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AGO News Releases for 2009

OLYMPIA – Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna will be joined by a bipartisan coalition of legislators on Monday as he rolls out his agenda for the 2010 legislative session.

Many adults enjoy drinking during the holidays. But the Washington State Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking points out that too many parties end tragically when a curious child suffers alcohol poisoning or a friend or relative gets behind the wheel after drinking.
Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna issued the following statement today
OLYMPIA — Attorney General Rob McKenna issued the following statement today regarding the announcement by South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster that he is researching the constitutionality of a portion of the U.S. Senate’s health care bill. AG McMaster says he is organizing a group of state attorneys general to examine the legality of the special arrangement in the Senate’s health care proposal which permanently exempts Nebraska from paying additional Medicaid costs mandated by the bill.
OLYMPIA – The state of Washington has received roughly $188 million to help repair environmental damage caused by mining giant ASARCO.
OLYMPIA – There’s only one government-authorized Web site where consumers can get their free annual credit report, and it’s not the one with the catchy jingles in television ads. Attorney General Rob McKenna says more needs to be done to protect consumers attempting to obtain the free credit report allowed by law.
SEATTLE – It’s payback time for Enron, Attorney General Rob McKenna announced today. The Attorney General’s Office sent more than $9 million this week to programs that will benefit utility customers who were gouged by the manufactured energy crisis of 2000-2001.

Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna issued the following statement today:

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the police officers murdered today in Lakewood,” McKenna said. “This outrageous act of violence against our brave protectors is a direct assault on the safety of our entire community. I have directed all of the criminal justice resources of this office, including our Homicide Investigation Tracking System and HITS Unit criminal investigators, be made available to those conducting the investigation into these assassinations. Our prosecutors and investigators stand ready to help bring those who committed this murderous act to justice.”

OLYMPIA — As shoppers prepare to head to big-box stores and shopping malls on Black Friday, Attorney General Rob McKenna today offered money-saving tips for holiday shoppers.
OLYMPIA -- Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna took a leading role in encouraging Congress to get tough on companies that engage in deceptive online sales tactics. McKenna was the only attorney general to testify in connection with Tuesday’s hearing by the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.
SEATTLE – The Public Counsel Section of the Washington State Attorney General’s Office today challenged electric and gas rate increases proposed by Puget Sound Energy (PSE).
OLYMPIA – Attorneys general in 32 states are calling on Vonage to change its marketing practices. The company, one of the nation’s largest providers of Internet-based phone service, will refund eligible customers and pay $3 million to the states to resolve concerns about its billing and cancellation policies.

OLYMPIA – They have names like “Joose” and “Max Fury.”  According to state attorneys general, these super-caffeinated alcoholic concoctions may not be safe. And worse, they’re being marketed to young people.

OLYMPIA -- The Washington Supreme Court today unanimously ruled that variations on the way teachers and school staff are paid across districts does not violate Washington’s Constitution.

SPOKANE — Assistant Attorney General Dannette Allen and a team of investigators and support staff spend their days combing through bank records, computer records, sworn statements and tips from whistleblowers. Their goal: To find those fraudulently using the state’s Medicaid program as an income source.
OLYMPIA -- Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna is leading a group of 40 state attorneys general in urging Congress to uphold the role of the states in enforcing consumer protection laws.
OLYMPIA—Attorney General Rob McKenna announced today that his Medicaid Fraud Unit participated in a settlement agreement that has generated a substantial payout from four drug companies accused of gaming a government health care program.
SEATTLE – The Public Counsel Section of the Washington State Attorney General’s Office today recommended that the state Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) not approve the sale of Verizon Northwest’s local and long distance telephone services in Washington to Frontier Communications because the transaction, as proposed, is not in the public interest.
In most Latin American countries, a “notario” is a licensed attorney. But the similar-sounding English word “notary public,” which translates to “notario publico,” means something entirely different.
SEATTLE – A year after Silver State Helicopters declared bankruptcy – leaving its former students with sky-high loan debt  – a group of attorneys general has handed over a golden parachute.
VANCOUVER, Wash. –The Attorney General’s announced today that it is suing RGH Marketing, Inc., and the general manager of Interstate Auto Liquidators, as part of an ongoing crackdown on deceptive practices by some dealers and marketers.

