Schuette: Flint Residents Should Be Aware Of Potential Water Crisis Scams
Schuette’s Consumer Protection Division released a consumer alert to help Flint residents protect themselves, their families and neighbors by being aware of common scams attempted during crisis situations. The consumer alert offers tips on avoiding scam artists and criminals who may attempt to exploit emergency situations like the one in Flint.
"The outpouring of support and volunteerism in Flint is a reassuring sign of the warmth and compassion Michiganders have for one another, especially during a crisis, and I strongly encourage those in need to seek help,” said Schuette. “But, even in these times of generosity and need, we must be aware of the common scams that could further hurt Flint families and those attempting to assist them. That can be done with a few simple steps before taking action.”
- Schuette: Waterford Man Pleads Guilty to Child Pornography Charges
Schuette: Waterford Man Pleads Guilty to Child Pornography Charges
Former officer Matthew Parsons will have to register as a sex offender
LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced former police officer Matthew Parsons, 48, of Waterford, has pleaded guilty to three felony charges related to the downloading of child pornography. The investigation into Parsons began after a tip was received from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).
“While this man did not physically molest a child, he victimized them over and over every time he downloaded and shared child pornography, and as a father both acts are equally heartbreaking,” said Schuette. “I consider it to be one of my most important responsibilities to secure justice for Michigan’s most vulnerable.”
On Wednesday July 27, 2016, Parsons pleaded guilty to (1) count possession of child sexually abusive material, one (1) count of using a computer to commit a crime and one (1) count of recording an unclothed person, in Oakland County Circuit Court before Judge Nanci Grant.
As a part of his plea he must register as a sex offender for 15 years. Parsons resigned from the Farmington Hills Police Department on June 15, 2016. Parsons felony plea also ensures that he will no longer be able to work as a law enforcement officer in the state of Michigan
Parsons will be sentenced before Judge Nanci Grant in Oakland County Circuit Court on Wednesday, August 17.
Schuette acknowledged the assistance of Farmington Hills Police Chief Charles Nebus and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in this case.
“I want to complement the work done by both Mr. Schuette and the Attorney General’s office as well as the Michigan Crimes and Internet Task Force on this case,” said Farmington Hills Police Chief Charles Nebus. “I am grateful for their assistance bringing this case to a conclusion.”
Schuette’s investigation began following a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) that an individual had been downloading child sexually abusive material. Following an investigation by Schuette’s team, it was found the individual downloading the images was Parsons.
The investigation revealed that Parsons had downloaded at least 10 videos of child sexually abusive material. Parsons also surreptitiously filmed an adult in the nude.
The investigation determined that none of the acts had been committed using city property or while Parsons was on duty as a police officer.
- Schuette: OK2SAY Program Has Received Nearly 5,000 Tips
Schuette: OK2SAY Program Has Received Nearly 5,000 Tips
Attorney General praises Michigan students for stepping up and speaking out.
LANSING – Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced the release of the 2015 OK2SAY Annual Report. For the calendar year 2015, the OK2SAY program received a total of 2,169 tips in a variety of categories, including peer abuse, suicide, and cyberbullying. This brings the tips total for the OK2SAY program to nearly 5,000 in just two years.
OK2SAY was created as a result of the Student Safety Act and operates as an early warning system in Michigan schools to prevent tragedies before they occur. For the past two years, OK2SAY has provided students the opportunity to confidentially report potentially harmful or criminal activities 24 hours a day.
“The 2015 Annual Report showcases the significant and positive impact OK2SAY has had and will continue to have on Michigan students,” said Schuette. “The continued partnership between many groups keeps the program going, but more importantly it’s the students. They continue to step up and reach out when they hear something or see something. Students are really the heroes. Lives have been saved, school violence has been prevented, and many Michigan students have received the mental health services they needed.”
Fighting the Culture of Silence
OK2SAY is operated through a partnership between the Department of Attorney General, Michigan State Police, state agencies, schools, parents, law enforcement, and community leaders.
According to the U.S. Secret Service, in 81% of violent incidents in U.S. schools, someone other than the attacker had knowledge of the attacker’s plan but failed to report it. OK2SAY discourages the persistent culture of silence among students who fear being labeled a snitch. It gives a voice to students who might otherwise remain silent out of fear of retaliation or rejection.
“OK2SAY is not about getting students in trouble; it is about getting them the help they need,” said Colonel Kriste Kibbey Etu, director of the Michigan State Police.
The Key Features of OK2SAY
· Confidential Reporting: State law protects the confidentiality of the reporter’s identity. The identity of the reporting party will not be disclosed to local law enforcement, school officials, or the person about whom a tip is offered, unless the reporter voluntarily chooses to disclose his or her identity. If the reporter is a minor, the parent or guardian must also consent.
· Comprehensive Technology: Anyone can confidentially submit tips 24/7 using any of the five tip methods detailed below. Multi-media attachments like photos, videos, and links to additional information are encouraged.
· Coordinated Intervention: Upon receipt of a tip, specially trained OK2SAY technicians at the Michigan State Police screen and forward tips to an appropriate responding agency including: local law enforcement, schools, local community mental health organizations, or the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
· Accountability: Each responding organization is asked to complete an Outcome Report detailing the nature of the tip, how the tip was handled, and whether the tip situation was resolved or requires ongoing attention. This provides local entities an opportunity to illustrate that student safety threats are tracked and taken seriously. The 2015 Annual Report details the types and numbers of tips handled throughout the year.
