- September 15, 2020
- Steve Heisler
- Podcast Episodes
About Billie Mintz: Billie has dedicated his career to social justice, raising public awareness, and advocating for those who have no voice – including a reporter for the departed. His belief in the power of story to initiate people and for policy change is a driving force in his life as an investigative journalist and filmmaker. He is represented by the Creative Artists Agency (CAA)
In this episode, Steve and Billie discuss:
1. What gave you the idea to do this type of movie?
- In documentary filmmaking and in social justice, you don’t really have the liberty to think of what kind of movie you want to make you sort of discover something that’s going on and you realize that you’re the person that needs to expose this to a larger audience. As you said, you didn’t realize it was going on. These are the type of crimes that exist in the United States, only because people don’t know it’s going on until it’s too late. I had discovered this, that it was happening through one individual that I met and I looked into it. Then I realized that this is something that’s happening to thousands upon thousands of people in the United States, specifically elderly people and I just knew that there was something that I had to do about it to sort of ring the warning bells. There are people out there that are looking and have very organized in order to exploit you and take advantage of you and take away your liberties and there is really very little way to fight back.
2. Is this the first time that you were delving into the social justice arena?
- Growing up I was a neurotic Jew, I always grew up with the concept of life was unfair, and I had to do something about it and that’s sort of turned into my profession.
3. Can you share with our injured senior community, the backstory of how you were able to move forward and make this documentary a reality?
- Basically, I learned that there was a criminal conspiracy running through family courts all across the United States, where lawyers and judges and what people call themselves as professional and public guardians, people who are supposed to be taking care of vulnerable people. They are we’re using the color of law in order to basically legally kidnap elderly people take guardianship over their lives and their money and incarcerate them in nursing homes against their will, and what I uncovered was in state diagnosis of dementia. So basically what happens is somebody knocks on your door, and you don’t even know who they are, but they actually already have legally been able to take over your life and your finances and there’s a whole backstory that was happening without your knowledge where you possibly somebody in your health care was involved and what’s happening is that elderly people are being targeted by an entire system that’s completely legal, unethical, but legal, that’s running through the court system, which is set up to entrap and snare you and take away all your money and your liberty.
4. How did you find out about this?
- Well, interestingly enough, a total different story was I was looking for my next film, and I kind of asked the powers that be meaning, whether it be the universe or God, whatever you believe of, you know, where’s my next story, and I heard a very strong voice to go to Serbia to go to Belgrade and I’d never been there and then I was confused. So I flew to Belgrade showed up and immediately within five minutes met a man who asked me, what am I doing here? I told him the story I just told you that I just kind of got this premonition to find my next story in Belgrade. He kind of laughed and then immediately introduced me to a man whose parents were taken in a guardianship scam. I had no idea what that meant and so I met with this man and his parents were basically kidnapped by their accountant who became their executor so I went to look into it and found out that there were actual full organizations that were set up in order to help elderly people but nobody had written about it. Nobody had made a film about it. So I did a couple of years worth of research, and then found some cases in Las Vegas and decided to just focus on one county and I exposed all of the players that were basically being parasites and vultures and doing terrible things to elderly people in Vegas.
5. Who are the players, from the beginning before a person knocks on the door? Where does the whole scenario start?
- Well, it’s interesting because where it starts for the individual is the knock on the door, but it actually started a long time earlier, unbeknownst to the person who is getting that knock on the door, and once they knock on your door, you’re already done you’re already part of the system, and if you’re one of those unlucky people that get your door knocked on, and it could very much happen to you so don’t think it can’t because it happens to hundreds of thousands of people in the United States. In fact, there are 1.5 million people right now under guardianship, and it’s unknown how much of that is on lawful guardianship or it’s actually legal but unethical guardianship or guardianship, what we call guardianship abuse.
6. Who is really the one that is running the show, and is the mastermind of it?
- Think it’s probably different in each scenario of what state or what county is operating. There’s definitely a playbook. All across the states, we’ve learned that they all operate from the same playbook. They’re all doing the same system and when you have, let’s call them wolves. It just depends who the alpha is, and who’s the scariest and who’s running the whole thing. You have a lot of corrupt people that are all coming to the same trough and eating from the same place. In the case of my film, The Guardians in Clark County, Las Vegas, in Nevada, it’s basically a gentleman by the who was by the name of Jared Schaffer, who had been the Public Guardian before so he kind of created all the laws around how to deal with all these elderly people.
