Monday, February 28, 2011

We Will Not Forget! What We Witnessed ...

*Photo is a graphic representation and visual aid of what we have seen,witness and report about and does not necessarily represent the identity of victim(s) in this article.

What We Witnessed(Part One: Veda Jones)-by- Angela V. Woodhull, Ph.D.
© AV Woodhull, 2011

This is a pre-release of chapters for an upcoming book titled Guardian vs. Guardian. In the chapter titled “What We Witnessed” I describe the various situations we (David, my fiancée, and I) came across when visiting Rebecca Fierle victims in nursing homes—the shocking conditions—and when knocking on doors and interviewing family members.

After my mother was declared “100% mentally incompetent” based on the most tenuous and inaccurate information (She couldn’t draw the hands on a clock (Wasn’t given her glasses to even see the clock) , didn’t provide her correct address (the examining committee was given the wrong address), and didn’t know her bounty (She intentionally understated her bounty when asked its extent by three strangers—a wise move, actually), David and I decided to go on a gigantic search for other victims. We began daily visits to the Seminole County courthouse in search of other Rebecca Fierle victims. Our big question was: “If Louise A. Falvo had been placed in a nursing home against her will based on based on false allegations and tenuous reports, were there other victims in nursing homes who also maintained mental capacity but had been declared (wrongfully) ‘incompetent’ as well?”

Veda Jones

The first victim we decided to visit was Veda Jones. We read in the court record that she was only 62 years old and had been diagnosed with dementia. It was hard to believe that a woman, only 62, had been declared 100% mentally incompetent.

It appeared that Veda Jones had no relatives, had previously worked as a nurse, and had owned a condominium in the Orlando area that, during the boom period, had been worth about $250,000.00. Veda had also had a bank account, furniture, a car, etc. How had she ended up in a nursing home at such a young age?

We went to Life Care of Altamonte Springs and located Veda who was strapped into a wheel chair and sat in front of a TV in a community room.

We attempted to talk to her.

“Veda? How are you?” Veda stared up at the ceiling, her eyes rolling around from side to side as though she was attempting to “find” our voices.

“Veda? What happened to you? How did you end up here? You used to be a nurse?” Veda attempted to speak with us but the words came out jumbled and garbled. There was drool running out of the corners of her agape mouth.

A staff member walked by the TV room, curious to notice that Veda Jones actually had a visitor.

“May I help you,” she asked tersely.

“Oh, no. We’re fine. We’re just here to visit Veda.”

“How do you know Veda?” she inquired.

“Oh, we lived in the same condominium complex off of Pine Hills Road. She was our neighbor. We just learned that she’s here. What happened? How did she end up here?”

“That’s private information,” the nurse stated. “I am not permitted to discuss her diagnosis.”

We stayed only a bit longer. It is difficult to carry on a conversation with someone who is unable to respond.

Her hands were warm. I squeezed her hands. I held her hands. I attempted to make eye contact with her. I stroked her hair. I sensed that there was more to this story than my brief review of her court file had indicated.


Back at the Seminole County Courthouse, I gave Veda’s file another look.

There had been a “Report to Court” filed by the court-appointed attorney,

Ann Marie Giordano-Gilden. Gilden is frequently seen as the “court-appointed attorney” on Rebecca Fierle cases. Gilden just happens to be the wife of probate attorney Ian Gilden, who co-authored “Guide to Guardianships” with Judge Nancy Alley, who is generally the probate judge on these Rebecca Fierle Seminole County cases. Prior to becoming a judge, Nancy Alley was a probate (guardianship) attorney, and prior to obtaining her law degree, Nancy Alley was a professional guardian. Ian Gilden has represented Rebecca Fierle in more than three dozen guardianship cases.

So this, I discovered, was quite a “cozy” arrangement.

It turns out that a careful read of Ann Marie Giordano-Gilden’s “Report to Court” revealed that Veda Jones had actually been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. But she was not being treated for Parkinson’s disease.

She was simply being given a cocktail of psychotropic drugs on a daily basis. With treatments for Parkinson’s disease, Veda Jones could actually have remained an active member of her community, just like Muhammad Ali. However, the drugs that treat Parkinson’s Disease are quite expensive. It is much cheaper to declare someone as suffering from dementia and then just keep them drugged up and strapped in a chair.

Minus the drugs, I wondered what Veda Jones would look like and act like.

I was soon to learn that a significant number of Rebecca Fierle victims are unable to speak. There are drugs so powerful that they take away one’s ability to communicate. How convenient for the guardian who can simply write on her annual report that the appropriate therapeutic “activities” and treatment had been rendered during the year but that Veda Jones had remained unresponsive. It’s difficult (actually impossible) to complain to the Ombudsman when you remain tongue tied due to the effects of psychotropic drugs.

The next time we checked in on Veda Jones, she had been left alone in her bed. A tray of lunch food had been delivered to her room (which was now cold to the touch) and remained untouched on a portable table adjacent and parallel to her bed. We wondered how she was supposed to eat this food.

We concluded that she wasn’t.

Soon, a worker came and removed the untouched tray.


There was little we found in the Seminole County court record to indicate what had happened to the $250,000.00 from the sale of her condominium, her car, and her personal belongings. All we knew was that Rebecca Fierle had later petitioned the court to not have to file any further annual reports because all of the money was gone.



Angela Victoria Woodhull, Ph.D.

*Note: Dr. Angela V. Woodhull, a licensed private investigator, spent more than two and a half years investigating court records in Seminole and Orange Counties, Florida and interviewing family members and victims in order to compose this story. All court records that verify the contents of this article were submitted as attachments to the editor of the F.B.I. journal as verification of accuracy. Woodhull can be reached at:

Friday, February 25, 2011

Do You Remember These

Do You Remember These

You may need to watch it twice; once to watch the Burma shave signs change and once to catch all the pictures plus listening to the music of the Statler Brothers.


Thanks to George Daniel for this great weekend fun!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Guardianship FAQs

-by- Angela V. Woodhull, Ph.D. © 2011, AV Woodhull

At least every couple of weeks, I receive a frantic call from a predatory guardianship victim—hoping, somehow, that I will have an answer for him or her.

