Rutledge and Gov. Hutchinson Allocate $1.5 million to Launch Free Veterans Legal Service ProgramTue, Aug 20, 2019
Bowen School of Law students to provide pro bono legal services to veterans
LITTLE ROCK - Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced each office would allocate $750,000 for a total of $1.5 million to create the University of Arkansas Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law’s Veterans Legal Services Clinic. The first clinic of its kind in Arkansas, the program will enable enrolled Bowen law students to provide pro bono legal services to veterans throughout the State.
“The Veterans Legal Services Clinic will provide essential pro bono services to the vast population of Arkansas veterans who reside in the state and it will give future attorneys the hands-on training, education and opportunity to give back to our nation’s heroes,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This legal clinic will be the first line of defense to protect veterans and also alert my office when scam artists are attempting to illegally take advantage of veterans.”
The legal clinic will serve as the only pro bono services center for veterans in the state of Arkansas, which is home to over 250,000 past, and present service members. Under the supervision of a clinical facilitator, enrolled students will be trained to represent veterans on various legal issues. The clinic will also provide free continuing legal education for practicing attorneys on veteran specific legal issues, and establishing partnerships between participants with veterans in need of legal assistance.
Attorney General Rutledge is requesting consumers with questions, or to file a consumer complaint to visit ArkansasAG.gov or call (800) 482-8982.
Rutledge: Mountain Home Gunsmith Sued for Deceiving Customers and Failing to Provide Services or RefundsMon, Aug 19, 2019
Investment Grade Firearms cheated consumers out of more than $17,000
LITTLE ROCK - Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today filed suit against Jayson Cotter, owner of Investment Grade Firearms (IGF), for violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Consumers from across the nation hired Cotter for gunsmith work, but he habitually failed to return consumers’ parts or firearms and refused to provide refunds of upfront payments.
“Cotter repeatedly used dirty tricks to deceive consumers into sending him gun parts and large sums of money for work that was never performed,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Cotter and other bad businesses must be held accountable.”
Jayson Cotter of Mountain Home, Arkansas sold gunsmith services through his website, www.Investmentgradefirearms.com. Consumers who contract with IGF for gunsmith services typically ship their firearms, parts and accessories, along with their complete, upfront payments, with expectations that they will receive their modified firearms within reasonable periods of time. Eight consumers have filed unresolved complaints with the Attorney General claiming that Mr. Cotter failed to deliver their completed firearms or refund their payments, sometimes for well over a year, and refused to respond to their phone calls or emails requesting status updates on prepaid orders.
Mr. Cotter was arrested on July 31, 2019 and booked on a felony charge of theft of property in Baxter County. The Baxter County Sheriff’s Office is continuing their investigation, and additional counts are possible. The Sheriff’s Office has been working to return parts and firearms to their rightful owners for several months, but many consumers are still waiting to be made whole.
Attorney General Rutledge is requesting restitution, civil penalties, and injunctive relief and demands a jury trial. Victims of these business practices should file a consumer complaint on ArkansasAG.gov or call (800) 482-8982.
Rutledge to Host Retiree Resources Event in Central ArkansasFri, Aug 16, 2019
Retirees can look us in the eye and ask questions about how to protect their finances
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced registration is open for the free regional Rutledge Retiree Resources event to be held Thursday, September 5 in Little Rock. This will be the fifth retiree event held as a part of statewide educational series hosted by Rutledge. The agenda includes programs designed to educate retirees about how they can protect themselves from pervasive and vicious scam artists.
“Face-to-face meetings allow retirees to look us in the eyes and ask questions directly about how they can protect their finances,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Arkansans should enjoy retirement by spending time with family and friends, instead of having to worry about losing their hard-earned savings to lazy, low-life con artists.”
Attendees will hear from the Attorney General’s public protection experts about how to guard themselves from scams and identity theft, proper prescription drug disposal, resources available regarding nursing homes and home care and how to protect finances.
The event will be at The Church at Rock Creek, 11500 West 36th Street, Little Rock, Arkansas. For those interested in attending this free educational event or future events, register today. Lunch will be provided.
Rutledge Retiree Resources have been held in Fayetteville, Jonesboro, DeWitt and Hope.
