Clark County Family Court Lackeys
Removed From All Guardianship
Shafer and Wells Fargo Bank
sued for RICO
goose that laid those golden eggs is COOKED!
hire "Guardian" Jared Shafer and protégés April Parks, Patience
Bristol, and Amy Viggiano-Deittrick
(Click on images for more information)
Disgraced Clark County Family Court Judge Charles Hoskin (LV
Review-Journal photo by Jeff Scheid) and
Hoskin's appointed "Hearing Master," former mob lawyer Jon Norheim (KTNV
(Click on images for more information)
INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
May 25, 2015
LAS VEGAS - After years of court sanctioned
bilking of wealthy senior citizens and disabled persons, the biggest shake
up in Clark County District Court history has just forced the immediate
removal of two well-known jurists who were allegedly doing the bidding
of veteran for-hire private guardian Jared E. Shafer and his protégés.
In the wake of the court house shake up,
the Nevada Legislature on May 23, 2015, voted to change the arcane
laws that allowed Clark County Family Court Judge Charles Hoskin and his
appointed "Hearing Master" Jon Norheim to blanket approve the actions of
unscrupulous private for-hire guardians who for over a decade preyed on
the fortunes of hapless seniors and disabled people in Southern Nevada
while their out of state families protested in vain. (Remember the court
of Norheim closing his court to the public upon orders of a private for-hire
guardian who is not an officer of the court. That guardian, Jared Shafer,
did not want the public to know that he could not account for $500.000.00
missing from one of his wards.)
Too often, the "ward's" wishes to move
to another state to be with family are ignored by the court so the estate
can continue paying the guardian's outrageous fees until the ward dies,
and sometimes for years thereafter with the court's approval (see: Grave
Robbery Under Color Of Law! The story of the late Leanne Peccole).
One of the Nevada laws that Hoskin and
Norheim relied upon limited those who could become fiduciaries of the estates
of Nevada "wards" of the court to only those persons who physically resided
within Nevada thus prohibiting out of state children of well-to-do elderly
persons from overseeing the fortunes of their own parents. This bad law
opened the way for unscrupulous for-hire guardians to be appointed by Hoskin
and Norheim to fleece elderly widows or widowers. As of last Saturday,
the Nevada Legislature voted to change that law and allow out of state
relatives to govern the assets of incapacitated loved ones living in Nevada.
Another law was enacted to require all for-hire guardians to be licensed
and bonded - a first for Nevada.
Most decisions made by Hoskin and Norheim
were based on the amount of wealth the surviving spouse had, not their
actual needs (poor people are not provided private professional guardians).
After the passing of a parent, out of state relatives would soon learn
that their surviving mother or father was secretly made a ward of
the court during their grief, and that a stranger was the best choice to
be given full power of attorney by Hoskin or Norheim to manage their loved
one's estate without allowing input from family members living outside
In some cases, family members who actually
live in Nevada were disapproved if their loved one was extremely wealthy.
The appointed for-hire guardian would tell Hoskin or Norheim during a hearing
that the local relative was an "exploiter" or "unfit," often falsely accusing
the relative of drug addiction or being a compulsive gambler. In all cases
researched by INSIDE VEGAS, Hoskin or Norheim took the side of the for-hire
guardian, and the fleecing continued.
The out of state family is told that someone
called authorities to report that their parent or relative was in need
of help, and a for-hire guardian was "temporarily" appointed by the Family
Court to look after the physical needs and assets of the loved one.
Within months, sometimes weeks, the temporary status is changed
to permanent by Hoskin or Norheim when its determined that there
are no relatives living in Nevada who can care for the "ward" allowing
life's savings to be drained through double charges, excessive fees, and
outright thievery by the appointed "guardian," and assets can be liquidated
without anyone's approval (see cashed checks below, and review this
website for documentation.
