Attorney General's Weekly Newsletter
Volume 4, Issue 10 • March 11, 2022
Attorney General Moody's Week In Review

It’s National Consumer Protection Week, and in recognition of the occasion, my office is providing tips and resources to help Floridians avoid scams.

Since taking office, my Consumer Protection Division has recovered more than $310 million in total relief for Florida—with more than $236 million in direct relief for consumers across the country, including credit monitoring, debt forgiveness, restitution and other relief.

While I’m proud of the work we do to fight fraud and recover lost funds, sometimes the best way to protect consumers is to make sure they are equipped with the knowledge to avoid scams. So, this week, I highlighted some of the ways we help Floridians stay protected from scams through an online social media campaign.

One of our most successful educational tools is our Consumer Alert program. Over the past three years, we have issued more than 100 alerts to warn Floridians about everything from malware attacks to imposter scams.

Another tool we use to reach Floridians is Scams at a Glance. This program includes easy-to-share resources with valuable information about common scams and tips on how to keep clear of scammers. The Scams at a Glance resources are downloadable brochures that are available in both English and Spanish, with topics covering Charity Scams, Cryptocurrency Scams, IRS Imposters, Phantom Debt and more.

To access both our Consumer Alerts and Scams at a Glance resources, visit MyFloridaLegal.com.

By staying informed about common and emerging scams, you can help us build a Stronger, Safer Florida.

In the News
Ashley Moody Recognizes National Consumer Protection Week, Florida Daily

States push Biden to rescind Head Start mask mandate for children as young as 2, FOX News

Attorney general seeks nominees for Back the Blue Awards, Villages News

FL Attorney General warns of “smishing” scams targeting bank, credit union customers, ABC 9 Orlando

Florida attorney general warns of bank ‘smishing’ schemes, ABC 7 Sarasota

Protecting Floridians
VIDEO CONSUMER ALERT: Attorney General Moody Warns of Bank and Credit-Union Smishing Scams

This National Consumer Protection Week, Attorney General Ashley Moody is warning Floridians of smishing scams that are targeting bank or credit-union customers. Financial institutions will never ask for account numbers, PIN numbers, CVV codes or full Social Security numbers in a text or email; any attempted contact through these means is a scam. Attorney General Moody wants to make sure that all Floridians know the proper steps to take when a fraudulent text message is received from a scammer posing as a financial institution.

Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “Smishing scams are designed to entice and deceive cellphone users with urgent messages. Receiving a notification, fraudulent or not, that you are supposedly making an unauthorized transfer is terrifying. It can be easy to be tricked when these alarming messages are received. Read our tips on how to handle these situations and stay protected against financial-institution smishing scams.”
More.


ONE PILL CAN KILL: Attorney General Moody Warns Spring Breakers About Dangers of Using Drugs and Mixing Drugs with Alcohol


It’s spring break season in Florida, and Attorney General Ashley Moody is warning spring breakers about the dangers of using illicit drugs and to avoid mixing drugs with alcohol, or other forms of drugs. The United States is in the midst of an opioid crisis claiming 21 lives a day in Florida. Additionally, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration reports of increasing numbers of counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl are surfacing with some users overdosing and dying after taking just one pill.

Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “Spring break is underway, and while millions are flocking to Florida for vacation, I am asking students to take precautions while enjoying some time away from school. Deadly fentanyl from Mexico is flooding the illicit drug market, and taking just one counterfeit pill laced with this synthetic opioid can kill. So please, don’t do drugs and whatever you do, never take a pill not prescribed to you by a medical professional.” More.


Attorney General Moody Continues Fight Against President Biden’s Unlawful Federal Contractor Vaccine Mandate


Attorney General Ashley Moody is continuing to fight President Joe Biden’s unlawful vaccine mandate for federal contractors. Attorney General Moody is leading a coalition of 21 state attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in support of the commonwealth of Kentucky’s multistate suit against Biden’s federal contractor vaccine mandate. The suit seeks an immediate end to the Biden administration’s unlawful policy that requires federal-government contractors to ensure all employees receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The challenged vaccination requirements intrude on Florida’s laws expressly restricting employer-vaccine mandates. There are many Florida companies that will be negatively impacted by the unlawful requirements.

