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  • Schuette Charges Wayne County Man with Human Trafficking

    Attorney General Bill Schuette announced that his Human Trafficking Unit has arrested an Inkster man for conducting a Human Trafficking operation in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb Counties. Schuette charged Jahan Satati Green 38, of Inkster with multiple felonies including Human Trafficking, Transporting for Prostitution, Accepting the Earnings of a Prostitute and Conducting a Criminal Enterprise; all felonies punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Charges result from an extensive investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

    “Modern day slavery in Michigan will not be tolerated on my watch,” said Schuette. “We have taken a victim-centered approach to fighting human trafficking and we will continue to aggressively pursue and prosecute criminals who take advantage of vulnerable victims and enslave them in sex trafficking or labor through force, fraud or coercion.”

    Read more: http://michigan.gov/ag/0,4534,7-164-46849-357687--,00.html

     



RECENT NEWS

Press Releases
Schuette Secures Second Conviction in Unlicensed Doctor Case
July 7, 2015        

    

 

     LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced today the conviction of Dr. Timothy Whiteus, 61, of Oak Park, for orchestrating a health care fraud scheme involving an unlicensed doctor. Whiteus marks the second conviction involving this unlicensed doctor operation. 

     “Ensuring integrity in our health care system is critical to the safety of Michigan citizens," said Schuette.  “Anyone attempting to break the law at the expense of patients and taxpayers will be identified and brought to justice.”

Case Background

     Attorney General investigators from Schuette’s Health Care Fraud Division determined that Whiteus hired out his home podiatry work to an unlicensed individual, Golden Higgwe, 63, of Dearborn Heights.

     Higgwe is a former podiatrist who had his license to practice podiatry revoked in 2003 after a federal health care fraud conviction. This activity in 2003 also led to Higgwe being excluded from participation in any government health care program, such as Medicaid and Medicare for a period of 25 years. Nevertheless, Whiteus billed government and private insurance for Higgwe’s unlicensed work as if he had performed the work himself. Whiteus was never present in the homes when Higgwe provided medical services to patients. Higgwe would also present himself as a doctor when he treated patients in their homes.

     Testimony at trial outlined how Whiteus made periodic payments to Higgwe from the same account that received the payments from the various health care programs.

     Schuette filed multiple felony criminal charges against both Whiteus and Higgwe in 2014.  

     Timothy Whiteus, 61, of Oak Park, was convicted of the following charges filed by Schuette:

  • One count of Conducting Criminal Enterprises (Racketeering), a 20-year felony and/or up to a $100,000 fine;
  • Thirteen counts of Health Care Fraud, a 4-year felony and/or up to a $50,000 fine; and,
  • Five counts of Medicaid Fraud, a 4-year felony and/or up to a $50,000 fine.

     Whiteus was convicted on July 2, 2015 after a week-long jury trial in Ingham County Circuit Court before Judge Clinton Canady, III.  Sentencing for Whiteus has been set for August 5, 2015 at 8:30 a.m. before Judge Canady.

     Golden Higgwe, 63, of Dearborn Heights was convicted of the following charges filed by Schuette on June 2, 2015:

  • One count of Conducting Criminal Enterprises (Racketeering), a 20-year felony and/or up to a $100,000 fine;
  • One count of Unauthorized Practice of a Health Profession, a 4-year felony and/or up to a $5,000 fine;
  • Thirteen counts of Health Care Fraud, a 4-year felony and/or up to a $50,000 fine; and,
  • Five counts of Medicaid Fraud, a 4-year felony and/or up to a $50,000 fine.

     Higgwe is next due in court on July 15, 2015 at 8:30 a.m. before Judge Canady in Ingham County Circuit Court.

 Defendant last names pronounced: “WHITE-us”, “Hig-WAY” 
Mug shot of HiggweMug shot of Whiteus

 

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Schuette Statement on U.S. Supreme Court Obergefell v. Hodges Decision
 June 26, 2015              

           

     LANSING - Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in the Obergefell v. Hodges case:  

     “We will honor, respect and uphold the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States. We are appreciative that a decision finally has been reached in this very significant issue.”

  

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Schuette Charges Wayne County Man with Human Trafficking
  

 

June 24, 2015              

        

      LANSING – Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced that his Human Trafficking Unit has arrested an Inkster man for conducting a Human Trafficking operation in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb Counties. Schuette charged Jahan Satati Green 38, of Inkster with multiple felonies including Human Trafficking, Transporting for Prostitution, Accepting the Earnings of a Prostitute and Conducting a Criminal Enterprise; all felonies punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Charges result from an extensive investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

     “Modern day slavery in Michigan will not be tolerated on my watch,” said Schuette. “We have taken a victim-centered approach to fighting human trafficking and we will continue to aggressively pursue and prosecute criminals who take advantage of vulnerable victims and enslave them in sex trafficking or labor through force, fraud or coercion.”

