From Joanne; a belated Thanksgiving and prays for all of you who have been isolated from your grandparents, siblings and children thru wrongful state action

Dear Readers;

I have heard from many of you who cannot see their own grandparents, parents and even children due to wrongful state actions.  Rest assured you have been in my thoughts and prayers as we battle Elder Cleansing, State and Medical Kidnap and Wrongful Custody cases in the court system.

BP still cannot see his new born child. DCFS is withholding the child from him.  His attorney has asked that the child be immediately returned, but the Juvenile (travesty of justice) court system refuses to do anything, instead putting a good father through a rat maze of spur of the moment drug tests, endless parenting classes and inspections and all sorts of what not.  He has not be charged with anything, no complaints have been filed against him, but on the day his infant son was set to be discharged from the hospital, DCFS swooped in and removed the child based upon a metabolite of an alleged illegal drug in the child’s meconium, etc.  There was no real analyis, DCFS tests are for metabolites, which are often mimicked by common food products such as poppy seeds and quinine water.  Please pray for Brian.  Juvenile court and DCFS have assumed the role of evil monster and the Juvenile Court judge doesn’t care.

Another mother, Ms. SK had her daughter wrongfully ripped from her arms, when the child’s doctor filed a DCFS report for possible sexual abuse by him and his 29 year old son.  The mother did nothing wrong, but at the next court hearing, her incompetent attorney told her she had to waive her rights to coparenting because otherwise the “police would arrest her.”  This turned out to be a croc of you know what.  It seems the evil GAL and her attorney were in on a plot to churn the bill with endless proceedings against a wholly innocent mother!  She now has a competent attorney advising her.  But does she have her daughter back?  Heck no.  She will be going into court next month to get her daughter back, please pray for her too.

I hear about new cases of corruption every week.  Other cases develop new aspects of corruption as corrupt lawyers and judges continue to feast like vultures on the innocent and uninformed.

And guardianship judges left and right continue to engage in the mantra of “target, isolate, narcotize, drain the estate and then narcotize to death when the money runs out.”  We need to return truth and justice to our court system.  It is sorely needed.

Please pray for them all.



See from Ken Ditkowsky below:

With the Federal Trial of Philip Esformes looming in March, this cartoon from the Wall Street Journal has particular meaning.
All of us are frighted that a ‘fix’ is in the works!    This is especially concerning as right here in Illinois it appears that activities similar to those exposed in the Esformes case are going one hot and heavy with no end in sight.    The ‘cover up’ which included the Mary Sykes case and the Alice Gore case are becoming old hat and the miscreants not only escaped criminal prosecution but neither the State of Illinois or the United States of America appear to have made any effort to collection the INCOME TAXES generated by the criminal abuse of the public trust.
The mantra of the State of Illinois was made very clear by the Administrator of the Illinois Attorney Disciplinary Commission (IARDC) when he wrote the Illinois Supreme Court concerning a blog that exposed judicial corruption and pointed out that it was akin to “yelling fire in a crowded theater”
The Billion dollars that Philip Esformes stole from Medicare (alleged in the indictment) apparently has not set the PRICE high enough to induce any interest in the product called: LAW ENFORCEMENT!

I thought this article from The Wall Street Journal would interest you.

Pepper…and Salt

From JP: Another letter to the US DOJ asking them to investigate clearly corrupt courts, and they take no action.

Another letter detailing a string of felonies goes uninvestigated by the FBI and other authorities, despite the fact the victim makes it clear that a string of felonies has occurred.


Jacqueline Pidanick

262 Old Bridge Dr.

Bluffton, SC 29910






U.S Department of Justice

Civil Rights Division

950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20530


Re: My Reply to your  UNSIGNED Nov 9th 2017 letter indicating you refuse to investigate

Rampant Corruption in the Courts of Beaufort, South Carolina


Dear Sir or Madam;


       This is in response to your unsigned letter of Nov.9, 2017 in which you advised me that that you would not be investigating the court system, lawyers and judges of North Carolina despite the fact they have engaged in the following string of felonies:


