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Inside Vegas - Steve Miller

Steve Miller is a former Las Vegas City Councilman. In 1991, the readers of the Las Vegas Review Journal voted him the "Most Effective Public Official" in Southern Nevada. Visit his website at:

Ghost Of Old Soldier Takes Revenge
On Politician, And Private Guardian
From his grave, a 95 year old WW2 hero exposes
ex-Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto
and her ties to embattled for-hire guardian Jared Shafer

This is yet another misleading ad by the billionaire Koch Brothers whose
attacks on Catherine Cortez Masto’s record as Attorney General have
been called false by fact checkers. - Zach Hudson, spokesperson for Catherine Cortez Masto

INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
August 29, 2016
LAS VEGAS - On a warm spring day in 2013, I was invited to meet then-93 year old Guadalupe Olvera at his hilltop home in Sun City Anthem overlooking the Las Vegas Strip.

Mr. Olvera was there to list his fully-paid-for 3,000 square foot house with a realtor. The house was his last remaining asset from an exploitative guardianship that would later become the basis of a $1.2 million dollar political advertising battle for the about-to-be vacated U.S. Senate seat of Harry Reid.
Olvera explained that he was going to sell the house before his court appointed private guardian Jared E. Shafer could transfer title to himself and sell the property against Olvera's will as Shafer has done for his other "wards" in the past. Or as Mr. Olvera lamented, move in his own family to enjoy the home Olvera and his late wife Carmela had saved a life time for and planned to live in during their twilight years, especially because as Olvera joked, it was a "much better house than his."

Up until the day I first met him in his home, most of Olvera's liquid assets totaling over $420,000 had been drained by Shafer and his attorneys with the approval of Clark County Family Court Judge Charles Hoskin and his appointed Hearing Master Jon Norheim, that's until a California Superior Court Judge put a stop to the exploitation and terminated Shafer's years-long control of Olvera's person and assets.
My February 25, 2013 story “GUADALUPE OLVERA'S WAR” told of Mr. Olvera’s battle to regain his civil rights. Three years earlier, Olvera had violated Shafer's orders and moved back to Santa Cruz, County, California to spend his remaining years with his family. In retaliation, Shafer had Judge Hoskin issue a Contempt of Court arrest warrant for Olvera's daughter. Meanwhile, Jared Shafer and his lawyers embarked on a mission to drain all of Olvera’s liquid assets, Shafer charging $250 per hour to read emails, and paying high priced Las Vegas attorneys to try to force the old soldier to return to Nevada where he had no family or friends.
The story of Olvera’s plight began to inspire news coverage as Shafer bled the elderly gentleman's trust and attempted to gain title to his plush home on the hillside in Henderson. In the meantime, calls and letters went out to then-Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto from Olvera’s only living relative Becky Schultz and others asking the AG to intervene and stop the exploitation. They were in response to Cortez Masto's website that said the AG would stop elder abuse and exploitation. Nonetheless, the AG refused to help Olvera and other wards of Shafer. This became the basis for last week’s Associated Press stories published in newspapers across the nation about a well documented political TV ad exposing Cortez Masto turning away guardianship victim's complaints. This during her highly contested race for national political office.
On August 25, 2016, the Associated Press reported, "Olvera’s daughter wrote to Cortez Masto in December 2011, asking for help terminating the guardianship relationship. The attorney general’s office responded in March 2012 by saying it didn't have jurisdiction over the complaint and suggesting the daughter contact veterans groups or the Commission on Judicial Discipline for help, according to backup documentation."
However, in 2012 the AG's website clearly boasted:  “The truth is: Catherine Cortez Masto was committed to protecting seniors as Nevada’s Attorney General. She drafted legislation that eventually became law to crack down on the abuse of seniors by private guardians.”
After learning of Cortez-Masto's refusal to help Mr. Olvera in 2012, I intervened based on my long-term friendship with her late father Manny Cortez.
In 1979, then-Clark County Commission Chairman Manny Cortez was a close personal friend of Jared Shafer and helped appoint him to his first public guardian position with Clark County.
Prior to that appointment, Shafer was an executive with ROM AMER PHARMACEUTICALS LTD., a company that drew the attention of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for "Proposed Sale of Unregistered Securities by Individuals." The company peddled a Romanian made cure-all called "Gerovital H3" mainly to senior citizens promising it was an effective anti-aging treatment and antidepressant.
While Shafer was running Rom-Amer in Las Vegas, he had his first brush with federal authorities. The SEC on March 25, 1977 announced "TRADING SUSPENDED IN ROM-AMER PHARMACEUTICALS, LTD."
The SEC Press Release stated: "suspension of exchange and over-the-counter trading in the securities of Rom Amer Pharmaceuticals, Ltd. (Rom-Amer), a California corporation located in Las Vegas, Nevada."
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Consumer Magazine wrote: "No health claims for Gerovital have been substantiated, and FDA considers it an unapproved new drug. It has caused low blood pressure, respiratory difficulties, and convulsions in some users."After Shafer abruptly left Rom-Amer, the FDA banned Gerovital H3 from interstate commerce as an unapproved injectable drug and prohibited its importation."
Jared Shafer needed a job, so he turned to his friend Manny Cortez. From his seat on the Clark County Commission, Cortez created a new position custom designed for Shafer entitled Clark County Public Guardian.  After all, Shafer did gain experience with senior citizens while promoting his unapproved cure-all drug!
Within a short time after his appointment, Shafer made headlines in the Los Angeles Times for his questionable activities as guardian. He began being accused of ripping off elderly or disabled wards of the county Family Court system. He apparently was doing so with the full approval of Family Court Judges while Commissioner Cortez turned a blind eye throughout the years until his death in 2006.
Cortez’ daughter Catherine was elected Nevada Attorney General in 2007, and served until 2015 during the time Olvera and others were being exploited by Shafer.  Prior to that, her father got her a job as Assistant Clark County Manager.
Becky Schultz’ complaint was answered by Cortez Masto on March 20, 2012.