     The investigation revealed that Green had allegedly orchestrated an online “escort” operation beginning in 2006. It is alleged that in his prostitution operation, Green trafficked and assaulted two victims in particular. Charges allege that Green assaulted two young victims for more than six years, forcing them to engage in sex acts for money. Green allegedly transported or arranged for transportation of the young victims to Detroit-area hotels. According to charges, Green forced the victims to give him the money they received from their forced prostitution.

            Schuette charged Jahan Satati Green 38, of Inkster with the following:

  • Two counts of Human Trafficking - Forced Labor involving Commercial Sex, a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison; and,
  • Two counts of Prostitution/Transporting a Person, a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison; and,
  • Two counts of Prostitution/Accepting Earnings, a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison; and,
  • One count of Criminal Enterprises – Conducting, a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

      Green was arrested and arraigned on June 24, 2015 before Judge Sabrina Johnson of the 22nd District Court in Inkster, Wayne County. Green was assigned a $500,000 cash bond and is currently in custody at the Wayne County Jail. Green is next due in court for a preliminary examination on July 1, 2015.

     “I’d like to thank the Department of Homeland Security for their help and hard work in this case,” said Schuette.

     A criminal charge is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty. 

Background on Human Trafficking

     Human trafficking is modern day slavery and it 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. 

 Attorney General Schuette: a Victim-Centered Approach to Fighting Human Trafficking

      As a result of Attorney General Schuette’s 2013 Commission on Human Trafficking, the legislature further updated the state’s laws on human trafficking including strengthening law enforcement’s tools to pursue traffickers.

     Green marks the eleventh defendant charged by Schuette’s Human Trafficking Unit. The Unit was created by reallocating resources in the Attorney General’s Criminal Division to focus on combating human trafficking in Michigan. Schuette expects the unit to continue to work closely with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to identify and prosecute cases of modern day slavery involving both children and adults. 

 

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Professional Fundraisers Still Keep Too Much of Your Donation
  

 

June 17, 2015              

        

      LANSING –  Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced the publication of Michigan's third annual Professional Fundraising Charitable Solicitation Report, which shows how much fundraising campaigns benefit charity—and how much they benefit the fundraisers. 

     As reported in the New York Times, The Giving USA Foundation, a national charity tracking organization, estimates that Americans gave $358 billion to charity in 2014.  This was an increase of $47 billion over 2007—the year that had marked the previous peak of charitable giving in the United States—and put 2014 donations above pre-recession levels. 

     The 2014 Michigan report found that charities received fifty-five cents for every dollar raised by professional fundraisers licensed in Michigan.  This is a substantial increase from last year’s average of 38%, but the increase is largely due to the addition in this year’s report of one very large, very efficient internet fundraiser.  In contrast, if this one fundraiser were not included, the percentage plummets from 55% to 30%, which is eight percent lower than last year’s average.

     “Michigan citizens deserve to know exactly where their money is going when they open up their hearts and wallets to charity,” said Schuette.  “Our annual report gives donors the facts they need to give wisely and to avoid those charities and fundraisers that claim to be helping others but are really helping themselves.”

     Consumers may access the report directly here or by visiting the “Charities” section of the Attorney General's website at www.mi.gov/charity and clicking on “Professional Fundraising Charitable Solicitation Reports.”     

Professional Fundraisers vs. Charities

     Under Michigan law, a professional fundraiser is defined as a person or organization that solicits contributions on behalf of a charity in exchange for compensation.  This is different from a charity that hires its own staff members for development and other fundraising activities.

     Michigan law requires professional fundraisers to submit the results of their campaigns to the Attorney General.  The data includes the type of appeal conducted (mail, telephone, etc.), gross receipts raised, the amount paid to the fundraiser, and the final amount and percentage that went to the charity.  Any professional fundraiser licensed in Michigan is required to report these results, so the report includes data from charities across the country.  The report includes the results of fundraising campaigns reported to the Attorney General during the 2014 calendar year.

     Although hiring professional fundraisers and fundraising counsel may benefit certain charities, some professional fundraisers leave little of the donations for the intended charity, with some telemarketers pocketing 85 or 90 percent of the donated funds. On average, telemarketers kept 68 percent of donations in 2014.

Fundraising Best Practices

     According to the Better Business Bureau's Standards for Charity Accountability, charities should “spend no more than 35% of related contributions on fund raising. Related contributions include donations, legacies, and other gifts received as a result of fund raising efforts.”

     Schuette noted that states are limited in their ability to pass laws to regulate professional fundraisers’ solicited contributions.  In several cases in the 1980s, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional state laws requiring that a minimum percentage of each donation go to charity.  As a result, states are limited to passing laws that prohibit fraudulent fundraising practices and require reporting from charities and their professional fundraisers. Michigan law addresses both aspects.

     Schuette added that examples of fraudulent fundraising practices prohibited by Michigan law include: falsely telling a donor that he or she gave six months ago and it's time to give again, or falsely telling a donors that 90% of their donations go to the charity, when that is in fact not true.

