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Attorney General Reyes’ Washington and Lincoln Day Statement

SALT LAKE CITY February 20, 2017 – Attorney General Sean Reyes released the following Washington and Lincoln Day statement:  

As we celebrate the birthdays of two of our greatest presidents—George Washington and Abraham Lincoln—we can be grateful for the system of government they toiled to leave for us and future generations. Though the current political climate may at times feel heated and contentious, the recent transition of power in the White House was peaceful and has been so since the time of our nation’s founding. My occasional travels abroad have reinforced to me the miracle that is our Constitution, as well as the importance of our commitment as Americans to support it, however diverse we may be. We are blessed to witness power change from one American president to the next, without guns, tanks or armies to enforce such succession. This is in sharp contrast to the unrest and bloodshed over regime changes in many parts of the world. Again, we have much to be thankful for in celebrating these leaders of our past. Presidents Washington and Lincoln faced some of our nation’s greatest tests and we are the beneficiaries of their sweat and blood.”

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AG Reyes Congratulates Judge Holmberg on His Appointment and Confirmation to Utah’s Third District Court

Kent Holmberg

SALT LAKE CITY February 16, 2017 – Attorney General Sean Reyes released the following statement on Utah Senate’s confirmation of Judge Kent Holmberg, a former Utah Assistant Attorney General, to Utah’s Third District Court.

“We congratulate Judge Holmberg on his appointment and confirmation to the Third District Court and express our confidence in his character, ability, and judgment in that capacity,” said Attorney General Sean Reyes. “Given the caliber of attorneys within our ranks, we are honored but not surprised to see one of our own take the bench.” 

Judge Holmberg worked in the Utah Attorney General’s Office as an assistant attorney general starting in 2012. Prior to his service for the state, he was a trial attorney in Salt Lake City for several years after nearly two decades of legal practice in Minnesota. Holmberg has also taught at various Minnesota state colleges and universities on subjects ranging from evidence law to Indian law and trial practice. Holmberg was formerly a certified public accountant.

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AG Reyes Thanks AAG Laura Lockhart for Years of Service

Laura Lockhart is retiring from the Utah Attorney General’s Office after 30 years of service.

SALT LAKE CITY February 15, 2017 – After 30 years with the Utah Attorney General’s Office, Laura Lockhart will retire this month. Laura was honored by a reception at the Department of Environmental Quality, where she has been the state-agency counsel for many years.

Attorney General Sean Reyes released the following statement on Laura’s retirement today:

“Laura has been an amazing asset to Utah and the Utah Attorney General’s office, where she has served as a tireless public servant over a distinguished legal career. Additionally, Laura has been a steady and guiding hand in the development and implementation of our state open records laws, helping our office navigate the difficult balance of transparency and privacy while also fulfilling our mission to provide the outstanding legal services to our state clients.

“On a personal note, Laura is known throughout our office for her kindness, her devotion and sincerity, and her willingness to step up to take on additional work when the need arises. She leaves a legacy of grateful friends and colleagues, and I wish her all the best in her future endeavors.”

Laura has represented the Utah Department of Environmental Quality for thirty years. She has worked primarily the Division of Radiation Control and Water  Quality,  but also specializes in administrative procedures and government records law. Laura is a graduate of the University of Utah and attended law school at Yale. In addition to her duties at the DEQ, Laura has always gone above and beyond in sharing her time and expertise assisting other attorneys in the Utah Attorney General’s Office with requests under the Utah Government Records Management Act, or GRAMA, and has always been deeply committed to government openness and accountability. 

Several colleagues expressed their appreciation for Laura when they heard she was retiring, including Blaine Ferguson, who worked closely with Laura on GRAMA.

“Laura is one of the most loyal and dedicated public servants I have ever known,” said Blaine Ferguson.  “When the “call to arms” is heard, she willingly offers her help, even if she is already busy with a heavy workload and the timing is inconvenient.  Furthermore, because of her commitment to public service, she has often volunteered to take on projects on her own initiative.  She is one of those good persons who sees a need and then addresses it, without being asked.  Even when a task is difficult or awkward, Laura accepts it without flinching, because she sincerely cares about the Attorney General’s Office, her clients, and the interests of the people of Utah.

