Arkansas Attorney General Reviewing Hispanic Identification Cards (December 18, 2007)
In an effort to protect immigrants from potential fraud, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel is looking into a Malvern-based nonprofit group's distribution of identification cards to Hispanic immigrants who work in the state. Although the card purports to be a membership card, it looks very similar to an official ID, and several police departments have started accepting the card as identification.
Ohio attorney general unveils consumer-complaint Web site (December 14, 2007)
Attorney General Marc Dann unveiled a new consumer-complaint Web site (www.ag4ohio.gov), through which users can seek assistance on consumer issues, report suspected fraud or corruption or inquire about state laws covering gaming and charities. The effort to make the AG office more accessible also includes extended telephone hotline hours during evenings and weekends.
How to Solve a Subprime Mess? An Iowan Says, Let’s Caucus (December 9, 2007)
Long before subprime mortgages were on the national agenda, Tom Miller, the attorney general of Iowa, led teams of state officials to negotiate major settlements with home lenders accused of misleading and overcharging borrowers. While some AGs are quick to prosecute, Miller asserts that as an advocate for consumers, his group must try to forestall the devastation that foreclosures wreak upon neighborhoods and has been pressuring mortgage servicing companies to modify loans before borrowers fall too far behind.
States, Groups Demand Aircraft Climate Emission Limits (December 6, 2007)
California AG Jerry Brown, along with other states, cities, and organizations, is calling on the federal government to impose greenhouse gas emissions limits on aircraft. Currently there are no restrictions. Citing last April’s Supreme Court ruling that greenhouse gasses fall under EPA jurisdiction, their petition asks the EPA to respond within 180 days and initiate a formal process to limit emissions from all aircraft - both domestic and foreign - arriving or departing U.S. airports.
AG Takes Third Insurance Company to Court over Annuity Sales (November 30, 2007)
For the third time this year, Attorney General Lori Swanson sued a life insurance company over annuity sales to aging Minnesotans. This time it's Midland National Life Insurance of West Des Moines, Iowa. Swanson alleges that Midland National Life has been selling long-term annuity plans to seniors who aren't suitable candidates because of their age, health or personal circumstances. AG Swanson asserts that the policies are extraordinarily complex and confusing and many of the customers aren't fully aware of the surrender penalties they face if they need access to their money. She further claims that “seniors, because of the equity in their homes and other wealth accumulated over the years, are now viewed as cash machines by some in the investments industry.”
Oregon Attorney General Criticizes RIAA’s Conduct in P2P Cases (November 29, 2007)
After advocating for the University of Oregon in a case against the RIAA, Oregon AG Hardy Myers is hoping to launch his own investigation into RIAA investigative tactics. Several concerns of the AG include the RIAA’s lack of an investigation warrant in the state, what information the RIAA is actually obtaining beyond IP addresses, and “with particularity, the economic damage, if any, that the RIAA suffered as a result of the unlawful conduct of each Doe Defendant."
Sale of SIL Wastewater Plant to Broadway Complete (November 27, 2007)
Over a year ago Virginia’s Attorney General Bob McDonnell filed suit against the SIL Clean Wastewater Plant for violations of nitrogen and phosphorous discharge permits. The efforts of AG McDonnell were realized on Wednesday when the sale of the plant to the town of Broadway was finalized. Claiming victory for the environment and Virginians alike, AG McDonnell states “SIL has suffered the ultimate sanction for polluting our environment and will no longer operate the facility…we are eliminating a source of pollution…and providing for the health, safety and welfare of the present and future citizens of the Commonwealth.”
California Sues Toy Companies for Lead (November 23, 2007)
California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. and Los Angeles City Attorney Rockard Delgadillo are suing 20 companies for manufacturing or selling toys with "unlawful quantities of lead." The lawsuit alleges that companies knowingly exposed individuals to lead and failed to provide any warning about this risk – a violation of California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986. This is not the first time AG Brown has dealt with this issue, as just last year he prompted over 70 retailers and distributors to meet tougher lead standards for jewelry.