SEATTLE – She was crowned Miss Washington in 2007. A year later, the young woman from Wapato, Wash., placed third in the 2008 Miss America Pageant. Yet, Elyse Umemoto felt defeated.

That’s because, like tens of thousands of Washington residents every year, Elyse’s successes were marred by a recent episode of domestic violence.

OLYMPIA… The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals today reversed and granted an immediate stay of a lower court’s preliminary injunction blocking the release of Referendum 71 petitions containing the names and addresses of those who signed the measure.
SEATTLE – Window sellers need to be transparent in their marketing. Roofers need to stay on top of the law. And home siding installers shouldn’t sidle up to consumers with inappropriately high-pressure sales pitches.
OLYMPIA…Attorney General Rob McKenna today announced Sharyl Kammerzell as the new Division Chief of the Washington State University Division of the Attorney General’s Office.
SEATTLE -- If a young person knocks on your door and says they're selling magazines for a charity, wait before reaching for your pocketbook. The Washington Attorney General’s Office, which issued a warning about Fresh Start Opportunities in March, says solicitors have returned to Washington state.

Their stories are devastating: A Bothell couple whose 17-year-old son lost his life to a toxic combination of prescription and over-the-counter drugs, a Mukilteo parent whose high-schooler’s fatal addiction started when he smoked OxyContin, and a Seattle physician whose 24-year-old son died from an overdose of Oxycodone and cocaine.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals today granted the state’s request to expedite the state’s appeal of the preliminary injunction granted in federal court on Sept. 10, 2009. The injunction blocks the release of Referendum 71 petitions containing the names and addresses of those who signed the measure. The underlying case challenges the state’s public records law as an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment.

OLYMPIA — Medicaid recipient Lawrence Whitish died on Aug. 12, 2008. But a state’s attorney says his granddaughter – a government-funded care provider – continued to bill Medicaid for his ongoing care and claimed he was “fine.”

OLYMPIA – Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna fears a rise in scam victims as struggling homeowners trying to tap legitimate payment relief programs are simultaneously solicited by charlatans. He said a meeting this morning between Obama administration officials and state attorneys general on mortgage fraud is further evidence that cross-agency cooperation is vital to protect homeowners.

SEATTLE – The Washington Attorney General’s Office today lifted the curtain on a Seattle-based window installer’s allegedly deceptive sales practices and negotiated a settlement to insulate consumers from future harm.

The state Attorney General’s Office, in consultation with the Secretary of State’s office, today announced it will appeal a preliminary injunction granted yesterday in federal court. The injunction blocks the release of the names and addresses of those who signed Referendum 71.
OLYMPIA — Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna will honor several heroic state workers and one courageous fast-food employee who whisked a child out of the clutches of a kidnapper. The awards will be presented Friday at the Public Employees Safety Awareness and Preparedness Fair.
OLYMPIA – Gas vouchers were a hot promotional tool last year, used to lure potential customers to dealerships, furniture stores and seminars. But as gas prices rose, so did the number of consumers fuming about these so-called free fill-ups. A Vancouver, Wash., car dealer must now reimburse customers who responded to one such promotion that the Washington Attorney General’s Office says was deceptive.
SEATTLE – Working with the Washington Attorney General’s Office, Australian authorities recently announced they’ve shut down an Internet health scam that fleeced more than 60,000 consumers worldwide.
Attorney General McKenna today joined with other states and the federal government to announce a $2.3 billion settlement with Pfizer Inc. to settle civil and criminal allegations that Pfizer and its subsidiaries paid kickbacks and engaged in off-labeling marketing campaigns that improperly promoted numerous drugs that Pfizer manufactures.
Attorney General McKenna today joined 42 other state Attorneys General in announcing a $33 million dollar agreement with Pfizer Inc. related to the drug company’s alleged improper marketing of the antipsychotic drug, Geodon.

Attorney General McKenna today announced two major settlements between the government and pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer Inc.  The company will pay $2.3 billion to states and the federal in a historic Medicaid fraud settlement and $33 million more to settle states’ claims of unfair and deceptive marketing practices.

In one of the worst economic downturns since the Great Depression, attorneys from the public and private sectors are stepping up to lend a hand to struggling consumers.