“Laura has had a long and honorable career in the Attorney General’s Office.  Assigned to advise and represent the Department of Environment Quality, she has provided faithful service to her client agency through many challenging times.  But that has only been her “day job.”  Somehow she has always found time (often well into the evening) to serve in other areas, particularly in the legal minefield of government records law.  She was a key player in drafting Utah’s original Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA), and the proper classification and handling of government records has continued to be one of her passions for over 25 years. 

“Laura has several gifts that have helped her make an invaluable contribution to the work of the Attorney General’s Office: tirelessness, a brilliant legal mind, a keen sense of ethics, honesty, candor, common sense and a great sense of humor.  And, on top of it all, she has admirable personal values, fun outside interests (such as birding) and a love for her family that round her out as a person.  I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work closely with Laura for many years.  She has been a great mentor, a tremendous help, and a true friend.  I wish her the very best.”

Laura is also an amateur astronomer, photographer, and an avid bird watcher, or birder, and has served on the Tracy Aviary board. In addition, Laura was one of the founding members of the Open Classroom community school. Laura is a devoted mom to her daughter Maisie and constant companion to her canine friends.

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Utah Attorney General’s Office Announces the Sentencing of Dee Allen Randall

SALT LAKE CITY  February 7, 2017 – The Utah Attorney General’s Office announces the sentencing of Dee Allen Randall in one of the largest frauds ever investigated by the Utah Division of Securities. Randall was sentenced on Monday in the Third District Court of Utah by the Honorable Judge Mark Kouris to multiple consecutive terms. He will serve a sentence of 9 to 30 years in prison.  

The damage done by Dee Randall—financially, emotionally, psychologically, and to the health of victims—can never be fully undone.  But I hope this conviction and sentence sends the message to all perpetrators in Utah that we will find and aggressively prosecute those who prey on the vulnerable and who defraud honest, hard-working Utahns,” said Attorney General Sean Reyes. “I congratulate Assistant Attorney General Jake Taylor, Paralegal Sheree Wilcox, and the rest of the White Collar and Commercial Enforcement Division of the Utah Office of Attorney General for their outstanding work on this case.  We are also grateful for the invaluable efforts of our partners at the Utah Division of Securities in this case.  Finally, we thank legislators from both parties for having the vision and commitment to fund assets toward increased investigation and prosecution of white-collar crime.”  

“Dee Randall is one of the most damaging white-collar cases our Division of Securities has ever investigated. Randall preyed on friends, neighbors and used insurance agents under him to funnel investors into his scheme which destroyed the lives and nest eggs of 700 victims, many of whom were elderly, “said Francine A. Giani, Executive Director, Utah Department of Commerce, “We are grateful for the tireless efforts of the Utah Attorney General’s Office, for 3rd District Judge Mark Kouris’ swift justice and a special thanks to the victims for having the courage to share their stories with the court.”

In 2016, Randall was convicted by plea of multiple counts of securities fraud and a pattern of unlawful activity for operating his insurance-based Ponzi scheme. In Monday’s sentencing, Judge Kouris’ sentenced Randall to three consecutive sentences of 3 to 15 years in prison.  In addition, Randall was sentenced to additional concurrent prison terms of 3 to 15 years and 1 to 15 years.


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AG Reyes Statement on Passing of UPD Detective Holdaway

SALT LAKE CITY February 2, 2017 – Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes released the following statement on the passing of Unified Police Department Detective Brian Holdaway.          

“Detective Brian Holdaway was a valuable member of our ICAC team for a number of years, and we feel his loss deeply. I offer the sincere condolences of our whole office to Detective Holdaway’s family, as well as to Sheriff Winder and the Unified Police Department.”

