News Feed: Attorney General /news-rss?filter=attorney_general News Feed: Attorney General Sat, 23 Jun 2018 17:37:29 +0000 en-us AG Hawley Announces a $100 Million Multistate Settlement with Citibank for Manipulating Interest Rate Benchmarks urn:uuid:b26ac414-ad6b-6a5c-bcc3-ff000082a1ac Fri, 15 Jun 2018 13:59:03 +0000 Jefferson City, Mo. – Attorney General Josh Hawley today announced a $100 million multistate settlement with Citibank for fraudulent conduct involving U.S. Dollar (USD) LIBOR. This is a benchmark interest rate that affects financial instruments worth trillions of dollars and has a widespread impact on global markets and consumers. The investigation was conducted by a working group of 42 State Attorneys General offices. The State Attorneys General allege that Citibank misrepresented the integrity of the LIBOR benchmark to state and local governmental, not-for-profit, private, and institutional trading counterparties by concealing, misrepresenting, and failing to disclose that: (a) Citibank, at times, made USD LIBOR submissions to avoid negative publicity and protect the reputation of the bank; (b) Citibank’s USD LIBOR submitters, on occasion, asked Citibank personnel in other units of the bank to avoid offering higher rates than Citibank’s USD LIBOR submissions; and (c) Citibank expressed belief that other banks, at times, made USD LIBOR submissions that were inconsistent with their borrowing rates and contributed to inaccurate LIBORs. Given this conduct, Citibank had reason to believe that Citibank’s and other banks’ LIBOR submissions did not reflect their true borrowing rates in accordance with the established public guidance. Citibank did not disclose this to the governmental and not-for profit counterparties with whom Citibank executed LIBOR-referenced transactions even though these rates were material terms of the transactions. As a result of its fraudulent conduct, Citibank made  millions in unjust gains when government entities and not for profit organizations entered into swaps and other financial contracts with Citibank without knowing that Citibank and other banks on the USD-LIBOR-setting panel were manipulating LIBOR submissions. “Citibank manipulated interest rates for their own benefit and to the detriment of Missouri retirement and non-profit funds.” Hawley said. “This settlement puts wrongfully obtained money back into those public funds.” Governmental and not-for-profit entities with LIBOR-linked swaps and other investment contracts with Citibank will be notified if they are eligible to receive a distribution from a settlement fund of $95 million. The balance of the settlement fund will be used to pay costs and expenses of the investigation and for other uses consistent with state laws. Along with Deutsche Bank and Barclays, Citibank is the third of several USD-LIBOR-setting panel banks under investigation by the State Attorneys General to resolve the claims against it. With the Citibank settlement, the States have collected $420 million in payments from the three banks, almost all of which will be distributed to state and local government entities and not for profits that have been harmed by these banks’ wrongful conduct. Pursuant to the settlement agreement, Citibank will continue to cooperate with the States’ ongoing investigation. The Attorney General’s Office benefits from the information and evidence provided by corporations that timely cooperate with the Attorney General’s investigations. Such cooperation can facilitate civil enforcement efforts, including the distribution of funds to victims of the offense. Other states joining New York in the Citibank settlement include: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. The investigation into the conduct of other USD LIBOR-setting panel banks is ongoing. AG Hawley Files Suit against Northside Regeneration, LLC owned by St. Louis Developer Paul McKee urn:uuid:9068c414-ad6b-6a5c-bcc3-ff000082a1ac Wed, 13 Jun 2018 11:31:18 +0000 Jefferson City, Mo. – Attorney General Josh Hawley filed a lawsuit today against St. Louis Developer Paul McKee’s company – Northside Regeneration, LLC – in the Circuit Court of St. Louis City. The lawsuit alleges that Northside received tax credits in the amount of $4.5 million for redevelopment projects in North St. Louis, and kept these credits despite failing to complete the purchase of over $5.2 million worth of properties. Attorney General Hawley’s lawsuit brings three civil counts against the company, including tax credit fraud, breach of a tax credit application and unjust enrichment. In November 2012, Northside applied for the Distressed Areas Land Assemblage Tax Credit, administered by the Missouri Department of Economic Development. In January 2013, the Department issued Northside a $4.5 million credit for its acquisition of numerous properties in the City of St. Louis. Less than six months after receiving and transferring the tax credit, Northside deeded back one of the properties to the seller. On another property, Northside failed to complete the transaction resulting in the Court giving the original seller an award in a condemnation case. Northside certified that it would notify the Department of any changes to any of the certifications in its application. Instead, it failed to disclose these actions in annual reports and failed to repay the State the