Heath Ledger was on top of the world. In 2007, having been nominated for an Oscar for his role in the critically-acclaimed film Brokeback Mountain, the Australian actor had his pick of challenging, rewarding roles. Ledger had already appeared in many popular films, including Ten Things I Hate about You (filmed in part in the state of Washington). And having just turned in a buzz-worthy appearance as the Joker in The Dark Knight, Ledger's star was about to rise even higher.

OLYMPIA — Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna and Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn, in partnership with the Entertainment Software Association Foundation andWeb Wise Kids, today announced the launch of a statewide program that uses video games to help students, teachers, and parents better understand safe use of the Internet and other technology.

SEATTLE – Washington consumers looking to lose weight or wrinkles have jumped at “free trial” offers for açaí berry and resveratrol products. But the fruity supplements came with unexpected costs, say officials at the Washington Attorney General’s Office who want to warn shoppers about deceptive advertising practices.
State Attorney General Rob McKenna and state auditor Brian Sonntag are teaming up once again to increase access to government information through public records and open public meetings.

OLYMPIA– On Monday, Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn will announce their partnership with the Entertainment Software Association Foundation and the non-profit Web Wise Kids to introduce an innovative youth Internet safety program that will be used in 70 Washington schools.

SEATTLE  –  A proposed all-party settlement has been reached that would substantially reduce the size of  Pacific Power’s proposal to raise electric rates.

OLYMPIA – Mortgage scammers and others seeking to prey on homeowners had better watch their backs. Attorney General Rob McKenna and Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller are co-chairing a new State-Federal Task Force on Mortgage Enforcement which is an unprecedented partnership to target fraudsters.

SEATTLE – The Public Counsel Section of the Washington State Attorney General’s Office today challenged electric and gas rate increases proposed by Avista, saying the Spokane-based utility’s request is not justified and that, in fact, the company might be charging its customers too much for service.

RICHLAND, Wash. – With the ongoing construction of the Waste Treatment Plant (WTP) in the background at the Hanford Site, Attorney General Rob McKenna joined Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Washington Governor Chris Gregoire, Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski, U.S. Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, acting U.S. Assistant Attorney General John Cruden and other officials today to announce a proposed legal settlement that will impose a new, enforceable and achievable schedule for tank waste cleanup at the Hanford Site in southeastern Washington. 

SEATTLE – All they wanted was to start an online business. But many Washington residents who agreed to pay thousands of dollars to a company called StoresOnline claim they were suckered. ... After accusing the company of deceptive sales practices, the Washington Attorney General’s Office today announced an agreement that provides refunds for StoresOnline customers, who include many elderly and people on limited incomes.
OLYMPIA— State officials are celebrating a court victory that walls off millions of acres of public lands from new development. On Wednesday the 9th Circuit Court ruled in favor of a lower court’s decision to turn back a 2005 effort to open up some federal lands to new road construction and the harvest of timber.

SEATTLE – Nearly 1,000 Washington residents who lost their homes to foreclosure are a step closer to receiving some money to ease their pain, Attorney General Rob McKenna announced today.

OLYMPIA – Attorneys general in 46 states served up some relief for DISH Network customers today. The satellite TV provider will pay nearly $6 million to settle allegations that the company and its third-party retailers engaged in deceptive and unfair sales practices.

SEATTLE – Marketers of the cholesterol-lowing drug Vytorin will pay $5.4 million to resolve an investigation by attorneys general into the companies’ delayed release of negative study results, Attorney General Rob McKenna announced today.

SEATTLE – In the aftermath of the mortgage industry shakedown, a new type of bottom-feeder is chomping at homeowners struggling to keep up with their loan payments. Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna announced today that his office joined the Federal Trade Commission and other states in a nationwide crackdown on foreclosure rescuers and loan modification businesses that charge hefty upfront fees and often provide no help.

SEATAC – The Washington Attorney General’s Office will hold a press conference at SeaTac Airport on Wednesday, July 15, at 12:30 p.m. to announce five new cases concerning loan modification and foreclosure rescue businesses that have solicited Washington homeowners, as well as additional initiatives that are part of a nationwide federal/state enforcement initiative.