Attorney General Alleges $2M Fraud, Seeks Restitution (November 17, 2007)
James C. Platts has been accused by the Attorney General of Pennsylvania of scamming hundreds of home buyers and sellers out of more than $2 million in fraudulent real estate transactions. AG Corbett’s suit against Mr. Platts seeks restitution from 115 real estate transactions and to permanently prevent Platts from running any type of real estate business. Citing a packed caseload in his own office, AG Corbett is hoping that the federal government will pursue a criminal case. However, should they refuse, General Corbett has said his office will likely file the charges.
Connecticut Attorney General Calls for Sanctions against Medicaid Provider (November 16, 2007)
Connecticut AG Richard Blumenthal has called for sanctions against Medicaid provider Health Net for sending fraudulent computer messages to pharmacies. Health Net uses a “not covered” message in response to prescriptions that require prior authorization, which is misleading and results in misinformed denial of certain medications.
Texas Attorney General Files Action on Directory Publisher (November 9, 2007)
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has filed an enforcement action against a fraudulent “Yellow Pages” company and its owner for deceiving business owners, nonprofits, churches and other organizations. Since March 2006, the company has mailed more than 2 million deceptive solicitations in an effort to lure customers from across the United States. “Deceptive mailings, hidden charges and the deceptive use of a well-known corporate logo were all part of a complex scheme to defraud small business owners and others,” said Attorney General Abbott. The Attorney General’s legal action has been brought under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann and the HSUS Announce New Animal fighting Reward Program (November 7, 2007)
Ohio AG Marc Dann, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the Buckeye State Sheriff's Association, and the Ohio Association of Chief's of Police have a formed a partnership to combat animal fighting. Thanks to the partnership, the HSUS is now going to offer double the reward it had been offering for information that leads to the conviction or arrest of any person involved in illegal animal fighting. AG Dann has previously been honored at the 2007 Humane Law Enforcement Awards and led an investigation which culminated in one of the largest and most successful criminal animal fighting crackdowns in U.S. history.
Oregon Challenges RIAA on Behalf of University (November 6, 2007)
Oregon AG Hardy Myers has joined the University of Oregon in it's attempt to quash seventeen John Doe subpoenas issued by the RIAA. The University insists that the measures needed to find out which students illegally downloaded music would violate student’s privacy and is beyond the university’s responsibility. “It is the university’s position that it is not their role to be the enforcement arm of the [music] industry.”
Dropped Marijuana Charges Trigger Criticism from Attorney General (November 5, 2007)
Vermont AG Bill Sorrell has issued criticism of Windsor Prosecutor Bobby Sands for not laying felony marijuana charges against lawyer and occasional acting judge Martha Davis. Sorrell believes that it sets bad precedent for legal consistency across the counties of Vermont, and sends a bad message to the public about who is subject to law and who may evade it.
Amid State Inquiry, Cigna Agrees to Revise Doctor Ranking Program (October 30, 2007)
Following an investigation of health insurers suspected of directing patients to cheaper doctors by the New York Office of Attorney General, Cigna Corporation has agreed to improve its rankings of physicians. Cigna will use an outside monitor and will report to the Office of Attorney General every six months. Read the settlement
Attorney General to Challenge Snowball Ruling (October 26, 2007)
Oregon AG Hardy Myers is challenging a court order to return a deer, named Snowball, to its previous owner. AG Myers has said the deer is public property and that Jim Filipetti and his family had no right to own the deer in the first place. He also fears what precedent the ruling is setting. “The logic of the court's ruling is that police could be compelled to return stolen property or other property to people who are not entitled by law to possess it. The impact of the ruling potentially extends beyond this wildlife case." Wildlife organizations have also raised concerns of precedent setting, with regards to opening the door for people to remove animals form the wild.
Attorney General Announces Collaborative Efforts to Develop a Statewide Anti-Gang Strategy (October 25, 2007)
Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum has announced the creation of a statewide commission, the Executive Group, to study and offer solutions to the growing problem of gang violence in Florida. The group will consist of a number of the state’s top law enforcement officials. According to McCollum, “the long-range plan of the group will be a comprehensive outline that will include efforts to educate our youth and to dramatically reduce gang membership and activities throughout Florida.”
AZ Attorney General Travels to Israel (October 24, 2007)
Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard is one of twelve current and former AGs taking part in the legal exchange program between the National Association of Attorneys General and the Israeli government, in cooperation with the American-Israel Friendship League. The goals of the trip are to learn more about the Israeli legal system, discuss comparative legal systems and confer on mutual issues where cooperation is needed.
