Schuette Joins Detroit, Saginaw Schools to Promote OK2SAY Student Safety Program
Attorney General Bill Schuette announced new statistics at Saginaw Arts and Sciences Academy, Detroit Cass Tech High School, East Lansing High School and North Rockford Middle School to highlight a successful first year of Michigan's statewide student safety initiative, OK2SAY. For 2014-15, more than 1,400 tips were submitted by students across the State of Michigan relating to bullying, cyber bullying and suicide, other tips included reporting drug use, weapon possession or assault.
OK2SAY is a confidential multimedia tipline designed to empower Michigan students, parents, school personnel, community mental health service programs, and law enforcement to share and respond to student safety threats.
Schedule a [FREE] presentation for your school and learn more about OK2SAY ➝ http://1.usa.gov/1PnSvuM
- Schuette Charges Detroit Man with 2008 Cold Case Rape
- October 08, 2015
LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today charged Alan Donnell Broadnax, 56, of Detroit, with one count of Criminal Sexual Conduct First Degree for the alleged 2008 rape of a then 18-year-old Metro-Detroit woman, which allegedly took place in Oakland County. This case involves one of the over 10,000 sexual assault kits (SAK) that were left untested for years in a Detroit Police warehouse. It is the first case the Attorney General’s office has received as a result of the Wayne County Sexual Assault Kit Task Force.
“Many of the offenders in these cases believe they have gotten away with a crime but I will continue to work relentlessly with Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, and county prosecutors across the state until we have brought these criminals to justice,” said Schuette.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy referred this case to the Attorney General’s office in relation to the Wayne County Sexual Assault Kit Task Force because the assault occurred outside of Wayne County.
The victim in the case was allegedly knocked unconscious by Broadnax and sexually assaulted at a Southfield home. After being forced to walk home, she immediately reported the rape to the Hamtramck police. Since the victim could not remember the exact address of the house where the alleged assault took place, her sexual assault kit ended up in the Detroit Police storage facility where it languished until the kits were discovered in 2009.
“I commend Prosecutor Worthy for her dedication to finding justice for the victims of these horrific crimes,” said Schuette. “As we continue to build on our efforts to secure justice for victims who have already waited too long, it is helpful having a partner in law enforcement who shares my dedication for justice.”
Broadnax was arraigned October 8, 2015 at 8:45 a.m. at the 46th District Court in Southfield. He is charged with one count of Criminal Sexual Conduct First Degree for his alleged role in the 2008 rape case. Broadnax was assigned a $100,000 cash bond. If bond is posted a GPS tether will be required. His next court appearance will be a pre-exam conference on Thursday Oct.15, 2015.
Schuette has also requested for Broadnax to be sentenced as a Habitual Offender under Violent Offense-Fourth Felony (VO-4). The VO-4 habitual offender law championed by Schuette allows prosecutors to require a minimum 25-year sentence for certain repeat offenders who have committed four felonies while progressing to more violent crimes.
A criminal charge is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless he is proved guilty.
Ongoing Efforts to Bring Justice for Victims, Strengthen Public Safety
In 2009, more than 11,000 untested sexual assault kits dating back more than 30 years were discovered in a Detroit Police Department property storage facility, each holding the potential to solve multiple crimes, including those committed by serial rapists. The MSP’s Forensic Science Division has been instrumental in the laboratory analysis of sexual assault kits by working with privately contracted laboratories, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, and the Detroit Police Department, on efforts to test the remaining sexual assault kits. On September 2, 2015 Gov. Snyder and Prosecutor Worthy announced the testing of the shelved sexual assault kits had been completed.
Michigan victims of sexual violence are encouraged to call the national sexual assault hotline toll-free, 1-800-656-HOPE. All calls are confidential, and will be answered by a local counseling center affiliated with the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN). Assistance is also available online at www.rainn.org.
- Schuette: Emmet County Attorney Allegedly Stole $100,000 from Elderly Woman with Alzheimer's
- October 06, 2015
LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced felony criminal charges against Michael Aho Kennedy, 67, of Petoskey, for allegedly embezzling funds from a client suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
"Scammers targeting our Greatest Generation can devastate our parents and grandparents who worked hard to provide for their families and grow their life savings,” said Schuette. “This is theft, plain and simple, and I will not tolerate abuse of any kind against vulnerable seniors.”