Dear Ms. Schultz:

Thank you for taking the time to write to the State of Nevada, Office of Attorney General. This letter is in response to your recent correspondence that was received in our office on January 25, 2012. 
Your correspondence references Mr. Jared E. Shafer of Professional Fiduciary Services of Nevada.

Please note the Office of the Attorney General does not have legal jurisdiction over your complaint. This office represents various state agencies, boards, and/or commissions charged with a duty to enforce our state laws, and Nevada law prohibits this office from rendering legal assistance and/or providing legal advice to anyone other than our assigned agencies, boards, and/or commissions. Therefore, this office is prohibited from rendering legal advice or opinions to private citizens.



Following the cursory dismissal of Schultz' complaint based on her office not rendering free "legal advice to private citizens," something Schultz certainly did not ask for, I authored a second complaint to Cortez-Masto giving further detail about the exploitation of Olvera.  Soon thereafter I received a telephone call from an intern in the AG's office.
The young man told me that the AG "lacked jurisdiction to investigate Mrs. Shafer." I told him my complaint was against "Mr. Shafer."  He persisted. "This office will not pursue the matter against Mrs. Shafer any further," and ended the conversation.
“Lacked jurisdiction?”  "Mrs. Shafer?"
Another complaint against (Mr.) Shafer met the same fate, It was filed on August. 6, 2009 by Charles Pascal, son in law of exploited senior citizen Marcy DuDeck:
"Hi Steve: I filed a complaint with Catherine Cortez Masto on August 6, 2009 regarding Marcy DuDeck's kidnapping. The complaint was against guardian Jared E Shafer.  I was told that the AG considered matters involving guardians to be strictly a family matter and refused to take my report or help me file a complaint.

I pointed out that under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations someone in Masto's office should be available to help me because I am legally blind. The staff member rudely responded saying that if I continued to press this matter I could have charges filed against me for phone harassment involving a public official.  My computer skills in 2009 were not at the point where they are today so I hung up the phone.

Fast forward to 2016 and you uncovered the fact that the LVPD was refusing to take reports about guardians.  Clark County's District Attorney had to warn police that they should be taking reports about guardian abuse.   Also remember in 2009 when our kidnapping occurred, no hot line for complaints existed.

