Rutledge to Educate Consumers on False Veterans Charity ScamsThu, Jul 19, 2018
Says, ‘donor education campaign will serve as one more great resource for Arkansans to ensure their hard-earned money is going to help those who actually need it’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced today the launch of Operation Donate with Honor, a sweeping new donor education campaign to help donors spot and avoid fundraising solicitations that falsely promise their donations will help veterans and service members. Operation Donate with Honor is a coordinated effort of by Arkansas and the other 49 states along with the Federal Trade Commission, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam and Puerto Rico.
“Arkansans always go above and beyond in supporting our military veterans and service members,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “We recognize the sacrifices they and their families have made on our behalf. But some people try to take advantage of Arkansans’ big hearts by posing as a legitimate charity, taking money and never turning it over to military service members. This new nationwide donor education campaign will serve as one more great resource for Arkansans to ensure their hard-earned money is going to help those who actually need it.”
Every year, grateful Americans repay the sacrifices made by those who serve in the U.S. armed forces with contributions to charities that promise to deliver needed help and services to veterans and service members. Most of these charities live up to fundraising promises, but a few attract donations by lying about help and support not actually delivered. In the process, they harm not only well-meaning donors, but also the many legitimate charities engaged in important and vital work on behalf of veterans and service members.
Operation Donate with Honor is an education campaign, offered in both English and Spanish, to help consumers recognize charitable solicitation fraud and identify legitimate charities. This includes a new video that highlights tips on how to research charities and giving wisely to veterans organizations.
Veterans fundraising fraud schemes target potential donors online, via telemarketing, direct mail and door-to-door contacts. The schemes falsely promise to help homeless and disabled veterans, provide veterans with employment counseling, mental health counseling or other assistance and to send care packages to deployed service members. Many of these schemes solicit nationwide.
This national education campaign is intended to help potential donors, regardless of where or how they choose to donate, learn how to spot fraudulent and deceptive solicitations and make sure contributions are used to benefit veterans and service members.
In 2015, Rutledge launched the first-ever Military and Veterans Initiative at the Attorney General’s office to assist active duty military service members, reservists, veterans and their families with consumer-related issues and many other collaborative efforts.
Rutledge Welcomes Summer InternsThu, Jul 19, 2018
Says, ‘I am honored to have some of the brightest, young Americans join the office’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today welcomed 13 students from across the United States into the office internship program.
“Service-learning is a unique experience that is foundational to professional success,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Undergraduate and graduate students are exposed to educational opportunities through internships. I am honored to have some of the brightest, young Americans join the office for the summer.”
Matthew Beaver is a senior at Arkansas Tech University studying political science and criminal justice. Beaver is from Sherwood where he graduated from Catholic High School for Boys in 2015.
Blythe Bull is a senior at Hendrix College studying music and politics. Bull is from New Iberia, Louisiana where she graduated from the Episcopal School of Acadiana in 2015.
Anna Cunningham is a junior at the University of Arkansas studying political science and communication. Cunningham is from DeWitt where she graduated from DeWitt High School in 2016.
VanKe’via Garner is a senior at Arkansas State University studying criminology and psychology. Garner is from Little Rock where she graduated from Wilbur D. Mills University Studies High School in 2015.
Cody Gracie is a senior at Hendrix College studying neuroscience and philosophy. Gracie is from White Hall where he graduated from White Hall High School in 2015.
Tanner Harris is a senior at Lyon College studying English and business administration in management. Harris is from Brookland where he graduated from Brookland High School in 2015.
Austin Hawks is a senior at the University of Central Arkansas studying history. Hawks is from Batesville where he graduated from Southside High School in 2014.
Nia Jackson is a sophomore at Spelman College studying psychology and pre-law. Jackson is from Little Rock where she graduated from Little Rock Central High School in 2017.
Anna Lants is a senior at the University of Virginia studying English and philosophy. Lants is from Little Rock where she graduated from Pulaski Academy in 2015.
Rachel Mares is a junior at the University of Central Arkansas studying journalism. Mares is from Southaven, Mississippi where she graduated from DeSoto Central High School in Southaven in 2016.
