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Welcomes Spring Interns

Rutledge Welcomes Spring Interns

Mon, Feb 22, 2016

LITTLE ROCK - Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has accepted five students from across the State into the Attorney General’s office internship program.

“My intent is to provide experiential learning opportunities for these interns as they assist with consumer and safety education and outreach activities statewide,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The internship program allows for exposure to the public service sector and enhances their collegiate experiences, enabling them to be more career ready. I hope these interns will continue to use their skills to serve Arkansans.”

Lauren Potgieter-Langston graduated from Arkansas State University in 2015, majoring in criminology. Potgieter-Langston is from Port Elizabeth, South Africa, where she attended Collegiate Girls’ High School and graduated in 2010. She is working in the Public Affairs Department.

Bryce Moore is a junior, studying public administration at the University of Central Arkansas. He is from Sherwood and graduated from Catholic High School for Boys in 2013. Moore is working in the Public Affairs Department.

Shannon Nicholson is a freshman, double majoring in criminal justice and psychology at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR). Nicholson is from Sherwood, where she attended Sylvan Hills High School, and graduated in 2015. She is working in the Communications Department.

Isabella Schmidt is a junior, double majoring in psychology and Spanish at UALR. Schmidt is a Little Rock native, was homeschooled online and graduated in 2011. She is working in the Communications Department and Special Investigations Division.

Derek Vickers is a junior, studying criminal justice at UALR. Vickers is from Mayflower, where he attended Mayflower High School and graduated in 2013. He is working in the Communications Department.

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New Deputy Attorney General for Civil Department

Rutledge Selects New Deputy Attorney General for Civil Department

Thu, Feb 18, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today named Ryan Owsley of Little Rock deputy attorney general for the Civil Department. Owsley is an experienced attorney who has been an assistant attorney general in the Opinions Department since 2008.

“The people of Arkansas will be well-served by having Ryan as the deputy attorney general for the Civil Department,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I have witnessed Ryan’s remarkable knowledge and ability to clarify some of the most complex parts of the law through his work in the Opinions Department. His understanding of the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act is one very few can match. I know Ryan is excited to get to work with the talented attorneys in the department as they work to represent the agencies, boards and commissions of Arkansas in an effective and professional manner.”

Before joining the office, Owsley worked in private practice handling insurance-defense litigation and appellate work. Prior to private practice, Owsley clerked for then Arkansas Supreme Court Associate Justice Annabelle Clinton Imber. A graduate of Ouachita Baptist University and an honors graduate of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law, Owsley served as an editor of the UALR Law Review.

Owsley succeeds David Curran, who left last month for an opportunity with the University of Arkansas System.

Handling approximately 500 cases each year in State and federal courts, the Civil Department’s attorneys serve as counsel representing State agencies, officials, boards and commissions when any are named as defendants in civil lawsuits. The lawyers also initiate lawsuits to protect the interests of the State.

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Laura’s Card to Assist Victims of Domestic Violence

Rutledge Unveils a Laura’s Card to Assist Victims of Domestic Violence

Wed, Feb 17, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today unveiled a Laura’s Card to assist and empower victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Participating in the announcement were Representatives Charlotte Douglas (R-Alma) and Bob Ballinger (R-Berryville) and Angela McGraw, executive director of Women & Children First.

Laura’s Card was created through legislation sponsored by Rep. Douglas in the 2015 legislative session after many conversations with Laura Webb of Cabot. Webb is a survivor of domestic violence, but when she was victimized she did not know where to turn and voiced her concerns to Rep. Douglas about the need to provide resources to those in abusive situations. Now under Act 873, law enforcement officers must provide a resource information card to assist victims of crime and their families.

“As a former Lonoke County prosecutor, I have seen firsthand the horrific tragedy domestic violence situations can bring on families,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “In 2014 alone, the domestic violence shelters in Arkansas received almost 28,000 phone calls, of which nearly 35 percent were in a crisis situation. Together we can make a difference against these crimes that have no age, race, economic or geographic boundaries, which is why my office has produced and printed a Laura’s Card that will be distributed to all 75 counties – to sheriffs’ offices, police departments, advocacy groups and shelters. If we can save one life by sharing these resources, it is worth it.”