  1. infant 8 week old daughter was beaten by Christopher Maddaloni (“Father”) and pictures were shown in court to Judge Fuge who did nothing but allow the Father joint custody. Father, it turns out has a long history of Domestic Violence and Child Abuse.  Judge Fuge ignored all the evidence of past Domestic Violence and child abuse and would not hear it.
  2. transcripts were changed, evidence was changed and distorted on numerous occasions.  complaints were repeatedly filed and ignored by the local authorities
  3. I was repeatedly told not to talk in court, being pro se, and I could not refute numerous blatant lies which were spewn in court–while the abuser’s attorney was able to put into the record every ridiculous, blatant and obvious lie he could think of
  4. Many or most of my Appellate motions and filings were ignored or the Appellate court clerk says she never received my filings even though there is proof of delivery to the court by UPS and the UPS legal department has verified the deliveries as being actual.
  5. Honest lawyers do not want to go to court and help me because they have no tolerance for the amount and level of corruption displayed in the courtroom and they believe finding justice there to be an elusive undertaking they would never charge for
  6. I was haled into court without any proper notice or petition and given a Sanction of $5,000 or 30 days in jail for posting a petition to remove Judge Fuge.  The Appellate court stayed the sanction.  However, the attorney for father, Michael Horton, still refuses to return all of my $5,000 paid to him prior to the Appellate Court issuing that order.  I sued the attorneys and Father in Federal Court for First Amendment Retaliation.  Two police officers then visited my home and threatened me not to make any more posts on social media because my posts appear to threaten judges and attorneys.  I added these two police officers to my suit for First Amendment Retaliation.


After all of this, all I get from the US Department of Justice is an unsigned form letter you see no reason to investigate corrupt courts and police in South Carolina?  That is truly a preposterous insult to honest law abiding taxpayers.


When I complained to the local judicial disciplinary committee, the disciplinary committee told me they will take no more complaints regarding Judge Peter FUGE. The sad part was I never said the name of the judge–they just knew immediately whom I was speaking of when I started to discuss my case with their personnel.


The packets of information and evidence I send to your offices are very time consuming and expensive to prepare.  Each one can cost $50 or more.  I have a family to feed, I cannot afford those types of expenses.


Accordingly,  I am requesting a phone call and visit to review all evidence that has already been uploaded completely into numerous clouds and computers.  I demand that an investigation be opened into the courtroom of Judge Peter Fuge and the Beaufort County Appellate court.  Hundreds of Affidavits are out there at this point and this case is not going away. I demand respect and consideration. I have a popular blog.  Other popular blogs pick up my postings on my case and other Fuge corrupt custody case stories.  I am also sending this to President Trump asking for a phone call and a personal meeting regarding rampant court corruption which is not addressed by either the US DOJ or FBI. This is our country and thousands in South Carolina have the same problem, thousands, and I am now collecting all your letters stating you have reviewed this horrendous situation and your offices do not find any violations of law, when in fact, they are clearly a string of felonies perpetrated by lawyers in suits and judges in black robes in Beaufort County, including Judge Fuge.


I can no longer afford to send all the massive evidence of corruption again and again for you to lose or write back some unsigned form letter that a citizen of South Carolina does not matter to the US DOJ. If you lack the time, please hire some competent people willing to address these horrendous situations good parents encounter in the South Carolina Court system. This is your job ! Do it !


With sincere respect I am also submitting this letter to numerous reporters–local and nationwide, government officials and so on.


Jacqueline Pidanick

College student and mother of two young children


From EF: More information on Jerome Larkin and Chicago corruption

Jerome Larkin

Jerome Larkin

Jerome Larkin, the Administrator of the ARDC, Speaker Madigan ‘s crony and one of the main Protectors of rampant judicial corruption in Illinois Court system. 

jerome larkin

From 2006 to present time Jerome Larkin always closed all my complaints against predatory  lawyers who operate massive racket and money laundering mill in Illinois Court, no matter how much evidence I provided.

Instead all Jerome Larkin’s energy went to quash opposition and  vigorously attack honest lawyers who truthfully expose judicial corruption. ARDC disbar honest lawyers

Jerome Larkin is very likely a father to Julia Larkin, former political aid to IL Democratic Party Speaker Michael Madigan.


Julia Larkin worked for the Speaker from June 2008 through January 2017 and was  a very multi-tasking employee.