They may have sent Joe Camel the way of the buffalo but that didn’t stop tobacco giant R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. from violating the 10-year-old agreement prohibiting the use of cartoons in tobacco advertising, the Division One Court of Appeals ruled today.

OLYMPIA – Attorney General Rob McKenna today made the following statement on Thurston County Superior Court Judge Chris Wickham’s ruling in Stenson v. Vail, rejecting claims challenging the constitutionality of the Department of Corrections’ protocol for execution by lethal injection.  The case impacts the pending executions of not just Darold Stenson, but two other Washington state death row inmates who joined the case, Cal Coburn Brown and Jonathan Gentry.

OLYMPIA – Attorney General Rob McKenna today praised the Federal Trade Commission for tackling a Tacoma company that preyed on financially strapped consumers. He urged consumers to take advantage of low-cost credit counseling services.
SPOKANE -- Residents of a Spokane mobile home park were bewildered to learn they didn’t own the homes they live in. When an investigation by the Washington Attorney General’s Office revealed that the owner of West Prairie Village never properly transferred the titles, the business agreed to make things right.
TACOMA – The telemarketers’ pitch seems innocent enough: They want you to buy trash bags, light bulbs or gift cards at jacked-up prices. They claim your cash will help the homeless or support employment for those with disabilities. But state officials and consumer advocates are warning residents not to be misled by these sales calls.
 OLYMPIA – Open government advocates have a new resource at the Attorney General’s Office. The AGO has launched “Unredacted: Uncovering the truth about Public Records and Open Public Meetings.”
OLYMPIA – Attorney General Rob McKenna today announced the appointment of Antoinette (Toni) Ursich as the successor to longtime Spokane Division Chief Larry Briney. Ursich is currently the Washington State University Division Chief.
SEATTLE  – TJX Companies, Inc., agreed to pay $9.75 million to 41 attorneys general as a part of settlement that follows the states’ investigation concerning the retailer’s data security practices. Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna said $2.5 million will fund a Data Security Trust Fund to be used by the states to advance enforcement efforts and policy development in the field of data security.
SEATTLE—Today in King County Superior Court, former King County Assessor Russell Scott Noble was sentenced to eight months in jail after pleading guilty to one count of felony vehicular assault in a drunken crash that injured him and two others on Jan. 18.
SEATTLE -- The Washington State Bar Association (WSBA) is pleased to announce that its Home Foreclosure Legal Aid Project is accepting clients. In response to the current foreclosure crisis in our state, the WSBA is partnering with the Northwest Justice Project (NJP) to provide free legal assistance to Washington residents in danger of losing their homes. The goal of the project, which will last through May 2010, is to help Washington homeowners avoid foreclosure and stay in their homes.
OLYMPIA – The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), yesterday elected Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna as its vice president. McKenna will serve in this role through next summer, when he will become president-elect of the organization. He’ll assume the role of NAAG president in 2011.
OLYMPIA – The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), yesterday elected Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna as its vice president. McKenna will serve in this role through next summer, when he will become president-elect of the organization. He’ll assume the role of NAAG president in 2011.

As The Mirror reported on May 5, a Federal Way man has been charged with theft for draining his 93-year-old mother’s bank accounts.

OLYMPIA – Attorney General Rob McKenna today announced that Washington state will receive more than $2.6 million as part of a $95.5 million global settlement with Aventis Pharmaceutical, Inc, to resolve allegations that Aventis and its corporate predecessors shortchanged taxpayer-funded health care programs.

OLYMPIA – Work to clean up and remake a major piece of the Anacortes waterfront starts Monday, June 15, 2009.

OLYMPIA –Washington state has cleared a major hurdle in its efforts to collect nearly $164 million to help repair environmental damage caused by bankrupt mining giant Asarco.

If you regularly peruse the Mercer Island Reporter’s police report, you have probably noticed the trend of fraud targeting seniors. Some of the crimes are new. For example, the “Grandma Scam,” in which a young‑sounding person — often overseas and always posing as a grandchild — makes a breathless phone call pleading for an urgent wire transfer to pay a medical bail or to post a jail bond.

OLYMPIA – Here’s some sweet news for Chrysler owners: The Chrysler Group, LLC, and Fiat have agreed to honor the “Lemon Law” rights of buyers when the new company takes control of the U.S. auto maker, Attorney General Rob McKenna said today.

