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Calif. conservators profit from vulnerable seniors

Evelyn Larrubia, Jack Leonard and Robin Fields of the Los Angeles Times examined records of more than 2,400 cases handled by California's professional conservators since 1997 to produce a detailed four-part series on the state's failure to protect its senior citizens from those hired to handle their affairs. More than 500 seniors were entrusted to for-profit conservators without their consent at hearings that lasted minutes. Some conservators misuse their near-parental power over fragile adults, ignoring their needs and isolating them from loved ones. One withheld the allowance that a disabled man relied on for food, leaving him to survive on handouts from a church. Another abruptly moved a 95-year-old woman to a care home and for a month refused to tell her daughter where she was. The investigation found that in most cases, evidence of these abuses was in the courts' own files. "An online registry created six years ago to identify and track problem conservators has proved a failure. The reason: Most county courts have ignored it, even though participation is mandatory"

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