Attorney General Announces Agreement With Kroger To Curb Tobacco Sales To Minors (October 23, 2007)
AG Bob Cooper of Tennessee along with 42 other states and Guam has joined in an agreement with Kroger Company to help stop tobacco sales to youth. The agreement is part of a multi-state enforcement effort by the Attorneys General to secure agreements from national retailers to take specific corrective actions including "best practices" to prevent sales of tobacco products to minors.
States Weigh Legal Action Against Lenders: Ohio, Massachusetts among states accusing lenders of deception (October 22, 2007)
Following the recent work by state attorneys general to increase the legal pressure on the mortgage industry, this article notes that a glut of lawsuits may not be the result. James Tierney, Director of the National State Attorneys General Program suggests that the critical work will be done through public outreach, stating, “AGs have to prosecute fraud, but …. that's not going to keep people in their homes.”
Massachusetts Toughens Rules on Mortgages (October 18, 2007)
Massachusetts AG Martha Coakley has finalized new regulations for mortgage lenders and brokers in response to the home foreclosure crisis. The regulations require lenders and brokers to treat all borrowers fairly, with the aim of eliminating excessive fees and sales of loans that borrowers cannot afford. In addition to Coakley’s new regulations, the state legislature is working on their own set of rules to prevent further foreclosures.
A New Mortgage ‘Cop’ (October 10, 2007)
Having sued more than a dozen lenders and brokers for allegedly inflating home appraisals and otherwise misleading homeowners, Ohio AG Marc Dann is now pursuing Wall Street. Attributing much of the blame for the recent home-foreclosure crisis throughout Ohio and the rest of the U.S. to Wall Street, Dann is focusing on how investment banks packaged mortgages into securities and how credit-rating companies evaluated those securities. Dann is not alone in his probing into the mortgage industry- the attorney general of New York, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Committee of European Securities Regulators, among others, are looking into these issues as well.
Subprime Lender Sued Under Predator Law (October 6, 2007)
Massachusetts AG Martha Coakley has filed suit against Fremont Investment and Loan, accusing the subprime lenders of unfair practices that have led to the increased number of home foreclosures in recent months. Previously an agreement had been reached that would restrict Fremont’s ability to foreclose on its mortgage loans in Massachusetts. The new suit is seeking to keep the foreclosure restrictions in place, along with penalties for violating the state’s 2004 antipredatory lending law and compensation for borrowers.
EPA Is Petitioned to Limit Ship Emissions (October 3, 2007)
California AG Jerry Brown and a coalition of environmental groups are petitioning the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for federal regulation to curb heat-trapping emissions from the nearly 90,000 oceangoing ships in all U.S. territorial waters. The coalition’s petitions state that the number of ships, combined with poor government regulation and inefficient fuel practices, result in carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to that of 130 million to 195 million cars. Regulation of ship-generated air pollution and regulation of greenhouse gases have been on California’s agenda for years, and as this marks one of the first times they are being dealt with concomitantly, Brown states, “In terms of the law, E.P.A. can act.”
Blunt, Nixon Disagree about Attorney General’s Role (September 29, 2007)
Twice in the last several months, Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon has been “terminated” by the administration of Gov. Matt Blunt from a high profile case, on charges of a conflict of interest. The AG’s office, in response, says that Nixon cannot be removed from his legal responsibility to defend the state, an assertion backed by Missouri law. Missouri revised statutes maintain the attorney general is responsible for representing the legal interests of the state and must “prosecute or defend all appeals to which the state is party.” MU Law Professor Richard Reuben adds that Nixon’s perceived conflict of interest in certain cases does not ethically mean he should step down. “The fact of the matter is he is the state’s attorney.” Speculation has arisen that the “terminations” are politically inspired by Nixon’s challenge to Gov. Blunt for reelection.
Attorney General’s New Task Force to Address Home Foreclosures (September 27, 2007)
In response to what has become a nation-wide problem, Kansas AG Paul Morrison has announced the creation of a new task force to further investigate the reasons behind home foreclosures in his state, including mortgage fraud and subprime lending. The taskforce, to be chaired by Bank Commissioner Tom Thull, will both investigate why an increased number of home foreclosures have taken place and offer suggestions on how to curb the problem.
