Jackson Woman Arrested on Insurance and Wire Fraud Charges

July 20, 2017

Today, Attorney General Jim Hood announced the arrest of a Jackson woman charged with one count each of insurance and wire fraud.

Dianne Bullock, 59, turned herself in to the Pike County Sheriff’s Department Wednesday. Her bond was set at $5,000.

The indictment alleges Bullock filed a complaint with Walmart in McComb on November 2, 2015 that stated she slipped and fell while shopping then left the store without notifying personnel. The defendant later contacted Walmart and notified them of her fall. Video surveillance indicated that the fall never took place, and she fabricated the story.

If convicted of both counts, Bullock faces up to eight years in prison and $15,000 in fines. 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 was investigated by Investigator Michael Stevens with the Attorney General’s Insurance Integrity Enforcement Bureau with assistance from the Pike County Sheriff’s Department. Special Assistant Attorney General Steven Waldrup will prosecute the case.


Two Sentenced for “Early Release” Prison Conspiracy

July 18, 2017

Today, Attorney General Jim Hood announced the sentencing of two Copiah County natives involved in a jail scam taking the money of an inmate’s relative.

Jabarius Neal, 29, and Tiffany McVane, 38, were sentenced Monday after entering guilty pleas for defrauding Kathy Harvey—also a resident of Copiah County—of $5,000.000 in an early release prison scheme. Copiah County Circuit Court Judge Lamar Pickard sentenced Neal to ten years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections for the charges of conspiracy and false pretense. He sentenced McVane to two years to serve for conspiracy in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

“We appreciate Judge Pickard for putting these defendants behind bars for their unacceptable crimes,” said General Hood. “Their scheme to obtain money from the victim who was innocently attempting to assist a relative is wrong and will not be tolerated.”

The pair told Harvey that State Representative Gregory Holloway sponsored a program that would facilitate the early release of an elderly incarcerated relative for a fee of $5,000.00. Harvey paid the fee and subsequently contacted law enforcement when she realized that the “early release” program did not exist. Neal and McVane were arrested in November 2015.

This case was investigated by Lee McDivitt with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division with assistance from MDOC, Hazlehurst Police Department, and Copiah County and Jefferson County Sheriff Departments. It was prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Patrick Beasley.


Three Holcomb Residents Charged with Felony Exploitation of a Vulnerable Person

July 12, 2017

ELNORA NASON, 32, OF HOLCOMB

DERRICK HALL, 24, OF HOLCOMB

Today, Attorney General Jim Hood announced that three residents of Holcomb were each charged with one felony count of exploitation of a vulnerable person after their indictment by a Grenada County Grand Jury.

Elnora Nason, 32, Lucas Harbin, 35, and Derrick Hall, 24, are each accused of taking more than $250 from the account of an 86-year-old resident of the Golden Living Center in Grenada.

LUCAS HARBIN, 35, OF HOLCOMB

This case is set for trial in Grenada County Circuit Court on July 24, 2017. If convicted, each defendant faces up to 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000. The three defendants turned themselves in at the Grenada County Jail with a bond set at $5,000.

A charge is merely an accusation, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

This case was investigated by Investigator Norman Young and will be prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Mark Ward.

 


Attorney General Hood Recognizes Military Consumer Protection Month

July 7, 2017

July marks Military Consumer Protection Month, and Attorney General Jim Hood is offering guidelines to prevent members of the military from falling victim to targeted fraud.

“Unfortunately, our nation’s heroes are commonly targeted  by scammers,” said General Hood. “It is very important to protect our active and reserve servicemembers from criminals while they are out protecting us from other types of threats. My office is here to serve and protect military men and women from potential scams  whether they are in Mississippi or overseas.”

Military Consumer Protection Month was launched in 2013 by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and is now supported by multiple organizations and partners.

The following guidelines are for our military and their family members to keep in mind to protect themselves :

  • Always verify an email source before responding. Scammers will try their best to look as legitimate as possible–always do your research.
  • Some scammers may ask veterans for payment while trying to receive military records. Most military records are free for veterans and some of their close family members. Beware of these types of scams while trying to receive records.
  • Place an active-duty alert on your credit report. This alert will notify creditors to take more precautions in protecting your credit while you may be deployed.
  • Beware of payment methods like Western Union or MoneyGram. Keep in mind that government and companies of virtue will not be persistent in you using these ways to pay.
  • It is very simple for a scammer to use a bogus Caller ID. Be positive that who you are talking to is that certain person.

If you suspect you have been the victim of a scam, or the intended victim, immediately report it to local law enforcement and the Attorney General’s Office Consumer Protection Division at 601-359-4230 or 1-800-281-4418. Consumers should also contact the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP.


Insurance Agent Arrested on Wire Fraud Charges

July 6, 2017

Today, Attorney General Jim Hood announced the arrest of a Byram woman charged with two counts of wire fraud.

