Ridgeland Resident Going to Prison for Medicaid Fraud

June 30, 2015
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A Ridgeland resident is going to prison for Medicaid Fraud, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Theresa Lane Fisher, 46, of Ridgeland, pleaded guilty to two counts of Medicaid Fraud and one count of Medicare Fraud before Rankin County Circuit Court Judge John Emfinger on Monday.  As a result, Fisher was sentenced to 11 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections with five years to serve, six years suspended and five years of probation.  Fisher was also ordered to pay $803,744.93 in restitution, a penalty of $2,411,234.79, a $1,000 fine and $500 to the Victims Compensation Fund.

The Attorney General’s investigation showed that Fisher was acting as a medical director for a hospice care company and certifying patients for hospice while only being qualified to be a physician’s assistant. Fisher also billed the Medicaid program for visits while her license as a physician’s assistant was suspended.

“We appreciate the hard work of the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Mississippi Board of Medical Licensure,” said Attorney General Hood. “Cooperation among multiple agencies continues to be vital in combatting fraud.”

This case was investigated and prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit in a joint effort with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Mississippi Board of Medical Licensure.

 


Attorney General Jim Hood issues the following statement on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell et al v. Hodges et al

June 26, 2015

Attorney General Jim Hood issues the following statement on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell et al v. Hodges et al:

“The Office of the Attorney General is certainly not standing in the way of the Supreme Court’s decision. We simply want to inform our citizens of the procedure that takes effect after this ruling. The Supreme Court decision is the law of the land and we do not dispute that. When the 5th Circuit lifts the stay of Judge Reeves’ order, it will become effective in Mississippi and circuit clerks will be required to issue same-sex marriage licenses.”

-Attorney General Jim Hood


Jackson Resident Going to Prison for Exploitation of Vulnerable Person

June 23, 2015
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A former community health and welfare center director is going to prison for felony exploitation of a vulnerable person, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Daisy Shannon, 49, of Jackson was sentenced Monday before Hinds County Circuit Court Judge Winston Kidd to two counts of felony exploitation of a vulnerable person, after pleading guilty on May 18.

Shannon was sentenced to serve five years with four suspended on each count in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections. The counts are to run concurrently, meaning that she will serve one year in jail. Upon release, Shannon is to serve two years post release supervision, at which time she is to begin paying restitution to the victims, as well as paying $500 to Crime Victim’s Compensation fund and $500 to the Attorney General’s Office for investigative costs.

At the time the crimes were committed, Shannon worked as the director of a Jackson community health and welfare center. She admitted to obtaining and converting for her own use approximately $2,100 from two of the residents of the facility in April and July of 2012.

This case was investigated and prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.

 


ATTORNEY GENERAL JIM HOOD ANNOUNCES $15 MILLION SETTLEMENTS WITH TOBACCO COMPANIES

June 22, 2015
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Attorney General Jim Hood announced today a settlement of Mississippi’s claims against R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company (RJR) and Brown and Williamson Tobacco Corporation (B&W) for $15 million.

“Several years ago, we discovered that Brown and Williamson manufactured cigarettes for a company called Star Tobacco, but failed to pay what they were required to pay us under the original 1997 tobacco settlement agreement,”  said Attorney General Hood.  The original settlement requires the company to pay Mississippi for every cigarette it makes and ships to the state.  Brown and Williamson dodged this payment by manufacturing cigarettes for Star Tobacco. The company then sold those cigarettes to Mississippians without paying the state.

“During the investigation of Brown and Williamson’s conduct, we also discovered other instances where RJR/B&W tobacco companies shortchanged the State of Mississippi,” said Attorney General Hood.  The $15 million represents principal and interest on what R. J. Reynolds and Brown and Williamson’s companies should have paid years ago.  The lawsuit was brought at no cost to the State, as the tobacco companies agreed in 1997 to the pay the State attorneys’ fees anytime it becomes necessary to go to court to enforce the settlement. Attorney Lee Young of Pascagoula led a team of private counsel with many years of experience taking on Big Tobacco.

“The 1997 settlement with the tobacco companies is perpetual, and contributes on average over $100 million per year to the State’s health care budget,” said Attorney General Hood. “I will continue to closely monitor the tobacco companies and hold them accountable for their actions.”

 


Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood Concludes his 2014-2015 National Association of Attorneys General Presidential Term

June 19, 2015
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AG Jackley presenting AG Hood his Gavel

Attorney General Jackley presents the Gavel to Attorney General Hood

Attorney General Jim Hood concluded his 2014-2015 National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) presidential term by acknowledging the work done on his year-long initiative, “Protecting Our Digital Lives: New Challenges for Attorneys General.”

