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Rutledge Issues Statement on Little Rock Protests

Rutledge Issues Statement on Little Rock Protests

Sat, May 30, 2020

LITTLE ROCK - Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge tonight issued a statement following the protests in Little Rock related to the death of George Floyd in Minnesota.

“Every American deserves justice, and I will always defend and protect our right to protest peacefully; however, we cannot tolerate violence and destruction. Arkansans, now is the time for civil discourse and not civil unrest,” said Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.

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Rutledge Sues Unlicensed Northwest Construction Business for Failing to Complete Work

Rutledge Sues Unlicensed Northwest Construction Business for Failing to Complete Work

Thu, May 28, 2020

Says, ‘When businesses take consumers’ money and agree to do a job, they have to follow through’

LITTLE ROCK - Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced today she is filing a lawsuit against Alma resident, Laura Anne Jones and her business Purple Hat Construction, LLC for violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (ADTPA). The lawsuit filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court alleges that in several instances between April 2019 and January 2020, Jones offered residential contractor services to consumers, obtained money before performing those services, and failed to complete those services. Jones has never been licensed by the Arkansas Contractors Board as a residential contractor.

“When businesses take consumers’ money and agree to do a job, they have to follow through,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I will not tolerate businesses taking advantage of Arkansans or accepting money from deceptive practices, nor will I tolerate businesses who try to skirt the law by not registering with licensing boards.”

Jones, doing business at Purple Hat Construction, contracted with customers in northwest Arkansas for home repair projects, requiring a large deposit upfront to reserve the date for work to be done. Upon the scheduled date to begin the project or shortly after the work began, Jones would contact the homeowner with excuses making her unavailable to complete the work and unable to provide a refund. Violations of the ADTPA can be assessed up to $10,000 per violation.

Rutledge is now seeking restitution for harmed consumers, civil penalties, an injunction and other costs and fees incurred by the State of Arkansas in resolving this issue for consumers.

If you are a consumer who has been impacted by similar actions or any other contractor, Rutledge encourages you to contact the Attorney General’s Office at (800) 482-8982 or visit www.ArkansasAG.gov.

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Rutledge: Lowe’s to Allocate 10,000 Face Masks to Arkansans in Nursing Homes and Grocery Store Employees

Rutledge: Lowe’s to Allocate 10,000 Face Masks to Arkansans in Nursing Homes and Grocery Store Employees

Thu, May 21, 2020

Says, ‘Thank you, Lowe’s, for working with my office to make sure Arkansans have essential resources’

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is proud to announce home improvement retailer Lowe’s will deliver 10,000 N95 face masks to nursing homes and grocery store employees throughout Arkansas. Lowe’s will deliver 8,000 face masks to the Arkansas Health Care Association and 2,000 to the Arkansas Grocers & Retail Merchants Association who will distribute the masks throughout the State.

“Many Arkansans continue to work in high-risk environments to protect our most vulnerable loved ones and ensure our State’s daily needs are met, but they are also putting their own health and safety on the line,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Thank you, Lowe’s, for working with my office to make sure Arkansans have essential resources to protect themselves.”

"We are thankful to Lowe's for their commitment to supplying protective face masks," said Rachel Bunch, executive director at AHCA. "Our staff has remained dedicated to providing the best care to our residents. These face masks will allow our staff to continue to stay protected while caring for the states most vulnerable. We appreciate the recognition of our vulnerable population and workers by General Rutledge."

Since the COVID-19 public health emergency declaration on March 11, Rutledge has allocated $1 million to the State to acquire personal protective equipment for medical personnel, $3 million to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission’s Quick Action Loan Program for small businesses and facilitated the donation of thousands of N95 facemasks to law enforcement and first responders. Rutledge has worked with Walmart, Amazon, eBay and Facebook to combat price gouging and the Attorney General’s Office has received almost 19,800 phone calls on price gouging and related scams.

Arkansans needing to report price gouging or scams should visit the Attorney General’s Office at ArkansasAG.gov or call (800) 482-8982.

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Rutledge Files Lawsuit against Dentist Stealing From Medicaid and Performing Unnecessary Procedures on Children

Rutledge Files Lawsuit against Dentist Stealing From Medicaid and Performing Unnecessary Procedures on Children

Thu, May 21, 2020

Says, ‘appalling for anyone, especially for someone in the medical field working with children’

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge filed a lawsuit today against Brian C. Moore of Maumelle and Brown-Stingfellow, D.D.S., a dental practice in North Little Rock known as Capital Dental Center, for engaging in a long-running scheme to fraudulently bill the Medicaid program and violating the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act by performing unnecessary and bogus procedures on susceptible Arkansas children and young adults ages 2 to 21. In January 2019, Rutledge announced Dr. Moore was arrested on Medicaid fraud charges for making false statements on billing records to the Arkansas Medicaid Program.

“Moore’s actions are appalling for anyone, especially for someone in the medical field who works with children,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I urge Arkansans who observe questionable Medicaid billing for health services to contact my office immediately in order to stop this type of corruption and help our most vulnerable.”

