Inside the Office
The Attorney General serves as South Carolina’s Chief Prosecutor, Chief Legal Officer, and Chief Securities Officer. The Office includes a Legal Service Division which includes securities, tobacco & general litigation, consumer protection & antitrust litigation and, special litigation; an Opinions Division; a Criminal Prosecution Division which prosecutes a wide array of crimes and includes separate sections which handle the prosecution of cases from the State Grand Jury, Violence Against Women, Medicaid Recipient Fraud, Internet Crimes Against Children, Sexually Violent Predators, Medicaid Provider Fraud; a Criminal Litigation Division which includes criminal appeals, post conviction relief, and capital litigation, a Victim Services Division that supports victims and their families with the criminal justice process and a youth mentor program. The Office also includes the Clerk of Court, Executive and Administration Divisions
- Civil Litigation
- Criminal Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
- Pro Bono Program
- Capital Collateral Litigation
- Criminal Appeals
- Post-Conviction Relief
- Criminal Prosecution Division
- Insurance Fraud
- Legal Services
- Medicaid Fraud
- Medicaid Recipient Fraud
- Sexually Violent Predator
- Victim Assistance
- Youth Mentor Program
- Human Trafficking
Legal Services Division
- Securities The Securities Division enforces the South Carolina Uniform Securities Act, which seeks to protect South Carolina investors against fraud and unfair or unethical practices; registers both securities and professionals in the securities industry; develops and implements investor education initiatives; and supports an equitable, competitive, and efficient securities marketplace that contributes to the economic development of South Carolina and the well-being of its citizens.
- Tobacco and General Litigation The State of South Carolina joined 51 other states and territories in executing the landmark Master Settlement Agreement (“MSA”) in 1998, in which the then four largest tobacco companies agreed to restrictions on their marketing practices and to pay billions of dollars annually to the states. Other tobacco companies have joined the MSA since 1998. As part of its general law enforcement authority, the Attorney General’s Office enforces laws relating to tobacco, including the South Carolina Tobacco Escrow Fund Act and the Tobacco Qualified Escrow Fund Enforcement Act.
- Special Litigation
- Consumer Protection & Antitrust The Consumer Protection and Antitrust Division represents the interests of the State South Carolina and its citizens through enforcement of the South Carolina Unfair Trade Practices Act. The Division files lawsuits involving an array of unfair or deceptive trade practices, such as fraudulent marketing of pharmaceutical products, deceptive billing practices, and price collusion by competing manufacturers. The Division does not handle individual consumer complaints against businesses; that is the responsibility of the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs, a separate agency.
- By statute, the Governor, members of the General Assembly, and other public officials are entitled to legal advice from the Attorney General’s Office. An Attorney General’s opinion is thus a written public document responding to a specific legal question asked by a public official. All opinions have been reviewed by the Opinions Section and represent the highest standards of research. An Attorney General’s opinion attempts to resolve questions of law as the author believes a court would decide the issue. Unlike a court, however, Attorney General opinions cannot decide factual disputes.
Criminal Litigation Division
- Criminal Appeals The Criminal Appeals Section represents the interests of the State of South Carolina in the Supreme Court, the South Carolina Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court in all appeals from criminal convictions in South Carolina, except appeals arising from murder convictions. A criminal defendant may appeal to the state appellate courts from a criminal conviction or sentence asserting that error was committed during trial which requires that the case be remanded to the trial court or requires that the conviction or sentence be vacated or reversed. The State may also be the appealing party in some limited instances.
- Post Conviction Relief In South Carolina, a post-conviction relief proceeding is a collateral attack on a criminal conviction. At this stage, the convicted person seeks to prove that his original trial lawyer was incompetent in handling his case or that there were other errors that prove his trial was unfair. New counsel may be appointed by the court and an attorney from the Attorney General’s Office will represent the State. A hearing may be held before a judge in the county or circuit where the original trial occurred. The judge is required to issue a written order so the ruling will be by written order.
