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Utah AG Joins Coalition Supporting FTC Identity Rules

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 14, 2019

 

UTAH ATTORNEY GENERAL SEAN D. REYES JOINS 31 ATTORNEYS GENERAL IN SIGNING MULTI-STATE LETTER SUPPORTING FTC IDENTITY RULES 

SALT LAKE CITY – On Friday, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined a coalition of 31 attorneys general and sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) urging the FTC to continue its Identity Theft Rules, which were originally adopted in November 2007. The letter cites the proliferation of identity theft in many states, and the growth in technology since the rules were adopted.

“Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States of America and one of the most disruptive and damaging to victims’ lives,” said Attorney General Reyes. “The Utah Attorney General’s Office-led SECURE Strike Force focuses tremendous resources on protecting the identities of Utah. We ask the FTC to do the same.”

The current rules require certain financial institutions and businesses that grant credit or issue debit or credit cards to take steps to detect, prevent and mitigate identify theft by implementing reasonable safeguards. The letter also suggests adding a requirement that a cardholder must be notified by email or cell phone if an email address or cell phone number is changed. This is in addition to the existing requirement to mail notification upon change of account address. The attorneys general also ask that suspicious account activity include account access by new and previously unknown devices and repeated unsuccessful access attempts.

David Sonnenreich from the Tax & Financial Services Division of the Utah Attorney General’s Office said, “Identity theft is a serious and rapidly growing problem that harms our citizens both financially and emotionally, and that increases costs for our businesses. Since 2007 the FTC’s ‘Red Flag’ and ‘Card Issuer’ rules have provided critical early warnings of identity theft to businesses and consumers and have helped to stop countless fraudsters in their tracks when they try to use stolen personal information. However, as cyberthieves become more sophisticated, we need to adopt better responses.”

Attorney General Reyes joined the Attorneys General of Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin in signing this letter.

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A copy of the letter can be found here: https://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/AG_Comment_Letter_to_FTC.pdf

Utah AG to Be Appointed to Federal Asian-American & Pacific Islander Commission

January 18, 2019

President Donald J. Trump announced his intent to appoint Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes to the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian-American and Pacific Islanders on Thursday.

The commission works to advise the President on issues that face the Asian-American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) community, such as economic growth, education, health and housing. The commission also facilitates access to and participation in federal programs to AAPIs to improve the quality of life for the community.

In 2017, President Trump recognized the tremendous growth and needs of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) in America and issued Executive Order 13811 to re-establish the commission. Attorney General Reyes is among 12 other people named to join the commission.

Read more:

Deseret News: https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900051235/utah-ag-seans-reyes-named-to-federal-asian-american-pacific-islander-commission.html

KSL News: https://www.ksl.com/article/46470802/utah-ag-seans-reyes-named-to-federal-asian-american-pacific-islander-commission

January is National Slavery & Human Trafficking Prevention Month

1/9/2019

Today, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes, in an effort to educate and protect the citizens of Utah, issued the following statement recognizing National Slavery & Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

“Having seen the brutal effects of human trafficking  in a very close and personal way, I can attest that it robs victims of innocence, dignity, and hope. It is a horrific violation of human rights and a crime of terror. Every Utahn – every American – must understand that human trafficking can be found in any community — rural or urban, wealthy or modest, religious or secular. It does not discriminate in its victimization of people of all backgrounds.

“The eradication of human trafficking should be a priority for all who value justice, virtue and freedom. The fight to end human trafficking transcends political and ideological differences. It is not a Democrat or Republican issue but a humanitarian one. As such, it is critical for Utah and all states to work even more closely with law enforcement, first responders, and the communities who come in contact with human trafficking victims to combat modern-day slavery.

“We are grateful for our partnerships here at home, across the nation, and abroad that educate the public, liberate the captives, and provide healing for survivors. Utah has made great strides in recent years and is a recognized worldwide leader in the fight. But it’s still not enough. I invite all Utahns to get involved. Know the signs and learn how to report. Good people will not rest until human trafficking is eradicated from every community in Utah and around the world.”

Stay tuned over the next few weeks. The Utah Attorney General’s Office will publish a short series of human trafficking articles – how to recognize trafficking, how to report, and detailing elements of this $150 billion worldwide industry. Thank you for paying attention.

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 18, 2018

 

AG REYES APPLAUDS SENATE PASSING THE FIRST STEP ACT

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: https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/bill-of-rights-transcript

To read the Consitution of the United States, click here: http://constitutionus.com/

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

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