Rutledge Issues Letter to Anthem Regarding Data BreachWed, Feb 11, 2015
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and nine other state attorneys general have joined in a letter to Anthem’s president and chief executive officer, expressing concern with the failure of the company’s communication with those impacted by a recent data breach and over the lack of details being provided about the protections that will be made available to affected consumers. Rutledge released the following statement:
“Anthem customers are growing more and more concerned with the lack of communication from the company over its data breach. Despite disclosing the breach of data quickly, Anthem has done very little since to update its customers. The victims of this data breach have every right to know the protections that Anthem intends to provide and what other risks are now posed to their personal financial data.”
Late today, Anthem responded by announcing that the company will provide two years of identity theft protection and credit monitoring services to affected customers, beginning this Friday.
In the letter, sent yesterday, the attorneys general wrote, “Anthem must communicate detailed information without any further delay. Further, Anthem must commit to reimbursing consumers for any losses associated with this breach during the time period between the breach and the date that the company provides access to credit and identity theft safeguards.”
Arkansas signed the letter along with attorneys general of Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. A copy of the letter is attached.
Anthem reported a massive data breach on Jan. 27. This breach exposed detailed personal information of as many as 80 million of its customers.
Arkansas consumers are encouraged to contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office at (800) 482-8982 if they think they have been a victim of the Anthem data breach.
Rutledge Selects New Deputy Attorney General for Public ProtectionTue, Feb 10, 2015
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced today that she has named Sarah Page Tacker, of Conway, a longtime attorney in the Public Protection Department to be the Deputy Attorney General for the department. Rutledge released the following statement:
“Since 2010, Sarah has worked tirelessly on behalf of consumers across Arkansas, directing resources and supervising consumer protection investigation and litigation. I know Sarah will continue to ensure that there are fewer scam artists and people committing fraud against Arkansans as she assumes her new role as Deputy Attorney General for the Public Protection Department.”
Tacker began her tenure at the Attorney General’s Office in 2006 as an Assistant Attorney General for the Consumer Utility Rate Advocacy Division, where she represented the interests of Arkansas’s utility customers through advocacy, education and litigation. In 2010, Tacker was named a Senior Assistant Attorney General of the Consumer Protection Division and Consumer Counsel of Arkansas.
Tacker is a graduate of the University of Central Arkansas, in Conway, and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Bowen School of Law.
Last month, Rutledge hired Lloyd Warford, a longtime public defender and respected prosecutor, to lead the Arkansas Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. With the promotion of Tacker, the deputy attorneys general team is complete. Under the leadership of Chief Deputy Attorney General Julie Benafield, this experienced group of deputy attorneys general includes: David Curran, Civil Department; Darnisa Johnson, Criminal Department; Sarah Tacker, Public Protection Department; Lloyd Warford, Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and Elisabeth Walker, Opinions Department.
Rutledge Congratulates New Arkansas National Guard Adjutant General Mark BerrySat, Feb 7, 2015
NORTH LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released the following statement after attending today’s Arkansas National Guard Adjutant General changing of the guard ceremony at Camp Robinson:
“Major General Mark Berry has served his state and country with honor and distinction over his 40-year military career. I extend my congratulations to Major General Berry and his entire family today, and to Gov. Asa Hutchinson on his excellent selection to serve as Arkansas’s Adjutant General.
“I also want to thank Major General William Wofford, Arkansas’s outgoing Adjutant General, for his tireless service on behalf of Arkansas.”
$1.375 Billion State-Federal Settlement Reached with Standard & Poor’sTue, Feb 3, 2015
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced today that Arkansas, the U.S. Department of Justice and a coalition of 18 other states and the District of Columbia have reached a settlement agreement with Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC (S&P) resolving allegations that S&P misled investors when it rated structured finance securities in the lead-up to the 2008 financial crisis. Rutledge released the following statement:
“Today, I am pleased to announce that after years of hard work and litigation, S&P is finally being held accountable for its role in the 2008 financial crisis. Arkansas consumers expect, and are entitled to, an impartial independent analysis of securities from credit-rating agencies. Unfortunately, for many years, S&P placed profit above people. But thanks to the work of this partnership between the States and the Department of Justice, we are demonstrating that no company, no matter its size, can circumvent the law.”