Each time I receive one of these calls, I am torn up for hours afterwards.

I literally cry.

I have no answers for you. I am simply 100 yards down the road watching you walk the same path I/We have already walked.

Today was one such day. I spoke to the grandson of an 89-year-old woman who is being held hostage in a dungeon they call a nursing home.

She was removed from her grandson’s lovely home--based upon a false allegation. And even though he was cleared of all the allegations, a guardianship was commenced and continues.

That’s it. An allegation. I have stated before that these allegations need not be true.

The grandson wants only the best for his grandmother.

“Can I at least get the guardian to put her in a nicer nursing home?”

My answer to him: Probably not.

“Why not?”

Because the Guardianship Mafia is not about taking care of your grandmother. It’s about converting her money into attorneys’ fees.

“But I have a power of attorney! I’m the designated pre-need guardian! There’s Florida case law on this! I’m the one who’s supposed to be the guardian!! When will I be appointed the guardian so that my grandmother can come back home?”

My answer to him: When all of your grandmother’s money has been spent.

“But she has more than $400,000.00! They can’t spend all that!”

My answer to him: Yes, most of that $400,000.00 will be converted to
attorney’s fees—in less time than you can imagine.

“You’ve got to be kidding me! This can’t be real!!!”

My answer to him: [No answer. He is adjusting (or not adjusting) to the reality of the situation—something all guardianship victims have to go through.]

“What about the FBI! I’m going to call the FBI!!!”

My answer to him: Yes, we’ve all called the FBI.

“And what did they do?! This is so wrong! This is outrageous!”

Have you ever watched an accident in progress?

Seven years ago, I was part of an accident in progress. I came upon
black ice on the interstate and my brakes would not engage. As my vehicle
approached the accident scene, there was no way to stop the inevitable.

I was about to crash into Car Number Six and I was about to break my right leg in eight places.

There was no way to stop this reality.

The next time I receive a call from a victim, I will continue, as usual, to listen patiently.

I will empathize with you.

However, I cannot solve your situation.

I already know your questions, so here are the answers:

Q: Can you recommend a “good” attorney who will make this unnecessary guardianship stop?

A: No. There is no such thing as a “good attorney” who wants to end the nightmare that has been created for you and your loved one. All attorneys are paid out of the “ward’s” assets. This is like asking an oil company to stop drilling for oil. The only way an oil corporation will stop drilling for oil (in a particular area) is when they are certain that all the oil in that area has been depleted. Likewise, attorneys will stop the proceedings when all of your loved one’s money has been converted to attorneys’ fees.

Q. What government agency can I contact to make this unnecessary guardianship stop? It is so wrong!

A. There is no government agency who will listen to you. Your predecessors (i.e., fellow guardianship victims) have already called every government agency imaginable. Here’s a partial list of (government as well as non-government) agencies that have been already contacted on multiple occasions by a plethora of guardianship victims while your loved one is being held hostage in a marginal nursing home, overmedicated, and all of his or her money is being spent on attorneys’ fees:

--State Guardianship Offices
--National Guardianship Association
--Federal Bureau of Investigation
--State legislators
--Local Police
--Elder Abuse Hotline
--Agency for Health Care Administration
--Local Sheriffs Departments
--State Police
--Government Accountability Office
--State senators
--State attorneys offices
--Governors’ offices
--County attorneys offices
--Department of Children and Families
--Medicare/Medicaid Fraud Hotline
--Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation
--President Obama
--Government Accountability Office
--Judicial Qualification Commissions
--American Bar Association
--Local Bar Associations
--The Media (i.e., 20/20, 60 Minutes, 48 Hours, local news channels, local news papers, national news papers, Oprah, Dr. Phil, etc., etc., etc.)
--Your congressman

(I, personally, can put a check mark next to each and all of the above. Most of us who are outspoken guardianship reform advocates have done the same—or even more.)

Q)But they accused me of things that are absolutely NOT TRUE!

A)Yes, I know that.

Q)When I prove that the allegations of financial exploitation are untrue, they’ll have to stop the guardianship, right?

A)No. They will continue asserting the false allegations and use it to continue the guardianship—even after you have proved your innocence. They will continue to say it is true—even if it’s not true.

Q)Well, I just don’t believe you. This is too preposterous to believe. I’m going to count on my attorney getting something done!

A)Okay. That’s fine. I’m sure I’ll be hearing back from you sometime in the near future—and thousands of dollars later.

Q)Then what should I do?

A)Join fellow/sister guardianship victims. Stop wasting your money on attorneys who are fighting the fight with local judges and courts of appeal. This is a NO WIN situation. The local judges and courts of appeal will gain you nothing except an empty bank account. There are three things we, as a group, are doing: (1) fighting for legislative reform, (2) speaking up and out—the more people you educate, the less likely the guardian and her attorneys will be able to do this, (the creation of websites are a good thing—expose the guardian, the judge, and the attorneys involved on the internet) (3) save what little money you have left and join us in a class action federal RICO lawsuit.

Q)But I really am innocent!

A)Yes, I know, and there’s a law enforcer who gives seminars to fellow police officers on “signs to look for” of people who are guilty of financial exploitation of the elderly. One of the “signs” is someone who says they are innocent. So, the more you say you are innocent to law enforcement, they will see this as a “red flag” of guilt. They are also taught in the seminar that elder exploiters always say, “But my relative REALLY IS mentally competent!” By saying this, you are “proving” you are guilty!

Q)But my relative REALLY IS mentally competent!

A)Yes! I believe you!!! But by the time the guardian and her attorneys are done with your loved one, he or she REALLY WILL BE “mentally incapacitated.” There are drugs that mimic dementia.

Q)But I was given a Power of Attorney!

A)Ah! More evidence of guilt! Anyone with a “power of attorney” is viewed as a manipulator and exploiter of the elderly!

Q)That makes no sense at all! What was my loved one supposed to do to protect herself and her assets if she didn’t give me such authority? She was trying to protect herself from the Bad Relatives!

A) Yes, I know that. But in the Guardianship Game, the Predatory Relatives become the Good Guys who team up with the Predatory Guardian and her attorneys, and, typically, the people who have been doing the most, (sacrificing their time and their life) are portrayed as the “Evil Ones.”

