Each week, Crowell & Moring’s State Attorneys General team highlights significant actions that State AGs have taken. Here are this week’s updates.
- New York Attorney General Letitia James and Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro issued consumer alerts to share safety recommendations to protect citizens from the malicious misuse of Apple AirTags to track their locations and belongings without their knowledge or consent.
- Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced a lawsuit against Dewayne Boswell, Austin Logan and Ultimate Builders, LLC for violating the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (ADTPA). The complaint alleges Logan, Boswell and companies advertised and accepted money from 17 Arkansans to install in-ground swimming pools, which they failed to complete and provide the promised services and goods, costing homeowners $415,200.
- California Attorney General Rob Bonta and Assemblymember Brian Maienschein announced Assembly Bill 2311 (AB 2311), which will establish a number of new protections for car buyers. AB 2311 addresses the sale and administration of guaranteed asset protection (GAP) waivers, a costly add-on product of little value to consumers that is often sold by car dealers along with auto loans and is generally targeted at consumers with lower incomes and subprime credit.
- Attorney General Bonta announced the sentencing of Huichang Wu and Zhenyu Wu, a sibling duo that ran an illegal tobacco import and sales operation in San Francisco: two years of formal supervised probation and fines. The pair had imported over 2,700 cartons of illegal Chinese cigarettes for sale out of D&K Herb and Grocery, a grocery store they owned and operated in the city. Under the California Cigarette and Tobacco Products Licensing Act of 2003, it is unlawful for a retailer to buy cigarettes or tobacco products from anyone who is not licensed or without paying the required taxes.
- Idaho Attorney General Lawrence issued tips for homeowners regarding solar installations, as the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division has continued to receive reports and complaints from the public about some solar companies’ misleading sales tactics through door-to-door sales and social media advertisements.
- As recognized by Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita, Deputy Attorney General John Milikan and his team recouped more than $3.3 million in funds taken fraudulently from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. The Rokita administration has recovered more than $242 million for Hoosiers since January 2021.
- Attorney General Todd Rokita has been investigating the breach and subsequent use of data from a crowdfunding website, GiveSendGo, that was facilitating donations to the Freedom Convoy.
- Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller reached a settlement with Centurion Filing Services, a Florida operation, resolving allegations the company and its owner violated the Consumer Fraud Act by sending mailers that appeared to be from government agencies to Iowans in an attempt to sell unnecessary documents.
- Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel amplified a notice from the Ottawa County Clerk’s Office following reports that residents were visited at their homes by individuals claiming to be county employees seeking to verify the residents’ voter information and voting history. In response, Nessel is reissuing her Government Imposter Scams Consumer Alert, which addresses situations where bad actors use legitimate government references or the threat of government action to trick individuals into thinking the person is a government official.
- Attorney General Nessel issued subpoenas that will allow the Department to learn more about scammers pretending to offer telecommunication services, with a goal of putting a stop to the illegal robocalls. She also shared a news release with a video depicting a scam that impersonates the Attorney General and describes a dire situation that can only be remedied by buying a gift card for the caller’s use, as well as reminders about scams pertaining to weather-related damage and repairs.
- Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen has opened an investigation into potential violations of Montana’s Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Act in connection with GoFundMe’s redirection of funds from the Canadian Freedom Convoy earlier this month. After $10 million was raised on the GoFundMe crowd fundraising platform to support the protestors and $1 million was distributed to the peaceful protestors, GoFundMe suddenly announced it would withhold the remaining $9 million in donations from the Freedom Convoy and instead send the money to another organization.
- New York Attorney General Letitia James issued a letter demanding that the baby food company HolleUSA end its false or misleading claims about its products. Specifically, Attorney General James is calling for JSG Babyfood LLC and JSG Organics LLC — which does business as HolleUSA — to stop advertising their baby foods as being “lead free” and as having no detectable traces of heavy metals.
- South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg announced that in cooperation with St. Joseph’s Indian School and Native Hope, Inc., a grant of $85,000 per year for the years 2022 to 2024 has been made to aid in the funding of the Office of Liaison for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons.
- Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced that his office obtained a preliminary injunction in a case against Illinois-based testing company Center for COVID Control. Under the order, the court blocked the company from providing COVID-19 testing services or collect consumer health information in Washington while the case is litigated.