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Inside Vegas - Steve Miller

Steve Miller is a former Las Vegas City Councilman. In 1991, the readers of the Las Vegas Review Journal voted him the "Most Effective Public Official" in Southern Nevada. Visit his website at:

"Private Guardian"Jared E. Shafer accused by
Guardianship Commissioner of "bleeding
money" from 93-year-old war hero

"I'm really trying to put an end to this. I get that
Mr. Olvera is bleeding money, and I don't want
it to continue" -  Guardianship Commissioner Jon Norheim

November 2009: "Private Guardianship" begins. Funds in trust - $466,186.00
April 2013:  "Guardianship" to be terminated.  Balance in trust  - $149,028.00
Senior citizen's trust fund bled to pay lawyers and friends of "private guardian"

"Private Guardian" Jared Shafer     "Ward" Guadalupe Olvera after escaping Shafer's custody

INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
April 29, 2013

LAS VEGAS -  They say "Getting old is a bitch."  That saying can be especially true if you live in Las Vegas!

Just Google or Bing the name "Guardian Jared E. Shafer," and a very troubling scenario will unfold. Contained within the dozens of links are the untold stories of mostly wealthy Clark County, Nevada residents who have allegedly been "bleeding money" under the color of law simply because they are elderly or frail.

A decade ago, I began reporting stories of wealthy senior citizens being exploited by a group of - what I consider to be - officially sanctioned leeches.

World War II hero Guadalupe Olvera and his wife Carmela in 2003 moved from California to Del Webb Sun City Anthem in Henderson, Nevada. The couple was wooed by fancy brochures and promotional videos into purchasing a new 3000 square foot home for $436,524.00 cash where they lived until Carmela's death in 2009 following a 63 year marriage.

Because of an obscure Nevada law, Guadalupe, who was 90 at the time of his wife's death,  was not allowed to handle his own affairs or let his only child Rebecca Schultz become his legal guardian to tend to his move back to California and the sale of his Sun City house. Based on Mr. Olvera's physical disabilities, under Nevada law, a "local guardian" was required to handle his temporary financial affairs because his daughter was not qualified since she lived in another state. Enter Jared Shafer of Professional Fiduciary Services of Nevada, Inc.(PFSN, Inc.).

Shafer, who is in private practice, was recommended by a staff member in the office of Clark County Guardianship Commissioner Jon Norheim, even though public officials are not legally allowed to make such recommendations. Unfortunately, Schultz failed to do research on Shafer's background before agreeing to hire PFSN, Inc. because she assumed the county's referral would be trustworthy.

Jared Shafer has not responded to numerous requests for his side of this story.

Shafer's "guardianship" was to only last a few weeks, time enough to settle Olvera's financial affairs and list his house with a realtor. However, weeks turned into months, and Olvera became lonely for his daughter, granddaughter, and great granddaughter and wanted desperately to move back to California where he had lived most of his life. In the meantime, Shafer as guardian was given exclusive control of Olvera's finances. It was soon discovered he was "bleeding money" from Olvera's trust account at Wells Fargo while Olvera was retained in Henderson against his will. Upon learning of Shafer's withdrawals from his trust, Olvera became infuriated, and In September 2010, directed his daughter to move him back to California and sever his contract with PFSN, Inc.

Prior to Olvera's directions to move him back to California, Rebecca and her friend Ruth Carney (a Nevada resident) had followed legal protocol and filed Motions at their own expense with the court to terminate Shafer's guardianship, and that Schultz and Carney be appointed co-guardians, but their efforts were thwarted by the court.

In their Motions, Schultz and Carney cited NRS 159.061: 3. In determining who is most suitable, the court shall give consideration, among other factors, to: (d) The relationship by blood, adoption or marriage of the proposed guardian to the proposed ward. The court may consider relatives in the following order of preference: (1) Spouse. (2) Adult child. (3) Parent. (4) Adult sibling. (5) Grandparent or adult grandchild. (6) Uncle, aunt, adult niece or adult nephew.

Completely ignoring NRS 159.061:3, on May 26, 2910, Commissioner Norheim issued the following RECOMMENDATION that was affirmed by District Court Judge Charles Hoskins on July 13 of that year:

The Court having been fully advised in the premises, and good cause appearing therefor;  IT IS HEREBY RECOMMENDED that JARED E. SHAFER not be removed as the ward's General Guardian and his General Letters of Guardianship not be revoked; and it is FURTHER RECOMMENDED that REBECCA SCHULTZ and RUTH CARNEY not be appointed as Successor Co-Guardians; and it is FURTHER RECOMMENDED that visitation by friends be restricted after 6:00 p.m., unless prior arrangements have been made with the Guardian and care givers and that visitation by family members are not restricted by the 6:00 reasonable visitation.