“Domestic violence is most often about control of the victim: physical, emotional, financial and educational,” said Rep. Douglas. “It is my hope that through Laura's Card we bring power to victims through access to their victim's rights and services that are offered to free them from a life of abuse. We must all work to turn victims into victors.”

“Domestic violence is typically about power,” said Rep. Ballinger. “The perpetrator is often lashing out in order to prove his or her power or to retain his or her power at the expense of the victim. The victim conversely, often feels powerless, unsure of what, if anything, she or he can do. Laura's Card addresses that. It is an effort to inform victims of their rights and provide them with resources that can help get them out of the destructive cycle of violence. I greatly appreciate Rep. Douglas, the Attorney General's office, the victims' advocates, law enforcement and the Domestic Violence Coalition who all worked tirelessly to bring this bill to life and to get it implemented here in Arkansas.”

“Laura’s Card is the best resource that Arkansas has offered victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse to assure victims are aware of the options and legal remedies when attempting to escape an abusive situation,” said Lee Nailling, chairperson, Arkansas Coalition Against Domestic Violence Board of Directors. “Thanks to Attorney General Rutledge and her office for their involvement and for printing and distribution of the cards.”

“Domestic violence shelters around the State are committed to working in collaboration with law enforcement to provide consistent information for victims of crime,” said McGraw. “Laura's Card provides the ability to fulfill this purpose, and we are grateful.”

Laura’s Card now includes 24-hour crisis lines, a place for law enforcement and local shelter or service provider to include contact information, a list of victim’s rights, information about the Crime Victims Reparations Board and a website that has been created with links to numerous resources available across the State. The website, LaurasCard.ar.gov, is a clearinghouse of resources for law enforcement, service providers and victims.

In addition to working with Rep. Douglas, Webb and the Arkansas Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Rutledge also received input to help craft Laura’s Card from the Arkansas Association of Chiefs of Police; Arkansas Coalition Against Sexual Assault; Arkansas Commission on Child Abuse, Rape and Domestic Violence; Arkansas Crime Information Center; Arkansas Crime Victims Reparations Board; Arkansas Sheriffs’ Association; Arkansas State Police; Criminal Justice Institute and the Office of the Prosecutor Coordinator.

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Passing of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

Rutledge Statement on the Passing of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

Sat, Feb 13, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released a statement today in response to the passing of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

“The United States has suffered a terrible loss with the passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “His brilliant jurisprudence and legal mind have had a concrete and positive impact on every American and the legal community. The U.S. Constitution could not have had a more vocal defender during his three decades on the High Court, opining on issues that helped to preserve free speech, the right to keep and bear arms, federalism and separation of powers. He had an exceptional ability to share his wit and wisdom both in written word and speech. I extend my prayers to his family and friends, as well as Justice Scalia’s colleagues on the U.S. Supreme Court.”

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Settlement with MoneyGram

Rutledge Reaches Settlement with MoneyGram

Thu, Feb 11, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today has reached a settlement with Dallas-based MoneyGram Payment Systems Inc. resolving a multistate investigation that tied MoneyGram to fraudulent activities based on complaints from consumers who used the company’s wire transfer service to send money to third parties involved in schemes to defraud consumers.

“Arkansans have heard it time and again, over the phone, in letters or in emails: ‘wire this amount of money and you will win big,’” said Attorney General Rutledge. “But these claims always turn out to be a scam, and if a consumer does wire money, it is almost impossible to get it back. MoneyGram failed to maintain effective anti-fraud measurers to prevent consumers from suffering financial losses as a result of these fraud induced transfers. Fortunately, thanks to this settlement, restitution payments will be made available to a number of Arkansans, and MoneyGram has agreed to improve its anti-fraud program, provide more warnings to consumers and improve agent training.”

Under the terms of the settlement, MoneyGram has agreed to maintain and continue to improve a comprehensive and robust anti-fraud program designed to help detect and prevent consumers from suffering financial losses as a result of these types of fraud induced wire transfers.

