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Rutledge Grants $1 Million for Personal Protective Equipment

Rutledge Grants $1 Million for Personal Protective Equipment

Fri, Mar 27, 2020

Says, ‘If our healthcare providers are unable to care for patients, then exponentially more Arkansans could suffer’

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced allocating $1 million for the State to acquire lifesaving personal protective equipment (PPE) to be used by doctors, nurses and medical providers in the State to combat COVID-19. The money will be sourced from the Attorney General’s Consumer Education and Enforcement Fund, which consists of monies from lawsuit settlements and not taxpayer dollars.

“This shortage of personal protective equipment is putting our front-line healthcare providers at risk of contracting COVID-19,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “If our healthcare providers are unable to care for patients, then exponentially more Arkansans could suffer.”

On March 20, 2020, Rutledge allocated $3 million, from the same funds, to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission’s Quick Action Loan Program for small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Rutledge also has been proactively pursuing violations of price gouging laws since the Governor’s March 11 emergency declaration. Letters were sent to Amazon, eBay and Walmart regarding their proactive measures to prevent price gouging during the COVID-19 pandemic and encouraging them to take further action to stop bad actors from artificially raising prices on basic needs products during this public health crisis.

Rutledge has received over 500 consumer complaints as a result of Arkansas’s price gouging law which prevents individuals or businesses from increasing product prices by more than 10 percent of what the product would have cost prior to the state of emergency declaration on March 11, 2020. Violators can face criminal charges and fines as well as civil penalties of up to $10,000 per incident. Arkansans can report price gougers to the Attorney General’s Office at ArkansasAG.gov or call (800) 482-8982.

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Rutledge Allocates $3 Million to Fight COVID-19 in Arkansas

Rutledge Allocates $3 Million to Fight COVID-19 in Arkansas

Fri, Mar 20, 2020

Says, ‘Small Businesses are the back-bone of our communities’

LITTLE ROCK - Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced allocating $3 million to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission’s (AEDC) Quick Action Loan Program for small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. These funds will be in addition to the $4 million the Governor directed to the same program. The announcement was made during Governor Asa Hutchinson’s daily briefing on COVID-19. The money will be sourced from the Attorney General’s Consumer Education and Enforcement Fund, which consists of monies from lawsuit settlements and not taxpayer dollars.

“This money will be a lifeline for many Arkansas small businesses owners and will help to protect them from the prolonged economic hardships these local job creators are now facing,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Small Businesses are the back-bone of our communities, and we must do everything we can to help them during these unprecedented times. Uniting our efforts will not only help stop this pandemic and heal those who are sick, but also help jumpstart our state as we recover from COVID-19.”

Since the Governor’s declaration last week, Rutledge has been enforcing the price gouging laws in the State that protect Arkansans. Earlier this week, letters were sent to Amazon, eBay and Walmart praising the companies for their proactive response in preventing price gouging during the COVID-19 pandemic and encouraging them to take further action to stop bad actors from artificially raising prices on basic needs products during this public health crisis.

Arkansas’s price gouging law prevents individuals or businesses from increasing product prices by more than 10 percent of what the product would have cost prior to the state of emergency declaration on March 11, 2020. Violators can face criminal charges and fines as well as civil penalties of up to $10,000 per incident. Arkansans can report price gougers to the Attorney General’s Office at ArkansasAG.gov or call (800) 482-8982.

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Rutledge Sends Letters to Amazon, eBay and Walmart amid COVID-19 Price Gouging

Rutledge Sends Letters to Amazon, eBay and Walmart amid COVID-19 Price Gouging

Wed, Mar 18, 2020

Says, ‘committed to working with online retail platforms to hold pandemic profiteers accountable’

LITTLE ROCK – Attorney General Leslie Rutledge sent letters to Amazon, eBay and Walmart which allow third-party sellers to offer consumer goods through online retail platforms. The letter notified the companies’ CEOs that Arkansas’s price gouging laws automatically went into effect on March 11, 2020, after Governor Hutchinson’s state of emergency declaration. The letter also praised the companies for their proactive response in preventing price gouging during the COVID-19 pandemic and encouraged them to take further action to stop bad actors from artificially raising prices on basic needs products during this public health crisis.

“Arkansans have enough on their minds right now and paying exponentially inflated prices for basic necessities shouldn't be one of them,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I am committed to working with online retail platforms to hold pandemic profiteers accountable to the full extent of the law.”

Arkansas’s price gouging law prevents individuals or businesses from increasing product prices by more than 10 percent of what the product would have cost prior to the state of emergency declaration on March 11, 2020. Violators can face criminal charges and fines as well as civil penalties of up to $10,000 per incident. Arkansans can report price gougers to the Attorney General’s Office at ArkansasAG.gov or call (800) 482-8982.

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Rutledge Urges Arkansans to Participate in Free Price Gouging Webcast
Attorney General Initiates COVID-19 Response Plan
Hot Springs Man Sentenced to Pay Back Nearly $160,000 to Social Security Administration

Hot Springs Man Sentenced to Pay Back Nearly $160,000 to Social Security Administration

Thu, Mar 12, 2020

Says, ‘We must identify and prosecute those taking advantage of government assistance’

LITTLE ROCK – A Hot Springs man who collected disability benefits from the Social Security Administration for 16 years has been sentenced to pay back $158,061.90, as well as serve five years probation and eight months of house arrest. Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge worked in coordination with the Little Rock Cooperative Disability Investigations Unit (CDI). Ron Hawley,44, pleaded guilty to Theft of Government Funds back in June 2019 and was sentenced in March 2020.

“We must identify and prosecute those taking advantage of government assistance,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “I am proud of convictions of bad actors like Hawley who abuse the system built to protect those truly in need. It’s convictions like these that ensure we have the resources for those who need it.”

The CDI determined Hawley had been self-employed since 2003 but concealed his work activities from the Social Security Administration (SSA) and continued to collect Title II Disability Insurance Benefits.

During the course of the investigation, Hawley provided false statements to the SSA regarding his medical impairments and work activities in order to continue his scheme and defraud the government.

Hawley was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Graham Jones and sentenced in U.S. District Court, Western District of Arkansas.

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