McCollum Brings CyberSafety Message to School (September 26, 2007)
Florida AG Bill McCollum has started a new campaign to combat child predators online. The CyberSafety program will see AG McCollum and his staff traveling around the state, educating middle school and high school students about the dangers of cyber space and ways to protect themselves. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is in partnership with the AG’s office on the program.
Attorney General Forces Changes in Mortgage Firm's Advertisements (September 24, 2007)
Arizona AG Terry Goddard and Lenox Financial Mortgage have reached a settlement over what the AG considers false advertising. Accused of omitting necessary information from its advertisements, Lenox has agreed not to claim the company can provide loans with "no closing costs" unless it also discloses that not everyone will qualify.
Alabama Attorney General Refuses To Apologize To District Attorneys(September 19, 2007)
AG Troy King of Alabama will make no apologies for filing a notice of appeal to the Criminal Court of Appeals in the case of LaSamuel Gamble. The DA’s office has argued that Gamble, who was convicted of the murder of 3 people, cannot be sentenced to death because his accomplice (a juvenile) cannot be. AG King has stated that when determining a defendant's punishment, a court cannot consider his accomplice's sentence.
New York Attorney General, NYC Mayor Sue Merck over Vioxx Risks (September 18, 2007)
New York AG Andrew Cuomo and NYC Mayor Bloomberg have filed a joint lawsuit against Merck & Co., alleging misrepresentation of the dangers of Vioxx. Under New York State's newly-enacted False Claims Act and a similar law in the New York City Administrative Code, the suit seeks damages and civil penalties as well as restitution for taxpayer dollars wrongfully spent. A Merck spokesperson has denied the accusations.
Monsanto says will give info to Iowa Attorney General on products and marketing(September 13, 2007)
In response to a demand from the Iowa AG’s office as part of a civil investigation, the Monsanto Company will provide information regarding its seed, trait, and chemistry related licensing and marketing programs to that office, as well as any other interested state attorneys general.
Dann Sues 2 Charter Schools (September 13, 2007)
Attorney General of Ohio, Marc Dann, has filed suit seeking the closure of two failing charter schools and has vowed to investigate the performance of many more. His actions have prompted Ohio's largest teachers union, The Ohio Education Association, to announce it would drop a lawsuit against the state that accuses education officials of failing to monitor charter schools.
Attorney General Bob McDonnell Unveils Internet Safety Book for Virginia Third Graders (September 10, 2007)
As part of his “Project SafetyNet VA” initiative, AG Bob McDonnell is distributing copies of “Faux Paw’s Adventures in the Internet” to every public and private elementary school in the state. Acknowledging that children are gaining exposure to the internet at increasingly young ages, the book teaches students basic lessons about staying safe online.
Task Force Will Seek More Loan Revisions (September 8, 2007)
Led by Iowa AG Thomas Miller, attorneys general and banking regulators from 10 states have formed a task force aimed at pursuading mortgage-servicing companies and investors to restructure troubled subprime loans. The task force, has invited a dozen of the nation's largest subprime-mortgage-servicing companies to meet later this month in Chicago.
To read Iowa AAG Patrick Madigan’s Policy Paper, click here
States Begin the Battle Against Mortgage Fraud and Predatory Lending Schemes (September 7, 2007)
AG’s across the country are beginning to take action against home foreclosure crisis. In Texas, AG Greg Abbot has helped create the Texas Residential Mortgage Fraud Task Force. In Connecticut, AG Richard Blumenthal has filed suit against 7 companies and individuals over misleading mortgage schemes that preyed upon low-income borrowers. The state of Virginia has joined Maryland in blocking Metro Dream Homes from offering homeowners mortgage-free living through a complex investment program, citing concerns about potential consumer "harm and economic loss." Iowa's foreclosure trouble has Attorney General Tom Miller working to establish a mediation service between lenders and borrowers.
The Mortgage Mess (September 10, 2007)
Va. Joins Md. in Halting Mortgage Firm's Program (September 7, 2007)
Idaho Attorney General Support Campus Safety (September 6, 2007)
Following a report released by NAAG indicating that federal and state laws may not be doing enough to promote safety on school campuses, AG Wasden of Idaho announced that he will join other states in the initiative to create safer school environments.
