Guardianship News:

New Mexico: Pair plead guilty to fleecing WWII vet of $340,000; receive no jail time

WW II veteran Dennis Ferk, fleeced of $340,000 by caretakers avoided any jail, so long as they made attempts to pay only $120,496 in restitution, an unknown amount of which might have been received by the victim, former Staff Sgt Ferk. Most probably went to attorneys fees, guardianship fees and court costs. WW II veteran Dennis Ferk, fleeced of $340,000 by caretakers avoided any jail, so long as they made attempts to pay only $120,496 in restitution, an unknown amount of which might have been received by the victim, former Staff Sgt Ferk. Most probably went to attorneys fees, guardianship fees and court costs.

Problems in the guardianship system in New Mexico continue. I’m referring to the article by Phaedra Haywood (“Pair plead guilty to fleecing WWII vet.” April 27).

Obviously; Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer did not believe that 26 criminal counts were serious enough to put the couple in this case in jail. It’s the same twisted logic that allows attorneys and judges in this state to continue to overlook such criminals to hold them accountable.

District Attorney Marco Serna stated that he didn’t seek prison time for Dian Zeemin and Joseph Rosko because “neither showed they were violent or a danger to the public.”* I definitely disagree. They were indeed a danger to former Army Staff Sgt. Dennis Ferk and his estate. They embezzled $340,000 from this World War II veteran. How disgusting and disrespectful can one be?

This state has no accountability in this area. Through Colleen Heild’s articles in the Albuquerque Journal, many have been educated regarding the substandard treatment that these very vulnerable individuals have experienced.

New Mexicans, wake up and comprehend What’s happening in the Land of Enchantment. When will those in power (New Mexico legislators, New Mexico attorneys and New Mexico judges Magistrate Court, District Court and Supreme Court justices) open their eyes and sincerely take action to respect and protect our most vulnerable New Mexicans?

Lorraine Mendiola is the legislative director for the New Mexico chapter of Americans Against Abusive Probate Guardianship. She lives in Santa Fe.

This article originally appeared in the Santa Fe New Mexican, June 24, 2018, as part of their My View column, where readers can discuss their take on current affairs in New Mexico. 

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* From the April 27th article, Santa Fe District Attorney Marco Serna stated for the New Mexican: “…[the District Attorney’s] office generally does not seek incarceration when it comes to “white-collar crime.” “We don’t believe [jail time] is going to rehabilitate anyone who is not a violent criminal,” he said. “I don’t want to send these people to prison if they are able to work and can pay restitution.”