Q)So, when will this nightmare end??

A)I already answered that: When all the money has been spent/converted into
attorneys’ fees.*

*Exact quote of Attorney “Reverend” Anthony Nardella (attorney for “professional” “guardian” Rebecca “Fierle”) when we were leaving the courthouse after my mother was declared “100% mentally incompetent”—even though the video tapes we showed the judge showed just the opposite and the judge even stated, “I almost said the opposite” when asked if Louise A. Falvo is mentally incompetent.

As I passed “Reverend” Attorney Nardella, I said to him, “You are disgusting.”

He chuckled and replied, “We’re not finished with you yet.”

Angela Woodhull can be reached at

DSS and Affiliates Rewarded for Breaking Up Families

By Nev Moore

Child "protection" is one of the biggest businesses in the country. We spend $12 billion a year on it.

The money goes to tens of thousands of a) state employees, b) collateral professionals, such as lawyers, court personnel, court investigators, evaluators and guardians, judges, and c) DSS contracted vendors such as counselors, therapists, more "evaluators", junk psychologists, residential facilities, foster parents, adoptive parents, MSPCC, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, YMCA, etc. This newspaper is not big enough to list all of the people in this state who have a job, draw a paycheck, or make their profits off the kids in DSS custody.

In this article I explain the financial infrastructure that provides the motivation for DSS to take people’s children – and not give them back. =>>
Adoption Bonuses: The Money Behind the Madness

Now it’s time to wake up to the reality of the adoption business.

A whole new industry was put into motion. A sweet marketing scheme that even Bill Gates could envy. Now, if you have a basket of apples, and people start giving you $100 per apple, what are you going to do? Make sure that you have an unlimited supply of apples, right?

The United States Department of Health & Human Services administers Child Protective Services. To accompany the ASF Act, the President requested, by executive memorandum, an initiative entitled Adoption 2002, to be implemented and managed by Health & Human Services. The initiative not only gives the cash adoption bonuses to the states, it also provides cash adoption subsidies to adoptive parents until the children turn eighteen.

Everybody makes money. If anyone really believes that these people are doing this out of the goodness of their hearts, then I’ve got some bad news for you. The fact that this program is run by HHS, ordered from the very top, explains why the citizens who are victims of DSS get no response from their legislators. It explains why no one in the Administration cares about the abuse and fatalities of children in the "care" of DSS, and no one wants to hear about the broken arms, verbal abuse, or rapes. They are just business casualties. It explains why the legislators I’ve talked to for the past three years look at me with pity. Because I’m preaching to the already damned.

The incentives for government child snatching are so good that I’m surprised we don’t have government agents breaking down people’s doors and just shooting the parents in the heads and grabbing the kids. But then, if you need more apples you don’t chop down your apple trees.

Read the entire article here=>>


Many thanks to George Daniels for his help with these eye opening articles.

Adoption is Big Busine$$

Adoption bonuses doled out, providing states with additional revenue maximization opportunities

“Arkansas to receive $1.3 million for increasing adoptions,” blares the headline in the Arkansas News. “Indiana Awarded Funding to Boost Adoption,” Inside Indiana Business reports, explaining that the state will receive more than $1.3 million to promote adopting children from foster care. “W.Va. gets $1M in adoption incentives,” explains the Greenwich Time.

“State gets $531k from HHS,” the Topeka Capitol-Journal reports from Kansas. “HHS Awards $1 Million To Louisiana For Increasing Adoptions,” reports KATC. “Feds award Utah for increasing foster care adoptions,” notes the Salt Lake Tribune. “State awarded $276,000 for increasing adoptions,” the Journal-Sentinel reports on Wisconsin’s revenue enhancing accomplishment.

And $5,718,271 in adoption bounty goes out to Florida. The state is itself no stranger to federal revenue maximization. Its failings have been more than adequately documented by Richard Wexler at the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform.

The press reports uncritically on these adoption subsidies as if to suggest that their respective states are doing something right, when in fact they are doing something wrong.

Allow me to dust off an old quote from Joseph R. Pisani, speaking on behalf of the National Conference of State Legislators, who, regarding the perverse federal incentives driving child removals and placements, explained to a Congressional Committee as long ago as 1979 that: “You are paying us to do the wrong thing, and providing us with federal disincentives to do the right thing.”

States and territories receiving the adoption-related bounties, issued by HHS yesterday, include: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and Puerto Rico.


There is the list of the states that are doing a “good” job in child welfare. The list of the worse ones – those that didn’t receive any bounty at all – are familiar to reform advocates. Let’s start with our Nation’s Capitol, the District of Columbia, home to LaShawn A. v. Fenty, also known as LaShawn A v. Williams, LaShawn A. v. Barry, and LaShawn v. Dixon, the landmark suit filed by Children’s Rights in 1989. The National Center for Youth Law explains that as of April 2010, the court ruled on a plaintiffs’ motion holding Washington D.C. and its mayor in contempt for failure to comply with court orders requiring child welfare reform. The court also denied the defendants’ motion seeking an end to court oversight. No adoption subsidy whatsoever for DC. And so very few meaningful changes over the course of such lengthy and costly litigation.

Then there is New Jersey, whose agency Marcia Robinson Lowry of Children’s Rights has repeatedly branded as “dysfunctional.” In May of last year, Commissioner Kimberly S. Ricketts testified before the Assembly Budget Committee, boasting of her agency’s efforts at federal revenue maximization, saying:

Thanks to the efforts of our newly formed “Revenue Maximization Team,” we have implemented several improvements to DCF’s revenue development, financial reporting and Title IV-E operations in order to maximize federal claiming. This team also led the effort to achieve substantial compliance with the federal foster care review for the first time ever.

DCF also created an impact team of Title IV-E reviewers to work on determinations for a record number of adoptions in the last few years. In five months, the team reviewed 1,811 adoption cases and determined 1,001 eligible for federal reimbursement. This operational efficiency will generate approximately $4.5 million additional federal revenue for NJ annually.

Apparently, her optimism in her revenue maximization team effort was somewhat misplaced. The grand total for New Jersey this year? $0.00. That’s right – not one thin dime in adoption subsidy. Perhaps the Jersey team has found some more lucrative ways to maximize federal revenue than adopting out the children of the poor?

