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

This is Part Three of Joan Pezzollo’s story about the guardianship abuse of her mother, Marilyn Ingrasani, and the tragedy that befell her family.   

As of the last court hearing, overseen by Judge Knoebel of the Nassau County Supreme Court, Joan was given “permission” for a total of four “supervised” visits with her mother before the next hearing in August; this despite the protests of Virginia Belling, George Esernio and Joel Kaplan. These visits will be supervised by Virginia Belling, the geriatric care manager assigned by the late Judge Joel Asarch.  

As of yesterday, July 10, 2013, Marilyn lies dying in a hospital bed. Joan is forbidden to see her Mom.

By Joan Pezzollo

“Every day I try to wrap my head around this nightmare. I look back and wonder how I was made out to be the villain when my mother and I truly adored each other and I did everything I could to care for her. I ask myself and others over and over again, how can a woman, an uneducated illegal immigrant, posing as a home health care aide and medical student, manage to “fool” a litany of so-called “legal experts” with a combined total of over 150 years’ experience in the law? Did she really fool them or were they working together with her? According to experts that I have spoken with who are very familiar with the criminality of the court system, the judge and these attorneys knew exactly what was going on. The consensus of my family and friends and every other person whose loved ones are/were victims’ of guardianship/elder abuse, this case is simply about money and the looting of my mother’s estate.

The late Nassau County Supreme Court judge, Joel Asarch, who was the presiding judge over this case and at the helm of this abuse, had been practicing law since 1979; he was also a judge for the past 12 years up until his death.

The guardian attorney, George Esernio of Albanese and Albanese in Garden City, New York, has been practicing many different facets of the law for the past 45 years. His bio states that he is active in community and charitable organizations and has served as an officer, director and general counsel of the North Shore Boys & Girls Club among many other foundations. Shouldn’t a person involved with children be kind and compassionate and knowledgeable? George has refused to allow me to see my own mother for the past four years. In fact, I provided Mr. Esernio with a stack of pictures showing me, my mom, the twins and the rest of my family all together before she met Rachel. Before he wrote his report, that no one is allowed to see, he sent these back to me via courier. He was not remotely interested in the fact that Rachel Jones was lying, that she was the one committing elder abuse.

The lawyer who started this mess, Joel Kaplan, a partner in Kaplan Belsky Ross, LLP in Garden city, NY is also the guardian-ad-litem (GAL) for my mother and assigned by the court to “watch out for her needs.” His bio states that he is “an experienced litigator in all fields of law” and president of B’nai Brith International. Well, B’nai Brith International touts the fact that “advocating for seniors” is a prime agenda item.  If that is true, how has he allowed the abuse of my mother to go on for so long?

Judge Asarch, when I applied for guardianship of my mother to protect and save her from Rachel Jones, denied my application. But he did assign a geriatric care manager, Virginia Belling, of Virginia Belling Senior Placement Services, Inc., in Massapequa, NY to “oversee” my mother’s care. Virginia’s website states that she is “chair of the advisory board of the Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation, and has worked with the foundation since 1987.  SENIOR PLACEMENT SERVICES specializes in assisting those affected by Alzheimer’s disease, and in improving the quality of life for Alzheimer’s patients and their families.” So here is a woman who supposedly knows about this disease and yet ignored my pleas for help and never investigated Rachel’s background. Virginia allowed a non-certified home health aide to live with and care for my mother, allowed her to give my mother medication and never checked on the conditions of the home or my mother’s hygiene.  She refused to do a mini-mental status on Mom from the beginning. It took two years of going to court before the judge finally ordered Virginia to obtain a safe return bracelet, which is crucial for patients with Alzheimer’s. The elaborate alarm system in my mother’s home, including cameras, was disabled by Rachel Jones. This system was installed for the protection of my mother after her home was burglarized. It also allowed anyone who was caring for her to know if she opened the door to leave which is very beneficial for the caregiver of an Alzheimer’s patient.

I hired private detectives, at my own expense, to investigate Rachel and what was truly going on in Mom’s home. It was discovered that she had no home health care training, no specialized training caring for an elderly person with Alzheimer’s, that she was not a medical student, had no driver’s license, and was in this country illegally, Once Virginia was notified about all of this, she simply ignored these facts and still allowed Rachel to stay on as Mom’s caretaker and drive my mother around. I was flabbergasted! Every one of the attorneys, including the judge, had a legal responsibility to report Rachel to immigration and to the police and not one of them filed any report or called any agency. Virginia also knew that Rachel took my mother to the DMV and had her sign over one of her cars to her, a Toyota Camry. And when the lease was up on her Mercedes, despite the fact that Judge Asarch denied my mother the right to drive, Rachel brought her to the dealership to buy the car out. I found that out when the salesman called me to find out what was going on and why this woman Rachel was arranging for this. This was done despite the fact that neither had a valid drivers’ license nor could legally drive. Virginia knew about that also.

