News Feed: Attorney General /news-rss?filter=attorney_general News Feed: Attorney General Thu, 14 Dec 2017 19:07:55 +0000 en-us AG Hawley Announces Crawford County Sex Crimes Guilty Verdict urn:uuid:395ec114-ad6b-6a5c-bcc3-ff000082a1ac Wed, 13 Dec 2017 14:07:29 +0000 Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley announced that a Dent County jury found Nathan Hilliard, 27, guilty of statutory rape in the first degree and statutory sodomy in the first degree following a two-day trial. Between June 1, 2007 and June 14, 2007, the defendant had sexual intercourse and forced his 10-year-old cousin to perform oral sex on him while staying with the victim’s family as a guest.   In addition to medical exams, the victim participated in a videotaped forensic interview by Child Advocacy Center professional Linda McQuary. The jury viewed the video and heard from both victim and Ms. McQuary at the trial. After their verdict, one juror requested permission to hug the now 21-year-old victim.  “My Office continues to make clear that we have no tolerance for those who prey on our most vulnerable citizens,” Hawley said. “I hope the victim and victim’s family find some justice in this guilty verdict.” Hilliard’s sentencing is scheduled for January 22, 2018. He faces a minimum of ten years in prison with the possibility of a life sentence for these crimes.    The case was tried by Assistant Attorney General Steven M. Kretzer and Assistant Attorney General Erin Kirsch with assistance from AGO Investigator Jason Bilyeu on a change of venue from Crawford County. AG Hawley Announces Former Nursing Home Employee Sentenced to 17 Years for Financial Abuse of Medicaid Recipient and Receiving Stolen Property urn:uuid:745dc114-ad6b-6a5c-bcc3-ff000082a1ac Tue, 12 Dec 2017 13:44:09 +0000 Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley announced that Kristi Metcalf, 41, of Carthage, Missouri, has been sentenced to 10 years for receiving stolen property and seven years for financial abuse of a Medicaid patient, to be served concurrently for ten years. She must also pay $44,561 in restitution to her victims and $15,370.63 for the State’s prosecution costs. In October, Metcalf pled guilty to the class B felony of receiving stolen property and the class C felony of abuse of a health care recipient in the Circuit Court of Jasper County.      Metcalf was employed in the business office of a Carthage, Missouri nursing home from 2010 through 2012. She was responsible for accounts which held resident funds in trust. She pled guilty to systematically retaining $44,561 in resident funds for her own purposes without the residents or their families’ consent. Some of the residents were Medicaid recipients.    During sentencing, Jasper County Judge David Mouton described Metcalf’s actions as “despicable” and “horrible” and noted that her victims were elderly or incapacitated.   “Criminal actions like those of Kristi Metcalf will not be tolerated in Missouri,” Hawley said. “Let this conviction signify to anyone trying to take advantage of our most vulnerable citizens that this behavior will not stand. Our office is firm in its commitment to protect all Missourians.”  This case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Brad Crowell and Assistant Attorney General Sarah Schappe with the assistance of the Jasper County Prosecutor’s Office as well as AGO Auditor Matt Smith and AGO investigator Lauren Richardson. AG Hawley Announces Advisory Board for New Military Assistance Initiative urn:uuid:6a5bc114-ad6b-6a5c-bcc3-ff000082a1ac Mon, 11 Dec 2017 10:39:15 +0000 Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley today announced the formation of an advisory board to develop the first statewide program in Missouri providing pro bono legal services to current military service members. Once launched, the Military Legal Assistance Team will be Missouri's first attorney general-led program offering our military communities access to pro bono civil legal services. The program will work closely with attorneys from military bases in Missouri to connect service members with qualifying legal needs to private pro bono attorneys who will provide legal guidance and representation. The new advisory board will determine the guidelines for qualifying legal needs as well as create an attorney recruitment strategy. Members of the advisory board include: John D. Comerford, Partner, Dowd Bennett, L.L.P., former U.S. Navy officer; Morry S. Cole, President, Missouri Bar, and Partner, Gray, Ritter & Graham, P.C.; David M. Lowe, Colonel (ret.), former State Judge Advocate of the Missouri National Guard, Principal, David M. Lowe Law Firm; Jason R. Scheiderer, Partner, Dentons; Erwin O. (Erv) Switzer, Partner, Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale, P.C.; John (Jay) W. Simpson, Partner, Shook Hardy & Bacon, L.L.P.; and Dr. Bucky Buckner, Colonel (ret.) U.S. Army. In addition to the permanent members, the board will work closely with liaison attorneys from Fort Leonard Wood, Whiteman Air Force Base, and the Missouri National Guard Ike Skelton Training Site. “Missouri’s military service men and women put their lives on the line to protect us and keep us safe at home,” Hawley said. “These men and women should not have to face legal issues alone. My Office is committed to providing legal assistance to our brave men and women in uniform.” “It is so important to support our men and women in uniform,” Dr. Bucky Buckner, Colonel (ret.) U.S. Army, said. “This program is exciting is because it offers support