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Kentucky and Mississippi Election Results

In Kentucky’s election for Attorney General, Democrat Andy Beshear defeated Republican Whitney Westerfield by approximately 2,000 votes – a margin of 50.1% to 49.9%.  In the election for Governor, incumbent Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway was defeated by Republican Matt Bevin.  Matt Bevin defeated AG Conway and Independent Drew Curtis by a margin of 52.5% to 43.8% and 3.7%.

In Mississippi, incumbent Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood won his fourth consecutive term as Attorney General by defeating Republican Mike Hurst by a margin of 55% to 45%.

The Louisiana run-off election between incumbent Republican Attorney General Buddy Caldwell and Republican former Congressman Jeff Landry will take place November 21.

Visit our Guide to State Attorneys General to see up-to-date information on attorneys general in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Commonwealth, and Territories of the United States.

47 AGs Partner with Federal, State and Local Authorities to Launch Initiative to Stop Abusive Debt Collectors

47 AGs, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”), the U.S. Department of Justice, state regulatory agencies, and local authorities announced the launch of “Operation Collection Protection,” a coordinated initiative among federal, state, and local authorities to stop deceptive and abusive debt collection practices nationwide.

According to the FTC, the initiative will seek to stop unlawful debt collectors who, among other things, knowingly attempt to collect phantom debts, fail to provide legally required disclosures or notices to consumers, and/or fail to follow state and local licensing requirements.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

CFPB Sues Student Financial Aid Advisory Services Company for Alleged Marketing Scam

The CFPB filed a complaint against Global Financial Support, Inc. d/b/a College Financial Advisory and Student Financial Resource Center, and its owner for alleged violations of the federal financial consumer protection laws by misleading consumers about their student financial aid advisory services.

According to the complaint, the companies allegedly scammed thousands of students by sending letters that falsely suggested an affiliation with government or academic institutions, directing recipients to pay a fee to complete the forms required to qualify for merit and need-based financial aid, and promising to match students with targeted financial aid assistance programs but instead sending only a generic booklet about financial aid opportunities.

The CFPB seeks restitution for harmed consumers and to stop the company from continuing the alleged illegal activity.  Iowa AG Tom Miller reached a settlement with the same company last month over allegations that the company’s allegedly misleading solicitations violated state consumer protection laws.

CFPB Settles with Employment Background Screening Report Companies for Alleged Inaccuracies

The CFPB reached a settlement with General Information Services and its affiliate, e-Background-checks.com, Inc., over allegations that the companies violated the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act by failing to employ minimal safeguards to ensure accurate background screening reports to employers about job applicants.

According to the consent order, the companies allegedly failed to exclude non-reportable information such as civil suits and judgments older than seven years, did not set policies for researching consumers with common names, required employers to provide middle names, and failed to conduct audits to determine the accuracy of their background reports.

Under the terms of the consent order, the companies will collectively pay $2.5 million in penalties, pay $10.5 million in relief to harmed consumers, revise their compliance procedures and policies, and develop comprehensive audit programs.

Consumer Protection

Massachusetts Attorney General Settles with Payday Lender for Allegedly Offering Unlicensed Loans with Unlawful Terms

Massachusetts AG Maura Healey and the Massachusetts Division of Banks reached a settlement with Western Sky Financial, LLC, CashCall, Inc., its subsidiary WS Funding, LLC, and affiliate Delbert Services Corporation, and their owners, for allegedly making and servicing unlicensed loans with illegally high interest rates in violation of state consumer protection and lending laws.

The agreements, in part, prohibit the companies from advertising, brokering, purchasing, or lending in Massachusetts; automatically reduce the interest rates on all loans owned by the companies to the Commonwealth’s legal rate of 12% and two-year maximum term; require the companies to refund consumers whose payments exceed the principal loan amount plus the maximum legal interest rate; and pay penalties and attorneys’ fees.

AG Healey’s settlement is the latest in a string of actions taken against Western Sky and CashCall after Western Sky failed in attempts to assert that its loans, and those who service them, are immune from state laws under tribal sovereign immunity because it was based on an Indian reservation and owned by a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe.

New York Attorney General Settles with Charity for Alleged Deception Regarding Clothing Donations

New York AG Eric Schneiderman reached settlements with Thrift Land USA of Yonkers, Inc. (“Thrift Land”), Big Brothers Big Sisters of Rockland County (“BBBS”), and I Love Our Youth, Inc., for allegedly deceiving the public about clothing donations made to Thrift Land.

According to the AG’s office, Thrift Land allegedly misled the public to believe that proceeds from the sale of used clothing placed in its bins benefited charities I Love Our Youth and BBBS, whose name and logo appeared on its bins, when Thrift Land actually sold the clothing for profit and only paid a small monthly fee to the charities.

Under the settlements, Thrift Land paid $50,000 in penalties and costs, and paid $650,000 to two not-for-profit organizations.  I Love Our Youth and BBBS will, among other things, directly oversee, manage and supervise charitable solicitations and advertisements in the name of the charity.

Pharmaceuticals

All 50 States, D.C., and Federal Government Settle with Drug Company for Alleged Kickback Scheme

50 States and the District of Columbia, through the National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units, and the U.S. Department of Justice reached a settlement with Warner Chilcott PLC to resolve civil and criminal allegations that the company engaged in a kickback scheme with doctors to encourage prescriptions for several drugs it manufactures in violation of the False Claims Act.

According to the complaint, Warner Chilcott allegedly paid compensation to doctors in the form of speaking fees, honoraria, and meals to induce them to prescribe nine different medications, and allegedly falsified documents to ensure federal and state reimbursement.

Under the terms of the settlement, the company will pay $102 million to the states and federal government in civil damages and penalties, pay $22.9 million in criminal fines, and plead guilty to one felony count for health care fraud, and further is permanently excluded from participating in Medicaid and federal healthcare programs.