Jackson Resident Arrested for Identity Theft and Exploitation of a Vulnerable Adult

October 28, 2016

Attorney General Jim Hood announced today that a Jackson woman has been arrested for identity theft and exploitation of a vulnerable adult.

Leslie Burkett, 28, of Jackson, turned herself into the Rankin County Sheriff’s Office Thursday following an indictment by a Rankin County grand jury for one count of fraud-identity theft and one count of exploitation of a vulnerable adult. Burkett was booked into the Rankin County Jail with a bond set at $5,000.

The indictment accuses Burkett of stealing several debit cards belonging to patients of a Jackson nursing home and completing more than $1,000 of fraudulent transactions on these cards. Additionally, Burkett allegedly stole a diamond ring from a patient that had an estimated value of $8,000.

If convicted of both counts, Burkett faces up to 20 years in prison. As with all cases, a charge is merely an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

This case is being investigated by Jake Windham will be prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Myrick Jackson of the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.


Jackson Caregiver Arrested for Felony Exploitation of a Vulnerable Person

October 28, 2016

Attorney General Jim Hood announced today that a Jackson caregiver has been arrested for felony exploitation of a vulnerable person. 

Theodora Smith, 51, of Jackson, turned herself into the Rankin County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday following an indictment by a Rankin County grand jury for one count of felony exploitation of an incapacitated person. Smith was booked into the Rankin County Jail with a bond set at $5,000. 

The indictment alleges that in October 2015, Smith and two co-defendants illegally charged more than $250 to a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program card that belonged to a patient at the Jackson nursing home where Smith was employed.

If convicted, Smith faces up to 10 years in prison and a maximum of $10,000 in fines. As with all cases, a charge is merely an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

This case is being investigated by Jake Windham and will be prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Katie Moulds of the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.


Jefferson Davis Man Arrested for Child Exploitation

October 27, 2016

Attorney General Jim Hood announced today that a Jefferson Davis County man has been arrested and charged with one count of child exploitation.

Christopher Morgan, 26, of Bassfield, was arrested Wednesday by investigators with the Attorney General’s Cyber Crime Unit, with assistance from the Jefferson Davis County Sheriff’s Office. Morgan was booked into the Jefferson Davis County Detention Facility with no bond set and is awaiting his initial appearance.

Investigators executed a search warrant following an investigation of Morgan’s online activity. As a result of the search warrant, he was arrested.

If convicted, Morgan faces up to 40 years in prison and a $500,000 fine. As with all cases, a charge is merely an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

This case will be prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Brandon Ogburn of the Attorney General’s Cyber Crime Unit.

 


Purvis Resident Going to Prison for Child Exploitation

October 26, 2016

Attorney General Jim Hood announced today that a Purvis man is going to prison for possessing child pornography.

Jonathan Thomas Davis, 18, waived his indictment and pleaded guilty today to a bill of information to one count of child exploitation before Forrest County Circuit Court Judge Bob Helfrich. Davis was sentenced to 40 years in prison with 35 of those years suspended, leaving five years to serve, followed by five years of post-release supervision. Davis was ordered to pay $1,000 to the Mississippi Children’s Trust Fund, $1,000 to the Mississippi Crime Victim Compensation Fund and must register as a sex offender.

Davis was arrested August 2 at his home by investigators with the Attorney General’s Cyber Crime Unit. It was discovered through an investigation that Davis was in possession of an electronic device which contained images of child pornography.

This case was prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Brandon Ogburn of the Attorney General’s Cyber Crime Unit.


Ohio Man Charged with 19 Counts of Theft of Intellectual Property

October 25, 2016

Attorney General Jim Hood announced today that an Ohio man has been arrested and charged with 19 counts of theft of intellectual property.

Timothy Wayne Stover, 53, of Akron, Ohio, was arrested Friday by investigators with the Attorney General’s Cyber Crime Unit with assistance from the Desoto County Sheriff’s Office. Stover was booked into the Desoto County Detention Center and was released on his own recognizance.

Stover was indicted by a Desoto County grand jury in July following the thefts which allegedly occurred in 2014. The indictment accuses Stover of taking confidential intellectual property that he was not authorized to take from Williams Sonoma, Inc., when he left the company to work for a competitor.

If convicted, the defendant faces up to 95 years in prison and a $190,000 fine. As with all cases, a charge is merely an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

This case will be prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Brandon Ogburn of the Attorney General’s Cyber Crime Unit.


Mize Resident Arrested for Cyberstalking

October 25, 2016

Attorney General Jim Hood announced today that a resident of Mize has been arrested and charged with one count of Cyberstalking.

Daniel Kristian Harris, 41, of Mize, was arrested at his home yesterday by investigators with the Attorney General’s Cyber Crime Unit with assistance from the Smith County Sheriff’s Office. Harris was booked into the Smith County Detention Center with no bond set.

Harris is alleged to have cyberstalked the victim by repeatedly sending harassing electronic communications.

“We are unable to release more details at this time because the investigation is ongoing,” Attorney General Hood said.  “However, we do appreciate the assistance and hard work of the Taylorsville Police Department and Smith County Sheriff’s Office on this case.”

If convicted, Harris faces up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. As with all cases, a charge is merely an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

This case will be prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Brandon Ogburn of the Attorney General’s Cyber Crime Unit.

