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Sean D. Reyes
Utah Office of the Attorney General
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AG Sean Reyes’ International Women’s Day Statement

 SALT LAKE CITY March 8, 2017 – Attorney General Sean Reyes released the following statement for International Women’s Day:  

“We each owe an incredible debt of gratitude to the women in our lives for their influence in shaping who we are. And yet, we have much to do to properly empower women and girls to achieve their ambitions, gain access to the halls of power, to build businesses and families, and to have an equal voice regarding issues that impact our nation, state, and communities.

“From the beginning of my term as Attorney General, our efforts to attract the best and brightest have resulted in hiring and promoting some of the most skilled attorneys and leaders I know, including Chief Civil Deputy Bridget Romano, Chief of Staff Missy Larsen, Director of Finance and Administration Kim Schmeling, and Executive Assistant Cecilia Lesmes, as well as numerous other leaders and professionals throughout the Office.  Utah is daily improved because of the many capable women in our office.  

“Personally, I have deep gratitude for my tutu wahine and abuela (grandmothers). Similarly, I was blessed with a mother, whose early mornings and late nights were spent teaching our family enduring values of hard work, honor and a commitment to the underserved, while she devoted her days to living those principles in her career as an educator. In many ways, it is because of her that I married a brilliant woman, a friend and equal, whose qualities of strength and conviction challenge me daily to keep up with her. I look forward to the day when my daughter, herself a brilliant, talented, and beautiful individual, has the same opportunities as my sons.”


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AG Sean Reyes’ National Consumer Protection Week Statement

SALT LAKE CITY  March 8, 2017 – Attorney General Sean Reyes released the following statement for National Consumer Protection Week:  

“We want all Utahns to be protected from frauds, scams, and schemes. In the AG’s Office, we are fortunate to work with Utah’s Division of Consumer Protection and the Department of Public Safety, with our federal partners at the SEC, FBI, and US Attorneys Office and our local law enforcement partners at county and city agencies across the state to thwart white collar criminals.  Consumers should regularly review the Utah Division of Consumer Protection website that provides tips and advisories regarding the many scams that regularly impact Utahns.

“As Attorney General, fighting fraud has always been a critical priority for my office. I encourage consumers to stay informed and protect themselves by checking before you invest or send money to a stranger. In my experience, the best deterrent to fraud and scams is an educated and alert consumer.  Before investing in any opportunity—whether it comes over the internet, from a trusted friend or family member, or by a door-to-door salesman—please take the time to check with either the White Collar Crime Offender Registry, a tool unique to Utah that allows consumers to verify before they invest, or the Division of Consumer Protection. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

For further information, please visit the White Collar Crime Offender Registry online or the Division of Consumer Protection website.

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AG Reyes’ Statement on the Verdict in the John Swallow Case

SALT LAKE CITY March 2, 2017 – Attorney General Sean Reyes released the following statement regarding the verdict in the trial of former Utah Attorney General John Swallow:

“I reaffirm my belief in the integrity of our legal system and the importance of constitutional safeguards such as due process and the right to a jury that protect us all as Americans. I have great respect for Judge Hruby-Mills and her careful and judicious management of this matter. I also greatly appreciate the service of the jury and respect its verdict.

“Regardless of the outcome of any given case, we in the Office of the Utah Attorney General support our criminal justice system and its role in protecting citizens and preserving liberties.  We thank all those who serve the public in the criminal justice process from investigators, prosecutors, public defenders, victim advocates, jurors, and corrections personnel to judicial and courtroom staff.

“Regardless of how you feel about the outcome of this case, we should be appreciative of a legal system in America that is not perfect but is among the best in the world. Our belief in and deference to the Rule of Law is the bedrock of that system.”


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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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