21 thoughts on “They Say Legal Guardians Ripped Them Off—and the State AG Let Them Down

  1. Dear Alisa, On behalf of all of us that are being abused by this system, and the many others that will be abused in the future, thank you for bringing this into the light. This must be stopped – I have been informed by a new guardian that my mother is running out of money, It is unconscionable, disgusting and fraudulent that this could happen. My father, David Rappaport, who was a multimillionaire, always provided for his wife of 71 years, his children and his grandchildren. So far the attorney’s and guardian have billed more than $700,000.00 dollars, that should have been used for my mother’s well being. My mother was a very famous designer – Francesca for Damon, My mother worked hard to build the family fortune.
    Please help and pass this on to anybody you know in Law enforcement, Elder Abuse, Print and electronic Media, including investigating reporters and other caring and concerned friends. We must stop this from keep happening.

  2. In June of 2014 the “Westchester Adult Protective Services” (WAPS) appeared at my door saying that I “needed” help! For a period of over two (2) months they did everything they could to snare me into the purported “Guardianship Matrix.” We had a friend in Rye, NY – Ella Place who the system did their best envelope with a Guardianship! A group of her friends fought and after extensive court proceedings she was not burdened with a personal Guardianship – only a financial one! She had been engaged in successful litigation (felons are prohibited from acting in any Fiduciary capacity) in the Surrogate Court against Bankers Trust Company/Deutsche Bank! I know Ella believed that the purpose of the Guardianship was to control the litigation and I believe that was the reason for the attempted Guardianship of myself! The inhabitants of these courts along with their fellow travelers seem to windup with the spoils! I know of one court attorney in Surrogate’s Court who acquired a home in Scarsdale from an Estate under the Court’s wings! I have done Freedom of Information demands (FOIL) of WAPS and they flatly refuse to provide salient information! The attorneys and their friends have a very lucrative racket going and think that they have all the rat holes covered! Time shall tell if “Justice’ will show her face! In the meantime I don’t want another Widow to endure what I have been subjected to and I demand full accountability of all the minions involved as do ALL VICTIMS!

  3. There are so many problems with adult guardianship as practiced today, but one of the root problems is that family is easily shunted aside in favor of a court-appointed professional guardian who then depletes the estate under color of law — and the victims and their families who have suffered this type of exploitation have nowhere to go for help.

    Families certainly do their share of stealing, and not all professionals are unscrupulous. But it’s just as unfair to paint all families as dysfunctional as it is to paint all professional guardians and thieves. That said, no one knows the person in guardianship and what that person wants and needs like family. There must be a concentrated effort to put family first if at all possible and professional guardians as the guardian of last resort.

  4. After years of trying to get “the system” to fix itself, it’s become clear that the system is in the business of perpetuating itself.
    There are trillions of dollars in play.
    If we want change it will be up to “We The People” to make the change.

  5. This is an Industry…a corrupt, collusive industry involving corrupt judges, attorneys, guardians, court clerks, on and on! Make no mistake, the stealing is very real and can happen to any family….this is exactly why this article is so important. For years major media has ignored the problem…..I personally have read articles dating back decades….the Carvel Fortune comes to mind immediately….some of the same judges were involved with that case as was Masotti, McCormack estate, Astor….on and on! The avenue of play is DELAY….if a Judge delays and roadblocks justice long enough, family members will either die off or give up from the enormous personal, financial toll it can take on a family. In collusion is every single State Office preaching ethics, yet refusing to investigate….the US Attorney’s office included. I personally wrote to Preet Bharara’s office four time in 8 years without so much as a reply. Is this truly how any citizen with a viable case against a Felon is to be treated in this State…in this Country? Believe me, this can happen to anyone at all, especially to the Disabled and elderly, our most vulnerable populations!

  6. Thank you for writing this article and giving a voice to Mr. Rappaport and these others that are seeing their fortunes depleted and their loved ones exploited by fraudulent guardians, lawyers and judges. There must be accountability- would love to see a follow up article to find a forensic accounting company to trace the money for these families. Perhaps someone can donate their time? In the end it is the elderly loved ones that suffer needlessly.

  7. It is absolutely shameful what these people are doing to families by literally stealing their money and lining their own pockets and I’m sure that there are family members buying off these people at the expense of another family member, as in Errol Rappaport ‘s case. His brothers and another family member has seen to it that he gets nothing. I hope that there is a lawyer and a forensic accountant willing to help him if not pro bono than on a contingency. This is something that has to be brought in the light and even the judges are suspect. If anyone knows of someone to help or if they there is someone out there that has any sort of moral indignation please contact Errol Rappaport. A 100 year old woman should not be hung out to dry by 2 of her 3 sons in the name of $ the root of all evil.

