Rutledge Calls on FCC to Stop Illegal Robocalls and SpoofingThu, Oct 11, 2018
Says, ‘the FCC needs to urge telephone service providers to protect consumers from illegal robocalls’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today joined a bipartisan coalition of 37 states calling on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to allow telephone services providers to block more illegal robocalls being made to consumers.
“Arkansans have long suffered the abusive and pesky robocalls by scammers, and the FCC needs to urge telephone service providers to protect consumers from illegal robocalls,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I hear from Arkansans regularly asking to eliminate these unwanted and unlawful calls. Ending these types of calls will save Arkansans from being scammed out of thousands of dollars and undue stress from burdensome daily calls from con artists.”
The formal comment to the FCC explains that scammers have found ways to evade an order allowing providers to block certain calls entered last year by the FCC. Despite efforts by federal and state regulators and the telecommunication industry, robocalls continue to be a major irritant to consumers in Arkansas and across the United States. In 2017, the Federal Trade Commission received 4.5 million illegal robocall complaints – two and a half times more than in 2014.
Last year, the FCC granted phone service providers authority to block certain illegal spoofed robocalls. But now the states seek added authority for the providers to work together to detect and block more illegal spoofed robocalls, including “neighbor spoofing.”
“Spoofing” allows scammers to disguise their identities, making it difficult for law enforcement to bring them to justice. “Neighborhood spoofing” is a technique that allows calls, no matter where they originate, to appear on a consumer’s caller ID as being made from a phone number that has the same local area code as the consumer. The manipulation of caller ID information increases the likelihood that the consumer will answer the call.
“Virtually anyone can send millions of illegal robocalls and frustrate law enforcement with just a computer, inexpensive software and an internet connection,” the attorneys general wrote in the formal comment filed with the FCC.
The added authority sought by the attorneys general will allow service providers to use new and existing technology to detect and block illegal spoofed calls – even those coming from what are otherwise legitimate phone numbers. Service providers will be ready to launch this new authentication method in 2019.
To date, the FCC has not issued a notice of proposed rulemaking concerning additional provider-initiated call blocking. The attorneys general anticipate that further requests for comments will take place on this subject.
Attorney General Rutledge was joined on the comment by the attorneys general of Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and the Hawaii Office of Consumer Protection.
Rutledge Applauds Decision Affirming Voter IDThu, Oct 11, 2018
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released the below statement following today’s Arkansas Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutionality of Act 633, which establishes procedures for verifying voter registration.
“Successfully defending our Voter ID law is a huge win for everyday Arkansans and our election process,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Today’s decision protects the integrity of every voter’s ballot and ensures that your vote cannot be stolen by someone pretending to be you at the polls.”
Rutledge Joins 17-State Coalition Amicus Brief Opposing New York’s Overreaching Gun RestrictionsTue, Oct 9, 2018
Says, ‘Allowing a government such control sets a dangerous precedent’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today joined 16 other states in an amicus brief supporting the Second Amendment in response to New York City’s “premises permit” gun restrictions.
“The Founding Fathers ensured our right to bear arms with the Second Amendment, and it is important that no government try to take away that right,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Allowing a government such control sets a dangerous precedent.”
New York City requires a costly and restrictive “premises permit” to own a personal handgun for self-defense. The permit prohibits taking the weapon outside the home for any purpose other than to practice at one of the New York City shooting ranges and entirely prohibits leaving the state with the weapon. The costly “carry” permit is required to remove the weapon from the home for other purposes and is difficult to obtain.
The 17-state coalition urges the Supreme Court to review the case and provide clear guidance on the scope of the Second Amendment and specifically to confirm that the right to self-defense is not limited to the home.
The states argue that while city and state governments have an interest in public safety and crime prevention, New York City offered no evidence that demonstrated its regulations actually enhance public safety and crime prevention. In fact, its restrictive scheme has the opposite effect by arbitrarily limiting a gun owner’s ability to become proficient with his or her own weapon, requiring thousands of people to buy additional weapons and causing thousands of weapons to be left in unoccupied houses.
The states also point out the significant economic impact of hunting and shooting sports.
“New York’s regulatory scheme discriminates against interstate commerce because it ‘deprives out-of-state businesses of access to a local market’ by forbidding its citizens from hunting and patronizing ranges outside the state with their own guns,” the states wrote.
The 16 states joining Arkansas in the brief through their Attorney Generals are Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin, and the Governors of Mississippi and Kentucky.
Rutledge Announces Arrest of Billing Clerk at Preferred Family Health for Medicaid FraudTue, Oct 9, 2018
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the arrest of a former billing clerk at Preferred Family Health.
Vicki Chisam, 65, of Batesville, is accused of making false statements knowingly causing the Arkansas Medicaid Program to overpay Preferred Family Health from January 2015 to November 9 2015, totaling about $589,000. Following an investigation by the Attorney General’s Office, Chisam turned herself in to the Independence County Sheriff’s Department. She is charged with one count of Medicaid Fraud, a Class B felony.
In June, Rutledge announced the arrest of former Preferred Family Health Director of Program Integrity and Director of Operations, Robin Raveendran, of Little Rock, for scamming the Arkansas Medicaid Program of $2.2 million related to the same scheme. Raveendran is also a former Senior Auditor with Arkansas’s Medicaid Program Integrity Unit. In August, Rutledge announced the arrest of former Preferred Family Health Director of Billing, Helen Balding for similar actions. Chisam is accused of being an accomplice to Raveendran, Balding and other individuals known and unknown to the Office of the Attorney General.
The MFCU was assisted in this investigation by the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General and will be prosecuted in cooperation with 16th Judicial District Prosecutor Holly Meyer.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rutledge Applauds Confirmation of Justice KavanaughSat, Oct 6, 2018
Says, ‘Justice Kavanaugh will continue to use his extensive legal education and experience to protect the Constitution’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released the below statement following the U.S. Senate’s confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
“Just like he has done for years on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Justice Kavanaugh will continue to use his extensive legal education and experience to protect the Constitution. I have been proud to support President Donald J. Trump’s nomination of Justice Kavanaugh because of his proven record of adhering to the Constitution and the rule of law, ensuring the liberties of all Americans are protected.”
Rutledge Reaches Settlement with Alarm CompanyFri, Oct 5, 2018
Says, ‘Alert America violated Arkansans’ trust’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and Alert America LLC have reached a settlement to resolve allegations that Alert America violated the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. The company sold third-party alarm-monitoring services to Arkansas consumers, and many of its contracts included a prepaid service contract. Alert America closed its business and failed to remit payments to the third party. As a result, many Arkansans had services discontinued without any money being returned to consumers who had prepaid for services they never received and without any notice from Alert America concerning the cancellation.
“Alert America violated Arkansans’ trust and contracts,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Arkansans deserve better and I will not stand for these deceptive business practices in Arkansas.”
The consent judgment, which was filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court, includes $31,672.22 in restitution and $10,000 in civil penalties.
Rutledge filed a consumer-protection lawsuit against Alert America in August.