tax credit. “My Office will not tolerate the abuse of a state tax credit program designed to revitalize communities,” Hawley said. “This lawsuit will ensure that any responsible parties are held to account and Missouri dollars are returned where they belong.” The case was filed by Attorney General Hawley on behalf of Plaintiffs, the State of Missouri, the Missouri Department of Revenue, and the Missouri Department of Economic Development. AG Hawley Files Sunshine Lawsuit Against City of Bel Ridge urn:uuid:d466c414-ad6b-6a5c-bcc3-ff000082a1ac Tue, 12 Jun 2018 10:11:47 +0000 Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley today announced that his office has filed a lawsuit in the Circuit Court of St. Louis County against the City of Bel Ridge alleging Sunshine Law violations. The lawsuit says the City of Bel Ridge repeatedly failed to provide the public with proper notice of closed meetings, repeatedly failed to document in its meeting minutes the specific statutory provision authorizing closed meeting sessions, and held closed meetings during which it discussed items that should have been open to the public. “Governmental transparency is a key tenet of democracy,” Hawley said. “Missouri’s Sunshine Law exists so that Missourians can know that their government is working for them. My Office has made fighting for transparency a priority. Those who violate our State open records laws should recognize that on my watch, they will be prosecuted for violating this trust.” In January, the Attorney General filed lawsuits alleging Sunshine Law violations against the Jefferson County Council and the St. Louis County Executive’s Office. AG Hawley Statement on Governor Parson’s Remarks to the General Assembly urn:uuid:4565c414-ad6b-6a5c-bcc3-ff000082a1ac Mon, 11 Jun 2018 17:23:31 +0000 Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley today issued the following statement following Governor Mike Parson’s address to the General Assembly: “Governor Parson did a great job tonight and he will be a great governor for Missouri,” Hawley said. “I welcome his leadership in Jefferson City and look forward to working with him for the betterment of Missouri.” AG Hawley Releases 2017 Vehicle Stops Report urn:uuid:dc5bc414-ad6b-6a5c-bcc3-ff000082a1ac Fri, 01 Jun 2018 09:30:48 +0000 Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley today released the 2017 Vehicle Stops Report. “The Vehicle Stops Report reiterates Missourians’ commitment to the rule of law,” Hawley said. “The data contained in the Report allows a constructive conversation about the fair and impartial administration of justice. In the coming months, my Office will work with law enforcement and community groups to ensure that the regulations governing this data collection are clear and effective. We look forward to working with stakeholders throughout the state on this worthy endeavor.” A copy of the report can be viewed here. Last year, the Attorney General issued a regulation requiring the collection of data related to the residency of the driver. This went into effect January 1, 2018 and will be included in next year’s report. AG Hawley Statement on Governor Greitens’ Resignation urn:uuid:7055c414-ad6b-6a5c-bcc3-ff000082a1ac Tue, 29 May 2018 16:49:43 +0000 Jefferson City, Mo.  – Missouri Attorney Josh Hawley today issued the following statement: “Governor Greitens has done the right thing today,” Hawley said. “I wish incoming Governor Mike Parson well, and stand ready to assist him in his transition. This Office’s work for the people of Missouri goes forward.” AG Hawley Announces SVP Commitment urn:uuid:0655c414-ad6b-6a5c-bcc3-ff000082a1ac Tue, 29 May 2018 11:09:34 +0000 Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley announced that John R. Davidson, 46, formerly of Kansas City, has been committed as a sexually violent predator. Davidson has a twenty-year history of sexually abusing young children.   In 1998, Davidson was arrested for committing a lewd act at a public pool while watching young girls swim. He later confessed to searching through dumpsters for soiled child diapers into which to commit a lewd act. Davidson also admitted molesting a 5-year old boy as a juvenile. In 2001, he was caught repeatedly looking into windows of people’s homes and committing a lewd act. Davidson repeatedly molested and sodomized a 4-year old boy and received a 15-year sentence, in 2002. Despite treatment efforts, Davidson continued to assert the 4-year old victim initiated the sexual contact and wanted the victimization after he made the child watch pornography.    In 2013, Davidson was terminated from sex offender treatment for lack of progress. In 2017, when Davidson was eligible to be released into the community, the Missouri Attorney General filed a petition to instead commit Davidson as a predator. Davidson will remain in a secure Department of Mental Health facility for care, control, and treatment until he is safe to be at large.  “Those who continue to prey on Missouri’s most vulnerable will be removed from our communities,” Hawley said. “I am grateful to those who fight each day to keep our communities safe.”  