By Terri LaPoint, Real News Spark
May 20, 2021
Imagine a situation in which someone you love is abducted. You may or may not know where they are, but you are powerless to free them. The captor takes their money by getting into their bank account and investments, changing insurance policies and trusts to the benefit of the captor. The captor drugs the loved one into oblivion and forbids them to contact friends or family members.
If a masked thug did all this, law enforcement would jump into action, and the person reporting such a crime might even be hailed as a hero.
However, if the perpetrator of such actions does so by manipulating the probate or civil court system, it is business as usual. No one bats an eye if the victim is declared by the court to be an “incapacitated person” in need of a guardian, whether the allegation is true or not.
Worse, there is often swift retaliation against anyone speaking up for these hidden victims of guardianship abuse. Such bullying tactics are so common that they are considered part of the standard “playbook” used by the perpetrators of guardianship exploitation through local probate courts.
Occasionally, stories of this abuse of power make it into mainstream media, such as that of Golden Flake heiress Joann Bashinsky and the film from Netflix, “I Care A Lot”. More often, stories appear in alternative media and blogs.
The prevalent thinking is that, indeed, this case is an anomaly. Few realize how commonly it occurs. And few recognize the high cost at which these stories ever see the light of day.
Retaliation – Part of the Script
Talk show host and elder advocate Marti Oakley has been covering stories of the abuse of senior citizens for 14 years. Over half of her 2000+ broadcasts on the TS Radio Network have been on guardian abuse. She has interviewed many hundreds of victims and family members who have spoken out about the horrors experienced in this system.
Though each story is different, the playbook is predictable, almost like a script. In a recent interview, Oakley told Real News Spark:
In virtually every one of the cases, the retaliation is just unthinkable.
Though they have committed no crime, the person’s fundamental human rights under guardianship are stripped from them. Everything they have worked for their whole lives, including their family relationships, businesses, and estates, are at the mercy of strangers known as guardians and conservators, who now control everything. Exploitation and abuse of the “ward,” as they are called in this system, are the standard MO.
Oakley explains that family members who speak up or try to fight for the rights of their loved ones may come under attack by having false charges levied against them. Their reputations are frequently slandered. It is not uncommon for family members or advocates to be attacked in online or media smear campaigns.
Both the wards and their families are often bankrupted by endless legal battles, while the guardians siphon off inflated fees and commissions from the estate of the ward.
Visits with the loved one, whether the ward is mother, father, sibling, grandparent, or even spouse, have been cut off as punishment. The guardian may tell the court that it is not “in the best interest” of their victim to have visits from the family because the ward “becomes agitated” during visits, (perhaps in wanting their life back?).
While they are being told that their loved ones have moved on with their lives, their families are often fighting expensive battles in probate court simply for the privilege of having a visit or trying to free the estate from being milked away by people with no interest in preserving the intentions of the senior citizen. The bullying tactics kick up into full gear against anyone trying to fight for their dignity or freedom.
Even media personalities and advocates have been de-platformed, shadow-banned, or threatened when they provide a place for the victims or their families to tell their stories.
“Insidious Retaliation” against Daughter Fighting to Free Her Father
In the struggle to free her father Marvin Siegel from the isolation and abuse of guardianship, Boston area attorney Lisa Belanger learned how vicious retaliation can be. Court-appointed guardians forced her and her family to move out of her father’s home just before Christmas in 2011.
Not only did the attorney guardians engage in a smear campaign against her reputation, but they also went after her bar license when she dared speak out against them. She responded in court:
This entire procedure [of the attempt to remove her bar license] has been about a persecution because it’s retaliation against me for lawfully and reasonably fighting for my family’s constitutional rights.
This is a battle she yet fights today. She recently told me:
This intimidation is the rule, not the exception. They are used to intimidating people and they will shut up.
Lisa Belanger refused to bow to the bullying tactics used against her. She says she will always stand up for the truth. After a court hearing, the “insidious retaliation” began, she explains, when she exposed attorney Marsha Kazarozian and the court-appointed guardian for their role in drugging her father. She told their story to the Boston Broadside, naming names and providing documented evidence.
Belanger realized that this was happening to many more people besides her father. She got involved with the cases of Alice Julian, Mary Frank, and Beverly Finnegan, all Boston-area seniors who were ultimately euthanized under their court-appointed guardianships.
Public Warning: Boston is a Cesspool of Adult Medical Kidnappings
Before long, Belanger had uncovered 29 other cases besides her father’s, involving many of the same players. When she filed a federal racketeering lawsuit in 2015 exposing those cases, retaliation against her began in earnest. She was labeled a “misguided crusader,” and guardians stopped her visits with her father.
Citing a restraining order that did not exist, the guardians threatened her with arrest when she tried to see him.
The court removed her as trustee of her father’s estate. The guardians subsequently dismantled the trust and drained the estate – an estate that held over $9 million before guardians entered the picture. Most of the money was gone by the time of his death in 2019.
Wife Threatened and Slandered
Helen Taylor of Missouri fought for, and eventually won, the freedom of her husband of more than 40 years. Under the guise of “protecting” Charley Taylor, guardians sold several properties that the couple owned jointly. She told MedicalKidnap.com about some of the outrageous retaliation against her:
I have never had but a speeding ticket in my life until the county took him from me. Since then, I have been labeled a thief, a person that blows up nursing homes, called in to take a lie detector for abusing animals. The county won’t stop with the things they accuse me of. I was a grandmother of 13. Now, I am a homeless woman that lives in an apartment across the street from my husband in a nursing home. Oh, I forgot, an abuser of my husband. No charges after 719 days in court. No witnesses. I can’t believe what a crooked county can do to people.
