Getting Away with Egregious Guardianship Fraud
(Professional Guardianship Abuse is accomplished under “Color of Law”
and Remains Hidden from Public Knowledge!)
Originally published by Hospice Patients Alliance here
By Michael Larsen
March 7, 2018
Once judged incompetent and placed under a conservatorship [or guardianship], a citizen becomes a nonperson, with fewer rights than a convicted felon in a penitentiary.
� Robert Case, Editor, Bloomberg Wealth Manager1
Despite recent valiant efforts by the AARP, The New Yorker, U.S. News and World Report and a few other leading media organizations to shine a spotlight on professional guardianship fraud, it remains largely unknown to the general public. This fraud is known to government officials who have long pondered what to do about it. As stated in a Reuters U.S. News article, “The abuses of private-guardian systems in some U.S. states have been on the radar screens of policy and legal experts for years.”2
Professional guardianship fraudsters successfully use very clever and deceptive means to deflect and resist efforts to reform their lucrative and very corrupt misuse of the judicial system. How do they continue to get away with these crimes? They commit them under “color of law!”
When judges in the courts render horrifically unjust decisions under “color of law,”3 and people like you and me complain to the police, law enforcement agencies are normally not able to intervene because it appears that the courts are acting lawfully!
It is supremely important that the public understand what “color of law” actually involves! Acting under “color of law” occurs when an official abuses their power in violation of the law while pretending to be acting in accordance with the law.
In professional guardianship fraud, an Order of Contempt is often used by corrupt judges and attorneys against a family member or close friends of the victim they are trying to help in hopes of derailing their efforts.
An Order of Contempt is a criminal charge and should not be used in a civil matter. However, corrupt civil judges have no problem misusing this charge in their courtrooms. Two cases involving professional guardianship fraud that illustrate “color of law” and the illegal use of “Contempt of Court4 Orders” are given below.
The Case of Attorney Barbara Stone and Her Mother Helen5
Barbara Stone traveled to Florida from her home in New York to find her mother emaciated in a nursing home where she was under guardianship. (Barbara mistakenly thought placing her mother in guardianship would be a way to protect her from harm). Finding no one around to help her, Barbara used a wheelchair, put her mother in her car, and tried to take her to Denny’s Restaurant for lunch.
Barbara was stopped by police and thrown in jail. Her mother was taken to a hospital where it was verified that she was malnourished, dehydrated, bruised, and had a host of other medical problems from lack of care under guardianship. That occurred in 2013. Barbara was let out of jail and placed on probation with the understanding that she could not say anything about her mother’s situation. In other words, if she did speak out, she would be re-arrested!
Barbara found herself conflicted between wanting to help her mother and her own safety. She felt the only way she could help her mother was to speak out about the crimes being committed against her mother and others in professional guardianship fraud. She knew that if she did so, she faced being jailed again, so she fled to Arizona.
Barbara feared that, if she was jailed again, she would be “imprisoned” through a forced guardianship herself as a means of silencing her forever. Fast forward to 2018 and consider that Barbara was thrown in jail four times in Florida while trying to help her mother by going to police, FBI, and suing in court to get relief, all of which angered the predators.
Shockingly, Barbara was picked up in Arizona and, after a six month jail stay, was extradited to Florida. At her first hearing, her attorney naively thought she easily would be released for time served, especially because most people would consider trying to take her mother to lunch to be a minor offense. This was the offense:
On December 20, 2013, Barbara Stone was arrested for multiple charges involving her elderly mother, Helen Stone. Though Barbara removed her mother from the nursing home simply to feed her lunch, there was a restraining order and the court orders required that all contact with her mother had to be supervised. Barbara Stone was ultimately charged with one count of custodial interference with an elderly person (her Mother), a Third Degree Felony and Level 4 Offense!
Barbara Stone was a former attorney with no prior criminal record. At the November 2017 Florida hearing, who should appear in court but two former judges, several attorneys, the guardian and others, all of them claiming Barbara had “ruined their lives” due to her letters and attempts to help her mother. The judge was a close associate of one of the former judges in the case, so she recused herself. At the next hearing on January 8, 2018, the same group of predators came to scream at Barbara for several hours. The judge sentenced her to three years in prison!
One reason for the three year sentence was that a former judge said Barbara was in “contempt of court.” The former judge, Michael G, used his courtroom in Miami, Florida to isolate guardianship victims and harass and intimidate victims’ families. As in most probate court guardianship situations, the judge operated under “color of law.”
