Rutledge Praises Rudofsky NominationMon, Jul 1, 2019
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released the following statement after President Donald J. Trump announced Lee Rudofsky’s nomination for a judgeship in the U.S. District Court Eastern District.
“When I hired Lee away from Walmart in 2015, I knew that he had the experience and legal acumen to be the lead strategist on crucial litigation for my administration as the first official Solicitor General of the Attorney General’s Office,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I am confident that as a jurist Lee will be fair, impartial and will adhere to the rule of law.”
In 2015, Rudofsky was hired by Attorney General Rutledge to be the first official Solicitor General for the Attorney General. In that role, he advised Attorney General Rutledge on several key proceedings, including defending the State’s decision to successfully terminate Medicaid program funding to Planned Parenthood. He organized a multistate, bipartisan and multimillion dollar lawsuit against the State of Delaware to the U.S. Supreme Court and successfully guided litigation allowing the execution of convicted murderers by lethal injection. Rudofsky is also credited with implementing the office’s formal moot court program to prepare office attorneys for argument as well as establishing a clear review process of all briefs going to the 8th Circuit and Arkansas Supreme Court.
Rutledge Distributes $150,000 to Child Abduction Response Team TrainingThu, Jun 27, 2019
Says, ‘difference between life and death for a child’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the allocation of an additional $150,000 for the Child Abduction Response Teams (CART) program, a multiagency initiative coordinated by the Criminal Justice Institute. This announcement comes after the collaborative effort completed the first in the nation, statewide certification of all twelve CARTs located in the state, streamlining resources to better protect children in Arkansas if they are abducted, missing or endangered.
“Too many parents live in anguish of a lost or abducted child, and we must do everything in our power to bring missing children home,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “CART teams understand how precious each second is when investigating an abduction which can mean the difference between life and death for a child.”
In 2016, a partnership was formed between the Attorney General’s Office, the Criminal Justice Institute, Arkansas State Police, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management. The agreement formed the foundation for twelve CARTs with the goal of reducing the response time and increasing the likelihood of a successful recovery for missing or abducted children.
In 2015, Rutledge designated $100,000 from the Standard & Poor settlement to facilitate the implementation of CARTs throughout the state.
The multi-agency and multi-discipline response has established and practice channels of response to reduce time and has received full certification from the U.S. Department of Justice, AMBER Alert and Technical Assistance Program.
Rutledge Announces July Mobile Office ScheduleWed, Jun 26, 2019
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced mobile office locations for July.
Attorney General Rutledge created this initiative during her first year in office to increase office accessibility for all Arkansans, particularly to those who live outside the capital city. Office hours were held in all 75 counties each year during her first term, assisting 3,300 Arkansans. In 2019, Attorney General Mobile Offices have already served over 1,000 Arkansans.
Rutledge believes face-to-face conversations are the best way to truly hear from Arkansans. The Attorney General Mobile Offices assist Arkansans with consumer related issues by filing consumer complaints against scam artists as well as answering questions about the office and the other services it offers to constituents.
Rutledge continues her partnerships with the Cooperative Extension Service and local law enforcement across Arkansas. Law enforcement officials will be on hand to collect unused and expired prescription medications to ensure they are secured and properly disposed. Arkansans are encouraged to bring their old, unused or expired prescription medications to an upcoming mobile office. During Rutledge’s first term, over 618 pounds of medications were collected at mobile offices. Another 161.5 pounds of medications have been collected so far this year.
For more information about services provided by the Attorney General’s office, visit ArkansasAG.gov or call (501) 682-2007. Rutledge can also be found on Facebook at facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge and on Twitter at twitter.com/AGRutledge.
The upcoming mobile office schedule is below:
Tuesday, July 9
10:30 a.m. to noon
Carroll County Senior Activity & Wellness Center
202 W. Madison Ave
Berryville, AR 72616
Thursday, July 11
10:00 to 11:30 a.m.
Woodruff County Senior Life Center
303 Cache St.
Patterson, AR 72123
Thursday, July 18
9:30 to 11:00 a.m.
Van Matre Senior Activity & Wellness Center
1101 Spring St.
Mountain Home, AR 72653
Tuesday, July 23
11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
M.B. Ainley, Jr. Community Center
536 E. Elm St.
Corning, AR 72422
Friday, July 26
10:00 to 11:30 a.m.
Fort Smith Senior Activity Center
2700 Cavanaugh Rd.
Fort Smith, AR 72908
Tuesday, July 30
10:00 to 11:30 a.m.
Marion County Activity & Wellness Center
5966 Highway 202 E.
Flippin, AR 72634
Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit to be Held in NovemberTue, Jun 25, 2019
Governor Christie to Keynote Summit
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced that former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, chairman of the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, will give the keynote address at the eighth annual Arkansas Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit, to be held at the Hot Springs Convention Center on Nov. 14.
“Governor Christie has seen firsthand the tragedy of drug addiction,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “From Pennsylvania Avenue in DC to Main streets across Arkansas, it is imperative that all Americans work in concert to end this epidemic.”
The all-day summit will include breakout sessions on four different tracks, including clinical, criminal justice, education/prevention and counseling/recovery.