Almost a year to the day later, Robert Doar, Commissioner of the New York City Human Resources Administration, Department of Social Services, similarly bragged before his legislature:

I believe we do a very good job of making sure we seek state and federal reimbursement for these services in a manner that both meets program rules but also maximizes revenues. However, we can always do better and continually work to improve so I challenged our Finance staff to turn over every proverbial rock they could find and they did. For example, although staff intensive we now are reviewing each of the thousands of one-shot grants issued to make sure they are appropriately categorized so that we are not inadvertently using city tax levy when we could be claiming state or federal dollars. We expect, based on our analysis, that this intensive effort will yield $1.69 million in 2011 and in the out-years.

Doar’s rock-turning revenue maximization strategies notwithstanding, New York state on the whole pulled down absolutely zero in adoption subsidies.

Then there is Massachusetts. Oh – don’t even get me started on that particular state. I’ll turn instead to Washington state – home of the Washington Risk Assessment Matrix, a consensus-based assessment instrument of questionable validity first put into the field by the agency in 1986; the Wenatchee ritual abuse trials that had the Reader’s Digest weighing in on the issue of ritual abuse cases; and, to be sure, the Keffeler decision – which legitimized the unconscionable practice of soaking foster kids’ SSI to enrich public coffers. No bounty to be had for Washington State either. They have so many other ways of making money off of the anguish of protected children there.

Not to be outdone, right next door is Oregon, which pulled in a paltry $637,726 in adoption bonuses. Apparently that state is more busily engaged in making headlines by filing an international lawsuit to collect collect child support from Lisa Kirkman, whose child the state had “rescued” into care two years prior. The state is seeking a cool $48,000 to “reimburse” itself for foster care costs. The child savers, as Wexler calls them, aren’t even pretending to be saving children anymore. Quite to the contrary, they have become far more open and brazen about their revenue maximization efforts over the course of the recent years.

North Dakota, Iowa, Ohio, and Tennessee – so capably being reformed by yet another Children’s Right’s lawsuit, Vermont, Montana, Colorado and California took in no bonuses. Would that I could find room to applaud them for that in light of their other numerous and well documented deficiencies.

No, the size of – nor even the whether or not of – any particular states’ adoption subsidy is not, in and of itself, a bellwether by which to gauge the operations of its system, whether it be judged in terms of its humanitarian or its fiscal efficiencies.

That the states and the territories are and have been maximizing federal revenue at the expense of children and their families over the course of some decades is all of the indictment that is needed. Just how they accomplish this feat with maximum efficiency doesn’t really matter.

That they manage to accomplish it at all is the major concern.

Adult Protective Services Ducks and Covers

Tulare County's Health and Human Services Agency deals with many issues that require privacy and sensitivity. The need to protect client confidentiality does not absolve the agency from answering to the public.

Given the responses by the agency to questions directed by the Visalia Times-Delta/Tulare Advance-Register to Adult Protective Services regarding recent operations, the agency must do better. Much better.

The newspapers published a story on local response to elder abuse, and some analysts predict that the number of senior citizens will double by the year 2040.

Local and national observers agree that elder abuse is a serious and growing problem. It often goes underreported or undetected, because of many factors — fear of reprisal from victims, lack of training in recognizing abuse, the difficulty of prosecution, among others.

Adult Protective Services is the county agency with the responsibility of providing relief to victims of elder abuse.

When a reporter from the Times-Delta asked the agency why it had not helped a particular victim of elder abuse, the agency declined to answer.

In fact, representatives of the Health and Human Services Agency refused to take direct questions. It asked that those questions be e-mailed to the agency.
Then an HHSA spokeswoman delivered a canned response that failed to answer any questions about APS response to the victim of elder abuse.
This is unacceptable.

It would not be tolerated from any other county agency. Imagine if the sheriff's department refused to explain its response to an emergency, or if public works declined to report on how it responded to a washed-out bridge.

The public should not tolerate this kind of evasion from Adult Protective Services, or any other division of the Health and Human Services Agency.
We understand the constraints on what can be reported about victims of crime and others served by social services.

We also practice those constraints. In some cases, they are required by law, and we accept those legal restraints.

Revealing the response from the agency to this case was not an attempt to betray confidences, expose victims or jeopardize an investigation. The agency could have explained its response without compromising anyone's confidentiality. We are left to conclude that in this case, the agency did not do its job.

Citizens and taxpayers deserve to know how their government functions, and they are entitled to decide if that response is adequate and appropriate. The effectiveness of agencies such as Adult Protective Services cannot be judged without that information.

Failure to provide it gives the agency a free hand without public oversight.
The public is left to conclude that this is how the agency operates: It will function as it wills without explanation or accountability. That is unacceptable.

Tulare County supervisors have an opportunity to bring accountability to the government they were elected to oversee. We urge supervisors to demand an accounting and insist on more transparency from the Health and Human Services Agency.

That begins with agency director John Davis, who ought to have started his own investigation into how Adult Protective Services was permitted to stonewall basic questions about its operations.

Government does the work of the people, who have a right to know what their government is doing. In this case, Adult Protective Services utterly failed to provide assurance it is doing the public's work. It is high time APS answered to the public it serves.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Frenzy to Steal Elder's Pension in US and UK leads to Carelessness Leading Some to Get Caught

A personal banker helped fraudsters steal more than £820,000 from a pensioner’s ‘nest egg’, a court heard.Mohammed Ahmed, 26, first made unauthorised changes to the savings account set up by 75-year-old Brian Mahoney, it is claimed.

He then transferred all but £80,000 out of the retirement fund with Barclays, jurors were told.

Mr Mahoney, from Cheshunt, Herts, only found out when he rang the bank two months later to check how much interest he was receiving.

Read more:


-by-Angela V. Woodhull, Ph.D. © 2011, AV Woodhull

What would you do if you were walking through the woods when suddenly a booby trap blew off your legs? Would you forewarn others? Of course you would!

Those of us who have been harmed by the United States guardianship system are like wounded individuals who have accidentally stepped upon booby traps.

