THIS WEEK IN THE NEWS
November 24 to November 28, 2014
With the holiday shopping season now in full swing, Attorney General Schneiderman is taking action to keep New Yorkers safe from toxic toys and scams. This week, he was joined by consumer advocates and elected officials in announcing his letter to retailers across New York State reminding them of their legal obligation to ensure the safety of children from toys that contain toxic chemicals that present risks to human health. Along with NYC Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Menin, the Attorney General also offered tips for consumers to avoid hazardous toys as well as tips about charitable donations, online shopping, and purchasing gift cards.
As Western New York recovered from last week’s historic blizzard, Attorney General Schneiderman began taking legal action against businesses that engaged in price gouging during the emergency. The Attorney General has already sent a cease and desist letter to one business accused of engaging in price gouging, and is investigating several complaints against other businesses alleged to have engaged in illegal price increases. Attorney General Schneiderman also offered tips to consumers to help prevent them from being victimized by shady contractors performing home repairs and other work in the storm’s aftermath. Anyone who observed price gouging during the storm is encouraged to report it to the Attorney General’s Office immediately.
On Black Friday, Attorney General Schneiderman expressed his solidarity with workers who gathered at more than 2,000 Wal-Mart locations across the country to demand a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. While the Attorney General has used every tool to enforce New York’s labor laws – recovering more than $17 million for nearly 14,000 workers since 2011 – he also emphasized the need for new laws to remedy “the pervasive income inequality that is plaguing our nation.”
Attorney General Schneiderman applauded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal of protective, science-based standards for ozone smog as “a breath of fresh air,” and a necessary step to “help ensure that New York’s efforts to combat ozone pollution are not undercut by pollution generated by upwind states.” The Attorney General also led a coalition of states in a letter urging the federal Office of Management and Budget to support EPA’s proposed standards.
Attorney General Schneiderman announced the indictment of three pharmacies and seven individuals for allegedly defrauding Medicaid out of more than $5 million. The pharmacies were allegedly paying customers for prescriptions obtained from a local doctor and then billed Medicaid for the drugs, even though they were put back on shelves and never dispensed.
In a letter with 37 other states, Attorney General Schneiderman called upon the Federal Trade Commission to update the Telemarketing Sales Rule in order to reflect realities of today’s marketplace and better protect consumers from unscrupulous telemarketers. The Attorney General also offered tips for New Yorkers looking to avoid unscrupulous, for-profit telemarketers soliciting charitable donations.
Attorney General Schneiderman announced the plea of Ock Chul Ha, the President of the Korean Social Service Center for defrauding elderly Korean-Americans out of more than $200,000, during a pervasive scam that lasted for more than three years. Ha falsely promised clients – who came to him for advice regarding Medicare or Social Security – placement in affordable housing. Ha will serve up to three years in state prison, will pay his victims restitution and will never again be allowed to use his social service center as a tool for fraud and deception.
On behalf of the thousands of Wayne County residents who do not speak English as a first language, Attorney General Schneiderman reached an agreement with the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office to enhance accessibility of law enforcement services for residents with limited English proficiency, including expanding interpretation and translation assistance. The Attorney General praised the Sheriff’s Office as “a model for other law enforcement agencies in the Finger Lakes region” by ensuring the delivery of police services is not restricted by language barriers.
In Other News…
Do you know how to avoid this season’s IRS Scam? Attorney General Schneiderman and Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney have some tips.
Great work by Sergeant Jim Thomson of the Newark Police Department in the Finger Lakes region – his quick thinking, along with a naloxone kit provided by the Attorney General’s COP program, saved a life last week.
The Buffalo News praised the leadership of New York State officials in the response to the Buffalo Blizzard, including Attorney General Schneiderman.
Visit our website at ag.ny.gov, where you can learn more about the office’s various initiatives. You can also contact us here.
For more information on AG Schneiderman or other politicians hit us up at RandyKFisher@gmail.com.
Posted by Charles and Randy Fisher (Twitter / Facebook / Instagram @HHSYC).