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Equifax Data Breach

AG REYES REQUESTS ADEQUATE REMEDIAL STEPS FROM EQUIFAX

SALT LAKE CITY September 22, 2017 – Today, Attorney General Sean Reyes released a letter he signed with 43 other attorneys general expressing concerns and requesting compliance from Equifax that will provide greater transparency and protect consumers.

The letter notes that, at the request of the attorneys general, Equifax made its offer of free credit monitoring services more prominent so that it can more easily be found by consumers.  The letter then demands that Equifax take the following actions:

  • Disable links to the Equifax fee-based credit monitoring services until the sign-up period for free credit monitoring services has ended.
  • Extend the sign-up period for free credit monitoring services to at least January 31, 2018.
  • Take steps to reimburse consumers who incur fees to completely freeze their credit by enrolling in security freeze services from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
  • Make the Equifax call center number more prominently visible on Equifax websites and ensure the hotline is adequately staffed 24 hours a day to create shorter wait times.
  • Notify the attorneys general about communications made to impacted consumers regarding their affected information and privacy.

AG Reyes issued the following statement, in conjunction with the release of the letter:

“This may be the largest and most damaging breach in our nation’s history; one that has affected 143 million U.S residents. Utah residents need all the information and tools available to help them mitigate the damage. To do this, Equifax must be transparent and accountable.

At this point in the crisis, they need to offer clear and concise steps so consumers can protect their information. We believe Equifax should not be profiting from their breach by continuing to offer a fee-based credit monitoring product, neither should they be charging consumers to freeze their credit.

I stand with an overwhelming majority of our sister states in calling for greater responsiveness and transparency from Equifax. Consumers need a clear path to protect data that may have been compromised by the breach.

Cyber security, identity protection and data protection have been and will remain top priorities for the Utah Attorney General’s Office.”

The multi-state investigation began immediately upon Equifax formally announcing the data breach. From the outset, the Utah Attorney General’s Office has been working alongside other states to discern the best course of action to protect residents. That includes assisting current victims and preventing future incidents of information loss.
 

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NOTES: 

1. The full text of the letter from the attorneys general can be downloaded as a PDF file. (885KB)

2. The Federal Trade Commission website is an excellent resource on Equifax breach issues. https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2017/09/equifax-data-breach-what-do

3. Utahns can find multiple ways to prevent identity theft at https://idtheft.utah.gov
 


Utah Attorney General Sends Well Wishes to the Utah Jewish Community Celebrating Rosh Hashanah

SALT LAKE CITY  September 20, 2017 – The Office of the Utah Attorney General wishes all our friends celebrating Rosh Hashanah a safe, happy, and healthy new year.

Attorney General Reyes stated, “Having grown up in a community with many friends of the Jewish faith, I have always enjoyed the spirit of renewal embodied by Rosh Hashanah. Shanah tovah u’metukah!

“May we all reflect on our experiences and imperfections in the effort to become more honorable human beings and more invested in our communities.”

Rosh Hashanah celebrates the Jewish New Year and is the beginning of Yamim Nora’im, Days of Awe. It is a time of personal reflection and self-examination of the soul, looking back at past experiences with renewed energy to make positive changes for the coming year.

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Utah Attorney General Announces Multistate Opioid Investigation

State Seeks Documents from Opioid Manufacturers and Distributors

SALT LAKE CITY  September 19, 2017 – Today, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes announced that a bipartisan coalition of state attorneys general are seeking documents and information from manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioids. This information will enable the attorneys general to evaluate whether these businesses are engaged in unlawful practices in the marketing, sale, and distribution of opioids. 41 attorneys general from U.S. states and territories are participating in the investigation. This action is the latest in Utah’s multifaceted effort to end the current opioid addiction crisis.

The attorneys general served investigative subpoenas for documents and information, also known as Civil Investigative Demands, on Endo, Janssen, Teva/Cephalon, Allergan, and their related entities, as well as a supplemental Civil Investigative Demand on Purdue Pharma. Likewise, the attorneys general sent information demand letters to opioid distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson requesting documents about their opioid distribution business.

The attorneys general seek to determine what role the opioid manufacturers and distributors may have played in creating or prolonging this epidemic and determine the appropriate course of action to help resolve this crisis.

