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Rutledge: Rural Arkansas to Benefit from  T-Mobile/Sprint Merger

Rutledge: Rural Arkansas to Benefit from T-Mobile/Sprint Merger

Tue, Sep 10, 2019

Says, ‘The merger will result in increased quality and more competitive prices for Arkansans’

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today released the following statement in support of the proposed T-Mobile US, Inc. and Sprint Corporation merger. Rutledge joined the U.S. Department of Justice in formally supporting the merger based on conditions of the agreement, which will form the nation’s third-largest telecommunications carrier.

“Arkansas stands to benefit from the T-Mobile merger with Sprint which will increase competition, especially in rural areas that have been deprived of reliable wireless service,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “From our evaluation, the merger will result in increased quality and more competitive prices for Arkansans by expanding rural broadband access and expediting 5G technology to provide an essential service for a desperately underserved population.”

The proposed merger agreement protects Arkansas consumers from any potentially anti-competitive market effects. As part of the merger agreement, T-Mobile and Sprint have also committed to a 5G build-out plan that is intended to cover 85 percent of rural Americans in a three-year period, and 90 percent within six-years.

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Rutledge Announces Bipartisan Antitrust Investigation of Google

Rutledge Announces Bipartisan Antitrust Investigation of Google

Mon, Sep 9, 2019

There is evidence that Google may unfairly control the flow of online information

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced an investigation into whether Google conducts its business practices in accordance with state and federal antitrust laws. A bipartisan coalition of 50 attorneys general plan to collaborate with federal authorities to investigate the tech giant’s overarching control of online advertising markets and search traffic that may constitute anticompetitive behavior that harms Arkansas consumers.

“There is evidence that Google may manipulate the flow and dissemination of online information to unfairly influence and undermine consumer choice and stifle innovation, which directly impacts Arkansans,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Google’s dominance and unbounded control over the digital advertising marketplace and consumer information can no longer go unchecked.”

Legal experts from each state will work in cooperation with federal authorities to assess competitive conditions for online services and ensure that Americans have access to free digital markets.

Past investigations of Google uncovered violations ranging from advertising illegal drugs in the United States to now three antitrust actions brought by the European Commission. None of these previous investigations, however, fully address the source of Google’s sustained market power and the ability to engage in serial and repeated business practices with the intention to protect and maintain that power.

In addition to Arkansas, the Texas led coalition includes: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

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Rutledge Hosts Retiree Resources Event in Central Arkansas

Rutledge Hosts Retiree Resources Event in Central Arkansas

Thu, Sep 5, 2019

Says, ‘protect Arkansans’ hard-earned savings from these lazy, low-life con artists’

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today hosted a regional Rutledge Retiree Resources event at the Church at Rock Creek. The event was a part of a statewide series that has served hundreds of Arkansans at five regional programs to educate retirees about how they can protect themselves from pervasive and vicious scam artists.

“By educating seniors face-to-face, we are teaching them how to be the first line of defense against these scam artists who will stop at nothing to take advantage of Arkansans,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I will do everything in my power to protect Arkansans’ hard-earned savings from these lazy, low-life con artists.”

Attendees heard from the Attorney General’s public protection experts about protecting themselves from scams and identity theft, proper prescription drug disposal, resources regarding nursing homes and home care and protecting finances.

Rutledge Retiree Resources events have previously been held in Fayetteville, Jonesboro, DeWitt and Hope.

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Rutledge Releases Statewide Public Service Announcement About Protecting Children From Predators

Rutledge Releases Statewide Public Service Announcement About Protecting Children From Predators Online

Tue, Sep 3, 2019

Says, ‘you could be allowing dangerous people into your homes and their bedrooms’

LITTLE ROCK –Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released a statewide public service announcement (PSA) addressing smartphone and internet safety for Arkansans. In the PSA, Rutledge is urging parents to stay aware of internet and smartphone apps that enable predators to take advantage of children.

“Would you let your child get into the car with someone you don’t know, or spend the night with a stranger?” asked Attorney General Rutledge in the PSA. “If you don’t know who your kids are texting or gaming with on their phones, you could be allowing dangerous people into your homes and their bedrooms. Get informed and together, let’s protect our kids.”

The special agents of the Attorney General's Special Investigations Department work with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies at every stage of investigations, arrests and convictions.

The public service announcement can be viewed on various networks and cable stations throughout the State and can be found on Rutledge’s YouTube page.

Arkansans who have questions can email the office at oag@ArkansasAG.gov or call (800) 482-8982.

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Rutledge Seeks Congressional Action for Autism Services

Rutledge Seeks Congressional Action for Autism Services

Thu, Aug 29, 2019

LITTLE ROCK - Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced a bipartisan coalition of 47 attorneys general calling upon Congress to authorize the Autism CARES Act of 2019. This legislation provides ongoing federal support for research into autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and services to those affected by these conditions.

“All Arkansas families deserve the support and resources for their loved ones who are on the autism spectrum,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “More research and services are necessary to address the needs of our rapidly increasing population of Americans on the autism spectrum.”

A previous version of this legislation is set to expire on Sept. 30, 2019. The Autism CARES Act of 2019 currently exists as H.R. 1058 in the U.S. House of Representatives and S. 427 in the U.S. Senate. Congress began addressing autism in 2000 with the first enactment of the bill. The Autism CARES Act of 2019 will continue Congress’ ongoing mission to ensure that those living with ASD receive the necessary support and research.

In addition to Arkansas, the letter was co-lead by attorneys general in Indiana and Mississippi and signed on to by Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, the District of Columbia and territories.

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Rutledge Announces Arrest of Yell County Parents for Social Security Fraud

Rutledge Announces Arrest of Yell County Parents for Social Security Fraud

Thu, Aug 29, 2019

Falsely claimed benefits while their child was in custody of the State

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the arrest of a Yell County man and woman for felony charges for falsely claiming Social Security Income Benefits for their severely impaired infant daughter while she was in the custody of the State.

Briggsville residents, Bobby Joe Lloyd, 39, and Jessica Norwood, 23, were each arrested and charged with theft of property by deception and criminal conspiracy to commit theft of property by deception. After the birth of their daughter who suffered from severe medical impairments in September 2018, Lloyd and Norwood lost custody of their daughter to the Arkansas Department of Human Services. Norwood allegedly filed and was approved for Supplemental Security Income Benefits in October 2018, claiming the child was in her custody. Lloyd subsequently applied to be the representative payee and also claimed the couple had custody of their daughter. Lloyd and Norwood allegedly received social security benefits totaling $5,397 between June 13, 2019 - August 1, 2019, to care for their infant daughter who was actually in state custody.

This case was initiated after the Little Rock Cooperative Disability Investigation (CDI) Unit received a referral for investigation from the Social Security Administration (SSA) Russellville, AR Office. The case will be prosecuted by Yell County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Mark Johnson. The Attorney General’s Office has two certified law enforcement officers and an investigative analyst assigned to the Little Rock CDI Unit.

“We must hold people accountable who take advantage of taxpayers to ensure these benefits are available to those who need and deserve them,” said Attorney General Rutledge.

Arkansas’s CDI Unit was formed and began operation in October 2015. The Unit is a federal, state and local cooperative effort led and funded by SSA-OIG. The mission of the CDI Unit is to combat fraud by investigating questionable statements and activities of claimants, medical providers, interpreters or other service providers who facilitate or promote disability fraud. The Arkansas Attorney General’s office has two special agents and an analyst assigned to the CDI Unit.

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