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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:

New Family Court Judge Puts Immediate Stop
To Elder Abuse And Exploitation By For-Hire
"Guardians" Jared Shafer And April Parks

  Newly appointed Guardianship Judge Cynthia Dianne Steel

INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
June 15, 2015

LAS VEGAS - After a barrage of shocking news articles by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, KTNV TV Contact 13, and The Vegas Voice, Clark County Board of Commissioners Chairman Steve Sisolak  scheduled a special hearing to discuss the futures of Family Court Judge Charles Hoskin and his Hearing Master, former mob lawyer Jon Norheim.

    Disgraced Family Court Judge Charles Hoskin and his appointed Hearing Master Jon Norheim

Both Hoskin and Norheim refused to attend the April 21, 2015 hearing, but Clark County Chief District Court Judge David Barker, and Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Abuse and Neglect Detail Lieutenant James Weiskopf did attend, along with a number of family members of abused or exploited senior citizens, and a battery of reporters. (Click HERE to view Lt. Weiskopf's testimony)

Before the hearing ended, at least three members of the seven member Board of Commissioners had heard enough about court approved financial bilking and physical abuse of wealthy elderly or disabled residents of Southern Nevada, and voiced their opinions that Hoskin and Norheim should be prohibited from presiding over any further guardianship cases.

With the Commission's blessing, Judge Barker went to work the following day, and on May 21, announced the ouster of Hoskin and Norheim, and the appointment of veteran District Court Judge Cynthia Dianne Steel to hear all of their once scheduled guardianship cases beginning on June 1.  (Unfortunately, both Hoskin and Norheim are still employed by the Family Court system, and can hear cases unrelated to guardianship.)

On June 1, Judge Steel, for the first time in Family Court history, carefully listened to pleas of family members of exploited seniors.  She did so over the objections of expensive lawyers who work for the professional guardians at the expense of their court appointed "wards." To the delight of court observers, heads began to roll.

The first for-hire guardian to be removed from two exploitive guardianships was April Parks, an often appointed professional guardian with no formal training.

In late May, the police opened an investigation of Parks for criminal exploitation of the elderly.

During an explosive attempted interview of Parks by KTNV TV Contact 13 investigative reporter Darcy Spears (link to video below), Parks' attorney tried to stop Spears from asking Parks; "April, are you prepared to defend your actions?  When we first spoke you agreed that there had been some wrongdoing?  Has there been more wrongdoing that you haven't admitted to?"

Parks quickly walked away from Spears and the Channel 13 cameras.
The following are four stories about previously court sanctioned guardian abuse and exploitation cases in Las Vegas, cases that have gone mainly unreported. This kind of abuse is not expected to be allowed to continue with Judge Steel on the Guardianship Court bench:

The Story Of Rudy and Rennie North:

On Friday, June 15, KTNV TV Contact 13 investigative journalist Darcy Spears reported how newly appointed Guardianship Judge Steel freed an elderly couple from the abusive and exploitive court appointed for-hire guardianship of April Parks:  Parks' reaction to Spears questions is very telling:

                                        (Click on image above to view the report)

The Story Of Elizabeth Indig:

  "Ward" Elizabeth Indig and her court appointed for-hire "guardian" April Parks (KTNV TV screen shot)

Elizabeth Indig's house, 43 Pangloss St. Henderson, market value - $200,000, was allowed to go into
foreclosure by April Parks. The house sold at auction for $22,000 to a party in a lawsuit involving Parks'
attorney Lee A. Drizin. Parks or Drizin neglected to inform Indig's family or the court of the foreclosure
or auction. (Click on sale document to enlarge).

Clark County Court records indicate that April Parks' attorney, Lee A. Drizen, was representing a party in a lawsuit against the buyer at auction of Mrs. Indig's house, and should have informed Indig's guardian (Parks) and Indig's family that the house was being auctioned.

