Attorney General Rutledge Supports Final EPA Rule Ending Overreaching Regulations

Says, ‘This streamlined definition will give clarity and protect Arkansas’s key industries.’

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge commended the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its final Navigable Waters Protection Rule released Thursday, which includes a revised definition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS). It replaces the previous administration’s WOTUS definition, which Rutledge had challenged in a lawsuit with her colleagues from other states. President Donald J. Trump repealed that previous definition in 2019.

“President Trump listened to our concerns and has kept his promise to replace the Obama-era definition of ‘waters of the United States’ and has given the power back to Arkansans to determine how best to protect our environment and promote economic growth.” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This streamlined definition will give clarity and protect Arkansas’s key industries. I look forward to leading Arkansans as we work with our federal and state partners on ways to steward the Natural State’s waterways.”

The EPA’s final Navigable Waters Protection Rule clearly distinguishes between federal and state authority under the Clean Water Act. The Rule also outlines four clear categories of waters defined under WOTUS, including territorial seas and traditional navigable waters; tributaries, lakes, ponds and impoundments of jurisdictional waters; and adjacent wetlands. The final rule also includes clear exclusions for many water features that have not historically been regulated.

The Obama-era rule was finalized in June 2015. It allowed the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to assert federal authority over a vast number of small bodies of water, roadside ditches, short-lived streams and any other area where water may flow once every 100 years.

Prior to that rule’s finalization, in March 2015 Rutledge testified in front of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. In her testimony, she urged the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw the rule because of the negative impact it would have on Arkansas farmers. In 2016, agriculture added $21.4 billion to the Arkansas economy, according to the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service.

Rutledge was also part of a coalition that helped secure an injunction in August 2015, which blocked enforcement of the rule. This allowed the new administration to review the rule.

In 2017, President Trump signed an executive order directing the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to review the WOTUS definition, begin efforts to rescind or significantly revise it and take appropriate steps in ongoing litigation.

Then in 2019, according to President Trump’s direction, the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers repealed the Obama-era rule and asked for comments on a proposed WOTUS definition. Rutledge joined a 17-state coalition that supported the 2019 proposal. Thursday’s final rule is largely the same as that 2019 proposal.

Attorney General Rutledge’s Office Accepting Applications for Summer 2020 Interns

Says, ‘offers invaluable hands-on experience in the State’s top legal office.’

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced her office is now accepting applications for summer interns. The summer internship session will begin June 8, 2020.

“An internship with the Attorney General’s Office offers invaluable hands-on experience in the State’s top legal office,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I want to encourage careers in public service and help college students gain real-world involvement on issues that directly impact the people of Arkansas.”

Applicant packet information is available at under the Office tab.

The deadline to apply is March 31, 2020.

Some interns may be able to arrange for college credit for their internship depending upon the requirements of their college or university.

Any questions regarding the Attorney General’s Office internship program may be directed toward the Human Resources Department at or (501) 682-2007.

Attorney General Rutledge Honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Says, ‘improve the lives of those around us’

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released a statement today in observance of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. day of service.

“Today Arkansans and our nation celebrate one of the most influential civil rights leaders, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and we honor his legacy by prioritizing service to others,” Attorney General Rutledge said. “We must remember his fight for justice and must strive to improve the lives of those around us. May Dr. King’s words guide us every moment of every day: ‘The time is always right to do what is right.’”

Little Rock Man Accused of Running Ponzi Scheme and Attempting to Steal from 9/11 Fund

Investigation and arrest made in coordination with agents from Arkansas Attorney General’s Office

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced in coordination with the Little Rock Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Arkansas Cooperative Disability Investigation (CDI) Unit the charge and arrest of Little Rock resident, Malik Akbar’El for 12 federal counts including Mail Fraud, Theft of Government Monies, Attempted Bank Fraud and False Statement.

