Rutledge’s Statement on U.S. Supreme Court Brief to Uphold Arkansas’s Medicaid Expansion Community-Engagement RequirementWed, Nov 4, 2020
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today filed a reply brief in support of the State’s petition for a writ of certiorari asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review and uphold Arkansas Works’ community-engagement demonstration project.
“Arkansas Works is a pilot expansion program designed to encourage able-bodied Arkansans without dependents to transition into the workforce, building a stronger, more resilient connection with their communities,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “We urge the U.S. Supreme Court to review those requirements and reaffirm Arkansas’s commitment to making the Medicaid program more sustainable and helping Arkansans obtain employment.”
In February, the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s decision to vacate Arkansas Works. The U.S. Department of Justice is also seeking review in support of Arkansas’s case.
Rutledge Announces Lawsuits Involving Illegal Pyramid SchemesTue, Nov 3, 2020
Says, ‘Don’t be fooled by testimonials that these schemes work’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the first step in a law enforcement sweep against illegal pyramid schemes organized and operated in Arkansas. The State has filed lawsuits in Faulkner and Saline Counties alleging Defendants represented to consumers that they could earn a 700% return on investment and “bless” their communities by joining a “Blessing Loom” board and recruiting others to do the same. No products or services were offered in exchange for the payment, only the opportunity to earn money. But, when new participants stopped joining and the pyramids’ organizers started using consumers’ money as their own, consumers lost every dollar contributed and unwittingly participated in illegal pyramid schemes.
“These lawsuits demonstrated that we will not stand by while con artists use deceptive tactics to dupe consumers into get-rich-quick schemes,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “As scam artists find new ways to exploit consumers’ economic fears during the coronavirus pandemic, my office will tirelessly work to hold these bad actors accountable for swindling Arkansans out of their money with promises of large payouts and community goodwill. Remember, when people pay a fee for the opportunity to earn money simply by recruiting others into a program, those people are likely involved in an illegal pyramid scheme. Don’t be fooled by testimonials that these schemes work.”
Rutledge’s suit filed in Faulkner County alleges the Lackland family violated the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (ADTPA) by organizing and operating a pyramid scheme they called “Passionate Minds Circle of Wealth.” Within eight months, more than $320,000 was deposited into separate bank accounts held by Scottie Lackland and his wife Valentina from Marion, their adult daughter Sydney Lackland from Marion, and their son Scottie D. Lackland II from Conway, who is also employed as a Little Rock Police Officer. Consumers were encouraged to join with a $500 “gift” that would grow into a $4,000 “blessing” in just 28 days, but, instead, the Lacklands converted consumers’ money and used it to pay off their debt, bolster their savings accounts, and purchase luxury goods and services, including plastic surgery.
Rutledge’s suit filed in Saline County alleges similar ADTPA violations were made by Alexander-resident Ramona McGee, who is employed by the Little Rock School District as a coach at Pulaski Heights Middle School. McGee held weekly meetings to recruit participants to join the pyramid scheme she organized, called the “Family Blessing Circle.” In exchange for a $1,400 “donation,” McGee represented participants would receive $11,200 in four to six weeks. Over just a few months, she deposited tens of thousands of dollars into her checking account and used that money to pay for vacations, shopping sprees and jewelry. Consumers were left with nothing to show for their spent money.
Each Defendant faces a $10,000 fine for each violation of the ADTPA.
Attorney General Rutledge has identified several tips for Arkansans to use in protecting themselves against pyramid schemes:
- If something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Know that large sums of money generally do not result from small investments.
- Be wary of “opportunities” to invest your money in programs that require you to bring in subsequent investors to increase your profit or recoup your initial investment.
- Just because something appears to be fun and was shared by a friend or family member, doesn’t mean there isn’t an inherent risk.
- Independently verify the legitimacy of any investment before you invest.
For more tips to help avoid falling victim to schemes similar to this, or to file a consumer-related claim with the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office, call (800) 482-8982, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit ArkansasAG.gov.
Rutledge Encourages All Arkansans to Practice Civic Duty on Election DayTue, Nov 3, 2020
LITTLE ROCK – It’s Election Day and Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is encouraging all Arkansans to make their vote count. Elections give you a voice. You can make decisions about the candidates and issues that directly impact our communities. There are hundreds of important elections to vote on this year—ranging from national races like the ones for President and Congress, to state and local races for county judge, mayor, school board, and many others. Like many years, Arkansans can also decide whether to approve amendments to the Arkansas Constitution.
“We live in a country with free and fair elections, and our vote and voice matter. I want all Arkansans to have the opportunity to make their choices this year,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “This is one of the most important rights we have as Americans and I ask you all to go to the polls and cast your ballots.”
In 2020, Arkansas has seen a record number of early voting totals. More than 750,000 ballots were cast in the two weeks leading up to Election Day and over 115,000 absentee ballots were returned to county clerks. If you plan to vote today, get to the polls early and be prepared to wait in line. Polls will be open from 7:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. If you are in line by 7:30 p.m. you will be allowed to vote. If you have already voted, you can rest assured that all valid ballots will be counted no matter how long it takes.
Attorney General Rutledge released the following information for voters heading to the polls on Election Day:
- Confirm your voting registration, location and precinct at VoterView.org.
- The Arkansas Department of Health issued guidance for voters to protect themselves and others from COVID-19.
- Review candidate information and ballot issues by visiting the Secretary of State’s Elections website.
For tips on what to expect at your polling location, you can review the Secretary of State’s Voting 101 Pocket Guide or if you would like to report a voting concern, please contact the State Board of Election Commissioners at (501) 682-1834 or visit arkansas.gov/sbec.
Rutledge Announces Arrest of Independence County Man for Possession of Child PornographyFri, Oct 30, 2020
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced the arrest of an Independence County man for crimes involving children.
David Shannon Canady, 39, of Batesville, was arrested by the Attorney General’s Office Cyber Crimes Unit on three counts of distributing, possessing or viewing of matter depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a child, a Class C felony. He is currently being held at the Independence County Detention Center.
Special agents in the Attorney General’s Office, working in partnership with the Independence County Sheriff’s Office, seized a desktop computer, a 2 terabyte hard drive and a cellphone from the home. The file will be turned over to 16th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Eric Hance.
Rutledge’s Statement on Appointment of Amy Coney Barrett as U.S. Supreme Court JusticeMon, Oct 26, 2020
Says, ‘Judge Barrett will adhere to the rule of law to protect our Constitution and our country’
LITTLE ROCK - Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released a statement following the U.S. Senate’s confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett as the next U.S. Supreme Court Justice.
“As the mother of a two-year old daughter, I am personally and professionally thrilled about today’s historic confirmation of the first mother of young children to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “As a strong and brilliant jurist, Judge Barrett will adhere to the rule of law to protect our Constitution and our country. I look forward to the many opportunities in which Justice Barrett will hear cases from our office which impact the lives of all Arkansans.”
Rutledge’s Statement on U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee's Approval of Judge Barrett for U.S. Supreme CourtThu, Oct 22, 2020
Says, ‘Judge Barrett is, without a doubt, the best nominee President Donald J. Trump could have selected for the U.S. Supreme Court’
LITTLE ROCK - Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released a statement following the U.S. Senate’s Judiciary Committee approval of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“Judge Barrett is, without a doubt, the best nominee President Donald J. Trump could have selected for the U.S. Supreme Court and I applaud the Senate leadership for their thorough review of her exceptional resume,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “While displaying her scholarly understanding of the Constitution, Judge Barrett, exhibited poise and unparalleled control and I look forward to the final step in her confirmation to be the next U.S. Supreme Court Justice.”