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AG Reyes Says Goodbye to George H.W. Bush

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 30, 2018

 

UTAH ATTORNEY GENERAL SEAN D. REYES SAYS GOODBYE TO PRESIDENT GEORGE H.W. BUSH

Tonight, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes issued the following statement:

I have fond memories of President George H.W. Bush and deep gratitude for his lifetime filled with service to our country. Among many roles, he was a WWII Aviator, Congressman, two-time Ambassador, CIA Director, Vice-President for President Reagan, and the 41st President of the United States. A man of faith, family, and a patriot. A long life and one well lived. My prayers and condolences to the Bush family. 

May his legacy join us as a nation in good will “…like a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky” (George H.W. Bush, Presidential nomination acceptance speech, August 18, 1988).


Abuse registry helps families protect loved ones

November 29, 2018

Seven cases of elder abuse have been reported in the state of Utah in 2018. Seven. 

That number may seem low, unless one of the seven was your elderly mother or father or grandparent.

Did you know that families can be more involved and proactive in monitoring caregivers and the care their loved ones receive?

The Utah Nursing Assistant Registry (UNAR), which oversees the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) training and certification, monitors abuse cases in Utah and blacklists those convicted of abuse. This abuse registry is regularly updated so that abusers won’t be hired again.

The registry is also available to the public. That means families can check that the person caring for your beloved family member does not have a history of abuse. 

If you believe that someone you love is experiencing abuse at the hands of their provider, please contact Adult Protective Services (APS) at 1-800-371-7897.

Below is the process that will happen so you know what to expect once that report is received. 

  1. Adult Protective Services launches an official investigation.
  2. If evidence of abuse is found, APS reaches out to the Utah Department of Health (DOH).
  3. Utah DOH reaches out to the Utah Attorney General’s Office for legal representation and prosecution of the case.
  4. Utah DOH notifies the Utah Nursing Assistant Registry. If convicted, the name is added to the abuse registry.

The Standard-Examiner recently reported on a case being handled by the AG’s Office, which you can read here: Nurse’s aide charged with abusing vulnerable adults appears in court.

Photo by rawpixel


In the News

November 28, 2018

Over the last few weeks, our investigators and prosecutors tracked down an alleged human trafficker, caught a guy with child porn, brought down a large Ponzi scheme, and arrested several men in Southern Utah accused of trying to meet up with minors.

These are just a few highlights of an office team working on thousands of cases in an effort to protect and keep all Utahns safe.

You can catch up on all you may have missed below. Thanks for paying attention.

Human Trafficking

Deseret News: Charges: Man forced women into prostitution, human trafficking
Salt Lake Tribune: Utah attorney general’s office arrests man for human trafficking after victims come forward
KSL: Man charged in human trafficking case
Fox13: Utah Attorney General’s Office arrest a man for human trafficking of two women
KUTV: Utah arrests man accused of prostituting, raping, kidnapping and beating two women

Child Pornography

KSL: Man accused of having 100 gigabytes of child porn facing federal charges
Standard-Examiner: Kaysville man accused of downloading, possessing 100 GB of child pornography

Ponzi Scheme

KJZZ: Utah man, company charged with taking $170M from hundreds of people in Ponzi scheme
Fox13: Authorities say Ponzi scheme at Rust Rare Coin in Utah took hundreds of victims for $170 million

Crimes Against Children

St. George News: Police arrest 7 men accused of attempting to meet boys, girls for sex
The Spectrum: 7 men accused of trying to meet with minors for sex in Washington County
KUTV: 6 men arrested for attempting to meet minors for sex in Washington County
abc4: 7 men arrested accused of trying to meet minors for sex

Photo by Roman Kraft


AG Reyes Honors Officer Romrell

November 25, 2018

Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes shared the following upon hearing of the tragic loss of Officer David Romrell of the South Salt Lake Police Department: 

All of us in the Utah AG Office express our sorrow and condolences to the family of Officer David Romrell as well as to Chief Jack Carruth and the South Salt Lake Police Department. The loss of any member of our law enforcement family is felt very deeply. It will be heartbreaking to add another hero to the Utah Law Enforcement Memorial. I know our team at the Utah 1033 Foundation will be reaching out to the Romrell family to assist with financial support and other resources. Whether it was in police blues or the uniform of a United States Marine, David Romrell fought valiantly to preserve peace and protect us, our community, and nation. May God now grant peace to his soul and comfort to his family and friends.


