Rutledge Announces Conviction of Randolph County Woman for Medicaid FraudTue, Sep 12, 2017
Says, ‘Shirley Contreras repeatedly made fraudulent claims, stealing thousands from the Medicaid Trust fund’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the conviction of a Pocahontas woman for Medicaid fraud. Shirley Diane Contreras pleaded guilty in Pulaski County Circuit Court and was sentenced to three years of probation and was ordered to pay $5,514.04 in restitution and $2,500.00 in fines plus court costs. Contreras paid $3,000 in restitution to the Arkansas Medicaid Program Trust Fund today and will pay the remaining balance at a rate of $418 per month until paid in full.
“Shirley Contreras repeatedly made fraudulent claims, stealing thousands from the Medicaid Trust fund,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The care she claimed to have provided but never did harmed vulnerable Arkansans who were dependent on her for assistance. My staff of attorneys and investigators will continue to investigate and prosecute this fraud across the state.”
Contreras, 48, of Pocahontas pleaded guilty to Theft by Deception, a Class C felony. She was accused of billing for services not rendered to three Medicaid recipients from June 2014 to August 2015, including $2,895.29, a Class B felony; $1801.70, a Class C felony; and $817.05, a Class C felony.
The case was prosecuted in coordination with the 6th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley.
To report Medicaid fraud or abuse or neglect in residential care facilities, complete the online form at ArkansasAG.gov, call the Attorney General’s Medicaid fraud hotline at (866) 810-0016 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rutledge Announces Speakers for 2017 Law Enforcement SummitTue, Sep 12, 2017
Will include the Indiana Attorney General and Boston Transit Police Officer Dic Donohue
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the full slate of speakers for the 15th Arkansas Law Enforcement Summit, which will be held on Oct. 3 at Camp Robinson in North Little Rock. The annual event is a free training and educational opportunity for Arkansas’s law enforcement community, including officers, prosecutors and criminal justice personnel.
“The instructional and networking opportunities that the Law Enforcement Summit presents are invaluable,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I encourage all officers to register to attend so they can hear and learn from these tremendous speakers.”
This year’s summit will begin with Boston Transit Police Officer Dic Donohue. Donohue was grievously injured in April 2013 during a gun battle with two suspects who were later identified as the Boston Marathon bombers. A bullet severed Donohue’s femoral artery and he suffered severe blood loss. He survived because fellow officers gave him immediate lifesaving care and prolonged CPR. Given a 2 percent chance to live, Donohue survived and has been recognized by over 20 law enforcement and civic organizations for his outstanding service. Donohue’s remarks and presentation will begin at 8:30 a.m.
Rutledge will also welcome her colleague Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill, who will speak at 10:15 a.m. As Indiana’s chief legal officer, Hill oversees a staff of more than 400 employees spread across multiple divisions. Hill has focused his agenda on four priorities: rolling back federal overreach; protecting families from drugs and violent crime; safeguarding consumers from fraud and scams; and inspiring youth to pursue meaningful lives. Hill was serving his fourth term as Elkhart County prosecutor when he was elected to his current role on Nov. 8, 2016. He took office on Jan. 9, 2017. He earned both his bachelor’s and law degrees from Indiana University in Bloomington.
During a noon luncheon, Rutledge will again recognize one outstanding law enforcement officer from each county in addition to the statewide and regional award winners that will be announced.
The afternoon will include a presentation from the Attorney General’s office Legislative Director Cory Cox on changes to Arkansas law impacting the law enforcement community that occurred during the last regular session of the Arkansas General Assembly. AT&T Asset Protection Senior Investigator Peggy Fletcher and Arkansas Recycling Association General Counsel Walter Wright Jr. and Special Agent Stephen Svetz will speak about combating metal theft. The summit will conclude with a presentation from Deputy Attorney General Will Jones and Special Agent Chris Cone who will discuss forensic tools and techniques to combat cyber criminals.
Registration is open and available at ArkansasAG.gov.
Rutledge Announces Arrest of Benton Woman for Medicaid FraudThu, Sep 7, 2017
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the arrest of a Saline County woman.
Lindsey Nevels, 33, of Benton, was arrested by the Saline County Sheriff’s office. Her bond was set at $10,000 and she was processed and released from the Saline County Jail. She is charged with one count of Medicaid fraud, a Class B felony for the misrepresentation of material facts that resulted in the Arkansas Medicaid Program incorrectly expending benefits totaling $12,165. In addition, Nevels is charged with one count of abuse of an endangered or impaired person, a Class B felony where she misappropriated $3,285.
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 email@example.com.
Attorneys General Reach $13.4 Million Settlement with U.S. Bioservices PharmacyThu, Sep 7, 2017
Arkansas will receive almost $30,000
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has reached an agreement to settle allegations against U.S. Bioservices Corporation, a specialty pharmacy headquartered in Frisco, Texas.