Besides political help to Mr. Madigan supported candidates, her work tasks also included “Reviewing wide range of complex documentation including but not limited to property tax documentation

Julia Larkin resume

It is not a secret that Mr. Madigan makes his money by lowering property taxes

Apparently with support from Madigan’s taxpayers’ funded political aids like Julia Larkin who was regularly involved in Mr.Madigan-related ethics scandals


Jerome Larkin’s family is very active on political horizon and  donated very substantial amounts of money to various political campaigns, 38 pages of contributions.

lakrin donations

Jerome Larkin , who has signed the complaint against Ken Ditkowsky, has funneled several million dollars through his property in the last ten years.

For example, Larkin took out a loan for $450,000 in December of 2001 and paid it back in exactly five years. In the meantime, he had taken out another $450,000 loan—in October of 2006, which he paid back in just a tad over four years, in January of 2011. In the meantime, he had taken out yet another mortgage—this one for $101,000—in November of 2009, which he was miraculously able to repay in just about a year.

But his unusual loan behavior doesn’t stop here. In January of 2011, Larkin took out a whopping $750,000 mortgage on the same piece of property. Larkin must have a direct line to lottery bucks, because he was able to repay this loan by January of 2013.

In the meantime . . . are you getting the picture yet? . . . he took out another $750,000 loan in December of 2012.

Neither Jerome Larkin nor his wife, psychologist Antoinette Krakowski responded to telephone inquiries concerning the amount of money being funneled through their home.

Larkin is the big cheese over at the ARDC. There are other attorneys in the employ of that powerful, shadowy, not-government, not private – commission whose loan history is also questionable, including attorneys Melissa Smart and Sharon Opryzcek.

Apparently, the word about the loan trough is getting out. A check was run on the loan history of attorneys and guardians ad litem, Adam Stern and Cynthia Farenga, whose actions first alerted Ken Ditkowsky to the predatory nature of probate guardianships. Lo and behold, Adam Stern’s loan history looks like that of a hyperactive kid in a Ritalin store.

Details can be found  below.

A scandal is brewing in Chicago which threatens to make Operation Greylord look like a dress rehearsal for a cotillion. Starting with a seemingly innocuous question, tendered to press liaison Jim Grogan at the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (ARDC) in Illinois, a boil of corruption got inadvertently pricked, which threatens now to reveal a subterranean cancer in the legal system in Illinois.

For those who are unaware of Greylord, here is a bit of history: back in the eighties, a collaborative effort by the FBI, IRS and a couple of outraged judges and attorneys resulted in one of the biggest takedowns of public officials in the history of Illinois. At the end of the 3 1/2 year undercover operation, a total of 92 people were indicted, including 17 judges, 48 lawyers, ten deputy sheriffs, eight policemen, eight court officials, and state legislator James DeLeo.

The extent of the takedown might have mitigated further predatory acts by those in the legal system. Thirty years later, however, the corruption that was supposedly expunged by Greylord has simply become systemic.

Back to Jim Grogan. Grogan, who is an attorney as well as ARDC press liaison, declined to reply to questions from this reporter as to why no statements of economic interests could be found for the attorneys who work for the ARDC. The law governing economic interests reporting is in place to ensure that those working in government capacities are not being influenced by financial lures and temptations. These statements are mandated by 5 ILCS 420 to be filed every year for nearly everyone who works in a government capacity.

Here are relevant clauses from the law, with pivotal sections underlined:

When Grogan failed to respond to the query, Press Secretary Jim Tybor at the Illinois Supreme Court was contacted and astoundingly told this reporter that this law did not apply to the judicial branch. (See 6 and e, above).

Michelle Burton, a paralegal at the ARDC assured this reporter that the ARDC employees are not state employees. However, the website for the ARDC announces that the Commission is an arm of the Illinois Supreme Court.

The ARDC is in a particularly pivotal position. As the Commission responsible for disciplining attorneys, the ARDC functions as a gatekeeper. In that sense, the ARDC defines the legal climate in Illinois. Right now, the ARDC has taken upon its shoulders the regulation of an attorney’s right to free speech. Attorney Ken Ditkowsky, who has been practicing law in Chicago area since 1961, is facing disciplinary proceedings for sending emails to federal authorities asking for an investigation of corrupt practices in Illinois courts.

Shades of Greylord . . . Except this time, the feds are turning a deaf ear to evidence of legal malfeasance in Illinois. And Ditkowsky may in fact lose his license to practice law, due to his incisive perceptions and requests for investigation.

