Tennessee Resident Arrested for Selling Counterfeit Goods

July 6, 2015
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A Tennessee resident has been arrested for the sale of counterfeit goods in Kosciusko, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Ali Said Khdeir, 33, of Memphis, was recently arrested following an undercover joint operation by the Attorney General’s Office Intellectual Property Task Force and the Attala County Sheriff’s Department. Khdeir is accused of selling counterfeit goods and possession with intent to sell counterfeit goods. During the operation, investigators observed Khdeir selling a large number of alleged counterfeit goods, including NFL hats and the prescription pills, Viagra and Cialis, to a general store in Kosciusko. Khdeir, a resident of Tennessee, had transported these counterfeit goods into Mississippi from out of state.

If found guilty, Khdeir faces up to 10 years in prison and $20,000 in fines.  As with all cases, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. 

Khdeir was booked by the Attala County Sheriff’s Department. The case is being investigated by Investigator Lee McDivitt and will be prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Shaun Yurtkuran of the Mississippi Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division.

 


Attorney General Announces Terms of Settlement Allowing Dollar Tree to Acquire Family Dollar Stores

July 6, 2015
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Attorney General Jim Hood announced the terms of a settlement that Mississippi and 16 other States have reached with Dollar Tree, Inc., following a review of the company’s proposed acquisition of Family Dollar Stores, Inc.  The merger combines two large national chains of deep discount stores.

This announcement follows a coordinated effort among Mississippi, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and other state attorneys general.  The group conducted a national review of the transaction, which resulted in the state attorneys general requiring Dollar Tree to sell more than 300 Family Dollar stores to a new competitor in order to complete the acquisition.  All of the affected stores are to be sold and re-branded as Dollar Express stores, a new chain of deep discount stores being launched by Sycamore Partners.  To accomplish this move, Mississippi and the other attorneys general have filed their lawsuit and proposed consent judgment in the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia.

“Dollar stores provide affordable access to household essentials. The states have worked with the FTC, Family Dollar, and Dollar Tree to ensure that the acquisition of Family Dollar does not lessen competition or create a hardship due to increased prices or store closures. As a result of these discussions, the parties do not intend to close or relocate any stores in Mississippi,” said Attorney General Hood.

Dollar Tree also will be required to report or notify the Attorney General’s Office of future acquisitions, store relocations, or closings.

Dollar Tree operates stores under both the Dollar Tree and Deals banners although there are no Deals stores currently in Mississippi.  Stores using the Dollar Tree banner typically price all merchandise for $1. Family Dollar stores offer additional merchandise for slightly higher prices.  The stores tend to be smaller in size and are often located within or near neighborhoods.

“These stores are located across Mississippi in both small towns and in our larger cities and suburbs,” said Attorney General Hood. “We wanted to ensure that competition would remain in areas where these stores were near each other, which will in turn result in the best prices and merchandise.”

Sycamore Partners is expected to acquire the stores being divested over the coming few months and operate them under its Dollar Express banner.

Dollar Tree (NASDAQ: DLTR) is headquartered in Chesapeake, Virginia and operates more than 4,200 stores nationwide. Family Dollar (NYSE: FDO) is headquartered in Matthews, North Carolina and operates more than 8,000 stores nationwide.


Mississippi Reaches Landmark Agreement in Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Disaster Case

July 2, 2015

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Gov. Phil Bryant and Attorney General Jim Hood announced today in Biloxi that Mississippi has reached an agreement in principle with BP to settle claims related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.  The settlement will bring approximately $1.5 billion in additional relief to Mississippi over the next 17 years. Combined with $659 million in early funding, Mississippi is receiving a total of nearly $2.2 billion in compensation.

The Deepwater Horizon Macondo oil well drilling platform exploded on April 20, 2010. Eleven men, including four Mississippians, jim1were killed.

“Mississippi suffered tragic losses as a result of the BP oil spill. Eleven men died, including four Mississippians.” Gov. Phil Bryant said. “For months, we battled to protect our shorelines and the unique ecosystems and natural resources of our beautiful Gulf Coast from millions of gallons of oil and chemicals.

