It was a busy first year at the Ohio Attorney General’s Office since Mike DeWine took the oath of office last January, pledging to protect Ohio’s families.
Here are a few of the year’s highlights of what Attorney General DeWine and his office have been accomplishing:
- Authorized Ohio’s participation with other states challenging the constitutionality of the new federal health care law. The U.S. Supreme Court will address the issue next year. “We need to defend the checks and balances that our Constitution creates through its divisions of power and protect the people of Ohio from this huge federal overreach," Attorney General DeWine said at the time.
- Called for oversight of so-called Internet Cafes. Supported legislation developed with his office to clarify the legality of the electronic games these places typically use.
- Conducted multi-jurisdictional evidence search of a possible “pill mill” in Portsmouth as part of an emphasis on fighting prescription drug abuse. Shut down in December, with other agencies, last known pill mill in Scioto County.
- Warned Ohioans about “grandparent phone scam.” Someone calls claiming to be a grandchild. The caller weaves a story of woe – a car accident, drug charge – ending with a request for money to help with legal problems.
- Opened regional office of BCI in Athens, featuring full-time polygraph operator, evidence collection reception five days a week, space for BCI special agent offices, and space for interviews.
- Office’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit awarded 2011 State Medicaid Fraud Control Award from the Office of Inspector General, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services. During the 2010 federal fiscal year, the unit carried out 563 investigations, had 129 indictments or charges, 114 convictions, and recovered more than $82 million in criminal and civil cases.
- Convened first 2011 meeting of Ohio Sexual Assault Kit Testing Commission. In December, it issued the Ohio Model Sexual Assault Kit Testing Guide.
- Instituted Violent Crimes with Guns Advisory Group. Established to focus on removing guns from repeat violent criminals. Includes members of local, state, and federal law enforcement, prosecutors, gun rights advocates, and advocates for victims.
- Continued Fugitive Safe Surrender Program, expanding it to Richland County. Fugitive Safe Surrender offers individuals with felony and misdemeanor warrants the ability to turn themselves in to law enforcement and have their case adjudicated, typically at a community church.
- Committed to fight human trafficking with first meeting of the Human Trafficking Commission. It continues work started by Trafficking in Persons Study Commission, established by the Ohio General Assembly, which had completed its statutory directives.
- Created Economic Crimes Division for criminal investigations within the Consumer Protection Section. Two such cases were prosecuted in 2010; new division has indicted at least nine suspects in several counties for more than 35 felonies. Division has more than 40 investigations pending.
Rest assured, the Attorney General’s Office will continue to work hard in 2012 to protect Ohioans and their families.
Happy New Year!