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AG Reyes Statement on National Suicide Prevention Month and the SafeUT App

SALT LAKE CITY September 14, 2016 – Attorney General Sean D. Reyes released the following statement on National Suicide Prevention Month:

“Over the past two years, the Office of the Attorney General has teamed with legislators, state agencies, mental health clinicians, suicide prevention advocates, the faith community, educators, law enforcement, parents and teens to combat the leading cause of death of Utah children, ages 10-17. We can no longer accept the horrible reality that our kids are not only contemplating leaving this life, but actually succeeding in their determination to end it themselves. The shocking tragedy of suicide permeates our state and our children are finding it to be a solution to loneliness, depression, discrimination, anxiety and the devastating pain caused by bullying, harassment, and abuse.

“As I have visited with youth throughout the state over the past two and a half years individually and in groups, I have asked how many of them feel alone, judged, alienated or without hope. I have asked how many have considered hurting themselves or know someone who has or is thinking of ending their lives. I am deeply unsettled and saddened by the response, especially when I see a majority of hands shoot up in a crowd of 500 students.

“Because of this, and the sobering fact that Utah now leads the nation in the rate of teen suicide, I have made it a priority for my office to lead the School Safety and Crisis Line Commission which recently unveiled the new SafeUT app, which is currently being introduced in schools throughout Utah. Those in crisis can now access live trained professionals at any time the way they are used to communicating, through a smart app on their phones.

“Once individuals reach out anonymously through texts, chats or calls, certified clinicians at the University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Institute (UNI) respond with support and crisis counseling, including suicide prevention. Whether a crisis is caused by emotional pain, bullying, relationship problems, or mental health challenges, these dedicated professionals have had great success in helping youth throughout our state feel that someone is listening and that they finally have help to navigate their darkest paths.”


The SafeUT app began rolling out to Utah junior high, middle and high schools in early 2016 and will continue to be implemented throughout the state in the 2016-17 school year. In addition to responding to suicide threats, SafeUT is available for those needing help with self-harm, grief and loss, drug and alcohol problems, mental health, abuse, and domestic violence. Further, the app has a safety tip feature that can be used to submit a tip to a school or to law enforcement.

University Neuropsychiatric Institute (UNI) SafeUT Website Here

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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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AG Reyes Statement on National Preparedness Month

SALT LAKE CITY September 13, 2016 – Attorney General Sean D. Reyes released the following statement on National Preparedness Month:

“Utah has a long tradition of self-reliance dating back to our founding. Whether it is planning for natural disasters, establishing personal financial security, or looking after our own health, preparing for the unexpected is a part of our culture. 

“One of the most important things we can do as a public office is to help prepare Utah citizens and their families with the tools to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their resources. The White Collar Crime Offender Registry, which helps Utahns search a database of convicted white-collar criminals before they invest and the SafeUT app, which gives individuals in crisis direct access to trained professionals, are two technologies our office has collaborated with the legislature and other state agencies to introduce over the past year. In addition, ongoing school internet safety training through NetSmartz helps educate students about best practices for online and social media use, for our children, for dating, and for privacy.

“Whatever the circumstance, during National Preparedness Month we urge Utahns to make and update plans for all contingencies, communicate that plan as a family, and prepare for the unexpected.”

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Utah Attorney General's Office

AG Reyes Announces a $100M Settlement with Barclays for Manipulating LIBOR

LIBOR manipulation hurt government entities and not-for-profit organizations
in Utah and across the country

SALT LAKE CITY August 8, 2016 – Attorney General Sean D. Reyes today announced a $100 million settlement with Barclays Bank PLC and Barclays Capital Inc. for fraudulent and anticompetitive conduct involving the manipulation of LIBOR.  This is a benchmark interest rate that affects financial instruments worth trillions of dollars and has a widespread impact on global markets and consumers.

“It is important for a successful free market that financial institutions play by the rules, especially those that help set rates upon which the market relies. Companies that break the rules, cheat or otherwise manipulate positions of trust should be held accountable for their mistakes,” said Attorney General Reyes. “Our congratulations to the entire Anti-Trust Section of the Attorney General’s Office for their team work in seeing this difficult settlement through.”

The investigation, conducted by a multistate working group of 44 State Attorneys General, led by the Attorneys General of New York and Connecticut, revealed that Barclays manipulated LIBOR through two different kinds of fraudulent and anticompetitive conduct.  First, during the financial crisis period of roughly 2007-2009, Barclays’ managers frequently told LIBOR submitters to lower their LIBOR settings in order to avoid the appearance that Barclays was in financial difficulty and needed to pay a higher rate than some of its peers to borrow money.  The LIBOR submitters complied with the instructions and suppressed their LIBOR submissions during that period.  Second, at various times from 2005 to 2007 and continuing at least into 2009, Barclays’ traders asked Barclays’ LIBOR submitters to change their LIBOR settings in order to benefit their trading positions, and the submitters often agreed to the requests.  At times, those requests came from traders outside the bank, and Barclays traders agreed to pass them along to Barclays’ submitters, thus colluding with other banks.  Barclays also believed that other banks’ LIBOR submissions likewise did not reflect their true borrowing rates and that therefore, published LIBOR did not reflect the cost of borrowing funds in the market, as it was supposed to do.