Kenneth Prince is a senior at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff studying business finance. Prince is from Sandy Run, South Carolina where he graduated from Camden Military Academy, in Camden, South Carolina in 2014.
Elizabeth Strickland is a sophomore at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville studying journalism and political science. Strickland is from Little Rock where she graduated from Episcopal Collegiate School in 2017.
Katelynn Tyner is freshman at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville studying English. Tyner is from Cabot where she graduated from Cabot High School in 2018.
Rutledge Releases Statement on Persuader Rule ReversalTue, Jul 17, 2018
Says, ‘This decision by the Department of Labor is a win for small businesses and other job creators in Arkansas’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today released the following statement regarding the announcement that the U.S. Department of Labor has rescinded its 2016 Persuader Advice Exemption Rule.
"I led the charge of states against the proposed 2016 Persuader Rule because employers must have access to privileged legal advice, “said Attorney General Rutledge “This decision by the Department of Labor is a win for small businesses and other job creators in Arkansas and across the country. By overturning this burdensome proposal demonstrates the department's return to its mission and how it operated for half a century."
The Persuader Rule forced the disclosure of confidential information, communication and relationships between small businesses and their outside counsel in labor relations matters.
Attorney General Rutledge was vocal in her concern and opposition to this rule. Rutledge led a group of attorneys general in filing amicus briefs on this issue in two federal courts cases, including a case in Arkansas federal district court. Those briefs urged the judge to enjoin the rule. The attorneys general believed the rule would place undue burdens on small businesses, which would be singled out under the new rule. Arkansas also joined 12 other states in sending a letter to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget in 2016 and joined a 10-state coalition suing to invalidate the rule in federal court in Texas.
Rutledge Recognizes Families of Arkansas’s Missing Persons at Never Forgotten EventTue, Jul 17, 2018
FBI receives Star of Excellence Award; Trumann Police and Mississippi County Sheriff receive Morgan’s Choice Award
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today hosted the seventh annual Never Forgotten – Arkansas Takes Action event at the Benton Event Center. The daylong event helps raise awareness of issues surrounding missing persons and recognizes Arkansas’s missing children and adults.
“This annual event is important for families across Arkansas to know they have the support from the State and members of law enforcement,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Though time will never heal the pain and uncertainty these families go through each day, I hope they understand that we will never forget their loved ones.”
Law enforcement officers heard from Sarah Krebs, a detective sergeant forensic artist with the Michigan State Police, explaining how her evidence-based drawings and three-dimensional reconstructions aid in the investigation of unidentified remains, the apprehension of suspects and the resolution of missing person cases.
Officers also heard from Derek VanLuchene, CART Program coordinator with the National Criminal Justice Training Center – AMBER Alert Training and Technical Assistance Program, as well as President and Founder of Ryan United. He presented the case study of 4-year-old Maci Lilly, who was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome and was abducted from a playground in Montana in February 2016. Maci’s disappearance led to a statewide Amber Alert and a successful recovery. His discussion focused on working with child witnesses and how to locate resources in an active search and recovery.
“No matter how much time goes by, families of the missing deserve answers,” said VanLuchene. “There is never ‘closure’ in these cases. These families keep fighting. They keep searching. We need to bring these cases to the forefront. Events like this help bring them home by getting information out to the public. With modern technology and good police work, these families will get answers.”
At the same time as the law enforcement session, a panel discussion was held for the families of missing persons on available resources to assist them with locating their loved ones. Participating agencies included Arkansas Crime Information Center, Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy, Arkansas State Crime Lab, Arkansas State Police, FBI, the Morgan Nick Foundation and others.
A luncheon was hosted by Rutledge to honor the families of the missing and thank law enforcement for assisting in missing persons cases. The event also provided support and networking opportunities for families still searching and for those who have tragically lost loved ones.