in a way that is often overlooked.” “I can’t think of a better way for the law profession to give back to our troops,” John Comerford, former Navy officer and practicing attorney in St. Louis, said. “I look forward to working with the advisory board to develop this program and recruit attorneys who want to give back to those who give us so much.” “As a former State Judge Advocate, I am familiar with what military service men and women encounter,” David M. Lowe, Colonel (ret.), Missouri National Guard said. “The wonderful thing about this program is that it strives to assist these dedicated men and women with civil legal issues where they otherwise might not find help.” Attorneys interested in participating in this initiative should visit and submit a volunteer form. The Military Legal Assistance Team will formally launch in early 2018. AG Hawley Announces Results of Independent Investigation into Allegations of Wrongdoing by Koster Administration urn:uuid:9b44c114-ad6b-6a5c-bcc3-ff000082a1ac Tue, 05 Dec 2017 11:29:06 +0000 Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley today announced the results of the investigation into alleged wrongdoing by the Koster Administration in connection with the 2012 civil lawsuit over the death of Anthony Lamar Smith. The Attorney General issued the following statement: “The independent investigator hired by the Attorney General’s Office has concluded there was a clear discovery violation on behalf of the City of St. Louis in the civil lawsuit with the family of Anthony Lamar Smith. Attorney-client privilege and duties of client confidentiality prevent us from releasing the full report without signed waivers from the Board of Police Commissioners and Jason Stockley.  We have requested such waivers from the Board of Police Commissioners and Officer Stockley to allow public access to the full report, but as of today, we have not received such waivers. With this in mind, we are releasing today an edited version of the detailed report that Mr. Goldsmith prepared for the Attorney General’s Office. To avoid any breach of privilege or confidentiality, this report includes only information obtained from publicly available sources and from counsel for the Smith family. This report recounts Mr. Goldsmith’s conclusion that both the Koster Administration and the Board were aware of DNA evidence in the case, but this evidence was not timely disclosed in discovery.”  The edited report is attached. AG Hawley Renews Fight to End California’s Restrictive Farming Regulations urn:uuid:1f41c114-ad6b-6a5c-bcc3-ff000082a1ac Mon, 04 Dec 2017 11:28:43 +0000 Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley today announced his office will renew its efforts in the U.S. Supreme Court to challenge California’s attempt to impose agricultural regulations on the state of Missouri. Missouri is challenging a California law requiring Missouri egg producers to comply with California’s farming regulations in order to sell eggs in California. The suit claims that California’s regulations violate both a federal law prohibiting states from imposing their own standards on eggs produced in other states, and the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which gives Congress exclusive authority to regulate commerce among and between states. In 2016, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Missouri and the other plaintiff states lacked standing to pursue their claims. Today’s filing in the U.S. Supreme Court answers this by providing a careful economic analysis that establishes the impact of these burdensome regulations. “These regulations are unconstitutional and a clear attempt by big-government proponents to impose job-killing regulations on Missouri,” Hawley said. “This discrimination against Missouri farmers will not stand. I will continue to defend our farmers and protect the interests of Missouri consumers.” The state of Missouri is joined in the challenge by 12 other states: Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas*, Utah, and Wisconsin. *Texas joined after initial release AG Hawley Leads States Urging Support for National Concealed-Carry Legislation urn:uuid:2c3fc114-ad6b-6a5c-bcc3-ff000082a1ac Fri, 01 Dec 2017 13:06:40 +0000 Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley led 23 other states in urging Congress to enact national concealed-carry reciprocity legislation. In a letter to Congress, the attorneys general ask representatives to support the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 (S. 446) and the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 (H.R. 38). “We share a strong interest in the protection of our citizens’ Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms, and we are committed to supporting federal and state policies to preserve that constitutional right,” the attorneys general wrote in the letter. “These bills, if enacted, would eliminate significant obstacles to the exercise of the right to keep and bear arms for millions of Americans in every State.” The proposed legislation would allow law-abiding citizens to carry concealed weapons in states where they do not reside, which some state laws do not allow. The attorneys general argue that, beyond being a basic constitutional right, states that do not allow non-residents to carry concealed weapons leave these citizens in danger and with no real option for self-defense in instances of gun violence. “States should not be able to deny citizens of the United States the basic constitutional right to self-defense,” Hawley