Rutledge Hosts Youth SummitTue, Apr 5, 2016
ALMA – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge hosted a Youth Summit today for seventh through 12th graders, raising awareness of dating violence. The summit comes after Rutledge hosted five Break the Cycle trainings across the State for educators who were taught the foundational knowledge about dating abuse and methods for intervention. The Summit was held today at the Alma Airedale Arena.
This year’s Youth Summit is the largest ever Attorney General sponsored event, with more than 2,100 students attending.
“Raising awareness of dating violence is a major priority of mine,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This interactive and informative event’s message was directed to junior high and high school students to help them understand the dangers and consequences of dating violence and how to have healthy relationships.”
Former college football standout and NFL player Keith Davis was the featured speaker with his “Just Say YES: Youth Equipped to Succeed” message. Davis, an entrepreneur and motivational speaker, graduated from the University of Southern California with his football team’s highest grade point average and a degree in business finance. He was the team’s leading tackler, selected to the All-American Strength Team, an All-Conference player and played in the Rose Bowl. After college, Davis signed with the New York Giants.
Other speakers included Angela McGraw, executive director for Women & Children First in Central Arkansas, and Kiah McGraw, the state advocate coordinator for the Arkansas Coalition Against Sexual Assault.
Partners with the Attorney General’s office in hosting the event are Arkansas Activities Association, Arkansas Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Arkansas Coalition Against Sexual Assault and the Child Advocacy Centers of Arkansas.
Rutledge Urges the EPA Not to Penalize Race Car IndustryTue, Apr 5, 2016
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has joined other attorneys generals, calling on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to remove language from a proposed rule that conflicts with the intent of Congress under the Clean Air Act and if allowed to go forward would have harmful economic consequences.
As proposed, the rule for greenhouse gas emissions and fuel efficiency standards for medium and heavy-duty engines and vehicles expands the EPA’s statutory jurisdiction under the Clean Air Act to cover vehicles modified solely for racing or competition.
“Congress has made it clear that vehicles used for racing purposes are not regulated under the Clean Air Act,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Instead of following the law, the EPA is driving ahead with a proposed 629-page rule that again bypasses Congressional authority. I join my colleagues in urging the EPA to re-evaluate this rule to ensure it falls within the scope of the law.”
Contained in the draft is language that includes the phrase “used solely for competition,” which would reverse a longstanding practice of the EPA not to regulate this industry.
As the attorneys general point out in the letter to Administrator Gina McCarthy, “In 2014, consumers spent $36 billion on automotive specialty equipment parts and accessories. All over the U.S., manufactures, retailers and technicians represent tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars. This proposed rule would purport to make many of the products made, sold and installed by those businesses illegal, dealing a heavy blow to our economy.
“While the federal Clean Air Act prohibits certain modifications to everyday motor vehicles used on public roads, statutory language and the EPA’s historic practice have made it clear that vehicles built or modified for racing purposes, and not used on public streets, are not regulated under the Clean Act,” the attorneys general concluded.
In addition to Rutledge, attorneys general from Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio and West Virginia signed the letter.
Rutledge Issues Urgent Warning About IRS Phone ScamTue, Apr 5, 2016
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today issued an urgent warning to Arkansans after her office received a large number of calls, reporting scam artists are posing as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) demanding payment immediately and threatening arrest if payment is not received.
“The IRS is never going to call you unsolicited,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The IRS will send you letter on top of letter. This is a common scam that is hitting more and more Arkansans the closer it gets to tax day.”
Rutledge says that these con artists are now using robocalls, which allows them to reach a higher number of consumers, while purporting to be the IRS.
Arkansans need to remember the IRS will never call and demand payment, require taxes be paid in a certain way, ask for credit or debit card numbers or threaten to bring police or other agencies to make an arrest for unpaid taxes.
The IRS strongly recommends Arkansans who receive these threatening calls not give out any personal information and hang up immediately, contact the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at (800) 366-4484 to report the call and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. The agency also requests that any scam emails be forwarded to email@example.com.
The IRS encourages Arkansans with any questions about owed taxes to contact their office directly at (800) 829-1040.
For more information about other common scams and consumer-related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or consumer@ArkansasAG.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.
Rutledge Settles Claims Against Two Bogus Cancer CharitiesFri, Apr 1, 2016
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, along with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and agencies from 49 other states, have obtained a permanent injunction to dissolve two nationwide fake cancer charities and ban their leadership from profiting from any charity fundraising in the future.