Government entities and not-for-profit organizations in Utah and throughout the U.S., among others, were defrauded of millions of dollars when they entered into swaps and other investment instruments with Barclays without knowing that Barclays and other banks on the U.S. dollar (USD)-LIBOR-setting panel were manipulating LIBOR and colluding with other banks to do so.

Governmental and not-for-profit entities with LIBOR-linked swaps and other investment contracts with Barclays will be notified if they are eligible to receive restitution from a settlement fund of $93.35 million.  The balance of the settlement fund will be used to pay costs and expenses of the investigation and for other uses consistent with state law.

Barclays is the first of several USD-LIBOR-setting panel banks under investigation by the State Attorneys General to resolve the claims against it, and Barclays has cooperated fully from the outset.  The State Attorneys General will benefit from the information and evidence provided by corporations that elect to cooperate with the investigations.  Such cooperation can facilitate civil enforcement efforts, including restitution for victims of the offense.  

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Utah Attorney General's Office

AG Reyes Secures Recovery for Utah Consumers and the State for Cephalon Efforts to Delay Generic Drug Competition For Provigil

SALT LAKE CITY August 4, 2016 – Attorney General Sean D. Reyes today announced a $125 million settlement between Utah, 47 other States and the District of Columbia (the “States”)  and Cephalon and affiliated companies (“Cephalon”) that ends a multistate investigation into anticompetitive conduct by Cephalon to protect the monopoly profits it earned from its landmark wakefulness drug, Provigil.  That conduct delayed generic versions of Provigil from entering the market for several years.

“While we still require court approval of the settlement, we are pleased to announce that Cephalon and the States involved have reached an agreement,” said Attorney General Reyes. “Our congratulations to the entire Anti-Trust Section of the Attorney General’s Office for their team work in seeing this difficult settlement through.”

As the time neared for patent and regulatory barriers to expire and thus open the way for generic competition to Provigil, Cephalon intentionally engaged in an alleged illegal scheme to delay the entry of generic competitors to Provigil that included fraudulently securing an additional patent, filing patent infringement claims against potential generic competitors and  paying  them to delay selling their generic versions of Provigil until at least April 2012, six years later than they would have absent the scheme.  Because of this delayed entry, consumers, states and their governmental entities and others paid hundreds of millions more for Provigil than they would have had generic versions of the drug launched earlier in 2006, as expected.

The States’ settlement includes $35 million for distribution to consumers, including Utah residents, who bought Provigil .  The States hope this $35 million consumer recovery will be supplemented with recovery from a settlement of a private class action against Cephalon that includes Utah, 24 other States and the District of Columbia.

The total estimated recovery for Utah under the States’ settlement will be about $1.55 million, including compensation for Provigil purchases by these Utah consumers and certain Utah government entities, and for the State.

This multistate settlement was facilitated by litigation brought against Cephalon by the Federal Trade Commission.  In May 2015, the FTC settled its suit against Cephalon for injunctive relief and $1.2 billion, which was paid into an escrow account.  The FTC settlement allowed for those escrow funds to be distributed for settlement of certain related cases and government investigations, such as those of the States and private class action cases.

The settlement is subject to court review, including providing consumers with notice and an opportunity to participate in, object to, or opt out of settlement.  The States expect court review will be provided by Judge Mitchell Goldberg of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, who is currently overseeing other litigation concerning Provigil against Cephalon and others.

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Utah Attorney General's Office

Utah Supreme Court Affirms Murder Conviction of Glenn Howard Griffin

More than 30 years after the murder of Bradley Perry,
Utah’s highest court unanimously confirmed the First Degree Conviction of his killer

SALT LAKE CITY July 28, 2016 – More than 30 years after the murder of Bradley Perry, the Utah Supreme Court affirmed the first degree murder conviction of Glenn Howard Griffin in a unanimous decision written by Justice Constandinos Himonas (State v. Griffin, 2016 UT 33). The ruling comes after a long legal process that included a month-long trial, a 23B hearing, almost 200 hundred pages of briefs and three oral arguments.

