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Spring Law Clerks

Rutledge Welcomes Spring Law Clerks

Wed, Jan 25, 2017

Says ‘Law clerks work side by side some of Arkansas’s top attorneys’

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge welcomed a new class of law clerks for the spring semester 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 trial, client meetings and hearings.

“The Attorney General’s office law clerk program is a great service-learning opportunity for students,” said Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “Law clerks work side by side some of Arkansas’s top attorneys and are exposed to the fulfilling experience of engagement in the public service sector. These students are a valuable asset to the people of our great State.”

Anthony Ellis, 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 Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in finance from Southern University A&M College in 2010, a Master of Science degree in sports commerce from the University of Memphis in 2011 and a Master of Business Administration degree in finance from UALR in 2013. Ellis is from Little Rock and graduated from Wilbur D. Mills University Studies High School in 2006.

Kristina Hallock, a second-year student at the UA Little Rock Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the State Agencies Department. She graduated from the University of Central Arkansas in 2014 with a degree in chemistry. Hallock is from Jacksonville and graduated from high school in 2011.

Joseph Kraska, a third-year student at the UA Little Rock Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the Public Protection Department. He graduated from the American Military University in 2014 with a major in political science. Kraska is from Prior Lake, Minn., and graduated from Prior Lake High School in 2003.

Samantha Lambert, a second-year student at the UA Little Rock Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the Criminal Department. She graduated from the University of Central Arkansas with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history in 2011 and from the Royal Holloway University of London with a Master of Arts degree in Holocaust studies in 2013. Lambert is from Bismarck and graduated from Bismarck High School in 2008.

Ashley Louks, a 2016 graduate of the University of Arkansas School of Law, is clerking for the Solicitor General. She graduated from the University of Arkansas with degrees in history and political science in 2012. Louks is from Judsonia and graduated from Pangburn High School in 2008.

Nicole Murray, a third-year student at the UA Little Rock Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. She graduated from Warner University in Lake Wales, Fla., in 2010 with a major in educational studies. Murray is from Dover Plains, N.Y., and graduated from Dover High School in 2005.

Taylor Pearson, a second-year student at the UA Little Rock Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the Public Protection Department. She graduated from Louisiana State University in 2014 with a major in international studies. Pearson is from Little Rock and graduated from Mount St. Mary Academy in 2010.

Colby Qualls, a second-year student at the UA Little Rock Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the Criminal Department. He is also pursuing a Master of Public Service degree from the Clinton School of Public Service and graduated from the University of Central Arkansas with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and sociology in 2015. Qualls is from Monette and graduated from Buffalo Island Central High School in 2011.

William Shepherd, a third-year student at the UA Little Rock Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the Civil Department. He graduated from the University of North Alabama with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in business administration and marketing in 2012. Shepherd is from Mount Ida and graduated from Mount Ida High School in 2001.

Nicholas Williams, a third-year student at the UA Little Rock Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the Civil Department. He graduated from the University of Central Arkansas with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in business in 2012 a Master of Business Administration degree in 2013 and from the University of Arkansas with a Master of Public Administration degree in 2016. Williams is from Judsonia and graduated from Riverview High School in 2008.

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Another Record Year for Medicaid Fraud Control Unit

Rutledge Marks Another Record Year for Medicaid Fraud Control Unit

Tue, Jan 24, 2017

17 Medicaid fraud convictions and 112 criminal investigations opened

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced that the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) obtained more Medicaid fraud convictions and opened more criminal investigations in 2016 than ever before. In 2015, the MFCU set a record with 14 Medicaid fraud convictions and 108 opened criminal investigations. In 2016, Medicaid fraud convictions increased to 17 and the MFCU opened a record 112 criminal investigations. This brings the total Medicaid fraud convictions during the Rutledge administration to 31 in 24 months. The MFCU also worked with local prosecutors to obtain convictions in three long-term care related prosecutions and one drug diversion case for a total of 21 convictions in 2016.

“The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit team had an incredible year of ensuring some of Arkansas’s most vulnerable citizens get the best care available,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “They continue to increase the number of investigations and convictions of bad actors across the state – all to combat fraud and hold those accountable who abuse and neglect Arkansans residing in assisted living facilities and nursing homes. I am proud of this group and am looking forward to seeing what they continue to accomplish on behalf of Arkansans.”

In 2016, the MFCU collected nearly $11.5 million dollars in settlements and restitution.

Another record was set for claims under the Arkansas False Claims Act with 11 cases resulting in settlements totaling $754,214.62. The MFCU additionally collected nearly $1.9 million from settlements obtained from joint investigations and federal false claims cases in cooperation with the National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units and U.S. Department of Justice. The MFCU also obtained $212,500 in civil penalties in six abuse and neglect settlements last year.

