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Group Home Owners On Trial for Fraud

Although no criminal charges were brought against the owners of a group home in connection with a fatal 2006 fire, the event brought to light the allegedly illegal activities of its owners. Robert and LaVerne DuPont were recently on trial for federal fraud charges, including health care fraud and money laundering, in connection with their operation of several group homes.

Robert DuPont, 65, was convicted in 2002 for his involvement in Medicaid fraud and sentenced to 21 months in federal prison. The terms of his conviction prohibited his involvement in businesses receiving federal Medicaid funds for the care of the elderly or disabled, such as group homes. Soon after Robert went to prison, LaVerne, 74, was named executive director of Joplin River of Live Ministries, a nonprofit religious group that allegedly ran several group homes, including the Anderson Guest House, the site of the 2006 fire.

Fraud charges against Robert allege that he was operating several Missouri group homes from prison and after his release, in violation of his prior conviction. Robert has denied the allegations, stating that a 2004 federal bankruptcy petition listing his occupation as executive director of River of Life Ministries was a ‘clerical error’, assisted by the help of Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorneys.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney James Kelleher, the ministry was a “front” for the illegal group home activity, and LaVerne just a “shadow operator”. “Prior to becoming executive director, her only involvement was to bake pies for the residents,” Kelleher said.

However, Robert testified that his wife’s background made her an ideal manager of the company. According to Robert, LaVerne had extensive experience managing daycare centers, clothing stores, and other business. “LaVerne had a lot more business experience than I did,” he said.

Robert’s attorney argued that the Medicaid exclusion of his 2002 conviction only restricted him from actively caring for patients. District Judge Greg Kays is expected to issue a decision soon.

Fighting like cats and dogs not most likely cause of divorce

Many of us think of serious marital fights as a series of screamed insults, accusations, and even physical abuse. Those are the types of fights most likely to lead to divorce, right?

Maybe not. A recent study from the University of Michigan says that, as bad as all-out yell-fests can be for a marriage, it is the passive-aggressive method of fighting – withdrawing from a confrontation without explaining what is wrong – that is most destructive. The study followed 373 couples through the first 16 years of their marriage. Researchers chronicled the couples’ fighting styles, how often they fought in the first year of marriage, and the different ways men and women fought.

According to the study, the combination of fighting styles most likely to cause a divorce is analytical and passive-aggressive. That means that one spouse approaches a problem in the relationship by calmly analyzing it, while the other spouse simply avoids the problem by withdrawing from the argument. While it may delay the problems for a while, the analytical spouse tends to interpret the withdrawal as a lack of interest in the relationship, the study said.

The best combination of fighting styles does not really involve “fighting”: couples who both approached a disagreement ready to work constructively on the problem had the best chance of being married at the end of the study.

Interestingly, whether or not the couples fought in their first year of marriage did not have much effect on their staying together long-term. Of couples where at least one spouse claimed not to have had a fight in their first year, 46 percent were divorced by year 16. Unfortunately, divorce happens. And if it happens to you, make sure to contact your trustworthy divorce lawyers in Kansas for assistance along the way.

Survey Highlights Growing Use of Social Media in Divorce

The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), an organization comprised of prominent divorce attorneys from across the nation, recently released the results of a very interesting survey regarding the prevalence of social media in divorce cases.

Specifically, the survey found that 81 percent of AAML members had seen a dramatic increase in the number of cases utilizing some form of social media evidence over the last five years.

FaceBook, the social networking site, was identified by 66 percent of those polled as the primary source of social media evidence, as suggested by legal SEOs.

“Going through a divorce always results in heightened levels of personal scrutiny. If you publicly post any contradictions to previously made statements and promises, an estranged spouse will certainly be one of the first people to notice and make use of that evidence,” said Marlene Eskind Moses, the president of the AAML.

It is important for clients going through a divorce to be especially careful when using any form of social media, including comments/posts on profile pages, tweets, emails or photos. Any questionable or potentially damaging content may be used to undermine your credibility in divorce-related proceedings (child custody, child support, alimony, etc.).

In fact, if you are in the midst of a divorce or separation, it may be wise to consider reviewing your privacy settings or revisiting your online habits.

