Rutledge Urges Utility Companies to Pass Savings to RatepayersThu, May 3, 2018
Says, ‘It is time for the companies to pass savings on to Arkansas consumers’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today filed comments with the Arkansas Public Service Commission encouraging utility companies to pass along their savings from President Donald J. Trump’s corporate tax rate reduction to their consumers. Some utilities are over collecting money from consumers by using rates set to recover taxes at the previous, higher rate – a move that wrongly takes hard-earned money away from Arkansas consumers.
“President Trump’s tax rate reduction was intended to put more money back into the pockets of Americans, but some utility companies are keeping the profits and benefits of the tax cuts for themselves,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This behavior goes against the very spirit of the historic tax bill and cannot continue. It is time for the companies to pass savings on to Arkansas consumers.”
A portion of the money collected from ratepayers for utility company taxes is no longer needed because of the corporate tax rate reduction. While some companies have begun passing the savings onto their ratepayers, today’s comments include recommendations to the Public Service Commission about how all utilities could provide consumers with timely benefits and reduced rates as quickly as possible.
Rutledge Applauds Supreme Court’s Decision on Voter ID LawsuitWed, May 2, 2018
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released the below statement following the Supreme Court’s decision to issue a stay of Judge Alice Gray’s decision enjoining the enforcement of Act 633 regarding voter identification.
“I am very pleased that the Arkansas Supreme Court agreed with the arguments we made on behalf of the State Board of Election Commissioners that the requirement that a voter show photographic identification or sign a statement affirming his or her identity as a registered voter is not burdensome and helps ensure free and fair elections. The stay issued this afternoon provides needed clarity for Arkansas voters and election officials.”
Rutledge Joins Lawsuit Challenging the Unlawful DACA ProgramTue, May 1, 2018
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today joined a seven-state coalition against the federal government to end the unconstitutional Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which granted lawful presence and work permits for nearly one million unlawfully present aliens without congressional approval.
“President Obama did not have the constitutional authority to institute and expand the DACA program,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The United States is a compassionate country, but we are also a country of laws and it is important that I stand up for the rule of law, even in hard cases – in fact, that is when it is most important. The Constitution requires a program like DACA to be instituted by Congress, not the unilateral action of the executive branch.”
In September, President Donald J. Trump announced plans to end the DACA program and requested that Congress find a legislative fix to the issue within six months. But earlier this year, a ruling by a U.S. District Court in California blocked the federal government from cancelling DACA, forcing the Administration to leave it in place indefinitely as legal challenges drag on. Then, last month, the D.C. Federal District Court ruled that the Trump Administration had 90 days to fully restore DACA.
In the lawsuit, the attorneys general urge the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas to declare DACA unlawful and stop the federal government from issuing or renewing any DACA permits in the future. The lawsuit does not ask the federal government to remove any alien currently covered by DACA, nor does it ask the Trump Administration to rescind DACA permits that have already been issued.
Rutledge joined the Texas-led lawsuit with Alabama, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina and West Virginia.
Rutledge Applauds Arkansas’s Educational Efforts Against Opioid AbuseMon, Apr 30, 2018
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today applauded the AR-IMPACT program, an educational tool announced by Governor Asa Hutchinson that is aimed at Arkansas’s medical providers and the State’s efforts to combat the opioid epidemic.
“I am proud of the comprehensive approach that Arkansas has taken to battle the ongoing opioid epidemic. The new AR-IMPACT program will help educate medical providers and serve as an important addition to Arkansas’s opioid-education resources, including my office’s first-in-the-nation Prescription for Life program created to educate high school students about prescription drug use and misuse. By utilizing resources throughout the state and across all levels of government, we can save lives.”
Rutledge Announces Settlement with KmartMon, Apr 30, 2018
Says, ‘Kmart took advantage of Medicaid and its patients’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has joined with the federal government and other states to settle allegations that Kmart Corporation, owned by Sears Holdings Management Corporation, charged the Medicaid program more than its usual and customary charge for certain medications.
“Medicaid is an important program for many Arkansans and Kmart’s actions are shameful,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Kmart took advantage of Medicaid and its patients with its unacceptable business practices. I am proud to ensure that Kmart is held accountable for charging the program more money than it charged other customers for prescription medications.”
Under the terms of the settlement, Arkansas will receive $82,259.18 of the $59 million settlement, which will be paid to the Arkansas Medicaid Program Trust Fund.
The settlement stems from a lawsuit alleging that Kmart was submitting false claims when it charged federal health care programs higher prices than it was charging cash paying customers. Kmart billed and received $5 from Medicaid for a prescription that cash paying customers could purchase for $4. As a result of Kmart’s actions, Kmart received reimbursement amounts from Medicare, Medicaid and other federal healthcare programs that were higher than it was entitled to receive in violation of federal and state false claims statutes. The premise of the claim is that the federal government and virtually every state Medicaid program require that a provider charge no more than its “usual and customary” rate for a good or service.
The settlement was negotiated by several states’ Medicaid Fraud Control Units and the United States Department of Justice and resolves the allegations that happened between September 1, 2004 and December 31, 2014.
Rutledge Announces Two Women Sentenced for DeceptionFri, Apr 27, 2018
Says, ‘Medicaid is a vital safety net for Arkansans’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the conviction of two women on unrelated charges.
Lindsey Edmonson-Nevels pleaded no contest to theft by deception in Saline County Circuit Court and must pay $15,451.09 in restitution to the Arkansas Medicaid Program Trust Fund plus $4,000 in fines to the General Fund to the State of Arkansas. Edmonson-Nevels was also sentenced to 10 years probation and will be excluded from participation in the Medicaid program for five years.
Eva Sykes pleaded guilty to Medicaid fraud in Pulaski County Circuit Court and has already paid $25,000 in restitution to the Arkansas Medicaid Program Trust Fund and has been ordered to pay $600 in fines. Sykes was also sentenced to 3 years probation and will be excluded from participation in the Medicaid program.
“Lindsey Edmonson-Nevels and Eva Sykes broke the law and we have ensured that they will pay for their crimes,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Medicaid is a vital safety net for Arkansans and those who steal from the program must be held accountable. Attorneys and investigators at the Attorney General’s Office will continue to investigate these crimes and prosecute those who take advantage of the system to put a stop to this type of fraud.”
Edmonson-Nevels, 34, of Benton, pleaded no contest to one count of theft by deception, a Class C felony, for taking money from her father’s Irrevocable Income Trust which was to only be used for payments to her father’s long-term care facility. This case was referred to the MFCU by the Arkansas Department of Human Services, Division of Aging and Adult Services. An attorney from the Attorney General’s Office was appointed by 22nd Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Ken Casady as a special prosecutor.
Sykes, 62, of Lake Village, pleaded guilty to one count of Medicaid fraud, a Class C felony. Sykes was the owner of the Chicot County Early Childhood Center and billed the Medicaid program for services not rendered in February 2015. This case was referred to the MFCU by the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General and was prosecuted in coordination with Sixth 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.