As of February 2018, Barbara Stone is 65 years old, has been incarcerated since June 2017, and, in the eyes of the guardianship predators is considered “dangerous.” She is taken to court hearings usually six or more hours prior to the hearing in shackles where she sits with other inmates who may be screaming, crying, yelling, etc. Jail itself is horrific. Imagine yourself in a room all day and all night with 40 or more other women who are coming off drugs and/or alcohol addictions or are mentally ill and screaming most of that time.
Another hearing is scheduled for the end of February 2018. Two attorneys are presenting two motions. One motion is to mitigate the sentence since Barbara has already served 508 days in jail, which includes the time she was first jailed in Florida, then Arizona, and now again in Florida. The other motion is to correct the illegal sentence and unjust punishment meted out to Barbara.
We hope this will end favorably and Barbara Stone will be released. However, favorable outcomes are rare in guardianship matters.
The Case of Mr. and Mrs. Peterson and Ted Mottman
[Names have been changed to protect the innocent.]
This example of a court operating under “color of law” and the wrongful use of the charge Contempt of Court is taken from the book Guardianship Fraud by M Larsen — See GuardianAbuseCases.com It was prepared by Anthony Damon who interviewed witnesses and took the major section for his story from the Appellate Brief written by attorneys for Mr. and Mrs. Peterson.
This matter involves a court-ordered guardianship victim named Ted Mottman, who was living in Seattle, Washington, and his friends, Jerry and Janet Peterson, who live in Tucson, Arizona. Mr. Mottman inherited a sum close to $20 million from his parents in 2010. In early 2011, Ted Mottman, at 63 years old, filed for divorce from his third wife whom he thought was a sociopath.
Ted had what was thought to be a very minor stroke that temporarily affected his right hand and arm six months prior to his filing for divorce. He was still driving, getting the groceries, cooking, and eventually Ted was back to normal. A month after filing for divorce, Ted’s neurologist released him with a determination that he had recovered fully. When his wife found out that Ted was planning to leave Seattle and move to Arizona to live until the divorce was finalized, she hurried into action to stop him from leaving.
At that time, she drugged him in order to have him declared incompetent and moved back into his home to keep him isolated, immobilized with psychotropic drugs, and unable to defend himself.
It was her plan to have his status as a competent adult nullified by a court so that he would be declared a vulnerable adult. She even presented as fact the completely false assertion that Ted had been declared to have dementia for several years. To declare someone legally incompetent to conduct one’s own affairs is a formal medical determination and requires a physician’s exam and finding to be legally valid.
The Petersons had been in almost daily contact with Ted regarding his plans to rent a home in Tucson and on several occasions Ted mentioned his fear of his wife. Janet Peterson worked for the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Jerry Peterson had worked for The Boeing Company in their Defense Operations.
Because of their close relationship with Ted, the Petersons were sued by Ted’s wife & her friend to keep them quiet and to keep them from trying to help free Ted. The reason given for the lawsuit was that, since Ted Mottman had been “declared to have dementia for several years,” the Petersons were trying to take advantage of him for his money.
According to the Petersons’ attorney who attended the hearing, Ted’s wife had drugged him so thoroughly that he was practically immobile. After the Petersons mentioned that an experienced nurse explained that the psychological exam performed on Ted was faked, they were threatened by all of the attorneys who wanted Ted’s money and intimidated into signing a binding Washington State “CR2A” Settlement Agreement to keep quiet.
Without medical records showing any prior determinations of incompetence or dementia, a pseudo-psychological exam was done the day before the court hearing. Mr. Mottman’s wife answered most of the questions during the exam. With this stage set, the following comments are summarized from the Appellate Summary written two years later and illustrate “color of law” by attorneys, the court commissioner, Adult Protective Services, Beautiful View Police, and the court-appointed guardian.
The Petersons were also sued by the guardian (a large Seattle Guardian service) because a friend of Ted tried to get him out of his house after a phone conversation during which Ted begged him for help. That person (Will Kent) wrote an email to several people. This email was unfairly blamed on the Petersons and they were sued because of it. Why? To make an example of them so that anyone who even thought about interfering with the guardianship fraud would be terrified and stay out of it!
The suit against the Petersons was filed in Commissioner V’s probate court by an attorney for those seeking to make Ted Mottman a “vulnerable adult,” to place him under their control, and to control all his wealth and assets. The Petersons responded to this lawsuit by stating that Mr. Mottman had never been declared incompetent, that the lawsuit was “smoke and mirrors” being used to hide the actual intent of his wife and her friend who wished to plunder Mr. Mottman’s assets.