In 2012, the victim’s family received an inquiry from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) pertaining to the investments Kennedy had selected for the victim’s living trust. It is believed that Kennedy’s embezzlement began in 2006; however, due to the statute of limitations Attorney General investigators could only go back as far as 2009 into Kennedy's records. The investigation found that Kennedy allegedly made a number of discrete transactions siphoning funds from the victim’s trust, and made multiple deposits into his office checking account. During this same period, the victim was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and later passed away in August of this year. Financial records indicate that the entire trust was drained, an amount in excess of $100,000.
Kennedy was disbarred on March 13, 2015 by the State of Michigan Attorney Discipline Board.
Kennedy was arraigned Monday, October 5, 2015 at 2 p.m. before Magistrate Kerry Zahner in Emmet County District Court. He is charged with one count of Embezzlement from a Vulnerable Adult of over $100,000 and one count of Embezzlement by a trustee of over $100,000, both are 20-year felonies. Kennedy was assigned a $100,000 cash bond.
ATTORNEY GENERAL SCHUETTE: PROTECTING VULNERABLE ADULTS
Schuettes Consumer Protection Team provides free presentations for Michigan Seniors on a variety of topics, including how to avoid financial exploitation. To request a free presentation, please sign up at www.michigan.gov/ag or call the Attorney Generals Consumer Programs Team toll-free at 877-765-8388.
Schuette offers the following tips to Michigan Seniors to protect their money and avoid financial exploitation:
- Stay connected to your community. Social isolation increases your risk of becoming a victim of abuse. Find out about community programs or social activities in your neighborhood.
- Put all financial instructions in writing. This protects you and reduces the likelihood of misunderstandings. Keep records of all transactions.
- Before you assign a power of attorney, be sure you understand the authority you are giving to your agent. Know the person to whom you are giving this authority. Write in the agreement whether the agent will be paid or not, and if so, how much.
- Be cautious of joint accounts. Both parties are equal owners of the account and both have equal access to the money.
- Ask someone to review your financial agreements. Your attorney, accountant, or a bank employee can detect changes in your financial activity that may signal a problem. You can also ask a trusted friend or relative to review your monthly statements.
- Ask a bank employee, a trusted family member, or a social worker or other professional for help when you are unsure about financial matters.
To report suspected financial abuse of a Michigan vulnerable adult, citizens should call the Attorney General's Health Care Fraud Hotline, 1-800-24-ABUSE (1-800-242-2873).
A criminal charge is merely an accusation, and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
- North Rockford Middle School Students, Schuette Tackle Bullying, Violence in Schools with OK2SAY School Safety Event
- October 2, 2015
ROCKFORD – Students at North Rockford Middle School and Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today joined with Rockford Superintendent Dr. Michael Shibler and Michigan State Police Inspector Matt Bolger to talk about the importance of preventing bullying and violence in school, with help from the OK2SAY student safety initiative
“In the first year of OK2SAY, we have already made a significant impact,” said Schuette. “We have saved lives, stopped violence and helped improve school days for all kids across Michigan. OK2SAY is one more tool in a school’s safety box. We will continue our commitment to building a culture of responsibility and safety for students across the state”
“We are dedicated to making sure bullying and violence doesn’t happen in the Rockford Public Schools and the most important step is educating our students,” said RPS Superintendent Dr. Michael Shibler. “The OK2SAY assemblies will be offered to all students K-12 in our 13 schools and will prepare them to help their classmates and themselves make our schools a happier, healthier, safer place.”
OK2SAY: Breaking the Culture of Silence Among Students
OK2SAY is a student safety initiative available to Michigan students in grades K-12 and enables students to confidentially report potential harm or criminal activities aimed at students, teachers, staff or other school employees. During the 2014-15 school year, the first year of OK2SAY, more than 1,400 tips were submitted by students across the State of Michigan. Most tips were related to bullying, cyber bullying and suicide, other tips included reporting drug use, weapon possession or assault.
