Healey promises return on investment from new funding for civil lawsuits

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STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, FEB. 2, 2016…..Attorney General Maura Healey is asking for $3.5 million in next year’s budget to start a new fund she hopes to use to go after unlawful debt collectors, prosecute human traffickers, rehabilitate abandoned properties and address other complex issues.

The nearly $47 million Gov. Charlie Baker proposed for the Office of the Attorney General in his fiscal 2017 budget proposal included $1 million to create the Civil Penalties Retained Revenue Revolving Fund.

Describing the fund as revenue neutral and emphasizing the return of $18 for every dollar invested in her office, Healey on Tuesday requested $3.5 million instead to focus on “issues affecting families across the state.”

“I know we can make good on every dollar put into that fund and then some, by a lot, and make consumers and residents whole in the process,” she told the Joint Committee on Ways and Means.

The money would go toward investigations and enforcement actions, including some that require experts brought on to do the work, Healey said.

“It’s pretty simple,” Healey said. “We’ve got a lot of complaints. There’s a lot of needs out there, people calling our office, coming to us who have been victimized by fraud and abuse, by scams, some at the hands of banks and credit card companies, some at the hands of individual players.”

Civil penalties recovered through enforcement actions would replenish the fund, and any additional money over the $3.5 million would go to the state’s general fund, Healey said.

“My point is simply to do what we need to do when it comes to protecting students, protecting seniors, to have the tools to do it, to have the lawyers, to have the investigators, to have the experts to be able to get out and get after it, we could use a lot more than three and a half million dollars,” ” Healey said. “But just having this will enable us to more effectively bring investigations and enforcement actions, take action and make a difference in the lives of everyday folks in the state”

Copyright 2016 State House News Service

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