This legal, but immoral practice was finally
exposed by Nevada media, and the scam's effect on Las Vegas' second most
lucrative business - retirement - is only now being realized, i. e., who
would want to retire to Sun City Anthem in Henderson, or Sun City Summerlin
in Las Vegas if they knew that local Family Courts would collude with certain
private "guardians" to take the retiree for everything they're worth before
their children could receive their inheritance?
I wrote my first editorial on this subject
in April 2002, for a local weekly newspaper. The editorial was republished
by an Internet magazine on May 31, 2006.
The National Association to Stop Guardian
Abuse (NASGA) also began
reporting Clark County guardian abuse cases in April of 2006. The organization's
president, Elaine Renoire, has closely followed the exploitation of Las
Vegas victims Marcy
Dudeck and Guadalupe
INSIDE VEGAS began exposing this racket
February 25, 2013, on AmericanMafia.com in a story entitled "GUADALUPE
OLVERA'S WAR." Several more columns followed until I was able to expose
the modus operandi of the scheme in "Las
Vegas' Death Watch - The chain of events start at Sun City Anthem and end
in private guardian Jared E. Shafer's pocket" published March 17, 2014,
on AmericanMafia.com. In the column, I explained how a cartel of
local attorneys, judges and guardians would single out wealthy elderly
couples who had no relatives in Nevada, and after the death of a spouse,
collude to drain their estates.
Up until that point, no one in Las Vegas
media would ever believe such a horrible thing was happening right under
our eyes to our most vulnerable citizens. I persisted writing, hoping
the stories would gain traction before more people were injured.
The next to tell this sordid story was
Vegas Voice, a hard copy publication with a vast circulation to local
senior citizens and retirees. On August 18, 2014, the paper began
running a hard hitting series exposing the ill-deeds and names of corrupt
for-hire guardians. But the paper went one step further. Publisher Dan
Roberts and Political Editor Rana Goodman flew to the state capitol in
Carson City to lobby for changes in the guardianship laws, specifically
that out of state relatives could handle the finances of loved ones living
in Nevada, and that all private for-hire guardians be licensed and bonded.
They also circulated a petition gathering over 3,500 signatures. The paper
soon received a letter from attorneys Gardener Jolly and Bruce Woodbury
threatening a libel (SLAPP)
lawsuit if they continued writing about their client, for-hire guardian
April Parks. However, The Vegas Voice stories continued unfettered
until Parks' double billing and lack of accountability was confirmed by
Then on March 6, 2015, KTNV TV Contact
13 News producer Kean Bauman and investigative reporter Darcy Spears
man wrestles with guardianship system," which told of 25 year old cerebral
palsy victim Jason Hanson, and how for-hire guardian Jared Shafer allegedly
took him for everything he had.
shot of Jared Shafer from KTNV TV News story (Click on image to
INSIDE VEGAS videographer Mike Christ had
interviewed Jason in April, 2014, for my March 3, INSIDE
VEGAS column. Here is a LINK
to Mike's heart rendering video: "Special Administrator Jared E. Shafer
takes house and inheritance from 24 year old man with cerebral palsy."
11, 2015, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Nevada's largest newspaper,
began a series of front page stories written by investigative reporter
Colton Lochhead. The first story was "Clark
Countys private guardians may protect or just steal and abuse."
In the same RJ edition was the story of Guadalupe Olvera; "Escape
was only option for an old soldier trapped in guardian system," telling
about the 95 year old World War 2 hero's exploitation by Jared E. Shafer,
and his escape from Shafer's abusive custody.
Then on April 17, 2015, another of Colton
Lochhead's stories appeared on the RJ's front page entitled "Chief
judge vows to improve guardianship process." On April 21, the front
page article by Lochhead headlined; "Clark
County Commissioners want reform of appalling guardianship program,"
followed April 26, with an Editorial; "Guarding
the guardians," and the May 5, story by Lochhead; "There's
now a hotline to call with guardianship complaints," that stated, "Cases
highlighted in the Review-Journal showed a lack of oversight by the courts
that allowed people who were wards of the county to lose hundreds of thousands
of dollars to their private professional guardians. In those cases, the
court failed to enforce state laws, such as the requirement to file a yearly
accounting of money spent on behalf of wards, and ignored the wishes of
wards and their families."