OK2SAY is operated through a partnership between the Department of Attorney General, Michigan State Police, state agencies, schools, parents, law enforcement, and community leaders.
OK2SAY discourages the persistent culture of silence among students who fear reporting threatening behavior is intrusive and could lead to retaliation or result in stigmatization for the tipster. According to the U.S. Secret Service, for 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.
Key features of OK2SAY include:
- 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 against whom a tip is offered, unless the reporter voluntarily chooses to disclose his or her identity. However, to address any false reports to the program, prosecutors do have authority to seek a court order to review records when investigating false reports.
- Comprehensive Technology: OK2SAY is operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year. The program accepts tips by phone, text message, email, mobile application, and website form, accessible at mi.gov/ok2say. Photos, videos and links to additional information are encouraged.
- Coordinated Intervention: Upon receipt of a tip, specially trained OK2SAY operators at the Michigan State Police address the immediate need and, as necessary, forward the information to the appropriate responding law enforcement agency or organization. Tips go to schools, local law enforcement agencies, community mental health agencies or the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
- Accountability & Complete Disposition: To ensure tips are acted upon, agencies receiving tips are required to submit outcome reports to the Department of Attorney General. An annual report on the program’s impact will detail the types and numbers of tips handled throughout the year. The 2014 report is available on the Attorney General’s website.
How to Submit a Tip
Students, teachers, parents, school officials, friends and neighbors can all submit tips, if they are aware of a threat in school. Tips can be submitted though the following ways:
Call: 8-555-OK2SAY (855-565-2729)
Text: 652729 (OK2SAY) *
- Schuette Statement on Appointment of Joan Larsen to Michigan Supreme Court
- September 30, 2015
LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today issued the following statement on Gov. Snyder’s appointment of Joan Larsen to the Michigan Supreme Court:
“I am delighted with the appointment of Joan Larsen as the new Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court. She will be a strong voice for rule of law for the State of Michigan."
Joan Larsen was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Court left by the retirement of Justice Mary Beth Kelly.
- Schuette Convicts Southfield Doctor of Sex Offenses, Drug Delivery, Fraud
- September 30, 2015
LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced that John Ronald Verbovsky, 67, of Southfield, was sentenced by Ingham County Circuit Judge William Collette to five to 20 years in prison for prescribing controlled substances without any legitimate medical need in exchange for sex or cash.
“The predatory conduct exhibited in this case is particularly reprehensible considering the offender here had taken a professional oath to care for the sick,” said Schuette. “He has harmed patients and damaged families, his behavior is inexcusable and Verbovsky will never practice medicine again.”
Verbovsky, a doctor of osteopathic medicine, has also had his medical license permanently revoked in the first use of patient protection laws championed by Schuette since they became law in March of 2015. The “patient harm” license revocation laws applied to Verbovsky are based on infamous metro-Detroit oncologist Farid Fata’s patient abuse and allows for the permanent revocation of a medical license in certain “patient harm” circumstances.
John Ronald Verbovsky pleaded guilty to:
- 2 counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct, 3rd degree;
- Racketeering; and,
- 2 counts of Medicaid Fraud.
Verbovsky practiced as a Doctor of osteopathic medicine at his clinic, Progressive Family Medicine, in Sterling Heights, Michigan, and at Stout Family Medicine in Detroit. Charges against Verbovsky stem from an Attorney General investigation into allegations that Verbovsky was prescribing controlled substances for uses other than medical treatment, but instead allegedly using his prescriptive authority as a physician to coerce sexual favors and money from patients. The Attorney General investigation also revealed that the Medicaid program was allegedly billed and paid for prescriptions that were written by Verbovsky without medical necessity. Earlier this year, based upon the allegations in this case, Department of Attorney General sought and obtained a permanent license revocation as requested by their client, the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. Verbovsky surrendered himself to the court on February 3, 2015.
DEPARTMENT OF ATTORNEY GENERAL HEALTH CARE FRAUD DIVISION
Schuette's 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.