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Criminal case against guardian moves forward

Posted at 5:26 PM, Mar 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-21 21:20:22-04
Theft and exploitation;  those are the charges one woman must face, charges that were ignored by a court that is supposed to be guarding our most vulnerable. Contact 13's Darcy Spears has more in a first-of-its kind case since she began investigating Clark County's troubled guardianship system.
A small victory comes Monday from a criminal case involving a daughter who wanted to carry out her father's wishes and care for him when the time came. 
She wasn't allowed to do that by order of Clark County Family Court. Now, the woman who the court put in charge is facing trial. 
Terri Black's father, Del, was deemed incompetent and the court got involved when Terri suspected Del's long-time companion, Helen Natko, of taking his money.  Despite hours of testimony in family court, Helen was appointed to be Del's guardian.
"This whole ordeal has cost our family $826,000 as of this date," says Rick Black. "And that is a travesty that you have to spend that kind of money to defend your family against a crook."
Large amounts of money were transferred from Del's accounts to Helen's. The Blacks say Family Court Hearing Master Jon Norheim and Judge Charles Hoskin ignored evidence -- the same evidence that the district attorney felt warranted felony charges of theft and exploitation.  
On Monday, a judge decided those charges will stick. 
"I do find the fact that she transferred the money out, and then 24 days later transferred it back in, establishes some evidence to support the state's allegations against her," Judge Janiece Marshall said from the bench on Monday.  
State law prevents a person convicted of crimes like exploitation and theft from becoming a guardian. 
The Blacks say they've endured tremendous pain, lost hundreds of thousands of dollars and most importantly, they lost precious time with Terri's dad, who died in July. They believe all of it could have been avoided.
"That evidence was in front of the family court to completely disqualify Helen Natko in June of 2013," says Rick. 
Terri finally feels like someone is listening. 
"For the first time in 3 years maybe justice will be served for my dad going forward," says Terri. 
The criminal case goes on to District Court now. 
We asked Helen Natko and her lawyer for a response but they declined to comment.