By: Dan Roberts – Publisher & Editor
Her name is April Parks and she is the "poster child" why the Nevada guardianship laws must be changed.
Her M.O. as a private for-profit guardian is to do everything possible in separating family and squeezing every last dime from her acquired "ward.” Although her actions are disgraceful, they are perfectly legal.
She must be stopped - since you, or your loved one might be her next victim.
Over the past few months, The Vegas Voice has reviewed and investigated this obscene (but very lucrative) guardianship industry. During this time, political editor Rana Goodman and yours truly have met with families torn apart by these private guardians - starting with Ms. Parks.
We spent countless hours reviewing petitions, observing court hearings and listening "off the record” to people inside this guardian cesspool. Most heart-wrenching was our meetings with those pleading and begging us to help them regain control of their lives and/or to be reunited with their families.
I have said it before and will continue to repeat it until the Nevada Legislature revises the guardianship statutes (NRS 159): Having a private guardian appointed for a senior is like selecting a child molester to run a day care center. It is financial exploitation and abuse, and private guardian April Parks is "Exhibit A."
Through her connections with various home health agencies, caregivers and even hospitals, she hunts for seniors who are unable to protect themselves. Like a vulture circling its prey, she has an uncanny knack of finding those that have money.
She is also quite capable of quickly petitioning the Family Court for "temporary" guardianship. And armed with a Physician's Certificate that is nothing more than a "fill in the box" form, she is appointed guardian without the senior/proposed ward being in court, or even being aware of the legal proceedings.
In reality, the senior (and family) never knew "what hit him."
Armed with such court order, April Parks simply commands them to come with her. Their life as he/she knew it is over - and the nightmare begins.
As the court approved guardian, along with threats of "calling the police", she is legally able to keep relatives apart and, with the assistance of the Nevada Guardianship laws, prohibit family members from interfering with her.
While The Vegas Voice is more than willing to highlight how private guardians (and especially Ms. Parks) perverts the system to their financial gain (by the way, did you know that she is never wrong? Her lack of disclosing all of the ward's assets and/or failing to file the legally required "annual accounting" of where all the money went are merely "oversights" or "errors") we think it is more important to look to the future - and to end this shameful system.
As I advised last month, this issue is now before the Nevada Legislature. Thankfully, it appears that both the Senate and the Assembly have stepped up, listened to us (as well as your 3,500+ petitions) and said "enough is enough."
Senate bill 262 sponsored by Senators Becky Harris, Patricia Farley, Mo Denis, Pete Goicoechea, Don Gustavson, Mark Manendo, Tick Segerblom and James Settelmeyer (and co-sponsored by Assemblymen Lynn Stewart, Ervin Nelson, Stephen Silkerkraus and Melissa Woodbury) is a bi-partisan measure that, in essence, will strike the prohibition of non-Nevada residents (i. e. your adult children) to serve as guardians.
More importantly, SB 262 provides that the courts "shall give preference to a nominated person or relative..." over the private guardians. At the very least, the idea that a stranger (private guardian) can legally take over a senior’s life and grab all their financial assets; while keeping the family relatives away, would be eliminated.
Additionally Assembly Bill 325 sponsored by Assemblymen Michael Sprinkle, Marilyn Kirkpatrick and Melissa Woodbury is another bi-partisan propose law that would license private guardians, require them to be bonded and provide a recourse for families who have been victimized by their wrongful actions.
Think about this - your attorney is licensed, as is your accountant, as well as real estate agents. Even your barber and manicurist must be licensed.
But private guardians, who maintain, manage, have sole control and spend (your) hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars - including bank accounts, pensions, Social Security payments, trust accounts (and even the right to sell your home for pennies on the dollar) can do what they please without state oversight.
Be assured that with my Rana on her “Don(na) Quixote” crusade (and as her faithful squire) The Vegas Voice will continue to follow-up on this issue. And by the time you read this, we will have submitted your petitions, testified before the various Nevada legislative committees, travel back to Carson City and do whatever we can to have these bills passed into law.
As for private guardian April Parks? I have no doubt that through her attorney, she will (once again) explain to the hearing master her "minor mistakes and simple errors" as to where all the money went.
But if you believe in "right-or-wrong", there surely will be a special place in hell for her when she appears before the "ultimate court."
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