  8. The silence on the part of the state and federal governments in regard to the common abuses carried out daily throughout the country by adult guardianships is frightening. Those people appointed to protect their wards have instead have found easy ways of enriching themselves and their associates at the expense of their wards. And while their actions may be criminal, they are able to operate with the approval of the judges in charge.

    As a co-guardian of my own cousin, I was naivete enough to think that the court-appointed co-guardian I served with would provide her help. Instead, I saw how this co-guardian and the ones that followed were able to manipulate the system to take tens of thousands of dollars from her financial accounts–all under the watchful eyes of the various judges in charge. And as time went on, I discovered I could do nothing to stop it.

    I am the co-guardian mentioned in the Kornicki story above, and I have made a pledge to make this adult guardianship abuse visible to the public. As the co-guardian I could do nothing, but in my profession as a book publisher, I could find someone to expose what is going on and what families can do to (try and) stop it. Two years ago I met Dr. Sam Sugar, president of the American Against Probate Guardianship (AAAPG), and two months ago we brought out his book, GUARDIANSHIPS AND THE ELDERLY: THE PERFECT CRIME.

    Unless we make a commitment to bring this criminal behavior to light, I am afraid it will continue to abuse more and more seniors. This will not be easy, however with more of us working together, perhaps we can make a change

  9. Yup, ain’t it great? Please everyone write to Judge Debra Kaplan who is spearheading elder abuse in this regard by convening a special Elder Domestic Violence Committee. Let us also be mindful Of not only court appointed guardians exploiting the vulnerable individual’s estate, but of the more common unaddressed scenario of financial exploitation by family members. This is inheritance abuse at its core, for greed at not only the safety of the frail elderly, but of trusting family members who discover that villainous family members with a Power of Attorney document just helped themselves to just about all the assets. And then you can settle the estate informally for some of the scraps, unless you want to litigate with your own funds! No winners except the attorneys, who like the system just the way it is.

  10. I heard about Pisani from another victim in Westchester. The story of Frances and Errol Rappaport is sad, outrageous, and shocking! I am sick of greed and corruption. It is disgusting.

  11. Court appoiinted guardians “should get a max monthly salary” instead of drawing funds from the Estate of the client.
    Proven abuse by authorities, disbar.

  12. I want to thank you again for the important article on the New York State Guardianship system on June 5 by Alisa Partlan. As a victim with my parents I have had first hand experience of this twisted system where we were not treated like human beings, but an active ATM. What my family thought was going to be a solution to my sister’s stealing turned into something much much worse – a system designed to making stealing legal. All meetings are held in secret in chambers. There is no open hearing. In Kentucky, where they have the lowest number of people in guardianship, there must be a jury trial. That is what New York needs if the State is going to continue to have guardianship. I attended the New York Elder Abuse Conference which was held at the New School on June 13, 2018. There was no discussion on court-appointed guardianship was is rampant, but ignored. This crime has been reported on since the 1980s with the Associated Press groundbreaking series on the issue. In 2001 and 2004, the New York Daily News and the New York Times wrote about victims. It is not isolated cases, it is systemic. The Times described grand jury findings of the guardianship system and how easy it is for court-appointees to steal from people that have been railroaded into guardianship. This is the New York State guardianship system in place now.

    The speakers at the Elder Abuse Conference were from Adult Protective Services, the courts and the New York State Attorney General’s office. They are ignoring the complaints that we have made against professional guardians because there was not one discussion on this twisted system and there were no victims of this twisted system invited to speak. In New York, the court-appointed professional guardians are always lawyers and are court-appointed as guardians, court evaluators, court appointed lawyers for the court-appointed guardians and in my mother’s case, one of the court-appointed guardians was appointed court-appointed lawyer to herself. In addition, she always had a colleague with her that she billed for and wasn’t court appointed, but it was all approved by judges. The conference did not address this abuse and they are all complicit with the crime of conscripting vulnerable people of wealth into an already failed system.

  13. To ‘piggy-back’ Marian Kornicki’s comments, let us not exclude the power of the Governor, and his heartless disregard for the elderly and the Disabled Community which, of course, includes our honored Veterans who have suffered in previous wars right up to present day! As caregivers grow older, the terror of leaving a vulnerable loved one behind is huge. Now that evidence emerges, daily and all across this Country, regarding a systematic collusion to steal under the guise of protection, realizing that officials such as the disgraced NY Attorney General care, one wonders if this corruption goes right up to the Governor’s office. Albany is known for corruption, for decades. Gov. Cuomo’s sudden disbanding of the Moreland Commission (for Political Ethics), was a true sign of disinterest in honest dealing. Perhaps this is the moment for change, and all decent New Yorkers ought to do their candidate homework before entering the ballot box. No one person is a ‘slam-dunk’ as long as a citizen’s vote is cast!