“We are pleased with the Utah Supreme Court’s decision to affirm Mr. Griffin’s conviction,” said Attorney General Sean Reyes.  “Even after three decades, Bradley Perry and his family deserve justice and closure. This ruling demonstrates that the legal system works and that we will pursue criminals until justice is served. My sincere congratulations to Assistant Solicitor General John Nielsen for his tireless efforts and articulate advocacy on this case, as well as to Laura Dupaix, Tom Brunker, Erin Riley, Chris Ballard, and Tyler Green for their role during the editing and mooting process. Thank you also to Steve Hadfield and Blair Wardle from Box Elder County, who helped during the 23B remand hearing.”

Case Background

Bradley Perry was working the late shift at the Texaco gas station in Perry, Utah near Brigham City on the night of May 25, 1984.  Early in the morning of May 26, he was tied up in the back room, severely beaten, strangled, stabbed multiple times with a screwdriver and what was most likely a knife, and his head crushed by a soda canister.  

Earlier that same morning, two Utah State students stopped for gas at the Perry Texaco and encountered a lean, dark-haired man who offered to pump their gas and get cigarettes for them.  One student paid for the gas with five one-dollar bills. The other student paid for cigarettes with a five dollar bill, and got change from the one-dollar bills that his friend had just given the purported attendant.  One of those bills had “wet” “fresh” “damp” blood on it.

For more than 20 years, police interviewed hundreds of suspects in the hunt for Perry’s killer, but found no solid leads.  A break came when DNA testing technology advanced to the point that the crime lab could test the small amount of blood on the bill, discovering that the blood belonged to Griffin.  Additionally, the State was able to test hairs that had been collected from the scene using mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) testing.  Griffin could not be excluded as a contributor of those hairs, though about 99.94% of the rest of humanity could be excluded. Further, one of the students drew a picture of the suspect that matched Griffin’s appearance in 1984.

Although the State sought the death penalty, the jury in the case imposed life without parole (LWOP) on Griffin.  On appeal Griffin argued various grounds for reversal, but the court found none of them persuasive.  The DNA evidence was admissible, rendering any other errors harmless at best. 

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Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes’ Pioneer Day Statement

SALT LAKE CITY July 24, 2016 – Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes issued the following Pioneer Day statement:

“Today we celebrate pioneer men, women and children who overcame tremendous political persecution, physical challenges and personal adversity to build a new life in the West and make the Utah desert blossom like a rose. As we commemorate the arrival of Mormon pioneers, we should also remember our Native American and Mexican brothers and sisters who had already been living in harmony with this land for generations.

“I hope we take time this weekend to honor other pioneers like the team led by Atanasio Domínguez and Silvestre Vélez de Escalante, Catholic priests who charted much of Utah on their expedition beginning in 1776.  From Chinese and Japanese railroad workers, Greek miners, Basque ranchers, Latino and African American families, Hawaiians and other Islanders, all the way to the most recent refugees, each of these groups and many others from around the world have been pioneers in their own right, opening doors in Utah while enriching our state.

“Let us celebrate all pioneers by reaching out to our neighbors with an arm of service and brotherhood to strengthen the ties that bind us together, regardless of our cultural, racial or religious backgrounds.  After nearly one hundred and seventy years, Utah is still the place, and if we can come together in cooperation and trust on the many  issues we have in common, Utah will continue to be a strong, prosperous state for generations to come.”

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Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes Statement on Munich Attacks

SALT LAKE CITY July 23, 2016 – Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes issued the following statement about the recent attack in Munich, Germany:

“On this celebratory weekend honoring the pioneer roots of this great state, we mourn the lives lost in the terrible shooting that took place in Munich, Germany this week. Such a random act of violence is terrorism whether or not an official terrorist group claims responsibility. 

“As technology shrinks our world and we become more dependent on each other as global citizens, these tragedies across the world feel more intense and even more personal. Each attack on our friends and allies and every inexplicable manifestation of violence has become an attack on all of us, both symbolically, because we are all children of God and members of the human family, and literally, because it emboldens violence within our own communities. 

“May God bless the families, friends and loved ones of the Munich victims and may God bless America and all of her people, and may we hope that more peaceful days are ahead.”

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Utah Attorney General's Office

Former UHP Trooper Steed Case Settled

SALT LAKE CITY July 22, 2016 –The Utah Attorney General’s Office settled a lawsuit today brought in State Court against former Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Lisa Steed for costs and attorney’s fees in the amount of $200,000. The Utah Highway Patrol and the State of Utah were dismissed from the case in a ruling last week. In that ruling, claims were also dismissed against Ms. Steed, but a single claim brought by three individual plaintiffs under the Utah Constitution was allowed to proceed to trial.

