Tag Archives: TXAttorneyGeneral

Don’t Victimize Children In Texas

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Kedrick Nelms, 28, was sentenced to 40 years in prison for sex trafficking a 14-year-old girl.

AG Paxton’s Office, Travis County DA
Margaret Moore Obtain Conviction
in Child Sex Trafficking Case

AUSTIN, TX  –  Resulting from a joint effort by his office, the Travis County District Attorney’s office, and the Texas Department of Public Safety, Attorney General Ken Paxton today announced that a Travis County District Court sentenced Kedrick Nelms, 28, to 40 years in prison for sex trafficking a 14-year-old girl.

On June 20, a Travis County jury found Nelms guilty of trafficking of persons and of compelling prostitution of a minor, both first-degree felonies.  Nelms opted to have the judge determine his punishment.

The attorney general’s Human Trafficking and Transnational/Organized Crime section, led by Deputy Criminal Chief Kirsta Melton and Assistant Attorney General Melissa Holman, assisted the prosecution of the case at the invitation of Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore.  They were joined at the trial by Travis County Assistant District Attorney Josh Reno.

The Texas Department of Public Safety conducted the investigation that led to the successful prosecution of Nelms.

“As a result of this successful, first-of-its-kind partnership between my office, the Travis County District Attorney’s office and the Texas Department of Public Safety, a dangerous and despicable human trafficker has been brought to justice,” Attorney General Paxton said.  “I’m grateful to the prosecutors and our law enforcement partners for their tireless work on this collaborative effort.  My office will continue to work to protect victims from sex trafficking and prosecute those who profit from the exploitation of human beings.”

Travis County District Attorney Moore said: “I commend the attorney general and his assistants for this outstanding prosecution.  I am proud to have partnered in this exemplary collaboration.”

Nelms used a social media app called Tagged to lure his underage victim into a relationship, then introduced her to his girlfriend, Kirsten Violette, who conspired with Nelms to traffick the girl for prostitution in Dallas, Austin and San Antonio in June 2016.

It took a jury one hour to return guilty verdicts on both charges against Nelms.

Separately, Violette pleaded guilty this week to trafficking of persons and faces a punishment hearing in August.

Attorney General Paxton has made combating human trafficking a top priority.  Two years ago, he launched his office’s Human Trafficking and Transnational/Organized Crime section, which prosecutes human traffickers across the state.

In April, the section’s prosecution of Backpage.com resulted in the company pleading guilty to human trafficking in Texas and its CEO, Carl Ferrer, pleading guilty to money laundering.

The attorney general’s office also assisted the U.S. Department of Justice with permanently shutting down the website, which was considered the largest online sex trafficking marketplace in the world.

Earlier this year, Attorney General Paxton unveiled a powerful training video to teach Texans how to spot and report suspected human trafficking activity.

Be the One in the Fight Against Human Trafficking” is available for viewing online at https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/human-trafficking

TX AG Unit Takes Award Of Excellence

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TX AG Ken Paxton’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit was selected for the top award from 50 units nationwide.

AG Paxton’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit Named Best in the Nation

AUSTIN, TX  –  Attorney General Ken Paxton today congratulated the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of his office after it received the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General’s award of excellence in fighting fraud, waste and abuse.

Attorney General Paxton’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit was selected for the top award from 50 units nationwide because of its highly effective collaboration with the Office of the Inspector General, the FBI and other federal partners.  During fiscal year 2017, the unit obtained 108 indictments, 137 convictions and led the nation in recovering more than $534 million.

“Medicaid fraud drives up the cost of health care for all of us and steals from taxpayer-funded programs that help Texans receive medical care,” Attorney General Paxton said.  “All Texans should be proud that they have the best Medicaid Fraud Control Unit in the country working for them.  My office will continue to crack down on anyone who schemes to evade the law and profit from defrauding the Medicaid program.”

In honoring Attorney General Paxton’s Medicaid Fraud Unit, the Office of Inspector General highlighted several of the unit’s most notable collaborative successes from last year, including:

  • Participation in 121 joint investigations, such as a national health care fraud takedown involving 14 individuals and $49 million in fraudulent billings.
  • A multi-agency investigation resulting in the conviction of a Houston home health care owner and several individuals resulting in prison sentences and more than $22 million in restitution.
  • A multi-agency investigation that stopped a medical biller after it stole the personal identifying information of over 1,500 Medicaid and Medicare recipients, which was used to obtain food stamp benefit cards and credit cards in Texas and other states.

The Office of Inspector General’s prestigious award of excellence was presented to Medicaid Fraud Control Unit Division Chief Stormy Kelly during a ceremony on Monday in Washington, D.C.  Since 2000, the Office of Attorney General of Texas has recovered more than $1.8 billion for taxpayers under the Texas Medicaid Fraud Prevention Act.

