February 1

Since 2001, one of the most prolific alleged pyramid schemes in North America has operated right here in Kentucky. Earlier this week, I joined with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to announce legal action against Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing following a two-year investigation by my Office and the FTC. The Attorneys General from Illinois and North Carolina joined us in filing a federal lawsuit against the Lexington-based company last week and on Monday, Jan. 28 we were able to secure, with a court-appointed receiver, Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing's corporate headquarters in Lexington and a warehouse in Danville. The court-appointed receiver is now in control of FHTM's assets.

Our investigation of FHTM began after North Dakota, Montana and Texas took legal action against the alleged pyramid operation. After receiving about a dozen complaints, we issued subpoenas to the company in August of 2010 and August of 2011 to look into possible violations of Kentucky's Pyramid Sales Act and the Consumer Protection Act.

What we have uncovered is troubling. We believe Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing has operated a massive pyramid scheme involving more than 100,000 people across the U.S. and in several other countries with damages to consumers in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

More than 90 percent of those who bought into FHTM lost their money. Be assured, we will try our best to get it back.

I appreciate the assistance we received from Lexington Police and Kentucky State Police and the City of Lexington as we initiated this action. For more information, please see our press release.

Yesterday, I announced Kentucky's participation in a $120 million multi-state settlement with Lender Processing Services, Inc. (LPS) to resolve allegations that the company "robo-signed" documents and engaged in other improper conduct related to the mortgage loan default services it provides. Kentucky will receive nearly $1 million under this settlement. This is part of our ongoing effort to ensure that the nation's largest banks and mortgage servicers are held accountable for the mortgage foreclosure crisis that has harmed so many families.

This week marks the end of one of the busiest months for my Office that I can recall as Attorney General. In addition to the LPS settlement and our efforts to shut down an alleged global pyramid scheme, we've filed suit against the Mortgage Electronic Registrations Systems, Inc. (MERS) as part of our investigation of mortgage foreclosure issues in Kentucky; sued our fourth for-profit school (Spencerian College) for misrepresenting job placement numbers to consumers and alerted thousands of students in Bullitt and Marion counties to the dangers of prescription drug abuse through my Keep Kentucky Kids Safe program.

I was thrilled to see the latest report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) which shows a decline in the non-medical use of prescription pain relievers among all age groups in Kentucky. For the first time in years, we are below the national average for prescription drug abuse. Our efforts are paying off.

Our many accomplishments over the past month and years are a testament to the hard work and dedication of my staff and our partners in cities and counties across Kentucky. I appreciate your commitment to making a difference for families in every corner of the Commonwealth.

I look forward to talking about all of the news from my office with WTTL Radio in Madisonville, WLGC in Ashland and WKDZ in Cadiz on Monday morning!