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.


Marion County Caregiver Arrested for Exploitation of a Vulnerable Person

March 4, 2015
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A caregiver in Marion County has been arrested for exploitation of a vulnerable person, announced Attorney Jim Hood today.

Thurman Kerry Lucas, 38, of Foxworth was arrested by the Marion County Sheriff’s Department following an indictment from the Marion County Grand Jury on one count exploitation of a vulnerable person.  The indictment alleges that Lucas, while acting as a caregiver, used over $20,000 of the victim’s money for his own personal needs.

Lucas was booked into the Marion County Jail under a $20,000 bond.  If convicted he faces up to 10 years behind bars.  As with all cases, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt in a court of law.

This case is being investigated by Shannon Spence and prosecuted by Marvin Sanders with the Vulnerable Adults Unit of the Public Integrity Division.


Nurse Aide in Lowndes County Arrested for Exploitation of a Vulnerable Person

March 4, 2015
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A nurse’s aide has been arrested on an indictment for exploitation of a vulnerable person at a long term care facility in Lowndes County, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Roshanuan McFarland, 30, of West Point, turned herself in to authorities at the Lowndes County jail Tuesday following an indictment from a Lowndes County Grand Jury charging her with one count exploitation of a vulnerable person.  The indictment alleges that McFarland used a patient’s Social Security debit card to withdraw money from a local ATM for her personal needs without permission from the patient.

McFarland posted a $5,000 bond.  If convicted of the charge, she faces up to 10 years behind bars and a $10,000 fine.  As with all cases, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt it a court of law.

Investigation and prosecution of the case is being handled by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Division.


Holly Springs Resident Going to Prison for Possession of Child Porn

March 3, 2015
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A Holly Springs man will go to prison for possession of child pornography, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Rio Jemon Jeffries, 25, of Holly Springs, appeared before Judge Kelly Luther in Marshall County Circuit Court today. Jeffries pleaded guilty to the child exploitation/possession of child pornography charge against him. As a result, Judge Luther sentenced Jeffries to 10 years behind bars with five years to serve and five years of post-release supervision. He must also pay $1,000 to the Mississippi crime victims’ compensation fund and register as a sex offender upon release.

A cyber tip from the Center for Missing and Exploited Children to the Attorney General’s Cyber Crime Unit led to the arrest and prosecution of Jeffries.

“This defendant was caught posting child pornography, which he found on the internet, to his Facebook page,” said Attorney General Hood. “We appreciate Judge Luther sending a message to those dealing in child pornography that they will go to the penitentiary without parole.”

The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorneys General Brandon Ogburn and Linda Davis of the Attorney General’s Cyber Crime Unit.


Pike County Resident Arrested for Sale of Counterfeit CDs and DVDs

February 25, 2015
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A Pike County resident has been arrested for the sale of pirated CDs and DVDs in the McComb area, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Billy Ray Badon, 38, of McComb was arrested today by the Pike County Sheriff’s Office following an indictment issued by the Pike County Grand Jury for two counts of the sale of pirated CDs and DVDs and one count of possession with intent to sell, rent, distribute or circulate pirated CDs and DVDs. Badon is accused of selling the items at his place of business, PC Aid of McComb, which is located at 1200 Lasalle Street in McComb.

Badon was booked into the Pike County Jail and released on a $5,000 bond. If convicted, he faces a felony charge, up to three years behind bars and/or a $10,000 dollar fine.

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 Investigator Shannon Beaver and will be prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Mark Ward of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division.


Personal Care Home Operator in Tupelo Arrested for Exploitation

February 25, 2015
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A personal care home operator in Tupelo has been arrested and charged with exploitation of a vulnerable person, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Demetria Donelson, 44, of Saltillo, turned herself in to authorities at the Lee County jail Tuesday following indictment from a Lee County Grand Jury on one count exploitation of a vulnerable person. The indictment alleges that Donelson, while operating an unlicensed personal care home in Tupelo, placed her name on a patient’s account and transferred approximately $38,797.00 from the victim’s account to her accounts and then proceeded to spend the money for her own personal use.

Donelson was booked into the Lee County jail and posted a $10,000 bond. If convicted of the charge, she faces up to 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.

Investigation and prosecution of the case is being handled by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Division.