Indianola Woman Arrested in Exploitation Case Involving Vulnerable Person

July 21, 2014
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An Indianola woman has been arrested and charged with one count of felony exploitation of a vulnerable person, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Francine Byrd Brown, 51, was arrested today by investigators with the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office. Brown, working as a Resident Assistant at a personal care home in Indianola,  is accused of taking over $300  from a resident’s wallet over a period of time from on or about June 20, 2014, through on or about July 21, 2014.

Brown was booked into the Sunflower County jail with bond set at $10,000.

If convicted, Brown faces a maximum sentence of ten years and a $10,000 fine.

As with all criminal cases, the defendant is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.


Magee Nursing Home Resident Arrested in Death of Roommate

July 10, 2014
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A nursing home resident in Magee has been arrested for second degree murder involving the death of his roommate, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Jerrell Eubanks, 63, a resident of a nursing center in Magee, was arrested this evening by investigators with the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, with assistance from the Magee Police Department. Eubanks is charged with second degree murder for the death of his roommate at the nursing home. He is accused of pushing a cellophane bag containing a sandwich down the throat of the 83 year old victim, causing his death. It is the general policy of the Attorney General’s Office to not release the exact identity of a victim.

The case is being investigated and prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. If convicted, Eubanks faces up to life behind bars. As with all cases, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.


AG Warns That Phone Scammers Continue Clever Cons

July 4, 2014
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Attorney General Jim Hood today is reissuing a reminder about the clever scams constantly being executed by con-artists.

One current scam, a version of what is known as the “emergency scam” has circulated and is falsely using the name of a local law firm, Hawkins/Gibson.  The law firm reported the calls they have been receiving to the Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General’s Office out of concern for the victims—all of whom appear to have applied for payday loans. Keep in mind the caller may use the name of any other law firm, agency or business.

How the Scam Works

You receive a phone call from a scammer representing themselves as a collection agency for Hawkins/Gibson Law Firm. The scammer then says you owe money to the law firm and they are collecting the money for Hawkins/Gibson. They will then attempt to scare you into sending the money by saying “if you do not send this money, you will be arrested”. Recipients of these phone calls have stated that the scammer will then have someone get on the phone proclaiming to be a police officer, who verifies the threat. The criminal always attempts to use intimidation in the situation to force the victim to respond quickly.

How to Avoid This Scam

  • Be suspicious of anyone who is vague in identifying themselves on the phone. Be suspicious of anyone who calls or emails unexpectedly and wants you to wire money–especially out of the country. If you think this might be a legitimate phone call, then contact the agency directly. Avoid giving any personal information over the phone.
  • It comes in different forms but there is always some “act now or something terrible will happen” pitch.  The scam, in its traditional form is known as the “emergency scam” because the criminal always tries to use the scare of an emergency situation to force the victim to respond quickly.
  • One clever way con-artists and crooks are getting folks to answer the phone is to spoof the actual number they are calling so that the person answering the phone sees their own number show up on caller id.  Many people will answer the phone out of curiosity only to get scammed or realize the scam attempt.

“Everyone should look with suspicion at  any unsolicited emails or phone calls that seek to play on your emotions and your pocketbook,” said Attorney General Hood.  “Always protect your personal information.”

Some key tips to remember:

  • Do not respond to any unsolicited e-mails.
  • Do not answer the phone for a number you do not recognize or that shows up as your own.
  • If you do answer, then hang up the minute you realize it is a scam.
  • Do not click on any attachments associated with such emails, as they may contain viruses or malware.
  • Educate yourself and your family on how the scam works.
  • Be suspicious of anyone who is vague in identifying themselves on the phone.
  • Be suspicious of anyone who calls unexpectedly and wants you to wire money–especially out of the country.
  • NEVER wire or send money in any form to persons or organizations you do not know
  • Always protect your PII (Personally Identifiable Information).   Giving it out could cause you to become a victim of identity theft.

More information on this scam, and others like it, can be found online at www.agjimhood.com.


Jackson Resident Going to Prison for Medicaid Fraud

July 1, 2014

A Jackson resident is going to prison for Medicaid fraud, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Barbara Jones, 31, of Jackson, pleaded guilty to three counts of Medicaid fraud before Hinds County Circuit Court Judge Jeff Weill today.  As a result, Jones was sentenced to five years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, one to serve, four suspended and five years of post release supervision per count to run concurrently.  Jones was also ordered to pay $28,158.61 in restitution and a penalty of $84,475.83, to be paid during the five years of post release supervision.

The Attorney General’s investigation showed that Jones was defrauding Medicaid by billing for prescription glasses for over 130 children who never received the glasses.  Most of the children did not even need glasses.

“It is our hope that cases like this will send the message to others, trying to cheat the system in this same way, that they will not win and they will pay dearly when they are caught,” said Attorney General Hood.

