News

03.29.16

The Atlantic | Why Is Utah the First State to Have a White-Collar Crime Registry?

On Monday, Utah became the first state in the U.S. to have an online registry for white-collar crime offenders. The registry, which was approved by Utah legislature last year, will include a recent photo of criminals convicted of second-degree felonies involving fraud in the last 10 years in Utah, similar to other criminal registries. Although this information is already publicly available, Utah’s Attorney General Sean Reyes said that the user-friendly nature of the database is an important tool for consumer protection, especially in light of the state’s financial vulnerability to a certain types of fraud known as affinity fraud.

Why is Utah so particularly vulnerable to these sorts of schemes? The perpetrators of affinity fraud pray on groups with strong social ties, such as religious and ethnic communities. Usually, it involves a fraudster being, or pretending to be, a member of the group, and subsequently exploiting the trust of that community to run a Ponzi scheme. As Lisa Fairfax, a law professor at George Washington University, wrote, the scam is based on the premise that “You can trust me because I’m like you.” It works—well. The most famous affinity-fraud case in recent years is that of Bernie Madoff, who scammed his (mainly Jewish) clients of nearly $50 billion dollars.

To read full story, click here


01.20.16

Salt Lake Tribune | New statewide crisis line puts help in the palm of Utah students’ hands

Utah Sen. Daniel Thatcher said his first experience with suicide came at age 11, when a classmate ended their life.

By age 16, the West Valley Republican said, one of his best friends was dead as well.

"This is the single greatest crisis facing the youth of Utah," he said.

In 2014 and 2015, Thatcher sponsored consecutive bills to study the feasibility and then create a statewide tip line for school safety and students in crisis.

And on Wednesday, that tip line became a reality with the launch of the SafeUT mobile app, which puts students in contact with trained counselors at the tap of a smartphone screen.

"This is the best way to connect children that are in the greatest danger, that have the greatest need, with the people who can save their lives," Thatcher said.

The mobile app, available for free on Apple and Android devices, allows students to confidentially submit tips to the staff at their school, or to connect immediately by voice or text with counselors at the University Neuropsychiatric Institute, or UNI, a division of University of Utah Health Care.

The texting feature, according to the app's developers, is crucial for getting youth in crisis to reach out for help.

"We've known a long time that texting is the way to reach kids," said Barry Rose, UNI Crisis Services manager. "We advertise our [phone] number and students see it but they don't want to call us."

The mobile app was developed in partnership between UNI, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes and the Utah State Office of Education, which plans to conduct training sessions with teachers and school administrators to respond to tips and encourage students to use the tip line.

Reyes compared the mobile app to the walkie-talkies used by law enforcement personnel to request for backup and support.

"We are empowering our student and our children with the same type of lifeline to be able to reach out and get the help and assistance they need," he said.

Suicide is the leading cause of death for Utahns between the ages of 10 and 17, Reyes said, but SafeUT provides a tool to combat the state's "devastating" statistics.

"We know that every hour there are students and children crying out for help and in the past, too often, those cries went unanswered and unheeded," Reyes said.

Thatcher's 2015 bill included $150,00 in one-time and $150,000 in ongoing funding to the University Neuropsychiatric Institute.

He said the app itself was created with donated resources, and the state funds were used to hire two additional clinicians at the UNI CrisisLine and upgrade the UNI system to receive text messages.

"We may need to come back and we may need to continue expanding," he said. "There is nothing more important that we can be doing right now than taking care of these kids."


10.19.15


Hilltop TIMES | HISPANIC HERITAGE: Heroes, ground-breakers hailed at Hispanic American Month event

HILL AIR FORCE BASE — In light of Hispanic American Observance Month, Hill Air Force Base took time toe celebrate the contributions of Hispanics in the country and on base.

Alma Orosco, chair of the Hispanic American Heritage Observance Committee, pointed out to an audience at the Hubbard Golf Course last week that throughout the years, Hispanic Americans have played an integral role in the nation’s success...

