Ocean Springs Resident Going to Prison for Felony Exploitation of a Vulnerable Person

September 1, 2015

An Ocean Springs resident is going to prison after pleading guilty to felony exploitation of a vulnerable person, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

In Jackson County Circuit Court this morning, Judge Kathy King Jackson sentenced Kevin J. Kirk, 55, to 10 years on one count of exploitation, with five years to serve in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, followed by five years of post-release supervision.  Kirk was also fined $1,500 and ordered to pay $221,950 in restitution.

The Attorney General’s investigation showed that Kirk was initially hired as a contractor to repair damage on an elderly woman’s house. He started spending more time with her, acting as her caretaker. He gained the trust of the family and was given the Power of Attorney. Her grandson, who was recently made a signatory on all of her bank accounts, discovered that substantial amounts of money exceeding $100,000 were withdrawn from the account. Kirk admitted to taking money from her which resulted in a financial loss of approximately $221,950.

“We do not tolerate abuse of our vulnerable residents in our state and anyone caught committing such a crime will be put behind bars,” said Attorney General Hood. “I thank Judge King for holding this man liable for paying back everything he took from the victim.” 

This case was investigated by Jamie Thompson prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Marvin L. Sanders of the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Division.

 


Attorney General Reminds Parents to be Aware of Their Child’s Actions Online

September 1, 2015

Attorney General Jim Hood reminds parents to be aware of what our young people are doing online as the new school year is underway.

“Parents, you should familiarize yourself with today’s new and popular social media sites and apps that are being utilized by our young people on a daily basis,” said Attorney General Hood. “Be conscious of what is being posted on the internet by your own child as well as by their friends.”

Attorney General Hood said, “The inundation of social media apps and sites among our students today allows many of the social distresses and conflicts encountered at school to carry over into the virtual world after school. Various apps and sites allow users to post comments anonymously giving anyone the chance to say anything, even if it is harmful to another person. Students believe they are hiding behind the anonymity of the internet. This often provides more opportunities for cyberbullying to occur and can lead to uncomfortable learning environments at school.”

Cyberbullying takes place when one child or teen uses the internet, cellphone or other types of social media to harass, embarrass or taunt another person. Cyberbullying can be used to get revenge or help boost one’s self-esteem by putting others down. Some bully others online because they think it’s funny and do not understand the repercussions it can have on a person’s life.

“Be on alert for bullying behaviors exhibited by your child online or at school, whether they are the bully or being bullied,” said Attorney General Hood. “If you discover that your child is the bully, get to the root of the behavior and end it before someone gets hurt.”

Mississippi cyberstalking laws make it a felony to use electronic communication to threaten or harass someone online. Mississippi Code Ann. § 97-45-17 (2013) underlines that a person shall not post a message for the purpose of causing injury to another person. Anyone violating this law can receive a felony conviction and up to five years in prison.

Attorney General Hood concludes, “I want to encourage parents and teachers to take an active role in helping to inform our children and students that posting messages with the intent to cause anyone harm is intolerable in this state and has grave consequences.”

More information and additional resources for cyber safety, including our “What Parents Should Know: Cyberbullying” brochure, can be found at www.agjimhood.com.

 


Senatobia Nurse Charged with Illegally Obtaining Patient’s Drugs

August 28, 2015

A Senatobia nurse is facing charges she took controlled substances away from patients, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Samantha Livingston, 27, of Senatobia, turned herself into authorities today after being indicted by a Marshall County Grand Jury on two counts of acquiring or obtaining possession of a controlled substance or prescription “by misrepresentation, fraud and the like.” At the time the crimes are alleged to have been committed, Livingston was working as an LPN at a rehab in Byhalia. The indictment alleges that Livingston signed out approximately 40 hydrocodone with acetaminophen, which were prescribed to two different patients of the facility, and converted the pills for her own use.

She was booked into the Marshall County jail and released on a $5,000 bond. She faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and $2,000 in fines. As with all cases, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

This case was investigated by Norman Young and will be prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Sue Perry of the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.

 


Natchez Man Going to Prison for Possession of Cocaine and Felony Fleeing

August 26, 2015

A Natchez man is going to prison for possession of cocaine and fleeing from law enforcement, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Willie Herman Lewis, 40, appeared before Judge Forrest A. Johnson in Adams County Circuit Court on Tuesday. Lewis pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a schedule II controlled substance and one count of felony fleeing. Lewis was charged as a subsequent drug offender. Judge Johnson sentenced Lewis to 16 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, with eight suspended and five years of post-release supervision for possession of a controlled substance. Lewis received five years for fleeing from law enforcement. Both sentences will run concurrently, meaning Lewis will serve a total of eight years behind bars.

Lewis admitted to fleeing from law enforcement, running a stop sign, reckless driving and refusing to stop. When the vehicle became stuck on a steep hill, law enforcement agents took Lewis into custody. Agents found 3.9 grams of cocaine in Lewis’s vehicle.