During the luncheon, The Morgan’s Choice Award, named after Morgan Nick, who went missing in 1995, was presented to the Trumann Police Department and the Mississippi County Sheriff’s Office for their roles in quickly recovering missing persons from their respective counties this year. The Star of Excellence Award was presented to Special Agent in Charge Diane Upchurch with the FBI – Little Rock District office for her continued efforts to combat human trafficking and internet crimes against children.
In 2016, Rutledge was part of a collaborative effort to launch a new website, NeverForgotten.ar.gov, which enables the public to access information on missing persons cases with an easy-to-use searchable database. Rutledge also recently launched #MissingPersonMondays, a social media campaign to highlight one individual listed on the NeverForgotten.ar.gov site every Monday throughout the year. And earlier this week, Rutledge announced the creation of a resource guide that is available for families of missing persons to provide a list of best practices to help families work through this difficult process.
The Attorney General’s office serves as an information clearinghouse for reports on Arkansas’s missing children and acts as the main point of contact for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
To reach the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children CyberTipline, call (800) THE-LOST (843-5678).
Rutledge to Investigate Apartment ComplexesMon, Jul 16, 2018
Says, ‘The reports given in last week’s newspaper are appalling’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced that she is demanding information and opened an investigation in response to events detailed in last week’s article in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette about run-down apartment conditions at both Bella Vista Apartments and Pleasant Ridge Apartments in Little Rock.
“Landlords should want to maintain not only livable conditions in their facilities, but should ensure high quality housing opportunities for Arkansans,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The reports given in last week’s newspaper are appalling and no one should be forced to live in unlivable conditions. I am seeking answers from both companies regarding their repair and maintenance practices at these and potentially other properties where Arkansans live and raise their children.”
It is the role of the Attorney General to investigate, research and analyze business practices and issues that affect consumer interests. The Attorney General is empowered to seek civil penalties, injunctive relief, suspension of business licenses, and attorney fees for proven violations of the law.
Citizens harmed by unsafe living conditions at Bella Vista Apartments and Pleasant Ridge Apartments in Little Rock should contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office at (800) 482-8982 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rutledge to Host 7th Annual Never Forgotten – Arkansas Takes ActionMon, Jul 16, 2018
New resource guide available for families who have experienced the disappearance of a loved one
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today, in advance of the 7th annual Never Forgotten – Arkansas Takes Action event, announced that a new resource guide is available for families of missing persons. The booklet was produced as a resource guide for families who have experienced the disappearance of a loved one. The guide covers topics such as gathering evidence in the first 48 hours, working with the NamUs program and law enforcement and reaching out to local media to highlight missing persons cases.
“Many families do not know the initial steps they should take when a family member is missing,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This resource guide gives families a list of best practices to help families work through this difficult process.”
The annual Never Forgotten – Arkansas Takes Action event is July 17 at the Benton Event Center. Registration is still open for families and law enforcement.
From 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., a panel discussion will be held for the families of missing persons on available resources to assist them with locating their loved ones. Participating agencies include Arkansas Crime Information Center, Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy, Arkansas State Crime Lab, Arkansas State Police, FBI, the Morgan Nick Foundation and others.
From 8:30 to 11:30 a.m., a law enforcement training will be held. Sarah Krebs, a detective sergeant-forensic artist with the Michigan State Police, will explain how her evidence-based drawings and three-dimensional reconstructions aid in the investigation of unidentified remains, the apprehension of suspects and the resolution of missing person cases.
Officers will also hear from Derek VanLuchene, CART Program coordinator with the National Criminal Justice Training Center – AMBER Alert Training and Technical Assistance Program, as well as President and Founder of Ryan United. VanLuchene will present the case study of 4-year-old Maci Lilly, who was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome and was abducted from a playground in Montana in February 2016. Maci’s disappearance led to a statewide Amber Alert and a successful recovery. He will discuss working with child witnesses and how to locate resources in an active search and recovery.
From noon to 1:30 p.m., Rutledge will host a luncheon, which will include a ceremony to honor families of missing children and adults and to recognize law enforcement officials who work to solve missing persons cases.
Members of the media planning to attend should contact Jessica Ray at Jessica.Ray@arkansasag.gov or (501) 539-0955.