Take the typical guardianship story -- Marie Sandusky. Marie, a woman of Italian descent, was busy living her life and caring for her mother, who lived two doors down. Marie owns her own beauty shop. She fixes her mother’s hair, takes her shopping, delivers her home cooked Italian dishes. Life was fine. Mama and daughter were inseparable. They were in and out of each other’s houses every day. Marie also paid her mother’s bills and hired a full time housekeeper to assist Mama.

If Marie had looked into a crystal ball with a fortune teller who could have told her “Beware! There’s going to be an Italian judge who removes you from your mother, spends all of your mother’s assets, sticks your mother in a nursing home, and soon thereafter your mother will die from being over medicated and you won’t even be allowed to see your mother without the guardian watching you,” would Marie have believed such an incredulous story?

The Marie Sandusky story is currently in progress. Maybe it won’t happen exactly as described, above, but those of us who have already had our “legs blown off” can look into that crystal ball and see what is coming.

Imagine Marie’s typical day—out shopping at Wal*Mart with Mama. They stop for lunch, chat about current events and perhaps gossip a little about the neighbors. They stop at the bank, drop off some items at the dry cleaners. Then, at Marie’s Beauty Shop, she styles her mother’s hair and then asks one of her employees to give Mama a manicure.

Suddenly, a sheriff appears in the doorway of the beauty salon. “Are you Marie Sandusky?”

“You are hereby served.” He hands Marie some court papers and leaves.

The papers tell Marie that her “dear brother” attempted to see Mama but the security guard at Marie and Mama’s gaited community wouldn’t let him in. More than a decade ago, Mama left Connecticut with her daughter and son-in-law to get away from Mooching Son.

After ten years of peace and harmony with her daughter and son-in-law in Florida, Mooching Son had been all but forgotten. Mooching Son, however, has suddenly and unexpectedly appeared in Florida.

He wants to be his mother’s guardian.He has hired an attorney.

For those of us who have already fallen into the booby trap, we need not read any further. We already know the rest of this story.

The Court Hearing

At the first court hearing, Judge John D. Galluzzo decides that since there is a squabbling son and daughter, it is best to appoint a “professional” guardian (yes, a stranger) to “care for” Mama and her assets.

But there’s more to this twisted and unexpected travesty. To Marie Sandusky’s surprise, it has been alleged by Mooching Brother and his attorney that she has been “robbing” her mother for many years. Judge Galluzzo therefore mandates that financial records be entered into the court record.

The Scapegoat and The Allegation

Marie is now “on trial.”

And that is Step Number One for all predatory guardianships.

All predatory guardianships need a Scapegoat.

The Scapegoat is that person that all others in the courtroom can turn to (while the money is going, going, going, gone) and point at and say, “AHA! If it wasn’t for YOU, these strangers wouldn’t have to step in and care for your poor mother!”

The allegations need not be real. And the allegations need not be verifiable.

However, The Allegation is the Check Point that gives the guardianship players the right to their first move--$$$$$$$$.

Topsy Turvy

Suddenly, Marie Sandusky (and her mother) are thrown into a much different life. Marie and her husband are now suddenly checking the Yellow Pages, shopping for attorneys. No longer is there time to read the morning newspaper, take an afternoon stroll with Mama , or bring Mama a bowl of fresh pasta fazool.

Weeks are spent going to various banks, obtaining records as proof of innocence.

“This will stop soon! Soon things will be back to normal when they see I am innocent!” Marie tells her friends, astonished employees, and dumbfounded customers at the beauty shop.

The records are filed in. Yes, Marie is innocent! There was no financial exploitation whatsoever.

Meanwhile, “Mooch” has dropped out of the guardianship race because he couldn’t afford the attorney’s bills.

“My attorney will make sure this whole thing comes to an end any day now!” Marie tells her associates.

They believe her. How could they not believe her? The “whole thing” is too preposterous to comprehend.

It is now more than three years later.

The “Court” has awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees for “services rendered” to the “ward.”

Marie has spent hundreds of thousands of her own money trying to get the whole guardianship nightmare to stop.

The guardian has petitioned the court to have the housekeeper removed. Mama needs to be in a nursing home, according to the guardian.

Each petition filed is filed to “benefit the ‘ward.’” Each petition means more $$$$$ for the guardian’s attorneys.

Mama is so sad. “Why are they doing this to my daughter and me?”

In January 2011, Judge John D. Galluzzo, who made this turbulent nightmare and court-sanctioned financial exploitation of an elderly person possible through his Seminole County, Florida courtroom, turned and asked Marie Sandusky, “WHY ARE YOU MAKING ALL THIS TROUBLE??! YOU HAVE CAUSED ALL OF THIS TROUBLE BY HIRING ATTORNEYS TO FIGHT THIS GUARDIANSHIP!!”

Judge John D. Galluzzo then awarded another $120,000.00 to the guardian for her attorney’s fees.To benefit the “ward.”

On January 31, 2011, Judge John D. Galluzzo recused himself from this case.

But Judge Lester will be stepping in at the next hearing.


And the next hearing.


And the hearing after that.


*This cynical story is mostly true. As a guardianship-in-progress, this story represents what could happen to you. Those of us who have already experienced the trauma of guardianship fraud can see down the road. We don’t need a crystal ball. We have experienced what’s in the crystal ball. We author these stories as a forewarning to others. Please protect yourself and your assets. Please watch out for The Guardianship Booby Trap.



Elder Neglect Cases Largely Self-Inflicted

by Ray Fernandez
I woke up this morning to this News release on the media news wire: News
, this was a mind boggling revelation, here I have been documenting elder abuse for years only to find that we been imaging this all along! and that Elder abuse is self inflicted and mainly caused by close relatives, I do reckon we been going after the wrong people all along we should be going after the close relatives, and the elders themselves....

Perhaps that is why legislation to help elders gets bogged down because our elected representatives know that we are a bunch of malcontents, who cry in our soup when the government in order to protect our elders from ourselves take them away and put them in nursing homes to be taken care of by professionals.

That also explains why our legacy is confiscated to be handled by others/professional guardians who know best how to handle our families legacy...

It's all very clear now, I know why restraining orders are necessary to protect our parents from us it is because we are monsters....