As with any case, the entities involved in the investigation are not guilty unless proven otherwise and deserve a presumption of innocence. Some of the companies have indicated their intent to cooperate. A few have proactively implemented programs to combat opioid addiction and illicit sale and abuse of opioids.

Nationwide and in Utah, opioids—prescription and illicit—are the main driver of drug overdose deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioids were involved in 33,091 deaths in 2015, including 646 in Utah. Nationwide, opioid overdoses have quadrupled since 1999.

Attorney General Reyes stated, “Far too many of our friends, family, and neighbors have fallen victims to the devastating plague of opioid addiction. These drugs have taken many lives and ruined countless more. We will win this fight but need everyone’s help to do it. We will do everything possible to protect the ones we love.”

Mark Steinagel, Director of the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing (DOPL) at the Department of Commerce stated, “The United States drug system was designed to test, manufacture, distribute, prescribe, and dispense drugs along multiple check points established to protect the public. As a state agency tasked with licensing professionals who prescribe and dispense opioid prescriptions, we are very concerned if any of those checkpoints have failed. DOPL appreciates the partnership with Utah Attorney General’s Office in investigating this serious matter.”

In addition to this investigation, the State of Utah is actively addressing the opioid epidemic on multiple fronts, including the following:

  • A 9/18/17 letter to insurers, co-authored by Attorney General Reyes, that requests health insurance companies examine policies and financial incentives that may contribute to the opioid epidemic. The letter and AG Reyes’ statement on that action is available here.
  • Utah Department of Health efforts, which include Controlled Substance Database analysis, prescriber education and guidelines, and public awareness on the risks of overdose and addictions.
  • The statewide Utah Coalition for Opioid Overdose Prevention.
  • The DEA-AG Joint Opioid Task Force, co-chaired by DEA Agent Brian Besser and AG Sean Reyes, which focuses on intelligence gathering, dedicated criminal prosecution, and criminal enforcement.
  • Support for the Road to Recovery Act, proposed federal legislation that would eliminate a restriction on using Medicaid funding for in-patient drug treatment.
  • Partnerships with multiple community organizations on addiction, recovery, and prevention.

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 EDITORS NOTES:

1. Find drug overdose death data on the CDC site: https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/data/statedeaths.html
 
2. Find more information on the AG’s 9/18/17 letter to insurers at https://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/featured-content/attorney-general-reyes-helps-lead-37-states-territories-in-fight-against-opioid-incentives
 
3. More information on the Utah Coalition for Opioid Overdose Prevention is available at http://ucoop.utah.gov 


Attorney General Reyes Helps Lead 37 States, Territories in Fight Against Opioid Incentives

Letter asks insurance companies to join opioid effort by scrutinizing policies and incentives

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah  September 18, 2017 – Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes co-authored a letter representing a coalition of 37 states and territories urging health insurance companies to examine financial incentives that contribute to the opioid epidemic in Utah.

The bipartisan coalition announced Monday a two-step strategy intended to identify problematic policies and encourage reforms to spur increased use of non-opioid alternatives for treatment of chronic, non-cancer pain.

Describing the opioid epidemic as “the preeminent public health crisis of our time,” the 37 attorneys general will send a letter to industry trade groups and major insurance providers nationwide. It urges insurers to review their coverage and payment policies as the starting point in a coalition-initiated dialogue focused on incentive structures across the insurance industry.

“We have witnessed firsthand the devastation that the opioid epidemic has wrought on our States in terms of lives lost and the costs it has imposed on our healthcare system and the broader economy,” Attorney General Sean D. Reyes wrote along with several co-authors. “As the chief legal officers of our States, we are committed to using all tools at our disposal to combat this epidemic and to protect patients suffering from chronic pain or addiction.”

In addition to the letter, Attorney General Reyes issued the following personal statement:

“Utah citizens, like those across the country, deserve to have their pain management needs addressed in a responsible way that does not promote an even greater risk to their health and well-being. Solving the current opioid crisis is incredibly challenging because there are so many layers of contributing factors involved. This letter is significant but only a part of one area of concern. To be clear, this letter is not an accusation of wrongdoing aimed at the recipients but rather an attempt to ask partners in the private sector to be part of the multi-faceted solution to the crisis.

“From opioid manufacturers, distributors, prescribers, pharmacists, and insurance companies to addicts and their families, emergency responders, recovery professionals, and law enforcement agencies, among others, we must have difficult conversations to fix a problem that is not going away on its own.

