Rutledge Applauds SCOTUS American Legion Cross DecisionThu, Jun 20, 2019
Decision demonstrates our State’s Ten Commandments monument is constitutional
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge applauds today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutionality of a nearly 100 year old World War I memorial cross. The decision, American Legion v. American Humanist Association, further underscores the constitutionality of the Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the Arkansas State Capitol.
“The Supreme Court’s decision supports the defense of our State’s Ten Commandments monument and demonstrates that our monument is constitutional,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “With today’s decision in play, I am confident Arkansas will ultimately be victorious and that the Ten Commandments will remain where it belongs, on the State Capitol grounds.”
Last July, Rutledge joined a 28-state coalition of attorneys general and the Governor of Kentucky filing a brief in support of Maryland’s litigation to protect their long-standing monument that commemorates those who valiantly died while serving in World War I.
Rutledge Applauds Final Rule Repealing and Replacing the Clean Power PlanWed, Jun 19, 2019
Says, ‘Big win for job creators across America’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge applauds today’s announcement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the final ruling of President Donald J. Trump’s proposed replacement of the Clean Power Plan. The Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Final Rule comes after Rutledge joined a bipartisan letter urging the EPA to approve the Administration’s proposal.
“The Affordable Clean Energy rule is a big win for job creators across America by returning power back to states rather than a one-size-fits-all mandate from the federal government,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The repealed Obama-era Clean Power Plan was illegal and ignored concerns from the states about anticipated skyrocketing utility rates and impacts on Arkansas businesses and jobs.”
In December, a 21-state coalition of attorneys general filed comments with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) expressing support of President Trump’s Affordable Clean Energy rule because it respects the vital role of states in regulating energy and air quality. The rule fully embraces the intent of Congress for cooperation between the State and federal governments, correcting the Obama-era, model would have had a devastating impact on Arkansas ratepayers.
The Affordable Clean Energy rule restores each state’s authority to consider factors specific to the energy needs of the state, including costs, practical achievability and the useful life of any particular power plant. It also adopts a more individualized approach to rulemaking, allowing for achievable targets for individual plants, which is a stark contrast to the Obama EPA’s effort to wholly shutter coal-fired power plants.
Rutledge to Host 8th Annual Never Forgotten EventTue, Jun 18, 2019
July 18 event welcomes Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt as keynote
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the 8th annual Never Forgotten – Arkansas Takes Action event on Thursday, July 18 at the Benton Event Center. The event was established to raise awareness of the challenges associated with missing persons cases for families and law enforcement officials while also recognizing Arkansas’s missing children and adults. Rutledge welcomes Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt to keynote the event to discuss his efforts to bring awareness to missing persons investigations. Registration is open for families and law enforcement.
“Never Forgotten – Arkansas Takes Action is a training ground for law enforcement personnel investigating missing persons cases and an opportunity for families of the missing to gather resources and sorely needed support and strength,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This annual event provides a platform for important stakeholders to gather and focus on issues unique to missing persons cases, and has served as a catalyst for the development of outreach initiatives and resources, such as the resource guide for families of missing adults published last year and the successful Missing Person Monday social media campaign.”
From 9:00 to 10:15 a.m., Kevin Metcalf with the Washington County prosecuting attorney’s office will discuss cyber response in missing persons cases. Metcalf is a former federal agent turned prosecutor. He has assisted in the recovery of numerous missing and exploited children and in the identification and apprehension of sexual predators in multiple states. He developed a system for working with cellphone-related data in criminal cases, which is offered by Amazon as a mobile device foundational course and a series of instructional books. He founded the National Child Protection Task Force that brings together recognized experts to aid law enforcement agencies in fields such as strategic legal applications, Open Source Intelligence, cellular mapping and analysis, dark web investigations, and cryptocurrency.
From 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., the Arkansas Attorney General’s office Special Investigations Division will discuss what the division can do to assist law enforcement searching for missing persons when cases involve internet crimes.
Officers will also hear from Arkansas Public Safety Secretary Jami Cook and Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy personnel on best practices for investigating missing and unidentified persons cases. The material covered will provide training and updated information for law enforcement related to the investigation of unidentified and missing persons, fulfilling the training requirement for the newly enacted Act 920.
From noon to 1:00 p.m., Rutledge will host a luncheon, which will include a ceremony to honor families of missing children and adults and to recognize law enforcement officials who work to solve missing persons cases. Keynote speaker for the luncheon will be Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt. Schmidt serves as a member of the Law Enforcement Advisory Council for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
This program has been approved for 4.5 hours of Continuing Law Enforcement Standards Credit (CLEST).
Rutledge Settles with ITT Tech and CUSO for High Pressure TacticsFri, Jun 14, 2019
Affected Arkansans to receive $1,073,688 in student debt relief
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today has reached a settlement with Student CU Connect LLC (CUSO) for former ITT Tech students resolving a multistate investigation which alleged that ITT and CUSO used high pressure tactics to accept CUSO loans. These student loans carried higher interest rates than federal loans, ultimately resulting in a high number of loan defaults.
