THIS WEEK IN THE NEWS
October 6 to October 10, 2014
In New York City, Attorney General Schneiderman was joined by Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane to announce the creation of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Heroin Task Force (NEMA HTF), an unprecedented multistate effort that will marshal the resources of top law-enforcement officers across Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states to fight the deadly heroin epidemic. Along with expanding the exchange of information between various agencies, NEMA HTF will establish a formal framework for interstate coordination, allowing other states to pursue suspects who might otherwise remain at large. In addition to New York and Pennsylvania, which will co-chair the effort, New Jersey and Massachusetts have also joined the coalition. In the last two years, over 98% of the large-scale heroin trafficking cases prosecuted by the New York Attorney General’s Office have involved heroin flowing between New York and either Pennsylvania, New Jersey or Massachusetts.
Schneiderman Highlights Office’s Health Care Helpline That Has Assisted 20,000 Consumers And Saved $12.5 Million For New Yorkers
In Rochester and Buffalo, Attorney General Schneiderman highlights the significant achievements of his Health Care Bureau’s Helpline, a free service offered by the Attorney General’s office that has investigated and resolved approximately 13,000 consumer complaints since 2011, resulting in over $12.5 million in health care expenses being saved or returned to New York consumers. The Attorney General also released his office’s new report, offering a review of some of the assistance provided by Helpline staff. Any New Yorker facing a problem with a health care provider or insurer is encouraged to call the Attorney General’s toll-free Helpline at 800-428-9071.
Joined by Congressman Eliot Engel and State Senate Democratic leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins in Yonkers, Attorney General Schneiderman announced an agreement with Citigroup to reimburse more than 31,000 Citi customers with “TRAK” accounts, who were charged higher advisory fees than they negotiated. The agreement will return nearly $16 million to customers, including $1.3 million for 3,000 New York customers alone. The Attorney General’s investigation began after a Westchester Citi customer filed a complaint to the Attorney General’s Office, revealing that she had been unknowingly charged more than her TRAK account’s negotiated advisory fee.
Attorney General Schneiderman announced a $105 million national settlement with AT&T, which resolved allegations that the company “crammed” unauthorized charges for third-party services onto customers’ accounts, illegally raising their cell phone bills. AT&T customers who believe they were billed for third party charges that they did not authorize are encouraged to file a claim at ftc.gov/att through May 1, 2015.
Schneiderman Applauds Deal Between University Of Michigan And Bloomberg Ending Early Release Of Market-Moving To High-Frequency Traders
Attorney General Schneiderman praised the agreement between the University of Michigan and Bloomberg LP to distribute the university’s consumer confidence survey through Bloomberg’s news service, which will end the early release of the survey’s market-moving data to certain investors. The Attorney General applauded the effort as an important step toward promoting fairness and avoiding unfair distortions in the securities markets by cracking down on what he calls ‘Insider Trading 2.0.” This agreement follows several settlements reached by Attorney General Schneiderman, including deals with BlackRock and 18 Wall Street firms, to help curb unfair practices by high-frequency traders.
Schneiderman Announces Settlement With Cheektowaga Firm That Processed Payments For Fraudulent ID Theft Protection Company
Attorney General Schneiderman announced his settlement with a Cheektowaga payment processor to provide restitution to customers paid for and never received identity theft protection. Under the settlement, the company will pay more than $71,000 in restitution to defrauded customers. The Attorney General also offered tips to consumers worried about protecting their personal information.
Schneiderman Reaches $846,000 Settlement With New York Specialty Pharmacy To Resolve Allegations Of Medicaid Fraud
Attorney General Schneiderman reached a more than $846,000 settlement with CareMed Pharmaceutical Services, a New York-based retail specialty pharmacy. The settlement resolves allegations that the pharmacy made false statements to Medicaid – resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars in wasteful spending – to secure authorizations for coverage of specialty drugs. The pharmacy also allegedly submitted false claims to Medicaid for certain prescription medications that were restocked and resold and for refills that recipients never obtained.
In Other News…
Attorney General Schneiderman celebrated a week of momentum on marriage equality, from a Supreme Court decision leading to the lifting of bans in five states, to the 9th Circuit decision paving the way for equality in Idaho and Nevada.
The Attorney General has implemented a policy change that will give state and city housing agencies a new tool, and new leverage, to preserve and expand affordable housing.
Read the Attorney General’s City & State op-ed on his plan to expand the goals of the annual SOMOS El Futuro Conference to ensure the voices of all Latino New Yorkers are heard.
A Madison County deputy sheriff saved a life using a Narcan kit and training provided through the Attorney General’s Community Overdose Prevention program.
While in Yonkers, Attorney General Schneiderman checked out the Yonkers Brewing Co.’s new location on the Yonkers Waterfront, set to open this winter.
For more info on AG Schneiderman or other politicians hit us up at RandyKFisher@gmail.com.
Posted by Charles and Randy Fisher (Twitter / FB / IG @HHSYC).