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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:

Jared E. Shafer Loses Guardianship.
Looted Senior Citizen Returns To
Claim Home And Possessions
After Winning Termination
In A Bitter Sweet Victory

$300,000 bled from 93-year-old's trust during battle

 Liberated "ward" Guadalupe Olvera reclaims home from "guardianship," and places it on the market
       (L to R: Daughter Rebecca Schultz, Guadalupe Olvera, Robert Schultz, INSIDE VEGAS photo by Peter Christoff)

INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
May 20, 2013

HENDERSON, NEVADA - For the first time known, a wealthy senior citizen was able to escape from the custody of Nevada court appointed "guardian" Jared E. Shafer, and recover the majority of his assets before he dies.

The story of Guadalupe Olvera reads like a TV episode of  "American Greed," but in this case, there's a simi-happy ending.

Because of an arcane Nevada law, many elderly people who decide to spend their golden years in one of Las Vegas' pristine retirement communities have found themselves in financial servitude after the death of a spouse. It's not unusual to learn of a elderly widow or widower -- at their most vulnerable time -- becoming a "ward" of one of our state's licensed private "guardians" who completely takes over the senior's person and estate while waiting for their death in order to claim his or her assets for the county, or in the worst case, themselves.

This is possible because in Nevada a person who is handicapped or elderly and has a sizable estate can be forced into guardianship unless there's a qualified relative living in the same state that can care for their needs. Too often, as in the case of Guadalupe Olvera, the nearest relative lives in another state, and under Nevada law, is prohibited from becoming a guardian after the death of a care giving spouse.

Mr. Olvera suffered the consequences of this law when it was discovered by strangers in the Clark County Family Court system that he had over a half million dollars cash in his trust account, and a fully paid for 3,000 square foot Sun City Anthem home worth another half million.

On the outside, Olvera looked ripe for the picking, a rich old man with severe physical disabilities, and no relatives in sight. The only problem? WW2 hero Guadalupe Olvera was not ready to die, and he had a tough as nails, loving family five hundred miles away who wanted him to come home to spend his final days in Central California, not cooped up in a big empty house in a cold, strange town waiting for Jared Shafer to see fit to end his "temporary guardianship."

For decades, seniors have been lured away from being near their families in other states to buy retirement homes in lush Del Webb Sun City communities (now Pulte Homes) on the mountainsides overlooking the Las Vegas valley. During their initial months in Vegas, aside from playing bingo and slot machines, many are encouraged to update their wills and family trusts. Often they are enticed to attend seminars held in Sun City club houses put on by an asset protection attorney with questionable motives and an even more questionable clientele. From these seminars, private guardians are recommended and hired to be there on a "temporary basis" to help in the time of need. However, in private guardian Jared E. Shafer's case, the word "temporary" rarely applies.

Ten months after the death of his wife of 63 years, Guadalupe told his only daughter Rebecca to move him back to Santa Cruz County. She followed his wishes against the orders of Jared E. Shafer, Olvera's "temporary guardian." Within weeks, Shafer had obtained a warrant for Rebecca's arrest for "kidnapping" his valuable "ward," then began bleeding Olvera's trust over $300,000 to pay himself and his lawyers in Olvera's absence until he was stopped.

                "Guardian" Shafer expresses frustration at "ward's" insistence he be terminated
                                          (Click on image to view 2:27 see court video)

Regarding the 10 months confined in his Henderson home under Shafer's guardianship after his wife's death, Olvera told INSIDE VEGAS, "I felt like a prisoner."

Jared Shafer's "guardianship" of Guadalupe Olvera, and Rebecca's arrest warrant were finally terminated by a Clark County District Court Judge on April 26, 2013 after Olvera survived longer than any "guardian" ever expected, and after Shafer took possession of Olvera's home and neglected its maintenance while most likely waiting for him to die. Shafer also went to court several times during that period  -- at Olvera's expense -- to try to force Olvera to return to Nevada where he has no friends or relatives.

On May 12, 2013, after Rebecca's arrest warrant was quashed and Shafer's guardianship terminated, Mr. Olvera, Rebecca, her husband Robert, and son in law Jimmy returned to the Olvera home in Henderson. There they found  the normally immaculate house in deplorable condition after being under Shafer's care since Olvera left town.  Rebecca called INSIDE VEGAS.

      Food left in refrigerator for 31 months under Shafer's guardianship (INSIDE VEGAS photo)

               Cockroach infestation during Shafer's guardianship (INSIDE VEGAS photo)

During Olvera's 31 month absence, Shafer had the locks changed on his home and obtained the warrant for Rebecca's arrest effectively prohibiting her from returning to Nevada to recover her parent's personal possessions, or list the house for sale. In the meantime, under Shafer's guardianship, much of the landscaping died, and the interior of the palatial home became infested with cockroaches.

Olvera's decision to move away could have inspired retaliation meant to discourage other wealthy ward's families from doing the same.

(Jared Shafer (left) has refused several written requests to tell his side of this story.)

In addition to requesting a warrant for her arrest if she re-entered Nevada, Shafer also took it a step further and sued Rebecca Schultz for libel and defamation.

