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Rutledge Welcomes Spring Law Clerks

Rutledge Welcomes Spring Law Clerks

Fri, Feb 8, 2019

Says ‘Law clerks play a valuable role for the state’

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge welcomed a new class of law clerks during the spring session to the Attorney General’s office. These law students work in various departments assisting with legal research, drafting memos and legal documents and accompanying lawyers at trials, client meetings and hearings.

“The law clerk program exposes students to the fulfilling experience of public service,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Law clerks play a valuable role for the state performing research and writing for Arkansas’s top attorneys in a great service-learning environment.”

Sarah Fendley, a second-year student at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UA Little Rock) William H. Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the Civil Department. She graduated from Lyon College with a Bachelor of Arts in English and art in 2009, and from Henderson State University with a Master of Liberal Arts degree in 2013. Fendley is from Hot Springs and graduated from Lake Hamilton High School in 2005.

Hannah Johnston, a second-year student at the UA Little Rock Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the State Agencies Department. She graduated from Auburn University in 2017 with a degree in public relations. Johnston is from Auburn, Alabama and graduated from Auburn High School in 2013.

Edward Mader, a second-year student at the UA Little Rock Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the Criminal Department. He graduated from the University of Dallas in 2006 with a degree in philosophy. Mader is from Bentonville and graduated from Bentonville High School in 2002.

Robert Murphy, a third-year student at the UA Little Rock Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the Public Protection Department. He graduated from Hendrix College in 2015 with a degree in creative writing. Murphy is from Little Rock and graduated from Episcopal Collegiate School in 2011.

Amanda Partridge, a second-year student at the UA Little Rock Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the Public Protection Department. She graduated from Harding University with a degree in English in 2011. Partridge is from Little Rock and graduated from Central Arkansas Christian High School in 2008.

Sydney Sadler, a second-year student at the UA Little Rock Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the Public Protection Department. She graduated from the University of Arkansas with a Bachelor of Arts in political science in 2017. Sadler is from Springfield, Missouri and graduated from Kickapoo High School in Springfield in 2013.

Christian Scott, a second-year student at the UA Little Rock Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. She graduated from the University of Central Arkansas with a major in history in 2016. Scott is from Mountain View and graduated from Mountain View High School in 2012.

Chandra Smith, a second-year student at the UA Little Rock Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the Civil Department. She graduated from Upper Iowa University in Fayette, Iowa with degrees in business administration and criminal justice in 2017. Smith is from Bloomfield, Iowa and graduated from Davis County High School in Bloomfield in 2013.

Katelyn Spellman, a second-year student at the UA Little Rock Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the Criminal Department. She graduated from the Penn State University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. Spellman is from Montrose, Pennsylvania and graduated from Montrose Area High School in 2011.

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Rutledge Announces Tax Evasion Arrest of Mississippi Woman Already Facing Medicaid Fraud Charges

Rutledge Announces Tax Evasion Arrest of Mississippi Woman Already Facing Medicaid Fraud Charges

Wed, Feb 6, 2019

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the owner of Bridge of Faith Hospice & Palliative Care in Helena-West Helena has been arrested on charges separate, but in addition to the previous charges of engaging in a criminal enterprise and Medicaid fraud she is currently facing.

Charline Brandon, 62, of Cleveland, Mississippi, is charged with attempting to evade or defeat taxes, a Class C felony, from 2010 to March 2017. Brandon was arrested for fraudulently billing the Medicaid program in Arkansas in October 2017. It was subsequently learned 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. Brandon turned herself in to the Pulaski County District Court. She currently faces similar charges in Mississippi.

“Brandon’s laundry list of charges include finding ways to steal from the Arkansas Medicaid Program and avoid paying taxes,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Brandon’s failure to pay taxes on behalf of the company or from her personal income to the State of Arkansas hurt law-abiding Arkansas families and businesses who work hard to follow the laws and serve Arkansans.”

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.

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 oag@arkansasag.gov.

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Rutledge Statement on State of the Union Address

Rutledge Statement on State of the Union Address

Tue, Feb 5, 2019

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released the below statement following President Donald J. Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday night.