Rachel was also paying herself weekly out of my mother’s checking account. Sal, my mother’s power of attorney, acknowledged that Rachel was doing this. She took whatever she wanted each week; no one cared or reported what Rachel did. When Rachel became pregnant, Virginia still allowed her to live there and raise her child. George Esernio was the guardian at that time and also allowed this to go on. Rachel and her son and her friends took over the entire house. Rachel hired one of her friends, Glynnis, to watch my mother while she was going to her prenatal visits and Lamaze classes. She paid Glynnis out of my mother’s checking account as well, without the approval or knowledge of any of the “legal team members”; and even when I made them all aware of this fact, they still did nothing. ”

Next—the report from the private investigator  

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

The frustration and heartbreak and anger of those whose loved ones are being held in abusive guardianships are growing in leaps and bounds. I receive many calls and e-mails and letters from people desperate to tell their story. They tell me how they cried after reading about my Mom, they tell me how they could not bear to watch my mother pleading for release from captivity, and they offer me their condolences over and over again. Some wish to remain anonymous, for now. Others tell me that because I went public with my story it gave them courage to go public with their own horrific tale of abuse. They are no longer afraid.

This is the story of one such woman. Through many e-mails and phone calls, through tears and gasps and starts and stops; through crying and anger and yelling and absolute frustration and shock, I finally heard her story; a story that should have been reported in the mainstream media, on the evening news and headlines in all of the local and national newspapers. The media was notified in this case, as it was in my mother’s case, but once again, they completely ignored this story as well. After what I personally have seen and been through and after all of the stories I have heard, I thought nothing would surprise me anymore. But each story carries its own unique tale, its own DNA, its own pain and heartbreak. And each and every story breaks my heart just a little bit more, while making my determination to fight for justice even stronger.             

Joan Pezzollo is a loving daughter desperate to save her mother. She is an intelligent and articulate woman who holds a masters degree in sociology and psychology; the wife of a prominent doctor; the mother of five children and two stepsons; the beloved daughter of Marilyn Ingrisani of Carle Place, a woman who is currently under the guardianship of George Esernio, an attorney with Albanese and Albanese in Garden City, NY. She is another victim of the extraordinarily corrupt judicial system of Nassau County in Long Island, New York.

This is part one of Joan’s story and her long and painful ordeal. 

May 20, 2013

by Joan Pezzollo

“My parents had all of their paperwork in order. I am the executrix of their living will and estate, in addition to their power of attorney and irrevocable health care proxy.  They trusted me implicitly and wanted to be certain they were taken care of should anything ever happen to them. After my Dad passed away in 2001, my mother kept her house but spent significant periods of time with me and my family in my home. Once I became pregnant with my twins, in February 2008, my mother moved in with me, going back to her home only to retrieve mail. We put a down payment together on a beautiful home with a mother-in-law suite so we could live together. I gave birth to my twins in October of 2008 and within the next few months my family and I moved into our new home. Mom did not make the move with us because she still had to sell her house along with her condo in Florida.

After I gave birth, I hired a baby nurse to help me. When she left for a holiday in Trinidad for three weeks a woman by the name of Rachel replaced her for that time period. She and my mother got along very well. She told me that she was a med student on leave of absence from Columbia and a home health aide. After the Christmas holidays Mom made plans to go to Florida to pack up her condo and put it on the market for sale. Her dementia and her health were steadily declining and I did not want her traveling alone and I was unable to go because I was breastfeeding my twins. 

I received a call from Rachel around that time and she volunteered to make the trip with my mother. I had not done a background check on her but I believed she was qualified and Mom loved her so I felt secure enough to allow that. In February of 2009, my mother and Rachel flew to Florida, all at my mother’s expense.

While in Florida, Rachel placed a phone call to me on behalf of my mother. At the time Mom’s dementia was such that she had great difficulty remembering telephone numbers and using the phone to call out.  Rachel told me my mother wanted to speak with me. As soon as my mother got on the phone she started yelling at me and accusing me of stealing her money from her Sun Trust account. This was an account that had been closed down years earlier by my father’s financial advisor; an account that I never had access to. Mom had forgotten that the account no longer existed but no matter what I said she did not believe me. What I did not know at the time was that Rachel had figured out how wealthy my mother was and was doing everything she could to pull my mother away from me. During that trip, Rachel somehow convinced my mother that her grandchildren and I were after her money. She also fabricated a story stating that I was in collusion with a friend of mine, a doctor, to have my mother killed. Somehow Rachel had even turned the rest of my family away from me.  

They returned from that trip on Easter Sunday, 2009. Rachel brought my mother to my home and Mom gave me a painting as a housewarming gift. She refused to interact with anyone in the family. It was obvious to everyone there that a substantial personality shift had taken place. My husband and I were very concerned. Immediately after that trip Rachel moved into my mother’s house and her plans of moving in with me and selling her home were cancelled.

By either April or May of 2009, Rachel had convinced my mother to make her power of attorney. Rachel took my mother to see a lawyer by the name of Joel Kaplan. She presented herself as an aide and made up a story that Marilyn Ingrasani no longer wanted anything to do with her daughter or her grandchildren and she wanted her daughter’s power of attorney revoked.  Joel Kaplan did not reach out to me; he did not ask for any documents or proof; he did not contact my parent’s attorney; he did not question anything. He simply took a check from my mother for $7500.00 and issued the necessary paperwork. I found out about this in June 2009 when I received a letter in the mail from the attorney. I tried to visit my mother but Rachel would not allow me in the house. We went to the police and when they arrived my mother told them she wanted me out of there. They did nothing and left.

My mother physically assaulted me in front of Rachel. I stood there and put my hands over my head and just allowed her to hit me. My husband video recorded this while Rachel just stood there and watched. It was obvious that my mother had suffered some sort of a psychotic break because our relationship had always been close and loving. I immediately hired a lawyer and applied for guardianship. That is how I ended up in Judge Joel Asarch’s courtroom.”

Part Two: Judge Asarch appoints a guardian

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