Goldendale couple told to pay more than $89,000

GOLDENDALE – The Washington Attorney General’s Office is working to “keep the dirty side down”* for motorcycle enthusiasts who shop for parts over the Internet.

SEATTLE – Attorney General Rob McKenna’s office is sounding the siren on marketing firms accused of using deceptive advertising and prize promotions to steer consumers to buy cars. The state announced two new lawsuits today as part of an ongoing effort to enforce fair marketing practices.
SEATTLE – Recent layoffs mean more Washington residents are without health insurance. The good news is they may qualify for assistance to help cover the costs of necessary prescription medications.
SEATTLE – Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna and Secretary of State Sam Reed are slinging their pistols – figuratively speaking -- at lawless “badge charities.” The state officials joined the Federal Trade Commission, state enforcement agencies and AARP Washington in announcing a nationwide crackdown on fraudulent charitable solicitors claiming to help police, firefighters and veterans.
OLYMPIA – The Washington State Investment Board (WSIB) filed a lawsuit Wednesday to recover more than $100 million in losses related to its purchase of investments from Lehman Brothers Holdings, Inc.
SEATTLE—Today in King County Superior Court, King County Assessor Russell Scott Noble pled guilty to one count of felony vehicular assault under the driving under the influence (DUI) prong.

OLYMPIA – Attorney General Rob McKenna today announced the selection of former congressional chief of staff and private sector CEO Randy J. Pepple as his new Chief of Staff, effective June 1.

OLYMPIA – Attorney General Rob McKenna today applauded Craigslist for its decision to eliminate its erotic services ads and create a new adult category that Web site employees will review.

SEATTLE – The Washington Attorney General’s Office declared a major victory for consumers today in response to a judge’s order that a notorious foreclosure rescue scammer must pay more than $3.2 million to victims he wronged plus $179,000 in penalties for violating the Consumer Protection Act.

GRAND MOUND – Proving that you don’t have to give in to fit in, Washington teens wowed their peers and adult mentors with clever marketing campaigns, peer support programs and even hip-hop aimed at preventing youth drug and alcohol abuse, violence and other destructive behaviors.

OLYMPIA – Assistant Attorney General Jana Franklin with the AG’sSexually Violent Predator Unit has won a civil commitment case that prevents the release of a dangerous sexually violent predator into the community.

OLYMPIA-- The State of Washington will honor all law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty and recognize officers who have given service beyond the call of duty at a special ceremony on the Capitol Campus, May 8.
OLYMPIA – As state legislators prepare to head home, Attorney General Rob McKenna was gratified that many of his consumer protection, community safety, and open government priorities had been approved by the Legislature. Some have already been signed into law and others await the Governor’s signature.
State attorneys general warned federal officials years ago that there would be consequences for paying insufficient attention to meaningful consumer protection, particularly related to predatory lending practices. Only now, with record numbers of mortgages in default and the economy in crisis, do officials in the other Washington seem willing to listen.
SEATTLE – Today, the Public Counsel Section of the Washington State Attorney General’s Office joined a multi-party settlement agreement in the proposed merger of CenturyTel and Embarq. The settlement recommends that the state Utilities and Transportation Commission approve the merger subject to a set of conditions to protect consumers served by the phone companies.
BELLEVUE – Attorney General Rob McKenna will make a guest appearance Saturday morning at a Secure Your ID Day shred event in Bellevue. The state’s top crusader for identity theft prevention will join consumers in destroying sensitive documents they no longer need.

SPOKANE – When Terri Jamison died in 2006, her husband, Paul, promised to take care of her elderly parents. But according to charges filed by the Washington State Attorney General’s Office, Paul Allen Jamison billed the state for caring for his in-laws when he wasn’t. He even billed the government for time spent sleeping.

