AG Reminds Mississippians Free Mortgage Foreclosure Prevention Consortium in Final Year of Service

August 19, 2014
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Attorney General Jim Hood is encouraging Mississippians facing foreclosure or in need of financial counseling to take advantage of the free services being offered by The Mississippi Mortgage Foreclosure Prevention Consortium before time runs out. 

The program has been in place for two years and is currently in its last year of operation and will cease to exist June 30, 2015. 

“I created this program with the hopes of helping all Mississippians facing foreclosure, not just those directly linked to the national settlement,” said Attorney General Hood. “Now is the time for anyone needing help  to contact our program partners and explore whatever options may exist. ”

Mississippi Home Corp., a consortium partner, is planning a Housing Resource Fair on Tuesday, August 26 in Jackson at the Mississippi Agriculture & Forestry Museum on Lakeland Drive, Sparkman Auditorium,  from 2-7pm.  The event will provide free legal services, overall housing counseling, pre-purchase and foreclosure prevention information from a variety of vendors.  Walk-ins are welcome but appointments are strongly encouraged.  Appointments can be made by calling the consortium hotline at 1-866-530-9572.

Anyone unable to attend the event can still call the hotline and talk with consortium partners.

Attorney General Jim Hood and 41 Other State Attorneys General Reach a $35 Million Consumer Settlement with Pfizer Concerning Rapamune®

August 8, 2014
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Attorney General Jim Hood joins 41 other Attorneys General in announcing a $35 million settlement with Pfizer Inc. over alleged consumer protection violations concerning the immunosuppressive drug Rapamune.

Mississippi’s portion of the settlement is $532,675.94.  Pfizer Inc., as parent of Wyeth Pharmaceuticals Inc., agrees to be bound by the judgment, to resolve allegations that Wyeth unlawfully promoted Rapamune, currently approved by the FDA as prophylactic for organ rejection after kidney transplant surgery.

“The Complaint and Consent Judgment we filed allege that our state consumer protection laws were violated by misrepresentation of the uses and benefits of Rapamune,” said Attorney General Hood.

Included in the allegations are misrepresentations related to: (1) the unapproved use of Rapamune following an organ transplant other than a kidney transplant; (2) the unapproved protocol of converting patients to Rapamune after initially receiving a different immunosuppressive drug; and (3) using Rapamune in unapproved drug combinations.

The Consent Judgment requires Pfizer to ensure that its marketing and promotional practices do not unlawfully promote Rapamune or any Pfizer product.  Specifically, Pfizer shall not:

Make, or cause to be made, any written or oral claim that is false, misleading, or deceptive regarding any Pfizer Product;

Make any claim comparing the safety or efficacy of a Pfizer Product to another product when that claim is not supported by substantial evidence as defined by Federal law and regulations;

  • Promote any Pfizer Product for Off-Label uses;
  • Include mechanisms in its financial incentives to provide incentive compensation for sales that may be attributable to the Off-Label uses of any Pfizer Product;
  • Affirmatively seek the inclusion of Rapamune in hospital protocols or standing orders unless Rapamune has been approved by the FDA for the indication for which it is to be included in the protocol or standing order;
  • Disseminate information describing any Off-Label or unapproved use of Rapamune unless such information and materials comply with applicable FDA regulations and the recommended actions in FDA Guidances for Industry; or
  • Seek to influence the prescribing of Rapamune in hospitals or transplant centers in any manner (including through funding clinical trials) that does not comply with the Federal anti-kickback statute.

Oregon and Texas led the Executive Committee, which also includes Attorneys General from California, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.

Also participating in the settlement are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington.

Two Jackson Residents Facing Allegations of Conspiracy and Burglary

July 31, 2014
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Two Jackson Residents Facing Allegations of business burglary burglary and conspiracy to possess and distribute controlled substances, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Marcus Taylor, 32, and LeCarlo Clincy, 36, both of Jackson, were arraigned Tuesday on three separate counts by Choctaw County Circuit Court Judge Joseph H. Loper, Jr. in Ackerman. Taylor and Clincy are charged with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a schedule III controlled substance, one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a schedule V controlled substance and one count of business burglary for the burglary of Ackerman Discount Drugs.

The maximum sentence for count one is 20 years, count two is ten years and count three is seven years. Judge Loper set a bond of $100,000 for Taylor, who is a habitual offender and $50,000 for Clincy.

If convicted, Taylor and Clincy face up to 37 years behind bars for all three counts. As with all cases, the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

This case was investigated by the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics and will be prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Stanley Alexander and Special Assistant Attorney General Marvin Sanders of the Public Integrity Division of the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office.