After the first court hearing in May 2011, the Petersons — who were trying to advocate for Mr. Mottman and prevent him from being victimized — were sued twice more to keep them quiet. One suit accused them of being in Contempt of Court, because a friend of Ted Mottman, Will Kent, sent out emails about his situation. This was blamed on the Petersons. This charge should have been filed in a criminal court but was filed in Commissioner V’s civil court.
Astoundingly, in one lawsuit, the Petersons had to pay $60,000 for an email message that another of Ted’s friends wrote about his attempt to save Ted’s life. In addition to the $60,000 fine, the Petersons were given an Order for Protection which stated that, if they told anyone — including law enforcement or government agencies — about Ted Mottman, they would face ten years in prison. Think about that!
Unfortunately, as was planned by the perpetrators, the Petersons had to end their appellate case due to lack of funds. It appeared that the other side wanted it ended too. A settlement was made. The Petersons had to pay attorney fees for both sides, plus a “color of law” charge was made against the Petersons for defamation of Ted’s wife even though it was Ted who made these comments about her to others! Unbelievably, the Petersons had to pay Mrs. Mottman even though she had gained control over Mr. Mottman’s millions!
In addition to all of these payments, the Petersons would have to pay an additional fine of $80,000 if they said anything about Ted Mottman for the next five years (through July 2017). A settlement was reached for three reasons: the Petersons had used up all of their life’s savings and borrowed from family, their attorneys could not be sure that an appellate judge would rule against a superior court judge no matter how blatantly his court operated illegally under “color of law,” and the perpetrators also could not be sure what the Appellate Court would do.
This crime could happen to anyone and is happening to people all over the country!
Startling Statements and Charges
The Appellate Brief Summary illustrated that attorneys against the Petersons knowingly and willfully brought misleading and false charges to promote their cause from the outset. Below are some of the more startling statements and charges.
The attorney for Mr. Mottman’s wife and her friend who helped drug him brought their petition against the Petersons falsely stating that Mr. Mottman had been diagnosed with dementia for several years, knowing such a diagnosis was not made until the day prior to the hearing.
A few months later, a nurse friend of the Petersons reviewed the physician’s diagnostic report. Since this nurse had read these types of reports for 30 years, she stated to the Petersons’ attorney that this was not a standard report and lacked any firm evidence of dementia. Once this was reported to the attorney for the court-appointed guardian, all of the attorneys involved in putting Mr. Mottman into guardianship threatened to sue the Petersons if the Petersons didn’t sign an agreement that they would tell no one about Mr. Mottman’s situation, or they would be heavily fined.
The Petersons’ attorney told the Petersons emphatically that this commissioner always ruled in favor of the guardian and that they might lose “hundreds of thousands of dollars if they didn’t sign this document.”
The nurse was so upset about the situation facing Mr. Mottman that she wrote to the police and Adult Protective Services in Seattle asking them to investigate this matter. Her letter to Adult Protective Services was supposed to be confidential as are all complaints to Adult or Child Protective Services. The attorney for the guardian made false statements about the Petersons to the court in order to obtain the confidential documents that pertained to the complaint to Adult Protective Services.
The attorney for the guardian falsely stated in court that Ms. Peterson was a “stalker” and was behind emails and mailings sent out by others who were aware of Mr. Mottman’s sudden isolation.
The attorney for the guardian filed a request for finding of Contempt of Court against the Petersons in the same civil court rather than with the King County Prosecutor as should have been the case. The court commissioner ignored the Petersons’ attorneys’ request to identify any alleged act(s) the Petersons committed to warrant the finding and instead awarded unreasonable and excessive attorneys’ fees of $28,000 that the Petersons had to pay.
The commissioner also sanctioned the Petersons another punitive $20,000, which was imposed in violation of the law (RCW 7.21030(2)).6 In addition, since the court issued its order in June 2012, the commissioner awarded another $30,000 in damages without any showing of actual damages caused by the Petersons’ conduct.
The attorney for Mr. Mottman’s wife falsely claimed to the Court that Ms. Peterson was responsible for defamatory comments about Ms. Mottman even though it was Mr. Mottman who made these statements and the Court record establishes this.
Major witnesses reported to the Petersons’ attorney that the Beautiful View Police Department and Adult Protective Services investigators never contacted them for an interview to ascertain the facts of this matter
Is it a coincidence that Mr. Mottman’s wife worked for the Beautiful View City Prosecutor’s Office and that she requested Detective Thomas to call a major witness in order to intimidate that witness?
According to Mr. Mottman’s close friend, Mr. Kent, Mr. Mottman called explaining his plight and Mr. Kent then tried to rescue Mr. Mottman from the house. However, Mr. Kent stated that when Detective Thomas contacted him, the detective expressed no interest in learning about Mr. Mottman’s statements or his pleas for Mr. Kent’s help.