said. “Missouri has chosen to respect the rights of residents and non-residents to carry arms for self-defense. I ask Congress to protect these same rights for law-abiding Missourians as they travel throughout the United States.” The states signing the letter are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma*, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming. You can view a copy of the letter here. *Oklahoma joined after original release of letter AG Hawley Announces Public Corruption Guilty Plea of Former Cass County Auditor urn:uuid:953ec114-ad6b-6a5c-bcc3-ff000082a1ac Fri, 01 Dec 2017 09:20:21 +0000 Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley announced that a Cass County judge accepted the guilty plea of defendant Ronald Johnson, 49, of Raymore, MO to the offense of Official Misconduct. Between 2011 and 2014, while acting as the elected Auditor of Cass County, the defendant claimed reimbursement for expenses not due and appropriated cellular devices paid for by the county for personal use. “I promised to fight public corruption and that is what I am doing,” Hawley said. “There is no place for public officials who abuse their power—no matter how big or small the offense—in Missouri.” As part of his plea agreement, Johnson agreed to pay restitution to Cass County in the amount of $2,865.09 and the court approved probation for the defendant that, if revoked, could subject defendant up to 1 year in the county jail and / or a fine of $1,000. The case was litigated by Assistant Attorney General Steven M. Kretzer with assistance from AGO Investigator Steven Hayden. AG Hawley Expands Services Provided by Anti-Trafficking Task Force urn:uuid:d23cc114-ad6b-6a5c-bcc3-ff000082a1ac Thu, 30 Nov 2017 11:01:49 +0000 Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley today announced that his statewide Human Trafficking Task Force will offer assistance to nonprofits struggling to find funding for their anti-trafficking efforts. Just this month, it was reported that a southeast Missouri group halted its important work due to a lack of funding. “Not only is finding the funding difficult, but the application process is also extremely burdensome for smaller groups in the state,” Hawley said. “This is why the Task Force is stepping in – to help nonprofits navigate the complicated application process so that no other group is ever discouraged or forced to shut its doors. Empowering nonprofits in Missouri will enhance both law enforcement’s ability to prosecute traffickers and our state’s capacity to provide survivors with the critical services that they need.” Hawley’s Task Force, which was established in April, is the first of its kind in the state and includes law enforcement officials, local prosecutors, social-service providers, victims’ advocates, and individual human-trafficking survivors. The Task Force regularly meets to coordinate law enforcement efforts and services for victims. This crime is not limited to certain communities or big cities,” Hawley said. “Human trafficking touches every corner of our state, and local nonprofit groups play a fundamental role in eradicating it.” Groups or individuals seeking help with funding should contact Emily Russell, Executive Director of the Human Trafficking Task Force as AG Hawley Statement on Court Granting Motion to Dismiss Backpage Lawsuit urn:uuid:433bc114-ad6b-6a5c-bcc3-ff000082a1ac Wed, 29 Nov 2017 09:32:44 +0000 Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley today praised the Federal District Court decision to grant the State’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Backpage sought to block an investigation by the Missouri Attorney General into whether the company has ties to human trafficking. “I am glad the court rejected this meritless lawsuit,” Hawley said. “My Office is now able to move beyond legal sidestepping and focus on what matters—fighting to eradicate this terrible crime in Missouri.” AG Hawley Investigating Uber Data Breach urn:uuid:1237c114-ad6b-6a5c-bcc3-ff000082a1ac Wed, 22 Nov 2017 13:23:38 +0000 Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley today announced his office will take immediate action to investigate the Uber data breach and whether Uber’s ensuing conduct violated Missouri consumer-protection and data-privacy laws. On Wednesday, the Attorney General’s Office sent a letter to Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi demanding that Uber take immediate action to notify all affected consumers, protect those consumers’ personal information, and prevent any future breaches. “Missouri consumers deserve to know if and when their personal information is compromised—whether that occurs under Uber’s watch or that of other large tech companies,” Hawley said. “As I made clear last week, my Office is committed to protecting the privacy and safety of Missouri consumers against the whims of tech giants.” Missouri law requires that companies provide prompt notice to consumers whose information may have been compromised. In addition, Uber’s failure to secure data as well the concealment of the data breach may violate Missouri’s consumer-protection laws. Attorney General Hawley previously announced investigations into Equifax and Google. You can read the letter sent to Uber here. For more information about what do if you are victim of a data breach, click here. AG Hawley Offers Tips to Avoid Holiday Scams urn:uuid:c936c114-ad6b-6a5c-bcc3-ff000082a1ac Wed, 22 Nov 2017 10:33:31 +0000 Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley offers the following tips for Missouri consumers to protect themselves during the holiday season. “We want to ensure that consumers get their deals as promised,” Hawley said. “Consumers need to do their research, be well prepared, and avoid being taken advantage of by scammers who prey upon people during this time of year.” Attorney General Hawley offers the following tips: Bring paper or electronic copies of special advertising. By bringing a copy of the special holiday deal to the store with you, it will be easier for you to verify that you are getting the price that the store advertised. Research merchants before you shop. Find out how long a company has been in business and look into its customer service track record before making a substantial purchase.  