Attorney Ken Ditkowsky’s concerns about judicial and attorney misconduct began with the adult guardianship of Mary Sykes, an elderly woman who was placed under a guardianship without due process. Another Illinois attorney, JoAnne Denison, is also under disciplinary proceedings due to her maintaining a blog about the Sykes guardianship. (Source)

Ditkowsky soon realized that the phenomenon of what he is calling “elder cleansing” is going on nationwide. And for his act of speaking out against a pervasive assault on a vulnerable demographic group—the elderly and incapacitated—the ARDC has recommended a four year suspension of his license to practice law.

As it turns out, the ARDC attorneys appear to have quite a bit to hide in terms of their economic interests.

If you want to bribe someone, there are only a couple of ways to do this that would not trigger the red flags that are built into the banking infrastructure. One way would be to give someone a big envelope stuffed with cash. Brian Mulroney, a former Prime Minister of Canada, was caught red handed receiving such a bounty and a scandal ensued. (Source)

The other way is through a “loan.” The mechanism is simply and virtually opaque—Mr. X takes out a loan, such as a mortgage and Mr. Y pays it back. There are no banking flags to trigger and no embarrassing wads of cash, a la Mulroney, to explain.

The use of such property loans to funnel payola to judges was exposed in a 2009 article, which first appeared in the San Bernardino County Sentinel. Now it seems that those in the Illinois legal system, specifically attorneys at the ARDC, have climbed onto the dinero express.

Jerome Larkin, the Administrator of the ARDC and the individual who has signed the complaint against Ken Ditkowsky, has funneled several million dollars through his property in the last ten years. For example, Larkin took out a loan for $450,000 in December of 2001 and paid it back in exactly five years. In the meantime, he had taken out another $450,000 loan—in October of 2006, which he paid back in just a tad over four years, in January of 2011. In the meantime, he had taken out yet another mortgage—this one for $101,000—in November of 2009, which he was miraculously able to repay in just about a year.

But his unusual loan behavior doesn’t stop here. In January of 2011, Larkin took out a whopping $750,000 mortgage on the same piece of property. Larkin must have a direct line to lottery bucks, because he was able to repay this loan by January of 2013.

In the meantime . . . are you getting the picture yet? . . . he took out another $750,000 loan in December of 2012.

Neither Jerome Larkin nor his wife, psychologist Antoinette Krakowski responded to telephone inquiries concerning the amount of money being funneled through their home.

Larkin is the big cheese over at the ARDC. There are other attorneys in the employ of that powerful, shadowy, not-government, not private – commission whose loan history is also questionable, including attorneys Melissa Smart and Sharon Opryzcek.

Apparently, the word about the loan trough is getting out. A check was run on the loan history of attorneys and guardians ad litem, Adam Stern and Cynthia Farenga, whose actions first alerted Ken Ditkowsky to the predatory nature of probate guardianships. Lo and behold, Adam Stern’s loan history looks like that of a hyperactive kid in a Ritalin store.

A review of the Cook County recorder’s website reveals that Stern has run over a million dollars through his property loans in roughly the last ten years. A couple of examples of quickly repaid large loans taken out by Stern include a $272,000 mortgage taken out on 9/13/2004 and paid back on 2/17/05. Stern also took out a $51,000 mortgage on 9/13/04 and paid it back May of 2005. On October 4, 2004 Stern took out an $80,000 mortgage which he paid back less than three months later.

Adam Stern also has a federal tax lien on his home for $60,000. Stern, who is parenthetically serving as guardian ad litem in the Sykes guardianship and is thus in the responsible position of looking out for OPM—other people’s money—can’t even pay his own taxes.

Attorney and guardian ad litem Cynthia Farenga’s loan history is similarly manic. Farenga is also a guardian ad litem in the Sykes case. For example, Farenga took out a $385,000 loan on 11/09/2006 and paid it off on 6/12/2007. A loan of over a half million dollars – $575,000 to be exact – was paid off by Farenga within five years, on 6/24/2013. Farenga took out a smaller, $244,000 mortgage on 10/16/2003 and paid it back within two years, on 9/28/05. In the meantime, she had taken out another mortgage, this time for an even $300,000 on 9/07/2005, which she quickly reconveyed in less than a year and a half, on 1/08/2007. All told, over two and a quarter million dollars have been funneled through Farenga’s property in the last ten years.