Cortez Masto created a culture which permeated throughout the state and encouraged officials not to take reports about guardian criminal activity.

In 2011, I went to Carson City and testified in front of a legislative committee.  I believe the date was May 8.  Former assembly person Brooks Hokum set up the meeting.  Several officials told me that reports about guardian abuse hadn't reached them, but some of them were aware a problem existed. - Charles Pascal

Regarding the jurisdiction of the state Attorney General:
NRS 228.120 Indicates That The Nevada Attorney General May “Conduct Any Prosecutions In Any Court Of This State For A Violation Of Any Law Of This State, When In His Or Her Opinion It Is Necessary.” “The Attorney General may: …  3. Appear in, take exclusive charge of and conduct any prosecution in any court of this State for a violation of any law of this State, when in his or her opinion it is necessary, or when requested to do so by the Governor.” (NRS 228.120)
Cortez-Masto's office definitely did have jurisdiction to investigate Jared Shafer contrary to what she stated. To prove the point, after she left office in 2015, her successor Adam Laxalt immediately opened investigations against two Nevada private guardians and succeeded in gaining felony convictions of both.  He's currently investigating Shafer.
Also, in direct contradiction to her excuse about not having jurisdiction, Cortez Masto publicly claimed to have just that power PRIOR to Charles Pascal or the Olvera family's request for help!
“As Attorney General, Catherine Cortez Masto was a leading figure in the fight against domestic violence and she created a Senior Protection Unit to ensure investigators and prosecutors had the tools to pursue those who abuse, neglect or exploit seniors,” said Zach Hudson, her campaign spokesman on August 26, 2016.
Also, from Cortez Masto's own website:

“Cortez Masto Took A Personal Interest In Elder Fraud And Worked To Pass Law Allowing AG’s Office To Investigate Senior Abuse, Neglect, And Exploitation. Cortez-Masto said she was raised by her grandparents as well as her parents, and she takes a personal interest in elder fraud. ‘I saw how they were scammed quite often in our community and so when I got into office, I was able to work with an assemblywoman and pass a law for the first time allowing our office to investigate for elder abuse, neglect and exploitation," she said. [Pahrump Valley Times, 4/23/10]
Two years later in 2012, the AG's website proclaimed: “The truth is: Catherine Cortez Masto was committed to protecting seniors as Nevada’s Attorney General. She drafted legislation that eventually became law to crack down on the abuse of seniors by private guardians.”
I guess Jared E. Shafer was not included in her commitment to seniors.
To Cortez Masto's dismay, the following Washington Times story is one of many published last week nationwide telling of the plight of Guadalupe Olvera and Catherine Cortez-Masto's refusal to help him and others:
According to sources, County District Attorney Steve Wolfson is currently leading an in depth investigation of Jared E. Shafer and Shafer's protege, private guardian April Parks. Parks has since skipped town with the life savings of several of her court appointed wards, but has been located in Pennsylvania where she recently declared bankruptcy. When asked about Parks, Wolfson responded, "She can run, but she can't hide. My office has jurisdiction over state lines," to the delight of her victims and their families.
In all fairness, I will give the last word to Ms. Cortez Masto’s campaign team so they can try to rebut the above facts:


“This is yet another misleading ad by the billionaire Koch Brothers whose attacks on Catherine Cortez Masto’s record as Attorney General have been called false by fact checkers,“ said Zach Hudson, spokesperson for Catherine Cortez Masto for Senate. ‘As Attorney General, Catherine Cortez Masto was a leading figure in the fight against domestic violence, created a Senior Protection Unit to ensure investigators and prosecutors had the tools to pursue those who abuse, neglect or exploit seniors, and drafted legislation to crack down on the abuse of seniors by private guardians. It’s Congressman Heck’s record in Washington that’s the issue in this campaign, taking money from Wall Street speculators and then trying to hand over seniors’ retirement to those same Wall Street banks who stand to make hundreds of billions in fees.”
Las Vegas "guardian" Jared E. Shafer
sued for "embezzling" $420,000.00
from 95 year old former "ward"
Escape was only option for an old
soldier trapped in guardian system
April 11, 2015




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