Attorney General Hood delivered his final remarks last night during the NAAG Summer Meeting in San Diego, California. “We attorneys general are on the frontline of the war against digital crime. With this NAAG initiative, we focused on protecting consumers and businesses from online criminals using new technologies,” said Attorney General Hood. “The knowledge gained and ideas shared will make a difference in our legal work moving forward. I appreciate the interest and participation of my colleagues. It was an honor serving as NAAG president.”

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley was elected president of the National Association of Attorneys General. “Attorney General Jackley will be a good fit for this position as we share the same commitments to crime prevention, including protecting our children from sexual predators,” said Attorney General Hood.

During his time as president of NAAG, Attorney General Hood focused on intellectual property theft and digital crime. The Presidential Initiative Conference hosting fellow attorneys general was held at the Beau Rivage in Biloxi April 12-13, 2015. The conference presented invaluable information concerning 3D Printing, software piracy and hacking, understanding digital currency, patent trolls and other related topics.

 

 


Jackson Man Arrested for Felony Exploitation of Vulnerable Person

June 17, 2015
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A Jackson resident has been arrested following indictment for felony exploitation of a vulnerable person, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Matthew Hubbard, 32, turned himself in on Monday to investigators of the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit following an indictment by the Harrison County Grand Jury on one count felony exploitation of a vulnerable person.

At the time the crimes were committed, Hubbard, who was employed as a care giver at a facility in south Mississippi, allegedly took the resident to co-sign a car loan totaling $21,288.95.

If convicted, Hubbard faces up to 10 years behind bars and $10,000 in fines.  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 by and prosecuted by the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office Medicaid Control Fraud Unit.

 

 


Jackson Nursing Assistant Arrested for Simple Assault on a Vulnerable Person

June 17, 2015
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A Jackson nursing assistant is charged with simple assault of a vulnerable person, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Belynthia Ross, 31, turned herself into authorities after being indicted by a Rankin County Grand Jury on the charge of simple assault of a vulnerable person. At the time the crime is alleged to have been committed, Ross was working as a certified nursing assistant at a nursing and rehab center in Brandon. The defendant is accused of hitting a resident in the head.

If convicted, she faces up to five years behind bars and a $10,000 fine. 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.

 


Attorney General Warns Consumers to Be Aware of Phone Scams Targeting Taxpayers After the Tax Season

June 16, 2015
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Attorney General Jim Hood is once again reminding Mississippi consumers to remain cautious of tax-related phone scams.  Even though the 2015 tax season has ended, these scams continue.

Con artists are impersonating IRS agents when calling and threatening Mississippi consumers. Attorney General Jim Hood warns consumers not to fall victim to these con artists or others like them. “The answer is simple for this and other similar phone scams – listen to your instincts.  If something sounds too good to be true or is suspicious, don’t take the action requested.”

How the Scam Works:

The scammer calls and claims to be an agent for the IRS. The victim is told he or she owes money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, the scammer threatens the victim with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license.

Victims may be told they have a refund in an effort to trick them into sharing private information.  If the phone isn’t answered, the scammers often leave an “urgent” callback request. These con artists can sound convincing when they call, using fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. They may know a lot about their targets, and they usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling.

The Attorney General’s Office offers the following information and tips to avoid this scam:

The IRS will never:

      Call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.

      Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.

      Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.

      Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

      Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

      Use email, text messages or any social media to discuss your personal tax issue involving bills or refunds.

If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, here’s what you should do:

      If you know you owe taxes or think you might owe the IRS any amount, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. The IRS workers can help you with a payment issue.

      If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to believe that you do, report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484 or at www.tigta.gov.

Some key tips to remember for this scam and others similar to it:

      Do not answer the phone for a number you do not recognize or that shows up as your own.

      If you do answer, hang up the minute you realize it is a scam.  Even answering simple questions in the affirmative or negative could be used to try to scam you.

      Be suspicious of anyone who is vague in identifying themselves on the phone.

      NEVER wire or send money in any form to persons or organizations you do not know.

      Always protect your personally identifiable information. Giving it personal information out could cause you to become a victim of identity theft.

For more educational information on this and other scams, please visit the Consumer section of the Attorney General’s website, www.agjimhood.com.  Anyone who suspects their personal information has been compromised or think they have been a victim of fraud, identity theft or any other should call the Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General’s Office for further assistance and guidance at 1-800-281-4418.