Clark County Commission Chairman Steve
Sisolak responded by scheduling a special hearing to discuss the guardianship
problem. At that hearing held on April 21, LVMPD Lt. James Weiskopf
the Commission "And the complaints we get from the citizens is that
Judge Hoskin will rubber stamp it and say Norheim made appropriate decisions,
or Judge Hoskin doesn't hear the family's complaint."
On the same day as the Commission hearing,
Colton Lochhead reported on the RJ's front page; "Clark
County Commissioners, Nevada lawmakers move to reform appalling guardianship
program." He wrote: "Calling Clark Countys court-appointed guardianship
operation 'appalling' and 'frightening,' county commissioners Tuesday called
for a sweeping overhaul of the system." "Two commissioners called for immediately
ousting Guardianship Commissioner Jon Norheim, the county employee who
oversees the troubled operation for the District Court."
Also on April 21, KTNV News reported;
Commissioners demand answers from Guardianship Court" on their six
On May 4, KTNV News aired their
Gouging" about for-hire "guardian" April Parks. The story told of how
an elderly couple was forcefully removed from their home by Parks, and
their life savings drained while the couple's daughter fought unsuccessfully
in Norheim's court to gain custody of her parents and stop the exploitation.
The day after the story aired, Parks' name was stricken from the guardian
directory published by the Nevada Division of Aging and Disability Services.
The state agency removed Parks from their resource list after Contact
13 and The Vegas Voice both reported she was double-dipping
and draining the couple's money.
On May 6, KTNV aired; "State
takes action on guardianship problems" revealing that April Parks had
been dumped from the state's list of professional guardians.
On May 21, 2015, Contact 13's lead
story was, "Major
overhaul in guardianship court." That's when we knew the goose
that laid the golden eggs was cooked!
During the coverage by The Vegas Voice,
Review-Journal, and KTNV TV News, District Court Chief Judge
David Barker was quietly working behind the scenes at the Regional Justice
Center to remove Hoskin and Norheim no later than June 1, 2015. (The office
of Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson, and the Nevada Judicial
Discipline Commission have both received multiple complaints, but both
agencies have refused to take action on issues concerning guardianship
On May 20, the morning preceding Judge
Barker's announcement of Norheim's termination, a hearing was held in Norheim's
court room that clearly revealed his angst. Contact 13 covered the
In what would normally be a rubber stamped
approval of the continuation of the bilking of an elderly couple's savings,
with TV news cameras in his courtroom, Norheim is shown nervously throwing
for-hire guardian April Parks under the bus and liberating two "wards"
from her custody. His actions were described as "theatrical," and did nothing
to deter Judge Barker's decision to remove him from his appointed position.
Barker's administrative order took all
guardianship cases away from Norheim and transferred them to experienced
Family Court Judge Dianne Steel.
In this video
by KTNV News, Norheim states in a shaky voice; "That is an enormous
problem! That is no technical problem, that is a big, enormous, major problem!"
"She will not have any authority from this court to act on behalf of your
mom and dad."
This was the first time in over ten years
that Norheim ruled against a for-hire guardian!
This was not the first time Norheim was
accused of theatrics though. On May 19, KTNV
News anchor Steve Wolford asked; "Did a county Hearing Master spout
false information in court to scare a family trying to care for their loved
one? Terri (Black) is fighting to get her father back to North Carolina.
To do that, she planned to transition him through Aegis Assisted Living.
But in a hearing last March, Norheim spouts scare tactics about what he
says is her and Aegis' plan."
