THIS WEEK IN THE NEWS
March 17 to March 21, 2014
Schneiderman Calls For New Efforts To Eliminate Unfair Advantages Provided By Trading Venues To High-Frequency Traders
The Attorney General called for tougher regulations and market reforms intended to eliminate the unfair advantages commonly provided to high-frequency trading firms at the expense of other investors. During remarks at a symposium hosted by New York Law School – “Insider Trading 2.0 – A New Initiative to Crack Down on Predatory Practices” – Attorney General Schneiderman detailed a number of services that trading venues offer to high-frequency traders and the damaging impact of those services on the rest of the market.
Check out the New York Times, CNBC, and Fox Business stories on Attorney General Schneiderman’s push to eliminate unfair advantages in the financial market. You can also watch the Attorney General’s interview on CNBC, and his full speech at the New York Law School on the Attorney General’s YouTube page.
Schneiderman Spearheads National Effort Calling On Major Pharmacies To Stop Selling Tobacco Products
The Attorney General was joined by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine in leading an effort of Attorneys General of 28 states and territories in calling for the largest pharmacy chains in the United States to voluntarily remove tobacco products from their shelves. The Attorneys General highlight the fact that pharmacies and drug stores are sending a mixed message to its customers by marketing themselves as a source for community health care while selling deadly tobacco products.
The Attorney General announced a settlement totaling almost $500,000 with seven New York City McDonald’s restaurant franchises and their owner Richard Cisneros for failing to pay legally-required laundry allowances for many employees, for uncompensated work time and for unlawful deductions from wages that resulted when cashiers were required to cover cash register shortfalls. The settlement money, which includes damages and interest, will go to more than 1,600 mostly minimum wage workers who were shortchanged by these franchises.
Attorney General Schneiderman announced that Marketwired, a leading news distribution and reporting firm, has agreed to stop selling to high-frequency traders direct feeds of the information that Marketwired distributes on behalf of clients, a move that will end advantages to high-frequency traders. This agreement follows a similar decision last month by Business Wire, a Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary, to stop providing similar market-moving data to high-frequency traders.
Schneiderman And I-Stop Allies Call On The Federal Government To Rescind FDA Approval Of Dangerous Opioid Zohydro Er
The Attorney General called on the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to overturn the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of Zohydro Extended Release (Zohydro ER). The Attorney General also issued an open letter to medical professionals highlighting the potential public safety risks posed by Zohydro ER and reminding them that the drug is subject to the restrictions outlined in New York’s historic Internet System for Tracking Over Prescribing Act (I-STOP) legislation, signed into law in 2012.
Check out the Newsday story on this initiative.
Schneiderman Announces Settlement With Health Insurer That Wrongly Denied Mental Health Benefits To Thousands Of New Yorkers
The Attorney General announced a settlement with Schenectady-based MVP Health Care, requiring the health insurer to reform its behavioral health claims review process, cover residential treatment and charge the lower primary care co-payment for outpatient visits to most mental health and substance abuse treatment providers. The settlement, the second against a health insurer so far this year enforcing the parity laws, also requires the health insurance plan — which has more than 500,000 members in the Albany region, Central New York and the Hudson Valley — to submit previously denied mental health and substance abuse treatment claims for independent review, which could result in more than $6 million being returned to its members.
The Attorney General’s Office and the City of White Plains Department of Public Safety collaborated on a successful gun buyback event on Saturday, March 22, during which ninety-four firearms were exchanged for compensation by debit card on site. The Attorney General’s Office will be collaborating with local law enforcement officials in Poughkeepsie for the next gun buyback event on Saturday, March 29.
Read the NBC New York story about this successful event in White Plains.
Schneiderman And Comptroller DiNapoli Announce Guilty Pleas By Former Troy Housing Authority Employees Who Tried To Defraud New York State Retirement System
With State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, the Attorney General announced guilty pleas of former Troy Housing Authority employees who conspired to defraud the New York State Retirement System of illegal retirement payments. Roger Rosenthal, a retired employee of the Troy Housing Authority, and William Meissner, a current employee, then conspired to cover their tracks by submitting a falsified, backdated contract. Rosenthal and Meissner have paid over $63,000 in restitution as part of their plea agreements.
Attorney General Schneiderman announced the jail sentences of Salvatrice Gaston, Robinson Akenami and Joceyln “JoJo” Allrich for their role in a massive scheme to defraud prospective nursing students. The defendants were each sentenced to 2 1/3 to 7 years in prison by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Joel Goldberg today, after a jury found them guilty on all counts last month, including grand larceny charges. The jury found that, over a period of about five years, the defendants and their co-conspirators operated a network of fake nursing schools in Kings and Nassau counties and engaged in an elaborate scheme to defraud their victims, including by advertising the fake programs in media outlets that cater to New York’s Caribbean communities.
Schneiderman Announces Guilty Plea By Former Assistant Manager Of Disability Services Center For Stealing Money From Disabled Residents
The Attorney General announced the guilty plea of a former assistant manager at Schoharie ARC–a center for individuals with disabilities–for stealing money from disabled residents. The employee was terminated from her position at ARC and will appear on an exclusion list, meaning she cannot be employed by a Medicaid provider – which includes most, if not all, agencies that provide services to the developmentally disabled.
Schneiderman Announces Arrest Of Heritage Health Care Center Nurse’s Aide For Neglect That Resulted In Patient’s Broken Leg
Attorney General Schneiderman announced the arrest of a nurse’s aide who transferred a 95-year-old resident of the Heritage Health Care Center by herself, despite being required by law to utilize the assistance of another staff member and a lift for all transfers. The resident began to slip and was lowered to the floor. The employee did not report the incident, and two days later, it was determined that the resident had two fractures in her lower right leg.
Please join us for a Brooklyn Community Forum on March 24, and the 29th Annual New York Crime Victims Candlelight Vigil on April 6. See fliers for complete details.
In Other News…
Following the arrests of administrators and employees at the Medford Multicare for Living in connection with the death of an elderly resident and the subsequent cover-up earlier this year, Newsday lamented the lax oversight of nursing homes by state regulators while praising the Attorney General for bringing attention to the conditions at this and other facilities in New York.
Attorney General Schneiderman celebrated “Sunshine Week” by promoting his office’s Public Integrity Initiative for open government and transparency.
Check out the Attorney General’s #TBT for this week.
For more information on Attorney General Schneiderman and other Political Figures hit us up at RandyKFisher@gmail.com.
Posted by Charles Fisher and Randy Fisher (Twitter @HHSYC)