Related: Abbott calls for more school safety drills
What Does DOJ Need Now? (September 3, 2007)
According to Nicholas Gess (Bingham Consulting Group) and James Tierney (Dir., National State AG Program at Columbia Law School), the next attorney general of the United States will inherit a Department of Justice demoralized by the sidelining of career lawyers who have dedicated their lives to fair law enforcement. In this article, Gess and Tierney outline advice to the next attorney general, including restoration of the career hiring and promotion process and renewing state and local relationships.
Coakley bans foreclosure rescue scams (September 5, 2007)
AG Martha Coakley of Massachusettes has filed a regulation that permanently bans for-profit foreclosure rescue transactions. The ban is an attempt to protect homeowners from rescue schemes where the homeowner transfers the property to an outside agent, but maintains an option to reacquire the home by maintaining a legal interest. The ban does not apply to rescue plans offered by members of the homeowner's family or by nonprofit or housing organizations that are attempting to help the troubled borrower.
Attorney general files lawsuit against 'sham' charity foundation (August 28, 2007)
Minnesota AG Lori Swanson has filed a lawsuit against the Ashmore Family Foundation, saying the organization lured people into to making loans to the foundation by falsely promising that the proceeds would go toward charitable work and by offering high return rates on those investments. The complaint alleges that the real purpose of the foundation is to accumulate money for investing in foreign markets.
As Woes Grow, Mortgage Ads Keep Up Pitch (August 25, 2007)
As attorneys general turn their focus to the home foreclosure crisis, one area of attention is advertising that promises tantalizingly low payments without clearly disclosing the myriad strings that accompany the debts. Although, some states require lenders to disclose the annual percentage rate on any loans they advertise, it can be hard to enforce these and other consumer protection statutes. Companies simply withdraw ads when they receive cease-and-desist letters, but the ads often immediately pop up elsewhere. “You do get an immediate positive feedback,” said James E. Tierney, director of the national state attorneys general program at Columbia Law School in New York and a former attorney general. “But it’s hard to make it a sustainable success since there are so many lenders and ads.”
States Begin Action on Subprime Lending (August 24, 2007)
This article outlines the various measures that states are taking to protect people who resort to subprime financing. Some states have passed measures to tighten restrictions on subprime lending. Others have formed task forces involving both lenders and consumer representatives to rework problem loans, or are tightening the underwriting standards on adjustable-rate mortgages.
New Mexico attorney general looking into possible 'Kid Nation' violations (August 24, 2007)
With ‘Kid Nation’ set to premier on CBS on September 19th, AG Gary King of New Mexico wants to know whether producers lawfully avoided obtaining work permits for children, and shut out inspection. The investigation will also look at issues of truancy. Soon after investigation began, the attorney general's office received correspondence from CBS lawyers explaining the children are not "employees" and therefore did not need work permits.
US to be told of illegal immigrant arrests in New Jersey (August 22, 2007)
The Attorney General of New Jersey, Anne Milgram, ordered all law enforcement authorities to notify U.S. immigration officials whenever an illegal immigrant is arrested for an indictable offense or drunk driving. The order follows the August 4 killings of three college students in which one suspect is an illegal immigrant from Peru.
Strickland, Dann team up on gaming industry (August 22, 2007)
Following an executive order issued by Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, Attorney General Mark Dann issued a rule which states that calling an illegal slot machine a "skill-based amusement machine" is an unfair and deceptive act or practice under the state's Consumer Sales Practices Act. In addition to curbing illegal gambling, the rule provides a definition of what makes a machine skill-based, eliminating the existing ambiguity in state law.
Legal Claims Propagate Following Mortgage Lending Crisis (August 22, 2007)
In the aftermath of the predatory lending scandal, various legal claims are quickly developing. Lawsuits have already been filed by shareholders in bankrupt mortgage lending companies, mortgage borrowers and investors in mortgage-backed securities, warehouse lenders, and investors in credit rating agencies. Even though the Federal Reserve System pumped $38 billion dollars into the banking sector this month, it appears that will not be enough to curtail the litigation barrage.
Oregon attorney general won't run for re-election (August 21, 2007)
After serving nearly 12 years as attorney general, AG Hardy Myers has announced that he will not run for reelection. Myers, who is 68, says his “decision is not the result of any waning of my desire to serve the people of Oregon as attorney general.”