Sean Reyes, Attorney General for the State of Utah, also spoke. Not mentioning him by name, Reyes referred to a recent presidential candidate’s comments about Hispanics. Donald Trump in June accused Mexican immigrants of bringing crime and drugs to the United States.

"I don’t know what Hispanics he was referring to, but I want to tell you about the ones I know," Reyes said, such as Don Salazar, the first member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce from the state of Utah. "He took care of his business and his family, opening up a small day care in Ogden for Latino kids because no one would take them. Now he mentors numerous small businesses so they can stand on their own feet." To read full story, click here.


08.12.15

FOX13 | Sean Reyes, other Attorneys General react to EPA’s handling of mine waste spill

SALT LAKE CITY — With three million gallons of contaminated water flowing into the San Juan River, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes says the EPA has some explaining to do, click here for video and full story.

07.21.15

FOX13 | Utah Supreme Court upholds Pinder double murder conviction

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Supreme Court has upheld the conviction of double-murderer John Pinder, who killed two people and blew up their bodies.

In a unanimous ruling, the state’s top court rejected Pinder’s appeal on grounds that new information had come in pointing to someone else who could be the killer. To read full story and AG statement, click here

07.01.15

ABC4 | The Abolitionist and those who helped

SANDY CITY, UTAH (ABC 4 UTAH) Two million children fall victim to sex trafficking throughout the world. That's why Operation Underground Railroad has gone out to stop that slavery tactic and a few Utahns are there to help. To watch, click on link below:

06.09.15

KSL.com | Wasatch Front sex trafficking ring uncovered after 10-month investigation

SALT LAKE CITY — A 10-month investigation uncovered nearly a dozen Utah massage parlors being used as fronts for sex trafficking, state authorities said.

The Utah Attorney General's Secure Strike Force on Tuesday executed search warrants on 11 businesses, three residences and four cars along the Wasatch Front.

Investigators say the warrants led to the questioning of more than a dozen women and one man being taken in custody. No charges have been filed.

"Our hope is to find evidence of trafficking in person," said Attorney General Sean Reyes. "We are gathering evidence that we need to build cases. But from our understanding, it is the largest collective human trafficking sting in the state." To read full story and watch video, click here


06.09.15
Fox13 | Utah massage parlors raided in human trafficking, prostitution crackdown


05.20.15

UtahPolicy.com | Poll Numbers Show Atty. Gen. Reyes in Good Political Shape

GOP Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes is looking good as he approaches his 2016 re-election, a new UtahPolicy poll shows.

Reyes gets a 53 percent “naked re-elect” number in the new poll by Dan Jones & Associates. To read full story, click here.

 

05.20.15
KSL.com | South Salt Lake PAL program fosters respect for police officers

According to law enforcement officers, one in five Utah kids will be arrested for a violent crime. But one local program is making a difference in the lives of youths and police. In South Salt Lake, the Police Athletic League's (PAL) after-school boxing program is fostering respect between police officers and the young people they mentor.

...Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes recalled his mother's experiences as principal of a high school in Oakland, California, commenting, "And that's tough stuff," but she was willing to work with kids even to save just one from a life of violence. Reyes gave a keynote address at PAL's national convention being held in Salt Lake City this week.

To read full story, click here.

 

05.20.15
St. George News | Attorney general testifies to commission aiming to end child abuse, neglect

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes testified in front of the bipartisan U.S congressional and presidential Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities as part of the national organization’s public meeting in Salt Lake City.

The Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities, also called CECANF, was established to develop a national strategy and recommendations for reducing fatalities resulting from child abuse and neglect. The purpose of the meeting on Wednesday and Thursday, where Reyes testified, was to explore key research, policy and practice in the state of Utah related to addressing and preventing child abuse and neglect fatalities.

Commission members are appointed by Congress with approval of President Obama. To read full story, click here.

 

05.19.15
Deseret News | In our opinion: New state fraud registry offers prospective investors more awareness

With all of the fraud causes currently being prosecuted in Utah courts, the state’s new white-collar crime registry will find itself quickly populated with the names of people investors should steer clear of. A law creating the registry goes into effect this month as a result of legislation aimed at preventing the kinds of scams that have cost Utah victims billions of dollars in recent years. To read full Op Ed, click here.