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Attorney General Sean Reyes’ Statement on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

SALT LAKE CITY January 16, 2017 – Attorney General Sean Reyes released the following Martin Luther King Jr. Day statement:  

“We in the Utah AGO are deeply appreciative to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as we join our nation in celebrating his life and work today. He was a great American, willing to turn us towards the better angels of our nature while he faced the demons of discrimination.

“Dr. King is probably best remembered by the casual observer for his soaring speeches that moved so many by the strength and majesty of his words. While that was an important element of his allure, it was what underlied those words that was truly remarkable: his courage, conviction, and commitment to lifting all people from oppression.

“He took his own pain and generations of suffering from his people and channeled it into an energy that transformed him into a supernova of change and progress. And our country is the better for it. It was true a half-century ago when he delivered his ‘I have a dream’ speech to the 250,000 people who had joined him for the March on Washington and it is equally true today as we strive to fulfill the hope and promise of his words.

“In many ways, the dream that Dr. King spoke of was the same one that brought the pilgrims to America, that drove the Founding Fathers to declare their independence, that prompted Abraham Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation, and that continues to urge us forward today as we reach out the hand of fellowship to the afflicted and weary, the vulnerable and the weak. It was this dream–this hope–that brought my father to America to escape political persecution and that motivated my mother, a career educator, to fight for equal educational opportunity in at-risk and inner city environments.

“As a nation set on a hill, we have been blessed with great prosperity, and yet, there remains work to do. Whether it is providing shelter to the homeless, aid to refugees here and abroad, seeking to give relief to those in addiction’s grasp, finding long-term solutions to intergenerational poverty, or continuing the fight against modern slavery and human trafficking, with each stride forward we seek to fulfill the dream of Dr. King.

“Dr. King once said that ‘The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.’ It is my hope, and my own dream, that Americans will always be willing to stand for what is right at all times. As we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and seek to bring about a nation where children are judged not ‘by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character,’ only continued remembrance of where we have come from, and where we are going, will bring us to that day when Dr. King’s great dream is brought fully to life.”

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Utah Attorney General’s Office Welcomes SCOTUS Review of WOTUS Case

SALT LAKE CITY January 14, 2017 – The Utah AGO announced that that the Supreme Court had granted review of the controversial “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule case, National Association of Manufacturers v. Department of Defense.  Utah is among 27 states who have challenged the Obama EPA’s WOTUS rule expanding federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act (CWA).  The WOTUS rule would make tributaries and other small waters subject to federal jurisdiction and pollution control laws.

 “This rule is a remnant of the Obama Administration’s unprecedented expansion of federal regulation through agencies like the EPA, passed by executive fiat, without consent of Congress and contrary to the will of the people. This rule, if not struck down in its entirety, will cause tremendous damage to our state, our economy, our families and our way of life, which is why we’ve joined this case,” said Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes.  “The massive proposed expansion of control by the EPA would bring many roadside ditches, small ponds on family farms, water features on golf courses and stormwater systems under extremely burdensome and unnecessary federal regulation.”

The Supreme Court will examine in National Association of Manufacturers a jurisdictional decision concerning where challenges to the controversial WOTUS rule should be filed. Specifically, the case concerns whether, under the Clean Water Act (CWA), the courts of appeal or federal district courts have jurisdiction to hear a challenge to the lawfulness of the WOTUS rule.

Under current federal law, challenges to some decisions made under the CWA must be filed in federal district courts, while others may be filed in the courts of appeals. In February, the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals held it could hear a challenge to the WOTUS rule even though it does not appear that this kind of challenge is available. The Supreme Court will review this decision.

It’s important to note that the Supreme Court will not be hearing a challenge to the substance of the WOTUS rule in this case.  At issue before the Court is whether the initial challenge to the substance of the rule should be heard, in the first instance, in an appeals or a district court.

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Attorney General Sean Reyes’ Statement on National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month

SALT LAKE CITY January 10, 2017 – Attorney General Sean Reyes released the following statement for National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Last night, the Utah Attorney General’s Office in partnership with Refugee & Immigrant Center-Asian Association of Utah, and Engage Now Africa hosted Dr. Kevin Bales, professor, author, social scientist, and human rights activist as the Ambassador Price & Marcia Price World Affairs Lecture Series guest in January.