The case was investigated by Ronnie Odom and prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Rachel Emfinger following recusal by the District Attorney’s Office. 

 


Tupelo Woman Arrested for Felony Exploitation of a Vulnerable Person

August 24, 2015

A Tupelo resident has been arrested following an indictment for felony exploitation of a vulnerable person, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Brandi Smith, 31, of Tupelo, turned herself in to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office Friday following the indictment by a Lee County Grand Jury for one count of Felonious Exploitation of a Vulnerable Person.  The indictment alleges that while Smith was employed as a nurse aide at an assistant living facility in Saltillo, Miss., she obtained over $250 from two residents without authorization and fraudulently converted it to her own use.

If convicted, Smith faces up to 10 years behind bars.  As with all cases, the charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The case is being investigated by Joe Sanderson and prosecuted by Myrick Jackson of the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office Medicaid Control Fraud Unit.

 


Bentonia Nurse Arrested for Possession of Controlled Substance

August 20, 2015

A Bentonia nurse has been arrested for alleged possession of a controlled substance, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Kimberly Barrett, 25, of Bentonia, turned herself in to authorities today after being indicted by a Yazoo County Grand Jury on one count of acquiring or obtaining possession of a controlled substance or prescription by misrepresentation, fraud and the like. At the time the crime is alleged to have been committed, Barrett was working as an LPN at a nursing home in Yazoo City. The indictment alleges that Barrett acquired approximately 60 Hydrocodone pills, a schedule two controlled substance, that were prescribed to and purchased for a patient of the facility. She allegedly converted the pills for her own use.

Barrett was booked into the Yazoo County jail and is awaiting bond. Barrett faces a maximum of five years in prison and $1,000 in fines. As with all cases, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. 

This case was investigated and prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.  The Yazoo City Police Department assisted with the investigation.

 


Attorney General Jim Hood Warns Consumers to Beware of Illegal and Mislabelled Diet Pills

August 20, 2015

Attorney General Jim Hood warns Mississippians today to be aware of fake diet pills that are illegally being advertised and distributed over the internet.

“The internet is a leading source for the sale of counterfeit pharmaceuticals and other such dangerous goods,” said Attorney General Jim Hood. “Counterfeit drugs are normally loaded with unsafe or ineffective substances, either of which can be deadly or cause permanent damage.”

A recent federal multi-state investigation showed that diet pills containing sibutramine, a Schedule IV controlled substance, have been falsely labeled and marketed as “all natural” dietary supplements with herbal ingredients. The Mississippi Attorney General’s Office assisted in this investigation.

Sibutramine is the active pharmaceutical ingredient in Meridia, a prescription weight loss drug removed from the market in 2010 following studies that showed significantly increased risk of strokes and heart attacks. Since the removal of Meridia, no drug containing sibutramine has been approved for use in humans in the United States. This dietary supplement, imported from manufacturers based in China, has been sold under various names, such as “Slim Forte Slimming Capsules,” “Slim Forte Double Power Slimming Capsules,” “Slim-Vie Slimming Capsules,” and “Slim-Vie Double Power Slimming Capsules.”

Attorney General Hood states, “Although our office has not yet received information of a Mississippi consumer who purchased these specific pills, new scams arise almost daily and we make a diligent effort to educate the public as we discover them.”

Anyone who feels they may have already fallen victim to purchasing these fake diet pills can call the Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General’s Office at 1-800-281-4418 for more assistance. Health care professionals and patients are encouraged to report adverse events or side effects related to the use of these products to the FDA. For more information regarding dietary supplements and to report adverse events, please visit the FDA’s website at http://www.fda.gov/Food/DietarySupplements.

 


Corinth Man Arrested for Sexual Battery of a Vulnerable Person

August 13, 2015

A Corinth man has been arrested for sexual battery of a vulnerable person, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Danny Ray Triplett, age 48, of Corinth, was arrested Wednesday by investigators with the Attorney General’s Office Medicaid Fraud Control Unit with assistance from the Alcorn County Sheriff’s Department. Triplett is charged with one count of sexual battery of a vulnerable person.

Triplett admitted to sexually penetrating the victim while at the Group Home and is charged with “willfully, unlawfully and feloniously engaging in sexual penetration as defined in section 97-3-97, of the Mississippi Code of 1972, Annotated, with a vulnerable person, as defined in section 43-47-5, contrary to and in violation of Section 43-47-18 (1)(b) of the Mississippi Code of 1972, as amended.” The victim is an adult male who has been diagnosed with profound mental disabilities.

Triplett was booked into Alcorn County Jail and bond was set at $10,000. If convicted, Triplett faces a maximum of 30 years in jail and $10,000 in fines. 

As with all cases, the defendant is considered innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.