FEDERAL INVESTIGATION INTO AYUDANDO GUARDIANS, INC.
This webpage provides information about the ongoing federal prosecution into Ayudando Alpha, Inc., d/b/a “Ayudando Guardians, Inc.” (Ayudando Guardians). This webpage will be updated periodically as necessary. (Last updated September 1, 2017)
Press Release: Justice Department Announces Closing of Ayudando Guardians Office – U.S. Marshals Service Continues to Manage Company’s Business Operations and to Ensure Continuity of Services for its Clients (Issued Aug. 31, 2017)
Information for Clients of Ayudando Guardians
Clients of Ayudando Guardians, or family members of Ayudando Guardian clients, who need to speak with someone about their accounts or expenses should call Ayudando, which is now being operated by the U.S. Marshals Service, at 505-332-4357.
Clients of Ayudando Guardians also can direct their comments or concerns to the U.S. Attorney’s Office at USANM.Ayudando@usdoj.gov or 505-346-6902.
Indictment in United States v. Ayudando Guardians, Inc., et al., 17-CR-1836 (Filed July 11, 2017)
On July 19, 2017, federal officials announced the filing of conspiracy, fraud, theft and money laundering charges against Ayudando Guardians, and its co-founders, Susan Harris and Sharon Moore. The charges, which are contained in a 28-count indictment, arise out of an alleged decade-long sophisticated scheme to embezzle funds from client trust accounts managed by Ayudando Guardians, a non-profit corporation that provides guardianship, conservatorship and financial management services to hundreds of individuals with special needs.
According to the indictment, Ayudando – which means “helping” in Spanish – receives government benefit payments from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and U.S. Social Security Administration on behalf of many of its clients, and acts as a fiduciary or representative payee for these clients by paying their expenses and maintaining the balances for the benefit of the clients. The indictment alleges that Harris and Moore, the primary owners and operators of Ayudando, have embezzled millions of dollars from their special needs clients to support lavish lifestyles for themselves and their families. The charges against Ayudando, Harris and Moore are the result of an ongoing multi-agency investigation by the FBI, IRS Criminal Investigation, U.S. Marshals Service , Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General and Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General.
The public is reminded that charges in indictment are merely allegations and defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Post-Indictment Protective and Restraining Order Enjoining Property Subject to Forfeiture (Filed July 14, 2017)
Also on July 19, 2017, federal authorities enforced a federal court order that authorized the U.S. Marshals Service’s Complex Assets Unit to assume control of Ayudando’s business operations. The court order appoints the U.S. Marshals Service as the Receiver and Monitor of Ayudando Guardian, including all its financial accounts. The court order authorizes the U.S. Marshals Service to operate the business to ensure that its assets are not improperly spent or removed, and that the interests of Ayudando Guardian clients are protected as the prosecution of the criminal case goes forward. The U.S. Marshals Service’s operation of Ayudando Guardian will ensure continuity of services for Ayudando Guardians’ clients.
Press Release: Guardianship Firm and its Principals Charged with Federal Conspiracy, Fraud, Theft and Money Laundering Offenses (Issued July 19, 2017)
The U.S. Attorney’s Office issued a press release on July 19, 2017, which discusses the charges in the indictment and the purpose of the court order.