Rutledge Hosts NWA Law Enforcement TrainingThu, Sep 6, 2018
Says, ‘I am proud to be able to offer these trainings around the State’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today hosted a law enforcement training event in northwest Arkansas. The free training and educational opportunity for the law enforcement community, including police, prosecutors and criminal justice personnel was held at Northwest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville.
“Law enforcement training is an important service I provide as Arkansas’s chief law enforcement officer,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I am proud to be able to offer these trainings around the State to ensure that Arkansas officers are prepared and trained on a number of different situations to best protect our communities. I look forward to expanding these types of trainings in the years to come.”
Today’s participants heard from Drug Enforcement Administration Little Rock District Office Assistant Special Agent in Charge Justin King, Arkansas Department of Human Services Recovery Coordinator Jimmy McGill, Kim Arnold with the Arkansas Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness and Rickey Phillips with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. And from the Attorney General’s Office, participants heard from Deputy Attorneys General Chuck Harder and Will Jones, Nurse Investigator Vicki Jones and Special Agents Dane Pedersen and Michael Thatch.
Last year, Rutledge announced a new initiative to offer training outside of central Arkansas after the overwhelming success of the annual Arkansas Law Enforcement Summit. Trainings have been held in both northwest and northeast Arkansas, providing easier access to training for the officers. Registration is open for the 2018 Arkansas Law Enforcement Summit, to be held Oct. 2 at the Benton Event Center.
Rutledge Announces Arrest of Warren Dentist for Medicaid FraudWed, Sep 5, 2018
Accused of falsifying dental records totaling more than $185,000
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the arrest of a Bradley County dentist.
Dr. John Durmon, 59, of Warren, is accused of purposefully falsifying the dental records of more than 100 Medicaid participants to fraudulently bill the Arkansas Medicaid program, totaling more than $185,000. He is charged with two counts of Medicaid fraud, both Class B felonies. Following an investigation by the Attorney General’s Office, Durmon turned himself in to the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department.
“As Arkansas’s chief law enforcement officer, I will not tolerate people taking advantage of the Arkansas Medicaid Program,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I will continue to prosecute those who abuse the system.”
In one charge, Durmon submitted 2,557 claims for X-rays for 85 Medicaid recipients from October 2016 through December 2017. Records indicate Durmon had not properly taken, developed, used or maintained X-rays as required by Medicaid program regulations. Durmon was paid a total of $153,077.95 for the claims.
In the second charge, Durmon submitted 637 claims for various dental services, including extractions, amalgam and resin composite fillings for 33 Medicaid recipients from September 2015 through December 2017. Records indicate Durmon charged the Medicaid program for those services, but the services were not provided. Durmon was paid a total of $33,383.05 for the claims.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
ICYMI: The case for confirming KavanaughTue, Sep 4, 2018
Rutledge says, ‘He has a proven record of adhering to the Constitution and the rule of law, ensuring that the liberties of all Americans are protected.’
LITTLE ROCK – Sunday, an op-ed written by Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge encouraging the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Nominee Brett Kavanaugh, appeared in the Arkansas Democrat- Gazette.
Very few decisions afforded to the president of the United States have as significant an impact as the nomination of a justice to the Supreme Court. Lifetime appointments mean that justices will likely serve on the Court long after a president leaves the White House, thus ensuring that their judicial philosophy lives on long after their administration.
Following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, Americans knew that the next president would have at least one Supreme Court appointment, raising the stakes of the election. I am proud to have been an early supporter during President Donald J. Trump’s campaign, having served as a surrogate throughout 2016 and being the only elected official from Arkansas to be a Trump delegate at the Republican National Convention. For me, President Trump was the obvious choice to nominate the next Supreme Court Justice, and he proved himself worthy of that trust when he nominated Justice Neil Gorsuch.
President Trump believes, as I do, that judges must ensure our government does not take actions that violate individual constitutional rights. He promised that if elected he would nominate judges who faithfully interpret and follow the Constitution as written by our founders and not invent constitutional rights by legislating from the bench. And President Trump has fulfilled that promise.
Since he took office, President Trump has nominated outstanding individuals to the courts at every level and at a record pace. President Trump is doing his part to ensure our judiciary is filled with judges who will interpret the law, not invent it.
