Welcome from Attorney General Bob Ferguson
This month, I am pleased to report that my office continued to hold polluters accountable. We filed criminal charges against another derelict vessel owner in the Tri-Cities region—part of our initiative to prosecute environmental crimes and protect Washington’s waterways.
We also passed legislation with strong bi-partisan support that will increase transparency in government, protect our veterans from scams and safeguard veterans' financial rights.
Read more about these and other issues below. As always, please contact me with your questions, thoughts or concerns.
Bob Ferguson, Washington State Attorney General
Fighting environmental crimes in the Tri-Cities
Protecting our environment from polluters is one of my top priorities. The Attorney General's Office filed criminal charges in Benton County District Court against the owner of the derelict vessel M/V FORUS, which sank and was abandoned in a highly trafficked area of the Columbia River near Finley.
This is the third such case we've filed this year.
We hope these cases serve as notice that the Attorney General’s Office will hold accountable irresponsible boat owners who abandon their vessels and damage the environment.
Catch the news coverage here:
KEPR TV w/video: Charges filed against man who abandoned boat in the Columbia
Protecting veterans, promoting open government
Working across the aisle, my office passed three new bills this legislative session with strong bi-partisan support.
Two of the bills will help veterans, active duty military and their families. One will strengthen the state financial protections for service members called to active duty. The other will help prevent elderly veterans and their surviving spouses from being scammed.
A third bill will improve access to your government by requiring open government training for public officials to improve transparency and reduce lawsuits.
Learn more here:
Helping borrowers facing foreclosure
Protecting the rights of homeowners is a top priority for my office—particularly those facing foreclosure. We've filed big cases against Wall Street banks for unscrupulous practices, and we also protect people closer to home by weighing in on important court cases.
Recently, the AGO filed "friend of the court" briefs in favor of homeowners in two important cases before the Washington Supreme Court.
You can learn more about these cases in this recent KUOW story, featuring our Consumer Protection Division Chief Shannon Smith: http://kuow.org/post/washington-supreme-court-takes-loan-fraud-foreclosure-fights
Unfortunately, Mr. Jametsky and Ms. Frias aren’t the only ones struggling with foreclosure problems.
If you are facing foreclosure, remember you do not have to pay for assistance. Free housing counselors are available to help. Just call: 1.877.894.HOME (4663).
You should also contact the Attorney General’s Office if you believe you have been duped in a foreclosure rescue scheme. 1.800.551.4636 or http://atg.wa.gov/FileAComplaint.aspx
Reaching out to communities in Washington
One of the best parts of my job is the opportunity to meet and work with communities all across the state and to ensure my office is serving all Washington residents. Here are some highlights from recent weeks:
My senior staff and I recently met with leaders of the Latino Civic Alliance and the Commission on Hispanic Affairs. We had robust discussions about crime and consumer protection issues and how the Attorney General’s Office can help.
Later in the month, I joined El Rey’s Edgar Solares, my Latino outreach specialist, Elena Huizar, and Uriel Iniguez, executive of the Commission on Hispanic Affairs, on El Rey, AM 1360. We talked about how consumers can keep informed about common scams and how to protect your information on-line.
I also had the chance to chat about careers with youth and future leaders of Washington. A large group of Boy Scouts visited my office to learn about public law firms and how we serve the state of Washington.
Later I met with students from the Bellevue and Monroe Boys and Girls Clubs in the “Diplomas to Degrees” program to discuss the path to the legal profession.
Nearly every week—and often several times a week—we issue consumer alerts to help you protect yourself and your family from the latest scams and threats.
You can find the latest scam alerts on our Web site: http://atg.wa.gov/ScamAlerts.aspx or sign up to receive them via e-mail.
We are also partnering with AARP to develop an army of savvy consumers to join the FraudWatch Network. Sign up here to learn more about this effort!