Rutledge Files Suit Against Owner of J Boys BlacktopThu, Feb 14, 2019
‘Our most vulnerable need protection against scam artists’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today filed suit against Allen K. Jeffery, owner of J Boys Blacktop, of Pine Bluff, Arkansas for violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Home Solicitation Sales Act.
“Businesses in this State must understand they cannot take advantage of hard working Arkansans,” said Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “Consumers, especially our most vulnerable need protection against scam artists who steal their money and break their promises. I will do everything in my power to resolve these scams for Arkansans. If you or a family member have experienced less than satisfactory business dealings with Mr. Jeffery or his business please contact my office immediately.”
Jeffery’s company solicited business by knocking on the doors of Arkansas consumers and offering to repair their sidewalks and driveways with leftover asphalt or cement from other contracts. Attorney General Rutledge’s Consumer Protection Division received six consumer complaints since January 2016, where consumers reported that each paid Jeffery for work and that either no work was performed, only partial work was performed, or the work purportedly finished was completely unsatisfactory. In addition, Jeffery used high pressure sales tactics to persuade elderly consumers to pay an excessive amount of money before leaving them with unrepaired driveways and avoiding the customer’s phone calls.
In March 2017, the Attorney General of Kansas issued an Order of Default Judgment against Mr. Jeffery, owner of J Boys Blacktop, and there is an ongoing government action against him in Oklahoma for similar allegations.
Attorney General Rutledge is requesting restitution, enhanced civil penalties, injunctive relief and demands a jury trial.
65-Year Sentence for Possession of 1,000 Child Porn VideosWed, Feb 13, 2019
Rutledge Says, 'committed to removing evil people from our neighborhoods'
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced that a Pulaski County man has been sentenced to 65 years in the Arkansas Department of Correction on child pornography charges.
Thomas Mullikin, 57, of Little Rock, pleaded guilty to seven counts of distributing, possessing, and viewing of matter depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a child. He was found in possession of more than 1,000 videos and images of adult men engaging in sexual intercourse and penetration with girls as young as 3 years old.
“I am committed to removing evil people from our neighborhoods,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Mullikin possessed more than 1,000 horrific videos involving the rape of small, innocent children. I will ensure that he and others who engage in this repulsive conduct are held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
Mullikin was arrested in May by the Attorney General’s Office Cyber Crimes Unit when special agents seized laptops and external storage devices from his residence. An attorney from the Attorney General’s Office was appointed Special Deputy Prosecutor in the case by the 6th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley.
ICYMI: Stop the unwanted robocallsMon, Feb 11, 2019
Rutledge says, ‘I will take all measures necessary to advocate on behalf of Arkansans to stop these calls and prosecute those responsible.’
LITTLE ROCK – Sunday, an op-ed written by Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge appeared in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, calling for the federal government to do more to stop illegal caller ID spoofing and robocalls.
The phone rings and rings and rings. The number on my caller ID looks familiar, but I know better. It is another robocall. I could scream ... and I just might! Just like every other Arkansan, I just want these calls to end immediately.
For each of the past four years, I have visited every county in Arkansas, and the most common complaint I hear is that people want these calls to stop. They are tired of the incessant and pestering robocalls and spoofing.
Spoofing is when a fake but familiar-looking number is displayed on your caller ID that tricks you into answering the call. And while these calls are frustrating for most, they are costly and dangerous for far too many of our families, friends and neighbors.
Hard-working Arkansans who spent years saving for retirement so they could travel, spoil grandkids or buy a couple of momma cows to add to their herd become prime targets for these low-life con artists. People with no values or integrity prey on those who were raised right and want to always do the right thing.
These cons make outrageous claims: "I'm calling from the IRS because you owe back taxes and law enforcement will be there to arrest you if you don't make a payment this second"; or "You haven't paid your electric bill and I'm shutting the lights off unless you pay over the phone right now." Or they take advantage of the love of family: "Grandma, this is your favorite grandchild, and I am in jail out of state and you have to pay right now to get me out of here."
As your attorney general, let me be clear: These are all scams!
Spoofing is illegal in Arkansas, but it still happens, and Arkansans feel they have no way to protect themselves. Law enforcement investigates and prosecutes these crooks routinely. Unfortunately, the sheer volume of spoofed robocalls originating out of country turns efforts to identify the source into a perpetual game of whack-a-mole as different phone numbers are continuously used. My job as attorney general is to protect Arkansans, which is why I am taking this problem directly to the providers: the telecommunication companies.
According to First Orion, a call-blocking company based in Little Rock, nearly half of all cellphone calls in the next year will come from scammers. This is unacceptable. Every telephone call passes through a telecommunication service--a "telecom.
Regulatory roadblocks had previously prevented telecoms from having the legal authority to block many illegal calls. In 2017, I successfully urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to authorize telecoms to block illegal calls from invalid numbers, unassigned numbers and numbers whose owners have requested blocking. Telecom service providers have the authority to stop these never-ending robocalls, but they are not taking the necessary steps to verify whether a number is valid or a spoof. Consumers are so fed up with these calls that they would flock to a phone company that blocked all suspected robocalls involving a spoofed caller ID.
Telecom service providers can no longer have a free pass. It's time to put pressure on these companies and demand action. Telecoms must be required to block spoofed calls automatically.
Blocking spoofed calls is one part of a multi-faceted strategic solution. During this legislative session, I am working to strengthen our state laws to silence these calls. And I am on the 37-state Robocall Technology Working Group to develop best practices for the telecom industry to prevent robocalls and prosecute the originator of these calls.