The head of a private investigator’s firm out in the Southern California area confided in me that judges were coming to him to inquire how to hide their property, so that public searches for these records would not result in transparency. Recently, Judge Ronald Christianson, formerly the Presiding Judge in San Bernardino County, changed the name on the records of his primary residence to “Property Owners.” Such tactics will make determinations of suspicious activity increasingly more difficult.

Ditkowsky has filed a complaint with the ARDC referencing the impropriety of Adam Stern working as a GAL when he has failed to fulfill his own tax liabilities. At the time of going to press, other records detailing suspicious financial activity by ARDC attorneys and others are being turned over to a Grand Jury.

The Director of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Supreme Court, Michael Tardy, did not respond to queries from this reporter concerning the economic interests and reporting requirements of the ARDC, which is an arm of the Illinois Supreme Court.


Government Attorneys Implicated in Ethics Scandal
Janet Phelan
October 28, 2013
Activist Post

Illinois App. Ct.: Assignment Document Without Assignment of the Debt Conveys Nothing

From GG: Homeowners need all the help they can get. This a rare case where a homeowner sought and obtained some relief from foreclosure

Livinglies's Weblog

So here, in black and white, is yet another appellate decision  confirming what I have said for 12 years: The assignment of the mortgage is merely the delivery of a piece of paper. It conveys nothing in terms of an interest in the real property or the right to foreclose the mortgage. BUT if the assignment of the document is accompanied by a sale or assignment of the allegedly underlying debt, then the assignment can be used as evidence of an encumbrance and the contractual right to seek foreclosure.

Just as a promissory note can be used as EVIDENCE of a debt and is not the debt, so too is the mortgage EVIDENCE of an encumbrance and the right to foreclose. Confusion on this issue has led to millions of defective foreclosures.

“ ‘[a]n assignment of the mortgage without an assignment of the debt creates no right in the assignee.’…

View original post 942 more words

From KKD and the ABA: Junk faxes from lawyer warrant $4.2 million award, but fleecing and murdering Grandma still covered up in ND Illinois

While this article is interesting, Jay Brouckmeersch was murder in Feb. 2017 by the Office of State Guardian in conjunction with Judge Quinn who denied her necessary medical treatment and the lawyer for the OSG often didn’t even show up in court. The case was a travesty of justice.

In the Mary Sykes case, $3 million is missing from her estate, the home was sold for pennies on the dollar and in the end she was narcotized to death and isolated in a nursing home.  No investigation and no one cares.

Details of other cases across the nation have been published on this blog indicating the deaths/murders of dozens of disabled persons and senior citizens, and no authorities seem to care.

The White House receives regular emails on the numerous risk factors for seniors, and I have never heard a peep from them.

In the Mary Teichert case, two decisions have emanated from the ND of Illinois where the Scully children have sued for their civil rights violations, that their case was wrongfully and unconstitutionally sealed, Linda Scully was arrested dozens of times for trying to protect her mother’s $2 million apartment building which was sold for $250,000 in the end, ruined by the OPG and others.  In the end, the OPG had Mother Teichert narcotized to death and isolated from 30+ family member.

Apparently faxes are important to the tune of $4.2 million, but Judge Korcas in Federal Court pretends the complaint filed is not a “short and concise” statement of the case when in fact it is but he just doesn’t like what it says (mom was murdered and the courts and attorneys were involved).  you can find the complaint here:

you can find the decision of Judge Korcas here:

Now he’s holding the complaint hostage.  He won’t grant or deny the Scully Children’s Pauper’s Petitions and the 7th Circuit can’t hear the case until he does.

However, we all know that 333 junk faxes are worth $4.2 million.


Question from AD: How to write a proper Brief and Motion

How to write a Motion and Brief in Support of your Motion

First and I cannot emphasize this enough–check the rules first and again when your brief and motion is done.  In every jurisdiction, there may be numerous sets of rules and laws that apply to Briefs and Motion.  Federal Court is easiest at maybe one or two sets of Rules.  Illinois State Court is a pain because there’s the Supreme Court Rules, the Illinois Rules of Civil Procedure the State legislature passes, then each County can have rules, and then each local court building can have rules, particular Divisions can have rules and of course each Judge can have rules on the judge’s website so you have to check everywhere before you file a motion.

The Motion is generally drafter after the Brief, and contains a short (2 to 3) page synopsis of your Brief, hitting all the most important topics.

