CWAG Roundup

August 6, 2015





CWAG's 2015 Annual Meeting was a huge success with over 350 primary registrants and an additional 500 guests attending. Three full days of CLE programing were provided covering a variety of timely and relevant topics. Special recognition was given to Jay Jerde, Wyoming Special Projects Attorney, as the 2015 Jim Jones Public Service Award winner. In addition, South Dakota Deputy Attorney General Charlie McGuigan was awarded the Nelson Kempsky Management Award. Several States were recognized for their outstanding websites as follows: (1) Best Overall: Iowa; (2) Best Redesign: Montana; (3) Best Consumer Outreach and Services: Colorado; (4) Best Victim Services: Wisconsin; (5) Biggest Crime Fighter: South Dakota; (6) Best Use of Online Technology: Washington; (7) Mobile Friendly: Rhode Island; and (8) Biggest Stride: Wyoming.




Sidley Austin LLP announced that Clayton S. Friedman, former senior counsel for the National Association of Attorneys General, is joining the firm as a partner. Mr. Friedman, who handles high-profile multistate investigations, will join the firm's regulatory practice. Mr. Friedman previously served as director of multistate litigation of the Missouri Attorney General and chief counsel and director of business regulation for the National Association of Attorneys General in Washington, D.C.





The Office of the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands is currently seeking applicants for the position of Chief for the Civil Division and for the position of Assistant Attorney General. Please see the attached articles for a full description of the job announcements.




Nearly two years after the massive September 2013 molasses spill in Honolulu Harbor, CWAG Attorney General Doug Chin of Hawaii announced a settlement agreement between the State and Matson Navigation Company related to that spill. Under the terms of the settlement, Matson will provide more than $15 million to the State through a combination of cash, restoration and funding of important environmental programs. The molasses spill resulted in the discharge of 233,000 gallons of molasses into Honolulu Harbor, contaminating thousands of acres of water and killing large amounts of coral and fish. "The $15.4 million in today's agreement plus the $600,000 Matson already paid in restitution add up to $16 million. This is one of the largest settlements for an environmental violation in Hawaii's history," said General Chin. "The resources made available as part of this settlement will now begin to restore coral and fund programs to assist with restoring aquatic life."




CWAG Attorney General Tim Fox of Montana announced that the Montana Supreme Court ruled unanimously to uphold the 24/7 Sobriety Program. The program, which had been challenged by a repeat DUI offender as unconstitutional, requires certain repeat offenders to take twice-daily breathalyzer tests rather than go to jail. General Tim Fox has worked to expand the program into more counties over the last two and half years. A majority of Montanans now live in counties using the 24/7 Program. "This unanimous ruling by the Montana Supreme Court is a victory for all Montanans," General Fox said. "The 24/7 Sobriety Program is a proven accountability tool for combatting repeat DUI, saving lives, and making our roadways safer. Driving under the influence of alcohol is a significant problem here, and we in the law-enforcement community are delighted that the court recognized both the constitutionality and effectiveness of the program."




CWAG Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt of Nevada announced that Mario Lamont Jones II was sentenced for one count of sex trafficking. This sentencing represents the first human sex trafficking conviction out of this office. Jones forced a victim to engage in prostitution on the Las Vegas Strip using threats, manipulation and control over her money and daily activities. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department's Child Exploitation Task Force successfully removed the victim from Jones' control, and ultimately unveiled his role in the prostitution scheme. The Attorney General's Office filed charges against Jones immediately thereafter. "Combatting the pervasive crime of human trafficking is a priority of this office," said General Laxalt. "This prosecution will take us one step closer to protecting our most vulnerable populations of women and children from being exploited."


