Attorney General's Weekly Newsletter
Volume 3, Issue 17 April 30, 2021
Attorney General Moody's Week In Review
I’m excited to announce that our push to ensure greater senior protection in Florida is well under way. Thanks to Representative Colleen Burton and Senator Danny Burgess, our senior protection bill passed the full legislature this week!
It’s no secret that Florida is a great place to retire. With more than five million seniors calling Florida home, it is our duty to ensure we provide a safe environment for older citizens to enjoy their golden years free from fraud and exploitation. Unfortunately, scammers recognize our booming senior population and often seek to turn their dream retirement into a financial nightmare.
Our seniors deserve peace of mind and the ability to enjoy their retirement, free of worry from deceitful scammers looking to exploit their trust.
This law will strengthen senior protection by preventing the intentional isolation of vulnerable adults, allowing for intervention by law enforcement and prosecutors to prevent irreversible physical harm or financial loss to Florida seniors, and strengthening accountability of Guardians.
My Office of Statewide Prosecution will also have additional authority to go after those who commit crimes against elderly and disabled adults.
I’m so grateful for the support of The Florida Bar’s Elder law section, House Speaker Chris Sprowls and Senate President Wilton Simpson throughout this process.
Better protecting the more than 5 million seniors that call Florida home will help us build a Stronger, Safer Florida.
In the News
Bill would protect seniors from financial exploitation, The Gainesville Sun
Moody Extends Protections for Seniors, The Floridian
Thousands get rid of old, unused prescriptions during National Drug Take Back Day, News4Jax
Florida AG Moody Seeks Injunction To Resume Cruises In State, WUSF Tampa
State: Florida nurse stole nearly $2K from nursing home victim for beauty products, Miami trip, News 4 Jax
Ashley Moody, State Attorneys General Push Congress to Reauthorize National Threat Assessment Center, Florida Daily
Measure to Strengthen Human Trafficking Laws Goes to the Governor, The Florida Bar
Attorney General Moody Urges Congress to Support EAGLES Act
Attorney General Ashley Moody, with a bipartisan group of 40 attorneys general, is urging Congress to pass the EAGLES Act, a national program to prevent targeted school violence. The legislation is named for the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Eagles and would expand the U.S. Secret Service’s National Threat Assessment Center, with a greater focus on school-violence prevention.
The EAGLES Act’s safe-school initiative contains research and training components, allows dissemination of evidence-based practices, and authorizes NTAC to work with state and local officials to develop research and training.
Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “This Congressional legislation, named in honor of the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School attack, will help strengthen our schools through coordinated federal, state and local resources. I am proud to join my fellow attorneys general in support of this important legislation to increase security and help prevent acts of violence at schools in Florida and across our nation.”
Attorney General Moody Announces Passage of Historic Senior Protection Legislation
Attorney General Ashley Moody announced the passage of historic senior protection legislation. Attorney General Moody worked closely with the Elder Law Section of the Florida Bar, Senator Danny Burgess and Representative Colleen Burton in crafting HB 1041 to provide greater protection to seniors statewide. The bill today passed off the Senate floor and will head to Governor Ron DeSantis for his signature.
Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “It’s no secret that Florida is a great place to retire. With more than five million seniors calling Florida home, it is our duty to ensure we provide a safe environment for older citizens to enjoy their golden years free from fraud and exploitation. Unfortunately, scammers recognize our booming senior population and often seek to turn their dream retirement into a financial nightmare.
“Our seniors deserve peace of mind and the ability to enjoy their retirement, free of worry from deceitful scammers looking to exploit their trust. I’m proud to work with Senator Danny Burgess and Representative Colleen Burton to strengthen our state laws and the authority of my Statewide Prosecutors to help ensure criminals targeting Florida’s older population are brought to justice.”
More Than $11 Million in Refunds Secured for Consumers Affected by Credit Card Interest Rate Reduction Scam
Attorney General Ashley Moody announced millions of dollars secured as a result of a joint action brought by Attorney General Moody’s Office and the Federal Trade Commission in refunds for consumers affected by a credit card interest rate reduction scam. In response to a bogus credit card interest rate reduction scheme operated by E.M. Systems & Services, refunds totaling more than $11 million are being distributed to consumers who lost money in the scam—including hundreds of Floridians victimized by the scheme.
Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “These fraudsters knowingly exploited the trust of Florida consumers in order to earn a dishonest dollar—through deceptive telemarketing on false promises of debt reduction. I’m proud to work with the Federal Trade Commission to return lost money to hundreds of Floridians victimized by this deceptive telemarketing scam.”
Law Enforcement and Correctional Officer Practices Legislation Passes Both Chambers of the Florida Legislature
Attorney General Ashley Moody is thanking legislative leaders for passing the Law Enforcement and Correctional Officer Practices Bill. HB 7051 is focused on improving Florida law enforcement training and policing practices. The legislation passed both chambers of the Florida legislature this week.
Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “I believe fostering positive relationships between law enforcement and the communities they swore an oath to protect is vital to ensuring a thriving, strong state. As a former member of the Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice, I focused intently on innovative ways to strengthen these bonds, improve policing and reduce crime, both in Florida and nationwide.
“What I have learned through my work on the Commission, and decades of public service in the criminal justice system, is that law enforcement cannot achieve these goals alone. It will take all of us working together to build upon and strengthen our criminal justice system. I want to thank Florida’s legislative leaders for working to pass legislation ushering in meaningful steps to improve and support policing in Florida.”
Attorney General Moody’s Office of Statewide Prosecution Secures 25 Year Prison Sentence for Heroin Trafficker
Attorney General Ashley Moody’s Office of Statewide Prosecution secured a 25-year prison sentence against a drug trafficker after distributing heroin throughout Central Florida. The stiff prison sentence is the result of a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration investigation into Cristian Reyes Rios. Attorney General Moody’s Statewide Prosecutors provided legal assistance to the DEA during the course of the investigation and prosecuted Reyes Rios.
Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “This convicted drug trafficker spent the better half of the last decade distributing dangerous drugs throughout our state—while Florida fought back against the deadly opioid crisis. I am proud of the work my Statewide Prosecutors have done in securing a lengthy prison sentence for this drug trafficker and hope this serves as a warning to anyone pushing dangerous and illegal substances in Florida. We will not stand idly by as you endanger the lives of Floridians.”
Attorney General Moody Secures $300 Million Following Investigation into Improper Marketing and Sale of Suboxone
Attorney General Ashley Moody, working with state and federal partners, is securing $300 million following a nationwide investigation. Attorney General Moody’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit worked with the U.S. Department of Justice and other state MFCUs to investigate allegations that Indivior plc. and Indivior Inc., d/b/a Indivior, falsely and aggressively marketed and otherwise promoted the drug Suboxone, resulting in improper expenditures of state Medicaid funds. Suboxone is a drug product approved for use by recovering opioid addicts to avoid or reduce withdrawal symptoms while they undergo treatment. Suboxone and its active ingredient, buprenorphine, are powerful and addictive opioids.
Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “The opioid epidemic is claiming the lives of Floridians every day. It is reprehensible that these companies would prey on those recovering from opioid addiction to earn a dishonest dollar. Even more disturbing, they exploited the taxpayer-funded Medicaid program to get the job done. Thanks to my Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the Department of Justice, these companies are being held accountable and relief will go to the government health care programs affected by these aggressive and predatory tactics.”
This week, Attorney General Ashley Moody’s senior protection priority legislation, HB 1041, passed both the House and Senate Chambers. After passage, Attorney General Moody greeted the sponsors of the bill, Rep. Colleen Burton and Sen. Danny Burgess, and Senate President Wilton Simpson on the Senate Floor.
Attorney General Moody hosting the Stanley Cup in her Capitol Office. The Tampa Bay Lightning are the 2020 National Hockey League champions.
Attorney General Moody speaking to the Florida State University Board of Visitors in a virtual video call from the FSU campus.
Attorney General Moody meeting with President of the State Law Enforcement Chiefs Association and Director of Reentry and Inmate Programs at the Leon County Sheriff’s Office Larry Bourdeau.
Attorney General Moody speaking at the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony.
Attorney General Moody giving the keynote address at the Florida Trucking Association Spring Meeting. Fighting to end human trafficking in Florida is one of the Attorney General’s top priorities. The Attorney General has enlisted the help of truck drivers across the state through the Highway Heroes program to train drivers to spot human trafficking while out on the state’s roads.
Attorney General Moody congratulates Katie O’Rourke, the Office of Statewide Prosecution’s Victim Advocate, who has been named the Victim Advocate of the Year by the Central Florida Victim Services Network.