“This letter is part of our ongoing efforts as bi-partisan state attorneys general to encourage discussion and re-evaluation of current business and other practices that may be lawful but unhelpful to remedying the Opioid Epidemic.”

The attorneys general, in acknowledging the important role insurance companies play in reducing opioid prescriptions, hope to assess the positive and negative impacts incentive structures have on the opioid epidemic. They contend incentives that promote use of non-opioid techniques will increase the practicality of medical providers considering such treatments, including physical therapy, acupuncture, massage, chiropractic care, and non-opioid medications.

Increased reliance on these alternatives will combat a significant factor contributing to the epidemic – the over-prescription of opioid painkillers. The letter notes the number of opioid prescriptions have quadrupled since 1999, despite Americans reporting a steady amount of pain.

Attorneys general from West Virginia, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico, Virginia, and Utah are co-sponsors of this effort. Other attorneys general signing the letter are those from Arizona, California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wisconsin.

A PDF copy of the letter is available here.

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Attorney General Reyes Thanks Ann Rozycki-Fierro For Over 20 Years of Service

SALT LAKE CITY September 15, 2017- After over 20 years as a public servant with the Office of the Utah Attorney General, Ann Rozycki-Fierro retired on September 15, 2017 and will be moving to Florida. Ann is a skilled prosecutor and supportive colleague and she will be missed.

Ann Rozycki-Fierro left the Utah Attorney General’s Office this week after over two decades of service.

Ann began her career in the Office in 1997 as a lawyer representing the Utah Office of Recovery Services in state and federal court, and in administrative hearings. In 2001, Ann joined the Criminal Nonsupport Unit, where she served until 2010. From 2010 to 2016, as a member of the Internet Crimes Against Children Unit, Ann investigated and prosecuted criminal cases against individuals who used the internet to exploit children, namely matters involving child pornography and child sexual enticement.

In 2016, Ann joined the Mortgage and Financial Fraud Unit of the White Collar and Commercial Enforcement Division, where she prosecuted complex white-collar crimes, specializing in state tax prosecutions.

Attorney General Sean Reyes thanked Ann for her many years of service to the State of Utah, and said, “Ann is a tough prosecutor. She successfully took on some very complex, difficult, and emotionally taxing cases for our office – from criminal nonsupport work, to fighting to take down pedophiles with the ICAC Task Force, to litigating complex tax cases. We thank her for the many good things she has done, and wish her all the best in retirement.”

With respect and gratitude, the Office of the Utah Attorney General wishes Ann all the best as she retires and relocates to Florida. Thank you for your service and god speed.

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Utah Attorney General’s Office Urges Consumers to be Cautious Following the Equifax Data Breach

SALT LAKE CITY September 11, 2017 – The Utah Attorney General’s Office has been actively monitoring and reviewing the Equifax data breach in cooperation with a number of other states.  Along with other state attorneys general, we have concerns over Equifax’s approach. While new information continues to come to light, we advise consumers to be vigilant for incidents of fraud and identity theft by reviewing account statements and monitoring your credit reports.
 
You may obtain a free copy of your credit report from each company listed below once every 12 months by requesting your report online at www.annualcreditreport.com, calling toll-free 1-877-322-8228, or mailing an Annual Credit Report Request Form (available at www.annualcreditreport.com) to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA, 30348-5281.

You may also purchase a copy of your credit report by contacting any of the credit reporting agencies below:
 
Experian
PO Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013
www.experian.com
888-397-3742
 
TransUnion
PO Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016
www.transunion.com
800-680-7289
 
In addition, please exercise vigilance, care, and wisdom when sharing personal data. Utah citizens can find additional resources and information at IDTheft.utah.gov.
 
If you believe you are the victim of identity theft, you should contact the proper law enforcement authorities, including the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). You also may contact the FTC to obtain additional information about avoiding identity theft.
 

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AG Reyes Recognizes World Suicide Prevention Day

SALT LAKE CITY September 10, 2017 – Attorney General Sean Reyes released the following extended statement marking World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10th, 2017.
 