The program must be documented in writing and at a minimum must include the following elements:

  • Mandatory and documented compliance training for agents and guidelines regarding when an agent’s conduct warrants suspension or termination.
  • Suspension or termination of agents who fail to take commercially reasonable steps to reduce fraud induced money transfers.
  • A hotline system – telephonic and electronic – where employees and agents can report noncompliance with anti-fraud measures.
  • Sound mechanisms to evaluate actual fraud rates and consumer losses from fraud-induced money transfers in order to utilize that information to improve compliance.
  • Continued enhancement of technology solutions, including its Anti-Fraud Alert System

Additionally, MoneyGram has agreed to pay a total of $13 million to states to fund a nationwide consumer restitution program and for the states’ costs and fees. The settlement provides for an independent third-party settlement administrator who will review MoneyGram records and send notices regarding restitution to all consumers who are eligible to receive it under the settlement. Generally, consumers who are eligible for restitution previously filed complaints with MoneyGram between July 1, 2008 and August 31, 2009, regarding fraud-induced transfers sent from the U.S. to foreign countries other than Canada.

More information about this settlement is available at the Settlement Administrator’s website, MoneyGramSettlement.com.

Rutledge reminds Arkansans who receive solicitations from strangers promising big winnings to toss those letters in the trash, delete the email or hang up the phone and those who are contacted about a grandchild, friend or family member in distress should reach out separately to the friend or family member to independently verify that the relative is actually in need of the assistance.

In addition to Arkansas, the following participated in the settlement: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and the District of Columbia.

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Trainings to Combat Dating Violence

Rutledge to Offer Trainings to Combat Dating Violence

Wed, Feb 10, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is continuing her push to raise awareness of domestic violence, sexual assault and dating violence by teaming up with Break the Cycle, a leading national nonprofit organization providing comprehensive dating abuse programs, to offer workshops across Arkansas on healthy relationships and dating abuse. The three-hour trainings will delve into the youth experience of dating abuse, including the health and academic impacts and how it differs from adult experiences.

“If we can teach teenagers how to handle dating violence and to create healthy relationships, it will help curb the constant cycle of teen dating violence leading to domestic violence,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I am proud to partner with Break the Cycle, the Arkansas Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Arkansas Coalition Against Sexual Assault and the Arkansas Department of Education to bring these important workshops here so that educators will be able to better communicate how to have healthy relationships. I encourage Arkansas teachers to take advantage of these trainings so that we can finally begin to break the cycle of abuse.”

Through Act 952, passed by the General Assembly in 2015, Arkansas students in grades 7 through 12 must receive instruction on dating violence awareness as a component of health courses. This training will give teachers the resources they need to comply with the act, and the Attorney General’s office is committed to supplying schools with dating violence awareness materials.

Participants will learn foundational knowledge about dating abuse, methods for intervention and instruction on how to implement a Healthy Relationships 101 session with their students or youth group. Using pop culture and media clips that are familiar to teens, the workshops will include discussions to help teens recognize abuse and become critical thinkers on how these images can affect teens’ views on healthy relationships.

Registration information can be found at ArkansasAG.gov.

Workshop attendees will hear from Jasmine Uribe and Sarah Colomé.

Uribe is a leader in the dating abuse prevention movement and serves as leadership and engagement manager for Break the Cycle, which includes overseeing Loveisrespect with the National Youth Advisory Board.

Colomé manages and implements all major projects and initiatives within Break the Cycle's Training and Technical Assistance Program, as well as provides technical assistance to grant recipients for the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women.

Full workshop schedule details:

Feb. 22

Southwest Educational Service Cooperative

2502 South Main

Hope, AR 71801

Feb. 23

Little Rock School District Instructional Resource Center

3001 South Pulaski St.

Little Rock, AR 72206

March 29

Northwest Educational Service Cooperative

4 Double Springs Road

Farmington, AR 72730

March 30

Southeast Arkansas Educational Service Cooperative

1022 Scogin Drive

Monticello, AR 71655

March 31

Crowley’s Ridge Educational Service Cooperative

1606 Pine Grove Lane

Harrisburg, AR 72432

For more information, please contact the Attorney General’s office at (501) 682-2007.

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