Legal Services Division
The Legal Services Division of the Office of the Attorney General handles a variety of non-criminal matters on behalf of the state. Among the Division’s responsibilities are the licensing and regulation of securities professionals and products; enforcing the state’s securities laws; presenting financial outreach programs; regulating the money transmitter and currency exchange industry; enforcing the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement on behalf of the state; representing the state in civil litigation matters; and enforcing the South Carolina Unfair Trade Practices Act.
The Legal Services Division includes:
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.
The Money Services Division enforces the South Carolina Anti-Money Laundering Act, which seeks to protect the interests of South Carolina consumers who use certain money services companies by assessing the soundness of the overall financial condition of money services businesses and ensuring that the businesses have procedures in place to properly monitor transactions to deter money laundering, or financial crimes from occurring. A money services business that conducts money transmission or currency exchange must be licensed with the Division.
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.
General Civil Litigation seeks to provide the State with superior representation as the “go to” for novel legal issues and as the section responsible for handling matters in the following areas: contested civil matters; employee grievance hearings; cases brought against state employees, agencies, judges, and other court officials, which need monitoring;sex offender registry cases; river shacks; civil asset forfeitures; extraditions and detainers; elections law matters; mortgage foreclosures where the State has a lien; state agencies’ Form 1 requests to hire outside counsel.
Consumer Protection and Antitrust
Consumer Protection and 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. These cases are managed individually, through multistate groups, or through the assistance of outside counsel in federal or state court. While the majority of cases handled by the Division involve unfair trade practices claims and antitrust issues, the section also handles charitable trust matters. 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.