The president has nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace retired Justice Anthony Kennedy. I have no doubt that if confirmed to serve on the Supreme Court, Judge Kavanaugh will continue to use his extensive legal education and experience to protect the Constitution.
Judge Kavanaugh has a proven record from his days on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, the country’s most influential federal court of appeals. One example of his commitment to the rule of law is his dissent in Free Enterprise Fund v. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, where he argued that shielding PCAOB board members from political accountability violated the president’s Article II powers, and the Supreme Court ultimately adopted Judge Kavanaugh’s approach.
Another example is Judge Kavanaugh’s dissent in Garza v. Hargan—a case in which I joined a multi-state brief seeking to protect the life of the unborn—where Judge Kavanaugh argued that the federal government cannot be required to facilitate an abortion on demand for an unaccompanied minor.
I am proud to support the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh. He has a proven record of adhering to the Constitution and the rule of law, ensuring that the liberties of all Americans are protected. In the 2016 election, President Trump promised to nominate well-qualified Americans who will faithfully interpret our Constitution as the founders wrote it, and with this nomination, the president has done just that.
The president has made and kept his promises to the American people, now it is time for the U.S. Senate to do the same: confirm Judge Kavanaugh.
Rutledge Marks International Overdose Awareness Day 2018Fri, Aug 31, 2018
Launches webpage and social media campaign #Rx4LifeStories
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge will launch Prescription for Life Stories (#Rx4LifeStories) today to mark International Overdose Awareness Day. #Rx4LifeStories is an ongoing initiative that will allow Arkansans to talk about how the nation’s opioid epidemic has impacted their lives and the lives of their families.
Rutledge will post videos of Arkansans telling their stories on her Twitter and Facebook accounts. The links on the website will show Arkansans telling their stories of the opioid crisis. Their words will drive home the sad reality that addiction and overdose are stealing an alarming number of young Arkansans who are leaving behind supportive and loving families.
“Who better to tell the story of addiction than the families, friends and individuals who have traveled this rocky path,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “These individuals and families understand how hard it is to endure the merciless struggles of addiction, and in some cases, they have suffered the shattering grief of losing a loved one to these debilitating drugs. Today’s expansion of the Prescription for Life initiative is an opportunity for Arkansans to learn from our neighbors about the devastation of prescription drug use and abuse – in our homes, our towns and across our State. You too can make a difference by sharing your story to save a life.”
International Overdose Awareness Day is a global event held on August 31st each year that aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of addiction. The day also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have met with death or permanent injury as a result of a drug overdose.
Drug overdose deaths are on the rise in Arkansas, increasing from 287 in 2015 to 401 in 2017, according to data from the Arkansas Department of Health. More than 40 percent of teenagers in Arkansas have tried prescription drugs and more than half of all teens report that it is easy to obtain prescription drugs from their parents’ or grandparents’ medicine cabinets.
North America continues to experience the highest drug-related mortality rate in the world, accounting for one in four drug-related deaths globally, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that between 59,000 and 65,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2016, up from 52,404 in 2015 and double the death rate a decade ago. That is more than the number of deaths from car accidents in 2016. And according to the Centers for Disease Control, the majority of drug overdose deaths – six out of 10 – involve an opioid.
Prescription for Life Stories is the latest in General Rutledge’s multi-faceted approach to combatting the opioid crisis.
Rutledge is also suing the opioid manufacturers who created the crisis in Arkansas for violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Arkansas Medicaid Fraud False Claims Act.
Last fall, Rutledge launched Prescription for Life, a first-in-the-nation educational tool offered at no cost to all high school students in the State to help them understand the dangers of prescription drug misuse and how to prevent abuse. To date, it has been launched in 73 schools across 55 counties and reached over 7,700 students with an additional 17 schools committed to launch the program this fall.
Each year, Rutledge partners with a number of agencies in hosting the Arkansas Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit. The summit is a free training and educational opportunity for law enforcement officers, medical professionals, pharmacists and educators. The seventh annual Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit is scheduled for Nov. 1 in Hot Springs, with more than 800 taking advantage of early bird registration.