A Motion has numbered paragraphs, a Brief does not.

For the Brief:

Your introductory paragraph should state the 3 strongest reasons why you should be granted relief and why your opponent should be granted nothing.

It should start out as follows:

Now comes your Movant, (Plaintiff X) and respectfully Moves this Honrable court to: (describe what your motion is for, don’t make the title too long). The grounds for this Motion are as follows: Now list your 3 to 5 best grounds for granting your motion. Often judges only read the first few pages and the last few pages.

Next comes a Statement of Facts or a Statement of Procedure.

You want to give the judge a quick synopsis of what the case is about and how it has progressed. For example:

Statement of Facts:

1. On X date, Plaintiff was falsely arrested by two officers, Officer X and Officer Z for Animal Abuse or Ill. State Law X. Neighbor Z said that Plaintiff L squirted bleach on her dog’s paws, the dog licked it’s paws, had to be taken to the vet and died soon after.  That was a lie.

2. The Officers X and Z failed to further investigate with Vet B.  Plaintiff L instructed the officers to call the Vet to confirm he had not seen Defendant’s Dog.

3. Plaintiff L told the Officers the next day, C date, that she saw the dog being walked and it was on her video surveillance camera. The officers refused to look at the footage and she was arrested instead.

4. During the arrest, the Officers made disparaging, hateful comments about Plaintiff L during the arrest. That she was old, black and stupid and just trying to kill her neighbor’s dog.

5. Plaintiff L told the Officers it was a hot summer, the Neighbors C always let their dog pee and poop in the alley and they never clean it up and it stinks. So Plaintiff L every other day or so would spray the alley with a dilute solution of bleach and hose off the offending areas. She did not poison her neighbor’s dog, but was just trying to clean up the alley where the neighbors walked their dog.

Statement of Procedure.

6. On X date Plaintiff was falsely arrested and held at the police station overnight.

7. On Y date, Plaintiff L produced $1,000 bond and was released.

8. On the following dates, Plaintiff L was haled into court to go through a variety of pretrial procedures and at each date she or her lawyer protested she was falsely arrested. Her lawyer cost her $6,000.

9. On E date, a bench trial was held and Plaintiff was acquitted.  The neighbors never showed up in court with any evidence that their dog was harmed at all.

10. On F date Plaintiff filed a cause of action under 42 USC 1983 for False Arrest and False Imprisonment and Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress was filed in this Federal Court.

11. On G date Plaintiff served a full set of discovery on the Police Dept.

12. The defendant Police Dept refused to answer the discovery and counsel for the police dept in a phone conversation said he did not know when his client would answer the discovery.

Now you can see the case is fully explained, so now you can make your Motion and Legal Argument.

Legal Argument

Plaintiff is entitled to her discovery under Rules X, Y and Z. (Cite the applicable laws and how they apply to your case).

Then weave in case law. Provide proper citations by looking at the top of the case and copying the title of the case and all reporters exactly as you see it. Westlaw, Nexus and Fastcase all have proper citations built right in. Fastcase is free to Ill. State Bar Members. You can also get it cheap for a year (under $100) through various libraries, check their website.

Explain why each case is pertinent to your motion and how it help you to win your motion.

The write a conclusion of exactly what relief you want the court to give you.

In this case, you would ask for a Order the Deft. Must comply with discovery in 10 days or face sanctions. If you are pro se, you have no attorney’s fees, so as for a fine of $50 per day for up to 30 days.

I hope this helps everyone write up their motions and briefs better


From KKD: Nursing home in Fla. killing 11 seniors has long troubled history of corruption–and Esformes involvement

NEW: Owner of nursing home where 8 died linked to Medicare fraud case

John McCall

Police surround the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, owned by Larkin hospital President Jack Michel. The nursing home had no air conditioning after Hurricane Irma knocked out power. Several patients at the sweltering nursing home died in Hurricane Irma’s aftermath, raising fears Wednesday about the safety of Florida’s 4 million senior citizens amid widespread power outages that could go on for days. (John McCall/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

The hospital co-owned by a Florida doctor whose nursing home was the site of eight deaths last week is linked to the biggest Medicare fraud case ever filed against individuals in U.S. history, court records show.

Neither Larkin Community Hospital nor its president, Dr. Jack Michel, is named nor charged in the criminal fraud case filed last year in Miami federal court.