“I appreciate the efforts of the International Association of Suicide Prevention (IASP) and all of its partners to educate the world on what is a global health threat. I join many other voices worldwide in support of raising awareness and resources to prevent a growing number of suicides. In the U.S., suicide is the tenth leading cause of death and a recent CDC study showed an increased suicide rate every year from 1999 to 2014 among both women and men and in every age group except those 75 and older. The rates of suicide for teens and Military Veterans are particularly alarming. Sadly, Utah is no exception.
 
“For the last three and a half years, the Office of the Utah Attorney General has led an effort to respond to increased teen suicide, the leading cause of death of Utah children, ages 10-17. We have teamed with legislators, state agencies, mental health clinicians, suicide prevention advocates, the faith community, educators, law enforcement, parents, and teens themselves to address the tragic reality that far too many of our youth feel there is no hope and life is not worth living.
 
“As we have traveled the state over the last several years, visiting with teens in groups or individually, so many of them have expressed feelings of being alone, judged, or without hope. While adolescence is or was a difficult transition time for nearly all of us, the isolation of today’s youth seems more prevalent and more deeply felt. Other factors like depression, being victims of bullying and abuse, eating disorders, drug use and addictions of various kinds, as well as other behavioral health and safety challenges can increase the risk of suicide among teens. 
 
“Because Utah has one of the highest rates of teen suicide in the nation, my office has been leading the School Safety and Crisis Line Commission which last year unveiled the new SafeUT app. It is currently introduced in schools throughout Utah. Those teens in crisis can now access live trained professionals at any time the way they are used to communicating: through a free app on their smart phones available across Android, Apple or other platforms. With the SafeUT app our kids are never alone. 
 
“We have also worked closely with legislators to create a three digit number similar to 911 in Utah for immediate response to mental health and behavioral crises, including thoughts of or attempts at suicide. This statewide effort has led to discussions and proposed legislation at a national level for a similar 911-type number.  
 
“Like teens, the number of Military Veterans losing their lives from suicide across our nation is staggering. Daily, those losses number twenty or more. Utah has lost its fair share of Veterans who were willing to give their lives for their country and instead lost them battling personal demons and enemies seen and unseen that were often related to their service. 
 
“We can all play a part in reversing Utah’s devastating trend of teen and Veteran suicide by having real conversations with friends, family, and neighbors. These may be difficult and uncomfortable discussions but the alternative–not communicating–rarely if ever leads to positive outcomes. I challenge all Utahns to engage daily in a positive way with teens and Veterans. Say hello. Recognize them. Smile. Be a mentor or friend. Find ways to connect and to serve them. While this is not a panacea or cure-all, it can go a long way to lifting someone out of darkness and despair. Truly, one of act of kindness can be the difference between life and death.”
 
 
 
 
 

 
Key Features of SafeUT
The SafeUT program and app help youth stay healthy and safe in schools by providing high-quality, confidential counseling services. The app’s key features include:

  • Anonymous, confidential, and password protected services
  • Real-time, two-way communication with SafeUT crisis counselors available 24/7
  • Tips can be submitted with picture and/or video
  • Mobile app works with Apple & Android devices

 
SafeUT’s Crisis Services
Safe UT answers crisis calls, texts, and chats – about yourself or someone else – 24/7. These services are anonymous and confidential. Our counseling topics include:

  • Suicide
  • Self-harm
  • Emotional crisis
  • Grief and loss
  • Drug and alcohol problems
  • Mental health
  • Abuse
  • Impact of domestic violence

 

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Former Daggett County Sheriff and Deputies Enter Guilty Pleas

Violations led to the removal of all Utah State inmates from the Daggett County Jail 

SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah  September 6, 2017 – The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) announced today that former Daggett County Sheriff Jerry Jorgensen and former Daggett County Sheriff Deputies Benjamin Lail and Joshua Cox entered guilty pleas to charges related to an investigation by the Utah Department of Corrections Law Enforcement Bureau (UDC). Earlier this year, the UDC received allegations of criminal activity at the Daggett County Jail, which houses inmates for the Utah State Prison. Following an investigation, UDC asked the OAG to review the case for possible prosecution. The numerous policy and criminal violations uncovered by UDC led to the removal of all Utah State inmates from the Daggett County Jail and all of the deputies involved were put on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. 

The UDC investigation found that Cox had brought a stolen Taser into a secure area of the prison and used it on five inmates after promising them a soda if they could endure the Taser for at least five seconds. On another occasion, Cox used the Taser on inmates who wanted to earn outside work privileges.  Lail used the Taser to intimidate and threaten an employee at the jail during a training, pointing the Taser at the employee’s feet.

