TOPEKA – (April 10, 2014) – For the second straight year, the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division has returned a record amount of money to Kansas consumers and taxpayers, Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced today.
In its annual report filed today with the governor and Kansas Legislature, Schmidt’s office reported $49.6 million in savings and recoveries to Kansas consumers and the state treasury in 2013. This topped the previous record of $49.3 million set in 2012.
“Our office has worked diligently to return money to consumers when they have been wronged by a scam artist or deceptive business,” Schmidt said. “These numbers reflect the commitment of our dedicated team of attorneys, investigators and support staff who work hard every day to protect Kansas consumers throughout our state.”
Schmidt also reported that several legislative changes during 2013 helped increase the office’s capacity to protect Kansans. A new law in 2013 gave the attorney general increased jurisdiction in cases of identity theft, which is among the fastest growing crimes nationwide. Schmidt’s office was also charged with implementing the new Kansas Roofing Registration Act, which requires roofing contractors operating in the State of Kansas to register with the attorney general’s office.
The office also increased its efforts to educate Kansas consumers on ways to avoid scams. Schmidt and his staff made 92 presentations to more than 8,400 Kansans on topics such as identity theft and scam prevention. Schmidt also served as host for the 2013 National Association of Attorneys General Fall Consumer Protection Conference in Wichita last October, which brought consumer protection staff from 46 states and territories to learn about the latest consumer protection issues.
A new website launched in 2013, www.InYourCornerKansas.org, provides a user-friendly way for Kansas consumers to learn how to protect themselves and file complaints.
The Consumer Protection Division is led by Deputy Attorney General Jim Welch. Its staff of investigators and litigators also includes former U.S. Attorney for Kansas Jackie Williams and Special Agent Marc McCune, former captain of the Capitol Police. Schmidt is a former assistant attorney general for consumer protection, a position he held during the administration of former Attorney General Carla Stovall. He currently serves as the national co-chair of the Consumer Protection Committee of the National Association of Attorneys General.
The 2013 Consumer Protection Annual Report is available online at http://1.usa.gov/1qymjHm.
Download audio of Attorney General Schmidt's comments on the announcement.