Arkansas will receive $21.5 million from the settlement.
In early 2013, Arkansas joined the U.S. Department of Justice, the District of Columbia and 18 other states in suit against S&P. The federal and state complaints against S&P alleged that, despite S&P's repeated statements emphasizing its independence and objectivity, the credit rating agency allowed its analysis to be influenced by its desire to earn lucrative fees from investment bank clients – while investors and other market participants, including state regulators, relied on S&P's promises of independence and objectivity. The complaints alleged that the agency knowingly assigned inflated credit ratings to toxic assets packaged and sold by the Wall Street investment banks. The alleged misconduct began as early as 2001 and became particularly severe between 2004 and 2007. As evidenced by the SEC’s recent suspension of S&P’s license to rate certain mortgage backed securities, the misconduct continued into 2011.
Structured finance securities backed by subprime mortgages were at the center of the financial crisis. These financial products, including residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS), commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) and collateral debt obligations (CDOs), derive their value from the monthly mortgage payments made by homeowners.
In addition to the financial settlement, S&P has agreed to a statement of facts acknowledging conduct related to its analysis of structured finance securities. S&P will also comply with all applicable state laws, including the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, and for five years will cooperate with any request for information from any state expressing concern over a possible violation of state law.
Arkansas filed a consumer protection lawsuit in Pulaski County Circuit Court on Feb. 5, 2014, against S&P alleging that the credit rating agency intentionally misled investors in the way it rated the toxic assets at the heart of the nation's financial crisis. The Attorney General’s pending suit against S&P will be resolved by the filing of a consent judgment which will include the terms of this settlement agreement.
In addition to Arkansas, the states involved in today's settlement include Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Washington as well as the District of Columbia.
Judge Sides with the State, Orders Credit-Repair Agency to Cease OperationFri, Jan 30, 2015
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced today that Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza has granted the Attorney General’s Office petition to enforce a civil investigative demand against a Texas company, known as CMCS Services, operating in Arkansas. Rutledge released the following statement:
“Con artists, like CMCS Services, are using flashy signs and slogans to take advantage of Arkansans by promising quick fixes to their credit score if they hand over hundreds of dollars in advance. These ads are misleading because there is no easy or quick way to repair a negative credit history. I am pleased that Judge Piazza has granted the State’s petition and that CMCS Services will not be operating in Arkansas as they had been.”
CMCS Services was involved in credit repair services in violation of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the federal Credit Repair Organizations Act. Judge Piazza granted an injunction and the business is prohibited from doing business in Arkansas until the company complies with the court order.
Consumers should beware of any credit-repair agency that requests an upfront fee. Arkansans looking to obtain an accurate and free copy of their credit report can visit www.annualcreditreport.com.
Rutledge Announces Warren Man Sentenced for Adult AbuseMon, Jan 26, 2015
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced today that a Bradley County man has been sentenced to five years in the Arkansas Department of Correction, with three years suspended, on one count of adult abuse and one count of criminal use of property. Rutledge released the following statement:
"As your Attorney General, I will not stand for individuals who abuse or neglect those living in any of Arkansas’s residential human development centers. Today’s conviction demonstrates that we will punish these individuals to the fullest extent of the law. Residents of these facilities should be provided with the highest quality care."
Tristan S. Gill, 23, of Warren pleaded guilty and was sentenced today by Circuit Judge Don Glover. The Attorney General’s Office prosecuted the case in cooperation with 10th Judicial District Prosecutor Thomas Deen.
On Feb. 16, 2014, Gill was employed as a residential care technician at Southeast Arkansas Human Development Center. Gill used a spray bottle belonging to the facility to spray bleach in a developmentally disabled client's face. The victim suffered chemical burns on his face and blistering for several days, but no permanent injury. The conviction for adult abuse is a Class-D felony, and the conviction for criminal use of property is a Class-B felony.