Davidson is the 5th person committed under the SVP Act this year. This case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Aaron Maness. The Honorable Mark Styles signed the order. AG Hawley Releases Preliminary Results of Rape Kit Audit urn:uuid:f350c414-ad6b-6a5c-bcc3-ff000082a1ac Thu, 24 May 2018 11:38:06 +0000 Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley today released a preliminary report highlighting important results from the statewide rape kit audit conducted by his Office. The preliminary report indicates that there are at least 4,889 untested sexual assault kits currently in the possession of law enforcement agencies, crime labs, and healthcare providers in Missouri. In conducting its audit, the Attorney General’s Office received information from 266 law enforcement agencies, 66 healthcare providers, and five crime labs. The Office also met with stakeholders from across the State. This data demonstrates a clear need for additional funding to address sexual assault kit resources in Missouri. In April, the state legislature gave the Attorney General’s Office authority to apply for a $3 million federal Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) grant. The Office has applied for the grant and continues to work with stakeholders to develop uniform state practices for the handling and processing of sexual assault evidence kits. “From a law enforcement perspective, any rape kit that goes untested means a powerful tool for identifying and prosecuting sex criminals remains unutilized—and a rapist remains on the streets,” Hawley said. “From an individual perspective, any kit that goes untested means a survivor is denied the justice they so deserve. We must do all in our power to eliminate this problem in Missouri and work to better track evidence that will help identify perpetrators.” A copy of the preliminary report can be read here. AG Hawley Encourages Attorneys to Support Missouri’s Military and Veterans urn:uuid:e54ec414-ad6b-6a5c-bcc3-ff000082a1ac Tue, 22 May 2018 09:36:14 +0000 Jefferson City, Mo.  – Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley today reiterated his commitment to Missouri’s military servicemembers and veterans announcing that the Military Legal Assistance Team (MLAT) is now providing pro bono legal aid to those with qualifying legal needs. In December, AG Hawley announced the formation of an advisory board to develop Missouri’s first statewide attorney general-led program offering military communities access to pro bono civil legal services. In conjunction with the work of the advisory board, the MLAT has established five pillars for qualifying legal issues. These include protecting the legal rights of military servicemembers under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Action (SCRA), the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), and state law; combatting predatory business practices that target Missouri’s military communities; providing educational presentations related to consumer protection issues, civil legal protections for service members, and MLAT services; ensuring employment rights afforded by state law are met in the event of activation for State Emergency Duty; and providing estate planning clinics for veterans. “My Office is committed to providing legal assistance to veterans and our brave men and women currently in uniform who choose to sacrifice so much for their country,” Hawley said. “These men and women put their lives on the line to protect us and keep us safe at home in Missouri. We must do all that we can to support them—and I encourage all Missouri attorneys to consider participating in this worthy program.” In order to provide these pro bono services, the MLAT relies on volunteer attorneys. Interested attorneys can submit a form on the AGO website or email Scotty Allen ( directly. There is no minimum hourly requirement, and there is no obligation to accept a referral once you have volunteered. Servicemembers interested in pro bono representation should apply through their unit’s JAG office. AG Hawley Leads Coalition in Support of Stiffer Penalties for Irresponsible Drug Manufactures urn:uuid:3a4cc414-ad6b-6a5c-bcc3-ff000082a1ac Mon, 21 May 2018 13:24:36 +0000 Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, along with Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Washington Attorney General Robert Ferguson, led a bipartisan coalition of 39 state and territory attorneys general to call on congressional leaders to promptly pass measures to help hold opioid manufacturers accountable for their role in the opioid epidemic and stem the diversion of their drugs to the illicit market. “Diversion of prescription opioids has devastated communities in our states,” the attorneys general wrote in their letter. “The consequences of turning a blind eye to suspicious opioid orders cannot merely be a cost of doing business.”   The coalition sent a letter to the chair and ranking member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and the Judiciary Committee, the committees of jurisdiction, urging them to pass the S.2456, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) 2.0 and S.2440, the Comprehensive Addiction Reform, Education, and Safety (CARES) Act. Opioid manufacturers have a duty to ensure that they take steps to prevent drugs from entering the illicit market. Among other provisions, CARA 2.0 and the CARES Act increase penalties on drug manufactures that fail to report suspicious transactions and maintain effective controls against diversion of their drugs to the illicit market. The bills would increase the civil penalty from $10,000 to $100,000 per violation for negligence in reporting suspicious activity and double the criminal penalty to $500,000 for companies that willfully disregard or knowingly fail to keep proper reporting systems or fail to report suspicious activity. “We must do all in our power to end the opioid epidemic,” Hawley said. “I urge legislators to pass this legislation that will hold opioid manufacturers accountable.  