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Elder Abuse Is Not Just Physical – Elder Couple Loses Deed to Home

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Pat Torano, 89-years-old and partially paralyzed by a stroke, came to the realization that he could no longer take care of his 95 year old wife, Dorothy Torano, who was blind and suffering from some dementia, so he decided to seek help. Pat and Dorothy had lived in their dream home in Cardiff since 1964, and not wanting to leave the comfort of their home Pat and Dorothy contracted with Visiting Angels – but what they got was no angel!

What they got was convicted felon, Gina Trevino, who eventually tricked the couple into signing over the deed to their dream home. Later, in August after Trevino was arrested, but before the home could be put back in the Torano’s name, worried family members placed the couple in a nursing home as they could no longer care for themselves. Unfortunately, Pat Torano passed away in the cold confines of the nursing home on April 5th, never again to return to the dream home he and Dorothy loved for over 40 years. Trevino added insult to injury when she used Pat and Dorothy Torano’s credit to purchase three cars and also to charge thousands of dollars on the Torano’s credit cards.

According to Kim Collins, the Torano’s daughter, who supports new legislation for the caretaking industry, “She [Trevino] sounded like she genuinely cared. I was so naïve.” The San Diego Union Tribune reports that Trevino, who is 49, has served time in prison for child abuse and also for receiving stolen property and forging checks, and while Visiting Angels did a background check that went back 7 years, Trevino’s past felonies did not show up as they were more than 10 years old.

• As of April 24th Dorothy Torano still doesn’t have ownership of her Cardiff dream home.

• According to the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office an ‘average’ of 37 caretakers have already been prosecuted between the years of 2001-2006 for stealing from clients.

The law, as it exists now, provides that nurses and other medical professionals that are sent into a senior’s home must be licensed, but the law does not cover those who are hired to help seniors with routine household duties. Can you imagine, just when a senior has lost some of their ability to live independently – they are victimized!

Several attempts to pass bills that would mandate stricter regulations on caretakers have been debated in the Legislature, but according to Barbara Biglieri, a spokesperson for the California Association for Health Services at Home, the bills died because of opposition from special interest groups, especially unions who worry that new regulations would be too expensive.

This week a new bill, Assembly Bill 853, was to be debated in Sacramento that would require rigorous background checks and that would also issue specific guidelines that would prevent the abuse of a client’s finances.

The time has come to get out from behind all the smoke and mirrors and enact legislation that will put some bite into the loopholes that leave those who are defenseless at the mercy of so-called angels!

If you or a loved one have been a victim of nursing home abuse, call me to discuss your rights and options. John Bisnar, 800-259-6373.

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