Estate Planning Scheme Targets Elderly

A Colorado Springs attorney faces some hefty fines after a judge finds him guilty of taking money from the elderly in an estate management scheme.

The actions came to state attorney general, Ken Salazar's attention in November of 2001. It was then Salazar began investigating the practices of Manson & Hochstetler.

A lawsuit accused Robert Mason, Harry Hochstetler, and Claude Page of taking part in the scheme. They apparently charged people up to $3,000 for a family asset protection plan, which they claimed would qualify seniors for medicaid while protecting their assets.

Now, an El Paso County judge has ordered they pay $1.6 million, for making false promises.

According to the state attoney general's office, 334 people across southern colorado are eligible for part of the settlement. The problem is, Robert Mason is in the middle of a bankruptcy, which could make it hard to collect the money.

One victim, Don Allison says he heard about the plan through a flyer that was sent to his elderly mother. The hope of saving money on medical care was a big selling point since Allison's mother, Edith was already in a nursing home. He had hoped to save some of his mother's life savings to help seld her grandchildren to college.

For just under $2,000 Mason & Hochstetler promised to shield their assets so they wouldn't be eaten away by the costs of long term nursing care.

Robert Mason declined to speak with 11 News.

Now, the attorney general's office will try to go after Mason's assets to pay the victims.