Guardianships are killing seniors and destroying families. We need the U.S. Department of Justice and the Senate Special Committee on Aging to accelerate investigation, prosecutions and reform of this predatory industry.
The fictional movie I Care a Lot about the exploitative aspects of the guardianship industry may give you chills, but the real-life stories are worse.
Consider this: at least seven White attorneys preying on the over $4 million estate of a Black elderly woman they keep isolated from loved ones for 1585 days until she dies—and the court allows it. To get rid of support, the attorneys bring unwarranted sanctions of $469,208 against her 85-year-old sister based on frivolous and made-up claims. Now, they are in a feeding frenzy to divvy up the estate with their excessive billing and over 1,000 court filings. There is no audit or push-back from the court.
That’s what happened to my aunt, Dr. Lillie Sykes White, who spent eight years in a fraudulent guardianship and over four years isolated from loved ones. She died alone on December 30, 2020 of COVID-19. The attorneys are still coming after my mother for seeking justice.
This original petition was for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to save Aunt Lillie’s life, and for Attorney General Ashley Moody and statewide prosecutor Nicholas Cox to do a thorough audit and investigation. They failed. Aunt Lillie’s abduction and forced isolation by the court-appointed guardian and attorney ad litem put her in harm’s way and facilitated constructive fraud. No official helped despite substantiated violations of Florida statutes by the court agents.
This is happening to countless families across the country. The Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act of 2017 was a good step but there have not been prosecutions of professional guardians and predatory attorneys to any substantial degree, and the abuses are escalating under COVID-19. We need the federal government to:
- Prosecute these guardianship acts as criminal using federal code–e.g. fraud, embezzlement, racketeering, estate and human trafficking–starting with the Lillie Sykes White case as an example.
- Investigate the lack of oversight by public officials such as the clerk of court in counties like Flagler in Florida.
- Create a special commission to overhaul the adult guardianship industry engaging a multi-stakeholder group including a coalition of elder justice advocates who can break down the predatory strategies.
As we continue to seek justice for Lillie, let’s put an end to court-endorsed exploitation via the adult guardianship industry and actually help our seniors thrive.
To find out more about involuntary guardianships, watch The Deception of Protection: https://youtu.be/1wHyoquO-7c
To comment directly on The Feeding Frenzy video, go to: https://youtu.be/we265xQqNnQ
To learn more about the White case, go to: http://elderdignity.org/in-lillies-voice/
To support the Justice For Lillie: Civil Rights Fund, go to: https://gogetfunding.com/justice-for-lillie-civil-rights-fund/
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