After she spoke out about the cruel treatment of her husband under the guardianship, including sexual abuse and starvation in the nursing home, the guardians retaliated by obtaining a court order forbidding her to see the love of her life.
Though the attacks were merciless, she refused to back down. Because of her courage, Charlie Taylor finally came home. Helen Taylor is now a passionate advocate for families fighting guardianship abuse.
Retaliation Is Frighteningly Common to Silence Dissent
During almost 7 years of investigating stories of “medical kidnappings” of seniors and children, virtually every family member I have interviewed whose loved one has been taken reports that the court documents contain false information about them. The predators use the power of motions and false allegations in their filings to seize the ward and keep them under the custody of the court. Often these are wild accusations or outright lies which are easily proven false. However, that part of the story is swept under the rug while the victims’ reputations are smeared.
In many cases, family members and advocates have been threatened. In a pattern that is all too familiar to those who have been following these stories, anonymous bloggers and social media trolls attack the reputations and character of those who fight back. By doing so, attention is deflected away from the very real crimes being committed in the guardianship system against senior citizens.
Courage to Stand
History is full of those with the courage to stand for truth and justice, refusing to back down, no matter the cost. Like Daniel in the lion’s den and the Hebrew boys in the fire, these families do not stand alone. May God give them the strength to stand, even in the fire.
Lisa Belanger told a Massachusetts court why she will never back down in speaking out for people like her father:
This matter is not just about me. It’s not just about my father…. This case is about a nationwide epidemic, and it is shown from the exhibits of the federal action through the Government Accountability Office that what I have been exposing over the past seven years is a nationwide epidemic. This is not an isolated circumstance.
9 thoughts on “Guardianship Abuse Playbook – Retaliation Against Those Who Dare to Speak Up”
Susan Terranova was never ever an Alabama resident but in 2016 she was medically kidnapped by the state of Alabama. She trusted the wrong people to help her & made her brother Joe Terranova her POA in Virginia were she lived. She wanted to fire him she stated he’s acting like it’s his money & will not do want I ask! He & her other siblings quickly took her life & freedom away & forced her into involuntary adult guardianship. Her adult guardian is Joseph Ed Parish jr in Montgomery Alabama. She begged me to help her & come take her home. I said I would but I was told by her siblings that I would be arrested if I did?! I was like what? They got “emergency guardianship” on her it’s to late she a ward of the state! This was after two months?! The laws that were broken to obtain & keep her against her will are insane! She was denied her own attorney, ADA violations, constitutional rights violations, lack of jurisdiction, no due process, fraudulent facts stated on her court documents, “emergency guardianship was filed & graded by Judge Steven Reed even though no emergency existed, forced to become an Alabama resident and so much more. Nothing in the past 5 years have been what Susan Terranova wanted & she begged,& cried for her release but she’s still there. She will now live out the rest of her days & die alone surrounded by strangers. Completely heartbreaking! I’ve done everything I can & reached out to every official, letters, meetings, emails etc. I am constantly being attacked & lied about. I still press on I’m fighting for justice for Susan & will never stop no matter what they try to do or say about me! So much has happened I easily have a books worth. I now have a FB page for Justice for Susan Terranova & I will be putting up as much info as I can on her situation. Sickening what people are doing to our elderly loved ones for money! She’s nothing more than a human ATM machine, But not to me & I will never be silent about it ever!
So true. It only took 2 more years of trying to get his retirement and his annunity back. Still havent6found out how much she got for his one hundred thousand dollar annunity for when they sold that in 2015 it would have paid him 100000 in 2018 . And I found out his life insurance paid for a prepaid burial. I do know the difference. Wonder where huffman spent that money. They treated him for every thing that wasnt wrong with him while in the nursing home except the one thing that was now he is a paraplegic because of a cytz stand lift they used on him and repinched his spine off . His last blood test revealed not even high cholesterol his a1c for all that insulin they gave him was perfect. He didnt use insulin before they took him now back home no insulin. Simply amazing. His demtetia he had supposedly huffman said before he came home was doing better. Only God knows what awaits the evil doers of these horrendous crimes against humanity are doing to us old people and he will not be mocked. God help them
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Heartbreaking. But so commendable that you are fighting for her freedom.
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The insidiouse life of Guardianship, cruel, damaging, against human rights. Protects the isolators, abusers, allowing negligent care, so unconstitutional!
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I am a witness 3 of my mother’s lawyers destroyed 3 wills and 3 POA documents to destroy my 83 year old mother. The reason the lawyers destoyed my mother’s papers was because she had appointed me as her sole representative. The lawyers like conflict which makes them money. My mother told me to be her witness and I heard her tell her lawyer Eduardo Marcos my sister Belinda was not to be involved with her care and finances. At the time my mother was most vulnerable her doctor Paulo Mazzotta target her to bring in the Public Guardian after my mother told me “They are stealing my house.” My mother was right. They took her life, money, house, my parent’s wedding rings and they even stole my mother’s final resting place at the cemetery.
When I confronted Dr. Paolo Mazzotta with my mother’s concerns he started drugging my 83 year old mother with narcotics to impair her judgement and ordered her to change her legal papers to bring in my thieving sister Belinda to cause conflict and for him to bring in the Public Guardian. I met with a lawyer who told me to contact the police. The police did nothing and my mother died 2 months later drugged to death with Morphine, Codeine, Acetaminophen, Hydrocodone + Hydromorohone in the body of my 83 year old mother weighing only 81 pounds when she died.