I do not dismiss the technological challenges involved in this effort. Neither do I diminish the ability of the telecoms to identify and prevent these calls. I will take all measures necessary to advocate on behalf of Arkansans to stop these calls and prosecute those responsible.
This problem is not limited to our state. There is also legislation in Congress to increase the enforcement powers of the FCC to deal with unlawful robocalls. I will remain on the front lines of this effort, pushing these measures through Congress and to President Trump's desk. I will urge the FCC to implement rules to remove obstacles that would allow telecom service providers to use new and existing technology to detect and block illegal spoofed calls.
I am taking the fight to the criminals, the telecoms, the FCC, the Department of Justice and to the White House.
Arkansans are fed up, and so am I. It is time to stop the calls.
Rutledge Welcomes Spring Law ClerksFri, Feb 8, 2019
Says ‘Law clerks play a valuable role for the state’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge welcomed a new class of law clerks during the spring session to the Attorney General’s office. These law students work in various departments assisting with legal research, drafting memos and legal documents and accompanying lawyers at trials, client meetings and hearings.
“The law clerk program exposes students to the fulfilling experience of public service,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Law clerks play a valuable role for the state performing research and writing for Arkansas’s top attorneys in a great service-learning environment.”
Sarah Fendley, a second-year student at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UA Little Rock) William H. Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the Civil Department. She graduated from Lyon College with a Bachelor of Arts in English and art in 2009, and from Henderson State University with a Master of Liberal Arts degree in 2013. Fendley is from Hot Springs and graduated from Lake Hamilton High School in 2005.
Hannah Johnston, a second-year student at the UA Little Rock Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the State Agencies Department. She graduated from Auburn University in 2017 with a degree in public relations. Johnston is from Auburn, Alabama and graduated from Auburn High School in 2013.
Edward Mader, a second-year student at the UA Little Rock Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the Criminal Department. He graduated from the University of Dallas in 2006 with a degree in philosophy. Mader is from Bentonville and graduated from Bentonville High School in 2002.
Robert Murphy, a third-year student at the UA Little Rock Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the Public Protection Department. He graduated from Hendrix College in 2015 with a degree in creative writing. Murphy is from Little Rock and graduated from Episcopal Collegiate School in 2011.
Amanda Partridge, a second-year student at the UA Little Rock Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the Public Protection Department. She graduated from Harding University with a degree in English in 2011. Partridge is from Little Rock and graduated from Central Arkansas Christian High School in 2008.
Sydney Sadler, a second-year student at the UA Little Rock Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the Public Protection Department. She graduated from the University of Arkansas with a Bachelor of Arts in political science in 2017. Sadler is from Springfield, Missouri and graduated from Kickapoo High School in Springfield in 2013.
Christian Scott, a second-year student at the UA Little Rock Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. She graduated from the University of Central Arkansas with a major in history in 2016. Scott is from Mountain View and graduated from Mountain View High School in 2012.
Chandra Smith, a second-year student at the UA Little Rock Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the Civil Department. She graduated from Upper Iowa University in Fayette, Iowa with degrees in business administration and criminal justice in 2017. Smith is from Bloomfield, Iowa and graduated from Davis County High School in Bloomfield in 2013.
Katelyn Spellman, a second-year student at the UA Little Rock Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the Criminal Department. She graduated from the Penn State University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. Spellman is from Montrose, Pennsylvania and graduated from Montrose Area High School in 2011.
Rutledge Announces Tax Evasion Arrest of Mississippi Woman Already Facing Medicaid Fraud ChargesWed, Feb 6, 2019
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the owner of Bridge of Faith Hospice & Palliative Care in Helena-West Helena has been arrested on charges separate, but in addition to the previous charges of engaging in a criminal enterprise and Medicaid fraud she is currently facing.
Charline Brandon, 62, of Cleveland, Mississippi, is charged with attempting to evade or defeat taxes, a Class C felony, from 2010 to March 2017. Brandon was arrested for fraudulently billing the Medicaid program in Arkansas in October 2017. It was subsequently learned that from September 2013 through December 2016, Bridge of Faith Hospice & Palliative Care was paid gross income of $1,567,432.82 by Medicaid and Medicare and never filed an income tax return in Arkansas. Brandon turned herself in to the Pulaski County District Court. She currently faces similar charges in Mississippi.
“Brandon’s laundry list of charges include finding ways to steal from the Arkansas Medicaid Program and avoid paying taxes,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Brandon’s failure to pay taxes on behalf of the company or from her personal income to the State of Arkansas hurt law-abiding Arkansas families and businesses who work hard to follow the laws and serve Arkansans.”
This case was referred to the Arkansas Attorney General’s office by the Mississippi Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of Inspector General.
Medicaid fraud occurs when providers use the Medicaid program to obtain money to which they are not entitled. To report Medicaid fraud or abuse or neglect in residential care facilities, contact the Attorney General’s Medicaid fraud hotline at (866) 810-0016 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rutledge Statement on State of the Union AddressTue, Feb 5, 2019
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released the below statement following President Donald J. Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday night.
“President Trump’s State of the Union address was an inspiring message setting the course for a productive and prosperous year in the United States. The President demonstrated his determination to enhance the quality of life for all Americans while recognizing the extraordinary level of bipartisanship that will be necessary. America’s priorities must be aligned to stop the humanitarian crisis at the border, stop the over-regulation of our small businesses, ensure a sound infrastructure across the country and lower the cost of quality healthcare and prescription medications. I applaud President Trump for his optimistic view of America as he encouraged us to all work together and choose greatness.”