The settlement resolves allegations that the corporation knowingly recommended the drug Exjade to Medicaid patients in exchange for kickbacks from Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation which markets the drug. Under the settlement, U.S. Bioservices has agreed to pay $13.4 million to the United States and over thirty states. Arkansas will receive $29,046 under the settlement.
“Another company is being held accountable for its greedy mentality to encourage the use of the drug Exjade,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “There is no place for threatening tactics especially in the health care marketplace. The health and well-being of the patient must be paramount.”
Exjade was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in late 2005 for the treatment of chronic iron overload due to blood transfusions. When Novartis launched Exjade, it created a closed distribution network, consisting of three pharmacies selected by Novartis, through which most Exjade prescriptions in the United States were filled. As a result, Novartis controlled which pharmacy filled many of the prescriptions for Exjade dispensed through the network. The settlement resolves allegations that U.S. Bioservices participated in a scheme in which Novartis paid kickbacks to pharmacies by giving more prescription referrals to the pharmacy that kept patients on Exjade the longest.
The settlement with U.S. Bioservices is the fourth government settlement in connection with the Exjade drug and the patient referral system set up by Novartis. In early 2014, another pharmacy, BioScrip Inc., agreed to pay $15 million to resolve similar allegations. In July 2015, Accredo Health Group Inc., agreed to pay $60 million to resolve their part in the alleged kickback scheme. Arkansas received $141,202 under that settlement. Finally, in December 2015, Novartis agreed to pay $390 million to resolve the related allegations made against it after 11 states and the federal government had intervened in the whistleblower action. Arkansas received $612,291 under that settlement.
A National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units Team participated in the settlement negotiations on behalf of the states and included representatives from attorneys general of Washington, California, Indiana, Oklahoma, Wisconsin and New York.
Sixth Circuit Upholds Constitutionality of Legislative PrayerWed, Sep 6, 2017
Attorney General Rutledge part of a 22-state coalition that filed brief defending legislative prayer
LITTLE ROCK – The 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has upheld the constitutionality of legislative prayer after Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and a 22-state coalition filed a brief in support of Jackson County, Michigan and their tradition of beginning board meetings with a prayer.
“Today’s decision from the 6th Circuit will have an important impact on religious freedom, not only in Michigan but across the United States,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The practice of legislative prayer has routinely included lawmaker-led prayer and this decision allows lawmakers to continue exercising their own guaranteed religious liberty.”
In 2013, a self-proclaimed pagan objected to the tradition of opening the board meetings with prayer and filed a lawsuit. A district court rejected the challenge, but a three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit ruled 2 to 1 in February that the prayers by various commissioners during meetings violated the First Amendment. In March, the full circuit asked to rehear the case.
Rutledge Reaches Settlement with Laptop Manufacturer LenovoWed, Sep 6, 2017
Arkansas to receive over $82,500
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has joined with 31 other states in a settlement with laptop manufacturer Lenovo Inc. to resolve allegations that the company violated consumer protection laws by pre-installing software on computers sold to consumers, making personal information vulnerable to hackers.
“By failing to properly disclose information to Arkansans about the potential security vulnerability on its laptops and its inadequate procedure to opt-out of a software program, Lenovo violated the law,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Through this settlement, Lenovo is required to implement new security measures and proper disclosure procedures that will be assessed biennially.”
Arkansas is set to receive $82,567 from this settlement.
In August 2014, North Carolina-based Lenovo began selling certain laptop computers that contained pre-installed ad software called VisualDiscovery, which was created by the company Superfish Inc. VisualDiscovery purportedly operated as a shopping assistant by delivering pop-up ads to consumers of similar looking products sold by Superfish retail partners whenever a customer's mouse hovered over the image of a product on a shopping website. Rutledge and her colleagues claimed that VisualDiscovery displayed a one-time pop-up window the first time consumers visited a shopping website. Unless consumers affirmatively opted out, VisualDiscovery would be enabled on their computers.
VisualDiscovery operated by acting as a local proxy that stood between the consumer's browser and all internet websites that the user visited, including encrypted sites. This technique allowed the software to see all of a user's sensitive personal information that was transmitted online. Consumer information, including sensitive communications with encrypted Web sites, was collected and transmitted to Superfish.
The states also alleged that VisualDiscovery created a security vulnerability that made consumers' information susceptible to hackers in certain situations.
Lenovo stopped shipping laptops with VisualDiscovery preinstalled in February 2015, though some laptops with the software were still being sold by various retail outlets as late as June 2015.
In addition to the monetary payment, the settlement requires Lenovo to change its consumer disclosures about pre-installed advertising software, to require a consumer's affirmative consent to using the software on their device and to provide a reasonable and effective means for consumers to opt-out, disable or remove the software.
Lenovo is also required to implement and maintain a software security compliance program and must obtain initial and biennial assessments for the next 20 years from a qualified, independent, third-party professional that certifies the effectiveness and compliance with the security compliance program.