How to Submit a Tip
OK2SAY encourages confidential tips on criminal activities or potential harm directed at students, school employees, and schools. Tips can be submitted through the following ways:
Call: 1-8-555-OK2SAY, 1-855-565-2729
Text: 652729 (OK2SAY)
OK2SAY Mobile App: Available for download in app stores for iPhone and Android.
- Schuette Opens Third Human Trafficking Commission Meeting
LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today opened the summer Human Trafficking Commission meeting at the Department of Attorney General in the G. Mennen Williams state office building in Lansing. Today’s meeting featured guest speakers from Firekeepers Casino and Hotel who discussed their efforts with the Nottawaeseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi, who own Firekeepers Casino, to combat and raise awareness for human trafficking.
“The Michigan Human Trafficking Commission continues to do an excellent job bringing diverse groups together to build further awareness and work toward solutions to end the horrific crime of human trafficking,” said Schuette. “The more collaboration and effort there is on this issue the sooner we will be able to eradicate it from Michigan.”
Commission meetings often feature guest speakers to discuss the efforts they have taken to combat human trafficking in their field, and provide suggestions on how to collaborate on this important issue.
At today’s meeting, George Jenkot and Sam Abdo from Firekeepers Casino discussed the human trafficking awareness efforts they have undertaken within the casino and hotel. For example, they have begun a training program for tribal police and all members of the security team within the casino. The training program teaches employees how to identify the signs of human trafficking and the protocol they should follow to combat this horrific crime.
The program will now be shared with members of all 12 Michigan tribal governments at their annual meeting this fall.
Fall Human Trafficking Conference- September 29th
There was also an update on the Human Trafficking Commission’s fall conference, the first full-day conference offered by the Commission. The conference will be hosted by the Commission, along with the State Court Administrative Office and the Department of Health and Human Services, on Thursday, September 29, 2016 in Ann Arbor. The one-day conference, which is open to law enforcement, legal professionals, victim service providers, protective services workers, judiciary staff and other human trafficking related groups, will serve as an opportunity to collaborate on how to bring further awareness to the issue of human trafficking and help eliminate the crime in our state.
Background on Human Trafficking
Around the country, and right here in Michigan, children, women and men are forced into prostitution, domestic servitude and other labor for little or no pay, resulting from the use of force, fraud or coercion.
Demand for illegal activities such as paid sex fuels human trafficking, turning both men and women into victims, permanently impacting the lives of those involved, their families and their loved ones.
Human trafficking is the second-largest and fastest-growing criminal industry in the world, after drug trafficking. Victims of human trafficking are in bondage through force, fraud or coercion, solely for the purpose of sex or labor exploitation. Children are especially vulnerable.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2,515 incidents of human trafficking were recorded nationwide between January 2008 and June 2010. Of those incidents, 1,016 involved the sexual exploitation of a child, 1,218 involved the sexual exploitation of adults, and 350 involved labor trafficking.
For more information, please visit the Attorney General’s human trafficking webpage.
- Schuette Charges Northern Michigan Man with Ten Felonies for Possessing Child Pornography
LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today charged Randall Passmore, 33, of Manton with ten counts of Possession of Child Sexually Abusive Material.
“We must do everything we can to find justice for minors abused by predators,” said Schuette. “Every time the photo of a minor is shared by a predator, it is fresh abuse for the child and their family, more heart break and more pain.”
Passmore was arraigned Tuesday, July 26 in 84th District Court before Judge Audrey Van Alst, and bond was set at $20,000. He is currently held at the Wexford County Jail.
His next court date is August 2 at 1:30 p.m. in 84th District Court, in Cadillac.
The Michigan Department of Attorney General received the case after the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force in Pennsylvania received a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that alleged Passmore was improperly communicating with a minor. The task force tracked the tip to Passmore in Michigan. The subsequent investigation led to the seizure of Passmore’s computer and the discovery of alleged child pornographic material.
A criminal charge is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
- Schuette: Former State Elevator Inspector Sentenced In Ingham County
LANSING - Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced Werner Noll, 65 of Kalamazoo, has been sentenced on one count of False Pretenses over $1,000.00 but less than $10,000.00. Noll was sentenced to serve 18 months probation with 90 days in the Ingham County Jail at the end of the probation. If Noll successfully completes his probation, the Court would suspend the 90 day term. Noll has already paid $11,620.26 in restitution to the State of Michigan.
“The taxpayers of Michigan rightfully expect that state employees at all levels are doing their job in an honest fashion,” said Schuette. “Anyone who takes advantage and misuses state resources will be held accountable for their actions.”
Charges were filed against Noll following an investigation by Schuette's Public Integrity Unit (PIU) and LARA into Noll's alleged golfing activity and use of a state vehicle for private use while on the state taxpayers' dime.
In August 2014, a Kalamazoo news reporter uncovered possible fraud by Noll after observing Noll, then a State of Michigan elevator inspector, play golf several times during normal State of Michigan work hour. An investigation by the Attorney General’s PIU revealed that Noll used state time for personal activities in 2012, 2013 and 2014 for a total of 83 days in question and a cost to taxpayers of more than $11,000. Noll used a State of Michigan vehicle during these personal activities.
Noll entered a guilty plea in the Ingham County Circuit Court before Judge Joyce Draganchuk in exchange for the two additional charges of False Pretenses being dropped.
Since taking office in 2011, Schuette's PIU has filed more than 350 charges against 75 individuals holding positions of public trust, including state and local government officials.