 

05.14.15
KSL.com | Attorney General Sean Reyes urges Congress to pass international Megan's Law

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes urged Congress on Thursday to get tougher on human trafficking worldwide, particularly by passing an international Megan's Law to protect children from predators.

Human trafficking, he said, is one of the most insidious but least understood and recognized crimes.

"As a father of six children, I want to change that," Reyes told the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa and Global Human Rights in Washington, D.C. 

To read full story, click here

 

05.14.15
Washington Times | Victim presses Congress to fight child sex trafficking 

Thursday, May 14, 2015 — A young Mexican woman — who said she had “no other identity” beyond that of a sex object until she was rescued from a sex-trafficking gang — urged Congress to do much more to stop this growing criminal enterprise.

For four years as a teen prostitute, “I was forced to serve every kind of fetish imaginable to more than 40,000 clients,” Karla Jacinto, 22, told a Thursday hearing before the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Africa, global health, global human rights and international organizations.

To read full article, click here.

 

04.13.15

The Independent (St. George) | Opinion: Utah's white collar crime registry and finding justice in a court of law

To read entire Op Ed, click here.

 

04.01.15
The Herald | Reyes looks to roots to form the future at TEDxTalks

OREM – Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes looked to his background as a guide to the future in an address he gave at Utah Valley University Wednesday.

He spoke at a TEDxTalks event focuses on technology, entertainment and design. The conference theme was “Imagine.”

Reyes said he uses Utah’s mountains as natural monuments to be a guide, both physically and professionally. He said he looks at the Constitution similarly and relies on his ancestry as a type of monument to determine his actions.

His roots go to four cultures -- Filipino, Spanish, native Hawaiian and Japanese. Reyes said he has learned from each of them. To read full story, click here.

 

03.19.15

The Davis Clipper | Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes says education, relationships key

KAYSVILLE – When he wasn’t entertaining by performing a rap, he was enlightening with the story of a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles or a sting operation in Colombia. Utah’s Attorney General Sean Reyes kept the attention of an auditorium full of high school students as he shared not only rhythm and stories, but advice.

“Let’s get some of the mechanics out of the way first,” he said, after a quick rendition of a few rap songs he’d written. “Education is the most important thing that you can do in your life at this time.” To read more, click here

 

03.13.15
90.9 WBUR Boston NPR | White Collar Criminals May Soon Be In Utah Public Registry

To listen to the interview between host Robin Young and AG Reyes, click here

 

03.11.15
The New York Times | Utah Passes White-Collar Felon Registry by Ben Protess

With just a point and a click, you can browse a face book of felons, a new government website that will warn of the danger these criminals pose to society.

Only these are not the faces of sex offenders and serial killers. These criminals are mortgage schemers and inside traders, most likely armed with nothing more than an M.B.A. or a law degree.

Their faces will soon appear online courtesy of the Utah Legislature, which on Wednesday approved a measure to build the nation’s first white-collar offender registry, appending a scarlet letter of sorts on the state’s financial felons. The registry — quirky even by the standards of a legislature that this week reinstated firing squads as a method of execution — will be replete with a “a recent photograph” of Utah’s white-collar offenders and, in case they try to run or hide, their “date of birth, height, weight, and eye and hair color.”

“White-collar crime is an epidemic in Utah,” said Sean Reyes, the state’s attorney general who formulated the idea for the registry when he was a defense lawyer, “representing some of these bad guys.” A former mixed martial arts fighter who has a metal plate lodged in his eye socket from a basketball injury, Mr. Reyes noted that while violent crimes were devastating, many “physical wounds heal,” whereas white-collar crimes “can forever deplete your life savings.” To read full story, click here.

 

03.02.15
Deseret News | Bill to simplify prosecution of child trafficking passes Senate committee

SALT LAKE CITY — A Senate panel supported a bill Monday that would streamline the prosecution of child trafficking.

The Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee voted 5-0 to favorably recommend HB252 to the full Senate.

Bill sponsor House Minority Leader Brian King, D-Salt Lake City, said the bill would eliminate a requirement in state law that prosecutors must prove fraud or coercion for a conviction of human trafficking of a child, which is a first-degree felony.

King said the average age of minors involved in human trafficking cases is 12 to 14 years old.

“That’s the average age,” he said. “Think about how many kids are younger than that. We need to do something.”

Human traffickers generate billions of dollars in profits by victimizing millions of people in the U.S. and around the world, with roughly 2 million victims who are children and 1.5 million victims in North America, said Attorney General Sean Reyes. Human trafficking is now “the second most lucrative criminal enterprise,” behind only drug trafficking, he said.

“Human traffickers perceive there to be very little risk or deterrence to affect their criminal operations,” Reyes added. “While investigations, prosecutions and penalties have increased throughout recent years, many traffickers still believe the high profit margin to be worth the risk of detection.” To read more, click here.

 

02.17.15
Deseret News | Utah Medal of Honor recipient recognized by Reyes

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter commemorated the 70th anniversary of the death of Medal of Honor recipient Jose F. Valdez on Tuesday with the unveiling of a commissioned portrait and remarks by Attorney General Sean Reyes. To read more, click here.



 

02.15.15
ABC4 | Blue mass offered for law enforcement in Utah

To watch full story, click below.

 

02.05.15
Deseret News | Utah religious leaders discuss faith, love and respect

Photo Credit: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Child human trafficking, exploitation, sexual abuse of children, fraud and abuse are part of the work of an attorney general. 

"As I face and my team faces some really dark forces … it underscores to us every single day the great need our nation, our state and our community has for wonderful people of faith like you," Reyes told a group of about 70 religious leaders Thursday.

To read the full story, click here.

 

01.29.15
KSL TV | Several hundred people gather to salute law enforcement

To Read Full Story, click here

 

01.28.15
Salt Lake Tribune | Utah-based anti-sex trafficking group releases documentary

Sandy • Hundreds gathered at the Jordan Commons Megaplex Tuesday night to watch a pre-screening of a new documentary, "The Abolitionists," and offer support to Operation Underground Railroad, a Utah-based non-profit that fights child-sex trafficking.

Featured guests at the screening included Ed Smart, father of Elizabeth Smart, "Walking Dead" actress Laurie Holden, professional runner and human trafficking survivor Norma Bastidas, and Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, who recently joined an undercover OUR sting operation in Colombia. To Read More.

 

01.27.15
Fox13 News | Film Documents Child Sex Trafficking in Colombia; Utah's AG Sean Reyes Participates in Sting

SANDY, Utah — It’s a movie that highlights an undercover operation to rescue children enslaved in sex and human trafficking.

The film features Utah’s Attorney General Sean Reyes.

FOX 13 News spoke with Reyes and the filmmakers before Tuesday night’s private screening. All of them say they want as many people to see the movie as possible so the global problem of sex trafficking is brought to light and stopped. To Read More and Watch News Coverage.

 

01.15.15
Bloomberg Political | Utah Attorney General Raps, Does War Dance, Impersonates Elvis

Sean Reyes is not your average, dime-a-dozen, sucka MC. In a remarkable interview with "All Due Respect" host Mark Halperin, Utah's Republican Attorney General delivered an astonishing impromptu performance that merged rap, a Maori war dance, and a lilting impersonation of Elvis singing "Love Me Tender."

Reyes, who is considered a rising GOP star, was appointed by Utah's Attorney General by Governor Gary Herbert after John Swallow abruptly resigned from office in 2013. The following year, Reyes was elected to serve out the remainder of Swallow's term. To Read More and Watch Video.


01.15.15
Salt Lake Tribune | A.G. Sean Reyes, Utah group played part in Colombian sex-trafficking sting

There are 127 Colombian girls free from captivity as a result of sex-trafficking stings last fall that were orchestrated in part by a Utah group and included Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes in a covert role.

