The loss of an elderly individual’s freedom and liberty under a probate court appointed guardianship has the potential to place that individual, now a ward of the court, in a human trafficking position.
Why can guardianship be equated to human trafficking? The individual placed under guardianship has their personal liberty removed, their freedom of choice and ability to make decisions is removed and their life is now controlled by another person, the guardian. Their property, finances and personal wealth are now controlled by the guardian. They can now be exploited for monetary gain by another person, the guardian. Is exploiting another human being for monetary gain not human trafficking?
But you would think that going into probate court would provide an individual with legal protection from this exploitation. Think again, the probate judge has the power to appoint the guardian, the conservator and the legal counsel for the individual being placed under guardianship. This is a closed loop system with little or no oversight. The conditions are now in place for the depletion the lifetime accumulation of wealth and property of the person who is now a ward of the court and placed under guardianship.
Wait you think, I was taught the Seventh Amendment to the US Constitution provides the individual with the right to a trail by a jury. Think again, not the current probate court system in Michigan.
To make matters worse, even children or young adults with special needs can also be sweep up into the probate court system. But the individuals have not accumulated a lifetime of wealth. No, their value is in their special need and how this translates to Medicaid and Social Security reimbursements.
But wait, we have a Supreme Court and State Attorney General, are they not providing oversight to the probate court judges? It is my opinion that they are all attorneys and therefor all members of the same club. And what happens to a club member when they cause trouble or bring embarrassment to the club, they get kicked out (for an attorney this is disbarment). Please try finding an attorney to represent a family member who wants to extract their parent or child from the grasp of the probate system. The question then becomes how aggressively will this attorney fight and risk disbarment?
The Michigan Constitution provides for three separate branches of government, the executive, the legislative and the judicial. A separation of power which creates a condition where one branch cannot operate without impunity. If the Supreme Court will not provide the necessary oversight to ensure corruption withing the probate system does not develop then the Michigan Constitution provides that the legislative and executive can take action to remove judges and government officials with cause. I believe that corruption and malfeasance are cause for removal. The citizens need to elect officials who will not turn a blind eye when some citizens are being abused and disfranchised of their individual liberty and freedom.
Access to the individual placed under guardianship is controlled by the court appointed guardian. This creates a situation where access to this individual by family members and friends may be severely restricted or eliminated by the guardian. The guardian may further deplete the individual’s assets, belongings and home. This can be accomplished against the consent of the family, as well as, the individual who has been placed under guardianship.
The guardian may move or relocate the ward without the family’s knowledge.
A cautionary tale: A lady over ninety suffered a stroke and was placed under guardianship by Judge Owdziezy’s probate court. When she entered into guardianship, she owned two homes, one for rental income and the other her residence. Today she has neither, she is in a private care home with very limited family contact, she is allowed no personal phone, and she is very isolated. Remember yourself, your parent or grandparent may be one medical incident from a probate court guardianship. Your lifetime and memories could look like this.
Dr. Sam Sugar has worked tirelessly to bring national attention to this issue. He authored “Guardianships and the Elderly The Perfect Crime” which details the problems within the probate guardianship system. He is the founder of Americans Against Abusive Probate Guardianship. The website www.AAAPG.net contains detailed information on this issue.
The Netflix documentary “Dirty Money” Season 2 “Guardians, Inc.” reflects the experience of an individual at the hands of probate guardianship.
The documentary movie “The Guardians” (2018) “on Amazon Prime” also illustrates guardianship problems. This is a nationwide problem, but is especially prevalent in Michigan.
Article by Dr. Sam Sugar
Understanding the Racket
The professional Guardianship racket is a threat to everyone who loves or is or will be a Senior in America.
Abusive Professional Guardians and their hired gun hyper litigious lawyers will torture and impoverish anyone they attack and they do not even have to steal to get rich in guardianship cases. All they must do is accumulate and collect on the mountains of fees they charge helpless wards and their families.
The following is the playbook court insiders and private guardians use to abuse wards and families and divert funds from the seniors the Probate court appoints them to protect. It is based on real life experiences and testimony of many hundreds of victims in Florida and across the USA.
*A court insider is defined as a Judge, Lawyer(s) or Professional Guardian or favorite court examiner or employee of the court or State Bar.
1. Using personal connections, favors, coercion and political advantage, court insiders create a tacit systematic court payment network by working behind the scenes to ensure favorable court orders are granted, which strictly benefit the guardianship insiders at the expense of everyone else. The network ensures a specific group of or an individual guardian will be appointed to specific seniors with assets to plunder. In exchange for these favors, judges will receive sums of money or other inducements (drugs, sex, sordid secrets kept, blackmail, re-election votes, no pay mortgages and leases, land deals, insider information, private trusts, etc.) so they will, among other things, reliably ignore advance directives to jumpstart guardianships as well as rule favorably on capacity exams and on a guardian’s fraudulent estate accounting and questionable documents as routinely submitted to the Probate court judge.
2. Create a secretive referral network of paid spotters and informants to identify susceptible vulnerables in their homes or in hospitals, ALF’s, doctors’ offices, senior centers, investment seminars, court filings, bank tellers, APS workers, etc. Approach or attract a targeted family (particularly a contentious one) who has a senior who is ill or slightly confused and bring them to court for a rigged capacity evaluation to propel the process via instant emergency guardianship. Having the alleged incapacitated person heavily medicated in court is helpful.
