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Press Releases

Pfizer To Refund Vermonters Deceived by Company’s Drug Copayment Coupon Program

May 24, 2022

Attorney General T.J. Donovan announced a settlement with Pfizer Inc. following an investigation into the company’s business and advertising practices for its copayment coupon program. As part of the program, consumers were told that they would “pay no more than” certain amounts out-of-pocket for specific drugs – but ended up spending far more at the pharmacy. As part of the settlement, qualified Vermont consumers will automatically receive restitution for the amounts they overpaid.

Newark Mother and Son Charged with Medicaid Fraud

May 23, 2022

The Attorney General’s Office announced that the Caledonia Criminal Division found probable cause for felony Medicaid Fraud charges committed by Debra Stewart, 62, of Newark, Vermont, and her son, Andrew Lavelle, 31. Ms. Stewart was arraigned today on two counts of Medicaid Fraud, while the court issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Lavelle. The charges brought against both Ms. Stewart and Mr. Lavelle are the result of an investigation conducted by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud and Residential Abuse Unit.

Rutland Man Charged with Financially Exploiting Five Vulnerable Adults

May 17, 2022

The Attorney General’s Office announced that Mark Lacomb, 39, of Rutland, Vermont, was arraigned on May 16, 2022, on six felony charges of Financial Exploitation of a Vulnerable Adult and one felony charge of Uttering a Forged or Counterfeit Instrument. The charges brought against Mr. Lacomb are the result of an investigation conducted by the office’s Medicaid Fraud and Residential Abuse Unit.

AG Donovan Secures $290,000 for Vermonters Deceived by TurboTax

May 4, 2022

Attorney General T.J. Donovan today announced a settlement with TurboTax, Intuit Inc. (Intuit), for deceiving Vermont consumers into paying for tax services that should have been free. As a result of a multistate agreement, Intuit will pay $141 million in restitution to millions of consumers across the nation who were unfairly charged. In addition, Intuit must suspend TurboTax’s “free, free, free” ad campaign that lured customers with promises of free tax preparation services, only to deceive them into paying for services.

Jury Finds Brookfield Man Guilty of Aggravated Assault & False Information to Police Officer

April 29, 2022

An Orange County jury has found William Pine, 51, of Brookfield, Vermont, guilty of two counts of Aggravated Assault and one count of False Information to a Law Enforcement Officer. The jury’s verdict, issued yesterday, found Mr. Pine guilty of attempting to cause serious bodily injury to two individuals on October 7, 2019, by using a gun to shoot into their car while they were inside at the intersection of Stone Road and Route 64 in Williamstown. The jury also found Mr.

Court Issues Judgment Against Rutland Landlord for Violations of Lead Law

April 26, 2022

Rutland Superior Court issued a judgment last week in a lawsuit brought by the Attorney General’s Office against Rutland rental property owner John Ruggiero and his companies for failing to comply with Vermont’s lead in rental housing laws and consumer protection laws. The Attorney General’s Office sued Mr. Ruggiero earlier this month after the Vermont Department of Health received complaints of two children residing in Mr. Ruggiero’s properties with elevated blood lead levels. The Consent Judgment orders Mr.

Attorney General Donovan Announces Conclusion of Second Annual Earth Day Essay Challenge

April 22, 2022

In celebration of Earth Day, Attorney General T.J. Donovan today announced the conclusion of the second annual Earth Day Essay Challenge for Vermont’s 5th and 6th graders. The now annual event began in 2021 with Attorney General Donovan inviting students to submit essays on the environment and Earth Day. This year’s essay challenge began in February and ran through April 8. In response, the Attorney General’s Office received 190 essays from students all over Vermont, more than three times the response the first event generated last spring.

Court Issues Judgment in Lawsuit Against Telemarketer Who Harassed Legislators

March 31, 2022

Washington Superior Court has issued a judgment in the civil lawsuit brought by Attorney General T.J. Donovan against Missouri-based Karabell Industries and its owner, Eli Karabell, for making repeated illegal telemarketing calls and harassing state legislators to pay exorbitant sums of money. The Consent Judgment, issued yesterday, resolves the Attorney General’s lawsuit by requiring the Defendants to cease all business and telemarketing activity in Vermont and refrain from contacting anyone in Vermont about any marketing, sales, offers, or otherwise.