Following AG Reyes statement you will find a list of individuals who are available for comment on this topic for interested media throughout the month. The individuals are organized according to the area upon which they are most qualified to comment.

“We will continue the fight to eradicate the tragedy of human trafficking in Utah and beyond our borders,” said Attorney General Sean Reyes. “As we recognize National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month throughout January, Utah is poised to continue as a leader nationally and globally against the scourge of human trafficking. With a grant from the federal government, the Utah Trafficking In Persons (UTIP) Task Force focuses on a victim-centered and trauma-informed approach to ending human trafficking in our state. UTIP’s interdisciplinary, multi-agency approach has made Utah a leader against human trafficking, taking down predators in their tracks and liberating victims.

“It is critical every American understands that human trafficking can be found in any community — rural or urban, wealthy or modest. It does not discriminate by wealth or station in its victimization of people of all backgrounds. We must protect our youth and other vulnerable citizens.

“We thank the citizens of Utah for raising their voices to educate the world about this epidemic. We thank legislators and other public officials, law enforcement leaders, victim advocates, physicians, businesses, media partners, and so many others for allocating scarce resources to the fight against modern slavery.  

“We also recognize Utah organizations such as Fahodie & Friends, Backyard Broadcast and the Elizabeth Smart Foundation to Operation Underground Railroad and Fight the New Drug along with sundry other groups and individuals who educate the public, liberate victims and heal survivors of these atrocities. 

“Utah thanks international partners like Polaris Project, the Trafficking in America Taskforce, Engage Now Africa, Airline Ambassadors, Truckers Against Trafficking, Halleh Seddighzadeh, PhD, of ARMAN, and so many others for their dedication to combating trafficking. 

“The eradication of human trafficking should be a priority for all who value virtue and freedom. As a humanitarian issue, ending human trafficking transcends political and ideological differences. It is critical for Utah and all states to work even more closely with law enforcement, various first responders, and the communities who come in contact with human trafficking victims to combat modern-day slavery.

“I am very grateful for the hard and often unsung work by law enforcement investigators, both in the AGO and from our sister agencies, working hand-in-hand to surveil and bring down traffickers, as well as for the lawyers and support staff who prosecute the perpetrators. We will not rest until human trafficking is ended.”


The following individuals are available for comment for stories on modern slavery and human trafficking during National Slavery and Human Trafficking Month.

LEGAL 

Russell Smith – Utah Attorney General’s Office

SECURE Section Director

(801) 281-1218

rsmith3@utah.gov 

LAW ENFORCEMENT 

Nate Mutter – Utah Attorney General’s Office 

nmutter@utah.gov

MEDICAL 

Dr. Kathy Franchek – University of Utah School of Medicine

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics 

801-585-6943  

kathy.franchek@hsc.utah.edu  

Dr. Corey Rood – University of Utah/Center for Safe & Healthy Families, Primary Children’s Hospital 

https://ci6.googleusercontent.com/proxy/RnNZfQn2o2xpggJQqefCOervMbPIci5mujDPJnvl43kv6Rtxjyh5gHN_JKVzeU-aaGz3pePFgxfoAAtZJZNx8mveVTc-11j98EfuAJVcumUenA=s0-d-e1-ft#https://ssl.gstatic.com/ui/v1/icons/mail/images/cleardot.gifAssistant Professor of Pediatrics 

801-662-3605

corey.rood@hsc.utah.edu 

YOUTH

Terry Palmer 

terry@childrescueassociation.org 

VICTIM SERVICES 

Elizabeth Hendrix – Refugee & Immigrant Center 

elizabethh@aau-slc.org 

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Utah AG Reyes Expresses Support for Utah Law Enforcement

SALT LAKE CITY January 9, 2017 – Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes released the following statement of support for Utah law enforcement personnel on Utah Law Enforcement Day.

