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Meet Joan, Another Victim of the Legal System…One of Judge Asarch’s Last Abused Citizens—Part Five

Those of us whose family members or loved ones or friends are the victims of guardianship abuse know without a doubt that it is only about the money. Certain members of the legal profession, who believe they are above the law, found a vulnerable segment of society and figured out a way to exploit them.  Then they found judges who were equally corrupt and lo and behold, a very lucrative business was born.

But the elderly are not only exploited by the legal profession; others have also figured out ways to steal and abuse these innocent and helpless people. They want a piece of the action as well. In the case of Marilyn Ingrasani, it was Rachel Jones, an acquaintance of Joan Pezzollo’s nanny, who had a good thing going for a while. It wasn’t until she bought glasses for herself from Tiffany’s, charged on Marilyn’s credit card, that finally got her fired. Since she has not been able to get back into Marilyn’s house and bank accounts, she decided to confess and turn the lawyers in for their part in what she refers to as a “big scam.”            

By Joan Pezzollo

“After everyone ignored the report from the private investigator, I felt defeated. My friends and family didn’t believe that this was happening. People would tell me “Maybe the secretary didn’t give him the report” or “You need to write to the judge” or “Get a different lawyer, this isn’t right” or “If it was my mother I would just go to the house and take her home with me.” Then there were those people who did not really believe this whole sordid tale was even happening. Some thought I did something wrong because they were of the mindset that judges and lawyers would never intentionally hurt anyone. Well, they know now.

In the fall of 2012, my lawyer who had worked tirelessly on my case and became one of my dearest friends, became ill. In November of 2012, he passed away. Due to his illness, he was unable to work on my case for the last few months of his life. It was right after he passed that Rachel was fired for using my mother’s credit card for buying herself $800.00 worth of Tiffany glasses without getting George Esernio’s approval. It wasn’t the neglect of my mother; the private investigator’s damning report; the lies; the theft of my mother’s car; driving without a license and jeopardizing my mother’s safety; the theft of more than $500,000 worth of jewelry; the filth Mom was forced to live in. No, she was fired because George Esernio did not give her “permission” to use my mother’s credit card. So I am now aware that everything else was done with George Esernio’s permission.

A new aide was brought in to care for my mother. Rachel was very upset that she had “lost” her home and access to Mom’s money and valuables. She tried everything she could to get back in, including the claim that her “husband” was actually related to my mother and the new aide was physically abusing Marilyn. Since she could no longer get in the house to take the rest of the valuables, she didn’t want anyone else to have them either. So Rachel called Sal, who has power of attorney and pays all Mom’s bills, and decided to confess. According to Rachel, Joel Kaplan, of Kaplan Belsky Ross Bartell, LLP in Garden City, NY, was the “biggest crook of all and knew full well that Marilyn had no idea what she was doing when she revoked Joan’s power of attorney.” Rachel also said that “Kaplan, Belling and Esernio are all crooks and only care about Marilyn’s money” and that Judge Joel Asarch was corrupt. At that point Rachel proceeded to try to convince Sal that he should apply for guardianship” so they could get rid of George Esernio and she, Rachel, would be rehired as Marilyn’s aide.

So now we have the truth from the person who started it all, Rachel Jones. Of course, the reason I was kicked out of my mother’s life was because of all the lies she told these people in the beginning. They believed her then so why wouldn’t they believe her now? She worked in tandem with the judge and attorneys and care manager to embezzle funds from my mother’s estate.  And since they are still getting paid and she is not, she was perfectly willing to throw them all under the bus.

I now have a new attorney and have spent well over $100,000 fighting these crooks. My mother is in and out of the hospital a few times a month and I am not allowed to visit her when she is there nor am I allowed to know why she is even there. I was given four “supervised” visits with my mother until the next court date in August. And the person supervising me is Virginia Belling, the very woman who has endangered my mother’s life on every level for the past four years.

