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  • Michigan Attorney General Announces First Semester Success of OK2SAY

    Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and Michigan State Police (MSP) Director Colonel Kriste Kibbey Etue announced the success of Michigan's student safety initiative, OK2SAY, in its first semester. Since the start of this school year, OK2SAY has already generated 410 confidential tips submitted by Michigan students. These tips included reports of bullying, suicide threats, and child abuse. "If even one child's life is saved by OK2SAY, this program will have been a success.  OK2SAY has passed its first semester with flying colors," said Attorney General Bill Schuette.

    Read more: 410 Tips Received by OK2SAY!



RECENT NEWS
Press Releases
Schuette Charges U.S. Border Patrol Agents For Misconduct, Theft While On Duty

 

March 20, 2015           

LANSING  – Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced that his Public Integrity Unit (PIU) has charged United States Border Patrol Agents Terence (Terry) Mitchell Bruce, 43, of St. Clair Shores and Stanley Lyle Nicholson, 45, of Romulus with felony theft and misconduct in office.  These charges follow an investigation by the Michigan State Police and Schuette's PIU.

 "Confidence in public safety is of utmost importance," said Schuette.  "As Attorney General, I have a responsibility to enforce the law and ensure public integrity. Taxpayers deserve honesty and accountability from those who work on their behalf."

"Customs and Border Protection (CBP) stresses honor and integrity in every aspect of our mission, and the overwhelming majority of CBP employees and officers perform their duties with honor and distinction," said R. Alan Booth, acting Chief Patrol Agent, U.S. Border Patrol Detroit Sector. "We do not tolerate corruption within our ranks, and we take these allegations very seriously."

            It is alleged that last December, while executing an agency authorized search warrant, Bruce and Nicholson each unlawfully removed an item from a residence for personal use.

On March 19, 2015, Schuette filed the following charges against Bruce and Nicholson in Jackson County's 12th District Court:

  • One count each of Misconduct in Office; a felony punishable by up to 5-years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine; and,

  • One count each of Larceny in a Building; a felony punishable by up to 5-years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine

Both defendants surrendered themselves to the proper authorities and were arraigned on March 20, 2015 before 12th District Court Judge Joseph S. Filip. Judge Filip set personal bond for each at $25,000.  The defendants are next due in court next on March 27, 2015 at 9:30 a.m. for a preliminary exam conference. Both defendants are due in court also on April 8, 2015 at 8:30 a.m. for their preliminary hearing.

Schuette's Public Integrity Unit

On January 4, 2011, Attorney General Schuette created a new Public Integrity Unit (PIU) in the Attorney General's office to ratchet up the fight against corruption in state and local government, protect tax dollars and restore the public's trust in government.  The Public Integrity Unit allows the office to put an increased focus on public corruption cases, a priority Schuette identified upon taking office.

Since taking office in 2011, Schuette's PIU has filed 313 charges against 64 individuals holding positions of public trust, including state and local government officials.  To date, 45 defendants have been sentenced following their convictions on a total of 126 charges.

        A criminal charge is merely an accusation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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Schuette Files Felony Charges Against Employees of Detroit Medical Practice

 

March 18, 2015           

LANSING  – Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced felony charges against Dr. Murtaza Hussain, 51, of Livonia and three unlicensed Southeast Michigan employees with Livernois Family Medical Services, P.C. for their role in an elaborate Medicaid fraud scheme.  The charges were filed following an investigation launched by Schuette's Health Care Fraud Division after a complaint was referred by the Inspector General for the Department of Community Health (DCH)

In addition to Hussain, Schuette filed felony charges against Ali Hazim-Fathulla Alateya, 31, of Dearborn Heights, Jyoti Rohit Shah, 64, of Southfield, and Xun Wang, 39, of Troy. 

"Medical professionals should be the protectors of their patients' care," said Schuette.  "We will continue to aggressively prosecute anyone attempting to compromise the integrity of our health care system at the expense of patient safety and taxpayer dollars."