Instead of listening to Mr. Kent’s explanation, the detective told Mr. Kent that it was Ms. Peterson who was behind the lies that Mr. Mottman was isolated. Also, the detective said that Mr. Mottman’s wife was just trying to keep Mr. Mottman safe from the harm of others since he had dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Detective Thomas called Ms. Peterson to intimidate her. He told Ms. Peterson that he was involved in reports from Mr. Mottman’s wife regarding her belief she was being harassed. This was a direct conflict of the agreement signed by all parties that no one would go to law enforcement.
As mentioned, the Tucson nurse also wrote to the Chief of the Beautiful View Police Department requesting an investigation of Mr. Mottman’s situation. The Chief of Police responded that her department was not going to investigate this matter and referred the nurse to Adult Protective Services. The nurse had already contacted Adult Protective Services.
Adult Protective Services not only ignored the request for an investigation, they sided in all ways with the court appointed guardian. The APS case worker, Marie Alex, responded to the nurse that all Mr. Mottman could say was “Yes” or “No” and that, in her opinion, Mr. Mottman had severe dementia. This was eight days after Mr. Mottman had been seen by Dr. Wagner who reported that Mr. Mottman got up to greet him, they talked, and Mr. Mottman correctly identified the Governor of Washington. Dr. Wagner also said Mr. Mottman needed stimulation.
Ms. Alex of APS also called Mr. Kent and told him that he must be lying about what Mr. Mottman said to him because Mr. Mottman was “not allowed to talk to anyone.” Denying a person under guardianship the right “to talk to anyone” clearly violates the Standards of Practice as set out by the National Guardianship Association and should have been investigated rigorously by APS.
These examples of professional guardianship fraud represent the experiences of many other victims. In the case of Mr. Mottman, this guardianship racket resulted in the predators making millions of dollars without much effort while Mr. Mottman’s friends, the Petersons, were financially destroyed for trying to protect him!
Mr. Mottman died on December 5, 2015, at age 68, as a ward of Guardian Services of Seattle (GSS). He had served in Vietnam and was a career law enforcement officer. The last four years of his life were spent in isolation and terror.
In their two year battle trying to save Mr. Mottman’s life, the Petersons spent around $250,000 in fees for all attorneys plus the fines imposed upon them. For a couple in retirement, these unjust fines and fees financially shattered them. Additionally they were threatened with ten years in prison and another $80,000 fine if they talked about this case for the next five years.
The purpose of the lawsuits against the Petersons, as in all improper professional guardianship cases, was to intimidate and threaten them to keep them quiet and to drain them of personal financial resources so that they would be completely unable to stop the predators from succeeding in their plot.
Further Verification of Guardianship Scams
This pattern of widespread legal wrong-doing involving guardianship scams was further verified in the spring of 2017 when Ms. Peterson tried to re-enter the United States after visiting a friend in Mexico. She was stopped by U.S. Customs Agents who asked her to pull over. They took her car keys and told her to get out of her car. She was asked why there was an Order for Protection against her. As soon as she said that it was a guardianship matter, she was told to get back in her car and to proceed into the United States. The U.S. Customs Agent told her that those were “junk orders,” and he wished he could change her record to delete the Order for Protection but that he was unable to do so.
Thus, it’s clear that the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Customs Agents know that these guardianship abuse scams are accomplished under “color of law.” They have dealt with thousands of people like Ms. Peterson who have no criminal records, but have these Protection Orders issued by guardianship court judges. The agents allow those individuals who were pulled over due to “junk orders” to re-enter the country without further delay.
These cases are given as illustrations of the total disregard that probate courts have for the rule of law. The New Yorker article “How the Elderly Lose Their Rights” described how guardians can sell the assets and control the lives of senior citizens without their consent. Believe this: It happens every single day to an unsuspecting elderly person who is of sound mind and competent to handle their own affairs.
The AARP recent published an article, “State Guardianship Systems Require Expedited Reform” and referred to egregious acts conducted by court-appointed guardians such as those described in the two cases above.
Protect Your Loved Ones and Yourself
The reader may be thinking that the likelihood of this happening to them is fairly small. Let me pose these questions:
Do you have parents who are perfectly safe at all times?
Are you planning on living a long time?
Please realize that wills, trusts and durable powers of attorneys are not only ignored by probate court judges, they are disclaimed since the ward becomes the property of the court-appointed guardian. A simple slip-and-fall can land someone in the hospital where they are scooped up by a guardian and hidden in another location. This happens all the time, especially if there is money involved.