7. So can you tell our injured senior community once there’s that knock on the door, and everything’s already been decided it’s already been adjudicated? They’re toast. So what happens from there?
- Well, they’re given in submitted cases that I’ve followed, they’re given a couple of choices from this guardian. Now keep in mind this Guardian does this every day different people. They are not compassionate. They’re a sociopath. They’re extremely dangerous and they’re trafficking humans. That’s all they’re doing to this person. That’s another cash cow. It’s another person who tried they need to get you out of your house, which they have the legal now the legal right to do so because they have a legal binding piece of paper that says you cannot take care of yourself and you have dementia. They get you out. They take you to a nursing home. Sometimes the nursing homes in the know sometimes they’re not. It all depends, they take you to the nursing home, they drug you up. You’re saying hey, what is going on, you’re confused. You don’t know what’s happening and then the very next day, they show up in a U-haul, because there’s just systemic and they go through your house. They find your cash, they find everything they already have access to your stocks, your bank accounts, etc. They have to wait on that because they have to they only have temporary guardianship of you at this point. There’s going to be another trial coming up, but you’re not going to know that it’s going to happen, and you’re not going to be able to show up to it because you’re going to be incarcerated in this nursing home. I know that sounds terrible. It is terrible. It sounds like a horror story and it sounds like it’s not true but it’s true and it happens all the time and it’s I’ve seen it happen to so many thousands of people that I don’t doubt it at all anymore. I did at the beginning. What they do is when you’re in temporary guardianship, they try to keep you incarcerated in the nursing home. They keep you drugged up because they say you have dementia and they put on all sorts of psychotropics, and if you resist, they then take you to the psych ward, a lot of people have been taken to the psych ward, where if you keep giving them all the time, they’ll do something about it that would probably have more permanent effects. But what they do is they go through your house, they find all the cash, and then they empty your house, they sell everything, just to see what they can because they’re getting your house ready to sell because a lot of this is a real estate rapid as well.
8. What happens if elderly individuals knew what was going on and they were not going to leave that house so it’s like a standoff?
- Usually, if somebody comes to your house, who’s official and says they’re an officer of the court and they threaten you, they give you three choices. They say you either come with us and we’ll figure this out, we’ll take you to a nursing home and we’ll figure this out and they lie to you. They say we’re just going to do some tests on you for a couple of days. The second choice is where we bring the police and you go to jail, or we will take you to a psych ward, you’re going to choose to go with these people because you don’t know any better because it seems legit and you don’t want to call a lot of people. How they get these people is, if they do have children to call. You don’t want to call your kids because you’re embarrassed because you want to figure this out for yourself. You don’t want to scare anybody, but and that’s how they get you they prey on you it’s very uncomfortable. It’s very embarrassing to have this kind of thing happen to you. The biggest advice is, first of all, don’t go ask for the police and call whoever you know, right away and tell them this is happening.
9. How are the children or family members allowed to be shut out of the process before you get the knock on the door?
- There are different theories. In the film, we found a couple of cases, we found one case and other suspected cases of mail fraud, which obviously, in any court proceeding, there needs to be due process for it to be constitutional. So basically, if there’s going to be a court hearing about you, it’s not legal unless you know about it so they have to mail some information to you. What’s actually happening and what is consistent is that these people are not getting anything in the mail. They’re not being told that this is happening and that’s where this is a federal crime is that they are not following due process in the federal crime. So what they’re doing in some cases, is they are taking guardianship and changing your mailing address, and then sending out the mail knowing full well that the mail is not going to get to you. So that’s one way that they do it.
10. Are the lawyers, police, and the criminal justice system also complicit?
- It’s a police matter, but at the same time if that Guardian shows up at your door, and you don’t go with them in the order, it allows them to call the police and I can tell you thousands of times that we’ve had to come and help get those elderly people out of their homes by police force.
“It was a total bogus document that the courts accepted that it was just part of their scam. They were all in on it.” — Billie Mintz
Mentioned: How The Elderly Lose Their Rights- The New Yorker
Portrayal (Coming Soon)
To find out more about the National Injured Senior Law Center or to set up a free consultation go to https://www.injuredseniorhotline.com/ or call 855-622-6530
Connect with Billie Mintz:
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Show notes by Podcastologist: Kristen Braun
Audio production by Turnkey Podcast Productions. You’re the expert. Your podcast will prove it.