No reasons were given for Norheim's denial of Schultz' request, and the "bleeding money" continued unabated.

Feeling that his rights were being trampled, and that he was being treated like a child, Guadalupe Olvera submitted the following notarized affidavit to the court demanding that Rebecca be his legal guardian, and he be allowed to move back to California:

Olvera's written statement totally contradicts the May 19, 2010 testimony of Patience Bristol (her actual name), Case Manager for Shafer's office.  Bristol, in Olvera's absence, told the court: "I asked him yesterday if he wanted to come to court, and he said no.  He -- he just keeps telling me he wants to stay here, he doesn't want to go to California."

Commissioner Norheim accepted Bristol's incorrect hearsay, then stated: "Well, at this point the priority ship sailed, because you'd have to remove Jared Shafer, so you'd come under a completely different section.  ...if the Ward changes his mind, decides that he has -- that this is -- that this plan is -- is what he wants, doesn't want to live in Nevada anymore, wants to be closer to his family. It wouldn't be appropriate for Mr. Shafer to continue if we moved the Ward to California. So if we ultimately move the Ward out of state, then we would probably be looking at -- at some other guardian. But that's not in front of us today."

"Well, at this point the priority ship sailed?"

Norheim's words proved hollow and confusing, and four months later, on September 8, 2010, feeling totally ignored and frustrated, Olvera violated Shafer's orders to stay home and attended a second court hearing. There he testified that he was moving back to California "no matter what," and that he wanted no part of Shafer (view court video). In response to Olvera's passionate plea, Norheim smirked, then remarked, "Yeah, we knew this was coming."

In spite of Olvera's written and oral pleas, Commissioner Norheim groveled to Shafer's demands ordering Olvera to stay in Nevada where he had no friends or family.

However, two weeks after that hearing, Guadalupe Olvera willfully violated Shafer and Norheim's orders and moved back to Santa Cruz to spend his final years with his family (and has been living there happily and healthfully ever since).

Upon learning that Rebecca Schultz assisted in her father's escape, Shafer, at Olvera's expense, went to court and obtained a warrant for Rebecca's arrest.

"There was never a court order that said dad couldn't leave the state. You would think that this fact means they should never have issued the bench warrant on me," Schultz told INSIDE VEGAS.

Based on her arrest warrant, Schultz and her father could not return to Nevada to list his Sun City home with a broker.  In the meantime, Shafer took advantage of the situation and changed the locks on the house - twice - at Olvera's expense. Then on February 27, Shafer obtained a default judgment in absentia against Schultz from the court of Clark County District Judge Joanna Kishner for libel and defamation claiming - without evidence - that Schultz authored most of the derogatory information about him and his colleagues that was published anonymously on the Internet. Because of the arrest warrant, Schultz could not appear to defend herself at either hearing without being arrested and held without bail - a perfect example of the effect caused by a SLAPP suit.

Then something amazing happened! Thirty months after Olvera returned to California, On April 3, 2013, Commissioner Norheim shocked observers of this case by stating in open court (view the court video): "I'm really trying to put an end to this. I get that Mr. Olvera is bleeding money, and I don't want it to continue."

Shafer's attorney, at Olvera's expense, appeared at the April 3 hearing, but did not question Norheim's use of the words "bleeding money."

Norheim's "bleeding money" observation comes three months before Olvera's 94th birthday that, thanks to his daughter, he will be able to celebrate in Santa Cruz with his family.

Between November of 2009 and January 24, 2013, Jared Shafer was the only person with access to Mr. Olvera's trust account at Wells Fargo Bank.

Neither Guadalupe Olvera, his attorneys, or daughter were allowed to withdraw money from the Trust, only Jared Shafer had that authority, and bled over $300,000.00.

Shafer was finally disabled from "bleeding money" on January 24, 2013 when Wells Fargo was forced to resign as successor trustee, and Olvera appointed William G. Chaddock, of Chaddock Fiduciary Services, LLC, in California as his successor trustee.  From that moment, Shafer and the attorneys he was paying from Olvera's trust account began to back down, which proves Norheim's point about "bleeding money" from Olvera. If the bleeding was stopped, so were Shafer's efforts to force Mr. Olvera to return to Nevada.

Since Wells Fargo resigned and Shafer was stopped from paying himself $250 per hour for his court appearance time, Shafer has been absent from all court proceedings involving Olvera.