“President Trump’s State of the Union address was an inspiring message setting the course for a productive and prosperous year in the United States. The President demonstrated his determination to enhance the quality of life for all Americans while recognizing the extraordinary level of bipartisanship that will be necessary. America’s priorities must be aligned to stop the humanitarian crisis at the border, stop the over-regulation of our small businesses, ensure a sound infrastructure across the country and lower the cost of quality healthcare and prescription medications. I applaud President Trump for his optimistic view of America as he encouraged us to all work together and choose greatness.”

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Rutledge Announces Arrest of Angel’s On Duty Owner, In-Home Care Provider, in Dumas

Rutledge Announces Arrest of Angel’s On Duty Owner, In-Home Care Provider, in Dumas

Fri, Feb 1, 2019

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the arrest of the owner and operator of Angel’s On Duty in Dumas.

Merissa Griffin, 40, of Sherwood, is accused of billing the Arkansas Medicaid Program for services obtained using non-authentic/photocopied signatures of her nurse, and by falsified timesheets, between August 1, 2017 and December 8, 2017, totaling $74,456.80. Following an investigation by the Attorney General’s Office, Griffin turned herself in at Pulaski County District Court. She is charged with one count of Medicaid fraud, a Class A felony.

“Griffin took advantage of a program intended to help Arkansas’s most vulnerable citizens,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Griffin not only photo-shopped one of her employees’ signatures to ‘sign off’ on certain services, she also falsified employee timesheets to boost her payments and steal from the Arkansas Medicaid Program. As the Attorney General, I will prosecute those stealing taxpayer money resources.”

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 oag@arkansasag.gov.

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Rutledge: Supreme Court Unanimously Reaffirms State’s Authority to Ensure Uniformity of Anti-Discrimination Laws

Rutledge: Supreme Court Unanimously Reaffirms State’s Authority to Ensure Uniformity of Anti-Discrimination Laws

Thu, Jan 31, 2019

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released the following statement in response to the Arkansas Supreme Court unanimously upholding the Arkansas Intrastate Commerce Improvement Act and declaring Fayetteville’s attempt to circumvent state law as invalid in Protect Fayetteville v. Fayetteville and unanimously reversing the circuit court’s decision denying legislative and executive privilege in a companion case.

“Today’s unanimous decisions reaffirm the State’s authority to ensure uniformity of anti-discrimination laws statewide and to prevent businesses from facing a patchwork of nondiscrimination ordinances,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “These decisions show that the City of Fayetteville is not above or immune from State law.”

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Rutledge Demands OG&E Concessions to Protect Rate Payers

Rutledge Demands OG&E Concessions to Protect Rate Payers

Wed, Jan 30, 2019

There are over 66,000 OG&E customers in Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced a settlement with Oklahoma Gas and Electric (OG&E) to protect ratepayers from over $3.1 million in unjustified anticipated rate increases, with the company making several major monetary and non-monetary concessions.

“Protecting Arkansans’ wallets also means overseeing utility companies in the services they provide,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “There are over 66,000 OG&E customers in Arkansas and I take seriously the duty of reviewing and challenging any utility company’s proposals to raise rates that will harm Arkansans’ pocketbooks.”

On October 1, OG&E requested a $6.4 million increase in rates under its formula rate plan - a 6% increase in retail rates for all major rate classes. Rutledge challenged the requested increase in filings made December 28, as did the general staff of the Arkansas Public Service Commission and the Arkansas River Valley Energy Consumers group, an affiliation of several large business customers.

Rutledge has joined in a settlement with all parties which includes the following major provisions:

  • The increase is reduced to $3.3 million – a reduction of more than $3.1 million, or 48%, from the requested increase – and the increase is now 3% for all major rate classes.
  • The agreement specifically recognizes the Attorney General’s challenge to the inappropriate allocation of too many costs to Arkansas from OG&E’s Oklahoma operations, and her challenge to inappropriate advertising expenses, and inappropriate dues and donation expenses.
  • As urged by the Attorney General, OG&E is required to report and document how its proposed investments in grid modernization will benefit all of its customers.
  • As urged by the Attorney General, OG&E is required to report and document how its proposed investments in transmission assets will be reimbursed by other states through its regional transmission organization, the Southwest Power Pool.

A hearing on the settlement is set for February 7, but all parties have requested that the Commission waive the hearing. The Commission is required to rule by March 12, and the increase will be effective with April bills.

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