Unfortunately for us and our parents our handlers, government agencies,
will not allocate the resources or have the political will and or intelligence to want to differentiate the good guys from the bad guys, so it's much more expedient to lump us all together, this explains why a criminal has more rights than an elder and or their family in a court proceeding...

We are all guilty! Why should elder victims or their family have any rights? We are all guilty as sin! Oh my what a revelation! This is Huge!

Monday, February 21, 2011

When plunder becomes a way of life......

"When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves, in the course of time, a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it." Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850), French economist

Predatory Guardians: How Courts are Allowing Professional Guardians to Rob Your Assets

-by- Angela V. Woodhull, Ph.D., licensed private investigator and author of Police Communication in Traffic Stops and Private Investigation Strategies and Techniques

· Marie Long was worth $1.3 million when she suffered a stroke and came under the “protection” of a professional guardian. Three short years later, she is penniless and subsisting off of a meager social security pension and Medicaid.

· Louise A. Falvo, 91, had accumulated nearly one million dollars when she was placed under a guardianship that was commenced with a forgery of her daughter’s signature by a probate attorney. Within three months, Louise A. Falvo was dead. Two and a half years later, the guardianship remains open. The guardian and her attorneys have, to date, been awarded by the judge more than $350,000.00 of Falvo’s estate—“to benefit the ‘ward’”—who is deceased.

· Corretta Brown was placed under guardianship when the Department of Children and Families discovered that her home was uninhabitable. Today, Brown is deceased, her assets have disappeared (more than $100,000.00), and all of her debts—totaling more than $75,000.00 in nursing home costs, remain unpaid. The professional guardian, it was discovered, was not licensed and has since fled the state of Florida with Brown’s assets.

· Marie Sandusky signed a power of attorney to guarantee that her beloved daughter, and not her rejected son, would manage her financial affairs and health care directives. Today, Sandusky has a court-appointed guardian who has spent more than $300,000.00 of Sandusky’s money in attorney’s fees. The reason? Sandusky’s rebuked son hired an attorney and together they made false allegations against Sandusky’s beloved daughter. As the “wheels of justice” move forward, Sandusky’s money is legally used to fund the frivolous feud.

· Debra Duffield, 58, has been under the control of a professional guardian for the last four years. She was only 54 years old when an involuntary guardianship was petitioned against her by a professional guardian who gleefully discovered (tipped off by a social worker) Duffield’s substantive worth when Duffield was hospitalized for anorexia and a broken hip. During the last four years, the vast majority of her assets have been converted to attorney and guardian fees. Duffield, who was diagnosed as merely bipolar, had allegedly been financially exploited by a friend—hence, the rationale for the guardianship. She is confined to a nursing home without rehabilitation . She sits in a bed, smelling of urine and fecal matter, watching television. The guardian and her attorney regularly and steadfastly bill her account for merely “reading her file” or checking on the latest whereabouts of her former girlfriend. Soon, Duffield, who once owned a fabulous house complete with expensive antiques, valuable imported rugs and fine paintings, will be penniless.

When you hear the word “professional guardian,” what do you think? Do you think of someone who protects the elderly? Assists them with their daily needs? Guarantees they are protected from financial exploitation and physical neglect?

Think again.

The pristine image of professional court-appointed guardians who allegedly protect the elderly is being challenged. Grass root organizations, such as the National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse ((N.A.S.G.A.) and A.N.G.E.R. (Advocates for National Guardianship Ethics and Reform) are claiming that professional guardians, their attorneys—and even judges—need to be watched.

· May 25, 2010. Latifa Ring of Elder Abuse Victims Advocates

addressed the Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security stating, “ . . . exploitation in guardianships is rampant. It is largely kept out of the public eye under the guise of ‘protection.’”

“Family members are portrayed as “Osama Bin Laden” or the devil incarnate,” David Newman said, a guardian reform advocate.

These “unproven and often false allegations” commence a flurry of legal activity that can only be likened to Charles Dickinson’s Bleakhouse. While family members are forced to spend thousands of dollars defending themselves against the false accusations, these same accusers—oftentimes, the professional guardians-- handsomely profit from the legal havoc they create.

“The Guardians Need to be Watched”

Take, for example, the recently widely publicized case of Clay Greene and Harold Scull, a gay couple who had cogently cohabitated together for more than 20 years, rendering mutual durable powers of attorney, wills, and other legal declarations upon one another. When Scull, 89, unexpectedly fell onto a stone patio, paramedics were called and the local sheriff department hastily alleged that Greene had intentionally shoved Scull to the ground. Yet, despite the fact that all charges were subsequently dropped, the public guardianship office for Sonoma County used the already disproved physical abuse allegation to commence an involuntary guardianship against Scull. Scull was removed to a nursing home, isolated him from Greene, and the couple’s jointly owned property which included valuable paintings, expensive Persian rugs, antiques, silverware, jewelry, and real estate—was sold for far less than appraised value—at least according to the court records. It was later discovered that the items had been sold for far more by the public guardianship office.

These types of guardianship irregularities have sparked a guardianship task force Special Committee on Aging, which reported, “. . .guardianship . . . has the potential of harming older adults rather than protecting them . . . . The . . . continuing reports of the failure of courts . . . to prevent [financial] exploitation of incapacitated adults by their guardians have long been of concern to this Committee.”

Greene sued the public guardianship office who settled with him for approximately $600,000.00 just days before trial. Amy Todd-Gher, Greene’s attorney, stated, “This victory sends an unmistakable message that all elders must be treated with respect and dignity . . . and that those who mistreat elders must be held accountable. [But] Even as we celebrate this victory . . . we are deeply troubled that the Sonoma [County] continues to refuse to take responsibility for their egregious misconduct. . . . We urge every citizen . . . to demand more oversight of the Public Guardian’s office. They need to be watched.”

An Alarmingly Common Practice

Is elder financial exploitation by professional guardians and their attorneys a commonplace occurrence? According to John Caravella, a former detective and office manager for Seniors vs. Crime, a special project of the Florida Attorney General’s Office, Gainesville, Florida, the answer is “yes.”