Kasandra Michelle Floyd, 36, turned herself in to the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department Wednesday. She is a licensed Mississippi insurance agent accused of producing fake copies of Safeway Insurance Company insurance cards and transmitting them by wire across county lines in order for others to use the cards in court as proof of insurance. Floyd’s bond was set at $15,000.

If convicted of both counts, Floyd faces up to 10 years in prison and $20,000 in fines. 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 was investigated by Investigator Jerry Spell with the Attorney General’s Insurance Integrity Enforcement Bureau with assistance from the Richland Police Department and Rankin County Sheriff’s Department. Special Assistant Attorney General Jim Giddy will prosecute the case.


Woman Arrested for Using Forged Checks From Assisted Living Center

July 6, 2017

Today, Attorney General Jim Hood announced the arrest of a woman on one count of uttering forgery in Greenville.

Ludie Mae Hicks, 43, of Hollandale, was arrested at her home Friday by investigators with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division with assistance from the office’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. Hicks allegedly produced several forged checks in 2016 at the Greenville Walmart, totaling more than $1,000. The checks were fraudulent but listed the account numbers affiliated with the Mississippi Care Center of Greenville. Hicks was booked in the Washington County Jail.

If convicted, she faces up to five years in prison and $10,000 in fines. 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 was investigated by Miller Faulk and Keith Milsap with the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office. It will be prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Patrick Beasley.


Gulfport Man Sentenced to 40 Years After Downloading Child Pornography at Vicksburg Casino

June 30, 2017

Today, Attorney General Jim Hood announced that a Gulfport man is going to prison for one count of child exploitation.

Russell Haley, 67, pled guilty in an open plea Friday in Warren County Circuit Court to one count of child exploitation. Judge James Chaney sentenced Haley to 40 years in prison with 10 to serve and 30 suspended. He was ordered to pay a $50,000 fine, in addition to $1,000 to the Mississippi Children’s Trust Fund and another $1,000 to the Mississippi Crime Victim Compensation Fund. Haley must also register as a sex offender upon his release from prison and is banned from the premises of any casino, which is where he was located when downloading the child pornography.

Haley was arrested in August 2015 at the Diamond Jacks Casino in Vicksburg following a joint investigation by the Attorney General’s Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, Mississippi Gaming Commissions, Louisiana State Police Special Victims Unit, Louisiana State Police Gaming Detectives, and Warren County Sheriff’s Office. The investigation uncovered that Haley utilized the free Wi-Fi at casino hotels throughout Mississippi and Louisiana to download hundreds of child sexual abuse images. He did this for several months, using aliases when checking into the hotel to mask his identity.

“This man thought he could hide, but our investigators and those with the assisting agencies work every day to be sure child predators are not safe to commit these crimes in our state,” said General Hood. “I am proud of the partnership our ICAC Task Force has with agencies across the state, and their success is clear when working together on cases like this.”

Haley will be transferred from the Warren County Jail to the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

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

 


From Crisis to Action: AG Hood Partners With State Leaders to Educate Mississippi About Opioid Crisis

June 29, 2017

Attorney General Jim Hood is partnering with the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics and other government agencies and non-profit organizations to host a three-day summit to educate Mississippians and train officials on the opioid epidemic the state is facing.

The Opioid and Heroin Mississippi Drug Summit will be July 11-13 at Broadmoor Baptist Church in Madison. The summit is free and open to the public, and professionals in healthcare, law enforcement, education, law, and other impacted areas are encouraged to attend. Continuing education credits are available for those who qualify. Summit sessions will cover topics including threats and trends in public safety, the disease of addiction and tools to help treatment professionals, and stories of recovery and hope from families who have experienced addiction.

“Opioids are devastating Mississippi families and communities, and the public is counting on us to find a way to stop this epidemic from taking over other lives,” said General Hood, who will give opening remarks on the morning of July 11. “This summit will bring together key stakeholders who share a passion for protecting our loved ones by finding solutions to this crisis.”

The Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics—another lead supporter of the Drug Summit—says the number of painkiller prescriptions in the state makes us the fifth highest prescriber per capita in the nation, with 1.07 prescriptions per person. Opioid addiction can happen easily to anyone, and in an effort to raise awareness about the lack of immunity and ways to respond, the Summit will also have two family forums. The forums are free and will be held at 6 p.m. on July 11 and 12.

“From 2013 to 2016, Mississippi had 563 reported drug-overdose deaths, with 481 of them involving opioids. In 2016 alone, there were 211 reported drug-overdose deaths, the highest in Mississippi’s history,” said MBN Director John Dowdy. “The numbers are likely much higher due to severe under-reporting by the state’s coroners,” he added.

For more information or to register for the upcoming opioid summit, visit drugsummit.com or call (601) 898-2345.