According to Clark County Family Court records:

"Parks took control of the Ward's residence at 43 Pangloss Street, Henderson, Nevada 89002 on June 20, 2013, the primary residence of the Ward. The house was in the name of the INDIG FAMILY TRUST. Parks first made a threatening telephone call to Elizabeth (Indig), then came to Elizabeth's home taking her keys to the property and mailbox, and threatening her with trespassing and prison should she (try to re-enter) the property. April Parks was dressed resembling a law enforcement official complete with badge, baton, and wide belt with many keys. Parks also ordered guards at the gate to not let Indig's daughter pass. Parks has already submitted evidence for reimbursement of payment to change the residence locks, and provided an Occupancy Verification to Wells Fargo Bank dated September 24, 2013 signed by her confirming Parks was in control of the residence thus substantiating that Parks controlled the Ward's residence.

Elizabeth's daughter informed Parks verbally on June 20, 2013 that the home and its contents were part of the Indig Family Trust, and that Parks had no jurisdiction or rights to the home and its contents. Parks told the daughter that the court decided that she, April Parks, as an Officer of the Court, was in control of her mother, the home and its contents. Parks again reinforced that she was in charge, and if the daughter interfered with Parks, she would go to prison and never see her mother again. Parks sold the contents of the Indig home between August 10 and August 11, 2013 in violation of NRS 159.113 and 159.1515 which requires notification and permission of the court to sell personal property. Parks did not request permission to sell the Ward's belongings from the court, nor did she inform the court there was a home belonging to the estate.

Parks acted in violation of NRS 159.083 in her negligence to perform her duties to protect and preserve the estate of the Ward. Parks should have been collecting the Ward's mail, and was negligent in NOT PAYING (emphasis added) the HOA fees on the residence. Parks has argued that she had no jurisdiction over the Trust and no responsibility for the home, yet her actions reveal her fraud in taking control of the residence. The past due (HOA fees) were not addressed by Parks which then resulted in the home being foreclosed on by the HOA and sold at auction on November 21, 2013 for $22,000. All of this was unknown to Mrs. Indig's family until August of 2014 when Parks filed the First Annual Accounting almost a year late. Had the First Annual Accounting been filed on time, Mrs. Indig's daughter would have had time to pay the back HOA fees thereby saving the home from foreclosure."

This is the second time April Parks has been reported impersonating a police officer when evicting elderly persons from their home. She was reported wearing such a costume and making similar threats at the time she "kidnapped" Rudy and Rennie North from their home. It was later learned that Parks is not an official "Officer of the Court," and had no right to inform vulnerable people she was acting on an order from the Clark County Family Court.

The Boulder City, Nevada Police Department has launched a criminal investigation into the actions of April Parks in relation to the Indig case (Parks is a Boulder City resident). Judge Steel has been informed of the possible fraud, but has not yet taken court action against Parks, possibly pending the outcome of the Boulder City investigation.

The Story Of Jason Hanson:

              "Ward" Jason Hanson (photo by Mike Christ) and his "guardian" Jared E. Shafer
                            (Click on Jason's image to hear his story in his own words)

Jason Hanson's house, 5141 Lindell Rd., # 101, Las Vegas, market value - $150,000, sold by Shafer for
$47,000   (click on sale document to enlarge)

The Jason Hanson - Jared E. Shafer Story
"Special Administrator" Jared E. Shafer takes house and
inheritance from 24 year old man with cerebral palsy

"All I wanted to do was go home, but Shafer takes fervent joy in
destroying people's lives." - Jason Hanson:

INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
March 3, 2014

The Story Of Anna Marie Gaule:

        "Ward" the late Anna Marie Gaule (photo by Thomas Gaule) and her "guardian" Jared E. Shafer

The fate of the late Anna Marie Gaule was the first published story in my historical record of local guardian abuse.

In 1999, I was visited by Thomas Gaule, Mrs. Gaule's only child and living relative. With him was a retired FBI Special Agent who was a friend of Anna Marie.  The gentlemen showed me a photo (above) that  had been taken a week earlier of Anna Marie who was then confined to a Las Vegas rest home under the court ordered guardianship of Jared E. Shafer, Clark County's elected Public Guardian at that time.