We in the Utah Attorney General’s Office applaud the designation of January as Law Enforcement Appreciation Month in Utah. It is time that our state joins the national tradition of recognizing with special celebrations and commemorations our men and women in law enforcement and their families every first month of the year.

“Our men and women in blue are some of the greatest public servants we have. They deserve the highest respect and appreciation we can impart. Sadly, many of them today are disrespected, reviled, and even targeted for harm by some of the people they protect.  It is an honor for me and my team to work side-by-side with the law enforcement agents in the Utah Attorney General’s Office who bring tremendous expertise to handle some of the most complex investigations in Utah.  It is equally a privilege for our office to work on task forces and in the field with federal, state, county, city, and tribal officers who all make up our law enforcement family.  

“Like all other professions, law enforcement can find ways to improve and still has significant challenges to overcome in rebuilding trust with many communities. Like other professions, law enforcement will always have some bad actors who do not represent the vast majority of hard working, dedicated and honorable men and women within its ranks. However, unlike most professions, law enforcement professionals put their lives, their physical health, and their mental and emotional well-being on the line every day for our protection and safety.

“This month, as we celebrate together the contributions of the officers who make up the ‘thin blue line,’ our hope is that law enforcement and the communities they protect may come together to rebuild trust and strengthen ties.  To that end, with the support of the legislature and executive branch, the Utah Attorney General’s Office and the Utah Department of Public Safety are proud to announce the completion of the first year of statewide law enforcement de-escalation and critical incident training.

“We have already trained hundreds of officers and scores of agencies to minimize or eliminate violent confrontations with citizens.  The training curriculum includes live-action scenarios in a state-of-the-art virtual simulator combined with education on how to more effectively interface with individuals and groups from minority, refugee and non-English speaking communities and people with disabilities or mental health challenges.  This training not only prepares officers to better protect themselves, it much more effectively equips them to protect those they encounter in high-stress situations. Our hope is that it will drastically lessen the chances of citizens or officers being lost to violent interactions.

“Far too many of our uniformed men and women have lost their lives in the service of their communities. For those of us who have stood at vigils in the nation’s capital, at funeral services around the state or at services at the Fallen Law Officer’s Memorial, you cannot witness such sacrifice without a profound appreciation for those fallen and their families.  May God bless our officers with health, protection, honor, discernment, good judgment and humility.  My prayers go with them and their families every day.”

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Attorney General Reyes Statement on Carl McGown

SALT LAKE CITY December 30, 2016 – Attorney General Sean Reyes issued the following statement upon the death of former Brigham Young University men’s volleyball coach Carl McGown.

“To lose two Hall of Fame coaches on consecutive days is quite a loss to Brigham Young University and the sports world.

“Coach Carl McGown was a fierce competitor and an incredible innovator, recruiter and tactician. His success building champions started from his youth camps all the way to the highest level of international competition. Bringing national championships to the State of Utah and Brigham Young University and winning gold medals and international respect for the US National Team are part of his legendary legacy as a coach. Raising a family that has continued playing and coaching while contributing to their communities is a part of his legacy as a father.

“Coach was a dominant player in his time, leading his BYU squads as an All-American and then playing at the world level. After playing, he built a powerhouse team in Laie, Hawaii as head coach for the Church College of Hawaii. Later, in addition to winning national titles at BYU, he coached 18 All-Americans. As a national team coach, he helped lead the USA to three Olympic gold medals, a number of world championships and many other Olympic and world top three finishes.

“I wish I had been able to play more for Coach McGown. He influenced dramatically my collegiate volleyball career as he has for many players much more talented and accomplished than me around the world. He took a first-year Division I team my freshman year that went 2-27 and built a dominant NCAA champion. He was often underrated and overlooked by those outside the sport but within the USA and world volleyball community, he was as revered as other iconic names such as Al Scates and Marv Dunphy.

“I will always remember his very straightforward, no nonsense approach. One day, after a particularly underwhelming workout, he shook his head saying, “Reyes, you are no Karch Kiraly.”

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