Native American Heritage Day

November 23, 2018

On this Native American Heritage Day, we at the Utah Attorney General’s Office honor their gifts as the first Americans which helped craft the history of this nation. We acknowledge a culture steeped in rich language and tradition, with a powerful legacy, and a profound history.

Today we pause to recognize the many contributions Native Americans have made – and are making – to the story of this great country. Though our shared history contains great tragedies and memories of pain, injustice, and discrimination, we are reminded that we are the authors of a future yet written. That belief compels us to renew our commitment to meaningful tribal partnerships so that all of us – of all nations – have futures filled with great opportunities and open doors. 

In the words of the great Lakota leader Sitting Bull:

“Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children.”

 


Happy Thanksgiving from the Utah AG

Today as we gather with our families and reflect on the many blessings in our lives, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes shares his well-wishes for Thanksgiving: 

Those who are grateful are the richest people on earth no matter their possessions and regardless of their circumstances!”
  —Norberto “Buddy” Reyes, Award-winning artist & philanthropist 
May the blessings you count be numerous this Thanksgiving! And if you are alone or suffering, let us be thankful that there is a chance to still help you through your pain.
 
On behalf of the Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes and the Office of the Utah Attorney General – Happy Thanksgiving!

2018 Report Card: Utah & child sex trafficking

November 20, 2018

Every year each state in the union gets a grade on their efforts in the fight against human trafficking by Shared Hope International, a non-profit organization dedicated to ending child sex trafficking. Shared Hope does this in a variety of ways, one of which is advocating in each state for stronger legislation that criminalizes the various aspects of human trafficking.

States are graded on the analysis and review of six areas:

  • Criminalization of Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking 
  • Criminal Provisions for Demand (those who buy)
  • Criminal Provisions for Traffickers (those who sell)
  • Criminal Provisions for Facilitators (those who help)
  • Protective Provisions for Child Victims 
  • Criminal Justice Tools for Investigation & Prosecution

Report cards for 2018 were just released and Utah continues to be a leader in the fight against human trafficking. This is due in large part to Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes who is a strong, international voice who speaks for those who cannot speak for themselves.

 

Human trafficking is a top priority for the Utah Attorney General’s Office carried out by the Utah SECURE Strike Force and Utah Trafficking in Persons Task Force. Due to their action, the state of Utah has made several improvements to their legal code including: 

  • Prohibiting prosecution of children engaged in prostitution and mandating their referral to DCFS for services (2015 amendments)
  • Defining child trafficking as child abuse subject to protections and intervention in juvenile court and through DCFS (2015 amendments)
  • Punishing facilitators/beneficiaries of child trafficking the same as the direct offenders (I’m not sure when this was added)
  • Allowing victims of trafficking to sue their traffickers for civil damages (2017 amendments)

You can read the entire report here: Utah Report Card – Shared Hope 2018

To see how Utah compared to other states, go here: https://sharedhope.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/2018ProtectedInnocenceChallengeToolkit.pdf.

Photo Courtesy of Shared Hope International


Battling illegal robocalls & spoofing

November 19, 2018

Illegal robocalls and spoofing have cost Americans billions of dollars in fraudulent claims. According to a study by Truecaller, Americans lost $9.5 billion in 2017 to robocall and spoofing scams, and it’s only expected to increase. 

Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined 34 other state AGs urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to adopt rules that would require service providers to block illegally spoofed calls or help identify a potential scam for consumers. In the letter, the state AGs reaffirmed their commitment to providing public education, responding to consumer complaints, and taking appropriate action when needed – but it’s not enough. The AGs strongly recommended the FCC explore ways to identify technology that could combat fraudulent calls and utilize every tool available to help protect Americans. 

