Rick, and his wife Terri, were first exposed to fraudulent guardianships and probate exploitation in June 2013. His wife’s father, Del, had retired in Las Vegas and due to the deception of family friend Helen Natko, his Alzheimer’s type dementia allowed Helen to exploit him. When her deception, exploitation, and theft was discovered Terri came to her father’s aid but Natko isolated Del in her home. He was never allowed to see or speak to his family alone after the discovery and never allowed to leave her home with family until his death in July 2015.
Law enforcement refused to engage even though Terri presented three forged checks totaling $220,000 and evidence of Natko’s abuse and isolation. The police instructed Terri to file for guardianship of her father as they viewed the situation as a “civil” matter.
Commission Jon Norheim ignored established law, estate documents, and the evidence of theft, isolation, forgery, neglect, and exploitation by Natko against Del. Natko ultimately prevailed in gaining guardianship over Del in July 2014. Rick ultimately got law enforcement engaged and in October 2014 Natko was criminally indicted for felony theft and exploitation of Del.
The family lost over $1 million in the ordeal. Natko was criminally convicted for exploiting Del in April 2017 and sentenced to five years’ probation. Family Court continues to deny her criminal acts against Del.
Motivated by the experience, Rick built a coalition of over 50 families who lost over $40 million from 2010-2015 due to fraudulent adult guardianships in Nevada. He gained the support of local media, elected officials, and the Nevada attorney general to investigate widespread corruption endorsed by Commissioner Jon Norheim in adult guardianship proceedings. He participated in the Nevada Supreme Court’s Guardianship Reform Commission meetings and helped develop new statutes to improve adult guardianship adjudication. The efforts of the coalition has yielded 18 arrests and 17 convictions over the last 4 years. Infamous professional guardian April Parks, attorney Noel Simpson and coworkers Mark Simmons and Gary Taylor were convicted in November 2018.
Rick left his job as an executive of a global textile company in early 2015 to devote himself fulltime volunteering for guardianship reforms and to assist other families. Rick has investigated over 500 suspected fraudulent guardianship cases nationally and counseled over 1,200 families. He coined the phrase “isolate the victim, defame legitimate family, and liquidate the estate” to describe the hallmarks of fraudulent guardianships and probate fraud. Rick’s efforts were the genesis of the documentary “The Guardians” by Billie Mintz which describes the systemic exploitation of vulnerable persons of wealth in Las Vegas via fraudulent guardianships.
He regularly speaks on the issues and has spoken at the National Forum on Financial Exploitation by Conservators sponsored by the National Center for State Courts and the Department of Justice in March 2017 and the KasemCares/California District Attorneys Conference in December 2017. Rick and Terri actively lobby for improved protections for vulnerable adults from the predatory legal community nationally.
Rick, his wife Terri, and Athena Roe, JD of Colorado Springs founded the Center for Estate Administration Reform in early 2018 to advocate for reforms nationwide. Rick can be reached at [email protected] and internet access at https://www.cearjustice.org and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CEARRICK