Annual Report Fiscal Year 2017
My Fellow Mississippians,
As your attorney general, I have committed my public life to protecting the families of our great state. Our 2017 Annual Report reflects that commitment, and I am proud to present it to you.
The work and dedication of our experienced team in the Office of Attorney General is highlighted in the next 100 pages.
Every day, our staff members come to work ready to help you, whether that’s handling a consumer issue, resolving a child support situation, holding public officials accountable, protecting loved ones from abuse, or training our state’s law enforcement on ways to better protect you.
Our work this past fiscal year included the recovery of $206,822,945 in funds owed to Mississippians from unscrupulous corporations and criminals. A large part of this amount—$150,000,000—was the first of 16 payments owed from the 2010 BP oil spill. This tragedy continues to hurt Mississippians, and the culpable companies are answerable to pay their part to help recovery efforts.
Additionally, our Consumer Protection Division assisted more than 48,000 callers with issues of concern and recovered more than $5 million in restitution, penalties, and settlement recoveries. The Cybercrime Division opened nearly 300 cases on child and online predators. This division and its work to get child predators behind bars and away from our children remains one of my strongest passions. The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit secured court orders for offenders to pay more than $12.5 million in restitution and fines. The Child Desertion Unit obtained 13 convictions for parents who abandoned financial support of their child, and the Opinions Division issued 434 official opinions and spent more than 7,000 hours advising Mississippians on the laws in our state.
On the legislative side, I am very proud that we championed a bill into law that strengthens penalties for sexual assault. With the passage of House Bill 1356, perpetrators will receive a sexual assault protection order that bans them from having any contact whatsoever with the victim(s), regardless of their relationship, and it will run consecutively to any existing sentences. Our office is passionate about victims’ rights, and this is but one step in the right direction to make our state a safer place for victims of sexual assault.
These results were achieved due to the most dedicated folks in Mississippi who work in this office. Our staff members are true public servants. The work they do can be grueling, but each staff member has your safety in mind with every investigation opened and each case closed. There is no greater joy than making our state a stronger, safer place to call home.
We were proud, once again, of our very own Deputy Chief of the Bureau of Victim Assistance Paula Broome, who made the national stage when she was awarded the American Bar Association’s Sharon Corbitt Award. This distinguished honor is given annually to one attorney from any area of practice for exceptional service and leadership improving the legal response to domestic and dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. We are lucky to have Paula on our team, and Mississippi is lucky to have such a champion fighting for their rights!
I hope that you are equally as proud of the work that the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office has accomplished this past year. For me, it’s no cliché to always ask myself, “what would Jesus do” as I go about my work in the position to which I was elected by you. It is my duty to protect the least among us, and in this office, we take that charge seriously in all that we do.