Norheim defamed Aegis
Assisted Living, one of the highest rated assisted living companies
in the U.S., by asserting from the bench that "Aegis would send over typically
3 to 4 medical techs. Big burly guys. They would take him to the ground,"
Norheim said. "They would tie up his hands and his feet. They would inject
him with a combination, they call it a B-52. It's a combination of Haldol
an anti-psychotic and a sedative Benadryl to try to settle him down. They
would then strap him to a gurney--five point restraints--including a belly
restraint, hands and feet. They would then take him to Aegis where he would
be in a padded cell for a minimum of three days up to a year until he could
be made docile enough to be transported to North Carolina."
Reporter Darcy Spears responded; "We contacted
Aegis who flat out deny the procedures Norheim described. In fact it's
against state law (NRS 449). Assisted living facilities cannot use chemical
or physical restraints or lock a resident in a room."
Because what he said was from the bench
and on the court record, Aegis cannot bring a defamation action against
is currently speculation that Jon Norheim will return to his previous profession
as a local mob attorney after turning in his judge's costume, a profession
he was much more suited for than overseeing the fortunes and well-being
of senior citizens. Here is Norheim in 2003 with two infamous clients Ralph
Rizzolo in a photo by the late Buffalo
Jim Barrier. At the time, Norheim was being paid to harass Barrier
into moving out of his business so the Rizzolos could expand their topless
bar, the Crazy Horse Too, into his space. Tactics used by the Rizzolos
included slashing the tires of Barrier's client's cars. Barrier didn't
budge, and the U.S. Dept. of Justice eventually closed the Crazy Horse
Too and put Rick Rizzolo in federal prison.
as for Judge Charles Hoskin, many of his victims believe he belongs in
the cell next to his former colleague, ex-Clark County Family Court Judge
Steven Jones (mug shot), who was removed from the bench and sentenced
to prison last February for defrauding the elderly. Remember, it was
Hoskin who signed the arrest
warrant for Rebecca Schultz after she followed her then-90 year old
World War 2 hero father Guadalupe Olvera's orders and removed
him in 2010 from the abusive guardianship of Jared Shafer after over
$320,000 was bled from Olvera's trust account at Wells Fargo Bank. At the
time of the warrant, as long as Olvera remained in Nevada, the bilking
could continue, so Shafer used Olvera's money to hire attorneys in California
to try to enforce Schultz' warrant, and have her dad forcefully returned
to Nevada where Shafer could continue bleeding his trust account at Wells
Fargo. (A California judge later quashed the arrest warrant, and Shafer's
illicit guardianship of Olvera was finally
by the California Superior Court in August 2013, three years after he moved
away from Shafer's jusisdiction.)
Here is a summary of the amendment to the
Nevada law that once enabled private for-hire guardians to legally rob
their "wards" with full approval of the Clark County Family Court.
AN ACT relating to guardians; adding
provisions governing the appointment of certain preferred persons as guardians
for adult wards; providing an exception
to the residency requirements for certain guardians
(emphasis added) under certain circumstances; revising requirements governing
eligibility to utilize a public guardian; revising provisions concerning
attorneys retained by a public guardian; revising provisions concerning
reimbursement by a public guardian to the county for expenses relating
to a ward; and providing other matters properly relating thereto.
Guadalupe Olvera on August 20, 2014, filed
a federal racketeering lawsuit against Jared Shafer, his company PFSN,
Inc., and Wells Fargo Bank. In it he states:
Document 1 Filed 08/08/14 Page 8 of 15
Upon information and belief, Shafer and the other Defendants herein are
responsible for embezzling,
taking under wrongful pretenses and otherwise fraudulently or wrongfully
diminishing the value of Olvera's and the Trust's assets in an amount to
be proved at trial, but in excess of $420,000.00.
An amendment to the
RICO lawsuit was filed on May 20, 2014. It states:
Document 92 Filed 05/20/15 Page 5 of 17
Between approximately December 2,2009 and approximately April 26, 2013,
PFSN billed and collected hundreds of thousands
of dollars for services and reimbursements
from the Estate of Guadalupe Olvera without
court approval, accounting or oversight, in
violation of NRS 159.183.
