Hello District Neighbors,
Last Thursday, I joined AARP DC State Director Louis Davis, Jr. and more than a hundred DC residents for a conversation about how our office prioritizes combatting exploitation of older District residents, how to help protect our older neighbors from financial abuse and scams, and how we can support our older relatives so they can live their golden years with dignity and security.
Financial exploitation of the elderly unfortunately isn’t new, but during economic downturns and in the face of isolation—as many experienced during the pandemic—older District residents become easier targets for exploitation. As the District’s first independent elected Attorney General, I’ve prioritized protecting the District’s older community members from all-too-common forms of financial exploitation, abuse, and neglect.
Our office spearheaded several unique initiatives and programs to protect District seniors, including hiring a financial exploitation criminal prosecutor to work in tandem with the United States Attorney’s Office to criminally prosecute elder abuse cases. Additionally, we created a standalone Elder Justice Section so we could have a dedicated team of lawyers pursing civil lawsuits against bad actors who take advantage of older residents and other vulnerable adults. This team also helps proactively educate DC residents about their rights, common scams, and red flags to watch out for. We have also established an elder justice hotline to receive complaints.
Because of this work, we’ve been able to secure dozens of wins for victims of financial exploitation and abuse and have also helped DC residents reach positive resolutions without litigation.
If you know a District senior or vulnerable adult experiencing financial exploitation, abuse, or neglect, immediately get help by:
- Calling the Adult Protective Services’ 24-hour hotline at (202) 541-3950.
- Calling the Metropolitan Police Department at (202) 265-9100.
- Contacting OAG’s Elder Justice Section at (202) 727-3807 or email@example.com.
If you weren’t able to make it to last week’s event, you can watch a recording of the full event here.
Taking Action Against Casa Ruby for Improper Finance and Operational Practices
Earlier this week, we filed a filed a motion for a temporary restraining order against Casa Ruby-- a District nonprofit organization that provides transitional housing and related support to LGBTQ+ youth--to freeze all of its financial accounts and hold its leadership accountable
We opened an investigation after public reporting in the Washington Post on July 17th suggested Casa Ruby had engaged in serious violations of the District’s nonprofit laws, which our office is responsible for enforcing. Indeed, our investigation uncovered a remarkable amount of evidence in just a couple weeks, such as clear patterns of mismanagement, poor oversight of programs and finances, and improper use of District grants and charitable donations.
The organization’s Executive Director, Ruby Corado, appears to have fled the country, withdrawn tens of thousands of dollars of nonprofit funds, and has failed to pay employees and vendors money they are rightfully owed. Read more about our efforts in The Washington Post.
Holding Wawa Accountable for Failing to Protect Consumers’ Personal Information
Last week, our office joined six other states in taking action against Wawa—an east coast convenience store—for failing to protect its customers’ personal information and allowing a data breach that compromised close to 44,000 DC residents’ data. Now, we’ve secured nearly $240,000 in penalties to the District.
Wawa failed to implement effective data security measures, and, as a result, hackers breached its computer network and stole customers’ sensitive payment card information. In failing to protect customers’ data, Wawa violated DC’s consumer protection and data breach laws.
In addition to paying penalties, Wawa must implement and maintain data security practices to strengthen its information security program and protect consumers’ personal information.
This effort builds on my office’s strong track record of standing up to those who fail to protect their customers. When companies are careless with District resident’s personal data and information, we will hold them accountable.
Congratulations to the 2022 “Do the Write Thing” Challenge Winners!
This year’s winners of the 2022 “Do the Write Thing” Challenge are Charles Hart Middle School students Ilean Hartzog and Promise Parraway. “Do the Write Thing” is a national essay contest that gives middle school students the chance to speak out about how violence affects their lives and share their ideas about what we can do to stop it. This year marked the sixth year my office sponsored the contest in the District. Ilean’s and Promise’s voices — and the voices of kids across the District and the country who participate in this important program — obligate us adults to stop, listen, and most importantly, act.
To learn more about the winners and the pieces they wrote, read my post on Medium.
Supporting Ward 1 Residents at the Jobs Not Guns Summit and Recruitment Fair
Last week, I joined the “Jobs Not Guns: Overcoming Barriers to Employment” summit in Ward 1 alongside Councilmember Brianne Nadeau; University of the District of Columbia President Ronald M. Mason, Jr.; and fellow public safety officials.
I spoke about how our office works to make sure accountability and rehabilitation of youth who break the law go hand in hand. These efforts improve public safety both now and into the future, but they don’t work in a vacuum. Prosecutions are tools to address crime after it happens. To truly improve public safety, we need to work to stop crimes from happening in the first place. Events like this are critical to helping at-risk residents receive the resources and jobs they need.
Thank you to Inner Thoughts, Inc.; the National Association of Minority Contractors—Washington, DC Metro Area Chapter (NAMC-WMAC); and DC Black Concerned Businesses for bringing us together.
Defending Voting Rights Across the District and the Country
I'm proud to have led a coalition of 21 attorneys general in urging the Supreme Court not to weaken voting rights protections for communities of color.
Alabama’s congressional district maps are unfair and clearly violate the Voting Rights Act, which says that states may not draw a legislative district that dilutes voting power of racial minority groups and prevents communities of color from having a chance to elect their preferred candidates. Alabama’s maps dilute the power of Black voters and must be redrawn.
Just as we have in other cases, we will defend the voices of American voters across the country—and advance District values along the way.
Sign up to Receive a Report From our Office
I know many of you are loyal readers of this newsletter—because, among other reasons, you made it this far down! If you’re interested in learning more about our office and our work, I invite you to sign up to receive the physical copy of our office’s report this fall. It will provide information on where you can report everything from consumer protection violations to acts of discrimination. It will also show how far the office has come in the last seven years and will include a special message from me as I reflect on my time as Attorney General.