  14. These three court-appointed guardianship abuse stories told by us to Alisa Partlan are not isolated. They are part of a national pattern of widespread abuse in so-called equity courts that function without juries and are prone to egregious conflicts of interest (guardians are paid from the estates that belong to other people and they control them!) and corruption that lead to the abuse we see in the above cases. They are reflective of a strategy by which the vulnerable’s assets are destroyed by greed. We are a community and we need to ask those running for governor and state senators and federal office where they stand on this issue and what they will they do to overhaul it. I spoke to a victim whose father was placed in an unwarranted guardianship that was documented in “Who’s Guarding the Guardians” which one can view on youtube and it is horrifying how he and his father were treated by this so-called system. Please ask about this at the town halls you attend and on facebook and twitter. Kentucky has the fewest guardianships – there are jury trials there (not in secret like NY) and power of attorneys cannot be ignored as they are in New York State.

  15. The Center for Estate Administration Reform (CEAR) founded by Rick Black, a victim of a fraudulent guardianship has spearheaded the formation of nationwide coalitions of victims to advocate and demand accountability and prosecution of those that commit this fraud. It is only by joining together in this communal way that we can we stop this abuse. Rick Black can be reached at cearrick@gmail.com.

    What was originally intended as an altruistic act, managed by the local courts, to protect vulnerable adults has exploded into a relentless, dangerous and expensive sham.

  16. Hundreds of cases each year across New York mirror the inhumane and exploitive realities of the cases Ms. Partlin highlighted in this article. The victims and their legitimate protectors have no redress when predatory attorneys and the guardians they protect target a person.

    Sadly too many of these courts have been perverted to serve the legal community over the public. The New York Attorney General, state and local police have refused to engage. Those receiving federal and state funds to protect the vulnerable, disabled, and seniors have abandoned them because these courts consistently protect their allies. Prolonged litigation, while the instigator is paid by the estate of the person they are exploiting, is what the entire system embraces.

    Wake up America this is criminal racketeering orchestrated by attorneys and no one is safe in New York. Reforms are long overdue and system continues to defend there is nothing to see here and all is well.

  17. To ALL those suffering and those in or destined for this nightmarish pipeline, please see CITIZEN4JUSTICE.COM for information and support you need. Please understand, I KNOW your experiences are REAL…NOT imagined as well as the pain you feel. May God be with us ALL!

  18. In March, 2018, a group of advocates leading the efforts to reform the Probate Court system met with District Attorney Nancy O’Malley of Alameda County, California. They presented a few compelling cases involving seniors who became involved in the Probate Court. The advocates laid out circumstances under which the senior had their financial resources deeply impacted, and in one case, nearly depleted through the processes of Probate Court. As a result, O’Malley agreed to investigate the allegations of Elder Financial Abuse in sixteen cases where complaints had been filed.

    Since that time, DA O’Malley has assembled an investigative team and allocated resources to fully and thoroughly investigate each claim to determine if elder financial abuse has occurred and can be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. The team consists of attorneys who specialize in Elder and Dependent Adult Protection and in Real Estate Fraud, since all of the allegations of abuse involve seniors with property and assets.

    DA O’Malley has also assigned Forensic Accountants from her office. She has also reached out to Tom Coleman, a Disabilities Rights Attorney located in Southern California.

    No office in New York State has acted on any such complaints here.

  19. More news from Alameda County, California:

    “So many elders have lost their homes and businesses. We see estates taken with impunity.” reports Maxine Ussery, a co-founder of the Probate Court Movement. Linda Kincaid, another member of the group, reports that this is not just happening in Alameda County. She handles elder abuse cases all over the State of California, and it is everywhere. The Probate Courts look at elders as cash cows. O’Malley was concerned about the “Civil Death” of Elinor Frerichs, a caucasian elder who was placed under guardianship to “save” her $6 million dollar estate after she married n African American man.

    The court had her marriage annulled, and Ms. Frerichs now lives in total isolation, not allowed to see friends or have access to the outside world. Court Conservator Scott Phipps placed Ms. Frerichs in a facility for dementia, even though she scored 98 percent on an acuity test in 2012 and she has not been evaluated since.
    She is not allowed to attend court hearings and now her multi-million dollar estate is worth a few hundred thousand.

    There are 83 members of the Probate Reform Movement represented by people who have been victimized by the Probate Court. District Attorney O’Malley has pledged to “follow the money” leaving victims encouraged that she will uncover the criminal enterprise.

    As Ms. Ussery said, “Something has to be wrong when everybody is losing their estates, I mean everybody.”

    New York State citizens are being victimized in Probate Court and Supreme Court where guardianships are created and maintained.



  21. I need help my grand father is about to lose everything they will not pay his bills but is collecting and saving all his money to keep after he passes

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