According to investigation records, Akbar’El, also known as Tyrone David Williams and/or Skipper David Williams, began soliciting people in 2016 to invest money with his company promising 300 percent to 480 percent profit return each year. Akbar’El acquired 252 investors who sent him $644,331.22 to invest. However, he invested less than $92,000.

While operating the apparent Ponzi scheme, Akbar’el was also collecting Social Security disability benefits totaling nearly $24,000.

The joint investigation also revealed Akbar’El attempted to deposit a fraudulent check for nearly $26,000 from the National September 11 Memorial and Museum fund. Akbar’El told the Telcoe Federal Credit Union teller the check was a settlement associated with his mother.

During the course of the FBI investigation, Akbar’El allegedly lied to an agent saying he was paying an employee to assist him. However, the investigation alleges the person was in a relationship with Akbar’El and signed a contract agreeing to pay her 12 percent to 24 percent of his income and his company’s income for five years on a monthly Walmart gift card.

Akbar’El has operated Akbar Williams & Associates Legal Services Corporation since 2012 – offering legal, investment and tax services to paying clients. Akbar’El is not and never has been a licensed attorney. In 2017, the Arkansas Securities Department entered a Cease and Desist Order against Akbar’El and his companies to stop him from recruiting individuals to invest money with him under false pretenses. In 2018, the Supreme Court of Arkansas Committee on Unauthorized Practice of Law filed a lawsuit and a Pulaski County Circuit Judge ordered Akbar’El to stop practicing law.

Along with the federal warrant, Akbar’El was wanted on state felony probation revocation and a failure-to-pay violation from Crawford County. Akbar’El was arrested Thursday, January 16, 2020 with assistance from the Little Rock Police Department. He was sent to the US District Courthouse for his first appearance and remains in the Greene County jail. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Pat Harris, Eastern District of Arkansas.

Arkansas’s CDI Unit was formed and began operation in October 2015. The Unit is a federal, state and local cooperative effort led and funded by SSA-OIG. The mission of the CDI Unit is to combat fraud by investigating questionable statements and activities of claimants, medical providers, interpreters or other service providers who facilitate or promote disability fraud. The Arkansas Attorney General’s office has two special agents and an analyst assigned to the CDI Unit. To report suspected financial schemes or fraud, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office at (800) 482-8982 or visit

Rutledge Files Suit Against Unlicensed Little Rock Contractor

Says, ‘Scam artists will often prey on Arkansans after a storm wreaks havoc on our communities’

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today filed a lawsuit against Little Rock resident, Howard Gene Hickman, an unlicensed contractor, and his entity HGH Development LLC, for unlawfully misrepresenting services and taking more than $20,000 in fees from consumers without providing any roofing or remodeling services. Rutledge’s complaint alleges Hickman has violated several provisions of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (ADTPA) and the Home Solicitation Sales Act (HSSA).

“Scam artists will often prey on Arkansans after a storm wreaks havoc on our communities and homes,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Together, we are fighting back against these bad actors to keep them from causing more financial loss and heartache.”

Consumer complaints filed with Rutledge’s office claim Hickman, doing business as HGH Development, illegally solicited three victims for roofing repairs and replacement services. After receiving a deposit from each of the victims, Hickman quickly cashed the checks, but failed to complete the work on the proposed agreements or return consumers’ money.

Hickman faces up to $10,000 fines for each violation of the ADTPA.

Hickman was previously arrested for multiple felony thefts of property and services related to construction projects. He was released on parole from prison in 2016.

For more tips to help avoid falling victim to bad actors, or to file a consumer-related claim with the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office, call (800) 482-8982, email or visit

Texarkana-based Asphalt Laying Company Paves Way to Lawsuit

Rutledge files lawsuit on behalf of Arkansans totaling nearly $60,000 in deceptive sales practices

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today filed suit against Texarkana business owner Robert Stevens, owner of Pro-Pave Asphalt, Robert Stevens Construction and RS Asphalt, for multiple violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (ADTPA) and Home Solicitation Sales Act (HSSA). Eight consumers have reported losses of nearly $60,000 resulting from Stevens’ aggressive and deceptive sales tactics.