The Rutledge administration has also put a focus on tracking restitution payments to ensure these criminals are following through with their punishments. In 2016, $74,551.46 was collected in restitution in MFCU criminal cases. The MFCU further obtained court orders and settlements in combined civil and criminal cases totaling nearly $8.5 million, with nearly $5.3 million of that amount being returned to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to support the federal Medicaid program. Another $2.2 million was collected last year and paid to the State of Arkansas.

In new program launched by Rutledge in 2015, the office has saved over $3 million to the Medicaid program by investigating Social Security Disability fraud in 2016 alone. The Cooperative Disability Investigations (CDI) Unit in Arkansas combats fraud by investigating questionable statements and activities of claimants, medical providers, interpreters and other service providers who facilitate Social Security disability fraud.

Medicaid fraud occurs when Medicaid providers use the Medicaid program to obtain money to which they are not entitled. To report Medicaid fraud, abuse or neglect in nursing homes or Social Security disability fraud, call the Attorney General’s Medicaid fraud hotline at (866) 810-0016 or submit a complaint online.

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Presidential Inauguration

Rutledge Statement on Inauguration of President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence

Fri, Jan 20, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today released a statement congratulating President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence on their inaugurations. Rutledge was in attendance at the inauguration.

“This is a proud day for the United States of America,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Once again, Americans have witnessed the peaceful transfer of power and are filled with optimism for the future as Donald Trump and Mike Pence took their respective oaths of office. As Attorney General of Arkansas, I am committed to working with the new administration as they work to enact thoughtful, lawful polices that protect the safety and security of all Americans and help grow jobs from coast to coast. This administration is committed to making America great again and unifying the country, and I look forward to working with them to accomplish the important work ahead.”

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Gov. Perdue Secretary of Agriculture Appointment

Rutledge Statement on Appointment of Gov. Perdue to be Secretary of Agriculture

Thu, Jan 19, 2017

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released a statement today following President-elect Donald Trump’s selection of former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue to be the Secretary of Agriculture.

“Governor Sonny Perdue is an outstanding choice to be the Secretary of Agriculture,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “As someone who was raised on a farm, worked as a veterinarian and understands southern agriculture, Gov. Purdue has a long history of helping farmers grow and prosper by championing pro-growth polices and common sense regulations. I was raised on a cattle farm, own a row crop farm with my husband and proudly serve as co-chair of the National Association of Attorneys General Committee on Agriculture, and I look forward to working with the next secretary and President-elect to improve the lives of farmers across the country and ensure this industry is thriving for future generations.”

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Withdraw Critical Habitat Rules

Rutledge: New Administration Should Withdraw Critical Habitat Rules

Thu, Jan 19, 2017

Says, ‘These rules would unnecessarily prevent economic development on large areas of land’

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, along with 13 other states, sent a letter to the Trump Transition Team, urging the incoming administration to issue an executive order that restores the definition of “critical habitats” for endangered and threatened species back to its previous definition adopted in 1984.

The states are calling on the President-elect to make clear that the rules from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service, which revise the definition of critical habitat, are unlawful and cannot be enforced.

“These rules would unnecessarily prevent economic development on large areas of land based on an idea that at some point in the future an endangered species might potentially live or visit there,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This is just one more hoop those in rural America would have to jump through that will negatively impact economic growth. I am an avid sportsman and landowner and want to protect endangered and threatened species for future generations, but these rules are not the way to do it, and I urge the President-elect to withdraw them as soon as possible.”

Arkansas along with the State of Alabama are leading a coalition of 18 states that are challenging the rules that effectively declare that any area currently unoccupied by an endangered species by may potentially host an endangered species could be classified as critical habitat subject to stringent regulations.

The letter explains that the critical habitat rules are unlawful and could have a significant impact on private landowners and their property rights.

In addition to Rutledge and Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, the letter is signed by attorneys general from Alaska, Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia and Wyoming.

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Urges Senate to Confirm EPA Nominee

Rutledge Calls on U.S. Senate to Confirm EPA Administrator Nominee Scott Pruitt

Wed, Jan 18, 2017

Says that under Pruitt’s leadership, ‘the agency will promote a healthier environment and a strong economy for future generations’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today released a statement after she attended the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee confirmation hearing of President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt.

“I firmly believe now more than ever that my friend from Oklahoma, Attorney General Scott Pruitt, is the right person at the right time to lead the EPA, and I call on the U.S. Senate to move swiftly toward confirmation,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “At today’s hearing, which I had the honor of attending, General Pruitt spoke about three core philosophies that he would bring to the EPA: rule of law, cooperative federalism and public participation. Arkansans have lost trust with the EPA and its overreaching policies that harm farmers, business owners and families across the Natural State. Moreover, the EPA has lost touch with the states on many fronts by ignoring the intent of Congress and what is in the best interest of each state. General Pruitt will reform the agency by working cooperatively with stakeholders, ensuring that it acts within its legal authority while at the same time staying committed to its mission of protecting the environment. I am confident that with General Pruitt leading the EPA under the Trump Administration, the agency will promote a healthier environment and a strong economy for future generations.”

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