Schuette Takes Action Against Fundraising Fraud

     In May 2013, Schuette ordered Associated Community Services (“ACS”), a professional fundraiser in Southfield, to cease and desist its use of a deceptive telemarketing rebuttal. In the rebuttal, ACS telemarketers referenced the company's license with the Attorney General's Office as a way of convincing donors that their credit card data was safe with ACS.  This was misleading because a professional fundraising license with the Attorney General's Office is not an endorsement of that fundraiser's credit card security practices.

     In February 2014, ACS settled with the Department of Attorney General, agreeing to pay $45,000 and modify its credit card rebuttal statement given by telemarketers.  For more information on Attorney General Schuette's investigation and this settlement visit the Department's website.

     In May 2015, Schuette joined state law enforcement partners in every state in the nation, the District of Columbia, and the Federal Trade Commission, to jointly file a federal lawsuit against four phony cancer charities and their operators, who allegedly scammed more than $187 million from consumers throughout the country.  Settlements have already been reached with several of the defendants, while the litigation remains pending against others.

Empowering Consumers

     There are important measures consumers can take to protect themselves against bogus charities:

  • Be cautious when someone calls and asks for a donation. It is hard to know who is really on the other end of the line. Even if it sounds like it might be a reputable charity, some organizations use names that closely resemble well-known charities. And many calls are made by professional fundraisers that will keep more than half of your donation; some keep as much as 90 percent! If you still want to give, remember that you can always hang up, research your own charities, and give directly to the charity.  This way your charity will get 100 percent of your donation.
  •  Beware of vague or unresponsive answers to specific questions about the charity and how money is used.
  •  Don’t be pressured into making an immediate donation; avoid anyone that tries to make you feel guilty.
  • To improve transparency and provide donors greater access to this important information, Schuette enhanced the Attorney General's online charity search feature to include professional fundraiser data.  The Attorney General's annual Professional Fundraising Charitable Solicitation Report provides a year-end compilation of data, while the online charity search feature provides campaign information as it is filed throughout the year.

     The online charity search is designed as a central resource for prospective donors to perform general searches for various types of registered charities.  For instance, donors may search by key words within the organization's purpose, as well as by city, county, state, name, or any combination of these. Inquiring prospective donors can visit www.mi.gov/charitysearch.

Attorney General's Responsibility to Protect and Preserve Charities

     The Attorney General's office has the primary responsibility for ensuring that charitable assets are being used for the purpose for which they were donated and that organizations are acting as responsible stewards of these assets.  To fulfill this mandate, the Attorney General's Charitable Trust Section registers charitable trusts, registers charities to solicit funds, monitors charitable assets, and oversees any changes that may occur in a charitable entity's form or existence.  The Charitable Trust Section also serves as an important repository of publicly available information about charities, and protects citizens from illegal scams posing as legitimate charities.  For more information on the Attorney General's oversight of charitable solicitation in Michigan, visit www.mi.gov/charity.

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Schuette Health Care Fraud Division Recovers $46M, Earns National Award for Excellence in Fighting Fraud
  

 

June 9, 2015              

        

      LANSING –  Attorney General Bill Schuette’s Health Care Fraud Division was recognized nationally today with the Excellence in Fighting Fraud, Waste and Abuse award given out annually by the Office of Inspector General for the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS-OIG). The Health Care Fraud Division serves as the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) for Michigan and is principally charged to investigate and prosecute fraud in the Medicaid program as well as handle complaints of abuse and neglect in residential care facilities. 

     “My team and I are honored to receive this award and it reflects our common goal that we strive for each day when we come to work: to provide the very best service possible to the taxpayers of Michigan and the agencies we serve,” said Schuette.

     In deciding to grant this award, HHS-OIG noted that during fiscal year 2014, the Michigan MFCU charged 39 complaints, obtained 25 convictions, and secured 16 civil settlements or judgments.  The total recoveries related to these convictions and settlements were $46,562,341. 

     Noteworthy cases this past year included the conviction of Clemenceau Acquaye.  Although he had no medical or other health care license, Acquaye treated patients at different times posing as physician, Dr. Errol Elrington, and as a physician’s assistant.  In September 2014, Acquaye was sentenced to 3-15 years in prison for counts related to Medicaid fraud, health care fraud, health profession unauthorized practice, and criminal sexual conduct in the 3rd degree.  Elrington was also charged but fled the country and is now one of HHS-OIG’s “Most Wanted” fugitives.

     Also noted by HHS-OIG was the case where Tina Marie Binkley was charged with a scheme of embezzling more than $460,000 from 136 nursing home residents in a Rochester Hills nursing home facility. Binkley was convicted and sentenced to 28 months in prison and ordered to pay $460,267 in restitution to the 136 victims.

     “I would like to thank Inspector General Daniel Levinson for this recognition.  HHS-OIG has been a valued partner in the effort to protect taxpayer funded programs,” added Schuette.

 

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