Arkansas Natario Sued (August 20, 2007)
An Arkansas “natario” was sued by Attorney General Dustin McDaniel for charging for immigration assistance, visas, tax assistance, identification and power of attorney letters. The suit argues “natarios” and “natarios publicos” are not attorneys and cannot give legal advice. In Latin America, “notaries” refers to members of the legal community who have specialized training in various areas of the law. There is no equivalent in the United States.
Myers Sues Four Companies for Falsely Advertising Free English Lessons (August 17, 2007)
Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers is suing four California companies for preying on some of the state’s most vulnerable residents. AG Myers accused the companies of advertising free English-language courses while charging inflated shipping fees and requiring additional money for products the customers never ordered. Additionally, the suit accuses the companies of pretending to be debt collectors and lawyers in efforts to receive the money from the victims.
Maryland AG orders halt to Laurel firm operating mortgage program (August 15, 2007)
The Maryland Attorney General's Securities Division issued a cease-and-desist order alleging that POS Dream Home LLC operated an unregistered investment program disguised as a mortgage payment plan. The order also applies to Metropolitan Grapevine LLC, CEO Andrew H. Williams and agent Laveda Whitfield. The order requires the companies and their agents to stop operating the investment program.
Suthers Grants In-State Tuition for Citizen-Children of Illegal Immigrants (August 14, 2007)
In a recent opinion, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers ruled that the children of illegal immigrants are eligible for in-state tuition at state colleges and universities if they are citizens and their parents can prove they’ve been living in state for the past year. Although the state bars illegal immigrants from receiving any public benefits, AG Suthers noted in-state tuition is a benefit for the students, not their parents, and therefore, the citizen-children of illegal immigrants ought to be treated the same as other students when applying for the reduced rate.
Related articles: Tuition tussle takes shape in Colorado
Blumenthal Sues Oil Company (August 13, 2007)
After failing to carry through on its contracts, Accurate Heating and Cooling, an East Haven oil company, is being sued by Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal. The lawsuit says that beginning in April 2005, Accurate and owner Joseph Reynolds signed consumers to yearlong prepaid home heating oil delivery and service contracts but never followed through. The allegations are also the subject of a criminal action filed in September 2006.
Bruning Defends Campaign Contributor Nelnet, Calls New York Investigation an Embarrassment (August 10, 2007)
Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning defended Lincoln student loan company Nelnet while criticizing the investigation of the student loan industry led by New York AG Andrew Cuomo. Although AG Bruning relieved Nelnet of its obligation to pay a $1 million settlement to Iowa, calling the loan company “honest,” critics fear campaign contribution ties.
Related articles: Attorney general calls loan company honest, criticizes probe (August 8, 2007)
Indiana Attorney General to Settle Police Department Oath Controversy (August 9, 2007)
A Marion, IN Superior Court judge has dismissed a case because the arresting officer was never sworn in the new Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, and now months of Indianapolis police arrests are in jeopardy. Following the merger of the old Indianapolis Police Department and the Marion County Sheriff’s office at the start of the year, controversy has arisen over whether the merger required Indianapolis police officers and Marion County sheriff’s deputies to take an oath of office. The implications are grave, as 20,000 cases (including murder investigations) could be thrown out over a misreading of the law. AG Steve Carter recognizes the significance of the case, and plans to lead the appeal.
McGraw Defends Dispersal of OxyContin Settlement Money (August 7, 2007)
Responding to his critics, West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw defended his office’s dispersal of the OxyContin settlement money. AG McGraw noted most of the money has been awarded to programs which combat substance abuse, the most recent example being a $10,000 check presented to the Charleston Black Ministerial Alliance for its Jabez Project, a youth substance abuse prevention and intervention project. Following a subsequent erroneous report accusing Jabez of misusing the award, AG McGraw issued a statement refuting the allegations.
Tennessee Attorney General Office to Continue Focus on Immigration Healthcare Fraud (August 7, 2007)
Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper outlined his top priorities, emphasizing efforts to prevent immigrant healthcare fraud through TennCare and MedicAid. AG Cooper noted that since Governor Phil Bredesen passed several healthcare reforms in 2005, state healthcare expenses have dropped by $1.6 billion and he also cited the $3.5 million his office recovered in TennCare funds paid to fraudulent health care providers.