Ms. Steed and the Utah Highway Patrol continue to believe that her arrests were supported by probable cause, and therefore were valid under the Utah Constitution. A settlement was made to avoid a lengthy trial and appeal of any jury verdict.  As part of this settlement the case against Ms. Steed in State Court, brought by these three Plaintiffs is dismissed in its entirety with prejudice.  Accordingly, any appeal of the dismissal of the Utah Highway Patrol and the State of Utah is foreclosed as a matter of law.

The settlement and dismissal of this case is intended to foreclose any right to appeal the denial of class certification that the Court ruled on last year.  The settlement will need to be approved by the Court.  In essence, the settlement today allows everyone involved in this case, including Ms. Steed, to put this matter behind them and move forward.

Attorney General Litigation Director Joni Jones and her team led by Assistant Attorney General Meb Anderson including Assistant Attorney General Scott Cheney, Sharon Zeller, Suzie Nelson and Mandi Bartlett were successful in getting class action claims dismissed early last winter and prevailed on summary judgement as to the several claims against the State and UHP.


Utah Attorney General's Office

Attorney General Reyes Tells Congress to Stop Agency Overreach

July 19, 2016 –Attorney General Sean Reyes joined a coalition of 15 states attorneys general in urging Congress to rein in federal agencies that create and enforce regulations.

The letter, sent July 11 to House and Senate leadership, explains that federal agencies are acting outside of their congressionally delegated authority, circumventing the law by issuing binding rules in the guise of “guidance” documents, failing to consider the costs of regulations, and unnecessarily overriding existing state laws.

Federal regulatory overreach has long been a concern, but the extent of the problem has in recent years become unprecedented in our Nation’s history. Overregulation places undue burdens on the average citizen and taxpayer.  It is choking small businesses and stifling first and second amendment rights.  It negatively impacts diverse industries such as agriculture, ranching, mining, manufacturing, finance and technology, without providing meaningful land management, consumer protection, education innovation or other objectives federal regulations were supposed to achieve,” said Attorney General Reyes. “This letter urges Congress to put meaningful checks on agencies so that lawmaking returns to its constitutional roots — in the legislative branch — and away from unaccountable, unelected federal bureaucrats.

One problem the letter highlights is the trend among agencies to make binding rules through so-called guidance documents. The letter cites the federal Administrative Procedures Act as requiring a notice and comment period for any change an agency wants to enact. This allows those affected to give their opinion and prepare. Federal agencies have been avoiding this process with so-called guidance documents, which are meant to offer non-binding advice, but are increasingly used to create new binding regulations and sanctions on those who don’t comply.

Additionally, Federal agencies also are acting outside the bounds of their authority and without consideration for existing state law or the costs of regulation.

The letter explains that congressional action is needed because it can take years to block the unlawful initiatives in court, so long that many regulated entities will have spent significant time and money that they cannot get back.

States signing the letter were West Virginia, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin.

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Utah Attorney General's Office

Utah AG Reyes Statement on Charles Kelly Sentencing

SALT LAKE CITY July 18, 2016 – This week the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) announced the sentencing of Charles Daryl Kelley for Attempted Human Trafficking.

“Whether it is one case or dozens, we want human traffickers and anyone who abuses men, women, or children to know that the Utah Attorney General’s Office investigators and prosecutors will pursue them aggressively,” said Attorney General Reyes.  “We appreciate the support of Utah’s communities in combating this evil and encourage anyone who has information regarding suspicious conduct to report it to law enforcement immediately.”

In conjunction with the SECURE Strike Force, the AGO prosecuted and convicted Kelley of Attempted Human Trafficking for attempting to recruit a 15-year-old girl to work in a commercial sex operation. Kelley traveled to Utah from Nevada with two adult women in order to profit from commercial sex at a motel in Midvale. While engaged in that business, in an attempt to recruit a local Utah teenager to work for him he approached a girl in a parking lot and asked if she wanted to “make some money.” Although he did not specify what he meant by this, investigators found substantial evidence that Kelley was engaged in a commercial sex operation at the motel. The child and her mother reported Kelley’s question before it could go any further, and Kelley was arrested.

Kelley’s conviction for attempting to recruit this child to commercial sex work reflects the position of the AGO and the SECURE Strike Force that even an attempt to obtain a child for commercial sex in Utah will result in arrest and prosecution to the full extent of the law.

Kelley will serve one year in custody and three years of supervised probation, a sentence consistent with his conduct in this case. Attempted Human Trafficking is a 2nd Degree Felony that carries a prison term of 1-15 years. The AGO agreed to recommend a sentence equal to the low-end of this term because Kelley did not succeed in obtaining the 15-year-old for commercial sex, but only solicited the child. Further, the plea will avoid re-traumatizing the child victim by bringing her into the court process. If Kelley unsuccessfully completes probation, the full 1-15 year prison term can be imposed by the court.

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