You can read the letter from the AGs here: A Letter to the FCC About Robocalls.

Deputy Attorney General David Sonnenreich had the opportunity to visit with Lori Prichard of KSL-TV on behalf of the Office of the Utah Attorney General to discuss robocalls, steps federal and state leaders are taking, and what you can do in the meantime to protect yourself. 

You can find more information on the FCC’s push to combat robocalls and spoofing and tips to protect yourself here

Photo by rawpixel


Federal & state leaders bring down Utah Ponzi scheme

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Utah Department of Commerce, Division of Securities released the following after charging a Salt Lake City precious metals dealer for allegedly defrauding over 200 individuals in a Ponzi scheme.  A special thank you to Assistant AGs Robert Wing, Tom Melton, Jennifer Korb, and Paula Faerber for their hard work and commitment on this case as they serve our partners, clients, and the people of Utah.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 16, 2018

 

CFTC and State of Utah Charge Salt Lake City Precious Metals Dealer and His Company with Engaging in $170 Million Precious Metals Ponzi Scheme

Washington, DC — The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the Utah Department of Commerce, Division of Securities, through its Attorney General, jointly filed a civil enforcement action in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, Central Division, against Defendants Gaylen Dean Rust (Rust) and Rust Rare Coin, Inc. (RRC) of Layton, Utah and Salt Lake City, Utah, respectively.  The Complaint charges Rust and his company RRC  with defrauding at least 200 individuals — from Utah and at least 16 other states — and fraudulently obtaining more than  $170 million from investors since May 2013 in a precious metals Ponzi scheme. 

According to the complaint, the Defendants’ fraud, as alleged, is ongoing.  In the first eight months of 2018, the Defendants received at least $42 million from investors in a pool that purportedly bought and sold silver.   The Defendants also attempted to solicit new investors in this pool at least as recently as October 8, 2018, as alleged in the Complaint.   

Court Freezes Defendants’ Assets and Appoints a Temporary Receiver
On November 15, 2018, the Honorable Tena Campbell, U.S. District Court Judge for the District of Utah, entered a restraining order freezing the assets of the Defendants and the Relief Defendants and permitting the CFTC and the State of Utah to inspect all relevant records of the Defendants and the Relief Defendants.  The Court also appointed Jonathan O. Hafen as a temporary receiver to take control of RRC and the corporate Relief Defendants, as well as the assets of Rust and the individual Relief Defendants.  

CFTC Director of Enforcement Comments
Director of Enforcement James McDonald commented, “As alleged, for at least a decade, the Defendants defrauded their friends, customers, and business associates out of more than $170 million. The Defendants allegedly concealed their fraud with false account statements and Ponzi payments; however, their scheme was brought to light through the combined efforts of the CFTC and our law enforcement partners.  This is yet another example of the CFTC’s commitment to coordinate with our law enforcement partners both to protect our markets from fraud and to ensure that wrongdoers are held accountable.  I’m grateful to the Utah Department of Commerce, Division of Securities and Utah’s Attorney General and their staffs for their assistance in this matter.

Defendants’ Deceptive and Fraudulent Precious Metals Scheme
According to the Complaint, from at least as early as 2008 and continuing through the present, the Defendants tricked investors into believing that the Defendants were pooling investor money for the purpose of entering into contracts of sale for silver, a commodity in interstate commerce (Silver Pool).  As alleged, the Defendants told investors and prospective investors that they would sell silver held in the pool as market prices rose and buy silver for the pool as market prices fell; thereby increasing the amount of silver held in the Silver Pool, as well as the value of each investor’s share in that pool.