Temple TX Doctor Arrested By TX AG CEU

.jpg photo of man arrested for Child Pornography
John Middlemiss Palmer, 55

AG Paxton’s Child Exploitation Unit Arrests
Bell County Doctor for Possession of
Child Pornography

AUSTIN, TX  –  Attorney General Ken Paxton today announced that the Child Exploitation Unit (CEU) of his office arrested a 55-year-old doctor from Temple on one count of possession of child pornography.

If convicted, John Middlemiss Palmer could spend up to 20 years in federal prison.

Palmer, a pediatric pulmonary physician practicing in Temple, was arrested after investigators discovered child pornography was uploaded to an online storage account that he used.

A search of his office turned up images of child pornography on a digital storage device.

Several devices were seized from Palmer’s home and office for examination by the attorney general’s Digital Forensics Unit.

During questioning, Palmer denied any involvement with child pornography.

The Texas Attorney General’s Office works to protect children by using the latest technology to track down some of the most profoundly evil predators online.

The CEU proactively seeks out and arrests predators who commit crimes against children using technology and online sources.

Attorney General Paxton urges all parents and teachers to become aware of the risks our children face on the internet and take steps to help ensure their children’s safety.

If you suspect someone is producing or downloading child pornography you can report it to NCMEC.

For more information on cyber safety, please visit: https://texasattorneygeneral.gov/initiatives/cyber-safety/

TX CEU Stops Waco Child Pornographer

.jpg photo of accused Child Pornographer
Joseph Albert Nickel, 46

AG Paxton’s Child Exploitation Unit Arrests McLennan County Man for Possession of Child Pornography

AUSTIN, TX  –  Attorney General Ken Paxton today announced that the Child Exploitation Unit (CEU) of his office arrested a Waco man on three counts of possession of child pornography, a third-degree felony.  If convicted, Joseph Albert Nickel could face up to 30 years in prison.

The 46-year-old was arrested after investigators discovered child pornography was uploaded to an online storage account that he accessed.

A digital storage device containing images of child pornography and several other devices were seized for examination by the attorney general’s Digital Forensics Unit.

During an interview, Nickel admitted he downloaded, viewed and shared child pornography over the Internet.

The Texas Attorney General’s Office works to protect children by using the latest technology to track down some of the most profoundly evil predators online.

The CEU proactively seeks out and arrests predators who commit crimes against children using technology and online sources.

Attorney General Paxton urges all parents and teachers to become aware of the risks our children face on the internet and take steps to help ensure their children’s safety.

If you suspect someone is producing or downloading child pornography you can report it to NCMEC.

For more information on cyber safety, please visit: https://texasattorneygeneral.gov/initiatives/cyber-safety/

Backpage And Carl Ferrer Already Paying

Backpage.com Pleads Guilty to
Human Trafficking in Texas

AUSTIN, TX  –  Attorney General Ken Paxton announced today that his office’s prosecution of Backpage.com has resulted in the company pleading guilty to human trafficking in Texas and its CEO Carl Ferrer pleading guilty to money laundering.  This comes less than a week after the attorney general’s office assisted the Department of Justice with permanently shutting down the website.

Ferrer will be sentenced to up to five years in prison once he’s fulfilled the terms of his plea agreement with Attorney General Paxton’s office.  His cooperation in the ongoing investigation into Backpage could lead to other criminal charges against individuals associated with the company.

As the largest online sex trafficking marketplace in the world, Backpage facilitated the sex trafficking of innocent women and children through sites it ran for 943 locations in 97 countries and 17 languages.  It was involved in 73 percent of all child trafficking cases reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

“Taking down Backpage and obtaining a criminal conviction for the company and its CEO represents a significant victory in the fight against human trafficking in Texas and around the world,” Attorney General Paxton said.  “I want to thank the Attorney General of California, the U.S. Department of Justice, federal law enforcement officials, Nueces County District Attorney Mark Gonzalez, and the prosecutors and law enforcement in my office for their outstanding collaborative work on this investigation and prosecution.”

In October 2016, Attorney General Paxton’s Law Enforcement Division arrested Ferrer in Houston.  It also executed a search warrant on the Dallas headquarters of Backpage, uncovering evidence that was critical in building a case against Ferrer and the company.

Attorney General Paxton has made combating human trafficking a top priority.  Two years ago, he launched his office’s Human Trafficking and Transnational/Organized Crime Section, which prosecutes human traffickers around the state of Texas.  Earlier this year, he unveiled a powerful training video to teach Texans how to spot and report suspected human trafficking activity.

President Trump yesterday signed the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017 into law, making it easier for law enforcement to take legal action against any websites that enable human trafficking.

View Attorney General Paxton’s statement on Backpage here: https://bit.ly/2IHoE31