State AG Updates: June 21-25, 2021

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Each week, the Crowell & Moring State Attorneys General team highlights important actions taken by state attorneys general. Here are the updates for this week.

Consumer protection

A coalition of 21 attorneys general and two cities, led by Pennsylvania Attorney General Shapiro, calls on the Postal Regulatory Commission to oppose the Postmaster’s attempt to increase delivery times for prime mail classroom and other essential services. The coalition argues that the proposed changes would harm consumers, especially those in rural areas and the elderly, as well as the government.

Michigan Attorney General Nessel has issued a consumer alert on cryptocurrency, warning consumers that they should do research before investing, understand the terms and conditions of digital payment apps, and beware of mentions of celebrities.

Criminal fraud systems

Arizona Attorney General Brnovich announced that the former CEO of Hacienda, Inc. has pleaded guilty to two counts of fraudulent schemes and devices, linked to an August 2020 indictment for an alleged white collar fraud scheme that took millions of dollars from taxpayers. Under the plea deal, the former CEO agreed to pay $ 500,000 in restitution to Arizona’s healthcare cost containment system and $ 274,500 to the attorney general’s anti-racketeering revolving fund.

Tuesday 22 June 2021

Medicaid Criminal Fraud

North Carolina Attorney General Stein and Acting United States Attorney General for the Central District of North Carolina Hairston announced a $ 330,000 settlement resolving allegations that Palladium Primary Care, PA and Premiere Health Care Plus, PA, along with an associate physician, submitted bogus Medicaid and Medicare claims for nerve conduction and arterial studies that were not medically necessary or reasonable.

Environment

Illinois Attorney General Raoul and Vermilion County State Attorney Lacy have filed a lawsuit against Dynegy Midwest Generation, LLC for the alleged illegal disposal of coal ash at the site of the former power plant of Vermilion, causing groundwater pollution. Raoul and Lacy also filed for an interim order requiring Dynegy to create a safety emergency response plan for the location.

Wednesday 23 June 2021

Charitable / non-profit organizations

California Attorney General Bonta announced his sponsorship of AB 488, which would allow the California Department of Justice to oversee charitable fundraising on internet platforms to protect consumers and charities from misleading solicitations or misleading. Currently, California law does not specifically cover charitable solicitation on online platforms.

Civil rights

A coalition of 25 attorneys general sent a letter to the US Senate urging it to pass HR 5, called the Equality Act, which seeks to protect Americans from discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation . The law would fill gaps in federal civil rights law to make it clear that protections include these types of discrimination. It would also clarify that the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on sex, including gender identity and sexual orientation, in areas of the Civil Rights Act 1964 that prohibit discrimination in funding. federal and public housing.

Consumer protection

Three proposed class actions were filed in Pennsylvania state court on June 23, 2021, accusing online lender Best Egg and collection companies Alliant Capital Management LLC and Capital Link Management LLC of violating Pennsylvania law. on Unfair Business Practices and Consumer Protection (the lender) and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (the collection companies) in attempting to collect illegal debts that charge more than 6% aggregate interest. The lawsuits ask for a declaratory judgment and damages.

Covid-19 scam

Missouri Attorney General Schmitt announced his office had issued a consent judgment against Jim Bakker and Morningside Church Productions, which he sued in March 2020 for advertising a ‘silver solution’ as a potential cure against COVID-19. The settlement includes approximately $ 156,000 in restitution and an injunction.

Federal appeals

A coalition of 23 attorneys general led by Arizona attorney general Brnovich has submitted a brief on the merits to the United States Supreme Court asking it to overturn a Sixth Circuit ruling that allows individuals to surrender in a way strategic in prosecutions challenging state laws they disagree with. The coalition argues that the Sixth Circuit ruling will allow individuals to go against the democratic process and that attorneys general have an interest in intervening to protect the laws of their states.

Thursday June 24, 2021

Illegal raffle programs

Arkansas Attorney General Rutledge announced a settlement against an individual who facilitated an international raffle program, in which victims were told they had won a prize but had to pay money first. taxes or fees, which were actually paid to the individual. Under the settlement, the individual must pay restitution and civil penalties totaling $ 100,000 as well as comply with the injunction provisions.

False advertising

Ohio Attorney General Yost announced a settlement with Frontier Communications resolving allegations that Frontier charged consumers for internet speeds that could not be achieved. The regulations require Frontier to fund upgrades to its Internet system, stop misleading advertising, and allow consumers to continue with their current plan, downgrade to a cheaper plan, or cancel service at no cost.

Federal Trade Commission

The House Judiciary Committee authorized the passage of antitrust legislation that would limit the market power of large technology companies, for example by restricting behaviors that benefit the companies’ own services and products and by conferring on the Federal Trade Commission broad powers of standardization. The bills are still expected to be passed in plenary to move forward.

Financial services

The US House of Representatives has passed a bill to repeal the Comptroller of the Currency’s “real lender” rule, which will now go to President Biden for his signature. The “real lender” rule allows consumers to take out loans with interest rates higher than the maximum set by the state by declaring the “real lender” to be the party listed as the true lender of a loan or the one. who finances the loan.

A coalition of 11 attorneys general led by South Carolina attorney general Wilson opposed the use of congressional scrutiny law to repeal the “real lender” rule, arguing it would restrict capacity of the Comptroller of the Currency to address the concerns of the “real lender” in the future.

Gouging price

Michigan Attorney General Nessel announced that a BP gas station owner who had previously been asked to cease and desist from price hikes agreed to pay a fine of $ 2,000 , which will go to consumers for reimbursement. The owner sold about $ 1 more gasoline than nearby stations.

Friday 25 June 2021

Medicaid Criminal Fraud

Missouri Attorney General Schmitt announced a $ 150,000 settlement against a former Medicaid provider for billing for services she could not prove to have been provided. The provider owned and operated the Shady Oaks retirement home, which is no longer operational, and reportedly filed 148 bogus claims. Florida Attorney General Moody also announced the arrest of a Medicaid home and community service provider for allegedly defrauding the Medicaid program over $ 5,000 by submitting overlapping claims and claims for services not provided.

Financial services

Oregon Attorney General Rosenblum applauded the passage by the Oregon legislature of SB 485, which will create a “Student Loan Borrowers Bill of Rights,” including both regulations for student loan services. student loans and borrower protection. The legislation also creates an ombudsman at the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services who will respond to complaints against service providers and notify borrowers.

Healthcare fraud

Connecticut Attorney General Tong announced a $ 1,002,481 settlement with Connecticut Addiction Medicine and its executives, resolving allegations that the medical practice overcharged urine drug tests.



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