“Thousands of Arkansans give to charitable causes each year,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Sadly, scammers like Cancer Fund of America, Cancer Support Services and their leadership deprive legitimate charities of the support they desperately need, and that is why I am proud that this action, along with the settlement announced last May, shuts down these bogus charities and places a lifetime ban on their leadership from working with or for other nonprofits. Arkansans deserve honesty, and I am going to hold those accountable who lie and cheat.”
Cancer Fund of America Inc. (CFA), Cancer Support Services Inc. (CSS) and their leader, James Reynolds Sr., agreed to settle accusations that CFA and CSS claimed to help cancer patients, but they spent the overwhelming majority of donations on their operators, families and friends, and fundraisers.
Under the terms of the settlement, CFA and CSS will be permanently closed and their assets liquidated. Reynolds is banned from profiting from charity fundraising and nonprofit work and from serving as a charity’s director or trustee or otherwise managing charitable assets. He is also prohibited from making misrepresentations about goods or services and violating the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule and State laws.
The order imposes a judgment against CFA, CSS and Reynolds, jointly and severally, of $75,825,653, the amount consumers donated to CFA and CSS between 2008 and 2012. The judgment against CFA and CSS will be partially satisfied via liquidation of their assets. The judgment against Reynolds will be suspended upon surrender of certain artwork, two pistols and sale of a pontoon boat. The full judgment will become due immediately if he is found to have misrepresented his financial condition.
The other defendants in the case were CFA’s and CSS’s chief financial officer; CSS’s former president, Kyle Effler; Children’s Cancer Fund of America Inc. (CCFOA) and its president and executive director, Rose Perkins; and The Breast Cancer Society Inc. (BCS) and its executive director and former president, James Reynolds II. Under settlement orders, Effler, Perkins and Reynolds II are also banned from fundraising, charity management and oversight of charitable assets, and CCFOA and BCS are in receivership and will be dissolved after their assets are liquidated.
The complaint, filed in May 2015, targeted four sham charities run by Reynolds and his family members that allegedly schemed more than $187 million from unsuspecting donors. CFA and CSS were responsible for more than $75 million of that amount. The other two sham charities settled in May 2015 with Rutledge and others. The settlement announced today concludes the largest joint enforcement action ever undertaken by the FTC and state charity regulators.
Whatever the donation, Arkansans should do their research before donating to make sure the charitable contributions are assisting those intended. To find out more about a specific charity please visit the Attorney General’s charities database.
Rutledge Announces Medicaid Fraud Arrest of Oklahoma ManFri, Apr 1, 2016
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced the arrest of an Oklahoma man by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.
Shawn Howard, 45, of Pocola, Oklahoma, was arrested on one count of Medicaid fraud. He is accused of billing for services not rendered between August 2014 and February 2015, totaling at least $2,500, a Class B felony.
Howard is currently being held in the Newton County jail, awaiting a transfer to the Arkansas Department of Correction, after pleading guilty for a murder last year related to the care of a Fort Smith Medicaid recipient.
The Attorney General’s office conducted the Medicaid fraud investigation in cooperation with the Office of the 12th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Daniel Shue, the Office of the 6th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley and the Fort Smith Police Department.
Medicaid fraud occurs when Medicaid providers use the Medicaid program to obtain money for which they are not entitled.
Court Grants Rutledge’s Intervention Request to Stop FCC OrderThu, Mar 31, 2016
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge’s motion to intervene in a federal lawsuit against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been granted by the D.C. Circuit. The lawsuit, which was brought by the State of Oklahoma, challenges an FCC order that would effectively limit the amount of money that Arkansas and other local units of government may recover from Inmate Calling Systems (ICS).
“It is important for Arkansas to add its voice in strong opposition to the FCC’s order,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “By being a part of this litigation, I will work to ensure that local budgets and law enforcement agencies across this State are not burdened with a costly, unlawful order from the federal government. I am confident that in the end the Courts will invalidate this order, which failed to consider cost permanently.”
On March 7, the D.C. Circuit granted in part a motion to stay the order.
The FCC’s order, which caps rates and limits fees for ICS, ignores significant ICS- and security-related costs borne by the states and their need to recoup these costs from ICS providers.
The FCC caps inmate calls at 11 cents per minute for all local and long distance calls from state and federal prisons. In jails, prices will range from 14 cents to 22 cents per minute, depending on the size of the institution. The new cap accounts for a more than 50 percent decrease from previous limits. Additionally, in a constitutionally-suspect power grab, the new caps will apply to all intrastate calls, not just interstate calls.
Rutledge, along with Attorneys General from Wisconsin, Nevada, Arizona, Indiana, Louisiana and Missouri, filed the motion to intervene last month.