Attorney General Bondi's Weekly Briefing
This week I took action to shut down an organization attempting to take advantage of other’s generosity by falsely claiming to support charities related to families of fallen firefighters and breast cancer patients. Community Charity Advancement, Inc. misled donors into believing that their donations would be put towards legitimate charities and research. However, despite not having a physical location, employees or providing any services, CCAI put only two percent or less of the more than $43 million in contributions received toward charitable organizations or causes.
To appear credible, the charity even allegedly claimed to have partnerships with well-known and legitimate organizations including the University of Florida, Johns Hopkins and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
It is absolutely abhorrent to exploit families of fallen firefighters and breast cancer patients to steal from generous Floridians. Charity scams prey on people’s goodwill and discourage people from giving. Furthermore, every dollar given to a deceptive charity is a dollar that does not go to those in need. This is an outrageous ploy and those responsible will be held accountable.
The holiday season is a popular time to donate to a charity, and while my office is working diligently to protect you from charity scams, I highly encourage everyone to do their due-diligence before donating to a charity.
At the start of the holiday season, I released tips for consumers to safeguard against scammers seeking to take advantage of the generosity of others. Check out my 2017 Holiday Consumer Protection Guide for some of these responsible giving tips. You’ll find tips on how to research charities on page six of the guide.
Attorneys General Reach $13.5 Million Consumer Settlement with Pharmaceutical Company
Attorney General Pam Bondi and 50 other attorneys general reached a $13.5 million settlement with Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. regarding alleged off-label marketing and deceptive and misleading representations to promote four prescription drugs. The drugs include Aggrenox®, Atrovent®, Combivent® and Micardis®. The settlement resolves allegations that BIPI engaged in unfair, deceptive or misleading practices by making misrepresentations about the prescription drugs and by representing that the drugs had sponsorship, approval, characteristics, ingredients, uses, benefits, quantities or qualities that they did not have.
Specifically, the states allege BIPI misrepresented that its antiplatelet drug, Aggrenox®, was effective for many conditions below the neck, such as heart attacks and congestive heart failure. Additionally, BIPI claimed Aggrenox® to be superior to Plavix® without evidence to substantiate that claim. More.
CNA Arrested for Neglecting an Elderly Person
Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office arrested Nekeysha Cromwell, 32, a certified nursing assistant at San Jose Health and Rehabilitation Center, for neglecting an elderly resident of the facility. According to the MFCU investigation, after Cromwell ignored nurse instructions and facility protocols the victim fractured both femurs. More.
Hillsborough County Woman Arrested for Medicaid Provider Fraud
Attorney General Pam Bondi's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit announced the arrest of a Hillsborough County woman for defrauding the Medicaid program out of at least $5,000. While working for My Harvest, a Medicaid provider of companion services, Geraldine Rivera, 32, allegedly caused her employer to bill for services never provided. According to the MFCU investigation, Rivera, continued to report providing companion services to a disabled Medicaid recipient long after Rivera stopped servicing the recipient. My Harvest no longer employs Rivera. More.
Representatives from Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution in Tampa volunteering at Metropolitan Ministries for the holidays.
Attorney General Bondi’s Consumer Protection Division participating in Washington Shores Elementary Orlando Community Service Project. The event shared donated clothing, gifts, toys and more with children in the community.