“ITT and CUSO deceived Arkansans by using illegal and high pressure tactics and they must be held responsible for their actions,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This settlement provides relief to Arkansans who attended ITT Tech and incurred debts for a questionable education that they could neither repay nor discharge.”
Attorney General Rutledge and other states’ attorneys general alleged that ITT, with CUSO’s knowledge, offered students temporary credit upon enrollment to cover the gap in tuition between federal student aid and the full cost of the education. The temporary credit was due to be repaid before the student’s next academic year, although ITT and CUSO knew or should have known that most students would not be able to repay the temporary credit when it became due. Many students complained that they thought the temporary credit was like a federal loan and would not be due until six months after they graduated.
When it became due, however, ITT pressured and coerced students into accepting loans from CUSO, which for many students carried high interest rates, far above rates for federal loans. Pressure tactics used by ITT included pulling students out of class and threatening to expel them if they did not accept the loan terms. Because students were left with the choice of dropping out and losing any benefit of the credits they had earned – ITT’s credits would not transfer to most other schools – most students enrolled in the CUSO loans. Neither ITT nor CUSO made students aware of the true cost of repayment for the temporary credit until after the credit was converted to a loan.
Not surprisingly, the default rate on the CUSO loans was extremely high (projected to exceed 90%) due to both the high cost of the loans as well as the lack of success ITT graduates had getting jobs that paid enough to make repayment feasible. The defaulted loans continue to affect students’ credit ratings and are usually not dischargeable in bankruptcy.
Under the settlement, the CUSO, under threat of litigation, has agreed that it will forego collection of the outstanding loans. The CUSO, which was organized for the sole purpose of providing the ITT loans, will also cease doing business. Under the Redress Plan, CUSO’s loan servicer will send notices to borrowers about the cancelled debt and ensure that automatic payments are cancelled. The settlement also requires the CUSO to supply Credit Reporting Agencies with information to update credit information for affected borrowers.
ITT filed bankruptcy in 2016 amid investigations by state attorneys general and following action by the U.S. Department of Education to restrict ITT’s access to federal student aid. The CUSO Loan program originated approximately $189 million in student loans to ITT students between 2009 and 2011.
The settlement includes $1,073,688.40 in debt relief for 128 Arkansans.
Rutledge Announces 5th Former Preferred Family Healthcare Employee ArrestedFri, Jun 14, 2019
Says, ‘This culture of corruption is unacceptable’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the arrest of former Preferred Family Healthcare (PFH) employee Michelle Davis for Medicaid fraud related charges. This action comes after four previous PFH employees were arrested and charged with unrelated crimes.
“Davis is the fifth employee my office has investigated and arrested at Preferred Family Healthcare,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This culture of corruption is unacceptable and I will root out those who take advantage of taxpayers and hurt our healthcare system.”
Michelle Davis, 59 of Texarkana has been charged with two counts of Medicaid fraud, Class C felonies, for making false statements and receiving funding for services not provided from November 20, 2015, to March 21, 2018, totaling $4,258.80. Davis was a licensed professional counselor at PFH.
The Attorney General’s office was assisted in this investigation by the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General and will be prosecuted in cooperation with 6th Judicial Prosecutor Larry Jegley.
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 email@example.com.
Rutledge Welcomes Summer Session I Law ClerksThu, Jun 13, 2019
Says ‘The clerks perform essential research and writing projects’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge welcomed a new class of law clerks during the first summer 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 Attorney General’s office law clerk program gives law students the opportunity to work with some of the state’s top attorneys,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The clerks perform essential research and writing projects which provides invaluable experience in a service-driven learning environment.”
Lauren Ford, a second-year student at the University of Arkansas a School of Law, is clerking in the Criminal Department. She graduated from Ouachita Baptist University with a major in political science in 2018. Ford is from Cabot and graduated from Vilonia High School in 2014.
Grace Lee, a third-year student at the University of Arkansas a School of Law, is clerking in the Public Protection Department. She graduated from Hendrix College in 2017 with a degree in politics. Lee is from Gosnell and graduated from the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts in 2013.
Jessica Lowery, a third-year student at the Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law, is clerking in the Public Protection Department. She graduated from the University of Arkansas – Little Rock in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology. Lowery is from Turrell and graduated from Marion High School in 2013.
Clayton Rowe, a third-year student at the University of Arkansas a School of Law, is clerking in the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. He graduated from John Brown University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in construction management. Rowe is from Hope and graduated from Siloam Springs High School in 2011.
Cheston Wright, a third-year student at the University of Arkansas a School of Law, is clerking in the Civil Department. He graduated from Henderson State University with a Bachelor of Arts in political science in 2014 and a Masters of Business Administration in 2015. Wright is from Arkadelphia and graduated from Arkadelphia High School in 2010.