Caravella became simultaneously intrigued and disturbed by the court-sanctioned practices of professional guardians on their “wards” (the legal term dubbed to those who have lost all of their civil rights under court-mandated guardianship) when one of his neighbors mysteriously disappeared shortly after receiving an inheritance of more than a quarter of a million dollars. The neighbor, referred to as “Adelle” in Caravella’s book, “Marked for Destruction,” had been falsely induced by a stock broker, whom she had consulted about her fledgling inheritance money, to sign papers that authorized a professional guardian and her attorney to manage Adele’s finances--if she should become mentally incapacitated. Within a few weeks, the guardian and her attorney petitioned the court alleging that Adele was not competent to manage her own affairs. The court authorized that she be stripped of all of her civil rights and placed in a nursing home. Soon thereafter, Adele’s recently acquired $250,000.00+ was quickly consumed by the attorney and guardian for “professional services” fees. And Adele soon passed away.

How It All Begins

Kevin Gallagher had a trusted, longstanding pact with his beloved parents: When the time was “right,” he would make arrangements for their safe return to Maine where they would reside in assisted living. That “right time” came unexpectedly one day after Sunday services when Robert and Elsa Gallagher became slightly disoriented in traffic when they happenchanced upon orange cones in a road detour. Kevin and Lisa, delighted to hear that their parents were ready to journey home, began making all of the necessary arrangements. Kevin even phoned his estranged Orlando-based sister, Lori, and asked if she would simply “telephone” Mom and Dad during the interim. The sister, however, consulted the Yellow Pages and telephoned a company, Geriatric Care Management, that specializes in elder care.

The Sheriffs Arrive

Within 48 hours, Rebecca Fierle, professional guardian and owner of the elder care company, arrived at the Gallagher’s doorstep with a court order and two deputy sheriffs. She had hastily petitioned to become the couple’s “emergency temporary guardian” after learning of their substantive assets. Upon her arrival, the couple were forcefully removed from their home and placed in separate nursing home facilities. Mrs. Gallagher, hysterical, secretly phoned her daughter-in-law, her speech slurred, crying for help. She had been forcibly administered psychotropic drugs. Three medical professionals quickly examined her while under the influence of the narcotics, and declared both she and her husband simultaneously 100% mentally incapacitated. Rebecca Fierle, triumphant, was quickly appointed the permanent, plenary guardian.

Fierle’s first move was to harness all of the assets.

The Legal Contest Commences

Instead of making arrangements for their safe return home, Kevin Gallagher suddenly found himself furiously searching for Florida attorneys. Meanwhile, Fierle’s legal counsel quickly filed papers to block Kevin’s attempts at removing his parents from Florida to Maine. A hotly contested guardianship soon commenced with attorneys from both sides legally authorized to generously pay themselves from the Gallaghers’ assets.

“The story is always the same,” states Newman, a guardianship reform advocate. “A family member fights the guardianship; then the family member later ‘wins’ the contest--when all the assets have been spent in attorneys’ fees.”

Three years passed. Kevin found himself switching attorneys four times in an attempt to get the legal nightmare to stop.

Then, suddenly, it did stop. Kevin was declared the winner of the contest.

All of the assets had been spent.

“They then placed my parents on a airplane with a single suitcase with a broken zipper,” Kevin stated. “Inside the suitcase were tattered clothes that had the names of other people in Magic Marker inside the clothes. Everything they had owned—even their clothes—had been sold or trashed by the guardian.”

Both Elsa and Robert died shortly after returning to Maine.

Family Feud –or- An Open Invitation for Fraud?

Corrine Branson, 82, had been happily living in Miami Beach with the daily assistance of a CNA when her grandson secretly petitioned the court to become his grandmother’s guardian. When Branson learned that she was to be moved into a nursing home, she quickly phoned her beloved daughter, aunt to the grandson, who had been granted a springing power of attorney many years before. Bonnie Reiter, with little knowledge of guardianships or guardianship law, quickly hired an attorney who suggested that a “professional guardian” be appointed during the interim legal contest.

It turned out that the guardian he suggested works with him on a regular basis. Reiter fired her attorney, hired another, and then moved for a court hearing which her mother planned to attend.

“Two weeks prior to the hearing, my mother ended up mysteriously dead,” Reiter stated.

The guardianship remained open after Branson’s death with Reiter, alone, having spent $130,000.00 in attorneys’ fees.

“They took more than $800,000.00 of my mother’s money in attorneys’ fees. The guardianship, in which my mother had never even been declared mentally incapacitated, lasted less than three months. This is a racketeering scheme that needs to be investigated. The F.B.I. should step in.”

Different Names, Same Story

· An Orange County court auditor discovered $50,000.00 missing three days before the ward died. The judge ordered an “Order to Show Cause.” Prior to the hearing, the guardian and her attorney simply brought back the missing money and placed it back with the court. The judge dropped the scheduled hearing.

· Court records show that the guardian received $12,000.00 a month to pay the nursing home bills for Carlisle Bosworth. However, the skilled nursing home facility where he was placed charges only $6,000.00 a month. No investigation has ever been conducted regarding what happened to the extra $6,000.00 per month. Bosworth died shortly after all of his money had been spent.

· Marion Copley was placed on Medicaid--even though her guardian, Rebecca Fierle, sold her home for more than $250,000.00

· Professional guardian Rebecca Fierle petitioned the court to become an elderly woman’s guardian when she discovered the woman had no living relatives. She told the judge that the woman, who was still living independently in her home, had “bats flying all over the inside of the house.” The allegation earned Fierle another guardianship and the victim was removed from her home. Neighbors later stated that they had never seen “bats flying all over the house.”

· Professional guardian Rebecca Fierle obtained a guardianship over Christian Van Beekum stating that neighbors had exploited him. A quick search of the property records showed that the neighbors who had allegedly exploited Van Beekum had actually sold their home and moved to another state six years prior.

· James Deaton had owned an extensive coin collection, an expensive baseball card collection, and his deceased mother’s diamond rings and pearl necklaces, according to relatives. None of these items were ever listed on the guardian’s inventory report.

Law enforcement agents, social workers, and judges have all been trained to maintain a watchful eye over exploitative family members. Yet no one seems to be guarding the guardians. Family members have complained to local law enforcement, the state attorneys’ office, and even the F.B.I.

