Private Guardian April Parks
Censured For Exploiting
Mastermind Jared Shafer
Under The Radar - For Now
Private "guardians" April Parks and Jared E. Shafer (KTNV
TV News photos)
INSIDE VEGAS by Steve
December 21, 2015
LAS VEGAS - Where
are the Feds when the fleecing of wealthy Southern Nevada retirees continues
even while local and state law enforcement agencies claim to be conducting
in depth investigations of at least two of our city's most prolific private
This week, April
Parks, the jolly lady who is often appointed by the Clark County Family
Court to look after vulnerable, and always wealthy, local seniors is still
in business despite scathing censures by the national agency entrusted
to certify persons who conduct business as private for-hire "guardians."
The Center for Guardianship
Certification (CGC) on December
10, confirmed a complaint against Parks claiming she had looted the savings,
and allowed the deeply discounted sale of a home owned by a "ward" she
was appointed by Hearing Master Jon Norheim to care for. Even after this
revelation, "Hearing Master" Norheim, an appointed court official
serving under Family Court Judge Charles Hoskin, remains in high esteem
in the Las Vegas judicial community and was just appointed by the Nevada
Supreme Court Guardianship Commission to serve on a prestigious committee
to hear complaints of elder exploitation.
Investigative reporter Darcy Spears of
TV News reported on December 17, that Parks is still being allowed
to stay in business despite an ongoing police investigation and CGC censure.
(Click on image above for KTNV story and video)
In the meantime, not a word has been written
in recent months about Jared
Shafer, the mastermind of the decades old guardianship scam in Southern
I don't wish to belabor writing about April
Parks. She has the real potential of going to prison in the near future,
and that may be just what Jared Shafer is wishing for - the appearance
of a clean out of our corrupt family court guardianship cesspool - but
with one exception, the exclusion of Shafer in the process.
Reliable sources tell INSIDE VEGAS that
Parks may have stashed most of the cash she's stolen from her wards in
off shore accounts, and may be planning to file bankruptcy to avoid having
to pay back any wards or their family members who are suing her at this
time or in the future. (There are two civil
lawsuits pending against her.) Hiding cash and filing bankruptcy
is part of a well known local modus operandi used when someone has been
caught red handed and does not want to pay restitution. The case
Rizzolo comes to mind.
However, because Parks is small potatoes
just like another of her ilk, convicted
former Shafer employee Patience Bristol, Parks may also be used as
a scapegoat to distract from the real mastermind of the local guardianship
scam, Jared Shafer, owner of Professional
Fiduciary Services of Nevada, Inc. (PFSN).
For long-time INSIDE VEGAS readers, you
may recall my coverage of the Crazy Horse Too strip club and its owner
Rizzolo. After three years of stories appearing on AmericanMafia.com
and on the front page of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, nothing happened
in local law enforcement to stop the nightly
robberies and beatings taking place at Rizzolo's topless bar.
That's when reporters began to realize that Mr. Rizzolo was untouchable
within the state of Nevada, and it was coincidentally discovered that he
was as big a political campaign contributor as many Strip hotels around
election time. So it was hands-off Rick until the Feds finally stepped
in and put him and his crew in prison, and shut down his night club.
Now, we are watching Jared Shafer and asking
the same question. Why is it taking so long?
Jared and Rick are friends and serve together
on the board of Youth
Charities of Southern Nevada (yes, its for the kiddies). Its
obvious that Jared has taken some political pointers from Rick that may,
like with the Crazy Horse Too, have kept the heat off his back for the
But there's an important difference; how
the local District Attorney has reacted to complaints, first against Rizzolo,
now against Shafer.
In Rizzolo's case, then-DA David Roger
was an unabashed supporter of Rick, and let his feelings be known on his
first day in office when he discarded five LV Metro Police Requests for
Prosecution of Rizzolo and his goons that had been filed with his predecessor
Stewart Bell. On a local TV program, Bell was asked why he hadn't acted
on the five requests? He responded that he wanted his successor to decide
what to do with them. His successor threw them in the trash, and
that opened the door for the Feds to step in.
