Rutledge Announces St. Francis County Man Convicted of Possessing Videos Showing Rape of ChildrenFri, Aug 23, 2019
George will serve 12 years for despicable actions
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced that a St. Francis County man has entered a plea of guilty on child pornography charges.
Mario George 31, of Forrest City, pleaded guilty to four counts of distributing, possessing or viewing of matter depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a child. George was arrested May 2018 after he was found in possession of 20 files of videos and images of sexual intercourse and penetration with boys as young as 5 years old to 14 years old. George will serve 12 consecutive years in the Arkansas Department of Correction and will have to register as a sex offender.
“George’s despicable actions of possessing and sharing sexually explicit content only prolong the vicious victimization of innocent children,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I will do everything in my power to keep these predators off the streets and away from our homes.”
George was arrested by the Attorney General’s Office Cyber Crimes Unit when special agents seized a computer and a USB thumb drive from his residence. Assistant Attorney General Jill Irwin was appointed Special Deputy Prosecutor in the case by the First Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Todd Murray.
Rutledge Announces Anti-Robocalls PrinciplesThu, Aug 22, 2019
Multifaceted approach with public and private coalition to block illegal calls
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced a bipartisan, public/private coalition, with every state attorneys general and the District of Columbia and 12 phone companies, agreement to adopt eight principles to fight illegal robocalls. This agreement sets the framework of prevention and enforcement by protecting phone users from illegal robocalls and making it easier for attorneys general to investigate and prosecute bad actors.
"Today's announcement was a collaborative effort between public sector and private industry to protect Arkansans by utilizing all available technology to stop these illegal calls," said Attorney General Rutledge. "I have lead the charge in Arkansas by working with telecom providers to hold them accountable and ensure providers are implementing technology to stop these criminals from robbing the citizens of Arkansas and Americans of their hard earned money."
Phone companies will work to prevent illegal robocalls by:
· Implementing call-blocking technology at the network level at no cost to customers,
· Making available to customers additional, free, easy-to-use call blocking and labeling tools,
· Implementing technology to authenticate that callers are coming from a valid source,
· Monitoring their networks for robocall traffic,
· Assisting attorneys’ general anti-robocall enforcement by,
· Knowing whom their customers are so bad actors can be identified and investigated,
· Investigating and taking action against suspicious callers – including notifying law enforcement and state attorneys general,
· Working with law enforcement, including state attorneys general, to trace the origins of illegal robocalls,
· Requiring telephone companies with which they contract to cooperate in traceback identification.
Going forward, phone companies will stay in close communication with the coalition of attorneys general to continue to optimize robocall protections as technology and scammer techniques change.
Rutledge has been paving the way for telephone carriers to aggressively block illegal robocalls before they reach consumers through conversations with the Federal Communication Commission (FCC). Rutledge has also expressed support for the passage of the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act and demanded the FCC take action in the Truth in Caller ID Act rulemaking process against illegal spoofing.
In Arkansas, Rutledge continues to lead the fight against robocalls by working with state legislators to pass legislation to require telecommunication providers to submit annual reports to the Arkansas Public Service Commission to certify that all available and applicable technology is being employed to identify and block illegal robocalls and spoofing.
The coalition of attorneys general, led by North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein, New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon MacDonald, and Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill, includes attorneys general from all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
The coalition of companies includes AT&T, Bandwidth, CenturyLink, Charter, Comcast, Consolidated, Frontier, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular, Verizon, and Windstream.
Rutledge and Gov. Hutchinson Allocate $1.5 million to Launch Free Veterans Legal Service ProgramTue, Aug 20, 2019
Bowen School of Law students to provide pro bono legal services to veterans
LITTLE ROCK - Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced each office would allocate $750,000 for a total of $1.5 million to create the University of Arkansas Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law’s Veterans Legal Services Clinic. The first clinic of its kind in Arkansas, the program will enable enrolled Bowen law students to provide pro bono legal services to veterans throughout the State.
“The Veterans Legal Services Clinic will provide essential pro bono services to the vast population of Arkansas veterans who reside in the state and it will give future attorneys the hands-on training, education and opportunity to give back to our nation’s heroes,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This legal clinic will be the first line of defense to protect veterans and also alert my office when scam artists are attempting to illegally take advantage of veterans.”
The legal clinic will serve as the only pro bono services center for veterans in the state of Arkansas, which is home to over 250,000 past, and present service members. Under the supervision of a clinical facilitator, enrolled students will be trained to represent veterans on various legal issues. The clinic will also provide free continuing legal education for practicing attorneys on veteran specific legal issues, and establishing partnerships between participants with veterans in need of legal assistance.