("bleed" - verb: to take all or most of the money of a person, organization, country, etc. - Cambridge Business English Dictionary)

Norheim's well-chosen words summarized what many have been alleging for over a decade; that elderly persons under Shafer's purported "guardianship" are financially bled until their fortunes are depleted and their real estate holdings are in the hands of Shafer, his attorneys, realtor, cronies, and care provider companies allegedly owned by Shafer et al. Accusations of similar activities were made against Shafer during his ?public guardian/public administrator? days from 1979-2003 prior to his transition to ?private guardian,? however, few paid attention and he was re-elected again and again to later name his successor and start a private business with referrals from high placed cronies in Clark County.

My first report on this subject was written in April 2002. It was about Anna Marie Gaule, a wealthy Alzheimer's patient who died under the "guardianship" of Shafer.

Anna Marie walked away from the private residence she and her son had long shared, and was found wandering several blocks away, her son Thomas, a graduate of Shafer's Guardian Training Course (tuition: $1,500), called police to report his mother missing. The police alerted the office of Public Guardian, and Shafer, then an elected official, took charge of Mrs. Gaule and her holdings. She was immediately removed from her home and placed in a local rest home against the wishes of her son - her only living relative and heir.

After Anna Marie was taken from her home, Thomas asked two witnesses to accompany him on a visit to see his mother at the small rest home chosen by Shafer. One of the witnesses was retired FBI Special Agent Ted Gunderson. I was the other person Thomas asked to witness the conditions under which Anna Marie was living.

While there, Thomas explained that his mother had twice suffered what appeared to be brutal beatings. On both occasions, photos Thomas provided to Clark County Family Court Judge William O. Voy documented the injuries. I printed the shocking photos of Mrs. Gaule's black eyes and bruises in front page newspaper stories questioning the quality of care being provided in Clark County guardianship programs.

Gunderson and I volunteered to testify about the conditions we observed Mrs. Gaule living under, but Judge Voy did not permit us to take the stand thereby causing Mrs. Gaule to remain in Shafer's custody on what we considered a death watch.

During her final months, Shafer reportedly sold Mrs. Gaule's home and took full control of her checking account while paying an undisclosed fee to the Asian-owned rest home for her supposed care and medication which included unlimited cookies, donuts, and large daily doses of tranquilizers administered by persons who do not speak English. The photos of Mrs. Gaule's injuries were also never explained adequately. After Thomas allowed me to publish photos of his mother's mysterious head injuries, cuts, and bruises described by caregivers as obtained from "falls," Shafer suddenly moved Anna Marie to another rest home in Pahrump, 60 miles away from her son who does not drive. Judge Voy then barred Thomas from visiting his mother unsupervised, with guests, or with a camera. Thomas was also not allowed to see her for more than thirty minutes every two weeks.

Anna Marie Gaule died several weeks after being moved to Pahrump. Her only living relative Thomas was never informed of how his mother's sizable estate was disposed of, an estate that included a commercial property on Maryland Parkway in downtown Las Vegas and her West Las Vegas home.

Since 2002, I have monitored Jared Shafer's activities, and based on Guadalupe Olvera's current case, I believe I've uncovered a pattern of elder abuse under color of law that the public should be made aware of.

I firmly believe that had Rebecca Schultz not followed her father's orders in 2010 and moved him away from Shafer's influence, Mr. Olvera would not be alive today.

Following my two previous columns on this subject:, and,
I received several requests for more information. Because Jared Shafer has refused to answer my inquiries, I asked Rebecca Schultz to provide her qualified response to reader's questions:

1. How did this all begin?

Rebecca: My father's problem began when Commissioner Norheim?s office referred me to Shafer.

2. Explain the legal means/methods/basis required to overturn or substitute an appointed guardian

Rebecca: The ?legal? method is to get an attorney, nominate a ?guardian? and petition Norheim?s court. Sounds simple, but they fight you tooth and nail. Every single petition we ever filed they blew off and Norheim refused to terminate or allow anyone on our side to be guardian. The court appears to be fixed. It is a monumental task to overturn, substitute, remove or terminate a guardian. Look at us. Over 3.5 years. Shafer promised last July he would terminate if we got a conservatorship in CA, but he is still dragging it out over ?final fees? for his attorneys and himself. Others victims can tell you similar stories of long legal battles with this ?family? court and Jared Shafer. There is the very sad case of Marcy Dudeck, who was under Shafer?s guardianship. Her daughter Heidi, and her son-in-law Charles Pascal, did what they could to save her and her estate, but Shafer prevailed (read their story at There are also victims who have had problems with Shafer assuming position of administrator over estates, I?ve spoken with two. I know for a fact there are other veterans who have also been under his guardianships, which is a violation of NRS Chapter 160 for any guardian to take on more than five wards because the statute limits that number if even one is a veteran. But Norheim and district judge Hoskin allow Shafer to violate a state statute and take on dozens of wards with the excuse it would be difficult for guardians to earn a living if they were limited. Long ago a legal service obtained Shafer?s ward lists for me and I was able to do some research. Mr. Pascal and I have personally spoken to several victim families of Shafer?s. This problem persists because most of these people will not come forward because of alleged threats that have been made to them from either Shafer or one of his associates.