In Shafer's November 2012 libel lawsuit, his attorneys entered as exhibits several anonymous Internet articles they claimed without evidence were authored by Schultz. After discussing the lawsuit in a previous INSIDE VEGAS column, I received a conference call on April 30, 2013 placed by three persons who asked that I protect their identities under the Nevada Shield Law. They identified themselves by name and address, and explained that they were the actual authors of the "Rip-off Report" articles Shultz was being sued for writing. and they did not want Schultz to take the blame for their (misguided) efforts.

I inquired whether any of them live in Nevada or California, or if they know Rebecca Schultz personally? They stated they all live outside Nevada and California; once had relatives living in Clark County who were under Shafer's guardianship; and have never met Ms. Schultz.

I told them that I do not condone anonymous attacks on anyone's reputation or integrity, and that many of their submissions were blatantly untrue and repugnant. I suggested that they cease and desist submitting such articles because they are clear examples of libel per se, and are counterproductive to the mission of stopping guardian abuse. However, based on that conference call, and knowing that Olvera's family is not afraid to sign their names,  I genuinely believe Shafer is suing the wrong person(s) for besmirching his good name. He lost, and he needs to move on.

"I feel that the guardianship system in Clark County, NV, operates much like the Nazis did in Germany, using intimidation and scare tactics to achieve their corrupt goals," stated Robert Schultz.

Mr. Olvera told INSIDE VEGAS; "I'd like to see Shafer be put into the same situation as me and see how he likes it." Olvera went on; "I think Shafer is a crook. He's nothing but dirt to me. He should be in jail for taking my money."

As a public service, I asked Rebecca Schultz to provide in her own words a chronology of events leading up to the pilfering of $300,000 from her parent's trust account:

1)     Mom and dad moved to Nevada in 2003 after a lifetime in CA.

2)     A local "senior citizen" organization encourages mom to become dad's guardian, something we believe she would have never done in CA. Her guardianship was strictly OVER HIS PERSON.  Nevada M.D., Dr. Sherk, stated in her 2007 report that in her opinion, no guardianship was needed, but the court and Shafer ignored this.

3)     Sun City Anthem Community Center provided a seminar for estate planning. John Dawson of Lionel Sawyer & Collins, roped in several residents, including my parents, into using his estate planning services. They had no idea that their financial details were being exposed to a known mob attorney.  Mom had complained to me that Dawson was not returning calls and had made himself executor of several of the other resident's wills without their permission. We believe it was Dawson that suggested Wells Fargo become trustee if mom died first, causing further damage because Wells Fargo  would work closely with Jared Shafer to exploit dad's trust by allowing duplicate, triplicate and excessive payments to Shafer and his associates.

4)     After my mom's death in November of 2009, I traveled to Henderson to visit my father, only to find he was removed from his home by a women who I believe is an exploiter, Cathy Elliot Richardson, a receptionist at Sun City Anthem's Community Center.  I contacted the Clark County office of Guardianship Commissioner Jon Norheim. The person who answered gave me Jared Shafer's home phone number, stating he would help me. I had no idea the extent of lies and corruption that would beset my family by making that call to Mr. Shafer.

5)     Shafer said I needed an attorney and sent me to Elyse Tyrell, who later had to resign from my case because she was representing Jared Shafer at the same time she was representing me! When I retained Tyrell, she said Mr. Shafer could rescue my father from Richardson and then he would be more than happy to turn the guardianship over to me once things were settled and my father could then return to CA to be with his family.  Everything I was told by Elyse Tyrell turned out to be a big fat lie.  Tyrell said I could be co-guardian but later changed her story and told me that Shafer will never work under a co-guardianship and that if I wanted to be guardian I could go hire ANOTHER attorney!

6)     Ms. Carney, a Nevada resident, and I retained the law firm of Hutchison & Steffen and petitioned for guardianship, but Shafer, using Tyrell, began to fight us. Tyrell later was forced to withdraw from the case because of her conflict of interest. Tyrell had informed me I had NO rights and she was working for Jared Shafer.  Tyrell's representations were made while I was still her client. Unfortunately, Alan Freer took over and he picked up where Tyrell left off.  I believe that Freer has been the author of many lies in documents submitted to CA and federal agencies stating I had a felony arrest warrant for kidnapping, when in reality, it was a bench warrant for not appearing in court after dad came back to CA.

7)     In my first and only face to face conversation with Shafer (in my father's home), he assured me he would remain guardian only on a TEMPORARY basis, just as Tyrell had said.  He said, "It shouldn't be more than 3 months, maybe 6 months. I don't like hanging on to cases like this."  He also stated, "I don't even have to show up in court, the judges always give me what I want."  I placed this statement in an affidavit and submitted it to Commissioner Norheim who ignored this along with ALL other important evidence. Three months after making these statements, Mr. Shafer made it VERY clear to me he was NEVER going to let the guardianship out of his control and that Jon Norheim would give him whatever he wanted.

8)     Our attorneys told the court that one of the reasons Shafer should not be guardian was the fact that he took over the guardianship in direct violation of NRS Chapter 160, which is the Veterans' Guardianship Uniform Act. This section states guardians operating in Nevada with a veteran as a ward shall have no more than five wards.  Shafer has at least 12 or more wards under his control at any given time and some are veterans. This information was obtained from Clark County records.