3. Convince the family and senior that guardianship is a good and helpful safeguard against exploitation and is only temporary and that power will ultimately be given to the accusing party. This statement is used to ease fears in the beginning stages of the criminal procedure. The goal is to lull both seniors and family members into a state of false security so they will not question what is about to come.
4. Guardian takes full control (marshalling) of the senior’s assets. The complaining family feels safe in their false belief that a professional is only temporarily handling their loved one’s affairs.
5. Guardian strengthens their hold by intentionally isolating the senior from family members physically and emotionally. The family and judge might be told that family visits are stressful to the senior. The family is deluded to believe that they are helping the senior by staying away, thus hiding any and all guardian actions from their purview.
6. Guardian repeatedly informs the senior that their family no longer cares about them. If other family members protest the guardian’s decisions, the guardian will place restraining orders (stayaway orders) on the family members who disagree. This tactic is implemented to increase the guardian’s control and punish any opposition to their abuses. The enhanced control sets the stage for future billings involving family conflicts, which the guardian will create when additional funds are needed.
7. Guardian begins to slowly drain assets from the so-called protected senior’s estate (beginning with small amounts and over time the stealing grows larger). While this crime is being committed, block all senior bank statements and other records from concerned family members to ensure they will not be aware of what is taking place. If questioned about the missing monies or bank statements, use the illusion of privacy or avoiding conflicts to explain these actions. Use the fraudulent excuse that HIPPA laws prevent guardians from sharing health information about the ward (this is a complete lie).
8. Guardian encourages family members to argue with each other so guardian can bill the estate for resolving conflicts, which were actually created by the guardian. (This tactic is a big money maker for all insiders).
9. If the protected senior lives in their own home the guardian will hook up with a complicit care giver company or home health service who will report to the court what the guardian wants them to say. The false reporting will create future conditions, which will allow the guardian to sell the senior’s home for pennies on the dollar.
10. The care giver company will soon report to the court that the senior can’t be cared for in their home. This is important because a paper trail is needed for what is about to happen.
11. The senior’s home gets sold usually for pennies on the dollar to a buyer (often the guardian attorney or his proxy) who is willing to pay cash for a portion of the already deeply discounted home’s sale price. The cash portion of the transaction is never reported to the court or senior’s family, which allows the guardian and the buyer to pocket large sums of money from the senior’s home and then flip it immediately for even more profit that is never reported to the court or the IRS. Any reported funds from such a sale are used exclusively to pay accumulated legal and guardian fees before the money runs out.
12. Guardians will change or create a trust because trust accounts can be left out of estate accounting in many court jurisdictions. The trust ensures the cash transactions involving the senior’s home will not be discovered.
13. Before the home is sold, it is time to place the senior into a guardian friendly living facility. Before the senior is ensconced in that facility, assign a doctor who is willing to over medicate and ensure that senior is essentially stuporous at all times to reduce complaints and cost of care. Many guardians will try to brainwash the over medicated senior that their family no longer cares for them. The depression enhances the medication, which makes it easier for the guardian to control the situation.
14. Continue to funnel the ward’s business and money to downstream collaborators including banks, real estate firms, jewelers, appraisers, pharmacies, facilities, hospitals, home health agencies, resale shops, and a host of others in return for their cooperation and reciprocal inducements.
15. If the family conflict finally turns to attacking the guardian’s actions or gets out of control, turn family members against each other and promise a sum of money to the relative who cooperates with the guardian.
16. Senior passes away and now it’s time to delay settlement. Family members will want to put their bad experiences behind them. Delaying the settlement makes it possible for the guardian to negotiate terms, which will hide the crimes committed against the senior and the family and allow maximum time for further staged fraudulent billings, motions and actions which are automatically approved by court.
17. The long delay frustrates family members to the point where they will settle without a thorough accounting just to get the proceedings over. In Guardian Abuse cases often, the estate is not settled for as long as ten years after the ward dies—all the while being drained by fraudulent billings from lawyers and others.
18. The guardian having furtively changed beneficiaries of all insurance policies, and having sole control of death certificates, deposits life insurance and any other death benefit proceeds into the trust that was created, never reports the payment to the court, never pays taxes on it or if reported, the funds are used exclusively to pay fees.
19. The guardian wraps up the stealing by informing family members if they talk about what they went through they will be sued for defamation, put in prison or may never receive the inheritance. Often families are forced to sign falsified papers–called Non disclosure and Non Defamation clauses– exonerating the insiders prior to receiving what, if anything, is left of their inheritances.
20. The recent increased media exposure of guardian crimes throughout the United States has created a new page for this playbook. When commissions are formed to look into guardian abuse, ensure that the commissions are rigged by appointing only attorneys, judges and staff who make their money from the system and are friendly to guardians to ensure business as usual will continue; create positive press to placate the public; never allow articulate advocates to testify; vehemently and authoritatively deny and dispute all negative news coverage; make sure every participant in the system plays along to get along and severely punish any defectors from the scheme; ensure that those who object are vilified, humiliated, ridiculed and subjected to maximum legal abuse; above all else keep everything cloaked in secrecy.
A ward once said, “I used to fear getting cancer, now I fear guardianship even more”
One notorious guardian was quoted as saying “losing assets to us is just a part of getting old and nobody cares about old people”
This well-oiled machine is growing daily. The damage it does is staggering.