3. What are the federal and NV state oversight agencies that could intervene?

Rebecca: There are several, BUT they DON'T intervene. That's the PROBLEM. AG Cortez-Masto for example. We have gone to all state and federal agencies?NOTHING, at least not yet.

4. Why can't criminal and civil fraud cases be brought in one or more instances?

Rebecca: Maybe, if its in a court where Shafer can't control the judge. Remember, he has bragged to me and other victims that he controls the judges. And it takes time and costs lots of money. Beneficiaries of the exploited seniors rarely receive their inheritance so they have limited resources to fight with. I believe that's how Shafer makes sure no one goes after him. He actually told Mr. Pascal that too. Shafer became his mother-in-law?s guardian in 2006.

5. What is the appointing judge's complicity?

Rebecca: He is controlled by Shafer according to Shafer?s own statement to me. Norheim was/is attorney for mobster Rick Rizzolo. Shafer is on the Youth Charities board with Rizzolo. So why would a mob attorney do the right thing in family court? I suspect he is paid by Shafer to do what will benefit Shafer.  Shafer admitted/bragged/threatened to me (and others) that he controls the judges.  We?ve been told by local attorneys that Shafer, his attorneys, and Norheim dine together prior to most valuable cases and prepare a script of what all will say. This sounds believable based on our experience in this court. We believe it's all determined prior to the hearings. Norheim is much younger than Shafer and Shafer is probably responsible for getting him the guardianship commissioner position, and perhaps if he plays along, his career will continue to advance to higher courts.

6. ID others with liability that are ignoring these matters. There is clearly a lot of contributory negligence and irresponsibility.

Rebecca: Well, we could technically name every single state and federal agency as being liable, as well as Wells Fargo and other financial institutions, but no one with the power to stop this abuse will do anything. It is a well-greased machine put in place by Shafer beginning in 1979. That's a very long time for this horrific problem to go unchecked. Sadly, I have recently been contacted by three relatively new victims of Norheim?s court, two out of state relatives and one living in fear in Las Vegas. I report all new information on this abuse to a federal contact, if anything, just to make a record.

This week, based on an agreement to pay all additional fees requested by Shafer and his attorneys (the last ounce of blood), attorneys for Mr. Olvera submitted a DRAFT ORDERto District Judge Hoskin that awaits his signature.

The final Order states:

IT IS ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED that the fees and costs incurred by Jared E. Shafer, for work performed on behalf of the Guardian in connection with the guardianship ot GuadaIupe Olvera between September 28, 2012 and January 28,2013 in the amount of $1,354 17 are hereby approved.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED that the fees and costs incurred by the law firm of Solomon Dwiggins & Freer, Ltd., for the work performed on behalf of the Guardian in connection with the guardianship of Guadalupe Olvera between October 1, 2013, and January 25, 2013, in the amount of $6,332.10 are hereby approved.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED the guardianship of Guadalupe Olvera shall be terminated upon the issuance of this Order.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED the bench warrant of Rebecca Schultz shall be quashed upon the issuance of this Order.

Because Olvera is not contesting Shafer's final bill, the Order is expected to be signed sometime this week. Keep in mind that Mr. Olvera was living outside Shafer's jurisdiction for the last three years, so the charges for the "work performed" by Shafer and his lawyers during that time is fraudulent.

Guadalupe Olvera and his family knew they were being bled by a band of thieves over 400 miles away, but they strategically agreed to the thieve's demands to finally put an end to this nightmare.

After being held hostage over an arrest warrant, Rebecca and her father paid a high price, but after the Order is signed, they will be able to return to Henderson to sell his house and fight Shafer's bogus libel suit without the threat of jail.


Late Sunday afternoon April 28, Guadalupe Olvera was thrilled to receive an emailed copy of the NOTICE OF STIPULATION AND ORDER to Terminate Jared E. Shafer's Guardianship, signed by District Court Judge Charles Hoskins:

Now, Rebecca and her father can feel free to travel to Las Vegas to list the house, and while here file a Motion for Reconsideration with Judge Kishner regarding her Default Judgment in Shafer's ridiculous libel suit.

Unfortunately, many other "wards" and their families are terrified by their "guardianship" ordeal, but the Olvera family's courage to fight the exploiters and go public with their story will hopefully save other families from falling into the same despicable "bleeding money" trap.

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