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Posts about Seniors

Bill would strengthen oversight of guardians, conservators

Posted by: James Eli Shiffer Updated: January 9, 2013 - 4:20 PM

By Brad Schrade

Abuses by legal guardians and conservators are a growing problem across the country as the population ages, and Minnesota policymakers on Wednesday announced a plan to weed out bad actors by strengthening the state’s background check process.

State Attorney General Lori Swanson is supporting a legislative push this session to require more detailed and frequent background checks on this loosely regulated industry that oversees the affairs of those in need of help.

“Financial abuse by guardians who are supposed to be looking out for vulnerable people is exploitive,” Swanson said in a release. “The legislation would update Minnesota law to help ensure that guardians meet the high standards necessary to look after another persons.”

The bill would expand checks to review whether a guardian or conservator was denied a state license for some fiduciary transgression or if there was some licensing action against them. It would require the disclosure of information in their past that could raise questions about their fitness for the job, such as if they have ever filed for bankruptcy or had an order of protection against them.

It will also lower the frequency for background checks from every five years to every two years for those in the profession and require disclose potentially disqualifying information, including new criminal history, within 30 days of the incident, according to a release detailing the proposal.

The chief sponsors for the legislation will be a pair of DFL lawmakers -- Rep. Debra Hilstrom, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Ron Latz, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office recently issued a report detailing scores of problems of abuse and exploitation by guardians. U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar is pursuing legislation at the federal level to crack down on elder abuse and exploitation by guardians and conservators.

Assisted living resident repeatedly found along highway

Posted by: James Eli Shiffer Updated: October 23, 2012 - 10:25 AM

By Jane Friedmann

A Park Rapids, Minn., assisted-living facility was found to have neglected the supervision of a resident with dementia after he left the facility unsupervised and without staff’s knowledge at least 11 times since 2010, according to a recent state report.

The resident of Care Age Country Home didn’t know his name or where he lived, and most times he was found walking along a busy highway.

The facility failed to report the incidents to the state, according to the state Office of Health Facility Complaints. Most of them occurred in early evening when exit doors were supposed to sound a continuous alarm when opened.

Care Age has updated the resident’s care plan to include procedures to minimize his risk of wandering.


Former conservator sentenced to jail

Posted by: James Eli Shiffer Updated: September 25, 2012 - 1:43 PM

An Edina woman convicted of stealing money while working as a court-appointed guardian and conservator for vulnerable adults has been sentenced to a year in jail.

Terri Ann Hauge, 57, is already serving a 270-day sentence in Hennepin County for stealing from an estate she oversaw. On Sept. 14, a Rice County judge sentenced her to 365 days in jail for convictions of perjury and theft by swindle related to cases she handled. She was also ordered to pay restitution and do 240 hours of community service.

I reported last year how Estate Resources, the company run by Hauge and Terrance Larpenteur, handled the finances for 200 vulnerable adults, despite a history of problems and complaints. The company collapsed in 2009. In March, Larpenteur, who now lives in Arizona, was sentenced to 180 days in the workhouse for his role in stealing from an estate.

Online companies misled consumers

Posted by: Jane Friedmann Updated: September 17, 2012 - 5:10 PM
Two online companies that offer placement assistance to people in need of long-term institutional care agreed to not misrepresent their services in the future, the Federal Trade Commission said this week.
The FTC alleged that CarePatrol Inc. , an Arizona company, and ABCSP Inc.,   doing business as Always Best Care, “misled customers to think that they had researched the facilities and had detailed knowledge about them.”
One claim made by ABCSP, a California company that offered placements nationwide, stated: “Our Care Coordinators are local and have personally viewed virtually all of the assisted living communities in your area,” the FTC said.
There are at least 39,000 assisted living facilities in the United States, the FTC said.

Health worker took $4,300 from clients

Posted by: Jane Friedmann Updated: August 23, 2012 - 1:41 PM
An employee of Lino Lakes Assisted Living Inc. was fired after it was discovered he took more than $4,300 from two clients, according to a report this week from the Minnesota Office of Health Facility Complaints.
In March the worker asked a client for a loan of $200. The client gave him her credit card number “with the understanding the man would pay her back in two days,” the report said.
Instead, the worker charged $1,536 to Sprint Wireless and $1,905 to Comcast.
In April, he made the same request of a second client and used her debit card to withdraw $900.
The worker said that the clients were aware of the withdrawal amounts and that he intended to repay them. The state determined the worker was at fault for the “financial exploitation.”


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