At times I feel like Alice in Wonderland when she fell down the rabbit hole. “It would be so nice if something made sense here.” So far, nothing has made sense; however the truth always rises to the top and with Rachel’s confession, the guilty parties have been exposed.”

“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”

Next—My family’s story


Meet Joan, Another Victim of the Legal System…One of Judge Asarch’s Last Abused Citizens-Part Two

This is Part Two of Joan Pezzollo’s story and the tragedy that befell her family. As stated in part One, George Esernio, the guardian attorney with the law firm Albanese and Albanese in Garden City, New York, has isolated Marilyn from her children and grandchildren without cause.

Update: Joan received a phone call yesterday, May 28, 2013 from Sal, a family friend, informing her that her mother was in the hospital, having suffered a stroke. Joan immediately contacted her lawyer and told him she was going to see her mother and was concerned the guardian would try to stop her. When Joan’s attorney called the guardian, George told him that Joan’s mother had already been released. Joan then called the hospital and found out that not only was her mother still there, but she had been there for the past three days. He also told Joan’s lawyer that there was no health care proxy, which is not true. When Joan arrived at the hospital she found that the contact information listed on hospital records were the name and numbers of the aide that had been fired in December, 2012 and the current aide, Molly. Strangely, Molly was also listed as the next of kin. George Esernio’s name was listed without a telephone number. No family was listed on hospital records. Joan then discovered that her mother had been admitted to the hospital on many previous occasions and the guardian never notified Marilyn’s family.

Why are so many lies being told? Why isn’t the guardian doing the right thing and notifying Marilyn’s family when she falls ill? What excuse could there possibly be for all of this odd, secretive and abusive behavior?  

By Joan Pezzollo

“Judge Asarch did not immediately assign a guardian to my mother nor did he declare her incapacitated.  What he did do was assign a geriatric “care” manager, Virginia Belling, Senior Placement Services, Inc. on Broadway in Massapequa. She was supposed to look out for my mother’s health and make certain that her home was safe and someone was always there to look after her. Rachel had somehow convinced Virginia Belling and Judge Asarch that she and my mother had a close and loving relationship and Mom did not want me around. Ms. Belling kept Rachel on as an aide. She never did any investigation nor had any background check completed on her, which is required. It was never addressed in court that she was in this country illegally and did not even have a driver’s license. Ms. Belling simply left Rachel as  Mom’s aide and in her care despite my protests. Even after the facts were uncovered that Rachel had no credentials, that she lied about her educational background, that she was not a med student, that she was driving my mother around illegally, without a driver’s license, Virginia Belling and Judge Asarch still allowed her to stay.

I never said anything more than a good morning to Judge Asarch. I never had a trial or presented any  testimony, there was never any eye contact, and there was never even a hearing or conference. Despite all of this, Judge Asarch stated that “Ms. Pezzolo would have us believe that Rachel has a Svengali like effect on Mrs. Ingrisani when in fact they have a warm and loving relationship.” He also stated in open court on the record that “before I decide who her guardian will be should it be necessary, under no circumstances shall it be Joan Pezzollo.” He gave no reason why; there was no investigation done, he never spoke to me, he just blatantly discriminated against me.  Although I was my mother’s health care proxy and it was irrevocable, he got around that by illegally “suspending” it. It was not until July, 2011, that Judge Asarch finally declared my mother incapacitated, without a guardian and leaving my mother isolated from her family and in Rachel’s care. To the best of my knowledge, it was not until sometime around November, 2011, that a stranger, an attorney by the name of George Esernio with Albanese and Albanese in Garden City, NY was finally appointed as her personal guardian. Judge Asarch assigned POA to Sal; a close family friend of my father’s who is an accountant and financial advisor. Sal has assured me that my mother’s money has not been touched.