CWAG Associate Attorney General Maura Healey of Massachusetts announced that Marvin Pompilus  has been arrested and arraigned in connection with trafficking multiple women for sex. Pompilus was arraigned on Tuesday in Quincy District Court on the charges of Trafficking of Persons for Sexual Servitude and Deriving Support from Prostitution. "We allege that this defendant targeted vulnerable women, arranged for them to provide sexual services and profited from this exploitation," said General Healey. "These charges demonstrate our continued effort to aggressively investigate and prosecute these crimes in our communities and to target human traffickers who exploit and abuse others for their own profit."




CWAG Attorney General Craig Richards of Alaska issued an opinion that found that law enforcement officers must enforce tribal protective orders just as if they came from an Alaska court. That includes arresting accused abusers who violate orders to stay away. Under the previous administration, law enforcement officers did enforce tribal orders but required them to be registered in state court. It's an extra step for victims in crisis as well as for tribal courts, which in remote villages may be far from a state courthouse. "The troopers have always acted to secure the scene and protect victims in an emergency, but previously the understanding was that tribal or foreign protection orders had to be registered with a local state court before the officer could enforce the order," Jacqueline Schafer, an assistant attorney general and the lead co-author of the opinion, said in an email.




CWAG Attorney General Bob Ferguson of Washington filed suit against a rewards based crowdfunding campaign that had failed to deliver on its crowdfunding promise. This was no big, multi-million dollar crowdfunding project either. It was for a deck of playing cards with a "retro horror theme" called Asylum Playing Cards.  According to the campaign page, 810 backers pitched in $9 and up to receive a deck of cards back in 2012. At that price point, most people would have moved on, except General Ferguson decided to take a stand against the issue of failure to deliver.  General Ferguson stated, "Washington State will not tolerate crowdfunding theft. If you accept money from consumers, and don't follow through on your obligations, my office will hold you accountable."


CWAG Attorney General Cynthia H. Coffman of Colorado announced that her office has filed a lawsuit against USA Discounters, LTD, d/b/a USA Living and d/b/a Fletcher's Jewelers ("USA Discounters"). The lawsuit alleges that these companies have repeatedly violated Colorado's consumer lending laws by focusing heavily on credit transactions with members of the military and their families, often locating its stores in close proximity to large military bases, such as Fort Carson Army Base and Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs. "Our military service members are susceptible to scams particularly while serving away from home and we must take aggressive action to protect them.  We must curb the business practices of companies targeting service members and their families for illegal lending practices," said General Coffman.


CWAG Attorney General Mark Brnovich of Arizona announced the sentencing of Larry Dahl, a former Phoenix attorney, to 3.25 years in prison and 7 years supervised probation after defrauding his former clients. In addition to his prison sentence, the Court ordered Dahl to pay $2,940,439 to the former clients he defrauded. "The defendant stole millions of dollars from his clients to fuel a gambling addiction," said General Brnovich. "Dahl was in a position of trust and he abused that trust. The Attorney General's Office takes these cases very seriously." In 2013, Dahl was indicted on 20 felony counts accused of embezzling money from client funds for nearly 5 years, from January 2001 to January 2005. Over that time period, Dahl gambled the $2,940,439 he had stolen at various casinos and lost the entire sum.




CWAG Attorney General Kamala D. Harris of California announced the arrest of five individuals suspected of being associated with the Sinaloa Cartel, for trafficking 55 pounds of methamphetamine with a street value of $2 million. "California is the gateway for 70 percent of the methamphetamine trafficked into the United States from Mexico," said General Harris. "This dangerous drug, and the actions of those who traffic and sell it, threatens the public health and safety of our communities. I thank our DOJ agents and local and federal partners for their commitment to dismantling transnational criminal organizations." In one investigation, an undercover California DOJ Bureau of Investigation Special Agent arranged to purchase 30 pounds of methamphetamine for $4,000 per pound and the suspects agreed to complete the transaction in two deliveries of 15 pounds each.

Chris Coppin

Legal Director

Conference of Western Attorneys General

111 Lomas, NW   Suite 300

Albuquerque, New Mexico 87102


505-660-5901 (cell)

505-222-9183 (fax)