News briefs – July 9

Staff report

News briefs

Staff report

News briefs briefs

NEW PROGRAM OFFERED ON QUITTING SMOKING – The American Lung Association and Pfizer announced the launch of Quitter’s Circle, a new digital initiative designed to help smokers face common obstacles associated with quitting. A cornerstone of Quitter’s Circle is a mobile app and online community. Within a few clicks, Quitter’s Circle users can personalize a quit plan, receive support from friends and family, and get encouragement to talk with a healthcare provider about quitting, including real-time, mobile access to doctors so smokers can kick start their quit journey.

In Ohio, more than 1,995,535 people continue to smoke despite the fact that a recent survey found that 85 percent of current smokers express worry about the health consequences of smoking.1 The survey also found that 93 percent of Americans agree that quitting smoking is difficult. 1 Smokers – on average – try to quit six to 11 times in their lives before becoming smokefree.3

The survey further identified that only 36 percent of smokers have a plan in place to quit.1 A quit plan is often designed in consultation with a healthcare provider and clinician advice and support can double the odds of successfully quitting smoking.2 With just a few clicks, Quitter’s Circle users can easily access resources to start the conversation with their current healthcare provider, establish video consultations with a doctor or find one in their local area.

CHASE SETTLEMENT ANNOUNCED – Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced that Chase has agreed to reform its credit card debt collection practices and permanently stop collection efforts on over half a million consumers as part of a $136 million joint federal-state settlement.

The settlement with Chase Bank USA N.A. and Chase Bankcard Services Inc. (collectively Chase) was reached by the attorneys general of 47 states and the District of Columbia, and the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, following an investigation into Chase’s past debt collection practices.

“Chase has agreed to make a number of significant reforms that will help protect consumers now and in the future,” Attorney General DeWine said. “As a result of this settlement, Chase customers will be less likely to be sued for a debt they don’t owe or receive third-party collection calls for a debt they already paid off.”

The investigation looked at Chase’s internal debt collection practices and its sales of consumer credit card debt to third-party debt buyers. It found that in some cases Chase filed lawsuits and obtained judgments against consumers using documents that were “robo-signed” (signed without personal knowledge of the signer) or based on inaccurate information. In other cases, Chase sold accounts that were inaccurate, already discharged, or otherwise uncollectable to debt buyers.

CLEVELAND MAN SENTENCED FOR SECURITIES FRAUD – Following a criminal referral by the Ohio Department of Commerce Division of Securities, Peter Wilson of Rocky River, Ohio pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud and one count of aggravated theft and was sentenced to five years of community control in the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court. Wilson paid $30,000 in restitution to victims and was ordered to pay another $80,000 in restitution as part of his sentence imposed by the Court.

The conviction and sentence is based on misrepresentations Wilson made to Ohio investors that their investment would be used to purchase an ownership interest in a spirituous liquor company. Instead, Wilson used investors’ money to fund tuition at a private university and for his own personal spending.

In 2005, prior to the indictment in this case, Wilson was permanently enjoined from trading in securities, with limited exception, by Judge Patricia Gaughan of the U. S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio after a complaint was filed by the Unites States Securities and Exchange Commission alleging securities fraud and other violations.

This case was prosecuted by the Office of Timothy J. McGinty, Cuyahoga County Prosecuting Attorney.

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