For the favor, Roger received $50,000 cash
from Rizzolo and the donation of his campaign headquarters. But David
Roger was not the only politician receiving Rizzolo's largess at the time,
and keeping the club open. Then-LV
Councilman Michael McDonald lived rent free in a house owned by Rizzolo's
cousin, and was also receiving a $5,000 per month "consulting fee" from
the Crazy Horse Too. Rick happily gave money to politicians who could
help him stay in business and out of jail, that's until the Feds stepped
in, but only after it was proven that no local or state law enforcement
agency was going to take action.
Jared Shafer has something even better
to offer politicians than money; political billboards!
Shortly after leaving his elected position
as Clark County Public Administrator and opening his private guardianship
service, Shafer bought out former Justice of the Peace Mark Peplowski's
political sign company, Signs of Nevada, Inc.
Peplowski needed to get rid of the business
so he could take a teaching position in the College of Southern Nevada
Political Science Department. Owning over a thousand portable A-frame signs
that advertise judges, DA's, assembly and state senate candidates would
be a conflict of interest for a political science professor, so Shafer
bought him out to become the new go-to guy when it comes to plastering
your name on every vacant lot in the state if you want to get elected,
especially to judgeships.
The effectiveness of the signs was so evident
that soon after he bought the company and put PFSN
office manager Amy Viggiano Deittrick in charge, the Clark County Family
Court bench was full of judges who used Jared's signs to get elected.
Its not known how many of the signs were
donated or discounted by Shafer, but those signs remain the mainstay of
low budget political campaigns in Clark County making Shafer a very popular
guy at election time.
(Shafer's signs are stored on two large
lots, one in Apex, the other along I-15 in North Las Vegas. He also has
a warehouse off the Boulder Highway in Henderson where his art work is
produced in-house and affixed to the A-frames before they're placed across
the valley during the weeks before an election.)
After the signs began appearing,
strange decisions started being made from the Family Court bench. Shafer
and his firm became the choice of judges and hearing masters when it came
to awarding guardianships over the persons and assets of wealthy retirees,
most deemed mentally incompetent by persons without credentials to make
such a determination. Most guardianships made to PFSN were without the
knowledge or consent of the potential "ward's" family members. The
first to come to my attention was the late Guadalupe Olvera and his estate
worth over a million dollars much of which ended up in Shafer's possession
The bilking of Olvera's estate is the subject
of an ongoing very revealing Federal Civil Racketeering lawsuit: http://www.stevemiller4lasvegas.com/2ndAmendedComplaint-OlveravsShaferetal-12-8-15.pdf
Then came the late Leanne Peccole, the
only heiress to the vast William Pecolle fortune. Shafer was granted
guardianship by the family court, and since that time drained hundreds
of thousands of dollars from the estate, plus taking her palatial Kings
Ridge Estates home in Henderson. Even though Leanne died in 2008,
Shafer is still her legal guardian, and continues receiving interest from
her accounts and annuities with full family court approval. (See: Grave
Robbery Under Color Of Law)
I fully believe those signs with judge's
names plastered all over them are the reason Shafer has never been brought
to justice. And, they may have been responsible for keeping District Attorney
Steve Wolfson at bay, thus discouraging the FBI from stepping into "pending"
or "ongoing" investigations.
Only after a year of extensive TV
coverage of guardianship scams did Wolfson call a press
conference to announce the formation of a new unit to study complaints
of guardianship abuse. He neglected to say that his office has been
in possession of dozens of such complaints, mostly against Jared Shafer,
ever since Wolfson took office from his predecessor David Roger.
I believe Wolfson's new found interest
in the subject is merely a subterfuge to discourage the Feds from taking
action against his friend Shafer. The DA will probably throw the
book at April Parks, but watch, Jared Shafer's name will be conspicuous
by its absence.
As long as the investigations remain local,
I believe Shafer will skate along with little trouble.
I also believe that, based on the Rizzolo
example, only the FBI can take down politically connected Las Vegas people
like Rizzolo and Shafer. Our last two DA's are allegedly Shafer's cronies.
Since his appointment as Clark County DA in January 2012, after David Roger's
unexplained resignation, Wolfson has ignored too many complaints
about Shafer to be objective. His actions, or lack thereof, speak
volumes as did his predecessor's.