Case Background

The felony complaint filed by Schuette alleges Hussain and his associates engaged in a scheme that involved billing the Medicaid program and private insurance for physician-provided services when the services were actually performed by unlicensed individuals.  These services allegedly included the evaluation and diagnosis of patients, as well as making treatment decisions and writing prescriptions for medication.  Medicaid and private insurance companies require certain medical services be performed by a physician or other licensed health professional. 

Schuette filed the following charges on March 18, 2015 against Hussain, Alateya, Shah and Wang in Ingham County 54B District Court: 

Dr. Murtaza Hussain and Livernois Family Medical Services, P.C.

  • Four counts each of Medicaid Fraud- False Claim; a felony punishable by up to 4-years in prison and/or a $50,000 fine; and,

  • Two counts each of Health Care Fraud- False Claim; a felony punishable by up to 4-years in prison and/or a $50,000 fine

Ali Alateya

  • Two counts of Health Care Fraud- False Claim; a felony punishable by up to 4-years in prison and/or a $50,000 fine; and,

  • One count of Health Profession – Unauthorized Practice; a felony punishable by up to 4-years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine.

Jyoti Shah

  • Two counts of Medicaid Fraud- False Claim; a felony punishable by up to 4-years in prison and/or a $50,000 fine; and,

  • One count of Health Profession – Unauthorized Practice; a felony punishable by up to 4-years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine.

Xun Wang

  • Two counts of Medicaid Fraud- False Claim; a felony punishable by up to 4-years in prison and/or a $50,000 fine; and,

  • One count of Health Profession – Unauthorized Practice; a felony punishable by up to 4-years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine.

All four defendants surrendered themselves to the proper authorities and were arraigned on March 18, 2015 before District Court Judge Richard Ball.  Judge Ball set a personal recognizance bond for each at $25,000.  A preliminary exam has been scheduled for April 1, 2015 at 9 a.m.

Citizens with additional information that may assist this investigation should please contact Attorney General Schuette's Health Care Fraud Division at their 24-hour Hotline: 1-800-24-ABUSE/1-800-242-2873.

"I would like to thank the DCH Inspector General's Office for their valuable and ongoing assistance in bringing these cases," said Schuette.

Schuette's Health Care Fraud Division

The Attorney General Health Care Fraud Division exists to identify, prosecute, and prevent fraudulent activity by doctors, dentists, pharmacists, and other health care providers participating in the Medicaid program.  Taxpayer dollars provide health care to indigent patients and other recipients. It is vital that these dollars be effectively spent to help those in need.  Fraud affects everyone including the recipients of care, the taxpayers who pay for it, and the overwhelming majority of providers who conscientiously provide quality care.

Since Attorney General Schuette took office in 2011, the Health Care Fraud Division (HCFD) has obtained criminal restitution orders totaling approximately $3,404,427.00; civil judgments totaling $138,498,920.00; and settlement agreements providing for the recovery of $419,138.00 to the Medicaid Program.  In total, the HCFD has obtained court orders and settlements requiring the return of $142,322,487.00 to the Medicaid Program.
  
             A criminal charge is merely an accusation and all defendants in this case are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.    
 

Mug shot of Hussain Mug shot of AlateyaMug shot of ShahMug shot of Wang

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Schuette, Clover Adams Announce Investigation of 10 Michigan Businesses Related to Faulty Anti-Freeze Distribution

 

March 17, 2015           

LANSING  – Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Director Jamie Clover Adams today announced the state is investigating Royal Packaging and nine of its distributors who may be continuing to sell two brands of defective anti-freeze/coolant contrary to MDARD's orders issued last September. 

"Consumer Protection is in the DNA of the Department of Attorney General.  If vehicle owners are being sold products that may cause them to suffer costly repairs, we will compel them to produce documentation showing exactly where these brands have been distributed," said Schuette.  "I would like to thank MDARD and Director Clover Adams for their initial investigation on behalf of the People of the State of Michigan."

"This company is selling a sub-standard product, and our mission is to ensure Michigan's consumers and businesses are not only getting what they pay for, but also to make sure the product claims hold true to the label," said Clover Adams. "While spring temperatures are making their way to Michigan, it's still critical consumers and businesses stop using or selling these products immediately to avoid vehicular damage."