I had met Mrs. Gaule years earlier while I was a Las Vegas City Councilman, and was aware she owned several valuable commercial properties in my district. I knew she had worked hard all her life to acquire the properties and provide an inheritance for her only child who I later learned was caring for her during her final years as an Alzheimer's victim.

During our visit, Thomas told me that several months earlier, Anna Marie had wandered away from the home they shared, became lost, and was picked up by the police for her safety.

That's when Shafer was informed of Anna Marie's situation, and he immediately petitioned the Family Court for temporary legal custody of the woman - and her well healed estate.  In response, Thomas enrolled in Shafer's then offered four week Guardian Course provided to family members for a $1,500 fee at the County Government Center.  Thomas passed the course and received a Certificate of Completion. He then petitioned the Family Court for permanent custody of his mother. Shafer and his attorney protested, saying Thomas was "unfit" to care for his mother based on the day she wandered away from her house and was picked up by the police.  During the course which Shafer taught, Thomas was never informed that his instructor would interfere with his effort to help his mother. However, Thomas reported that Shafer did ask numerous questions about Anna Marrie's real estate holdings. The court sided with Shafer, and granted him permanent custody over Anna Marie and her estate. Shafer reportedly didn't take long before beginning to liquidate Mrs. Gaule's assets.

When Thomas and his mother's friend visited me with the shocking photo, I was told that they were trying to rescue her from what was obviously a life threatening situation.  I asked if Thomas had informed Jared Shafer of Anna Marie's injuries? Thomas said that Shafer was aware of the extensive injuries, but reported that Anna Marie had "fallen down."  Thomas then told me he believed his mother had been beaten at the hands of the Asian caretakers at the Tonopah Drive rest home he visited daily that was used by Shafer to house his wards.  Thomas then asked if I wanted to meet his mom.

The three of us immediately drove to the rest home. We were greeted at the door by an Asian man who did not speak English. Thomas informed the man that we were there to visit Anna Marie Gaule. The man said "No No" and tried to shut the door. The retired FBI Agent pushed pass the man, and Thomas and I followed him inside the converted house. We went to Mrs. Gaule's room, she was not there. We proceeded to the patio where I took this photo of Anna Marie's facial injuries one week after they occurred.  It appeared to me that her nose was broken, and her bruised arms and legs indicated something other than a fall had occurred.  It was obvious that she had been beaten, though she could not recall or describe what had happened to her.

Anna Marie Gaule one week after beating (photo by Steve Miller)

Thomas immediately filed a motion in the Clark County Family Court of Judge William Voy. A hearing was scheduled to review Thomas' evidence.

             (L to R) Family Court Judge William Voy, then criminal defense attorney Oscar Goodman
             with law partners Gardner Jolly and David Chesnoff (INSIDE VEGAS photo by Mike Christ)

Thomas, who was acting as his own attorney, asked the retired Agent and I to testify. We arrived at the Family Court at 9 AM to be informed by the bailiff that we would have to wait outside the court room until we were called. The hearing began and lasted for several hours. We were never called into the court. At noon, a group of smiling men exited the court accompanied by Jared Shafer. Included was local attorney Gardner Jolly who represented Shafer at the time. Thomas followed them out of the court, and informed us that Judge Voy ruled in favor of Shafer, and did not want to hear our testimony. We were disgusted and angry at what had just occurred.

The week following the hearing, Anna Marie was transferred to another Shafer controlled rest home in Pahrump, 60 miles from Las Vegas. Thomas does not drive, so it was very difficult for him to make daily visits to his mother. He was also limited to thirty minutes per visit, and ordered by Shafer to not bring guests, or a camera into the facility.

Anna Marie died shortly after being moved away from her son. An accounting of the disposition of Mrs. Gaule's assets was never provided to Thomas after her passing.


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