Moore only treated children eligible for Medicaid whose caregivers had been misled regarding the treatment their children would receive. The dental work was often unnecessary and involved invasive work such as drilling on the children’s teeth. Additionally, in some cases, children who needed dental procedures were seen by Moore who billed Medicaid for the procedures, but the children’s dental work never happened.

The dental practice also employed van drivers, who served to recruit patients in exchange for a share of the profits and drove the children to and from appointments. The van drivers presented consent forms to schools that allowed the children to be checked out of school. At least one parent reports that her signature was forged. Neither the dental practice nor Moore appropriately notified parents when their children were being transported by these unlicensed and unregulated van drivers.

These allegations, along with multiple others listed in the complaint, are violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (ADTPA). The Attorney General’s Office is seeking an injunction, restitution for consumers, civil penalties and other relief against Moore and Brown-Stringfellow. They face up to a $10,000 fine for each violation.

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 consumer@arkansasag.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov. 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 oag@arkansasag.gov.

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Rutledge Facilitates 10,000 Face Masks to Arkansas Ambulance Association

Rutledge Facilitates 10,000 Face Masks to Arkansas Ambulance Association

Wed, May 20, 2020

Says, ‘Thank you, Lowe’s, for working with my office to make sure Arkansans have essential resources’

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is proud to announce home improvement retailer Lowe’s will deliver 10,000 N95 face masks to nursing homes and grocery store employees throughout Arkansas. Lowe’s will deliver 8,000 face masks to the Arkansas Health Care Association and 2,000 to the Arkansas Grocers & Retail Merchants Association who will distribute the masks throughout the State.

“Many Arkansans continue to work in high-risk environments to protect our most vulnerable loved ones and ensure our State’s daily needs are met, but they are also putting their own health and safety on the line,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Thank you, Lowe’s, for working with my office to make sure Arkansans have essential resources to protect themselves.”

Since the COVID-19 public health emergency declaration on March 11, Rutledge has allocated $1 million to the State to acquire personal protective equipment for medical personnel, $3 million to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission’s Quick Action Loan Program for small businesses and facilitated the donation of thousands of N95 facemasks to law enforcement and first responders. Rutledge has worked with Walmart, Amazon, eBay and Facebook to combat price gouging and the Attorney General’s Office has received almost 19,800 phone calls on price gouging and related scams.

Arkansans needing to report price gouging or scams should visit the Attorney General’s Office at ArkansasAG.gov or call (800) 482-8982.

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Rutledge Announces Over $550 Million Settlement with Nation’s Largest Subprime Auto Financing Company

Rutledge Announces Over $550 Million Settlement with Nation’s Largest Subprime Auto Financing Company

Tue, May 19, 2020

Affected Arkansans to Receive $30 Million in Direct Payments and Debt Relief

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced a settlement with Santander Consumer USA Inc. (Santander) that includes approximately $550 million in relief for consumers with more relief in additional deficiency waivers expected. The settlement resolves an investigation conducted by a coalition of 34 attorneys general into allegations that Santander violated consumer protection laws by knowingly placing subprime consumers into high-risk auto loans who had a great probability of default. This settlement, filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court, provides close to $30 million in direct payments and debt relief for over 13,000 Arkansas consumers harmed by Santander’s illegal conduct.

“Santander’s predatory actions targeted Arkansans for high risk auto loans, and now it will pay handsomely for its deceptive practices,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The standards set by this settlement should serve as a warning to other bad actors who take advantage of financially vulnerable Arkansans: we will do the fighting for consumers and there will be severe consequences for illegal actions.”

A coalition of states began investigating Santander in March 2015. Following the investigation, the states determined that Santander, the largest subprime auto financing company in the country, used credit-scoring models designed to target consumers who were likely to default and subsequently failed to acknowledge dealer-falsified income amounts on consumer loan applications. Under the settlement, Santander will pay $65 million to the states for consumer restitution and will waive up to $433 million for consumers who still owe on their loans.

For Arkansas, there are 10,837 Arkansas consumers who are eligible to submit a claim to receive a direct restitution payment of $224.84 each, which totals $2,436,611.87 if all who are eligible submit claims. Additionally, there are 1,288 loans to Arkansas consumers in default that qualify under this settlement owned by Santander for which Santander will immediately waive the deficiency balance, totaling $15,966.00 in debt forgiveness. There are another 1,336 defaulted loans to Arkansas consumers for which Santander will attempt to buy back and then waive the deficiency balance, which could potentially forgive an additional $10,814,000 in debt relief. Overall, approximately 13,461 affected Arkansas consumers will receive or be eligible to receive restitution in the form of direct payments or debt forgiveness potentially totaling $29,216,611.90. Additionally, Santander will pay $30,000 to the state.

Among the modifications to its business practices required under the settlement, Santander will cease extending loans to consumers with negative available incomes and will monitor loan applications for false income reporting. Santander will also cease from requiring its dealers to sell vehicle service contracts and other products and will maintain policies and procedures for deferments, forbearances, modifications and other collection matters.

Joining Rutledge in the settlement led by Illinois Attorney General are the attorneys general of Arizona, California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Rutledge urges anyone affected by Santander or has a consumer complaint to visit the Attorney General’s Office website at ArkansasAG.gov or call (800) 482-8982.

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