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Sean D. Reyes
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ICYMI: Law Enforcement Give Back

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, AG Investigators, and the Unified Police Department teamed up just before Christmas to spread some holiday spirit and to give back to the community. Over two dozen Utahns were pulled over for real traffic violations, but instead of receiving a ticket, they received cash, gift certificates, and other prizes, much to the delight and relief of the drivers.

Attorney General Reyes came up with the idea after he’d seen similar pranks done by other agencies on YouTube.  “We’ve got law enforcement men and women who really care beyond just being great professionals, they’re human beings and they want to lift people,” said Attorney General Reyes.

This is the second year the Attorney General’s Office and the Unified Police Department have joined together for what is now becoming their favorite tradition.

Check out the coverage below:

KUTV: Orem police give out gifts instead of tickets

ABC 4: Operation Giveback


Photo by Lester Rojas

Protecting Utah Consumers: Wells Fargo Settlement

January 1, 2019

On Friday, Wells Fargo agreed to pay $575 million after investigations and lawsuits from all 50 states and the District of Columbia for account fraud and other illegal business practices. Utah will receive $10 million.

Investigations started in 2016 after Wells Fargo admitted employees opened over 3.5 million fraudulent bank accounts in consumers’ names, without their knowledge or consent. Further investigation revealed improper practices involving insurance, auto loans, financing, and mortgages.

The Utah Attorney General’s Office worked alongside the Division of Consumer Protection and 49 other attorneys general to reach an appropriate settlement. From the press release:

“To date, this settlement represents the most significant engagement involving a national bank by state attorneys general acting without a federal law enforcement partner.”

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes stated, “We appreciate the efforts Wells Fargo has made to address these important consumer issues. We all share the same goal: to enjoy a strong economy where consumers’ privacy, choices, and funds are protected. To this end, the Division of Consumer Protection, our assistant AG’s and sister-state Attorneys General acted with vigilance and I am grateful for their hard work.”

This settlement agreement follows previous settlements and fines paid by Wells Fargo. “This agreement underscores our serious commitment to making things right in regard to past issues as we work to build a better bank,” said Tim Sloan, Chief Executive Officer and President of Wells Fargo, in Wells Fargo’s press release.

The $10 million that Utah receives will go to the Division of Consumer Protection Education Fund.

Read more:

Press release: Utah Division of Consumer Protection to receive $10M in multi-state settlement

The settlement agreement (82-page PDF)

Salt Lake Tribune: Wells Fargo pays $575 million to settle state investigations over fake accounts and other shady practices; $10 million will go to Utah

Deseret News: Wells Fargo pays $575 million to settle state investigations

New York Times: Wells Fargo Agrees to Pay $575 Million to Resolve State Investigations




Photo by Mike Mozart

Happy New Year from Utah AG

The start of a new year is always a hopeful time, as we give thanks for the end of one year and celebrate the beginning of another. May better and brighter days lay ahead and may you have the courage and determination to rise up and meet whatever comes your way.

On behalf of Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes and the Office of the Utah Attorney General – Happy New Year!



Happy Holidays from Attorney General Reyes

Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes shares his well-wishes for a Happy holiday with the following: 

“Mele Kalikimaka! To all our friends & family, we send our love and warmest Aloha. Whatever you may be celebrating this season, may the Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ bring peace and light to bless you and your loved ones.” 

On behalf of Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes and the Office of the Utah Attorney General – Happy holidays!



AG Reyes applauds passing of First Step Act

December 18, 2018



SALT LAKE CITY – As the vote count was announced that the First Step Act had passed through the U.S. Senate and was headed to the U.S. House of Representatives, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes stated the following: 

This is a big win for the Trump Administration, for justice reform leaders like our own Senator Mike Lee, and most importantly, for the American people. 
Allowing more discretion in sentencing empowers judges and the system to personalize the punishment to the crime. Giving inmates who meet strict criteria a chance at redemption and an opportunity to become productive citizens benefits all of us. Not only does it reduce an overcrowded prison population, it provides a workforce eager to contribute to society. 
I’ve been honored to work over the past year with the White House, Senator Lee and other leaders to get this bill passed. As a former co-chair of the Civil Rights Committee for the National Association of Attorneys General, and in various positions over a decade before that, I have advocated for reform to our criminal justice system; a system that disproportionately affects minority communities and inflexibly captures certain individuals who may not deserve to be there in the first place. 
Again, I applaud the U.S. Senate’s approval of the historic ’First Step Act.’ But this legislation is just that – a first step. I will continue my work with Utah leaders and attorneys general from other states to expand reform beyond just the federal system in order to reduce recidivism, save taxpayer dollars, provide treatment for mental health and substance abuse and providing some nonviolent offenders a second chance. We can find these humane and balanced solutions while still aggressively protecting Utahns from violent crime and keeping our communities safe. 
The bi-partisan political support for this bill along with diverse buy-in from groups such as law enforcement, civil rights leaders and academics speaks to the need for such reform. 

Photo by Hédi Benyounes

Sen. Hatch’s child porn victim act signed into law

December 18, 2018

The Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act, introduced by U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and a bipartisan team of legislators, was signed into law by the President of the United States. A critical step on behalf of victims of child pornography, Attorney General Sean D. Reyes led a group of 54 attorneys general urging Congress to pass this Act earlier this year. The Utah Attorney General’s Office is proud to support and work alongside leaders who work to provide assistance for victims in their recovery process. 

From the press release  . . . .

The legislation establishes more relevant standards for child pornography victims who seek restitution from defendants and gives victims the alternative of a one-time fixed compensation payment from the existing Crime Victims Fund. The bill also allows victims access to the images depicting them, which can be important for victim identification, expert testimony, forensic review, and treatment. 