Early bird registration is now available, but seating is limited for the event, a free educational training opportunity for law enforcement officers, medical professionals, pharmacists and educators. Members of the general public may also attend and will have the opportunity to hear from experts regarding prescription drug abuse prevention and treatment.
In addition to the Attorney General’s Office, the Summit is being sponsored by the Arkansas Board of Pharmacy, Arkansas Division of Behavioral Health Services, Arkansas State Board of Nursing, Arkansas State Police, Gulf Coast High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas, Office of the State Drug Director, Rotary Clubs of Arkansas, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the University of Arkansas Criminal Justice Institute, University of Arkansas at Little Rock MidSouth School of Social Work.
Rutledge has been a leader in the State and nation combatting the opioid epidemic by using a multifaceted approach through education, litigation, treatment and enforcement. Her first-in-the-nation Prescription for Life program is free for high schools and over the last year has reached 68 counties and almost 14,000 students. Rutledge has taken an aggressive approach to protect Arkansans and combat the epidemic by separately suing opioid manufacturers and distributors for violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Arkansas Medicaid Fraud False Claims Act.
More information can be found at ArkansasAG.gov.
Rutledge Lauds Prison Sentence Of Helena-West Helena Hospice OwnerMon, Jun 24, 2019
Says, ‘Residents in Helena-West Helena should feel vindicated with the justice served today’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released the following statement on the decision sentencing Charline Brandon to five years in prison. Brandon, owner of Bridge of Faith Hospice & Palliative Care of Helena-West Helena, pleaded guilty to two counts of Medicaid fraud and one count of willful failure to pay or file taxes.
“Residents in Helena-West Helena should feel vindicated with the justice served today,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Holding facilities and owners to the highest standards is the best way to ensure all Arkansans have access to healthcare facilities near their homes.”
In March, Brandon of Cleveland, Mississippi, pleaded guilty to two counts of Medicaid fraud and one count of willful failure to pay or file taxes. The Medicaid fraud investigation revealed that from September 2013 through December 2016, Bridge of Faith Hospice & Palliative Care was paid gross income of $1,567,432.82 by Medicaid and Medicare and never filed an income tax return in Arkansas. The Medicaid fraud charges resulted from Brandon billing the Arkansas Medicaid Program $289,986.46 for hospice care services provided to two Medicaid recipients who were never terminally ill.
Brandon has pleaded guilty in federal court in Mississippi to similar allegations involving Medicaid and Medicare in Mississippi.
This case was referred to the Arkansas Attorney General’s office by the Mississippi Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of Inspector General. The case was investigated with assistance from the Arkansas Medicaid Inspector General and prosecuted in cooperation with Sixth Judicial District Prosecutor Larry Jegley. The Corporation Income Tax Section in the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration Tax Auditor also participated in the investigation.
Rutledge Announced Fake Cancer Charities to Pay $2.5 MillionFri, Jun 21, 2019
Says, ‘scam artists are being held responsible for preying on Arkansans with big hearts’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the final step in a multistate enforcement action against four sham cancer charities, a lawsuit which was filed in May 2015. The $2.5 million will be distributed among cancer centers across the country as the result of the recovery of settlement dollars from the Cancer Fund of America Inc., Children’s Cancer Fund of America Inc., Cancer Support Services Inc., The Breast Cancer Society Inc., James Reynolds Sr., Kyle Effler, Rose Perkins and James Reynolds Jr. The complaint alleged that the leaders of these sham charities used donated funds to pay themselves exorbitant salaries, luxurious trips, purchase houses and cars as well as day-to-day expenses.
“These scam artists are being held responsible for preying on Arkansans with big hearts,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “People who wanted to honor loved ones were misled into sending money which only lined the pockets of these cons and their families.”
The complaint alleged that the so-called charities, led by James Reynolds and his family members, bilked the public out of more than $187 million between 2008 and 2012. Of the money collected, only 3% was directed to cancer patients in the United States in the form of “care packages” containing religious DVDs, Moon Pies, random items of clothing and various sundries. Cancer Fund of America also claimed to supply patients with pain medications and transportation to chemotherapy treatments, when it provided no such services. The charities also participated in a “gift-in-kind” program in which they sent drugs that had nothing to do with cancer to other countries.
The complaint alleged that the purpose of this program was to make the organizations appear larger than they were while also hiding their high fundraising costs. The complaint also alleged that the leaders of these sham charities used donated funds to pay themselves exorbitant salaries and to go on trips to destinations like Thailand, Las Vegas and Disneyworld. The Reynolds also bought themselves cars, boats, jet skis and houses, and used the charities’ credit cards to buy designer handbags, jewelry and clothing, and to pay for day-to-day expenses such as gas, groceries and utility bills.
The money will be transferred to Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA) who, under a services agreement with the plaintiffs, will distribute the funds to select health and medical programs targeting breast and pediatric cancer. Eligibility will be determined through an invitation-only application process, and is limited to NCI-designated Cancer Care Centers, a designation bestowed by the National Cancer Institute on institutions and programs recognized for their scientific leadership, resources, and the depth and breadth of their research. RPA CEO Melissa Berman noted, “We are pleased to be part of this landmark process of ensuring that the philanthropic intent of donors is coming to fruition, despite the conduct of bad actors.” RPA will ensure that the funding will serve patients in all 50 states, and will monitor, ensure compliance and provide detailed reporting for all grants awarded.