Rutledge also partners with federal and state agencies for the biannual National Take Back Day. Since 2016, more than 600 pounds of prescription drugs were collected at Attorney General Mobile Offices across Arkansas.
Rutledge Files Suit Against Alert AmericaThu, Aug 30, 2018
Says, ‘Alert America willfully chose to deceive and violate the trust of many Arkansans’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge filed a consumer-protection lawsuit today against Alert America LLC for violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
“Arkansans who pay for services expect to get what they pay for,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Companies like Alert America that act dishonestly will not be tolerated in Arkansas. Alert America willfully chose to deceive and violate the trust of many Arkansans, and I will continue to pursue companies that take advantage of Arkansans’ hard-earned money.”
Alert America sold third-party alarm-monitoring services to Arkansas consumers, and many of its contracts included a prepaid service contract. Alert America closed its business and failed to remit payments to the third party. As a result, many Arkansans had services discontinued without any money being returned to consumers who had prepaid for services they never received and without any notice from Alert concerning the cancellation.
The Attorney General’s Office has discovered at least 67 affected Arkansans. Consumers report they were first notified by a third-party alarm service company that their accounts would be closed, despite having prepaid for services. The third-party company informed consumers that Alert America had terminated its relationship with the third party and had not remitted the consumers’ prepayment to the third party. Some consumers have reported losing more than $1,000 for services not received.
Rutledge is asking the court to impose civil penalties, restitution for the affected consumers, attorneys’ fees, costs, an injunction, and other relief against Alert America. Violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act carry civil penalties up to $10,000 for each violation.
The lawsuit was filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court.
Arkansans can file consumer complaints with the Attorney General’s Office on ArkansasAG.gov or by calling (800) 482-8982.
Rutledge Announces Speakers for 2018 Law Enforcement SummitWed, Aug 29, 2018
Will include Utah Attorney General Reyes and former Florida Violent Fugitive Task Force member Jeffrey McGill
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the full slate of speakers for the 16th Arkansas Law Enforcement Summit, which will be held on Oct. 2 at the Benton Event Center in Benton. The annual event is a free training and educational opportunity for Arkansas’s law enforcement community, including officers, prosecutors and criminal justice personnel.
“As Arkansas’s Chief Law Enforcement Officer, it is important for me to offer trainings to our law enforcement on topics such as human trafficking and emergency situations involving individuals on the autism spectrum,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The annual Law Enforcement Summit provides a unique opportunity for our men and women in blue to network and learn valuable knowledge as they protect us in our communities. I encourage all officers to register to attend so they can hear and learn from these remarkable speakers.”
This year’s summit will begin with Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes discussing human trafficking prevention. Attorney General Reyes has been a leader and an international voice in the fight against human trafficking and continues to lead Utah to aggressively fight through education campaigns, support of anti-human trafficking legislation, victim recovery and advocacy. This is accomplished through grassroots and non-governmental organizations’ efforts, partnerships with local law enforcement officers and agencies, as well as work initiated by his office through the Utah Trafficking in Persons Task Force and prosecutors of the Utah SECURE Strike Force. Reyes’ remarks and presentation will begin at 8:30 a.m.
Rutledge will also welcome Dennis Debbaudt, who will speak at 9:45 a.m. Debbaudt will speak on autism risk and safety management because just as each emergency differs from the next, so do individuals involved, especially in regard to individuals on the autism spectrum. Officers are trained to respond to crisis situations with certain protocols, but these protocols may not always be the best way to interact with individuals on the autism spectrum. It is critical that first responders have working knowledge of autism and the wide variety of behaviors individuals on the autism spectrum may exhibit in emergency situations.
During a noon luncheon, Rutledge will again recognize one outstanding law enforcement officer from each county in addition to the statewide and regional award winners who will be announced.
The afternoon will include a presentation from Jeffrey McGill, formerly with the Okalossa County, Florida, Violent Fugitive Task Force. McGill will discuss surviving traumatic stress. This training will address the far reaches of a critical incident and what officers, supervisors, trainers and families need to know about traumatic stress.
Sworn officers who attend the Summit will receive a Bayco MT-120 Mini-TAC light.
Registration is open and available at ArkansasAG.gov.