Managed Care Providers to Reimburse New York State $7 Million (Registration Required) (August 7, 2007)
Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced approximately $7 million in duplicate claim payments have been recovered from two managed care organizations as part of a series of joint audits and investigations. The settlement is the first of a series expected in the coming months and AG Cuomo estimated the total amount returned to the programs could be over $30 million. The programs involved are Medicaid, which provides health care for the poor, and Family Health Plus, a state health insurance program for low-income citizens who don’t qualify for Medicaid.
Cox Regulates More Telephone Rates (August 7, 2007)
Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox with the American Association for Retired Persons reached another settlement over telephone rates, this time lowering and freezing the rates of Verizon’s Call Plan 100 and Value Pak 100 plan until July 1, 2009. The rates were lowered by 80 cents a month, creating annual savings of $250,000. AG Cox reached a similar settlement with AT&T in March.
Georgia Attorney General Defends Sex Offender Retroactive Provisions While Arguing the Law Cannot be Applied Retroactively in a Separate Case (August 7, 2007)
Georgia AG Thurbert Baker has put himself in the tenuous and seemingly contradictory position of arguing to the state Supreme Court that Georgia’s sex offender law cannot be applied retroactively while holding in an unrelated federal case that the law’s retroactive provisions are legal. In one case, AG Baker is attempting to uphold a 10-year sentence imposed on Genarlow Wilson for having unforced oral sex, when he was 17 years old, with a 15-year-old girl. Meanwhile, for the past year, Baker has held that the Legislature had the authority to enact a law retroactively barring any registered sex offender from living, working or loitering within 1,000 feet of a school bus stop or church.
California, Texas and other Attorneys General warn consumers about their tires (August 3, 2007)
AG’s across the country are warning consumers that tires made by Westlake, YKS and Compass (manufactured by the Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Company in China) may have insufficient or missing gum strips and could lead to tread separation. More than 250,000 SUV and light truck tires are affected.
Related articles: Texas Attorney General warns drivers about their tires
Murder Case Hits Lynch Close to Home (August 2, 2007)
For Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch, a recent murder case is especially painful. AG Lynch’s scheduler, Margaret Botelho, is the sister of Gabriel and Caesar Medeiros, the former of whom was killed and the latter injured by gunfire in an early morning home invasion turned triple shooting on June 28. Botelho is one of two executive secretaries who work closely with the attorney general, coordinating his duties as the state’s top law enforcement official.
State AGs Critical of Some Colleagues' Activism (August 1, 2007)
Speaking during a discussion sponsored by the conservative Federalist Society in Washington, D.C., Virginia's Attorney General, Bob McDonnell stated that some of his fellow state attorneys general are an "extension of activist judges" and have been pursuing actions for political gain. McDonnell cited cases such as the tobacco settlement as the tipping point for AG activism.
Texas AG Sues Fitness Chain for Failing to Protect Customer Records (August 1, 2007)
Minnesota based Lifetime Fitness Inc., was sued by Texas AG Greg Abbott for exposing its customers to identity theft. According to documents filed by AG Abbott, the fitness chain violated the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the 2005 Identity Theft Enforcement and Protection Act by discarding customer records in easily accessible trash cans behind the stores that contain sensitive personal information such as Social Security and credit card account numbers. The company also has been accused of violating the Texas Health Spa Act by operating 11 unregistered health spas in the state.
Related documents: Sample documents from Lifetime Fitness dumpster
Blumenthal Demands Federal Action on OxyContin (Press Release) (July 31, 2007)
In congressional testimony, Connecticut AG Richard Blumenthal demanded federal action on his three-year-old petition to require the Food and Drug Administration to put stronger warning labels on the prescription painkiller OxyContin and urged tougher criminal sanctions to prevent future tragedy. While manufacturer Purdue Pharma has made hundreds of millions of dollars in profits, over 300 people have died from overdosing on the controversial prescription drug. AG Blumenthal also wrote a letter to the FDA expressing similar concerns.
Related articles: Blumenthal calls out FDA over OxyContin petition (July 31, 2007)
For more information, review materials from our May 2007 Pharmaceuticals Conference.