Attorney General Moody filed a similar action in October 2021 and won a preliminary injunction against the unlawful mandate. The federal government is currently appealing Kentucky’s case. Attorney General Moody is leading the charge by filing a multistate amicus brief in support of Kentucky and helping block vaccine mandates for Floridians who work for federal contractors.

Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “It is beyond time for President Biden to end his draconian mandates that obstruct personal medical autonomy and threaten jobs. We have challenged the federal government’s unlawful vaccine mandate for contractors in court and won—yet the president continues his attempts to control the personal health decisions of millions of Americans. I’m continuing the legal battle to protect Floridians and their livelihoods by leading a multistate coalition action against Biden’s vaccine mandate for federal contractors.”
More.


Attorney General Moody Demands Biden Administration Rescind Unlawful Head Start Mask Mandate

Attorney General Ashley Moody is leading 22 other state attorneys general in demanding the end of the Head Start program’s mask mandate. In November 2021, President Joe Biden and his administration announced the forced masking of children and toddlers as young as two years old—even outdoors—in participating schools and daycares. Last December, Attorney General Moody filed a lawsuit to end Biden’s vaccine and mask mandate for the Head Start program and won. The decision stands and has yet to be appealed by the Biden administration.

Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “We challenged these unlawful, federal mandates in court and won. Now, the Biden administration is ignoring the law and continuing to force children as young as two years old to wear masks while playing outside. As a mother, I believe this will have lasting developmental effects. It is far past time for the president to abandon this unlawful policy.”
More.


Attorney General Moody Announces Arrests of Medicaid Providers for Defrauding Medicaid Out of More Than $148,000


Attorney General Ashley Moody’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the Broward Sheriff’s Office arrested Andrew James Jones and Johanna Courts for falsely billing the Florida Medicaid program for services not rendered. Jones and Courts are the owner and chief operating officer of Cornerstone Community Mental Health Services. An investigation by MFCU revealed that the duo defrauded the Medicaid program out of more than $148,000.

Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “Medicaid fraud is a serious crime, and the defendants in this case face felony charges and stiff penalties for stealing nearly $150,000 from the state-run health care program. I am thankful my Medicaid Fraud Control Unit stopped this fraud scheme before the defendants stole even more taxpayer funds. Now, my Statewide Prosecutors will ensure these criminals face justice.”
More.


Attorney General Moody Presents Women’s History Month Resolution to Florida Commission on the Status of Women


Attorney General Ashley Moody recognized Women’s History Month by presenting a signed Florida Cabinet resolution to the Florida Commission on the Status of Women. Attorney General Moody delivered the resolution on behalf of the entire Cabinet during the FCSW new officer installation ceremony at the state capitol in Tallahassee. Attorney General Moody presented the resolution ahead of the swearing in of the 2022 FCSW officers.

Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “Women’s History Month is a time to celebrate the incredible accomplishments of so many trailblazing women in Florida. It is important that we showcase the profound impacts women continue to make on our state and nation, and I am happy to present our signed Cabinet resolution recognizing Women’s History Month to the Commission in appreciation of the work they do for the betterment of women and girls in Florida.”
More.


Events
This week, Attorney General Ashley Moody joined Gov. Ron DeSantis, Hillsborough County law enforcement leaders and strawberry growers in Plant City at the Florida Strawberry Festival to celebrate Strawberry Shortcake—Florida’s new official state dessert.

Attorney General Moody speaking at the Florida Commission on the Status of Women’s quarterly meeting in Tallahassee. Attorney General Moody presented a Florida Cabinet resolution to FCSW declaring March Women’s History Month in Florida.



Attorney General Moody with Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee and Florida Commission on the Status of Women 2022 Chair Sophia Eccleston outside the Florida Capitol Cabinet Meeting Room.


From left to right: Secretary Lee, FCSW Chair Eccleston, Attorney General Moody


Attorney General Moody with Secretary of State Lee and leaders of the 2022 Florida Commission on the Status of Women in the Florida Capitol.



Attorney General Moody with Operation Underground Railroad founder Tim Ballard and Director of Domestic Law Enforcement Relations J.C. Holt inside the Attorney General's capitol office. Operation Underground Railroad works with law enforcement to free victims of human trafficking and exploitation, supporting operation and aftercare efforts in 48 states and 28 countries.


From left to right: J.C. Holt, Attorney General Moody, Tim Ballard


Attorney General Moody with University of South Florida students in the USF Tallahassee Internship Program.