Attorney General Rob McKenna, the Washington State Liquor Control Board and The Century Council brought a life-saving lesson about the dangers of drunk driving and underage drinking to Spokane-area students over the last two days.
OLYMPIA – As a case manager for the Kent Division of Developmental Disabilities, Sarah Matovu was trusted to authorize taxpayer-funded care for patients with cerebral palsy, autism, neurological conditions or mental disabilities. But government prosecutors say Matovu used her position to illegally funnel money to her own family.
In recognition of Alcohol Awareness Month, Attorney General Rob McKenna and Tony Masias, Alcohol Awareness Program Manager for the Washington State Liquor Control Board, are welcoming Brandon Silveria to several Spokane High Schools to encourage students to "Make the Right Choice."
OLYMPIA – Attorney General Rob McKenna today hailed the signing of a bill that allows his office, in concert with the Washington State Patrol, to lay the groundwork for the creation of a digital crime lab.
OLYMPIA – The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG)’s president, Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch, has appointed Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna as co-chair of the NAAG Environment and Energy Committee.
Ryan DePuy was an athletic, affectionate teenager from Bothell, Washington. According to his parents, their soccer-loving son was the last person anyone would expect to experiment with drugs.

Deadline looming for Washington consumers to claim relief under settlement

OLYMPIA – Ryan DePuy was an athletic, affectionate teenager from Bothell. According to his parents, their soccer-loving son was the last person anyone would expect to experiment with drugs.
The worst economic downturn in generations has created a perfect storm of financial shocks: evaporating investments, foreclosures and job losses. To add insult to injury, a new generation of thieves increasingly targets the dwindling bank balances of struggling Washington residents.
SEATTLE – The Washington Attorney General’s Office today issued a warning about a company selling magazine subscriptions door-to-door in Washington and several other states. Fresh Start Opportunities claims that money from the subscriptions will be used to help young people get a “fresh start on life,” but the company isn’t a registered charity.
OLYMPIA – Attorney General Rob McKenna will speak at two events Wednesday about the growing problem of prescription drug abuse by young people. Prescription drug overdoses are now a leading cause of accidental death for young people in Washington state, which has one of the highest rates of use in the nation.
OLYMPIA — Attorney General Rob McKenna today urged the chairman of American International Group (AIG) to disclose the names of executives who received bonuses between September 2008 and the present, and how federal bailout money was used for that compensation.
OLYMPIA – The Legislature has overwhelmingly passed Attorney General Rob McKenna’s requested bill to curb abusive public records requests by inmates.
OLYMPIA— A number of Attorney General Rob McKenna’s legislative priorities have survived the March 12 deadline to move out of the legislative house of origin and are scheduled for public hearings next week.
The Washington State Supreme Court this afternoon granted a stay in the March 13 scheduled execution of convicted murderer Cal Coburn Brown.
SEATTLE – The season for spring cleaning and filing taxes is a great time to destroy sensitive documents you no longer need. But if the thought of tediously hand-feeding piles of personal papers into your home shredder makes it tough to get motivated, we have a solution. Attend a free community shred party and watch the professionals pulverize your papers into bits in mere minutes.
Convicted murderer Cal Coburn Brown has filed a motion for discretionary review with the Washington State Supreme Court seeking to prevent his scheduled execution on the morning of March 13.
OLYMPIA – Today, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Washington state’s authority over mixed hazardous and radioactive transuranic waste buried at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

SEATTLE – After the Washington Attorney General’s Office found an Internet company’s “MyLuvCrush” promotion to be a not-so-sweet nothing designed to prey on hopeful romantics, its creator agreed to dump the ads. Seattle-based Tatto Media, Inc. agreed last November to stop misrepresenting to computer users that someone had a “crush” on them. Instead, the company continued its misleading come-ons. So the state returned to court, securing a new $500,000 settlement and a warning to businesses that attempt similar ploys:

SEATTLE--The Attorney General’s Office, represented by Assistant Attorney General Melanie Tratnik, today filed charges in King County Superior Court against King County Assessor Russell Scott Noble. Noble has been charged with two counts of vehicular assault, one for each victim in a drunk driving accident on Jan. 18.   Arraignment is set for March 19th, 2009, at 8:30 a.m. in room E-1201 at the King County Courthouse.   Links to the charging documents are provided for your convenience.

Washington, D.C.—A depressed job market, the growing number of Americans without health insurance, ballooning college costs, the increased availability of gambling, and the growing use of credit for routine purchases are helping push credit card balances to the breaking point. The result, according to a panel of experts who met Tuesday at the nation’s capital, could result in the next major banking crisis.