Make sure you understand return and exchange policies. Shoppers should read the fine print to be aware of any restocking fees or deals with limited return or exchange windows. Shoppers should hold on to documentation of purchases and always ask for gift receipts to protect the recipient from being denied the ability to return or exchange items at the full value the buyer paid for it. When shopping online, make sure to hold on to a copy of the final confirmation. Be aware of sales advertised only for certain days or hours in the day. Be on the lookout for bait-and-switch tactics. Bait-and-switch advertisements aim to draw you in, and then push you toward more expensive items. Shoppers should insist that retailers honor advertised deals and products. Make purchases with a credit card. Using a debit card online puts consumers in potential financial danger because a debit card is linked directly to a personal account. With a credit card, you can spend a specific amount that has to be approved. If your credit card is used to make a fraudulent purchase without your permission, you can inform the credit card company and potentially have the payment cancelled. Beware of emails pretending to be from businesses like UPS, FedEx or major retailers with links to package tracking information. Avoid clicking on links or opening attachments to emails until you have confirmed that they are not malicious. Some emails can infect your computer with a virus or download malware if you click a link. Email addresses that don't match up, contain typos and grammatical errors are common red flags of a phishing scam. Make sure you have current antivirus software on your computer. Beware of text messages claiming recipient has won a Best Buy gift card (or Target, Home Depot or other major retailer). The text's URL often leads to a website that has the company's colors and logo. It looks authentic with the company's name as the site's subdomain. However, the texts are a way for scammers to collect personal information and even financial details, claiming the information is necessary to confirm the consumer’s identity or cover taxes/shipping of your "free" prize. While there are legitimate organizations and businesses that sell letters from Santa, con artists are also in the market to steal credit card information and the personal information of children. The Attorney General’s Office recommends online shoppers take precautions to ensure transactions are secure. Only shop with trusted and familiar online retailers. Before entering credit card information, make sure that an "https" precedes the website in the browser address bar. The 's' indicates use of a more secure protocol. Most browsers will display a locked padlock icon when on a secure site. If you suspect deceptive advertising or other unfair business practices, contact the Attorney General's Consumer protection hotline at 800-392-8222 or file a complaint online. AG Hawley wins $643,703.60 judgment against Timothy Mundy for defrauding Missouri consumers urn:uuid:0635c114-ad6b-6a5c-bcc3-ff000082a1ac Tue, 21 Nov 2017 13:55:06 +0000 Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley obtained a judgment of $643,703.60 on behalf of ten Missouri consumers who were defrauded by Timothy Mundy. Mundy entered into contracts to provide home construction services and demanded large upfront payments for materials. However, he would spend the upfront payments on personal expenses. When funds ran dry, Mundy would ask the homeowners for more money telling them that the project had run into unforeseen expenses, all while doing little to no actual work. When consumers finally demanded Mundy complete the work they had paid him to do, he would disappear and move on to his next target. In the few instances Mundy actually completed some tasks, the quality of the work was so poor it had to be redone. Mundy intentionally targeted consumers who were elderly, legal immigrants, or were experiencing hardship, knowing that these consumers would be more trusting and easier to exploit. In addition, Mundy actively took steps to conceal his past actions from future victims. He frequently created new LLC’s and used aliases including: “Lee Foreman,” “Lee Tironne,” and “Tim Torrone” to attempt to hide his identity from consumers who might search for him online. He also targeted consumers across Missouri to avoid negative word-of-mouth, including residents of Springfield, Branson, Sedalia, Pilot Grove, Lincoln, and Versailles. The Greene County Circuit Court ordered Mundy to pay back all $194,012.34 he took from consumers, pay for the cost of investigating and prosecuting the case, and pay $332,000 in penalties and punitive damages. Mundy has also been banned from the construction industry for life.    “My office will aggressively pursue deceitful and dishonest contractors who cheat consumers and destroy their assets," Hawley said. “There is no place for those who prey upon consumers in Missouri.” This case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorneys General Caleb Aponte and Bob Carlson and investigated by Investigator Chris Caudle. Missourians who believe they may have been the victim of a similar scam are encouraged to file a complaint by calling the Consumer Protection Hotline at 800-392-8222 or by submitting a claim online. View Photo of Mundy AG Hawley Announces Fraud Victims May Seek Compensation from Western Union Fund urn:uuid:9c2cc114-ad6b-6a5c-bcc3-ff000082a1ac Wed, 15 Nov 2017 11:01:36 +0000 Jefferson City, Mo.  – Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley today announced that Missourians who were deceived into sending payments to scammers using Western Union’s wire transfer service may now apply for compensation from a $586 million fund administered by the Department of Justice’s Victim Asset Recovery Program. This fund is a result of a settlement between Missouri, 49 other states, the District of Columbia, and Western Union that was announced in January 2017. Missourians may be eligible to receive compensation if they were a victim of a fraud-induced transfer using Western Union between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017. “I am pleased that Missourians who were victims of scams will see their hard-earned money returned,” Hawley said. “My Office will continue to fight for consumers and work to prosecute those who defraud Missourians.” Missourians who reported to Western Union or to the Missouri Attorney General’s Office that they were a victim of a scam using Western Union may be receiving a claim form in the mail within the next two weeks. The form will be coming from the settlement administrator and will contain instructions explaining how consumers may file their claim to receive compensation. If you do not receive a claim form in the mail but believe you may have an eligible claim, please visit or call 1-844-319-2124 for more information on how to file a claim. All completed claims forms must be mailed back to the settlement administrator by February 12, 2018.   The Attorney General’s Office encourages Missourians to call its Consumer Hotline at 1-800-392-8222 if they need additional assistance or have questions about the claims process. AG Hawley Issues Investigative Demands to Google, Inc. urn:uuid:1b2bc114-ad6b-6a5c-bcc3-ff000082a1ac Mon, 13 Nov 2017 10:45:00 +0000 Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley announced today that his Office has issued an investigative subpoena to Internet giant Google, Inc., in connection with an investigation into the company’s business practices. Specifically, the investigation will seek to determine if Google has violated the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act—Missouri’s principal consumer-protection statute—and Missouri’s antitrust laws.  The business practices in question are Google’s collection, use, and disclosure of information about Google users and their online activities; Google’s alleged misappropriation of online content from the websites of its competitors; and Google’s alleged manipulation of search results to preference websites owned by Google and to demote websites that compete with Google. “There is strong reason to believe that Google has not been acting with the best interest of Missourians in mind,” Hawley said. “My Office will not stand by and let private consumer information be jeopardized by industry giants, especially to pad their profits.” On the state level, Attorney General Hawley is leading the way, holding tech companies such as Google accountable for their actions. However, this is not the first-time Google’s business practices have come into question. In June, the European Union issued Google a record $2.7 billion antitrust fine. Then, in July, the Electronic Privacy Information Center filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission regarding a Google program that tracks consumer behavior. In addition to online users’ location, device information, cookie data, online queries, and website history, it is estimated that Google has access to 70 percent of all card transactions in the United States. “When a company has access to as much consumer information as Google does, it’s my duty to ensure they are using it appropriately,” Hawley said. “I will not let Missouri consumers and businesses be exploited by industry giants.” AG Hawley Announces Rape Kit Backlog Investigation urn:uuid:cf28c114-ad6b-6a5c-bcc3-ff000082a1ac Thu, 09 Nov 2017 14:03:03 +0000 Jefferson City, Mo. –  Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley today announced his office will conduct a thorough audit of the reported backlog of unprocessed rape kits across the state. “Rape kits provide a powerful tool for identifying and prosecuting potential sex criminals. But both in Missouri and across the country, thousands of rape kits go untested, hamstringing law enforcement efforts to prosecute offenders,” Hawley said. “Every rape kit that goes untested means a rapist who remains on the streets, able to attack again, and a survivor who is denied justice. This is unacceptable. Our investigation will determine the scope of the problem in Missouri, the agencies responsible, and the ways we can implement reform.” National statistics indicate that one in six women will face an attempted or completed sexual assault in their lifetime.