The Utah Attorney General’s Office actively combats the sexual abuse of children statewide through our Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, the Children’s Justice Centers Program, investigations, prosecutions, and victim advocacy. Online child pornography and exploitation experienced an uptick in 2018 as demand continues to increase.

The fight to protect our children – our future – continues for all of us. This law is an important step in the right direction.  Good work, Senator Hatch. 



Photo by Jomar

A Tribute to The Bill of Rights

In the summer of 1787, the founding fathers of this nation wrote the United States Constitution. In so doing, they instituted a new federal system and national government and founded one of the greatest nations on the earth. In an effort to protect American citizens from potential abuse of governmental power, our forefathers added ten amendments to the Consitution, known as the Bill of Rights. 

The purpose of the Bill of Rights? To safeguard individual liberties and keep the power of government balanced between the federal and state or local levels.  

We at the Utah Attorney General’s Office work to protect these principles laid out for us by our founding fathers. We are grateful for their foresight to ensure our individual liberties would be protected since the founding of this country.

Today, we are reminded of the freedoms given to us by the Bill of Rights. We reaffirm our commitment to defend the Constitution and the Bill of Rights from any who would seek to take them away. 

To read the Bill of Rights, click here:

To read the Consitution of the United States, click here:

Unconstitutional: Federal judge rules on post-penalty ACA

December 14, 2018

Tonight, a U.S. District Court ruled the Affordable Care Act (ACA) unconstitutional.  Utah has long believed the ACA was a clear example of impermissible federal overreach and joined a coalition of 20 states to ask the courts to reconsider the law in light of changes Congress made to the federal tax code in 2017.  Upon release of the decision, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes made the following statement: 

Utah was confident this would be the Texas district court’s ruling and agrees with the decision.  The logic is clear – when Congress eliminated the individual mandate penalty in 2017, it removed the tenuous link on which the Supreme Court relied to deem the ACA constitutional.

We expect this decision will be appealed and look forward to a final resolution in the U.S. Supreme Court. If plaintiffs prevail, it should clear a path for the states and Congress to move forward with solutions, including coverage for pre-existing conditions, and adult children but without unconstitutional mandates. Such solutions will work better for Americans and be consistent with constitutional limits on government power. 

We filed this case hoping small business, individuals, and families whose costs and premiums have increased dramatically due to the ACA get the relief they deserve.

You can read U.S. District Judge Reed O’Conner’s 55-page opinion and ruling here and the original complaint here (33 pages).  

In this action, Utah joined sister-states Texas, Wisconsin, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

Previous Utah AG posts on this issue: 

Utah Joins Lawsuit Against Obamacare (March 2018)

DOJ Responds to Utah ACA Lawsuit (June 2018)





Photo by rawpixel

The Washington Post: Rapid DNA & the Utah AG’s Office

December 14, 2018

The Utah Attorney General’s Office was highlighted in The Washington Post for launching Rapid DNA, a new DNA testing technology that can analyze evidence samples and provide results to law enforcement in less than two hours.

Here is an excerpt of The Washington Post article where they interview Special Agent Nate Mutter, of the Utah AG’s Investigation Division:

The Utah attorney general’s office has two ANDE 6C machines, and “we’re extremely excited with the results we’ve gotten,” said Nate Mutter, the office’s assistant chief of investigations. He said many of the cases brought to him by counties around the state are gun cases in which investigators are trying to match DNA on a discarded gun with a known suspect. A burglar in Cache County, Utah, who left DNA on a soda can on Sept. 19 was identified, arrested and convicted by Oct. 17 — about the same amount of time a conventional DNA test alone would have taken.

“We’re not fishing for an unknown here,” Mutter said. “This is an investigative tool to make the link between suspects and items of evidence. Just because we can’t load the information into CODIS doesn’t mean the technology can’t be used to assist us.” He said the portability of the machines was a bonus. “You can bring it anywhere, and it still gives you lab-quality results,” Mutter said.

The article did not mention one component that the AG’s Office believes is critical in using Rapid DNA testing. In cases where there may be mixed DNA or a small sample size we have retained Sorenson Forensics, a private third-party company, to review and verify our test results. This is no different than what would happen if any state crime lab tested the same evidence. They are able to provide results in a week or less, which is still far quicker than the typical process. 

You can read the entire article at The Washington Post: FBI plans ‘Rapid DNA’ network for quick database checks on arrestees



Photo by Hans Reniers

Another Look at the SafeUT App

December 13, 2018

The need for mental health services on college campuses is growing. More and more students are seeking assistance for issues like depression or anxiety and Utah college administrators are taking notice. As they work to meet the increasing demands, one option they are pointing students towards for help is the SafeUT App. Read all about how colleges in the state are working to help students below. 

 Deseret News: Utah colleges want students to know it’s OK for me to say ‘I need help’

The SafeUT App is effective at providing students with real-time, practical help in the form of crisis counseling, suicide prevention, or referral services. Additionally, students can submit confidential tips to school administrators on threats, violence, or bullying.

The SafeUT program was developed with funding from the Utah State Legislature in collaboration with the Utah Attorney General’s Office, Utah State Office of Education, Utah Anti-Bullying Coalition, and the University Neuropsychiatric Institute


Take a look at some of the history and success of the SafeUT App from the last year.

KSL5TV: AG Reyes Talks About SafeUT App with KSL

*Florida reference to Parkland, FL shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas Highschool

KSL-TV: Safe Schools: SafeUT app uniquely managed by social workers, mental health professionals

Deseret News: SafeUT app making inroads despite 36 youth suicides so far in 2017

Deseret News: University of Utah shouldering growing costs of SafeUT app as use proliferates

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