Attorney General's Weekly Newsletter
Volume 3, Issue 11 • March 19, 2021
Attorney General Moody's Week In Review

This week, another round of direct stimulus payments from the Internal Revenue Service headed to eligible Floridians’ bank accounts and mailboxes as part of a massive COVID-19 relief bill. Ahead of the direct payments, I issued a Consumer Alert about a possible resurgence of stimulus payment scams due to this massive spending package.

Anytime the federal government doles out large sums of money, scammers worldwide will try to exploit the situation.

If you are expecting a stimulus payment, know that:
Be smart. Seek out trusted sources of information about when your payment will be received and never respond to solicitations asking you to provide personal information or payment to receive a stimulus check.

Last December, to highlight potential stimulus payment and COVID-19 related scams and to provide resources for Floridians to share with loved ones, my Scams at a Glance program released two new downloadable brochures detailing information about how to spot common COVID-19 and stimulus scams.

To learn about these types of scams and more consumer protection information, check out Scams at a Glance here.

By guarding against fraud, and reporting scams to my office, you are helping us build a Stronger, Safer Florida.

In the News
Attorney General Ashley Moody warns residents of stimulus check scams, WCTV

Stimulus payments are coming, so scammers could be coming for your money, News 4 Jax

Ashley Moody Joins Action Against Nationwide Debt Collection Agency Over Massive Data Breach, Florida Daily

Florida AG Moody signs on to Google lawsuit, FOX 13 Tampa Bay

Florida could get share of Purdue Pharma money, Tampa Bay Times

Protecting Floridians
Attorney General Moody Secures Billions for Opioid Abatement Funds from Purdue Pharma Bankruptcy Plan


Attorney General Ashley Moody has secured additional funding for Florida communities plagued by the national opioid crisis. Purdue Pharma filed its bankruptcy plan worth approximately $7 billion that will place the full value of the company into a trust set up to allocate the funds toward opioid abatement efforts nationwide. More than $4.275 billion of the $7 billion represented in the plan will come from the Sackler family, who will also lose their entire stake in the company as part of the terms—effectively removing them from any involvement in U.S. opioid sales.

Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “As we continue to fight the pervasive opioid epidemic, I am pleased to announce that we have secured additional monies—now more than $4 billion—to help fund critical resources for communities struggling from this devastation. Although we cannot reverse the damage that this epidemic has inflicted, these life-saving funds will now be available early next year, and strict measures are now in place going forward to prevent the insidious and harmful marketing of opioids.”
More.


Attorney General Moody Takes Action Against Google for Anticompetitive Practices

Attorney General Ashley Moody is taking action against Google for multiple violations of federal and state antitrust and consumer protection laws—including anticompetitive conduct, exclusionary practices, and false and deceptive misrepresentations in connection with its role in the multitrillion-dollar online-display advertising industry. Google also made false and deceptive misrepresentations to consumers regarding Google’s privacy practices. Google’s monopolization of online-display advertising involves an anticompetitive agreement with Facebook, making misrepresentations to users and customers, and suppressing competition. Attorney General Moody is joined by a bipartisan multistate coalition of 14 other state attorneys general in the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.

Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “For far too long, Google has used its size and position as one of the largest tech giants in the world to manipulate and unfairly monopolize the marketplace. The core of American economic success lies on our foundation of capitalism and a free, fair and competitive marketplace.

“Google knowingly and willingly monopolized the products and services used by advertisers in online-display advertising. The company also engaged in false and deceptive acts while buying and selling the online-display ads. Through their monopolization and deceptive acts, Google greatly decreased other publishers’ ability to monetize their content while simultaneously increasing costs to advertisers. Most of all, Google harmed consumers, including the millions of Floridians who use the search engine daily.” More.


Attorney General Moody Encourages Defrauded Investors in Precious Metals Investment Scheme to File Claims

Attorney General Ashley Moody, along with the Florida Office of Financial Regulation, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and 28 other state attorneys general, announces the opening of a claims process for defrauded investors in a recently filed joint civil enforcement action against Metals.com, Tower Equity, Chase Metals, Barrick Capital and other associated parties. This action accuses the defendants of perpetrating a fraudulent precious metals investment scheme allegedly involving an estimated 1,600 investors, including more than 100 Floridians—most of whom are seniors—and more than $185 million in customer funds.

Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “As Attorney General, I am committed to protecting all Floridians from fraud. This nationwide investment scheme preyed on investors in our state and particularly targeted seniors. We are fighting for our great seniors every day, and in this specific case, we are recovering millions lost to a deceitful investment scam. I want to encourage anyone defrauded by these companies to request a return of available funds by submitting a claim today.”
More.