Dann Files Almost 60 Environmental Cases in First 6 Months (July 31, 2007)
Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann announced that his office has filed nearly 60 enforcement action cases against environmental law violators during his first six months in office. AG Dann said the number of legal actions exceeds that of any previous attorney general during his or her initial months on the job. Among the 60 cases are 6 complaints of air pollution, 9 for water pollution, 11 on hazardous waste and improperly operated landfills, 5 against illegal tire dumps, 3 regarding illegal asbestos removal, and nearly a dozen on leaking underground storage tanks. For the entire list of defendants and a summary of the allegations facing them, click here.
Big Dig Concrete Company to Pay $50 Million for Fraud (July 28, 2007)
Aggregate Industries NE Inc., the largest asphalt and concrete supply company in New England, agreed to plead guilty and pay $50 million to settle its criminal and civil liabilities resulting from allegations that it conducted a fraudulent concrete scheme. Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley said the company mixed leftover, recycled concrete that was more than 90 minutes old into concrete used for the Big Dig. This mix did not meet Big Dig requirements, and Aggregate masked its fraud by falsifying concrete batch slips delivered to inspectors. In May, AIG Insurance, the Workers’ Compensation carrier for the project, paid $58.5 million to settle allegations that it failed to turn over 15 years of surplus funds to the state.
Related articles: "Big Dig" supplier to pay $50 million fine (July 27, 2007)
Brigid Crowley, a former law student of Program Director Jim Tierney, wrote a related paper on the Big Dig: “Deconstructing the "Big Dig": An Analysis of the Role of the Attorney General in the Central Artery/Tunnel Project Probe”
State Officials Fear Federal Mental Health Parity Legislation Will Preempt Stronger State Laws (July 27, 2007)
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and State Healthcare Advocate Kevin P. Lembo wrote a letter to Senator Christopher J. Dodd arguing that a U.S. Senate bill, the Mental Health Parity Act, will undermine existing state laws that better protect consumers. Although the federal bill would expand mental health benefits in some states, it would preempt strong existing mental health legislation in others. Blumenthal and Lembo, along with officials from at least eight other states, contend that federal mental health parity legislation should not set a national ceiling on coverage, as the current proposal would, but rather a floor that individual states could build upon in their traditional role as regulators of health insurance.
Madigan Hosts Summit to Address Burgeoning Home Foreclosure Crisis (July 24, 2007)
To address the growing home foreclosure crisis in Illinois, Attorney General Lisa Madigan convened the Illinois Homeownership Preservation Summit today. Over 100 participants from the mortgage lending industry, consumer advocacy groups, and government agencies met in Chicago to attend to the mounting problem. At the conference, Madigan urged participants to start a dialogue that would generate real solutions for distressed homeowners in the months to come. Foreclosures in the state jumped 55 percent in 2006, totaling 72,455, and are projected to rise much higher in 2007.
Dann's speech sure to ruffle some feathers (June 29, 2007)
In a recent speech, Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann argued that federal regulators have not been active enough protecting consumers and investors, and advocated a larger role for his office in cases of consumer and investor fraud. Dann’s entire speech can be read here.
Kansas Attorney General Won’t Pursue Half of Predecessor’s Charges Against Abortion Doctor (June 27, 2007)
Kansas Attorney General Paul Morrison will not pursue half of the charges filed by his predecessor, Phill Kline, against Dr. George Tiller, a physician who performs late-term abortions. Morrison, an abortion rights Democrat, accused Kline, an anti-abortion Republican, of acting unethically while prosecuting Tiller and cited significant flaws in the case.
Wasden New NAAG President (June 25, 2007)
Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden was elected as President of the National Association of Attorneys Generals (NAAG) this week. Wasden’s presidential initiative will be “Providing Effective Energy Counsel to State Government; An Attorney General’s Perspective.” To view the new President’s Inaugural Remarks, Click Here.
New York Attorney General Cuomo Announces Agreement With Three Lenders (June 21, 2007)
Wachovia, National City Bank, and Regions Financial Corp. have added their names to the list of lenders who have agreed to abide by the Code of Conduct set into motion by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s office. With the addition of Wachovia, Cuomo now has signatures from the six largest lenders in the nation. Cuomo and attorneys general from thirty-one other states sent a letter to U.S. Senate leaders recommending passage of The Student Loan Sunshine Act, which would require schools to adopt a Code of Conduct.