SEATTLE – The Public Counsel Section of the Washington State Attorney General’s Office wants conditions placed on the proposed merger of CenturyTel and Embarq to protect customers served by the phone companies.
SEATTLE – Washington consumers filed 25,197 written complaints with the Attorney General’s Office in 2008 – the greatest number since 2002. Gripes about health care businesses and commercial banks moved into the top 10 and telecommunications maintained its stronghold as the industry to generate the most criticism.
OLYMPIA—Attorney General Rob McKenna announced today that most of his legislative priorities have survived the first deadline of the 2009 Legislative Session. Feb. 25 was the last day for bills to move out of policy committees.
OLYMPIA — Attorney General Rob McKenna announced today that the state of Washington received $11 million in tobacco settlement funds previously withheld by tobacco companies. R.J. Reynolds, Lorillard, Kingmaker and other tobacco companies agreed to transfer the money pending the resolution of an ongoing payment dispute with the states.
SEATTLE – Enviga was the first drink to boast not zero, but negative calories. But as for the buzz that drinking the carbonated, green tea blend will result in weight loss, attorneys general say the evidence is nada.
SEATTLE – Calling all current and former AT&T Mobility customers: If you have a wireless phone, you may have paid $2.99 per month without your knowledge for a program called Roadside Assistance. The Washington Attorney General’s Office says that if you didn’t use the service and didn’t authorize the addition of the service to your wireless account, you may qualify for a refund under a new settlement filed today in Thurston County Superior Court.
OLYMPIA – You’ve never met a backseat driver quite like the ones portrayed by comedians Rachel Harris, Fred Willard and Rob Riggle as part of a new media campaign aimed at reducing youth reckless driving.
OLYMPIA – Gov. Chris Gregoire and Attorney General Rob McKenna issued the following statement today on the decision by Oregon to join Washington in litigation to compel the U.S. Department of Energy to complete the cleanup of the Hanford nuclear reservation:

OLYMPIA—A bill requested by Attorney General Rob McKenna that would close a loophole shielding users of child pornography from prosecution is scheduled for a public hearing Wednesday.

OLYMPIA — A bill requested by Attorney General Rob McKenna that would add new protections for vulnerable adults is scheduled for a public hearing on Tuesday.
OLYMPIA—Attorney General Rob McKenna today announced that AGO Antitrust Division Chief Tina Kondo and Senior Counsel Christina Beusch have been promoted to his core leadership team effective February 17. Kondo and Beusch will fill vacancies left by deputies Linda Dunn and Jeff Goltz.
SPOKANE – The state of Washington’s Court of Appeals has upheld a $30,000 fine that was issued to Lloyd Herman of Liberty Lake several years ago for building and developing on the shoreline without authorization.  In addition, Herman must remove the unpermitted construction on his lakeside property.
SEATTLE – La Oficina del Procurador General del Estado de Washington pone sobre aviso a residentes acerca de una estafa telefónica en la que personas llamando en español precien ser representantes de una compañía de seguros.
SEATTLE – The Washington Attorney General’s Office is alerting residents about a phone scam in which Spanish-speaking callers claim to be representatives of an insurance company.

SPOKANE — A Spokane woman was sentenced Friday for fraudulently billing the government for in-home care she did not provide to a vulnerable adult male who suffers from a traumatic brain injury and other illnesses.

SEATTLE – A TV commercial for the Yaz birth control pill showed women singing “We’re not gonna take it,” while kicking and punching balloons printed with words such as “irritability,” “moodiness” and “bloating.” Alas, suggestions that the Yaz birth control pill could treat premenstrual syndrome and all severities of acne were exaggerated, say a group of 27 attorneys general. They announced today that Bayer Corporation will pay $20 million on an advertising campaign to correct misperceptions caused by its earlier marketing.

OLYMPIA—Attorney General Rob McKenna today emphasized the need to leverage the power of technology to protect kids and other victims of modern crimes.

