Lincoln County Resident Arrested for Possession of Child Porn

June 20, 2014
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A Lincoln County resident is behind bars facing charges he was in possession of child pornography, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Scott Gill, 25, of Brookhaven was arrested Thursday by investigators with the Attorney General’s Cyber Crime Unit.  Gill  was arrested after an investigation into the trafficking of images of child exploitation led to a search warrant being executed at his residence.

Gill was booked into the Lincoln County jail.  If convicted, he faces up to 40 years behind bars.  As with all cases, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.


Simpson County Resident Arrested for Possession of Child Porn

June 19, 2014
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A Simpson County resident has been arrested and charged with possession of child porn, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Thomas Eubanks, 21, was arrested at his home in Harrisville Wednesday by investigators with the Attorney General’s Cyber Crime Unit. Eubanks was arrested after an investigation into the trafficking of images of child exploitation led to a search warrant being executed at his residence.

Eubanks is being held at the Simpson County jail without bond. If convicted, he faces up to 40 years behind bars. As with all cases, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.


Ebay & Craigslist Scam Investigation Leads to Arrest of Two Romanian Men

June 11, 2014
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Two Romanian men alleged to be involved in a sophisticated on-line sales scam have been arrested in Mississippi, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Paul Moraru-Rogoza, 37, and Gicu Oprea, 50, both of whose last known residence is in Lafayette, LA were arrested Sunday in Pearl following a joint investigation conducted by the Pearl Police Department and the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office Consumer Protection Division.

Moraru-Rogoza and Oprea are accused of participating in on-line sales scams where victims visit on-line shopping and auction websites such as Ebay and Craigslist, however are directed to spoofed sites or look-a-like sites to conduct transactions of the items they are interested in. The scam continues as the buyer communicates with the alleged seller, usually through email, and asked to wire payment to an alleged representative of the websites until the items are delivered. Moraru-Rogoza and Oprea are charged with multiple counts of fraudulently using others identity, using fictitious ID’s and communications fraud.

Moraru-Rogoza is charged with 14 counts of communications fraud and one count fraudulent use of identity, and faces up to 75 years behind bars (five years each count).  Oprea is charged with one count of communications fraud and one county fraudulent use of identity, and faces up to 10 years behind bars.  No bond has been set as of this time. 

Anyone with information concerning this case is asked to contact Investigator Richie McCluskey with the AG’s Consumer Protection Division at 601-359-4230.

As with all cases, the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

This case is being investigated by Chief Investigator Richie McCluskey and Pearl Police Detective Anita Ray and will be prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General David Linzey of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division and the Rankin County District Attorney’s Office.


AG Warning: Be Cautious of Recent Phone Scams

June 10, 2014
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Attorney General Jim Hood today reminds Mississippians to continue to be cautious of bogus phone scams which constantly circulate in new ways.

“New and old scams arise daily by cons and cheats who spend all of their time finding new ways to take advantage of our citizens,” said Attorney General Jim Hood. “Our Consumer Protection Division makes a diligent effort to educate the public as we discover them.”

The Mississippi Attorney General’s Office and several other Mississippi power suppliers have received reports of consumers receiving phone calls from cons who are acting as representatives from their local power companies stating the customers’ electricity will be terminated due to non-payment.

A recent version of this scam was traced by investigators of the Attorney General’s Office to numbers from the Philippines.

“Personal information should never, ever be shared over the phone, mail or internet, no matter who the caller claims to be,” said Attorney General Hood.

Some tips to avoid these scams:

  • Don’t be fooled by caller ID numbers.  Scammers can “spoof” numbers and appear to be calling from inside the United States when in fact they are not.
  • Be suspicious of anyone who is vague in identifying themselves on the phoneor who presses you to immediately send money.
  • Be suspicious of anyone who calls or emails unexpectedly and wants you to wire money–especially out of the country.
  • Educate yourself and your family on how the scam works.
  • If you are concerned about your account, contact the organization in the email using a telephone number you know to be genuine, or open a new Internet browser session and type in the company’s correct Web address. In any case, don’t cut and paste the link in the message.