This case was investigated and prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.


Jackson Resident Going to Prison for Abuse of Vulnerable Person

July 1, 2014

A Jackson resident is going to prison for felony abuse of a vulnerable person, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Joshua Mitchell, 23, of Jackson, pled guilty to felony abuse of a vulnerable person Monday in front of Judge William E. Chapman in Rankin County Circuit Court.  As a result, Judge Chapman sentenced Mitchell to 10 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, five years suspended, five to serve followed by five years of supervised probation.  Mitchell was also ordered to pay $1,000 to the Mississippi Crime Victim Compensation Fund and court costs of $931.50.

Mitchell admitted in court to striking the victim, a patient at Hudspeth Regional Center in Whitfield, on the jaw resulting in a fracture of the victims’ jaw.

“It’s always a good day when we can bring about some justice for victims and their families,” said Attorney General Hood.  “We are working hard every day to protect all our residents, but especially our most vulnerable.”

This case was investigated and prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.

 


Two Lamar County Residents Going to Prison For Child Exploitation

July 1, 2014

Two Lamar County residents are going to prison after pleading guilty to one count of child exploitation, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Hunter Richardson Howell, 31, of Hattiesburg, and Robert Shawn Sumrall, 29, of Purvis, each pled guilty to one count of child exploitation before special circuit Judge William E. Andrews, III in Lamar County on Monday.

Each defendant was sentenced to a term of 10 years with five years to serve, five suspended and five years post release supervision.  The defendants must also pay an assessment of $1,000 to the crime victims compensation fund and register as sex offenders.  The Attorney General’s investigation showed both defendants were in possession of multiple images of child pornography.

The cases developed following arrests by the Attorney General’s Cyber Crime Unit/Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, with assistance from Lamar County Sheriff’s Office.  The cases were prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Brandon Ogburn.


Former Hinds County Deputy Circuit Court Clerk Arrested for Altering Public Records

July 1, 2014

A Terry resident has been arrested for creating false public records while serving as Hinds County Deputy Circuit Court Clerk, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Kimberly Keonna Gibson, aka Kimberly Keonna Turner, age 32, of Terry, has been arrested following indictment by  a Hinds County Grand Jury.  The indictment alleges that Gibson—while employed as a deputy circuit court clerk— altered marriage records “to show she was married when in fact she was not”.  Gibson is accused of altering records to show she was legally married to a Department of Corrections inmate in order to have conjugal visits.

Gibson was arrested at her home by U.S. Marshalls with assistance from deputies with the Hinds County Sheriff’s Department. The case is being investigated by Larry Ware and will be prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Larry Baker of the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Division.


Important Election Information

June 23, 2014
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Democratic and Republican Party Primary Runoff Elections will be conducted on June 24, 2014.  Although these primaries are conducted by the respective parties, strict adherence to Mississippi law should be followed.

Observers from both the Secretary of State’s Office and the Attorney General’s Office will be in Mississippi counties on Election Day.  Matters of particular relevance: 

Poll watchers in polling place

Miss. Code Ann. Sections 23-15-245 and 23-15-577 provide that in primary elections the only persons who may lawfully be within 30 feet of the polls are:

1) Voters approaching the polls, voting, and leaving the polling place

2) The poll managers (pollworkers),

3) One pollwatcher appointed, in writing, by each candidate whose name appears on the ballot

Miss. Code Ann. Section 23-15-245 states that it is the duty of the bailiff poll manager to prevent interference with the election and to keep the polling place clear of persons not authorized to be in the polling place.  The bailiff may call upon other law enforcement officials for assistance in enforcing the law.

There is no authority in state law for a PAC or other outside group to place “election observers” in Mississippi polling places.

Crossover voting prohibited

Crossover voting is prohibited in the State of Mississippi.  Crossover voting is defined as participation in the first primary of one political party and participation in the runoff primary of another party.  Thus, a voter who cast his/her ballot in the Democratic Primary Election on June 3 is prohibited from casting his/her ballot in the Republican Primary Runoff Election on June 24, and vice versa. See MS AG Op., Brown (April 7, 1988).

Challenges

A person offering to vote may be challenged based upon the following grounds:

1)      The voter is not a registered voter in the precinct,

2)      The voter is not registered under the name he/she has applied to vote,

3)      The voter has already voted in the election,

4)      The voter is not a resident in the precinct where he/she is registered,

5)      The voter has illegally registered to vote,

6)      The voter has removed his/her ballot from the polling place, and

7)      The voter is otherwise disqualified by law. 

A person lawfully in the polling place may challenge a voter based on party loyalty only if the voter openly declares he does not intend to support the nominees of the party whose primary the voter is participating in.

Any criminal violation of Mississippi law should be reported to the local District Attorney’s Office and/or the Office of the Attorney General.