Several people described their personal grief, and they read letters from several others who lost thousands of dollars and expensive heirlooms that would never be replaced because a guardian stole from elderly victims for whom she was supposed to care.
The Las Vegas Journal-Review reported in a recent article, “Ex-Nevada guardian to serve up to 40 years behind bars,” that as victims wept and told their stories of suffering during a court hearing, a shackled and seated April Parks kept her head turned and never looked their way.
Karen Kelly, Clark County’s public guardian, read through a long list of names of seniors who were victimized and lived under “intense anxiety and anguish” for the final years of their lives because of Parks and those who worked closely with her. Parks’ business partner, Mark Simmons, and her husband, Gary Neal Taylor, also were ordered to serve time in prison. The judge also ordered the three defendants to pay more than $500,000 to their victims. Parks, 53, pleaded guilty last year to exploitation, theft and perjury charges.
One woman, Barbara Ann Neely, said Parks separated her from family and friends, saying, “She was not a guardian to me.”
Neely said. “She did not protect me. As each day passed, I felt like I was in a grave, buried alive.”
Another victim compared Parks to Hitler.
The 53-year-old Parks told the judge that she accepted responsibility “but never intended harm,” adding that “things could have been done better. … We were a group practice, and honestly, I think some things got ahead of us.”
She claimed that she had a “great passion” for guardianship and took “great care and concern” in her work.
Parks was one of the most active private professional guardians in Nevada, and she frequently acted as the surrogate decision-maker for as many as 50 to 100 elderly and mentally incapacitated people at a given time. As guardian, she had total control of their finances, estates and medical decisions.