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New Mexico Bust Belies US Elder Guardian Crisis

New Mexico Bust Belies US Elder Guardian Crisis: Over 4.5% guardianship files in Santa Fe cases are completely secret: No information other than the existence of a case number is released by the Court. New Mexico Bust Belies US Elder Guardian Crisis: Over 4.5% guardianship files in Santa Fe cases are completely secret: No information other than the existence of a case number is released by the Court.

By Juliette Fairley Friday, 01 Sep 2017 04:50 PM Current | Bio | Archive

While the founders of Ayudando Guardians Inc. (Ayudando) defend themselves against charges of conspiracy, fraud, theft and money laundering, elder advocates nationwide contend that the offenses uncovered in New Mexico this year are not isolated incidents.

“There’s more to this story than meets the eye,” said Dr. Sam Sugar, founder of the Florida-based Americans Against Abusive Probate Guardianship (AAAPG), a volunteer organization that tracks court appointed abusive probate guardianship cases nationwide.

Ayudando, an Albuquerque-based non-profit corporation, provided guardian, conservator and financial management services to hundreds of individuals with special needs and out of 34 district courts in New Mexico there are multiple case files missing where victims were first deemed incapacitated by the Court, placed under the watch of a court appointed guardian and ultimately classified as wards of the state, according to a WillPowerNM.org study covering the time span of January 1, 2010 to June 30, 2017.

“These missing case files indicate that there are more people than those arrested in the Ayudando sting that are employing the legal construct of guardianship, conservatorship or trusteeship as criminal enterprises to first enslave then exploit and rob,” AAAPG’s Dr. Sugar said.

For example, Santa Fe and Albuquerque had 12 missing guardian case files each out of a total of 279 and 1,730 respectively while in Las Cruces there are nine missing case files out of a total of 562 and in Bernalillo one case file has disappeared out of 176.

Watchdog groups like AAAPG and WillPowerNM.org say they applaud the effort of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to shut down Ayudando but they are also urging authorities to dig deeper in order to assist others who are being held in locked facilities under potentially illegitimate guardianship in states such as Florida, Texas, Georgia and Nebraska. In some of these cases, the elderly are isolated and family members are banned from visiting.

“Victims affiliated with Ayudando are the ones we are aware of,” said Dr. Sugar whose AAAPG acts as a clearinghouse of cases similar to those uncovered.

For example, Santa Fe and Albuquerque had 12 missing guardian case files each out of a total of 279 and 1,730 respectively while in Las Cruces there are nine missing case files out of a total of 562 and in Bernalillo one case file has disappeared out of 176.

“This is evidence that there exists an entire secret justice system related to elderly wards of the state of New Mexico that are completely outside of anyone’s watchful eye of review,” Dr. Sugar said. “What persons do these missing case files belong to and where are their bodies? Are they alive?”

The 28-count indictment of federal charges leveled against co-founders Susan Harris and Sharon Moore, announced by the DOJ in July, emerged out of an alleged scheme to embezzle funds from client trust accounts managed by Ayudando.

Ayudando hasn’t responded to Newsmax Finance’s request for comment.

In most states, it is not uncommon for a person to lose their individual rights around residence, visitation, medical care, assets and property once they become a ward of the state under a court-ordered guardianship.

“The victims in this case relied upon Ayudando to manage their finances and meet their needs,” said James D. Tierney, acting U.S. Attorney. “Federal law enforcement has now stepped in to ensure that the looting stops.”

Charges against Ms. Harris and Ms. Moore are the result of an ongoing investigation by the FBI, IRS Criminal Investigation, U.S. Marshals Service (USMS), Veteran Affairs’ Office of Inspector General and the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General.

“Ayudando [Guardians] are just the tip of the iceberg of a nationwide racket orchestrated by Courts, greedy lawyers and restricted facilities where senior citizens and the disabled are warehoused and defrauded once they become wards of the state,” Dr. Sugar said.

Juliette Fairley is an author, lecturer and TV host based in New York.

To read this article on NewMax’s website, click here.

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