(Disclosure: Steve Miller in March 2011,
authored and filed a complaint
against Steve Wolfson's wife, then-Clark County District Court Judge Jackie
Glass, with the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline that caused her
to resign her judgeship.)
Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt seems
to want to go after Shafer, but hasn't been aggressive in his investigation
of late. But like with Rizzolo who was also well connected all the way
up to U.S. Senator Harry Reid, I believe the Feds will only go after Shafer
when the local yokels exhaust themselves, and they seem to be taking their
sweet time, probably on purpose.
In Rizzolo's case, the then-DA, David Roger,
had flatly refused to do anything. His inaction created the opening for
the FBI to launch its Organized Crime Strike Task Force investigation and
gather enough evidence for indictments followed by a trial in Federal Court
that led to 17 convictions.
In Shafer's case, the DA and AG are still
pretending to investigate possibly giving Shafer enough time to ride off
into the sunset, but I sure hope I'm wrong.
And then there's the Nevada Supreme Court
According to court observer Richard Black:
month new victims come forward to speak to the Nevada Supreme Court Guardianship
Commission of the atrocities committed by the people the judiciary assigned
to supposedly protect their loved ones.
several Clark County attorneys seem to be intent on minimizing reforms
by the Commission. Judge Steel was absent from the last meeting,
but we found out she has assigned Commissioner Elyse Tyrell (Shafers attorney),
Shelley Krohn (Shafer and Comastros attorney), and Dara Goldsmith (Shafers
attorney) to lead her committees, and they have put Jon Norheim (yes, the
embattled former adult guardianship hearing master who was removed in May
for sponsoring elder exploitation), Alan Freer (Shafers attorney), Lee
Drizin (Parks attorney), Bradley Richardson (Shafers attorney), Linda
Sisson (former family court compliance officer), and Alan Pearson (victims
real estate broker) on committees. All have either represented or
defended Jared Shafer and/or April Parks' actions over the last 20 years.
Guardian April Parks' offices were raided in September by law enforcement.
Parks, Shafer, and Denise Comastro have all been named by multiple families
for their exploitive actions as Commissioner Norheims court appointed
Another INSIDE VEGAS source writes:
Thanks for your continued diligence on this story. I too am frustrated
that KTNV, or anyone else including law enforcement, has not picked up
on specific evidence concerning Jared Shafers wrongdoing. His influence
of the Commission as well as Judge Steel by his former attorneys; Dara
Goldsmith, William Voy, Elyse Tyrell, and Shelley Krohn is appalling.
Shafer continues to influence and has begun using Bradley Richardson for
new guardianship cases. Richardson worked for the DAs office for
years. Of course Patricia Trents 40 year influence is surely there
Steels judgement is either quite flawed or highly influenced
she continues to be bad for the victims and the vulnerable. Her recent
handling of the Franze (Shafer), Lasco (Shafer), Bernard, and Hernandez
(Shafer) cases are highly suspect. No confirmation of assets and
the final accounting also being the first accounting on cases as much as
10 years old. No fines, sanctions, or charges for no annual accountings.
Shafer still has at least 4 guardianships, Steel has recoded guardianship
cases so you really dont know how many are active. One thing we
do know is Shafer has 32 probate cases, the oldest of which is 41 years
old. The consistency by which Shafer had his attorneys set up trusts
(most often through Premier Trust) for his wealthy Wards and then transfer
the Ward to summary guardianship and onto Medicaid is quite apparent.
With the help of his lawyers, he appears to save their assets for his personal
consumption. What a wonderful and illegal retirement annuity.
Also we are now at 3 recusals by Judge Steel: Ruth Braslow to Judge Miley,
Phyllis Moskowitz-Crowe to Judge Sturman (was Shafer's attorney before
becoming a judge), and Elizabeth Indig to Judge Allf.
best guess is that someone is dictating to Steel in order to get the cases
to other judges that may be more open to being influenced by the guardians
and their over priced attorneys. These people are going to fight tooth
and nail to make sure their guardianship business keeps going, They are
too dependent on the money it generates for them to back down."
Vegas Review Journal - Legal Representation Urged for Adult Guardianships