In a petition filed with the Wayne County Circuit Court, Schuette explained that the MDARD issued stop-sale and stop-use orders late last summer for Royal Packaging's North Atlantic and Shur-XXX brands.  Eleven samples of these two anti-freezes were laboratory tested and found to have freezing points well above the temperatures stated on the bottle labels.  Several bottles were also found to contain lower quantities than indicated on the label.  Royal Packaging Company, Inc. of Detroit, the manufacturer of both brands, ceased operations following the MDARD probe.

MDARD's initial investigation identified nine additional businesses that were warehousing the North Atlantic and Shur-XXX brands and distributing them to stores and gas stations for sale to Michigan consumers.  These companies were asked to provide information about this distribution chain, but none of them complied with MDARD's voluntary request.

During this past winter, MDARD inspectors performed spot checks and found the North Atlantic and Shur-XXX products are still being sold at dozens of locations in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Genesee, Jackson, Livingston, Houghton and other counties.  MDARD says the potential for a large amount of these products to still be in the marketplace remains.

According to the petition, the companies who will be receiving subpoenas as part of this investigation are Royal Packaging Company of Detroit, Capital Sales, Co. of Hazel Park, City Petroleum of Dearborn, Tradewell Grocery Distribution in Oak Park, D&B Grocers in Livonia, Trepco Inc. in Madison Heights, Motor Oil Distributors, Inc. in Dearborn, the H.T. Hackney Company in Wyoming, Chase Cash & Carry in Dearborn, and Universal Wholesale in Southfield, Michigan.

The Petition for Subpoena was filed today pursuant to the Consumer Protection Act.  Wayne County Circuit Court has ordered the 10 companies to provide documents in Schuette's ongoing investigation.   

If consumers have additional evidence suggesting that a retailer engaged in behavior that violates the Consumer Protection Act, they are encouraged to contact the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division at 1-877-765-8388 or file an online complaint at www.michigan.gov/ag.

 

Copy of Petition for Subpoena; Order of the Court

 

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Schuette Shares Consumer Tips to Avoid IRS Scams This Tax Season

 

March 16, 2015           

LANSING  – Attorney General Bill Schuette today issued a consumer alert with tips for Michigan residents to avoid IRS scams and tax-related identity theft. The alert, issued through Schuette’s Consumer Protection Division, advises consumers that the IRS will never contact them through e-mail or with a phone call. Calls or e-mails claiming to be the IRS and requesting personal information are fraudulent.

“Con artists take advantage of tax season at the expense of Michigan taxpayers,” said Schuette. “This time of year can be stressful enough for families without having to worry that their personal information may be stolen. I encourage consumers to follow these tips to avoid falling victim to IRS scams.”

Schuette noted that anybody contacting a consumer claiming to be from the IRS and asking for personal identifying information is a crook. Schuette encourages consumers to report fraudulent IRS e-mails or phone calls to the IRS.

Beware of These Common IRS Phone and E-mail Scams

  1. Back Taxes or Penalty Phone Call – these high pressure calls threaten legal action that can only be avoided by immediate payment. Payment must be made by difficult-to-trace Green Dot or similar money transfer methods.
  2. Rebate Phone Call - aimed at seniors, the caller identifies himself as an IRS employee and tells the targeted victim that he or she is eligible for a sizable rebate for filing taxes early. The fake IRS employee requests bank account information for direct deposit of the rebate.
  3. Paper Check Phone Call – a fake IRS employee indicates the IRS sent a check that has not been cashed and the IRS needs to verify the individual's bank account number. The only way the IRS collects bank account details is if consumers choose to put them on their tax return.
  4. Refund E-mail – falsely claims to come from the IRS and informing the recipient to click on a link to access a refund claim form that requires personal identifying information. The crooks try to make this look legitimate by using a specific refund sum that sounds convincing.
  5. Audit E-mail – informs the recipient that his or her tax return will be audited. The e-mail may include a greeting in the body addressed to the specific recipient by name.
  6. Tax Law Changes E-mail – invites the recipient to download information on tax law changes. Clicking on the link downloads malicious software also known as malware.  For more information on the dangers of malware please view Schuette’s consumer alert: Malware – What Is It and How To Avoid It.
  7. Cash Reward for Completing Online Customer Satisfaction Survey – purports to pay taxpayers for completing an online survey that, of course, includes questions asking for personal identifying information.