AG Donovan Sues Telemarketer, Karabell Industries, Who Harassed Legislators

March 25, 2022

Attorney General T.J. Donovan today filed a civil lawsuit against Missouri-based company, Karabell Industries, and its owner, Eli Karabell, for making repeated illegal telemarketing calls and harassing state legislators to pay him exorbitant sums of money. The lawsuit was filed in Washington Superior Court after numerous state legislators complained of receiving late-night phone calls from the Defendants who claimed to offer “government consulting services.” The Defendants then emailed state legislators proposing contracts and demanding payments of $18,500 per hour or even $48 billion.

AG Donovan Sues Illegal Robocall Carrier TCA VOIP

March 18, 2022

Attorney General T.J. Donovan today filed a federal lawsuit against a California-based company, Telecom Carrier Access doing business as TCA VOIP, and its owner, Dominic Bohnett, for knowingly bringing thousands of robocalls into Vermont. The Attorney General’s Office began its investigation after receiving reports of a robocall displaying an 802-area code, impersonating the Social Security Administration. A traceback investigation, conducted with assistance from the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General, revealed TCA VOIP to be the source of the call.

Expungement Clinic on April 8 to Serve Bennington County

March 17, 2022

Attorney General T.J. Donovan along with Bennington County State’s Attorney Erica Marthage will host a free expungement clinic on Friday, April 8, 2022, with appointments available from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Expungements wipe from your record specific convictions and dismissed charges after a certain period of time has passed. Under Vermont law, many misdemeanors, 14 different felony offenses, and all dismissed charges can be expunged. The free clinic will focus on expunging criminal charges and convictions from Bennington County and will be open to the public by appointment.

AG Donovan Announces National Settlement in Principle with Purdue Pharma and Sacklers of Up To $6 Billion

March 3, 2022

Court Approval Required

Attorney General T.J. Donovan today announced a national settlement in principle with Purdue Pharma and its owners, the Sackler family, for their role in the opioid crisis, that will increase the amounts of funds paid by the Sacklers from $4.325 billion under the original bankruptcy plan to at least $5.5 billion. The settlement is subject to court approval.

Attorney General Donovan Announces 2nd Annual Earth Day Essay Challenge for Vermont’s 5th and 6th Graders

January 31, 2022

Contact: Charity R. Clark, Chief of Staff, 802-828-3171

Attorney General T.J. Donovan is asking to hear from young Vermonters about their thoughts on the environment. For the second year in a row, the Attorney General’s Office is holding an Earth Day Essay Challenge and asking 5th and 6th graders to submit essays on the environment.

Statement from Attorney General Donovan on Judge’s Decision Rejecting the Purdue Bankruptcy Plan

December 17, 2021

“I am pleased with the Court’s ruling rejecting the Purdue bankruptcy plan which would have dismissed Vermont’s legal claims against the Sackler family. This ruling gives Vermont the ability to continue to pursue those that helped create the opioid crisis.”

5 Tips on Giving Wisely This Holiday Season

December 16, 2021

Thinking about giving this holiday season? Here are five tips to help ensure that your contribution is going to a charity in need for a cause you support.

1- Research the charity. Understand how your money will be used by the charity before you donate. Websites like the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance and Charity Navigator make it easy to find this information.

Westminster Man Charged with Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials

October 7, 2021

Attorney General Thomas J. Donovan announced today that Jason Muxlow, 42, of Westminster, Vermont was arraigned on October 5, 2021 on five felony counts of possession of child sexual abuse materials. According to documents filed with the court, the Vermont’s Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce (VT-ICAC) received a CyberTip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children which indicated that someone had uploaded images containing child sexual abuse material to various online platforms.

Attorney General Donovan Co-Leads Bipartisan Coalition in Supporting Hearings on Social Media use by Kids

October 5, 2021

Contact: Charity R. Clark, Chief of Staff, (802) 828-3171

Letter Expresses Concern About Companies’ Knowledge of Dangers to Youth, Especially Girls

Attorney General T.J. Donovan is co-leading a bipartisan coalition of 52 attorneys general expressing strong support for the hearings being conducted by the U.S. Senate Committee addressing protection and safety of kids and teens using social media.

Attorney General Donovan Responds to Facebook’s Decision to Pause Development of “Instagram Kids”

September 27, 2021

Contact: Charity R. Clark, Chief of Staff, (802) 828-3171

After a letter sent by Attorney General T.J. Donovan and other attorneys general in May, Facebook today announced that it will pause its development of its Instagram app designed for children, “Instagram Kids.”

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