“And for years, we have worked diligently to pursue all legal recourse and rightful compensation resulting from this disaster. Today is a victory for Mississippi and a victory for a treasured way of life on the Gulf Coast,” Gov. Bryant continued.

Under the $1.5 billion agreement in principle with BP, Mississippi will receive approximately $183 million in Natural Resource Damage Assessment payments and approximately $582 million in Clean Water Act penalties under the RESTORE Act. Mississippi will also receive $750 million in economic damages.

Attorney General Jim Hood stated, “Our office recovered about seven times more than the initial projections for economic damages. We worked well with other states and all of the cities and counties on our Coast to build an outstanding economic damages model.”

Breakdown of New Agreement in Principle

The $1.5 billion agreement in principle includes:

  • Approximately $183 million in additional Natural Resource Damage Assessment payments, to be paid over 15 years, which will be used for environmental restoration;
  • Approximately $582 million in Clean Water Act penalties under the RESTORE Act. These funds will be paid over 15 years and used primarily for environmental projects, research and economic development;
  • $750 million in economic damages paid over 17 years as a result of Mississippi’s own lawsuit against BP. Mississippi is scheduled to receive a payment of $150 million in 2016 and equal yearly payments of $40 million from 2019-2033. The funds will be available for appropriation by the Mississippi Legislature.

Breakdown of $659 Million in Existing Funding

  • $112.557 million in Natural Resource Damage Assessment Early Restoration payments;
  • $106 million in existing RESTORE Act payments;
  • $356 million in National Fish and Wildlife Foundation payments;
  • $85.168 million in initial response payments.

TOTAL RESTORATION FUNDS TO THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI: $2.174 billion.

The agreement in principle with BP also provides up to $1 billion to settle claims in the five Gulf States between BP and local governments and other public entities. Settlement amounts for individual governments and public entities, including those in Mississippi, have not yet been determined. Discussions are ongoing, and an announcement is expected on or about July 12.

“We remain committed to ensuring that our coast counties and cities are included in any settlement and treated fairly,” added Attorney General Jim Hood. “I am pleased to say we are upholding our promise.” Hood continued, “The size and scope of this settlement is the result of a successful partnership of all the gulf states and our state agencies. Together, we held BP accountable for the damage it caused.”

“We have made significant progress since the BP disaster,” Gov. Bryant said. “Today’s announcement ensures that long lasting recovery will continue.”


Statement by Attorney General- Fifth Circuit Lifts Stay in Same-Sex Marriage Case

July 1, 2015

STATE OF MISSISSIPPI

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JIM HOOD

ATTORNEY GENERAL

 

 

“The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has this afternoon lifted the stay of the preliminary injunction. Mississippi’s laws prohibiting same sex marriage are now officially declared unconstitutional and unenforceable by the Federal Court. This ruling makes clear that marriage licenses should be issued to same sex couples.”- Attorney General Jim Hood


Forty Attorneys General join Mississippi in Support of Appeal In Google Lawsuit

July 1, 2015
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Attorney General Jim Hood announced today that 40 of our nation’s attorneys general filed an amicus curiae brief this week in support of Mississippi’s appeal from the District Court’s Order granting Google a preliminary injunction against Mississippi’s investigation into whether or not some of Google’s online conduct violates state law.

“I am extremely grateful that an overwhelming majority of our nation’s attorneys general, both Republican and Democrat, recognize that a state attorney general has the fundamental power to investigate potential violations of state law and that wrongdoers cannot run to federal court to escape legal oversight in the states where they do business,” said Attorney General Jim Hood.

Mississippi is appealing to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals a March 27, 2015, order enjoining the attorney general from enforcing a subpoena issued to Google asking questions about some of Google’s online practices including the alleged sale of prescription drugs without a prescription, the ability to buy fake ids and the sale of stolen credit card data on Google platforms.

States participating include: Arizona, Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia.


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.