Monday, July 18, 2011

Exposing phony court officials

A reader sent me some info on a local court parenting coordinator. Her online bio brags about "Completion of Doctoral studies" in 2007, and says:
Dr. Ellis is in private practice in Aptos, CA, where she treats individuals, couples, families and groups. She works in conjunction with the Superior Court of California, County of Santa Cruz as a Parenting Coordinator, Therapeutic Visitation Supervisor and Reunification Therapist. She also offers private co-parenting mediation services.
Her Linkedin page tells of a masters degree in 1992, and mentions her "her doctoral and post-doctoral training", but no doctoral degree is listed. She is apparently trusted to write orders for the Santa Cruz family court, as shown here:

I don't know whether she has some sort of phony mail-order degree, but she is not a licensed psychologist and she should not be signing court orders with PhD after her name.

The above order was an order for the parents to give their kid psychotropic drugs according to a "medication regimen". Even if she had a PhD and a psychology license, she would not be qualified to write medical orders.

My reader has exposed Ellis to the local authorities. It will be interesting to see whether she corrects her web page, and if the court continues to use her as a parent coordinator. My guess is that the court will continue to use charlatans who act outside their license and competence.

My reader is also trying to expose a local court psychologist that she calls Dr. Gay. He is a licensed psychologist, but you would never guess by looking at his work. He does not seem to have any expertise in any subject related to the family court. As far as I know, he has never even taken a class in child development. His reports and testimony do not show any knowledge about the subject.


Anonymous said...

there is an amazingly zealous blind faith in psychology and social work in the family law system, seems to me the judges et al are practically speaking in tongues in ecstatic fervor handing out referrals for all to various counselors, shrinks, et al. Problem is that psychology is the least scientifically rigorous of the medical arts (notice I said arts and not science, 'cause science it ain't) and probably the most politicized.

Alas, "Dr Gay" does appear to have a PhD, but from some little 3rd rate school down in the Fresno area (no, not Fresno State, that's a real college). Having checked a few websites touting his so-called areas of expertise it seems his focus is helping gays come out of the closet. I realize you've pointed this out before but thought it worth mentioning again since someone here in town is looking to unmask these snake oil salesmen (and women). How helping gays come out of the closet maps to child and family law I'll never know, but in Santa Cruz County the agendas are pretty messed up.

Glad to see someone is out there trying to turn over the rocks so we can see what slithers out.

George said...

Yes, psychology is the least scientifically rigorous.

If the judges really had faith in the psychology, then they would ask their experts to explain their reasoning and expect some coherent answers. They don't. I think that it is all an evil game that they play.

Anonymous said...

well, my observations are that the legal types that get into family law are the dregs of law school, and that's saying something.

The best and brightest go into the most challenging and best paying areas of law like corporate or intellectual property. And those that like the thrill of human foibles go for criminal law.

With family law you're dealing with people at their worst behavior towards each other (criminal behavior aside). That said, obviously lots of money to be made, but it has to be very stressful and the only way they survive is they simply have no nervous system left.

Anonymous said...


Fake credentials...Sometimes these doctors do not even exist...

DR MELISSA BERENGE. was our court appointed mediator. She referred us to Dr. Michelle DeAntonio. I looked up DeAntonio's credentials. she had no experience in eval.s.

She sent over a contract to me via fax. it was odd. No letterhead. A typed in tel. no. way off to the side margin, and a p.o. box to send a check to for $6,000.00.

When i mentioned that she had no addr.on her stationary, she became peculiar. I asked, "where's your office " she said, "she didn't remember" When i probed, she said, " I don't remember because it's new". When I probed further she gave me a street name. I continued to probe, asking for the exact addr.. finally....she said, "I use Dr. Berenge's office"-- (the court appointed mediator) who referred us to her.

Dr DeAntonio had never done a child custody eval.. I was later told that Dr Berenge was simply, going to assist her. Somehow, that was going to make the arrangement o.k.

Weeks later, I looked up the website for Dr. Michelle DeAntonio again. It was no longer there. It had been completely deleted. It was all a scam.

George said...

I do think that family law attracts the worst judges, lawyers, psychologists, and social workers.

Anonymous said...

I looked through her LinkedIn recommendations, and there is one from her doctoral professor at "Rushmore University." Rushmore is an *unaccredited college. They'll sell you an MBA even if you don't have your bachelors. They are 100% online with no campus. However, I tried to check the website (the only way to get to this school) and it is not there, so it could be out of business. Is it even legal to claim to have a PhD when it's from a place like this??

On a cached version of a Rushmore "University" page, however, I was able to find this gem:
"The reality is that employers seldom investigate the accreditation of the school that a potential employee has attended."

Also, a page on tuition shows that a PhD will run you $10,999 up front, or $699 down and 36 easy monthly payments of $365

Here's a good review:

Bottom line is: you're right. Tamera Ellis is not a PhD and has no right to go by Dr. Ellis. Seems like fraud to me.

Anonymous said...

Here is a good place to file complaints against some of these bogus providers:

Since she's apparently an MFT, there should be some ethical rule against using a fake degree or un-earned title.

I hope that whomever was subject to that court order also sends a complaint to the court regarding this issue. If something like that were to ever go to trial, the counselor would be torn to shreds and completely discredited for going by "Dr" with a degree like that. I don't even think it's legal to testify as an expert witness with a diploma mill degree.

Anonymous said...

came across this:

I wouldn't trust a single person in this group to babysit for me, much less rule my life. Read the "Arbitration: Private Judging" section... is that not scary. Oh, sure, I'd love for one of those cackling witches pictured to be a personal judge and jury in my life and make decisions about my life, finances, and children.

George said...

I see that Tamara Ellis claims to have a PhD on the CAMP site.

A reader has already exposed Ellis to Judge Morse, and wrote to me: "I sent Morse my papers exposing their favorite parent coordinator as a fraud: ... Morse sent me back a letter saying only: 'I have looked into your concerns.'" I would think that Judge Morse would tell Ellis to stop calling herself a PhD, at the least.

Anonymous said...

Here's what's interesting to me. The other parent coordinator on the site is Michelle Franklin, PhD. I have never heard of her before, but looking at her website her credentials are much better. Her PhD came from a real school (UCLA). As did her BS and MS. Why would she allow someone like Tamara Ellis to get away with claiming to be a PhD? Wouldn't the conversation of doctoral work come up at some point between the 2? I'm sure she knows that Tamara's came from a mill...

It makes me suspicious of Michelle Franklin to associate with such people, without even knowing anything about her. I think we've all dealt with some of the other criminals in that clan.

Anonymous said...

Good for you for putting this information out there! The public needs to know this.

Anonymous said...

I have been dealing with family law in Santa Cruz for 8 years now.What a nightmare!! Recently Tamara Ellis was chosen for re-unification when our child was ready. Now Tamara Ellis is somehow evaluating wether the child is ready for her services. She submits things to court/judge without my knowledge. And they are a complete lie. Not accurite what so ever. Everyone believes her because she's the professional. She's the (very disputed)PhD!
I hear that she is being sued. Does anyone know anything about that?
Also can anyone help me to get more info on her bogus credentials and all her aliases?

Unknown said...

I am a father that has gone through these processes via Family Court in Santa Cruz County with the above provider and others utilized by the court. I would like to know if the writer of this blog remains in Santa Cruz, and if so, would be willing to either speak by phone or perhaps meet for a lunch at a local jaunt. I don't really care to post my story, which is the story of my family, in a blog, but I am interested in meeting the blog writer or speaking by phone.

All the best,

A. Castro