George Esernio has refused to allow me or my children to see my mother for the past four years. Not once did George try to arrange any kind of mediation to resolve this or find out if Mom’s illness contributed to this type of behavior. Elderly people with advanced dementia can be easily turned against their loved ones, especially when they are consistently lied to. This is part of the disease and something George Esernio should have known. George also told my law firm that he will not get on the phone with me because he “does not speak to a lay person.” How can he get any clients if he refuses to speak with someone who is not a lawyer? In fact, there was an order of protection filed against me by Joel Kaplan, based on an affidavit given by Rachel who was not even present during the hearing. All of these actions were taken based on false allegations made against me by a woman who came into my family’s life for three weeks in October 2008; within three months time she managed to get attorneys and family members to believe all of her lies. My lawyers and I worked hard to disprove all of these allegations along with letters and testimony from my friends and family, but none of that mattered. My mother, in her severe state of dementia, went along with all of this which only fueled George’s actions to keep Mom isolated.

In December 2012, Rachel took my mother’s credit card and bought herself $800 worth of Tiffany glasses. Since Sal handled the bills, he contacted George and advised him about this. That is when George finally fired Rachel. A new aide, Molly, was then brought in to care for Mom.

I was desperate to see my Mom and begged Sal to help me now that Rachel was gone. Sal cleared my request with the court evaluator, Ernie Bartol, who thought it was a “wonderful idea” since Mom is at the end of her life.

 The last few weeks were both heaven and hell. She is now in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s but she knows who I am. We spent a lot of time just smiling at each other and hugging and holding hands. Mom was thrilled each time I was able to sneak in to see her. What I discovered however, was that my mother was living in squalor; the condition of her once beautiful home virtually destroyed; the smell inside made it virtually uninhabitable. As I walked around I discovered that almost all of the light bulbs were missing from the lamps and high hats; the vacuum cleaner was gone; the refrigerator had very little food in it; there were no cleaning supplies in the house. While I was there my mother, who is not ambulatory, was unable to reach the bathroom in time and had an accident. The aide did not bother to put her in the shower and clean her up. She only half attempted to clean her with some toilet paper. She said she had nothing else to clean her with other than a small bottle of hand sanitizer. I went into the basement and found it filled wall to wall with garbage. All of the expensive custom-made draperies and valances had been removed from the windows and tossed in a pile on the basement floor. I went into her bedroom and found that her expensive custom-made bedspread was gone; stolen. Mom’s huge jewelry box was also missing, along with all of her jewelry valued at over $500,000. And in the middle of the family room was a pile of all of my mother’s valuable artwork, partially wrapped with bubble wrap as if someone was getting ready to move it out of the house. George Esernio is responsible for all of these missing items, but he has not told anyone where they are.  There is an alarm and camera system running but I am not sure if there is any film. The alarm system is not working.  One of the windows in the garage is broken and the front door jamb is cracked all the way down to the bottom, as if someone tried to break in. I have a report in my possession that details all of the activity that has gone on in and around the house for quite some time.

Molly, the aide, called George Esernio and told him I was in the house. She then falsely accused me of stealing a piece of my mother’s jewelry. It became quite apparent that she does not want me there either. George Esernio then immediately called my attorney and banned me once again from going to visit my mother and told the aide not to let me in. George Esernio has been telling everyone for years that my mother does not want to see me and that it is detrimental to her to be around me and my children. Sal told him that there was no truth to what he was saying, that he personally witnessed how happy my Mom was with me back in her life. 

What exactly are the roles that George Esernio and Virginia Belling play in my mother’s life? Other than to be paid exorbitant fees for allowing her home to be ravaged, her personal possessions to be stolen and her care to be diminished to the point of abuse, in my opinion their association with my mother is nothing short of criminal.”      

This story is horrendous. There are many more details that will shortly be published in a continuing series of articles on the abuse of this woman and her family. All of these guardianship cases are about nothing more than money. The arrogance, coupled with the atrocious egos and the misplaced beliefs that the attorneys and judges involved are somehow above the law, allow these crimes to go on unabated, unchecked and unstopped. 

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