“Victims of cyberstalking are likely to be young women, and I encourage young women and anyone else in Mississippi who has been a victim of this type of crime to report it to law enforcement,” Attorney General Hood said. “Mississippi cyberstalking laws make it a felony to use the internet or cell phones to threaten bodily harm or to communicate repeatedly in order to threaten, terrify or harass a person.”

To report instances of  cyberstalking, call the Attorney General’s Cyber Crime Unit at  (601) 576-4281 or local law enforcement. For more information on cyber crimes, visit www.AGJimHood.com.


Ripley Police Officer Faces Charges for Burglary and Tampering with Evidence

October 25, 2016

Attorney General Jim Hood announced today that a Ripley police officer has been arrested and charged for business burglary and tampering with evidence.

Wesley Brent Garner, 40, of Ripley, was arrested yesterday following his indictment by a Tippah County grand jury for one count of business burglary and one count of tampering with evidence. Garner was booked into the Tippah County Jail with a bond set at $30,000 by Tippah County Circuit Court Judge Kelly Luther.

The indictment alleges that Garner intentionally broke into the offices of the Ripley police chief and the narcotics office in June to conceal or remove physical evidence, an envelope containing what he believed to be methamphetamine.

If convicted of the charges, he faces a total of nine years in prison and a $3,000 fine. A charge is merely an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The case was investigated by the Ripley Police Department with assistance from Investigator Roger Cribb of the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Division. Prosecution will be handled by Assistant Attorney General Stanley Alexander. 


ATTORNEY GENERAL JIM HOOD ANNOUNCES THAT EXPERIAN, TRANSUNION, AND EQUIFAX WILL OVERHAUL CREDIT REPORTING PRACTICES, AND END DECEPTIVE MARKETING IN MISSISSIPPI

October 19, 2016

creditreportAttorney General Jim Hood announced today that the nation’s three major credit reporting agencies will overhaul their business practices and two of the agencies will offer Mississippians unlimited access to free credit reports over the next three years in order to resolve the Attorney General’s investigation into the agencies’ mistakes on credit reports and deceptive marketing activities. The agencies were accused of putting their own interests ahead of those of Mississippi consumers by failing to properly verify debts and failing to delete paid or expired debts from credit reports.

The credit reporting agencies, Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax will pay the state a total of $7.175 million. Starting in November, Mississippi residents will be eligible to receive unlimited free credit reports for three years, one free FICO credit score every year for three years, in addition to other benefits provided by the credit bureaus under terms of settlements with Attorney General Hood.

The three credit reporting agencies compile and sell credit reports on almost every Mississippi adult. The reports are the basis for determining whether and on what terms consumers are offered credit cards, student loans, auto loans, mortgages or rental housing. The information on the reports may impact the security clearance of a member of the military, or it may be the difference for employers in determining whether to offer someone a job.

“There are few documents more important than credit reports to borrowers, students, homeowners, tenants, job candidates and service members,” Attorney General Hood said. “Unfortunately, these corporations put their business interests ahead of the best interests of Mississippians. These corporations were too busy making money and listing debt that they didn’t bother to take the time to delete errors or verify whether the debts were correct. Even worse, consumers had to fight tooth and nail to get these significant errors corrected. When Mississippi families were denied loans due to these errors and omissions, it was almost impossible for them to get a live person on the phone. When they finally reached a live person, it was even more difficult to get the errors or omissions corrected on just one credit report, much less the other two.” 

Attorney General Hood launched an extensive investigation into credit reporting practices in 2013 after his office received numerous consumer complaints about credit report errors and difficulty in correcting those errors. Of particular concern to Attorney General Hood were errors in the reporting of information related to public records—such as civil judgments and tax liens.  In many instances, the agencies were attributing one person’s public record to another person. They also failed to update public records information when a civil judgment, for example, had been paid or dismissed. 

In addition, the agencies had no procedure in place to comply with a Mississippi law that extinguishes certain debts after three years. The agencies were routinely including extinguished debts in credit reports for Mississippians.

The Attorney General also discovered that Experian and TransUnion were engaging in deceptive marketing and sale of subscription credit monitoring services. Many Mississippians—lured by the promise of a “$1 credit report” or “free credit score”—were automatically enrolled in an expensive monthly credit monitoring service that they did not want and did not know about. 

“Over the last three years, we have worked to end these problems and ensure that none of these practices will be allowed to continue in Mississippi,” Attorney General Hood said. “I encourage consumers to take advantage of the services being offered by the agencies, such as the free, unlimited access to credit reports. Knowing your credit score and understanding your credit report helps protect you against errors, and it can be valuable in making important financial decisions.”

Equifax will launch an education initiative in Mississippi called “Feel Good About Credit,” to educate consumers about credit and help them improve their financial lives. The initiative will help empower consumers to be their financial best through advertising using emojis and an interactive quiz.

TransUnion will promote the free benefits to consumers through print, digital radio and social media advertisements. Attorney General Hood also advised Mississippians that many consumers will receive an email message from inquiries@MississippiCreditReportSettlement.com in the coming days announcing the consumer is entitled to sign up for and receive free, unlimited credit reports and annual free FICO scores. This email is not spam, but is a benefit obtained by the Attorney General for Mississippians.

Click here to learn about all of the benefits for Mississippians.