By Ron Lee
Included this edition of the US~Observer there is an article written by Lou Ann Anderson, titled “Your Town, USA – a Great Place to Live, Launch and Loot?“. In it Ms. Anderson asserts that the elderly and disabled are often victimized by individuals, sometimes relatives, who abscond with their money – be it from a billfold or a savings account – and the system does little to protect them. But, what happens when a flaw in that system allows for the pilfering of the elderly and disabled by state-sanctioned private companies who act as guardians in cases where there is alleged wrongdoing?
Meet Beagle, Burke and Associates (BBA). BBA is a private, for-profit, company that works closely with the courts in Vancouver, Washington to “protect” the assets of those who can’t do it themselves, or those who have been victimized by having their estate looted by a uncontrollable guardian. They are supposed to be the watchdog of guardianships. But, in my opinion, they are just out to make money like any other for-profit company, and in the end, this means raping the accounts of the individuals they were supposed to be helping.
Such is the case with Ryan Cuthbert.
As an infant, Ryan was injured through medical malfeasance and developed cerebral palsy. Through the efforts of his parents, Debbie and Ron Cuthbert, Ryan won a settlement – set-up as a guardianship – to provide for the cost of care and living expenses. This came in the form of monthly payments, increasing with age, as well as several large payments at certain age milestones. Ron Cuthbert was awarded physical and financial guardianship of Ryan.
Ryan is a special needs individual who requires round-the-clock care, and for all of his 35 years, that is just what his parents have provided – especially Ron, who has been the primary care-giver all these years.
But that has all recently changed, thanks to BBA.
As part of the settlement agreement, Ron was required to submit an accounting of Ryan’s funds to the court, and through the years he has, and the court had always accepted them in the form he was providing. Granted, they weren’t as detailed as some accounting practices, but he always kept receipts and had a much more detailed accounting up-to-date should it ever be required. He just didn’t see the use of wasting the court’s time by giving them some sort of forensic breakdown. Ron knew he was taking care of Ryan’s needs and acting in his best interest.
At this point I need to mention that the Cuthbert’s don’t live in a mansion by any means, and they don’t drive new – or even newly used – vehicles. Nor do the Cuthbert’s flaunt expensive jewelry or go on lavish trips. They simply work and care for their son.
Because of Ron’s lack of “detailed” accounting BBA took notice. Personally, I think BBA are nothing more than wolves in sheep’s clothing, hand-picking large estates to rustle, but I digress…
Through their relationship with the court they launched a forensic accounting investigation into Ryan’s estate. They found that many times Ron had deposited Ryan’s check into his personal account – an account that was used for to provide for Ryan as well.
After several failed attempts to attain a more detailed accounting from Mr. Cuthbert, they made their move.
The Cuthbert home was raided and Ron was arrested, striping Ryan of his primary care-giver and, according to him, his best friend. While Ron was in jail Ryan’s health deteriorated. He became angry, with bouts of depression, and just didn’t understand why his father, who had always been there, wasn’t there any longer.
At this time, BBA was appointed guardian of Ryan’s estate and physical guardianship was stripped from Ron as well. But, NOT custody! It was determined Ryan was well cared for, and when Ron was released, pending trial, BBA even paid him to care for Ryan!
Even though Ron was back and home, Ryan would act-out knowing something was happening and he became completely afraid of police – they were the one’s who took his father away.
When the case eventually went to trial, Ron produced a detailed accounting of Ryan’s estate to the court as evidence that there had been no wrongdoing. His evidence was received, but the judge mandated that the jury not see it as it would only confuse them. Needless to say, Ron was convicted on 7 counts of felony theft.
Ryan’s brother Jason, a Washington State Trooper, has since won physical guardianship over Ryan. A small victory.
On March 28, 2008, Ron Cuthbert was sentenced to 43 months in prison. He is currently out pending an appeal and is back caring for Ryan, where he should be.
BBA is still guardian of Ryan’s estate and has been paid out of Ryan’s account an estimated $130,000.00 for “expenses.” Their “expenses” keep building.
Ryan keeps losing.
I thought this was all about him.
But, that’s what happens when a for-profit company uses a guise as protectors, when in reality they are nothing more than mere petty profiteers.
This, by no means, is an isolated incident. Just ask the Trost family, and the many others coming out of the woodwork saying they have been wronged by BBA.
Keep sucking that tit, BBA. The milk won’t last forever. You’ve been found out.
I just hope Ron’s appeal is granted. Any reasonable, law-abiding judge should dismiss this nightmare.
I mean, really … It’s all about Ryan. Don’t forget that.
Editor’s Note: If you have any information regarding Beagle, Burke and Associates, please contact the US~Observer by calling 541-474-7885 or via e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember, if you have been falsely accused of a crime, call the US~Observer immediately!