“Arkansans, including our most vulnerable citizens, must be protected from aggressive business practices that attempt to skirt the law and demand exorbitant payments before work is performed or services rendered,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I will continue to hold bad actors accountable for their deceptive business practices.”

Eight consumer complaints received by the Attorney General’s Office between April 2016 and August 2019 reveal a common scheme. Stevens or his workers typically pull up to consumers’ houses in an asphalt truck, claim to have some leftover asphalt to sell at a “deeply discounted price,” and provide only vague, misleading, and incomplete estimates of the total cost. Stevens then immediately begins laying asphalt while failing to ever inform the consumer of their three-day right to cancel as required by the HSSA. After the work is completed or nearing completion, Stevens demands an exorbitant and unexpected payment amount and regularly threatens or intimidates consumers until they pay.

Six of the eight unresolved complaints are from senior citizens over the age of 60 and span the State from Manila to Gravette and Texarkana.

Stevens can face a $10,000 fine for each violation of the ADTPA and HSSA and is subject to an additional $10,000 penalty per violation for targeting elderly consumers.

General Rutledge encourages all Arkansans to demand written estimates of the total project price before any construction work begins.

For more tips to help avoid falling victim to bad actors, or to file a consumer-related claim with the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office, call (800) 482-8982, email or visit


Prairie County Resources Day

Hazen Senior Health & Wellness Center
607 McDonald Drive, Hazen

Mobile Office
11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Prescription Drug Take Back
Partnering with Sheriff Rick Hickman
11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Identity Theft and Scam Presentation
Noon to 12:30 p.m.

 11:00 AMVIEW 

Clark County Resources Day

CADC Arkadelphia Senior Activity Center
1305 North 10th Street, Arkadelphia

Mobile Office
9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Prescription Drug Take Back
Partnering with Sheriff Jason Watson
9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Identity Theft and Scam Presentation
10:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

 9:30 AMVIEW 

Scams and Consumer Protection Webcast

In recognition of National Consumer Protection Week, this free webcast on scams and consumer protection from 10 to 11:30 a.m. is open to the public.

Registration is required.

The Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division represents and protects the State, its subdivisions, legitimate business community and Arkansas consumers.

This webcast will review the many ways the Attorney General's office can be utilized as a resource, common scams to be aware of and how to avoid them, and identity theft. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions during the presentation.

This webcast has been approved for 1.5 hours of continuing legal education (CLE) and law enforcement standards (CLEST) credit.

 10:00 AMVIEW 

NWA Law Enforcement Training

8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Northwest Arkansas Community College, Bentonville

Topics for the free training, which is open to all Arkansas law enforcement officers, will include:

  • Cyber responses in missing persons cases
  • Monsters behind the machines
  • Crisis stabilization units
  • Medical marijuana
Order 2019 Law Enforcement Manuals.
View the agenda and register today, as participation is limited.

The training will take place in Shewmaker Center for Global Business Development, Peterson Auditorium. Lunch will be provided.

The Attorney General's Office is applying for CLEST and CLE credit.

 8:30 AMVIEW 

Missing Persons Webcast

10 to 11:30 a.m.


Presented by Mike Nance with the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs), the webcast will cover NamUs resources, Arkansas’ ACT 920, registering at for NamUs professional access, entering missing persons into NamUs, searching NamUs, and making comparisons and resolving cases.

The Attorney General's Office has applied for 1.5 hours of CLEST and CLE.

 10:00 AMVIEW 

FOIA webcast

Arkansas Freedom of Information Act
10 a.m. to noon

The webcast, which is free and open to the public, will include “FOIA Made Simple” presentations by attorneys in the Attorney General’s office detailing responsibilities and rights covered under the act that relate to public meetings and documents.

Two hours of law enforcement (CLEST) credit and two hours of continuing legal education (CLE) credit are pending approval.


 10:00 AMVIEW 
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