The IRS will never initiate an e-mail to a taxpayer so e-mails purporting to be from the IRS are fraudulent. Consumers should be on the lookout for the following tricks:

  • The official IRS logo;
  • Whole sections of text from the IRS's website;
  • A fake "from" address (reported Michigan variations include: irs@getrefundnow.com, support@irs.gov, service@irs.jg.gov, tax-refunds@irs.gov and other variations on the irs.gov theme); and,
  • Forms with numbers similar to those the IRS already uses, often with a jumble of numbers and letters.

If an e-mail purports to be from the IRS consumers should forward e-mails to phishing@irs.gov, the address established by the IRS to receive, track, and shut down these scams. It is important to remember the only genuine IRS website is www.irs.gov.

Tax-Related Identity Theft

Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses a consumer’s stolen Social Security number to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund. The IRS is often the first to inform a victim that identity theft has occurred. Victims should immediately contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490, report the fraud and ask for ID Theft Affidavit Form 1439. After completing the form, consumers should continue to file their tax return and pay any amount owed even if it must be done through the paper method.

One of the most effective ways consumers may thwart this type of identity theft is to file tax return as soon as possible.

Additional identity theft prevention measures are outlined in Schuette’s Identity Theft Information for Michigan Consumers consumer alert,

To access the full Attorney General Consumer Alert, “IRS Scams & Tax-Related ID Theft,” visit: http://1.usa.gov/1EaPsiv.

For general consumer protection questions or complaints, you may reach the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division at: 

P.O. Box 30213 Lansing, MI 48909

517-373-1140 Fax: 517-241-3771

Toll free: 877-765-8388

www.michigan.gov/ag (online complaint form)

 

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Schuette: Detroit Man Pleads Guilty to Swindling Thousands in Fake Mortgage Assistance Scheme

 

March 10, 2015           

LANSING  – Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced that Anthony Carta, 53, of Detroit, has pleaded guilty to seven felonies associated with his formation of a faith-based mortgage assistance scam.  The charges resulted from an investigation by Schuette's Corporate Oversight Division.

"We have secured justice for the victims who believed they entrusted their money to a faith-based ministry designed to help them, while instead they were deceived by a criminal," said Schuette, "We will hold sham organizations accountable for their criminal activities wherever they may be."

Carta defrauded more than 100 victims out of thousands of dollars.  His victims believed he was going to assist them with their mortgage through his company, Freedom By Faith Ministries (FBF).  Carta instead pocketed the money and did nothing to assist the victims with their mortgages.   

On March 9, 2015 in Pontiac's 6th Circuit Court, Judge Michael Warren convicted Anthony Carta and FBF of the following seven charges filed by Schuette in Southfield's 46th District Court on April 2, 2014:

    • One count of Conducting a Criminal Enterprise, a 20 year felony;
    • One count of false pretenses $20,000 or more but less than $50,000, a fifteen year felony; and,
    • Five counts of false pretenses $1,000 or more, but less than $20,000, five year felonies all.


            Carta, acting as FBF's resident agent, was ordered to pay $586,000 in restitution to its victims through the organization and Carta himself was ordered to pay $400,000 in victim restitution.

 

Carta will be sentenced by Judge Warren on April 2, 2015 in Pontiac's 6th Circuit Court.

 

Citizens who believe they may have been victims of Anthony Carta's Freedom By Faith Ministries mortgage assistance fraud are encouraged to file complaints with the Attorney General's Office at www.michigan.gov/ag by clicking "File a Complaint."

Schuette reminds Michigan homeowners that citizens do not need to pay to speak with their lender or servicer or to obtain outside assistance with foreclosure issues.  Free local assistance with foreclosure issues can be found by calling the Michigan State Housing Development Authority at (866) 946-7432.

            "I encourage homeowners with foreclosure concerns to contact free, state-certified housing counselors," said Schuette.  "You do not have to pay for assistance or to speak with your lender."  

                                                                             Mug shot of Carta

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