More information on this scam, and others like it, can be found online at www.agjimhood.com. Anyone who feels they have been victimized by these or any other scams can call the Attorney General’s Office, Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-281-4418 or can visit our website to fill out a complaint form.


Ocean Springs Resident Going to Prison for Exploitation

June 6, 2014
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An Ocean Springs resident is going to prison after pleading guilty to exploitation of a vulnerable person, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

In Jackson County Circuit Court this morning, Judge Dale Harkey sentenced James Matson, 25,  to 10 years each on two counts of exploitation (total of 20 years), with six years to serve in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, followed by five years supervised probation and the remainder to be served on unsupervised probation.  Matson was also fined $2,500 and ordered to pay $64,515 in restitution to the estate of the victim, who was the widow of a WWII Navy Officer. 

“We appreciate Judge Harkey for sentencing this defendant to prison for this crime, and are glad to have brought about justice for the victim’s family,” said Attorney General Hood. 

The pre-sentencing report confirmed that Matson was the fiancé of Melissa Webster, who pleaded guilty and is serving time for the same type of crime.  Matson had taken charge of the same facility Webster was running in Ocean Springs.  The victims in both cases were residents of that facility.


MISSISSIPPI ATTORNEY GENERAL IS NEW NAAG PRESIDENT

June 6, 2014
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Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood has been elected president of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG).  The NAAG leadership transition took place during the organization’s summer conference on June 5 in Michigan. Attorney General Hood’s presidential initiative will focus on challenges facing the attorneys general in fighting digital crime and protecting intellectual property rights.

“It is an honor to be chosen for this position by my peers from around the country. I look forward to working with my colleagues on many issues of public concern and most especially those focusing on intellectual property theft,” Attorney General Hood said. “It is a pleasure to serve at both the state and national levels.”

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley was elected President-Elect, Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen was elected Vice President, and Attorney General Van Hollen became Immediate Past President.

The Association elects its officers yearly, through geographical rotation by region.

The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), www.naag.org, was founded in 1907 to help Attorneys General fulfill the responsibilities of their office and to assist in the delivery of high quality legal services to the states and territorial jurisdictions.


Seven Month Investigation Leads to Arrest in Identity Theft Case

May 22, 2014
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A woman alleged to be stealing identities and forging prescriptions has been arrested following a seven month investigation, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Sylvia Cook, 59, whose last known residence is in Jackson, was arrested Wednesday in rural Rankin County.  Cook is wanted by Mississippi and Louisiana authorities for multiple counts of Identity Theft and Prescription Forgery.  

Cook is accused of fraudulently using others’ identity and using fictitious ID’s to visit multiple care providers across the state, while claiming illnesses to obtain pain prescriptions and then selling the medication.  Her arrest is the result of a joint investigation conducted by the Shreveport, Louisiana Police Department, Clinton, Mississippi Police Department, The United States Drug Enforcement Administration and the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office Consumer Protection Division.

Cook faces 30 years imprisonment and fines up to $60,000 if convicted of the current charges against her.  She was booked into the Rankin County Detention Center and is awaiting her initial appearance.  

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

This case is being investigated by Miller Faulk and Bo Luckey and will be prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Patrick Beasley of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division.


West Point Resident Arrested for Possession of Child Pornography

May 16, 2014
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A West Point resident has been arrested for possession of child pornography, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Marcus Wilburn Knight, 49, of West Point, was arrested Thursday, May 15, by the Attorney General’s Cyber Crime Unit/Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, with assistance from the West Point Police Department, and charged with one count of possession of child pornography.  Knight was booked into the West Point Police Department. Bond has not yet been set.

The West Point Police Department is a member of the Attorney General’s ICAC Task Force.

If convicted, he faces up to 40 years behind bars.  As with all cases, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.