Philadelphia Woman Going to Prison for Exploitation of a Vulnerable Person

March 24, 2015
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A Philadelphia housekeeper is going to prison after pleading guilty to one count of exploitation of a vulnerable person, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Rosemary Stribling also known as Rosemary Carter, 39, appeared before Judge Marcus Gordon in Neshoba County Circuit Court Monday to be sentenced on charges she exploited the elderly victim for which she was hired to clean house.   Stribling admitted to taking money from the victims accounts to make purchases which resulted in a financial loss to the victim of approximately $2,006.56.  As a result, Stribling was sentenced to eight years in custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, six years suspended with two years to serve.  She was also ordered to pay full restitution to the victim and some fines.

“I hope this case serves as a warning that anyone found to be victimizing our most vulnerable residents will be held accountable,” said Attorney General Hood.

This case was investigated by Shannon Spence and prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Marvin Sanders with the Vulnerable Adults Unit of the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Division.


Michigan Woman and Mississippi Prisoner Charged with Producing Child Pornography

March 19, 2015
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A case being worked by the Attorney General’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force has resulted in charges against a Michigan woman and a man currently imprisoned in Mississippi.

Investigators with the Ecorse and Dearborn Michigan Police Departments Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force transferred a case involving a complaint of illegal images taken of a two year old child to the Mississippi ICAC Task Force under the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office.  The investigation by the Mississippi ICAC Unit led to federal warrants being served on Stephanie Rascoe, 44, a resident of Ecorse, Michigan and David Rhyne, 33, currently incarcerated in the East Mississippi Correctional Facility in Meridian.  The two are charged with production and distribution of child pornography for allegedly sharing illegal images via text message.  Rhyne also faces charges for possession of child pornography.  The alleged victim is a child entrusted occasionally to the care of Rascoe.

Rascoe was on a visit to Mississippi when she was arrested.  She has been booked into the Lee County jail.  Rhyne is currently serving time for sexual battery and was served in prison with the current federal warrant.  Both arrests occurred Wednesday.

“This case is the epitome of the work we do with our federal partners and our ICAC partners on a daily basis, “ said Attorney General Jim Hood.  “We greatly appreciate the work of the FBI, the U.S. Attorneys Office, the Mississippi Department of Corrections,  the Lee County Sheriff’s Department and the Ecorse and Dearborne Michigan Police Departments on this case.”

If convicted, the defendants face up to 20 years on production charges and 15 years on the distribution charges.  Rhyne faces up to 15 years for possession and an additional 10 years for being a convicted felon.   As with all cases, the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.


Attorney General Hood Recovers $30 Million for State’s Taxpayers and Deposits into General Fund

March 11, 2015
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Since the 2015 Legislative Session convened, Attorney General Hood has handed lawmakers over $50 million for deposit into the State of Mississippi General Fund.

The Attorney General today handed over a check from two separate settlements which amounts to $30,010,621.45.  The distribution results from litigation involving two cases:  Standard & Poor’s-$26,812,580.67 and Capital One-$3,198,040.78.   In addition, the Attorney General on February 5, 2015 deposited another $20 million into the State’s General Fund, resulting in a total of $50,010,621.45 recovered for taxpayers during this legislative session.

“The law requires that I make recommendations to the Legislature for improvement of public service,” said Attorney General Hood.  “There are several serious criminal and civil justice issues which I have advised lawmakers of and hope they will see fit to appropriate a small portion of these recoveries to address those issues.”

Among the Attorney General’s recommendation to lawmakers:

  • Approximately $15 million for a new forensic unit to expand the ability of the State Hospital at Whitfield to house the criminally insane.

“Due to the shortage of beds, the department must move a person out in order to take another in,” said Attorney General Hood.  “As a result, defendants in need of forensic evaluation languish in county jails. “

  • Approximately $2 million for dedicated supported housing and rental assistance for the mentally ill.

“I appreciate the action House members have already taken to pass House Bill 1563 which contains the requested amount of money. The bill is now in the Senate Appropriation Committee.  This is a small amount to pay in order to facilitate proper, humane treatment of our mentally ill,” said Attorney General Hood.  “It is a bargain compared to the costs we will incur if sued by the Department of Justice under the Olmstead case and the Americans with Disabilities Act.”

  • $3 million on an Inmate Reentry Project

“The project would create 100 minimum security beds for felony inmates who have completed their sentences and are about to reenter society,” said Attorney General Hood.  “From this facility they would work during the day and receive drug, mental health, religious and life-skill counseling to prepare them for their release.”

The Attorney General’s Office has recovered more than $860 million in taxpayer dollars since Attorney General Hood took office in 2004.

 


Union County Resident Going to Prison For Child Exploitation

March 10, 2015
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A Union County resident is going to prison for child exploitation, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Marvin Lloyd Lemar, 25, of Myrtle entered a guilty plea, to possession of child porn, before Judge John Gregory today.

As a result, Lemar was sentenced to 40 years with five to serve. He was also ordered to pay $1,000 to the Children’s Trust Fund and register as a sex offender upon release.

The defendant was caught after a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children resulted in an investigation by the Attorney General’s Cyber Crime Unit.  The investigation revealed that the defendant had uploaded images of child pornography to his Flick’r account.

“I hope that the five year sentence and the additional 35 years Judge Gregory put on this defendant will deter him from ever viewing child pornography again for the remainder of his life,” said Attorney General Hood. “The message to child pornographers should by now be clear throughout the state of Mississippi:  We are watching you on-line, we have crystal clear evidence against you when we knock on your door, you will have to serve at least five years without parole in the penitentiary, and you will have to register as a convicted sex offender for a minimum of 25 years. Is it worth it?”

