UPDATE: Another defendant faces judge in guardianship abuse case

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UPDATE APRIL 17: Gary Neal Taylor made his first appearance in Clark County court Monday, telling the judge he doesn't have money for an attorney.  

Authorities call Taylor an integral part of his wife April Parks' alleged criminal syndicate. Taylor faces 7 felony counts including racketeering, theft and exploitation. 

Court records show Taylor collected more than $78,000 by over-billing clients for running errands and other menial tasks. 

For example, Taylor spent hours traveling to the courthouse and waiting to file paperwork in person that could have been submitted online. 

Court records also say he billed residents at a nursing home for dropping off toilet paper. 

In 2014 both Parks and Taylor charged a 75 year-old client for travel to check on the client's California home. Parks billed the man's estate $840 while Taylor billed $1,200. The court document says the trip was totally unnecessary because local property managers were already checking on the house. 

Taylor will be back in court Wednesday to be appointed a lawyer at taxpayer expense.

UPDATE APRIL 10: April Parks faces over 200 felony charges including racketeering, exploitation and perjury. 

According to court documents she's also charged with stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the clients she was supposed to protect. But Parks will be appointed a public defender because she claims she can't afford an attorney. 

Parks plead not guilty Monday in front of several victim family members who say Parks isolated their loved ones. 

"To see her walking with her shackles on and being confined, I mean she confined what 150 people they said for a year or so," says Julie Belshe whose parents were appointed to Parks.  "So it felt really good to see her confined and walk in the courtroom and be on a chain. That's where she belongs. She's a danger to our society."  

Parks's husband, Gary Taylor, faces 7 charges. He was arrested in Pennsylvania last month and booked into Clark County Detention Center this weekend. 

Parks declined our request for an interview where she's being held at Clark County Detention Center.

UPDATE APRIL 5: April Lynn Parks was a private, professional guardian appointed by Clark County Family Court to protect hundreds of vulnerable people.

Parks admitted to Contact 13's Darcy Spears on camera in 2015 that she made major mistakes with her client's money, including in one case, charging an elderly woman $108 for a pair of stretch pants. 

Parks was the ringleader of a small group employed by her. They've all been indicted for draining the accounts of those they were supposed to care for while isolating them from their families. 

Parks faces more than 200 felony criminal charges for racketeering, theft, exploitation and perjury. She was arrested in Pennsylvania on March 8, extradited to Las Vegas and booked into Clark County Detention Center Tuesday. 

Contact 13's investigation helped lead the way for reform in the guardianship system and the criminal case against Parks. 

That came just in time as we uncovered in court documents that Parks was about to expand her business and hire more staff. She'd gotten a contract with Valley Health System's six Las Vegas hospitals, which would make her the first choice to refer patients for guardianship services.   

There's no telling how many of those potential referrals could have fallen victim to the alleged crimes Parks and her associates are charged with. Valley Health Systems declined to comment. 

Contact 13 requested an on-camera interview with April Parks at the jail but haven't heard back. And we tried to reach her attorney but his voicemail was full. 

UPDATE MARCH 27: Mark Simmons is now behind bars in Las Vegas. Simmons faces 134 felony criminal charges including racketeering, exploitation of the elderly and theft.

He was extradited from Indiana and booked into Clark County Detention Center this weekend. He is scheduled to appear before a judge on Wednesday. 

UPDATE MARCH 14: Private for profit guardian April Parks is now behind bars. She and three others were indicted last week for running a criminal enterprise involving theft and exploitation.

Court records show Parks disregarded her duty as a guardian, treating the vulnerable as "cash cows."

In one example, Parks and her business partner Mark Simmons profited from a scam where they bought Christmas gifts for their wards, such as popcorn, socks and other small items. When the wards received the gifts, they were charged at a hourly rate of $100 per hour.

Clients were also billed when Parks' husband Gary Taylor drove to the courthouse and waited in line to file papers that could have been submitted online.

UPDATE MARCH 09: April Parks was arrested by local police in East Goshen Township, PA. 

The Westtown-East Goshen Regional Police Department charged Parks with being a fugitive from justice and she was arraigned.  Her bail was set at $500,000 dollars.  Parks was remanded to Chester County Prison pending extradition to Clark County, Nevada.

ORIGINAL STORY

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) -- What started with a Contact 13 investigation has led to hundreds of felony charges against four suspects for the way authorities say they treated people in their care.

This is the latest move in cases involving more than 150 victims and nearly $560,000 in stolen money.

It's the most significant guardianship exploitation indictment in Nevada's history -- so says Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt in what authorities hope will wipe out a long-standing crime wave in our state.

Cheers and fist pumps erupted in the Regional Justice Center lobby from a crowd of people who haven't had much to celebrate over the last few years. 

On Wednesday, they went from victim to victor as April Parks, the woman who they say stole everything from their loved ones, was indicted.

"Today, law enforcement sends a clear message to those who take advantage of our most vulnerable citizens," said Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson.

Contact 13 first exposed April Lynn Parks in early 2015 when she told Darcy Spears, "I do it because I love it," in reference to her work as a private, professional guardian.

Guardians are appointed by the court to protect and serve their wards. They're entrusted with every aspect of a person's life, including their health care and their money.

"I can't imagine a class of people more susceptible to criminals than wards of a court," said Wolfson.

Parks, her husband Gary Taylor, her attorney Noel Palmer Simpson and her office manager Mark Simmons are together facing 270 felony counts of perjury, racketeering, filing false records, theft and exploitation. 

The charges involve more than 150 victims who've lost more than half a million dollars. 

Authorities say Parks and her co-defendants used a position of trust and authority to prey on disabled, vulnerable people ranging in age from 40 to 90, and systematically bilk them out of their life savings.

"I've never been so happy in my life! All the thousands of hours and dollars I put into this was not in vain," said Elizabeth Indig, whose mother was one of Parks' wards. 

So were Julie Belshe's parents -- Rudy and Rennie North. Contact 13 broke their story in February 2015.

"When I reached out to you I was very traumatized," said Belshe. "I didn't know what to do!"

As for Wednesday's indictments, Belshe says, "It restored my faith in the people, in the justice system -- that there are good people in our system that are working and they're on our side -- the citizens' side. Because you start to think, who's going to believe me? Because you tell these stories and they're unbelievable!"

"I really think this is going to send a very strong message to the other guardians and the attorneys and the judges who aided and abetted her in this," said Indig. "And I think maybe Nevada will be clean of this crime and people can move here and retire without fear of losing everything."

Contact 13 will have more on the Family Court system's role in all this as the report continues on Thursday. 

As of late Wednesday afternoon, all four defendants had been arrested in law enforcement actions across the country.

April Parks was arrested by local police in East Goshen Township, PA.

The Westtown-East Goshen Regional Police Department charged Parks with being a fugitive from justice and she was arraigned.  Her bail was set at $500,000.00 dollars.  Parks was remanded to Chester County Prison pending extradition to Clark County, Nevada.

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