Attorney General Hawley sued three large opioid manufacturers in June of 2017. He later announced investigations into seven additional manufacturers and three opioid distributors.   A copy of the letter can be viewed here. More information on CARA 2.0 and the CARES Act on AG Hawley Announces Sex Abuse Conviction urn:uuid:3149c414-ad6b-6a5c-bcc3-ff000082a1ac Thu, 17 May 2018 14:44:38 +0000 Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley announced that Johnny Hardwick, 44, of Fremont, MO, pled guilty to sexually abusing two family members over an extended period of time. Hardwick pled guilty to four counts of Statutory Sodomy in the First Degree, one count of Statutory Rape in the First Degree, one count of Attempted Statutory Rape in the First Degree, one count of Statutory Sodomy in the Second Degree, and Incest. The abuse began when the victims were six and seven years old and continued until they were twelve and fourteen years old. After enduring years of abuse, both victims bravely disclosed the Defendant’s sexual abuse to law enforcement. “There is no place for abuse of this nature in Missouri,” Hawley said. “And those who abuse Missouri’s most vulnerable will be prosecuted. We must do all that we can to prevent acts like this from occurring again.” The Hon. Michael Pritchett accepted the Defendant’s guilty pleas and sentenced him to 20 years in the Department of Corrections. The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Szczucinski, Investigator Haley Porter, and Victim Advocate Melissa Koetting. The case was handled in Butler County on a change of venue from Carter County. AG Hawley Announces Monroe County Murder Sentencing urn:uuid:5747c414-ad6b-6a5c-bcc3-ff000082a1ac Wed, 16 May 2018 15:32:09 +0000 Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley today announced that Callaway County Circuit Court Judge Jeff Harris has sentenced Jason Lee Lage, 36, to life in prison for the murder of 26-year old Zachary Dawson of Madison, MO. Lage was also sentenced to an additional 50 years for armed criminal action. In March, Lage was found guilty of second-degree murder and armed criminal action. On February 19, 2014, around 1:00 a.m., Lage shot Dawson in the back of the head in the victim's home during what Lage would later admit was an attempted robbery. Lage and a girlfriend, Jessica Derboven Munoz, then cleaned up the crime scene and fled while Dawson, who had survived the gunshot, lay dying. Lage was caught when Munoz, who attempted to provide Lage with a false alibi, confessed. Lage suggested to law enforcement that Dawson committed suicide in front of him and Munoz. Munoz testified she was not in the room when the shot was fired, and a cellmate of Lage testified that Lage confessed to becoming jealous of Dawson, developing a plan to rob him once Dawson let Lage examine a personal firearm, and he waited until Munoz went to the bathroom before murdering the victim.​ “Mr. Lage demonstrated a blatant disregard for human life,” Hawley said. “My Office will continue to prosecute those individuals who commit violent crimes to the fullest extent of the law. I hope Zachary Dawson’s family finds some solace in this sentencing.” The case was jointly tried by Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney Talley Kendrick and Assistant Attorney General Monty Platz on a change of venue from Monroe County. AG Hawley Obtains Judgment Against Robert Dees for Defrauding Missouri Consumers urn:uuid:ff59c414-ad6b-6a5c-bcc3-ff000082a1ac Mon, 14 May 2018 11:09:00 +0000 Jefferson City, Mo.  – Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley obtained a $124,041.47 judgment on behalf of 19 consumers who were defrauded by Robert Dees and his companies Dees Management LLC and STL Move Properties LLC. Robert Dees entered into contracts to provide property management services for residential properties owned by consumers. Dees was to locate tenants, collect rent, make necessary maintenance and repairs, and forward rent to the property owners less his fee. Instead, Dees billed the property owners for repairs which were never completed, failed to forward collected rent money, failed to make necessary maintenance and repairs on properties, moved tenants into properties that did not have a valid occupancy permit, and collected security deposits and first month’s rent from potential tenants while failing to actually provide them a residence to reside in. St. Louis County Circuit Court ordered Robert Dees and his companies to pay back $112,764.98 in restitution to consumers and pay $11,276.49 in statutory costs and fees. Robert Dees is also permanently enjoined from engaging in property management services until the monetary judgment is paid in full. “There is no place in Missouri for those who prey upon consumers, especially consumers simply trying to put a roof over their head,” Hawley