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Consumer Protection Section

The Consumer Protection Section includes five units: (1) the Counseling, Intake and Referral Unit (“CIRU”); (2) the Dispute Resolution Unit (“DRU”); (3) the Predatory Lending Unit (“PLU”); (4) the Charitable Solicitations and Deceptive Conduct Unit (“CSDCU”); and (5) the Antitrust Unit (“AU”).

Counseling, Intake and Referral Unit

The CIRU serves as the central clearinghouse in Virginia for the receipt, evaluation, and referral of consumer complaints, and operates the state’s consumer hotline through which consumers are educated about where specific complaints should be filed.  Complaints received are handled within the CIRU, referred to the Section’s DRU or investigators, or referred to another local, state or federal agency having specific jurisdiction.

Dispute Resolution Unit

The DRU offers alternative dispute resolution services for complaints that do not allege or demonstrate on their face a violation of consumer protection law.  Participation in this facilitative process is voluntary and allows both the business representative and the consumer to share their perspectives.  Where a complaint alleges or demonstrates on its face a violation of law, the matter may be referred to a Section investigator, who may either attempt to resolve the complaint, or, where a pattern or practice of violations is found, work with Section attorneys in the PLU, CSDCU, or AU to prepare a law enforcement action.

Predatory Lending Unit

The PLU investigates and prosecutes suspected violations of state and federal consumer lending statutes, including laws concerning payday loans, title loans, consumer finance loans, mortgage loans, mortgage servicing, and foreclosure rescue services.

Charitable Solicitations and Deceptive Conduct Unit

The CSDCU investigates and prosecutes suspected violations of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act (“VCPA”), the Solicitation of Contributions law, and other state and federal consumer protection laws.  In addition to the VCPA, the Unit enforces a number of other industry-specific and subject-specific statutes enforceable through the VCPA, including the Virginia Health Spa Act, the Virginia Home Solicitation Sales Act, the Prizes and Gifts Act, the Virginia Travel Club Act, and the Post-Disaster Anti-Price Gouging Act.  The Unit also enforces the Virginia Telephone Privacy Protection Act.  Among other federal statutes, the Unit enforces the Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act, and its accompanying regulations, the Telemarketing Sales Rule.

Antitrust Unit

The AU investigates and prosecutes suspected violations of state and federal antitrust laws, and provides advice to state agencies on antitrust issues. To enforce the antitrust laws and promote competition, the Unit: (1) conducts civil investigations for possible antitrust violations, (2) reviews proposed mergers and other transactions for their potential impact on competition, (3) files civil cases in state and federal courts (either alone or with other States) to enjoin restraints of trade, and to recover monetary losses and civil penalties, and (4) advises state agencies on the competitive implications of government actions.


The Section becomes aware of consumer protection and antitrust enforcement matters through a variety of means: (1) consumer complaints filed with the Section; (2) investigations we initiate and complete internally; (3) investigative referrals from the Office of Charitable and Regulatory Programs within the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services; (4) multi-state investigations conducted by various groups of state attorneys general; and (5) referrals from, or  joint investigations with, federal agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice.

Richard S. Schweiker, Jr.

Senior Assistant Attorney General/Chief

Consumer Protection Section

Office of the Attorney General

202 North Ninth Street

Richmond, VA 23219

 

 

 

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Real Estate and Land Use Section

The Real Estate and Land Use Section serves as legal counsel to various State agencies. Real estate transactions include sales, purchases, leases and easements on state lands, boundary line disputes, title disputes and landlord/tenant litigation. In this regard, the section provides daily advice on real estate and business issues for the Department of General Services; institutions of higher education such University of Virginia and Longwood University, the Virginia Outdoors Foundation, the Department of Historic Resources, including renovation and restoration incentive programs, and local soil and water conservation districts on their open space easements.

We review titles, conservation easements, liens, and prepare closing documents for land acquisitions for public use. We assist university counsel with construction projects and property transfers. We negotiate lease agreements with the Science Museum of Virginia and the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Current office space leases for all state managed agencies are prepared and executed in our section for the Department of General Services.

 

Katheryn E. Surface Burks

Senior Assistant Attorney General/Chief

Real Estate and Land Use Section

Office of the Attorney General

202 North Ninth Street

Richmond, VA 23219

 

 

 

 

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Construction Section

The Construction Litigation Section is responsible for all litigation concerning the construction of roads, bridges, state parks and buildings for the Commonwealth’s agencies and institutions of higher learning. The Section provides ongoing advice to the Department of Transportation and other State agencies such as the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Department of Military Affairs. This coordination helps to continue support for effective partnerships between the Commonwealth, general contractors, the road builders and facilitate timely and efficient completion of construction projects across the Commonwealth.

 

Jay P. Stroman

Senior Assistant Attorney General/Chief

Construction Section

Office of the Attorney General

202 North Ninth Street

Richmond, VA 23219

 

 

 

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Criminal Justice & Public Safety Division

The Criminal Justice and Public Safety Division is staffed by appellate and trial attorneys who practice in both state and federal courts representing the Commonwealth’s interest in criminal justice and public safety matters. Criminally, these attorneys handle cases pursuant to the Attorney General’s original criminal jurisdiction; when original jurisdiction is provided by law; pursuant to concurrent criminal jurisdiction with Commonwealth’s Attorneys, when concurrent criminal jurisdiction is provided by law; on appeal; and pursuant to requests for assistance from local prosecutors and offers of assistance to local prosecutors. The Division also works cooperatively with the U. S. Attorney’s Office in federal districts in Virginia, and prosecutors in the division appear in federal court as Special Assistant United States Attorneys (SAUSAs). The Division consists of six teams of lawyers and subject matter experts in the areas of Electronic Crimes (“eCrimes”), Correctional Litigation, Criminal Appeals, Major Crimes and Emerging Threats, Health Care Fraud and Elder Abuse and Sexually Violent Predators.

Attorney General prosecutors are experienced trial attorneys with a strong track record in both state and federal court. This agency is expert in prosecuting major violent crimes such as murder, child pornography and other internet crimes involving children, sexual predators, public corruption and Medicaid fraud, and in handling complex correctional litigation.

Sections

Criminal Appeals

 

Health Care Fraud & Elder Abuse

 

Major Crimes & Emerging Threats

 

Correctional Litigation

 

Computer Crimes

 

Sexually Violent Predators Civil Commitment





 

Deputy Attorney General:
Criminal Justice & Public Safety Division

photo of Deputy Attorney General - Victoria N. Pearson

Bio

Victoria Pearson currently serves as the Deputy Attorney General to the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Division at the Office of the Attorney General. Prior to her appointment in 2017, she served as General Counsel and Executive Adviser to the Chief of Police for the Richmond Police Department. With more than 19 years of experience in the legal field, she was a prosecutor in the Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, client services director for the Legal Information Network for Cancer (LINC), a clerk for the Washington, D.C., Court of Appeals and the County Attorney’s Office for Albemarle County, Va., and established a law practice in Charlotte, N.C.  Currently, she serves on the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Board for the Virginia State Bar and has also been appointed to serve on the Disciplinary Board beginning in July 2017. She earned her B.A. at North Carolina Central University and her J.D at the University of Virginia School of Law.