- Capital Collateral Litigation The Capital and Collateral Litigation Section handles the direct appeals of all murder convictions for the State of South Carolina. The Section also handles all litigation in death penalty cases after the criminal trial, including: the direct appeal, any post-conviction relief action and appeal, and any federal habeas action filed on behalf of the convicted inmate. Members of the section also represent the State in all federal habeas corpus proceedings.
Criminal Prosecution Division
- Medicaid Provider Fraud The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit investigates and prosecutes health care fraud committed by Medicaid providers and the physical abuse of patients and embezzlement of patient funds in facilities. SC MFCU enforces South Carolina laws protecting mentally or physically disabled or elderly citizens from neglect and abuse in long-term care facilities.
- Internet Crimes Against Children The Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, operating through the Attorney General’s Office, is a network of over fifty local, state and federal law enforcement agencies around South Carolina. The ICAC section handles cases involving crimes against children facilitated through the use of technology, including the possession and distribution of child pornography, and criminal solicitation of a minor. The ICAC Task Force also provides Internet safety presentations and training to children, parents, educators, school resource officers, and community groups around the state.
- Prosecution/State Grand Jury The South Carolina Constitution designates the Attorney General as the Chief Prosecuting Officer for the State, and along with the sixteen Circuit Solicitors, the Attorney General is responsible for the prosecution of all criminal matters within the South Carolina judicial system. The majority of cases prosecuted by the Attorney General are referred by the local Solicitors. The Prosecution Division handles a broad range of other criminal matters, including cases involving securities fraud, insurance fraud, financial fraud and environmental crimes. Our experienced prosecutors work in partnership with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies in an effort to help fight crime and bring criminals to justice.
- Violence Against Women The VAWA section of the Attorney General’s office is funded by a grant established through the Department of Justice in conjunction with the federal Violence Against Women Act. The office established the S.T.O.P. Violence Against Women Program in 1996 with monies the VAWA grant provided. Within the program there are two special prosecutors, a program coordinator, and a program assistant.The S.T.O.P. program has several key goals. First, it aims to educate law enforcement, judges, victim advocates and prosecutors on criminal domestic violence – its causes, consequences, and most current legislation. The VAWA program also participates in or coordinates other public education and awareness events throughout the state. Finally, an essential purpose of the program is to provide a prosecutor for CDV cases that would typically lack attorney representation in the summary courts of the state. The in-house special prosecutors handle regular dockets in the cities of Columbia, Winnsboro, Cayce, Orangeburg, and the county of Bamberg. In addition, they prosecute conflict cases from all sixteen judicial circuits.
- Medicaid Receipt Fraud The Medicaid Recipient Fraud Unit of the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office actively investigates and prosecutes Medicaid beneficiaries suspected of fraud and abuse. Specifically, the Medicaid Recipient Fraud Unit tackles cases where Medicaid recipients are alleged to have done the following:
- Submitted a false application for Medicaid
- Provided false or misleading information about income, assets, family members, or resources
- Shared a Medicaid card with another individual
- Sold or bought a Medicaid card
- Diverted for resale prescription drugs, medical supplies, or other benefits
- Participated in doctor or pharmacy shopping
- Obtained Medicaid benefits that they were not entitled to through other fraudulent means
Suspected Medicaid recipient fraud should be reported to the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services via the toll free tip line: 1-888-364-3224.
Victim Services Division
- Youth Mentor Through a partnership with the circuit Solicitor and with a goal of reducing juvenile crime, The Youth Mentor Program serves as a diversion program for juvenile offenders. Program participants are under the guidance of a mentor for 6-12 months which, upon successful completion, can result in the dismissal of their criminal charges.
- Information Technology and Records
- Administrative Services (Human Resources, Library, Support Services, Procurement and Reception)
- Constituent Services The Constituent Services Section serves as a liaison between the Attorney Generals Office and its various constituencies, but particularly the citizens of South Carolina. Staff members answer inquiries from the general public and provide assistance when possible.