 As alleged in the Complaint, the Silver Pool was a sham. The Defendants falsely told investors and prospective investors in the Silver Pool that by trading silver in this manner, they generated extraordinarily high profits, averaging 20 to 25 percent per year and sometimes as high as 40 percent per year or more. The Defendants provided investors with false account statements that showed every trade made by the Defendants as being profitable.  The Defendants also told investors that the Silver Pool possessed approximately $77 to $80 million  of silver, which was stored at Brink’s, Incorporated (Brink’s) depositories in Salt Lake City, Utah and/or Los Angeles, California, even though the Defendants never purchased and stored anything approaching that amount at Brink’s. 

According to the Complaint, the Defendants did not use contributions from investors to purchase silver for the Silver Pool.  Instead, the Defendants misappropriated investor funds and used these funds to make payments to other investors in the manner of a Ponzi scheme, transfer money to other companies owned by Rust, and pay personal expenses. 

In their continuing litigation against the Defendants, the CFTC and the State of Utah seek disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, civil monetary penalties, restitution, permanent registration and trading bans, and a permanent injunction against further violations of the Commodity Exchange Act, CFTC Regulations, and Utah securities laws, as charged.

The CFTC acknowledges and appreciates the cooperation and assistance of the Utah Department of Commerce, Division of Securities; the Utah Attorney General’s Office; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Utah; and the Securities and Exchange Commission, Salt Lake City Regional Office.  

CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members responsible for this action are Jenny Chapin, Stephen Turley, Thomas Simek, Joyce Brandt, Christopher Reed, and Charles Marvine.

CFTC’s Precious Metals Customer Fraud Advisory
The CFTC has issued several customer protection Fraud Advisories that provide the warning signs of fraud, including the Precious Metals Fraud Advisory, which alerts customers to precious metals fraud and lists simple ways to spot precious metals scams.

Customers can report suspicious activities or information, such as possible violations of commodity trading laws, to the CFTC Division of Enforcement via a Toll-Free Hotline 866-FON-CFTC (866-366-2382) or file a tip or complaint online. 

Photo by Pepi Stojanovski


Utah AG’s Office arrests suspected human trafficker

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 14, 2018

 

UTAH ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE ARRESTS SUSPECTED HUMAN TRAFFICKER
Women share stories of assault, abuse, and forced prostitution

SALT LAKE CITY – Today, the Utah Attorney General’s Office arrested James Savage Brown for multiple felony charges, including human trafficking, against two women. Charges against James Savage Brown consist of five first-degree felonies, including sexual exploitation and assault, and two second-degree felonies of aggravated exploitation of prostitution.
 
AG Special Agents learned of Brown’s activity earlier this year from one of the victims after she was released from the Salt Lake County Detention Center. While there, the victim encountered another woman who had suffered similarly at the hands of Brown. Both women told stories of sexual assault, physical abuse, and repeated forced prostitution.

James Savage Brown has a lengthy criminal history, both in Utah and California. In addition to the charges already filed, agents found stolen credit cards, marijuana, and a distributable amount of meth in his possession at the time of his arrest earlier today. The Utah Attorney General’s Office requested that James Savage Brown’s bail be denied as he poses a risk of danger to the community. 

The two victims are receiving treatment by a partner agency of the Attorney General’s Utah Trafficking in Person’s Task Force.

“The accused is entitled to a presumption of innocence. So we won’t make any more statements about him while the case is being prosecuted,” said Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes. “But we can express how relieved we are that the alleged victims are safe and receiving the best resources we have at our disposal. We are grateful our agents and everyone else involved in the investigation and arrest are all safe. Human trafficking is a despicable crime that we in the Utah AGO are deeply committed to combat with aggressive investigations and prosecutions.”

The Attorney General’s SECURE Strike force executed the investigation and arrest. SECURE is tasked by the Utah Legislature with investigating and prosecuting large-scale criminal operations, including human trafficking.

Human trafficking tips should be reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888.

# # #

NOTES:

  1. You can find a copy of the charging documents and probable cause statement here:  https://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/James-Brown-Savage.pdf.
  2.  Read more about the AG’s SECURE Strike Force here: https://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/secure-task-force/.
  3. You can find more information on the Utah Trafficking in Persons (UTIP) Task Force here: https://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/initiatives/human-trafficking/.

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