Poplarville Resident Arrested for Possession of Child Pornography

November 12, 2014
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A Poplarville resident has been arrested for possession of child pornography, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Jeffery A. Davis, 55, of Poplarville, was arrested Tuesday by investigators with the Attorney General’s Cyber Crime Unit.  He is charged with one count of exploitation of a child for allegedly downloading child porn onto his computer.

Davis was booked into the Pearl River Detention Center and is awaiting a hearing. 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.

Hinds County Inmate Sentenced for Aggravated Assault While Behind Bars

November 11, 2014
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A Raymond resident who is currently incarcerated for armed robbery and sexual battery has been sentenced for aggravated assault against a fellow inmate, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Mitchell David Bradford, 20, of Raymond, appeared before Hinds County Circuit Court Judge William Gowan Monday and pleaded guilty to aggravated assault for stabbing another inmate.   Judge Gowan sentenced Bradford to 20 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, 20 to serve, with five years to serve post-release supervision.  Bradford is currently serving a 20 year sentence for Armed Robbery and Sexual Battery.  The first 15 years of the new sentence will run concurrent to his original sentence. The defendant will then have an additional five years to serve consecutive to the prior sentence which will total to 25 years in custody with five years of post-release supervision.

The assault took place at the Raymond Detention Center on June 20, 2013. Bradford and one other detainee participated in the stabbing of another inmate with shanks made from pieces of metal found at the jail.  The victim was stabbed several times in the head, face and torso areas.

This case was investigated by Perry Tate and prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Marvin Sanders of the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Division.

Deadbeat Dad Sentenced in Neshoba County for Failing to Pay Child Support

November 5, 2014
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A resident of Forest has answered in court for his failure to support his child in Neshoba County, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Kevin Craft, 32, of Forest pleaded guilty to child desertion today in Neshoba County Circuit Court before Judge Vernon Cotton. Craft admitted he has failed to pay $19,000 he owes in support of his child. As a result, Judge Cotton sentenced Craft to five years in custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections with five years suspended on supervised probation so that he could pay the $19,000 that he owes.

“This sentencing helps insure that the defendant will meet his child support obligations or go to jail,” said Attorney General Hood.

The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Elliott Flaggs with the Attorney General’s Child Desertion Unit and investigated by Kynda Walker.

Greenville Doctor Found Guilty of Medicaid Fraud

November 3, 2014
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A Greenville doctor has been found guilty of defrauding the state’s Medicaid fraud system, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Dr. Hosan Menanya Azomani, 45, was convicted of two counts of Medicaid fraud by a jury today. The trial lasted six days. Sentencing has not yet been set.

The attorney general’s investigation showed that Dr. Azamani was billing Medicaid for more expensive services than he was actually rendering.

“We appreciate the jury for their time and their ruling in this case,” said Attorney General Hood. “This defendant bilked the system out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. We do think jail time would make for an appropriate sentence.”

The case has been investigated and prosecuted by the Attorney Generals Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.

Raymond Resident Going to Prison for Possession of Child Porn

October 29, 2014
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A Raymond resident is going to prison for possession of child porn, announced Attorney General Jim Hood.

Thomas Andrew Opiela, age 52, of Raymond pleaded guilty to two counts of child exploitation (possession of child porn) in Hinds County Circuit Court today before Judge William A. Gowan.  As a result, Opiela was sentenced to ten years, with five suspended, five to serve.  He was also ordered to serve five years post release supervision, pay $1,000 to the crime victim compensation fund and he must register as a sex offender upon release.

The Attorney General’s investigation found child pornography on the defendant’s home computer.

“We caught this defendant downloading videos and pictures of child pornography from the internet and then placing them on a file sharing network,” said Attorney General Hood.  “We are glad to have stopped him, and appreciate Judge Gowan for making sure he goes to prison.”

New Albany Nurse Arrested on Medicaid Fraud Charges

October 22, 2014
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A New Albany nurse has been arrested for alleged possession of a controlled substance, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Audrey Lillian Robinson, 33, of Tupelo, turned herself in to authorities Tuesday after being indicted by a Union County Grand Jury on two counts of illegally obtaining possession of a controlled substance by fraud or misrepresentation. At the time the crimes are alleged to have been committed, Robinson was working as an LPN at a nursing home in New Albany. She is alleged to have acquired and converted to her own use hydrocodone dosages which had been prescribed to and purchased for two patients.

Robinson was booked into the Union County Sheriff’s Office with a bond set at $5,000. If convicted of the charges, she faces a maximum of 10 years behind bars.  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 will be prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.

Rankin County Resident Arrested for Child Exploitation

October 21, 2014
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A Rankin County resident has been arrested and charged with child exploitation for allegedly possessing child pornography, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Willard Geven Knight, 23, of Pearl, was arrested today by investigators with the Attorney General’s Cyber Crime Unit and the Pearl Police Department.  The arrest was made through the Attorney General’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

Knight was booked into the Rankin County Sheriff’s Office. 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.

Attorney General Hood Urges Congressional Support of Legislation to Prevent Online Sex Trafficking of Youth

October 20, 2014
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Attorney General Jim Hood  today urged members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee to support legislation that would help prevent children from being trafficked on the Internet.

Human trafficking is the fastest-growing criminal industry in the world, generating about $150 billion each year. Shockingly, there are numerous cases nationally of children being used in prostitution as young as 12. The FBI estimates that nearly 300,000 American youths are at risk of becoming victims of commercial sexual exploitation.

“We often think of this as being a crime that occurs elsewhere, but Mississippi is  just as vulnerable as every other state,” said Attorney General Hood.  “I want to know we are doing all we can to keep our children safe.”

In a letter co-sponsored by the Indiana and Washington attorneys general, and joined by 53 other attorneys general, Attorney General Hood asked members of the Senate Judiciary Committee for their support of the Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation Act (SAVE) Act (S. 2536), which would provide more oversight of websites that facilitate “adult services,” such as Backpage.com.

Attorney General Hood said federal courts have recognized that the Internet has become a favored means for advertising the availability of children for sex. Internet ads can be purchased in multiple locations with the click of a button.

This allows human traffickers to maximize their profit and evade detection by moving victims quickly to lucrative venues where there is significant demand for commercial sex.

“Organized crime groups and street gangs use the Internet to sell their victims as well, which is why passage of the SAVE Act is particularly critical,” said Attorney General Hood.

The use of the “adult services sections” on websites such as Backpage.com has created virtual brothels where children are bought and sold using euphemistic labels such as “escorts.” The SAVE Act would require these websites that are facilitating trafficking through their very business model to take steps to verify the identity of individuals posting advertisements and the age of those who appear in these advertisements.

In just one week this June, law enforcement arrested 281 alleged sex traffickers and took 168 children out of prostitution in a nationwide FBI crackdown where many child victims were offered for sale on “escort” and other “adult services” websites.

Preventing kids from being trafficked on the Internet has been a long-term interest of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG). NAAG has taken several actions regarding Backpage.com and similar websites, including requesting that these exploitive websites shut down their “adult services” sections which fuel the online trafficking of youth.