Guardianship News:

New Mexico

New Mexico: Court suggests critical changes to state rules

December 30, 2017

By Colleen Heild / Journal Investigative Reporter Saturday, December 30th, 2017 at 12:05am New Mexico’s secretive system under which the state handles daily living and financial decisions for hundreds of incapacitated people a year would undergo a radical transformation if recommendations unveiled by a state Supreme Court commission are adopted. The commission’s final report of recommendations for an improved guardian/conservator system in New Mexico – released late Thursday – presents [- more...]

New Mexico: Editorial – Critical flaws abound in proposed guardianship laws

December 30, 2017

Originally published in the Albuquerque Journal on Dec 24, 2017. The Uniform Law Commission’s (ULC) recommended changes to New Mexico’s guardian and conservator laws continues to position judges and their appointees beyond any accountability for actions taken in guardian and/or conservatorship cases. No financial monitoring of the judges, attorneys and professionals is proposed; the word “audit” is not found once in 150 pages of proposed statutes. Instead, existing laws are re-written, [- more...]

New Mexico: Plea bargain catches victims by surprise

November 30, 2017

 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

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

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...]

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

October 15, 2017

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...]

New Mexico: Sierra County Probate Judge Pam Smith Forced to Resign

October 13, 2017

KOB.com Web Staff  October 12, 2017 06:57 PM TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES, N.M. — A probate judge in southern New Mexico has been forced to resign in the face of some serious criminal charges.  According to documents from the Judicial Standards Commission, Sierra County Probate Judge Pam Smith will never be a judge in New Mexico again.  Documents show she’s accused of using her position to allow her and her husband to take possession of a dead man’s estate. The documents claim the [- more...]

New Mexico: Guardian hearing delayed after reporters try to attend

October 2, 2017

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

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

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...]
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