One of the things I did recently was to re-write my Durable Power of Attorney and Health Care Directive to state: “I reject the appointment of a court-appointed guardian.” These documents were given to family members, my doctor, and to others. I do not use an attorney. My home is in a trust. I’ve put the trust into an LLC that is in the name of family members. My hope is that this is enough protection, but under “color of law” guardianships handed out by corrupt judges, no assumptions can or should be made.
Note from Ron Panzer: If any desire a more prominent example of guardianship abuse under color of law, just consider the Terri Schindler Schiavo case where the judge made dozens of errors in findings of fact, had several direct connections to the hospice Board of Directors where Terri was executed, and was clearly biased in the case — ignoring the testimony of many physicians and other professionals while accepting only the finding of an enthusiastic proponent of euthanasia (Dr. Cranford) who traveled the country in similar cases helping people end the lives of the vulnerable. We can all understand what King Solomon and the prophet Isaiah had to say about the way of people in the world:
As for a rogue, his weapons are evil;
He devises wicked schemes to destroy the afflicted with slander,
Even though the needy one speaks what is right. — Isaiah 32:7
That which has been is that which will be,
And that which has been done is that which will be done.
So there is nothing new under the sun. — Ecclesiastes 1:9
1 Robert Casey, Grabbing Granny’s Goodies
Make sure your clients are protected against involuntary conservatorships
Robert Casey was editor of Bloomberg Wealth Manager magazine which is quoted
in full at p 84 in the text of a Hearing Before the Special Committee on Aging
of the U.S. Senate (S. HRG. 108-117:
“Guardianship Over the Elderly: Security Provided or Freedoms Denied?”
also online at: aging.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/2112003.pdf and mirrored at:
2 Mark Miller, “With U.S. elder abuse in spotlight, a look at guardians” October 20, 2017 Reuters.com
3Color of law: U.S. Department of Justice: Section 242 of Title 18
makes it a crime for a person acting under color of any law to willfully deprive a person of a right or privilege protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States. For the purpose of Section 242, acts under “color of law” include acts not only done by federal, state, or local officials within their lawful authority, but also acts done beyond the bounds of that official’s lawful authority, if the acts are done while the official is purporting to or pretending to act in the performance of his/her official duties. Persons acting under color of law within the meaning of this statute include police officers, prisons guards and other law enforcement officials, as well as judges, care providers in public health facilities, and others who are acting as public officials. It is not necessary that the crime be motivated by animus toward the race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin of the victim. The offense is punishable by a range of imprisonment up to a life term, or the death penalty, depending upon the circumstances of the crime, and the resulting injury, if any. Back
4 Contempt of court:
There are essentially two types of contempt:
a) being rude, disrespectful to the judge or other attorneys or causing a disturbance in the courtroom, particularly after being warned by the judge;
b) willful failure to obey an order of the court. This latter can include failure to pay child support or alimony. The court’s power to punish for contempt (called “citing” one for contempt) includes fines and/or jail time (called “imposing sanctions”). Incarceration is generally just a threat and if imposed, usually brief. Since the judge has discretion to control the courtroom, contempt citations are generally not appealable unless the amount of fine or jail time is excessive. “Criminal contempt” involves contempt with the aim of obstruction of justice, such as threatening a judge or witness or disobeying an order to produce evidence. Back
5 Barbara Stone and her Mother Helen Stone:
Stone v. Hertz (1:14-cv-21776) (listing of legal motions/rulings)
US District Court, for Southern District of Florida; Filed: May 15, 2014 Accessed 2018 CourtListener.com
Florida’s Guardians Often Exploit the Vulnerable Residents They’re Supposed to Protect
Michael E. Miller May 8, 2014 MiamiNewTimes.com
Tucson Court to Hear Extradition of Woman Accused of Feeding her Mother
Janet Phelan, June 25, 2017 Photographyisnotacrime.com
Disability Rights: When Is Taking Your Mother to Lunch a Felony?
Janet Phelan Accessed 2018 LAProgressive.com
Criminal Complaint filed nunc pro tunc vs. Michael Genden, Roy Lustig, Jacqueline Hertz, Blaire Lapides and Alan Stone
Barbara Stone, September 2012 See: www.iviewit.tv/Barbara/counter/Criminal%20Complaint%20March%202,%202015.pdf
Complaint/Arrest Affidavit re Barbara Stone who took her mother to lunch at Denny’s Restaurant
Dec 19, 2103 See” https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/3877213/A-Form-Def-Stone.pdf Back