Guardianship News:

Indicted & Defunct Ayudando Guardians

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: 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...]

New Mexico Bust Belies US Elder Guardian Crisis

September 7, 2017

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 [- more...]

New Mexico: Holocaust-era survivor chafes under Ayudando guardianship

August 9, 2017

By Colleen Heild and Olivier Uyttebrouck / Journal Staff Writers From the Albuquerque Journal Peter Grotte-Higley was 3 years old in 1939 and living in what was then Czechoslovakia when the Nazis sent his Jewish father to Sachsenhausen concentration camp. As World War II came to a close, the invading Russian army forced 10-year-old Peter and his mother into a “collection” camp, where he recalls hearing people being beaten at night. Grotte-Higley survived to tell the story of his eventual [- more...]

New Mexico: Court scrambles to replace Ayudando guardians

July 31, 2017

By Colleen Heild / Journal Investigative Reporter State district judges in Albuquerque have identified 176 people, many of them indigent and all of them incapacitated in some way, who relied on Ayudando Guardians for help with everything from living arrangements to ensuring their funds, however meager, were safe. Chief District Judge Nan Nash and Chief Civil Division Judge Shannon Bacon in Bernalillo County said in an interview Friday that the courts are faced with having to quickly find [- more...]

New Mexico: Who guards the guardians? Ayudando was a family affair

July 31, 2017

By Colleen Heild / Journal Investigative Reporter Ayudando Guardians Inc. opened its doors with two nurses and a medical records expert in 2004. It was formed, according to its website, “due to the enormous need for guardians and conservators in the State of New Mexico.” The nonprofit Albuquerque-based guardian and conservator firm – now accused along with its principal owners of looting millions of dollars from client accounts – grew over the years. And, the company increasingly [- more...]

New Mexico: Employee blows whistle on guardian embezzlement case

July 21, 2017

For more than a decade, one of the state’s largest guardianship firms was routinely appointed by the courts to protect clients whose disabilities left them unable to handle their money or pay their bills. Behind the scenes, federal officials say, Susan Harris and Sharon Moore were allegedly running up the company credit card of Ayudando Guardians to the tune of $4 million by living the life of luxury and paying the American Express bills with client trust money. Then last June, according [- more...]
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