But in 2004, in a civil case also filed in Miami, federal prosecutors cited multiple links among Michel, Larkin and Michel’s former business associate, Philip Esformes, the man prosecutors say is the ringleader of a scheme that used elderly patients to bilk Medicare and Medicaid of about $1 billion.

Further, court records say one of the hospitals in the current criminal case is the same one at the heart of the 2004 civil case, which targeted both Esformes and Michel — and that hospital was Larkin Community Hospital.

Federal prosecutors alleged at that time that nursing home and assisted living patients were being admitted to Larkin for care that wasn’t needed, leaving Medicare and Medicaid to foot the bill.

The civil case was settled for $15.4 million, with no admission of wrongdoing by Esformes, Michel or others named in the suit.

Michel spokeswoman Alia Faraj-Johnson emphasized that Michel and Esformes “have not had a relationship since the civil case was settled” in 2006.

Further, she said, after the settlement, whatever business dealings the two men had were severed. “Dr. Michel divested from all of Mr. Esformes’ facilities” and Philip Esformes’ father, Morris, who had an ownership interest in Larkin, also divested his interest in the hospital.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Justice declined to comment when asked about Larkin in the current Medicare fraud case.

Larkin Community Hospital has thrived under Michel’s leadership since the civil case.

The hospital executive has a string of awards to his name, including being named “Our Hometown Hero” by a local TV station.

The hospital has a nursing school and a residency program. It has two campuses. Specialized services include arthritis and psychiatric care. The 2015 purchase of the Hollywood Hills nursing home seemed like yet another step forward.

The acquisition, Michel told the South Florida Business Journal, was “another step in the evolution” of Larkin Community Hospital, where Michel is president and chairman.

But last year, prosecutors said that after settling the lawsuit in 2006, “Philip Esformes and his co-conspirators allegedly continued this criminal activity — adapting their scheme to prevent detection and continue their fraud after the civil settlement,” according to the Justice Department news release.

Esformes, prosecutors charge, was doing in 2016 what the 2004 civil suit alleged he had been doing with Larkin and Michel.

$1 million for $5 million

Sometime in 1997, federal prosecutors said in the 2004 lawsuit, Jack Michel sat down with Philip Esformes at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach hotel.

Michel didn’t yet own Larkin Community Hospital. He was years away from acquiring the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, where eight elderly patients died after Hurricane Irma blew out air conditioning, leaving them in sweltering, post-hurricane heat.

But he had a plan to make money both from nursing home patients and Larkin.

In fact, he already was doing so, the U.S. Attorney’s Office alleged in 2004, through a series of kickbacks coordinated with his brother, George, also a doctor, and the father-and-son business team of Morris and Philip Esformes.

Prosecutors believed that months before the Fontainebleau meeting, Michel met with a longtime employee of Larkin Hospital’s owner, and said, “Ask your boss if he would pay $1 million to make $5 million.”

The then-owner of Larkin Hospital struck a deal to pay kickbacks to Jack Michel and a practice group Michel owned, Oracle Health Systems, in exchange for patients, court records state.

The estimated profit to Michel: $70,000 a month.

In addition to owning a physicians’ practice and pharmacy, Michel was medical director at Oceanside Extended Care Center, a North Miami Beach nursing home in which the Esformes had an ownership interest.

Many patients would come from Oceanside.

To do so, they would be transferred 20 miles to Larkin, passing much closer hospitals and, prosecutors alleged, jeopardizing the health of patients with the longer drive.

At least some would get medical treatment that was not needed, but which could be billed to Medicare and Medicaid.

Some months later, Jack Michel made plans to buy Larkin.

When he, Philip Esformes and other business associates gathered at the Fontainebleau, prosecutors said, they agreed it wouldn’t be necessary to pay kickbacks anymore to doctors to get patients for Larkin.

With Jack Michel owning the hospital, they could simply use their own growing string of nursing homes and assisted living facilities to pack the hospital.

In fact, when Jack Michel took the reins at the hospital, his brother George was the admitting physician for virtually all of the nursing home referrals to the facility.

Whistleblowing doctor

In 2016, Larkin again came under fire for allegations of unneeded medical treatment, this time in a doctor’s whistleblower suit.

In his federal action, Dr. Elroy Kalme said he joined Larkin in 1997, and stayed until he was fired in 2012. He was the medical director of the hospital’s podiatry department, said Kalme, as well as a member of the Medical Executive Committee.