Rutledge: Voyager to Shut Down and Pay as Part of Settlement for Ripping Off Veterans in Exchange for PensionsThu, Aug 15, 2019
Settlement requires Voyager Financial to pay $2.7 million to impacted vets
LITTLE ROCK - Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced the filing of a Stipulated Final Judgment and Order against central Arkansas owner Andrew Gamber; Voyager Financial Group, LLC; BAIC, Inc.; and SoBell Corp. for the brokering of contracts that offer high-interest credit to veterans in exchange for investors illegally acquiring rights to receive future pension payments. These businesses and their former owner are permanently prohibited from offering these illegal agreements.
“Scam artists will stop at nothing to try to poach our veterans’ pensions despite state and federal protections,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “We will always go after those who try to take advantage of our veterans and their much deserved pensions.”
The settlement alleges violations of the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010, the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Arkansas Constitution. The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau joined Attorney General Rutledge in the investigation and settlement of claims against Voyager. The Company and its owners are permanently banned from brokering, offering and arranging agreements between pension recipients and third parties. Defendants must cooperate fully with the Attorney General and Bureau to determine the identity and location of, and the amount of injury sustained by, each consumer.
If you are a consumer who has been impacted by the actions by Voyager Financial Group or its owners, Rutledge encourages you to contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline at (800) 482-8982.
Rutledge Delivers Statewide Advisory to Alarm CompaniesWed, Aug 14, 2019
Says, ‘working with businesses in advance will alleviate potential illegal activity’
LITTLE ROCK - Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is sending an advisory letter to residential alarm companies due to an alarming number of complaints against these businesses. In 2018, Rutledge’s office received over 100 complaints against alarm businesses who subjected consumers to aggressive door-to-door sales practices, deceptive marketing and refused to honor timely contract cancellations. The advisory will educate businesses on illegal business practices as well as warn the bad actors of the consequences for the use of misleading and deceptive tactics.
“My office has received too many complaints against alarm companies, and this advisory is an opportunity to educate companies about their obligations and to inform potential buyers of their rights,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Working with businesses in advance will alleviate potential illegal activity and prevent many consumers from jumping into contracts.”
Rutledge’s advisory highlights provisions of the Home Solicitation Sales Act (HSSA) and the Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA), with specific requirements each company, contract and employee must comply with:
- At every interaction, the salespersons must clearly disclose which company they represent and that their purpose is to sell goods or services.
- Misrepresenting the nature of the contact as a quiz, survey or model home offer or anything other than a sales contact is illegal.
- Alarm companies must provide oral and written notice of the consumer’s three-day right to cancel at the time of the sale.
- Salespersons and written contracts must clearly disclose the total price, down payment, unpaid balance, the number, amount and due dates for payments, and accurately describe the goods and services sold.
- Automatic renewal of professional home security contracts after the initial contract term may only be in successive monthly terms.
- Contracts shall conspicuously state that the consumer has the right to terminate the contract without additional penalty at the end of the initial term.
Violations of HSSA or DTPA may be subject to civil penalties of up to $10,000 per violation with enhanced penalties for elderly and disabled victims.
If you are a consumer who has been impacted by the actions by an alarm company, Rutledge encourages you to contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline at (800) 482-8982.
Rutledge and Cotton Host Roundtable Discussions in BatesvilleTue, Aug 13, 2019
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and U.S. Senator Tom Cotton held roundtable discussions today with various local leaders in Rutledge’s hometown of Batesville. The Attorney General and the Senator heard directly from members of the community on topics including education, manufacturing, healthcare, financial regulations and criminal justice.
“It was a pleasure to host my good friend Senator Cotton in my hometown and to discuss with community members how we can grow more jobs locally while creating additional economic opportunities not only in Arkansas but around the world,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I look forward to continuing the partnership between our offices to make Arkansas a leader in job creation and a safer, even better place to live.”
Since taking office, Rutledge has held 335 Rutledge Roundtables with more than 3,576 attendees.
Today’s roundtables held at First Community Bank and Spartan Mowers, involved representatives from several Independence County businesses and local government offices as well as a tour of Spartan Mowers new production facility.