Local News


Fraud and embezzlement alleged in guardianship lawsuit

Posted at 6:39 PM, Jul 20, 2017

A handful of professionals who are supposed to protect the vulnerable now face allegations of fraud.

Contact 13 Chief Investigator Darcy Spears has new information about Clark County's troubled guardianship system.

"This has to stop!"

Four simple words, fraught with emotion and resolve.

"I hope to get back what was right--what's supposed to rightfully be mine; what I believe was stolen from me. And I want justice."

Twenty-eight-year-old Jason Hanson suffers from cerebral palsy. His limbs don't work well, but his mind is sharp. 

He's sat by watching private guardians and their associates get indicted, but says he's done waiting for law enforcement to act in his case.

"And so I just decided to take matters into my own hands."

A civil lawsuit filed this week in Clark County alleges racketeering, fraud, negligence and unjust enrichment at Jason's expense. 

He names former Public Administrator Jared Shafer, current Public Administrator John Cahill, and attorneys Francis Fine, Dara Goldsmith and Elyse Tyrell. Tyrell served on the Nevada Supreme Court's Guardianship Reform Commission.

"I believe that it all comes back to Jared Shafer, but personally I think that Shafer and his associates are all equally guilty," said Hanson.

In the lawsuit, Shafer and the others are accused of "Using their roles in the guardianship and probate systems to deprive Mr. Hanson of the limited resources which were left to him by his father and grandmother." 

It alleges they charged "excessive fees" and committed "multiple fraudulent acts of embezzlement" of Jason's money.

While in the guardianship system, Jason lost his house and was placed in a group home at taxpayers' expense after his father passed away. 

The guardianship should have ended in 2007 when Jason turned 18, but it wasn't officially closed until Contact 13 got involved seven years later. 

All the while, Jason's money was being spent. 

He got nearly $40,000 of it back this past April when his foster mother and legal guardian, Susan Rousselle, pleaded guilty to exploitation and paid him restitution.

"I'm relieved at that, but it's only the first step in a very long, long journey and I won't stop until that journey has reached it's conclusion."

We reached out to every defendant named in the lawsuit. 

None of them returned our calls for comment. 

On behalf of Public Administrator John Cahill, the county declined to comment on pending litigation. 

Jason's case is known to the District Attorney and an investigation is ongoing.