Mexico: Ayudando Guardians allegedly stole ward’s $117,000 then housed ward in leaky trailer

October 15, 2017 // 0 Comments

By Colleen Heild for the Albuquerque Journal LAS VEGAS, N.M. – For Justin Bowers, home is a travel trailer that attracts flies and leaks when it rains. Even so, it’s a step up from where his court-appointed guardian previously had him living – in a 17-man boarding home that charged $800-a-month rent. It’s not what Bowers, who is from Albuquerque, wants. It’s not what his father, who worked 30 years for the U.S. Post Office, wanted for his son. Bowers, 34, who has been under [- more...]

NPR: Who’s Guarding Against The Guardians?

October 5, 2017 // 2 Comments

From NPR’s On Point program, Who’s Guarding Against The Guardians? With guest host Jane Clayson. Court-approved guardians—strangers swooping in and taking over the lives of elderly people who are helpless to stop them. We’ll dig in on who, why and how. It’s an epic scandal targeting the elderly. For profit guardians—strangers— knocking on the doors of our most vulnerable people and taking total control of their finances and lives. Moving them out of their homes into [- more...]

New Mexico: Guardian hearing delayed after reporters try to attend

October 2, 2017 // 0 Comments

By Olivier Uyttebrouck and Colleen Heild / Journal Staff Writers From the Albuquerque Journal An Albuquerque judge postponed a hearing Monday for a former client of Ayudando Guardians after two Journal reporters tried to attend his guardianship hearing at the client’s invitation. In a related development, the former Ayudando client, Peter Grotte-Higley, said he moved on Friday to a new senior living facility near the University of New Mexico that he called “1,000 percent better” than his [- more...]

New Mexico: Guardianship Commission reveals changes to be proposed

September 23, 2017 // 0 Comments

From the Albuquerque Journal By Colleen Heild / Journal Investigative Reporter Friday, September 22nd, 2017 at 11:45pm A special commission on Friday unveiled a slate of ambitious proposals to strengthen oversight of the state’s ailing guardian and conservator system, which oversees finances and other major decisions for many of New Mexico’s most vulnerable citizens. The Supreme Court-appointed commission’s recommendations include hiring special court employees to hear grievances and [- more...]

New Mexico: State auditor says Office of Guardianship fails to oversee firms

September 23, 2017 // 1 Comment

From the Albuquerque Journal By Colleen Heild / Journal Investigative Reporter Thursday, September 21st, 2017 at 11:43pm State Auditor Tim Keller’s office on Thursday issued an “emergency risk” advisory for the state Office of Guardianship based on an initial review that showed the agency has failed to properly oversee more than 20 private companies that are paid by the state to provide guardian services for vulnerable, indigent New Mexicans. The Guardianship Office, which has about 900 [- more...]

Las Vegas: Attorney Rob Graham Pleads Guilty to Stealing over $16 million from Client Estate Funds

September 8, 2017 // 0 Comments

By Jeff German and David Ferrara Updated September 7, 2017 – 5:13 pm Longtime estate attorney Robert Graham admitted in District Court Thursday to stealing more than $16 million from clients, many of whom relied financially on trust funds he oversaw. Graham, 52, who is in custody at the Clark County Detention Center on $5 million bail, pleaded guilty before District Judge Kerry Earley to two felony counts of theft and three counts of exploitation of an older/vulnerable person. He faces a [- more...]
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