Hinds County Resident Going to Prison for Manslaughter and Aggravated Assault

July 31, 2014
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A Hinds County man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for manslaughter and aggravated assault involving two separate but related cases, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Henry Roundtree, 25, of Jackson, appeared before Judge William Gowan in Hinds County Circuit Court Tuesday and entered his guilty plea to manslaughter and aggravated assault involving the death of another Jackson resident. On the manslaughter charge, he was sentenced to 20 years to serve as a habitual offender (meaning he will serve his sentence day for day) in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.  On the aggravated assault charge, Judge Gowan sentenced him to 20 years. The two sentences are to run concurrent.

The defendant and his co-defendant entered the home of a Jackson resident and during the attempted robbery, a struggle ensued. During the struggle, the homeowner was shot in the hip. A friend of the homeowner, who was present at the time of the robbery, was shot and later died as a result of his injuries.

While Roundtree was incarcerated on the first offense at the Raymond County Detention Center, he and four other detainees participated in the stabbing of another inmate with shanks. The victim was stabbed several times in the back, hand and head. In that case, Roundtree entered a guilty plea to aggravated assault. Judge Gowan sentenced Roundtree to 20 years, ten years suspended with five years to serve post-release supervision.

These sentences in both cases will run consecutive to one another, meaning the defendant was sentenced to a total of 30 years, with ten years suspended and five years post-release supervision.

These cases were investigated by Larry Ware and Perry Tate and prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Marvin Sanders of the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Division.

Former State Employee Going to Prison for Embezzlement and Forgery

July 29, 2014
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A former state employee is going to prison for embezzlement and forgery, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today. 

Rhonda Gleason, 49, of Richton, was sentenced today by Judge Billy Joe Landrum in the First Judicial District of Jones County after pleading guilty to two counts of embezzlement and one count of forgery.  The crimes occurred while Gleason was employed as a program director at Ellisville State School.  Officials at Ellisville reported the issue to the Attorney General’s Office.

Gleason was sentenced to five years on each count, to run concurrent, with four years suspended and one to serve.  She also received two years of post-release supervision during which time she must complete 624 hours of community service.  Gleason was also ordered to pay full restitution to Ellisville, which initially reimbursed the victims.  She must also pay all court costs plus a $1,000 fine to cover investigative costs and $1,000 to the public defender’s fund.

The attorney general’s investigation showed that Gleason took small increments of money totaling over $5,500 from over 22 residents during a two year period. Gleason also forged the names of other employees claiming they had witnessed monetary transactions when in fact they had not.

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

Horn Lake Nurse Arrested for Possession of Controlled Substance

July 25, 2014
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A Horn Lake nurse has been arrested for alleged possession of a controlled substance, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Justin McElroy, 31, of Horn Lake, turned himself in to authorities Thursday, July 24, after being indicted by a Desoto County Grand Jury. At the time the crimes are alleged to have been committed, McElroy was working as an RN at a nursing home  in Southaven. He is alleged to have acquired over 20 Oxycodone pills which had been  prescribed to and purchased for a patient, and converted them to his own use.

McElroy was booked into the Desoto County jail with a bond set at $10,000. If convicted of the charges, McElroy faces a maximum of five years in prison and $1,000 in fines.  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.

Indianola Woman Arrested in Exploitation Case Involving Vulnerable Person

July 21, 2014
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An Indianola woman has been arrested and charged with one count of felony exploitation of a vulnerable person, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Francine Byrd Brown, 51, was arrested today by investigators with the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office. Brown, working as a Resident Assistant at a personal care home in Indianola,  is accused of taking over $300  from a resident’s wallet over a period of time from on or about June 20, 2014, through on or about July 21, 2014.

Brown was booked into the Sunflower County jail with bond set at $10,000.

If convicted, Brown faces a maximum sentence of ten years and a $10,000 fine.

As with all criminal cases, the defendant is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Magee Nursing Home Resident Arrested in Death of Roommate

July 10, 2014
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A nursing home resident in Magee has been arrested for second degree murder involving the death of his roommate, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Jerrell Eubanks, 63, a resident of a nursing center in Magee, was arrested this evening by investigators with the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, with assistance from the Magee Police Department. Eubanks is charged with second degree murder for the death of his roommate at the nursing home. He is accused of pushing a cellophane bag containing a sandwich down the throat of the 83 year old victim, causing his death. It is the general policy of the Attorney General’s Office to not release the exact identity of a victim.

The case is being investigated and prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. If convicted, Eubanks faces up to life behind bars. As with all cases, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.