Last March, a Nevada court indicted April Parks, proprietor of A Private Professional Guardian, which had secured court guardianship over four hundred elderly Nevadans, working with crooked doctors and social workers to find the identities of old people who had considerable assets, then using a streamlined court process with no checks and balances to have those people declared to be unable to care for themselves.
Parks’s victims were then dragged out of their homes under threat of arrest. All their possessions were sold off and used to pay Park’s sky-high fees (for example, she’d charge her victims’ estates hundreds of dollars for a few minutes’ worth of conversation with the victims’ distraught children who were trying to find out where their parents had been taken), while the victims themselves were given assessments of dementia on the basis of an 11-question quiz administered by a “medical practitioner” whose training had consisted of watching a few hours’ worth of video lectures. Thereafter the victims were medicated into oblivion while Parks’s fees gobbled up their estates, until the money ran out and the victims would be dumped in paupers’ wards where the medication regimes were upped and any pretense of care was removed.
Parks paid social workers and others to tip her off to the existence of rich, vulnerable old people. In at least one case she cold-called rehab centers looking for a woman said to have $700K in savings and no children; she then doctor-shopped until she found a friendly MD that would declare her victim to be incapable of caring for herself, and swooped in and had the woman kidnapped, stealing all her stuff.
Trustee hearings can last as little as 90 seconds. Almost all of the guardianship cases in Las Vegas have been heard by the Clark County guardianship commissioner, lawyer Jon Norheim, whose case-record shows numerous irregularities and lax standards. When Parks was finally indicted, Norheim kept his job, but was transferred to dependency court, “where he now oversees cases involving abused and neglected children.”
Parks operated in Las Vegas, which advertises itself as a retirees’ paradise, but which also has some of the nation’s most lax standards for this kind of fraud and imprisonment. Many of these bad laws were seemingly written by Jared Shafer, the father of the guardianship racket, who had more than 3,000 “wards” and who is “still listed in the Clark County court system as a trustee and as an administrator in several open cases.”
Worse, versions of this scam flourish all over the country, with “hotspots” in “Palm Beach, Sarasota, Naples, Albuquerque, San Antonio.”