said. “My office will aggressively prosecute those who take advantage of others.” The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Michelle Hinkl and investigated by Investigator Tyler Wood. Missourians who believe they may have been victim of a similar fraud are encouraged to file a complaint by calling the Consumer Protection Hotline at 800-392-8222 or by submitting a claim online. AG Hawley Files Amicus Brief in Support of Ending Burdensome Regulations on Farmers urn:uuid:7243c414-ad6b-6a5c-bcc3-ff000082a1ac Mon, 14 May 2018 09:20:38 +0000 Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, joined by 14 other state attorneys general, filed an amicus brief supporting the repeal of the Obama Administration’s 2017 Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Rule. The brief argues that this Rule, adopted on the very last day of the Obama Administration, was both illegal and economically unjustifiable.  The 1990 Organic Foods Production Act was intended to impose specific feed and medicinal production standards for “USDA certified organic” products. In contrast, the 2017 Rule focused almost entirely on animal care and living conditions, imposing stringent requirements that poultry have access to outdoor soil. Legally, the states argue, the Obama USDA did not have statutory authority to enact animal-welfare regulations about outdoor access under the guise of regulating organic foods. Economic analysis also demonstrates that this regulation would have been extremely harmful for small organic farmers and consumers across the country. The high cost of complying with this rule would have likely driven many producers out of the organic farming business, leading to an estimated loss of $80-86 billion. This, in turn, would have driven up the cost of the organic products, harming consumers and reducing consumer choices. “By requiring compliance with additional animal-welfare requirements for particular types of outdoor access, the Rule would have effectively blocked the sale of eggs that are simply organic in the ordinary sense that Congress outlined in the Act: organically fed, and free of growth promoters, hormones, and unnecessary synthetic medications. Taking that product off the market would have punished farmers for doing precisely what Congress asked. And it would have punished the many consumers who buy that product. If some producers want to offer organic products that also meet the Rule’s stringent requirements, and other consumers want to purchase those products, they are free to do so on the open market,” the States write. “Removing this burdensome regulation was the right decision,” Hawley said. “We must continue fighting against these damaging Obama-era rules that over-regulate the work of farmers and harm consumers by driving up food prices.” Missouri has 302 certified organic farms, totaling 41,078 acres. Missouri farmers produced 386 million organic eggs in 2016, generating over $70 million in revenue. Missouri served as lead counsel on the brief and was joined by Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. A copy of the brief can be read here. AG Hawley Obtains Judgment Against Herbert Miller, Kathleen Miller, and Miller Family Funeral Home for Defrauding Missouri Consumers urn:uuid:f53fc414-ad6b-6a5c-bcc3-ff000082a1ac Thu, 10 May 2018 10:16:42 +0000 Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley obtained a $372,561.04 judgment on behalf of 54 Missouri consumers who were defrauded by Herbert Miller, Kathleen Miller, and Miller Family Funeral Home. Herbert and Kathleen Miller entered into contracts with consumers to provide pre-need funeral services and accepted upfront payments for those services. In 2016, the State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors suspended Herbert Miller’s license to act as a funeral director. Despite being legally unable to provide funeral services, Herbert and Kathleen Miller failed to return consumer funds intended for funeral services and refused to provide consumers with the information needed to access their funds. The Attorney General’s investigation revealed that Herbert and Kathleen Miller failed to deposit or retain consumer funds in trust accounts or joint accounts as required by their contracts with consumers. Instead, they diverted the consumers’ funds for personal use and concealed their actions. The Perry County Circuit Court issued a default judgment ordering Herbert Miller, Kathleen Miller, and Miller Family Funeral Home to pay restitution of $238,255.88 back to consumers, $54,000 in penalties, and statutory costs and fees. Herbert Miller, Kathleen Miller, and Miller Family Funeral Home are also permanently enjoined from the funeral services business and from accepting payments before providing goods or services to Missouri consumers. “Herbert and Kathleen Miller preyed upon their elderly friends and neighbors in their close-knit community,” Hawley said. “My office will not stand by while scammers take advantage of the elderly.” The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney Generals Felicia Crawford-Randle and David Ma and investigated by Investigator Quinton Dalton. Missourians who believe they may have been a victim of a similar fraud are encouraged to file a complaint by calling the Consumer Protection Hotline at 800-392-8222 or by submitting a claim online.