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Pulaski County Woman Arrested
Bristol-Myers Squibb Settlement

Rutledge Part of $19.5 Million Bristol-Myers Squibb Settlement

Thu, Dec 8, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has reached a settlement, along with 41 other states and the District of Columbia, with Bristol-Myers Squibb. The settlement ends a multistate investigation into unfair or deceptive trade practices with marketing the company's prescription drug, Abilify, an antipsychotic medication.

Arkansas will receive $292,036 from the settlement, which will be deposited into the Consumer Education and Enforcement Fund.

“The deceitful actions by Bristol-Myers Squibb were unlawful and irresponsible,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Arkansans needing antipsychotic medications have a level of trust in the companies making these drugs, and unfortunately Bristol-Myers Squibb misrepresented Abilify with their marketing practices.”

The Federal Drug Administration originally approved Abilify in 2002 for treating schizophrenia. The complaint alleges the company was marketing the medication to dementia and Alzheimer’s patients, despite receiving a “black box” warning in 2006 that elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis who are treated with antipsychotic drugs, like Abilify, have an increased risk of death. The complaint also alleges that the company promoted Abilify for use in children, which was not approved by the Federal Drug Administration.

Under the settlement, Bristol-Myers Squibb will be prohibited from making false or misleading claims about Abilify, its safety and the implications of clinical studies relating to the drug. They are also subject to limitations on financial incentives to sales representatives and health care providers, dissemination of information that may promote off-label use of Abilify, and other practices affecting off-label promotion.

In addition to Arkansas, the multistate group – led by Maryland and Kentucky – includes Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska , Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

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Fouke Man Sentenced for Cyber Crimes

Fouke Man Sentenced for Cyber Crimes

Thu, Dec 8, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced today that a Miller County man has been sentenced to 300 years in the Arkansas Department of Correction and a fine of $300,000 on child exploitation charges.

Ronald Anthony Antoniello, 73, of Fouke, was found guilty by a Miller County jury of 30 counts of distributing, possessing or viewing matter depicting sexually explicit conduct involving children.

“I appreciate the partnerships across the State that have gotten this man out of our neighborhoods and off the internet,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I am proud of the Cyber Crimes Unit at the Attorney General’s office and local prosecutors who continuously work hard to protect Arkansas children and families. This is an especially heinous criminal, and I am glad this evil individual can no longer prey on innocent children.”

Antoniello was arrested in 2014 on a search warrant executed by the Attorney General’s Cyber Crimes Unit. Attorneys from the Attorney General’s office were appointed by the 8th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Stephanie Black as special deputy prosecutors. Judge Brent Haltom followed the recommendation of the jury and sentenced Antoniello in Miller County Circuit Court.

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Camden Man Sentenced for Fraud

Rutledge Announces Camden Man Sentenced for Medicaid Fraud

Thu, Dec 1, 2016
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Rutledge, Strange Lead Coalition Challenging Expansion of Critical Habitat Definition

Tue, Nov 29, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange are leading a coalition of 18 states in a lawsuit challenging new federal rules that broadly expand the definition of “critical habitats” for endangered and threatened species.

The states charge that the rules would allow the federal government “to designate areas as occupied critical habitat, containing the physical and biological features essential to conservation, even when those areas are neither occupied nor contain those features.” The new rules effectively declare that any area currently unoccupied by an endangered species but may potentially host an endangered species could be classified as critical habitat subject to stringent regulations.

“This dramatic expansion of federal power over land rights has the potential to threaten economic development across the nation,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “As an avid sportsman and landowner, I want our endangered species to be protected for future generations, but these new rules will mire wide swaths of land in bureaucratic red tape under the notion that the property might theoretically someday be beneficial to a certain species, even when there is no actual research or data to support that speculation.”

The proposed rules would also allow the federal government to prevent activities it deems could adversely affect habitat features that do not even exist. The states note, “[f]or example, under the Final Rules, the Services could declare desert land as critical habitat for a fish and then prevent the construction of a highway through those desert lands, under the theory that it would prevent the future formation of a stream that might one day support the species. Or the Services could prevent a landowner from planting loblolly pine trees in a barren field if planting longleaf pine trees might one day perhaps be more beneficial to an endangered or threatened species.”

The lawsuit was filed today in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama against the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, National Marine Fisheries Service, U.S. Secretary of Commerce and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Joining Rutledge and Strange in the lawsuit are the states of Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

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Rutledge Announces Two Arkansans Sentenced for Medicaid Fraud

Rutledge Announces Two Arkansans Sentenced for Medicaid Fraud

Tue, Nov 29, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the convictions of two Arkansans for Medicaid fraud.

Jennifer Casey, formerly of Benton County and currently of Pulaski County, pleaded guilty in Pulaski County Circuit Court in October and was recently sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to pay a $750 fine and court costs. She has already repaid $9,000 in restitution to the Medicaid Program Trust Fund.

Donna Roberson of Jefferson County pleaded guilty in Pulaski County Circuit Court. She has been sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay a $2,500 fine and court costs.

“Investigators and attorneys from the Attorney General’s office work tirelessly to investigate and prosecute those who commit Medicaid fraud,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Medicaid is an important safety net for some of the most vulnerable Arkansans. I will ensure that those people attempting to defraud Arkansans are held accountable.”

Casey, 36, lived in Rogers when she was charged with one count of Medicaid fraud, a Class B felony, and one count of failure to maintain medical records, a Class D felony, for submitting false documentation to the Arkansas Medicaid Program in 2014 after her senior adult day care facility, Christian Day Care in Conway closed its doors on Jan. 1, 2014.

Roberson, 64, of Pine Bluff, was charged with one count of Medicaid fraud, a Class C felony, for billing the Arkansas Medicaid Program for services that were not rendered.

Both cases were initiated by referrals from the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General and were prosecuted in coordination with the 6th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley.

To report abuse or neglect in residential care facilities or Medicaid fraud, contact the Attorney General’s Medicaid fraud hotline at (866) 810-0016 or oag@arkansasag.gov.

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