Upon information and belief, many of the reimbursements paid by the Guardianship,
Estate and/or Trust benefiting Guadalupe Olvera to PFSN were for charges
made to the personal credit card(s) of Jared E. Shafer.
Upon information and belief, the Guardianship was charged for expenses
completely unrelated to Plaintiff's well being and care.
Of the reimbursements paid from the Guardianship Estate to PFSN, the vast
majority of expenses are unsupported by any
verifying documentation, such as receipts or invoices.
Between approximately November 17, 2009 and April 26, 2013, several law
firms billed and collected tens of thousands of dollars for services and
reimbursements from the Estate of Guadalupe Olvera without
court approval, accounting or oversight, in violation of NRS 159. I83.
And there is a damning
claim against Wells Fargo Bank whose Trust Department was supposed to be
safeguarding the Olvera Trust account. According to the bank's Trust website,
a Wells Fargo Trust is supposed to ":Assist in the event you become incapacitated
or cannot handle your financial affairs." In Mr. Olvera's case, its
obvious the bank failed because hundreds of thousands of dollars were bled
from his trust by Shafer for expenses that had nothing to do with Olvera's
Document 92 Filed 05/20/15 Page 9 of 17
56. Defendants Wells Fargo, Mills
and Bull were specifically and knowingly complicit in the wrongful actions
taken by the other Defendants, particularly those wrongful actions of Shafer,
PFSN, Bristol, Deittrick and Avid.
57. Defendants Wells
Fargo, Mills and Bull failed or refused to inform the beneficiaries of
the Trust that they were beneficiaries, or to provide them with statements
and other information pertaining to the Trust
which would have allowed the beneficiaries to bring the wrongful actions
of the Defendants herein to the attention of proper Court's and authorities.
58. Defendants Wells
Fargo, Mills and Bull failed or refused to provide account statements to
the lawful beneficiaries of the Trust, ignoring
repeated requests that they do so.
59. Defendants Wells
Fargo, Mills and Bull provided false information to the Guardianship Commissioner
and to the other Defendants, which affected
the ability of Olvera's family to assume the guardianship and take care
60. Defendants Wells
Fargo, Mills and Bull knew or should have known, as early as 2007 that
Olvera was not in need of a guardian and could govern his own affairs,
yet they continued to support the claims and attempts of Defendants Shafer
and the other Defendants to maintain the guardianship
strangle-hold they had on Olvera and the Trust.
61. Defendants Wells
Fargo, Mills and Bull knew or should have known that bills and invoices
being paid by them for Olvera's care were inflated, inappropriate, duplicated
and fraudulent, and yet they continued to
pay such bills.
62. Defendants Wells
Fargo, Mills and Bull caused checks to be issued to Defendants Shafer and
Bristol in their individual names, rather
than to Defendants PFSN for which they were both employed.
63. Defendants Wells
Fargo, Mills and Bull falsified documentation submitted to the Veteran's
Administration, changing beneficiary status
without authority to do so.
64. Defendants Wells
Fargo, Mills and Bull engaged in a pattern of hiding information from the
beneficiaries of the Trust and covering for the wrongful actions of the
65. Defendants Wells
Fargo, Mills and Bull have failed or refused to provide a complete accounting
to Mr. Olvera or the Trust, and it is believed
that additional causes of action may arise upon their receipt of the complete
accounting sought through discovery herein.
66. Specifically, Wells
Fargo has refused to provide copies of the invoices for which payment was
processed and made from the Trust's funds and accounts.