Reyes traveled to Cartagena, Colombia, last October posing as a security escort and translator for a wealthy Utah businessman who supposedly wanted to invest $1 million in a sex-trafficking ring. When 54 girls were brought to the supposed sex party, local law enforcement and military burst in, taking down the ring and freeing the girls. It was part of three coordinated stings that returned a total of 127 girls to their families. Read More


01.15.15
Deseret News | Utah A.G. Sean Reyes made secret trip to rescue child sex slaves in Colombia

Attorney General Sean Reyes made a secret trip to Colombia last October as part of an operation to rescue child sex slaves.Reyes made the dangerous trek with Operation Underground Railroad, a Utah-based nonprofit organization that works with governments around the world in fighting child trafficking. It came just weeks before Reyes won his first election as attorney general after being appointed to the job in December 2013. Read More

11.24.14
Fox13 News | AG Reyes helps make Thanksgiving better for Utah's homeless

Utah Attorney General helps make Thanksgiving better for Utah's homeless and challenges other elected officials this holiday season to do the same with the turkey box challenge.

 

11.13.14
NewsMaxTV | Steve Malzberg Show

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes debriefs with Steve Malzberg on becoming first ethnic minority elected to statewide office in Utah. Click image below to watch interview.   

11.2.14
Deseret News | Sean Reyes: What's going right in Utah Attorney General's Office

“Legal excellence.” “Win the right way.” “Integrity.” “Trust.” “Progress.” “Leadership.” “Merit.” These are some of the daily buzzwords spoken throughout the Utah Attorney General’s Office (AGO) today. Combined with concepts we emphasize like innovation, teamwork, accountability, responsibility, professionalism and you get a flavor for the positive and dynamic direction of the office now. Read More

 

10.29.14
The Herald | Reyes needs time to finish what he’s started

The Daily Herald endorses Sean Reyes to fill out the term of Utah attorney general.

Reyes has shown the leadership required to restore trust in the attorney general’s office, and we encourage voters to allow him to continue to work his plan that began late last year after the resignation of John Swallow. Read More

 

10.27.14
Deseret News | Sean Reyes has big lead on Charles Stormont in A.G. race, polls show

Two new polls show Republican Attorney General Sean Reyes comfortably ahead of Democratic challenger Charles Stormont heading into the election next week. Read More

 

10.27.14
Salt Lake Tribune | Polls show Reyes with a big lead in AG race

Two polls released Monday show Attorney General Sean Reyes, a Republican, with a massive lead over Democrat Charles Stormont. Read More

 

October 2014
Attorney At Law | Attorney General Sean Reyes Carries on Legacy of Service 

Feature Cover Story on Attorney General Sean Reyes and his priorities for the AG office. Read full story by clicking below. 

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10.22.14
The Davis Clipper | Reyes wants to rebuild faith in attorney general’s office

Sean Reyes is trying to rebuild Davis County voters’ trust in the attorney general’s office. Reyes, who is the incumbent candidate in the running for Utah Attorney General in the upcoming elections, outlined for the Clipper several of the changes he’s made to the office [...] Read More

 


10.19.14
Deseret News | Sean Reyes is working to lift dark cloud from attorney general's office 

One of the guys in a Darth Vader costume at Salt Lake Comic Con last year was Sean Reyes. Read More

10.18.14
Park Record | Sean Reyes running to stay on as attorney general


Sean Reyes was appointed attorney general of Utah by Governor Gary Herbert last December after the resignation of then-Attorney General John Swallow, who resigned after one scandal-plagued year in office. Utah law requires a special election. Read More

09.11.14 
KCPW | The Rundown: Utah Attorney General Republican Sean Reyes Running to Retain his Seat


Recently we spoke with the Democratic candidate for Utah Attorney General. Today it’s a conversation with the Republican contender – current Attorney General Sean Reyes, who is running to keep the seat he was appointed to in December. Read More

October 2014 
ABC4 Interview with Glen Mills

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March 2014
KUTV Interview with Shauna Lake

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February 2014
TFCBalitangAmerica Interview with Utah AG Sean Reyes

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