Bankruptcy, Alimony and Child Support Payments

Given the current state of the economy, it is not surprising that more and more Americans are filing for bankruptcy. While bankruptcy can provide a fresh financial start for many people, it does not discharge all of their preexisting obligations, including student loans, back taxes and – most importantly – alimony and child support payments.

In fact, under the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, alimony and child support must be paid first, before any other creditor.

While this is always true no matter the circumstances, it may still be wise to consider filing a “nondischargeability compliant” if you are divorced. This can help guarantee the protection and enforcement of your alimony and child support rights.

If your former spouse does initiate bankruptcy proceedings, you should receive notice from the bankruptcy trustee on two separate occasions: at the time of filing and at the time of discharge. (The state child support enforcement agency (a.k.a. the Arizona Department of Economic Security) should also receive notice.)

If your former spouse has sufficient assets and these assets are liquidated, then he or she will more than likely be in a better position to cover past due alimony/child support payments. Liquidation may also enable them to resolve enough outstanding debts so that it becomes that much easier to make future alimony/child support payments.

However, if your spouse has insufficient assets, the bankruptcy court will probably order catch-up payments. In these situations, it may be beneficial to retain the services of an attorney to negotiate payment terms on your behalf. The same can be said if your former spouse goes to court (post-bankruptcy) seeking alimony/child support modification.

Choosing an Adult Family Home

Adult family homes offer a wide variety of options for the residents of our community. The family setting gives the individuals a home atmosphere which plays a part in their everyday quality of life. For many, they are a favorable alternative to a nursing home. These homes are licensed by the Department of Social and Health Services.

Most homes have specialty licenses for individual needs. Make sure they are qualified to meet yours:
· Dementia Specialty: The staff in these homes have been trained to work with the behaviors of individuals with a dementia diagnosis.
· Specialty Mental Health Homes: These homes specialize in working with people that have a mental health diagnosis such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.
· Developmental Disability Homes: The staff in these homes are trained in issues related to different developmental conditions.
When choosing a home for your loved one you can never be too thorough. It is important to ask the appropriate questions:
· Ask about the history of the adult family home.
· What are the qualifications of the caregiving staff?
· Are there any visitation restrictions?
· Under what circumstances will a resident be asked to leave?
· What is the protocol for handling medical emergencies?
· When will rates be adjusted?
· What extra fees are charged?
· What are refund policies?
· Does the home provide transportation to doctor appointments?
· If the resident becomes heavy care, will he/she have to move out?
Be observant when visiting an adult family home:
· Is the home neat and clean?
· Is the home free of odor?
· What kind of meals are served?
· Are the residents dressed appropriately?
· Is their clothing clean?
· Do residents appear happy and well cared for?
· Is there good interaction between the residents and the staff?
· Are the caregivers sensitive to privacy needs and treat the residents with respect and dignity?
Timing is important regarding the movement of a loved one to a care facility. It is important to begin the selection process when it becomes apparent that a move will be taking place in the near future. This will allow adequate time to find the home that suits the resident as well as the family of the resident.
Making Promises We Cannot Keep….
Many of us are in the position of caring for aging parents or in-laws to some degree or another.As they face a health crisis or their health gradually declines, they may have fears of “being put in a nursing home”. They may have had experiences in the past of their older relatives being in nursing home years ago and it has stuck with them all this time.

Because of fear, the aging relative may try to get us to promise that we will never make them go to a nursing home. We have to have an answer ready that will reassure them that we love them, yet not commit ourselves to promises that we cannot keep. Think about your answer now, when you are not under the pressure of the health crisis

Replay the words in your mind that you will say when that issue comes up. Try to speak in positive ways.Some possible suggestions are:

· “Mom, I love you and I want to do what is best for you. I will take care of you as long as I possibly can. I want you to be safe and well cared for and that might mean letting someone else help us. I just want what is best for you.”
· “Dad, you know that we care about you and want to help you to stay in your house. You might need more care than we can help with and would need to be somewhere else.We just want you to be safe.”
· “Uncle Bob, we want you to be safe. We will make whatever decisions we have to when the time comes. I won’t make promises I can’t keep. I care too much about you.”
You must use words that are comfortable for you. Just be sure that you start and end by reassuring the person that you love them and want to do what is best for them and will keep them safe.

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