Another defendant in the lawsuit is Shafer's
office manager, Amy Viggiano-Deittrick. She is also the manager of Signs
of Nevada LLC, a political sign business run out of Shafer's PFSN,
Inc. office, and AVID Business Services, an unlicensed bookkeeping service
that billed Shafer's wards $45 - $125 per hour for Viggiano-Deittrick's
services. Both of Viggiano-Deittrick's businesses operate out of
Shafers office on Pecos Road in Las Vegas. Sources in local political
campaign circles say Shafer is well known as the go-to guy when it comes
to cheap or donated A-frame portable roadside campaign signs, especially
for select Family Court judges, state Assembly and Senate candidates, county
DA and Nevada AG candidates, or those running to replace judges and politicians
who are not in Shafer's favor.
for Guardianship Certification, Inc. (CGC) is also included in the
lawsuit along with ex-PFSN, Inc. "guardian" Patience Bristol who is currently
serving 5 - 9 years in prison for defrauding PFSN's clients.
CGC is the quasi-non profit organization responsible for certifying professional
guardians, but in a national investigation, CGC was proven to license anyone
who applies and pays their fee without doing background checks or other
due diligence. Parks and Shafer remain in good standing with the
organization even in the face of so much incriminating evidence.
Bristol is no longer in good standing with CGC, but there are no CGC rules
that would prevent her from becoming recertified as a guardian after her
release from prison.
for the original 15 page Complaint filed on August 9, 2014.
for the 17 page Amended Complaint filed on May 20, 2015..
This is a unique lawsuit because of the
volume of incriminating evidence that the Plaintiff located which includes
hundreds of Jared Shafer's personal financial records. Below is just a
sample of the documents Guadalupe Olvera's attorney Brian Boggess plans
to present as evidence in his case.
|Editor's note: The source of the following documents
is protected under NRS
49.275, the Nevada Reporter's Shield Law: "No reporter, former
reporter or editorial employee of any newspaper, periodical or press association
or employee of any radio or television station may be required to disclose
any published or unpublished information obtained or prepared by such person
in such person's professional capacity in gathering, receiving or processing
information for communication to the public, or the source of any information
procured or obtained by such person, in any legal proceedings, trial or
investigation: 1. Before any court, grand jury, coroner's inquest, jury
or any officer thereof. 2. Before the legislature or any committee thereof.
3. Before any department, agency or commission of the state. 4. Before
any local governing body or committee thereof, or any officer of a local
The following check was cashed by Jared
Shafer. The family of the late Marcy
Dudeck says they were never informed of the check, nor received the
proceeds from it after her death. Mrs. Dudeck was under guardianship and
considered legally incompetent at the time she purportedly signed the check,
therefore she was legally prohibited from being a signatory on any legal
An insurance check for $20,000 issued to
the "Estate of Carmela Olvera, Deceased" that was entrusted to "The Powell
Litigation Group and Jared E. Shafer Special Administrator" was deposited
by Shafer on December 15, 2011.
The funds have never been accounted for,
according to Carmelas widower, 95 year old WW2 veteran, Guadalupe Olvera.
Five months after the check was deposited,
the Powell Litigation Group filed for bankruptcy claiming assets of less
than $50,000. Shafer in 2013 told officials in California that he did not
know the whereabouts of Olvera's $20,000. This is a clear violation of
159.073 (1) A summary of the duties, functions and responsibilities
of a guardian, including, without limitation, the duty to: (I)
Act in the best interest of the ward at all times.
This locally based story is attracting
national media attention because Las Vegas is a popular retirement community.
I hope other cities can also benefit as did Las Vegas from acute interest
by their media. Otherwise, this travesty will be allowed to go on
indefinitely in other cities. Also, it is important to set an example
through the vigorous prosecution of all perpetrators of guardianship abuse.
If these people are not brought to justice, they and their protégés
will continue to share in the largess at the expense of our most vulnerable
The Vegas Voice articles:
CHRONOLOGY of stories and editorials
by Steve Miller on this subject from April 2002 - March 2015
JARED E. SHAFER'S FINANCIAL RECORDS:
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION TO STOP GUARDIAN