In 2010, second-year podiatry residents approached him, reporting that a doctor was filing false claims to Medicare and Medicaid, he said in his court filing. The actual medical care was being done by a first-year resident, they told him.

Another resident, said Kalme, reported that the same doctor was offering cash, food and bar outings if the young doctors would refer nursing home patients at Larkin for graft surgery.

Kalme said he reported it to Michel, who told him to investigate, but according to Kalme, added, “Do not call me on the phone to tell me about situations and problems that deal with the possibility of fraud or Medicare problems and don’t send me any emails with stuff like this.”

Kalme said he did investigate and did find other problems.

Partnerships were being made with assisted living facilities to assure that patients would be taken to Larkin “even if they did not meet medical criteria,” he said. Some patients whose medical problems were not serious enough to warrant being kept in the hospital were given a psychiatric diagnosis.

Further, said Kalme, “Larkin allowed podiatry residents to schedule patients for surgical procedures that were not medically necessary simply to bill Medicare,” including amputations and bone resections.

Faraj-Johnson dismisses the allegation. To begin with, she said, Michel has never heard of the whistleblower action. There’s no indication in the whistleblower suit that the hospital was ever served.

As for Kalme’s assertion that Michel asked that nothing be put in writing, “Larkin has a strong compliance program in place and would never ask someone not to document potential fraud allegations,” she said.

In any event, if there were problems, “The physician should have alerted the compliance officer so that the officer could conduct a proper investigation.”

After several months in which Kalme filed no further motions, the doctor withdrew his suit.

The nature of the whistleblower suit meant that the U.S. Attorney’s Office had a chance to continue the case. It declined, though a prosecutor specified that the agency wanted to retain the ability to revisit the allegations at a later date.

By then, Philip Esformes, Michel’s ex-business associate and co-defendant in the $15.4 million settlement, was back in court, facing criminal charges of Medicare fraud and unneeded treatment for elderly patients.

A $1 billion charge

There was no finding or admission of guilt in the civil settlement, and nothing barring Esformes from buying and running more nursing homes.

That’s what the Miami businessman did. Ten years later, prosecutors said he operated a string of more than 30 nursing homes and assisted living facilities, filled with thousands of patients on Medicare and Medicaid.

Last July, federal prosecutors arrested Esformes and two others, including a former Larkin hospital employee, charging them with “the largest single criminal health care fraud case ever brought against individuals,” the Department of Justice wrote in announcing the prosecution.

It was, added prosecutors, “essentially identical conduct” to the deals that had triggered the civil kickback charges and the multimillion-dollar settlement: unnecessarily admitting patients from Esformes’ network of nursing homes and assisted living facilities to a hospital.

Using kickbacks and bribes, Esformes and his associates faked Medicare and Medicaid billings, prosecutors said, racking up charges for treatment that wasn’t needed and in some cases was never provided.

Along with Esformes, Odette Barcha and Arnaldo Carmouze were charged.

Barcha, once the director of outreach for Larkin, is charged with recruiting doctors at what is referred to as Hospital 1 in the indictment and paying them to refer patients to Esformes’ nursing homes.

Carmouze, the indictment charges, was a physician’s assistant who signed off on faked prescription and medical records, admissions and discharge paperwork at Hospital 1, sometimes not even meeting the patient.

Hospital 1 is the same hospital involved in the 2006 settlement, according to the indictment. That case pinpointed Larkin. No other hospital is named in the civil charges brought by federal prosecutors.

Faraj-Johnson said it was only natural some patients from Esformes’ sprawling nursing home and assisted living facility network would wind up in Larkin, but the hospital wasn’t getting a disproportionate share of those patients relative to other hospitals.

Esformes is expected to go to trial next year. He is being held without bond.

Barcha has entered a plea of not guilty. And while she was a Larkin hospital employee, her attorney clarified, she was never involved in Michel’s other business venture: “At no time did any of her duties or responsibilities relate in any way whatsoever with the facility known as Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills.”

From Joanne;

this is about as sick and disgusting as Medicare/Medicaid fraud gets:  billing for unnecessary amputation and bone resections on the elderly to make a buck.  Dozens of licensed physicians had to be involved in the scheme, why aren’t they in prison?  Why isn’t the Director Michel in prison?