Attorney General Rutledge is requesting consumers with questions, or to file a consumer complaint to visit ArkansasAG.gov or call (800) 482-8982.
Rutledge: Mountain Home Gunsmith Sued for Deceiving Customers and Failing to Provide Services or RefundsMon, Aug 19, 2019
Investment Grade Firearms cheated consumers out of more than $17,000
LITTLE ROCK - Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today filed suit against Jayson Cotter, owner of Investment Grade Firearms (IGF), for violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Consumers from across the nation hired Cotter for gunsmith work, but he habitually failed to return consumers’ parts or firearms and refused to provide refunds of upfront payments.
“Cotter repeatedly used dirty tricks to deceive consumers into sending him gun parts and large sums of money for work that was never performed,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Cotter and other bad businesses must be held accountable.”
Jayson Cotter of Mountain Home, Arkansas sold gunsmith services through his website, www.Investmentgradefirearms.com. Consumers who contract with IGF for gunsmith services typically ship their firearms, parts and accessories, along with their complete, upfront payments, with expectations that they will receive their modified firearms within reasonable periods of time. Eight consumers have filed unresolved complaints with the Attorney General claiming that Mr. Cotter failed to deliver their completed firearms or refund their payments, sometimes for well over a year, and refused to respond to their phone calls or emails requesting status updates on prepaid orders.
Mr. Cotter was arrested on July 31, 2019 and booked on a felony charge of theft of property in Baxter County. The Baxter County Sheriff’s Office is continuing their investigation, and additional counts are possible. The Sheriff’s Office has been working to return parts and firearms to their rightful owners for several months, but many consumers are still waiting to be made whole.
Attorney General Rutledge is requesting restitution, civil penalties, and injunctive relief and demands a jury trial. Victims of these business practices should file a consumer complaint on ArkansasAG.gov or call (800) 482-8982.
Rutledge to Host Retiree Resources Event in Central ArkansasFri, Aug 16, 2019
Retirees can look us in the eye and ask questions about how to protect their finances
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced registration is open for the free regional Rutledge Retiree Resources event to be held Thursday, September 5 in Little Rock. This will be the fifth retiree event held as a part of statewide educational series hosted by Rutledge. The agenda includes programs designed to educate retirees about how they can protect themselves from pervasive and vicious scam artists.
“Face-to-face meetings allow retirees to look us in the eyes and ask questions directly about how they can protect their finances,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Arkansans should enjoy retirement by spending time with family and friends, instead of having to worry about losing their hard-earned savings to lazy, low-life con artists.”
Attendees will hear from the Attorney General’s public protection experts about how to guard themselves from scams and identity theft, proper prescription drug disposal, resources available regarding nursing homes and home care and how to protect finances.
The event will be at The Church at Rock Creek, 11500 West 36th Street, Little Rock, Arkansas. For those interested in attending this free educational event or future events, register today. Lunch will be provided.
Rutledge Retiree Resources have been held in Fayetteville, Jonesboro, DeWitt and Hope.
Rutledge: Voyager to Shut Down and Pay as Part of Settlement for Ripping Off Veterans in Exchange for PensionsThu, Aug 15, 2019
Settlement requires Voyager Financial to pay $2.7 million to impacted vets
LITTLE ROCK - Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced the filing of a Stipulated Final Judgment and Order against central Arkansas owner Andrew Gamber; Voyager Financial Group, LLC; BAIC, Inc.; and SoBell Corp. for the brokering of contracts that offer high-interest credit to veterans in exchange for investors illegally acquiring rights to receive future pension payments. These businesses and their former owner are permanently prohibited from offering these illegal agreements.
“Scam artists will stop at nothing to try to poach our veterans’ pensions despite state and federal protections,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “We will always go after those who try to take advantage of our veterans and their much deserved pensions.”
The settlement alleges violations of the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010, the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Arkansas Constitution. The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau joined Attorney General Rutledge in the investigation and settlement of claims against Voyager. The Company and its owners are permanently banned from brokering, offering and arranging agreements between pension recipients and third parties. Defendants must cooperate fully with the Attorney General and Bureau to determine the identity and location of, and the amount of injury sustained by, each consumer.
If you are a consumer who has been impacted by the actions by Voyager Financial Group or its owners, Rutledge encourages you to contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline at (800) 482-8982.