Announcements, information and updates from CWAG Members and Associates
2017 CWAG Annual Meeting 
San Francisco, CA
July 30- August 2, 2017

For a copy of the final agenda  [ Click here ]

CWAG Associate Attorney General Leslie Rutledge of Arkansas announced at the Arkansas Sheriffs' Association meeting a first-in-the-nation education initiative called "Prescription for Life" featuring a digital platform to be offered at no cost to all high school students in the State to help them understand the dangers of prescription drug misuse and how to prevent abuse. "Talking about the harmful impact of prescription drug abuse with children and teenagers can no longer be a goal. It has to be a reality," said Attorney General Rutledge. "Arkansas ranks first in the nation for ages 12 to 17 in misuse of painkillers. Reversing this trend is a top priority of mine. Prescription for Life will be available to every high school student in Arkansas beginning this fall." Hear the latest state efforts to combat the opioid abuse crisis at CWAG's annual meeting in San Francisco next week.
CWAG Attorney General Xavier Becerra of California expressed his strong opposition to the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) proposal to repeal net neutrality rules, which allow consumers to access online content without interference or manipulation by an internet service provider (ISP). If the rules were to be repealed, an ISP could force web content providers to pay fees for faster internet speeds, limiting consumers' ability to access the internet content of their choice. Attorney General Becerra and 12 attorneys general joined together to make clear in comments to the FCC that doing away with the net neutrality rules would be unwarranted. "I vigorously oppose the FCC's attempt to gut the net neutrality rules," said Attorney General Becerra. "All consumers should have free, open and equal access to the internet. When internet service providers dictate the speed at which websites load, no one benefits but internet service providers. As the Attorney General of California, a state that's home to countless start-ups and technology giants alike, I know that net neutrality rules represent freedom and opportunity, innovation and fairness. I urge the FCC to do what's right and keep the net neutrality rules in place." Hear the latest about net neutrality at CWAG's annual meeting in San Francisco next week.
CWAG Attorney General Marty Jackley of South Dakota warned that hackers are now using so-called pirate websites to infect computers. These websites, which online users visit to watch illegally distributed movies, music, books, and other copyrighted content, have become a major source for infecting computers with dangerous malware that can lead to identity theft and other serious financial and privacy harms. "To protect your privacy, avoid pirated websites. Pirated websites are both wrong and dangerously risk identity theft and financial loss. This includes 'ransomware' a malicious software that threatens to publish its victim's data or block access unless a ransom is paid," said Attorney General Jackley. Hear the latest about responsible digital platform development at CWAG's annual meeting in San Francisco next week.
CWAG Attorney General Hector Balderas of New Mexico and local law enforcement announced the successful result of a joint operation targeting commercial sex trafficking of minors in Albuquerque. Seven men were arrested this week in Albuquerque during the operation for soliciting sex with someone they believed to be a 15-year-old girl, who was actually an undercover BCSO deputy. The men all attempted to pay $40 to $200 to have sex with 15-yearold girls. The Albuquerque office of Homeland Security Investigations led the multi-agency operation, which began July 17. The four-day operation also focused on consumers of underage prostitutes, and rescuing victims, which included juveniles. "There is no higher priority than protecting our children from sexual violence and dangerous sexual predators, and I want to thank all of the agencies that worked together on this successful operation to combat the trafficking of children in New Mexico," said Attorney General Balderas. Hear about state efforts to combat human trafficking at CWAG's annual meeting during the African Alliance Partnership presentation in San Francisco next week.
CWAG Attorney General Cynthia H. Coffman of Colorado and local law enforcement announced the indictment of an alleged criminal enterprise that illegally distributed nearly 200 pounds of marijuana through the Hoppz' Cropz storefronts in Colorado Springs. The 13 individuals indicted, including Hoppz' Cropz owners, Joseph Hopper, Dara Wheatley, Joseph Sergio Crivici and Adam Donaldson, are alleged to have engaged in a criminal enterprise where they and their co-defendants conspired to purchase medical marijuana from licensed facilities and resell it for profit under the guise of the marijuana being offered as a "free giveaway" with the purchase of a dramatically overpriced, yet low-cost item. One ruse they used was selling cheap cigarette lighters- worth a few cents- for $15 and then "giving away" one gram of marijuana for free. The street value of one gram of marijuana is approximately $15. "The members of this operation had hoped they would be able to hide their alleged illegal activity in plain sight by pretending to be a legitimate business," said Attorney General Coffman. "Criminal activity related to black market marijuana continues to be a serious issue for communities across Colorado, which is why my office works with our state and local partners to dismantle criminal enterprises that are violating Colorado law." Hear the latest about state marijuana laws at CWAG's annual meeting in San Francisco next week.
CWAG Attorney General Mark Brnovich of Arizona announced his office obtained a $241,401 judgment against Mortgage Relief Solutions, Inc. and its owner, Eric David Brown. The judgment also prohibits Mortgage Relief Solutions and Eric Brown from engaging in mortgage or real estate-related activity in Arizona. In March 2017, the Arizona Attorney General's Office filed a consumer fraud lawsuit against Mortgage Relief Solutions, Inc. ("MRS") and Eric Brown. The State alleged MRS and Brown targeted homeowners who were "upside down" on their mortgages and were considering defaulting on their mortgage loans. According to the lawsuit, MRS and Brown falsely claimed they would take over the homeowners' mortgage payments, thereby allowing them to "move on" and avoid further negative consequences to their credit ratings. MRS and Eric Brown are also required to pay $241,401 to the State for consumer restitution, civil penalties, costs and fees, and disgorgement of ill-gotten gains. Hear about the future of consumer protection at CWAG's annual meeting in San Francisco next week.
CWAG Associate Attorney General Bill Schuette of Michigan announced a Notice of Intended Action and Cease and Desist Order against Healing American Heroes, Inc. of Round Rock, Texas and its professional fundraiser Jeremy Squire & Associates for over a million violations of the Charitable Organizations and Solicitations Act. Violations included deceptive solicitations and diversion of funds raised to other purposes. Over 10,000 donations - totaling more than $200,000 - were received from Michigan donors. "This group systematically exploited thousands in Michigan and hundreds of thousands nationwide who wanted to help wounded service members," said Attorney General Schuette. "Our troops deserve better; our citizens deserve better." Hear about the future of consumer protection at CWAG's annual meeting in San Francisco next week.
Chris Coppin | Legal Director
Conference of Western Attorneys General