Perhaps someone should be investigating.*


*Note: Dr. Angela V. Woodhull, a licensed private investigator, spent more than two and a half years investigating court records in Seminole and Orange Counties, Florida and interviewing family members and victims in order to compose this story. All court records that verify the contents of this article were submitted as attachments to the editor of the F.B.I. journal as verification of accuracy. Woodhull can be reached at (352) 327-3665 or

(352) 682-9033.




The professional guardian, with the assistance of her attorneys, commences the embezzlement process by filing an emergency petition in the probate courts to become the “emergency” “temporary” guardian.

Florida guardianship statutes, like many states, (Chapter 744) require that there be an “eminent danger” in order for the petitioner to become the “emergency temporary guardian.”

The guardian oftentimes fabricates the “eminent danger” by stating that there is a neighbor or relative or stranger who is taking advantage of the elderly person. In some cases, this may be a somewhat true statement, albeit an exaggerated claim. In most cases, upon further investigation, there has been no “eminent danger” whatsoever.

Step One takes away all of the victim’s civil rights and therefore gives the guardian and her attorneys full control over the victim and his or her assets.


Once the professional guardian has taken control of the victim on a temporary basis (the emergency temporary guardianship order expires in 60 days) an examining committee of three medical “professionals” steps in to verify the allegation of mental incapacity. Oftentimes, the victim is administered a cocktail of psychotropic drugs to enhance the claims that he or she is incompetent. “Ward” Elizabeth Faye Arnold, for instance, stated, “They put me on drugs that made me feel very drunk. I couldn’t even remember my name. Now that they have all my money, they don’t medicate me that way anymore.” One of the three medical professionals must be a psychiatrist and the victim is generally always found to be mentally incapacitated. The guardian usually has her own set of medical professionals that she utilizes on a regular basis. For instance, professional guardian Rebecca Fierle is married to a medical doctor and therefore has an entire fleet of medical professional associates available to her. Rebecca Fierle also utilizes the services of Attorney Thomas Sawyer, Orlando, who also happens to be a medical doctor.

Back in the courtroom, soon after the three medical professionals file their reports, there is a capacity hearing. The victim seldom is permitted to attend this hearing. The judge quickly scans the medical examinations that “verify” that the victim is “mentally and/or physically incapacitated.” The judge then signs an order that gives the professional guardian full and permanent legal authority over the victim’s person and property.


Property is sold for below market value and the deeds switch and switch several times. (kick backs are suspected) Bank accounts, annuities, stocks, and CDs are liquidated into one big guardianship account.

Out of this large bank account, the guardian is expected to pay all the victim’s, but bills oftentimes go unpaid.



A large part of the victim’s money is spent on attorney’s fees and guardian’s fees. As long as there is ample money in the victim’s

guardianship account, the guardian and her attorney cohorts will

file motion upon motion after motion to the courts, such as:

--A motion to sell the ward’s furniture

--A motion to liquidate stocks and CDs

--A motion to transfer the ward to a different nursing home

--A motion to sell the ward’s homesteaded house

--A motion to open up a safety deposit box

Each motion can cost the “ward” in excess of $2,000.00 because the motion must be written, researched, filed, and then a hearing is scheduled. Oftentimes, the motions cost more than what is being petitioned for.

2. PUFFING THE MONTHLY BUDGET—The guardian frequently doubles the monthly expenses then keeps the remainder.

3. SELLING THE “WARD’S” PERSONAL BELONGINGS FOR BELOW MARKET VALUE THEN POCKETING THE DIFFERENCE—The guardian underestimates the amount of the sale of personal items, such as jewelry, paintings, and antiques, for the purpose of the court record inventories, then is free to keep the difference. There is little court oversight. For example, professional guardian Rebecca Fierle went from bankrupt in 1997 to multimillionaire by 2007.


Oftentimes, the bills of the “ward” are not even paid. When the “ward” dies, the guardian simply places an ad in an obscure newspaper, if there is money left for an estate to be probated. Assuming creditors do not see the ad and file a claim against the estate within 30 days, their claims are forever barred and so the guardian was able to fool creditors and abscond with the money and not have to pay any of the bills. If she is caught, she simply pays the bills of the creditors who caught her. This frequently includes Medicaid.


The guardian can claim a much lower amount of liquid assets than what the victim is actually worth and then pocket the rest.

EXAMPLE: Julie Sweeten--$400,000.00 estate with an alleged $80,000.00 remaining when Sweeten died. More than $300,000.00 was spent in three years.

Louise A. Falvo started off with approximately $800,000.00. Two months into the guardianship, Fierle filed an accounting with the court stating that Falvo was worth only $672,000.00. Shortly thereafter, a bank statement from Bank of America stated that Falvo now had $449,000 after all accounts had been liquidated. So, approximately $200,000 turned up missing.

6. FAKE WILLS: In this scenario, the guardian claimed that Julie Sweeten desired to leave her estate to her bank. A forged will was entered into the record. Wachovia Bank trustee was then given $80,000.00 from the uncontested, probated estate.


Once the funds have been spent, the “ward” oftentimes suddenly dies.


The “ward” dies when there is still plenty of money -- if a huge probate battle can commence, thereby further enriching the attorneys and guardian.

Examples: Carlisle Bosworth died soon after his $250,000 had been spent.

James Deaton--$5 million, three years in probate--$3 million in attorney’s fees with a pittance finally paid out to his family members.

LOUISE A. FALVO—suspected morphine sulphate overdose as cause of death; huge probate battle to enrich attorneys ensued even though

LOUISE A. FALVO’s bank accounts were all POD/ITF to her daughter, so probate should have been completely unnecessary.**

NASGA, National Association to Stop Guardianship Abuse, has adopted a three part theme to succinctly describe the legally sanctioned exploitative guardianship process: “Isolate, Medicate, Take the Estate.”


© 2011, Angela V. Woodhull, Ph.D. All rights reserved.*

*All court records are available for verification of the facts.

**Attorney Evelyn Cloninger, the attorney who forged Angela’s signature on the original guardianship application , is currently being sued for allegedly misappropriating approximately $1.5 of an approximately $3 million estate. See Fifth District Court of Appeal Case #09-4612