Skip to Content

Fighting Crime and Fraud

Tennessee flags and fountains at the Bicentennial Mall

The Attorney General’s primary role in the criminal justice system deals with appellate representation. While the district attorneys prosecute most criminal cases at the trial level, the attorney general defends those judgments in the state appellate courts and also on review in the federal courts.

Criminal Justice Division

  • Handles all direct and post-conviction appeals from criminal judgments in the state's appellate courts
  • Defends criminal judgments in state habeas corpus proceedings in both the state’s trial and appellate courts
  • Defends state convictions in habeas corpus litigation in the federal courts and also handles capital cases on appellate review in both the state and federal courts

The Attorney General also exercises original prosecutorial powers in the areas of securities and state contract fraud. The attorney general has the authority to institute ouster proceedings and civil actions for antitrust violations, consumer fraud and environmental enforcement.

Consumer Advocate and Protection Division

  • Protects Tennesseans from people and businesses who engage in unfair, fraudulent, and deceptive business practices
  • Enforces the Consumer Protection Act and works with the Division of Consumer Affairs in investigations and litigation involving deceptive advertising claims, predatory lending practices, and foreclosure rescue scams to name a few
  • Enforces the unauthorized practice of law statutes
  • Resolved cases and investigations of deceptive and fraudulent practices that resulted in awards of over $17 million for the State of Tennessee and consumer restitution in 2008
  • Protects Tennesseans from monopolies, price-fixing, and other anti-competitive activities

Financial Division

  • Works frequently with the Law Enforcement Division to bring civil cases to remedy fraudulent business practices
  • Examples include a cemetery receivership initiated when company owners raided trust funds meant to provide prepaid funeral services, and an insurance receivership filed to stop a family-run nonprofit organization that was persuading elderly consumers to trade stocks and annuities for an unlicensed installment contract that failed to qualify for a promised charitable tax deduction.

Law Enforcement and Special Prosecutions Division

  • Handles criminal prosecutions of securities fraud, public corruption and environmental law violations
  • Assists the district attorneys general in the prosecution similar types of white collar crime cases
  • Handles other types of civil enforcement actions, such as forfeiture
  • Defends the district attorneys general and other law enforcement agencies in actions for injunctions, and to obtain access to investigative and prosecution files

Medicaid Fraud and Integrity Division

  • Works with TennCare, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, and the Office of Inspector General as a member of the TennCare Provider Fraud Task Force in combating medical provider fraud in the TennCare/Medicaid program

Public Interest Division

  • Reviews all mergers, sales or dissolutions of any nonprofit in the State
  • Conducts investigations and institutes legal proceedings, where appropriate, against nonprofits alleged to have engaged in fraud
  • Assists the Charitable Solicitations Division of the Secretary of State’s Office in enforcing its registration requirements in court