Jorgensen failed to investigate these allegations or discipline or otherwise supervise the deputies under his control.  After charges against Cox, Jorgensen, Lail, and two other former deputies were filed in Daggett County, a motion for a change of venue was granted to move all five cases to Summit County.

Prosecution of the five deputies was spearheaded by the Special Prosecutions Section of the OAG, led by Assistant Attorney General Steven Wuthrich.  Two remaining co-defendants have cases in Summit County Justice Court. 

“We don’t enjoy prosecuting members of law enforcement, but when it is required we will do our job to hold accountable those who violate the law and erode public confidence,” said Dan Burton, a spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office. “The actions of those prosecuted here do not represent the vast majority of those in law enforcement or in the Department of Corrections, who have our full confidence.”

Cox pleaded guilty to two counts of third-degree felony aggravated assault, a third-degree felony for transporting a weapon into a secure facility, and a class A misdemeanor theft.  The court ordered a pre-sentence report on Cox and scheduled his sentencing for November 6, 2017.  As part of the plea agreement, Cox agreed to surrender his Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certification for life.

Jorgensen pleaded guilty to a class B misdemeanor official misconduct, held in abeyance for 6 months, and was ordered to pay a $500 fine or complete 50 hours community service.  Lail pleaded guilty to class A misdemeanor reckless endangerment and was sentenced to 365 days jail.  The jail time was suspended and Lail was ordered to complete 12 months  of probation and pay a $2,500 fine.  Jorgensen and Lail were ordered to surrender their POST certification. 

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AG Reyes Statement on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

SALT LAKE CITY September 4, 2017 – Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes issued the following statement regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, following reports that the President would be ending the program:

“DACA is a creation of executive order that can be undone by executive order. It is why for years many leaders at the state level, including myself, have advocated for immigration reform by Congress that would have greater permanence and legal legitimacy.

“If President Trump rescinds the DACA executive order, which I believe he has every right to do, I strongly encourage him to allow enough time for Congress to pass legislation providing a path for Dreamers that takes into account the values they have exemplified to this point. It is incumbent on Congress to take up with urgency an issue it should have acted upon a long time ago.

“In my view, it would be inhumane if Congress fails to find a solution for those who may have come unlawfully as children but who are otherwise law abiding, productive, and committed to defending America. There are several proposed bills already being discussed to that end. At the same time, it would be irresponsible for Congress not to tackle at least some of the other pressing immigration issues facing our nation as part of such a solution.

“We must find a way to make sure that we are not in the exact same position ten or twenty years from now. This will only come with increased control of our borders, a more sensible approach to immigration policy, and a much more disciplined and consistent enforcement of that policy.

“It is unconscionable to deport a young person who came to this country as a child or even infant without any choice of their own. These kids are our kids too. They grew up next door to you and me, played on the little league teams we coached, went to school with our children, worked in local businesses, and by and large, they are leading productive lives contributing to our economy and the strength of America.

“These children grew up believing they are American and so many of them have lived lives of which America can be proud. Rather than deporting those in whom America has already invested many resources, I urge Congress to pass legislation that provides a workable path forward so these young people can prove their ongoing commitment to this country and benefit all of us with their talents and skills. This can be done as we strengthen borders, security, and the economic viability of America.”

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Office of the Attorney General Statement on DEA’s Access to the Prescription Drug Database

SALT LAKE CITY August 14, 2017 – After consultation with Utah Governor Gary Herbert and his agencies, the Utah Attorney General’s Office will not appeal the decision of US District of Utah Judge David Nuffer’s to allow the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) access to the state’s Controlled Substance Database to obtain prescription drug records for an investigation.

While the decision is limited to the DEA’s exercise of administrative subpoena power for its investigation, Utah law continues to require other non-federal law enforcement to obtain a warrant prior to gaining access to the database. However, after consultation with the Governor’s Office, the DEA, and Legislative leadership, the Attorney General’s Office will pursue legislation that will introduce additional safeguards, protections, and limitations on who can access the prescription drug database. While it is important that law enforcement have access to necessary tools to fight the illicit use of prescription drugs in the fight against the opioid epidemic, it is critical that individuals privacy and constitutional rights be protected from violation or abuse.


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