SEATTLE – Pink elephants may go mysteriously unnoticed, but not BlueHippo. The company, which pitches personal computers to those with less-than-perfect credit, was the target of a federal lawsuit resolved last year. BlueHippo made a splash again when the Washington Attorney General’s Office announced today that it, too, reached a settlement.
SPOKANE – A father-and-sons’ contracting business that built up a heap of customer complaints about shoddy service and unfair billing practices agreed to partial refunds for homeowners under two settlements announced today by the Washington Attorney General’s Office.
Attorney General Rob McKenna today announced the appointment of Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey D. Goltz as chairman of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC).
SEATTLE – A New York-based charity named the Reserve Police Officers Association agreed to stop soliciting donations in Washington under an agreement with the Attorney General’s Office.
OLYMPIA – Attorney General Rob McKenna joined a group of other attorneys general and state banking regulators in sending a letter urging federal officials to encourage national banks and federal thrift-servicing operations to modify mortgage loans that are becoming unaffordable for consumers.

OLYMPIA—Two bills requested by Attorney General Rob McKenna are scheduled for public hearings this week.

OLYMPIA—Assistant Attorneys General Brooke Burbank and Kristie Barham with the AG’s Sexually Violent Predator Unit won a civil commitment case that prevents the unconditional release of a dangerous sexually violent predator into the community.

OLYMPIA -- A federal appeals court has upheld the constitutionality of the DSHS Special Commitment Center treatment program for sexually violent predators.

SEATTLE – The Public Counsel Section of the Washington State Attorney General’s Office today filed an appeal challenging the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission’s approval of Avista’s last electric and gas rate general rate increases that took effect on Jan. 1.
SEATTLE – Unemployed workers in Washington and the rest of the country are targets for crooks posing as headhunters, the Attorney General’s Office warned today. Scams include bogus job offers and realistic-looking e-mail messages that contain links to computer viruses or phishing sites.
OLYMPIA—Four bills requested by Attorney General Rob McKenna are scheduled for public hearings this week.
SEATTLE – The Attorney General’s Office today issued a warning about schemes targeting Washington residents whose homes were damaged by recent floods.

OLYMPIA—Attorney General Rob McKenna today applauded the U.S. Supreme Court for reinstating the murder convictions of an accomplice in a gang-related drive-by shooting at Seattle’s Ballard High School.

Two bills requested by Attorney General Rob McKenna that would protect Washington consumers are scheduled for public hearings this week.
Spokane--The Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) has charged a Spokane County woman with overbilling the Medicaid program that provides health care services funding for low-income citizens.
SPOKANE – The Washington Attorney General’s Office is suing a convicted equity skimmer a second time, claiming the Colfax man and his wife ran a real estate investment business that misled distressed homeowners and property investors.

OLYMPIA -- Attorney General Rob McKenna announced today that Washington state has joined with other states and the federal government in reaching an agreement in principle with Eli Lilly and Company to settle allegations it engaged in an off-label marketing campaign to improperly promote the anti-psychotic drug Zyprexa.

SEATTLE – Dude, you might have a Dell settlement check coming! Attorney General Rob McKenna announced today an agreement between the Attorneys General of 34 states and Dell under which Dell will provide restitution to customers who experienced problems with the company’s financing promotions, rebate offers, technical support and repair policies.
SEATTLE – A coalition of 42 states today announced a settlement with Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company after the company violated the tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) by distributing decorative tin signs to consumers that featured its “Natural American Spirit” cigarettes brand name.
OLYMPIA – Attorney General Rob McKenna today released his 2009 legislative agenda, with a special focus on protecting the state’s most vulnerable citizens and helping financially strapped homeowners.
OLYMPIA--Attorney General Rob McKenna today announced that Washington State received nearly $650,000 from Cephalon, Inc., to settle allegations of improper off-label marketing of three pharmaceutical drugs.
OLYMPIA –  Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna is joining attorneys general from 21 other states plus the District of Columbia in an effort to convince Congress to loosen bankruptcy rules so judges can modify home loans to help reduce foreclosures.
SEATTLE – If you have a gift card for KB Toys, shop now. The Washington Attorney General’s Office was notified by legal counsel for KB Toys, Inc., that the company is liquidating its stores and will no longer accept gift cards or store credit after Sunday, Jan. 11.
OLYMPIA— Attorney General Rob McKenna will unveil his 2009 legislative priorities in the areas of consumer protection, community safety and open government at a media availability Wednesday at his Olympia headquarters.
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