9)     When my father returned to California, he was able to receive his carpenter's pensions and Social Security again. But Shafer's attorney, Freer, obviously lied about us to Social Security, the VA and the carpenter pension trusts. He said my father was incompetent, which was not true, that I had an arrest warrant for felony kidnapping, not true. He said that I was receiving my father's Social Security and carpenter moneys directly, not true. Because of these lies to the carpenter's trust, I believe Alan Freer is directly responsible for creating a federal interpleader case in L.A., which named my father, Shafer and me as defendants and cost my father's estate thousands of dollars.

10)  The very first day my father was back in CA., Shafer froze dad's Wells Fargo checking account, leaving my father without access to his own money for his needs.

11)  There was never any logical reason for this guardianship to have continued. Shafer kept lying to the court that he was protecting my father from me! Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!

12)  Jared Shafer and Jon Norheim violated all my father's constitutional rights never providing him with an attorney, preventing him from attending his own hearings, refusing his wishes to go back to California, having the Senior Citizen Law Project lie to the court about what my father said, denying him evidentiary hearings, providing no financial accounting for the excessive and bogus billings, violating NRS Chapters 160 and 199, threatening our friends, lying in documents, the list goes on and on.

13)  Guardians who are granted authority over a ward's estate are required by NV state law to file an annual accounting of the ward's finances if the ward's assets exceed $5,000, but Shafer rarely does this with his guardianships, and if so, his accounting is incomplete and convoluted. Other victim families tell me they never got an accounting.

14)  If Shafer had just let my widowed father do what any intelligent human being would do, that is, to act in the best interest of the individual, my father and his family could have been spared the 3.5 years of anxiety, stress, grief and financial exploitation caused by Shafer's tenacity to hold on to his control of my father and his life savings. For Shafer and his judges and attorneys, it's all about the money. I believe Shafer could give a crap if my father was happy or healthy, he only cared about my father's property and cash in the bank. For some sick reason, I believe that Shafer feels what my father earned and saved belonged to him. There has never been more of a misconception of the term "guardian!" Its obvious to my family Shafer does not protect the "wards" or their estates, but rather hangs on like a leech. It's all fun and games for him to fight the families because he can use the estate money of the ward to pay himself and his attorneys. It's all a very sick game. It's a win-win for Shafer most of the time. If a family fights, he drains the estates with excessive legal fees. If the family does nothing, he still drains the estates with high fees and unnecessary "expenses."

15)  I spoke the truth to the Santa Cruz Weekly. I exercised my 1st Amendment right and he sues me? He and his cronies are the ones that write and state lies and yet I am sued for things I have not done. This is blatant abuse of the legal system. So here we are, 3.5 years later, over $300,000 of my father"s hard earned life savings blown primarily to Shafer's attorneys, BUT WE WON. I told the Weekly, "He's messed with the wrong family this time."  Yes, he did. I imagine Shafer is really pissed that my father outlived the guardianship. We told my father that Shafer was waiting for him to die, hoping he would die before it was terminated. Dad said, "I'm not dying!"

16)  I am confident that I may be the only family member of a victim of Jared Shafer's to remove Social Security, VA benefits and pensions away from Shafer and have them returned to the "ward." I believe I am the only one to succeed in putting a fiduciary in place in CA that was not of Shafer's choice. I believe I am the only one to actually save the "ward" from the physical control of Shafer. I believe I am the only one to have Shafer's guardianship terminated while the victim was alive. I believe I am the only one to actually save the home and some of the cash assets from Shafer. It was a long and expensive battle but I believe my father and I have accomplished what no other guardianship victims have. I believe all these accomplishments have motivated Shafer to sue me for slander. It's hard to imagine that I would be sued for speaking the truth and for protecting my father and his estate.

If your parent or other relative is under a corrupt guardianship in Clark County or anywhere, don't just sit and do nothing. This is what they want you to do. Shafer and the other guardians, attorneys and judges want you to be intimidated, scared and threatened. It is because so many victim's family members have become frozen with fear from the threats and lies perpetrated by the likes of Jared Shafer and his protégés that this horrible exploitation has continued. Shafer has been doing this since 1979 and it's time it ends. Be courageous, demand answers, documentation, go to the media, file complaints, don't buy into their threats. Remaining silent plays into their whole intimidation scam. I personally am fed-up with victims contacting me for help and advice and then they won't do anything out of fear. Why are they fearful? Because their careers have been threatened. They are told they will be arrested. They are told their parent's estate will be bled to death so no beneficiary will get a dime. Our dear friend was approached by someone on behalf of Shafer and told to stop helping us or something bad will happen. Well their threats and tactics have worked on too many people for too long, but it didn't work on us! Dad is as tough as they come, and like my father, so am I. In Clark County, NV, silence is deadly. Be a warrior. Fight!

Rebecca Schultz

The lesson to be learned is to not succumb to slick ads for retirement communities in states where you or your loved ones have no family members to provide care in the event a spouse dies.


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