The Attorney General’s Office was assisted in this case by the Union County Sheriff’s Office. 

The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Brandon Ogburn.

 


Philadelphia Woman Arrested for Felony Exploitation of Vulnerable Person

March 10, 2015
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A Philadelphia resident has been arrested following indictment for felony exploitation of a vulnerable person, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Tabitha Lynn Warren, 32, of Philadelphia, was arrested today by investigators with the Attorney General’s Office, Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and booked into the Leake County jail.  The arrest followed Warren’s indictment by the Leake County Grand Jury on two counts felony exploitation of a vulnerable person.

The defendant is accused in the indictment of unauthorized actions involving two credit cards of two separate accounts of the alleged victim for whom she served as a caregiver. If convicted, Warren faces up to 20 years behind bars (10 years on each count).  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 and prosecuted by the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office Medicaid Control Fraud Unit.


Children’s Home Employee Arrested for Abuse

March 10, 2015
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A Tupelo children’s home employee has been arrested for abuse of a vulnerable person, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Whitney Nichole Foy, 27, of Shannon, turned herself in to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office Monday following indictment by a Lee County Grand Jury for one count of Felonious Abuse of a Vulnerable Person.  The indictment alleges that Foy bit a six year old child on the arm, causing injury, while employed at a privately owned facility in Tupelo which houses children who are in custody of the Mississippi Department of Human Services.

Foy was released from custody after posting a $10,000 bond.  If convicted, she faces up to 20 years in prison.  As with all cases, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The case is being investigated and prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.


MS Public Service Commission and MS Attorney General’s Office Work Together to Stop Unwanted Robocalls

March 9, 2015
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The Mississippi Public Service Commission in conjunction with Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood and the Federal Trade Commission, along with nine other states, jointly announce a federal lawsuit against political survey robocallers illegally pitching cruise line vacations, among other products. The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, and alleges millions of dollars in violations of the federal Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act. Certain defendants have already reached a settlement in this case, and will pay Mississippi $22,136.34 as a result of their alleged wrongdoing.

“The PSC regularly goes after these unscrupulous telemarketers who continue to harass the citizens of the State of Mississippi,” said PSC Chairman Lynn Posey. “We are grateful to work with the FTC and Attorney General Jim Hood on this latest case, and though we know it won’t stop the tactics of these so called ‘marketers’ we do hope that Mississippians see some relief.”

“We joined the FTC and the PSC in this effort to stop calls we felt were clearly deceiving to Mississippi consumers,” said Attorney General Hood.  “We hope this action sends a clear message to marketers that you can’t circumvent the law.”

“Enforcing the No-Call law is basically about protecting the privacy of Mississippians. I’m proud of the strong cooperation between our agency and Attorney General Hood’s office that sends a clear message to predatory telemarketers that we won’t tolerate the harassment of Mississippians,” said Commissioner Brandon Presley.

The following defendants have agreed to court orders settling the charges against them:

1.       Caribbean Cruise Lines, Inc.,
2.       Steve Hamilton,
3.       Linked Service Solutions, LLC, Scott Broomfield, and Jason Birkett, and
4.       Economic Strategy and Jacob DeJongh.

The settlement orders bar CCL and other settling defendants from engaging in abusive telemarketing practices, including calling customers whose phone numbers are on the Do Not Call Registry, calling anyone that has previously said they don’t want to be called again, failing to transmit accurate caller ID information, and placing illegal robocalls. The orders also require CCL to monitor its lead generators on an ongoing basis and Hamilton to terminate any clients placing telephone calls that would violate the Telemarketing Sales Rule.

Mississippians can add their home telephone number to Mississippi’s No Call list by contacting the PSC at 1-800-356-6430 or online at www.psc.state.ms.us/nocall.


AG Warns Consumers to Beware Internet Job Scams

March 9, 2015
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Attorney General Jim Hood today is warning consumers of scams involving employment opportunities, particularly via the internet and sites such as Craig’s List.

“Our investigators are receiving numerous calls concerning these types of scams,” said Attorney General Hood.  “We want to warn people before they fall victim.”

These employment scams vary in detail, but some recent scenarios include requesting assistance with family members and advertising on personal automobiles for a salary.  In a typical scam, the consumer will send an email requesting information from the “employer.”  The “employer” then contacts the consumer, usually via email or text, about the fake employment opportunity. “The scam artists make the opportunity sound great and relatively easy for consumers who are seeking a job,” said Attorney General Hood.

The scam typically works with the “employer” sending one or multiple checks to the consumer.  The consumer is asked to deposit the check into his or her personal bank account.  After depositing the money, the consumer is asked to withdraw it, keep a portion for a “monthly salary,” and send the remaining funds via wire transfer, money gram, green dot money card, or some similar mechanism into another account. The check initially appears to be a legitimate check because it usually has a good routing number based on an actual, legitimate account.  After a few days, though, the check is flagged and proven to be unauthorized.  As a result, the burden then falls on the consumer to pay the money back to the bank from which they withdrew.  By this time, the scam artist has already taken the consumer’s money, left the consumer responsible for paying back the bank, and moved on to a new victim.

This scam is a modern twist on the age-old “lottery scam.” Predating internet and electronic communications, the “lottery scam” involved a con artist working through the mail by sending a sizeable check to a “winning” consumer.  The consumer would be directed to cash or deposit the check and return a portion back to the sender to cover “taxes” or “fees” on the lottery “winnings,” only to find out a couple of days later that the check had bounced and the consumer was responsible.

“Consumers always need to be wary of sharing personal information or acting quickly on deals that seem too good to be true,” said Attorney General Hood.

Anyone who feels they may have already fallen victim to such a scam can call the Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General’s Office at 1-800-281-4418 or go online at www.agjimhood.com to download a complaint form.