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Legal Aid Center in the News

January 27, 2015
By Mauricio Marin
Channel 8 News

LAS VEGAS -- A group of people protested the practices of payday loan companies outside of a Money Tree store on Tuesday.

They were demonstrating against what many call "unfair" business practices. Currently in Nevada, there isn't a limit on how much interest a payday loan company can charge, so activist are pushing to change the law.

Jose Matias said his family used to turn to payday loans when they were in desperate need of money to pay their bills.

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November 26, 2014
Las Vegas Review-Journal

They may be giving thanks prematurely, but advocates for autistic children are optimistic that Gov. Brian Sandoval’s next budget will include a major boost for therapy, expanding coverage to include applied behavior analysis, or ABA, a rehabilitative therapy with a record of success.

More than 500 of Nevada’s autistic children are on waiting lists to obtain therapy, and if Sandoval includes a requested $31 million in his budget for ABA therapy in his next two-year budget, Nevada would receive $58 million over two years in federal matching funds for the autism therapy program previously not covered by Medicaid.

Applied behavior analysis therapy takes an early intervention approach. The goal is to change behavior allowing an autistic child to function in school, at home and in the community. The techniques include rewarding positive behavior, timeouts and losing privileges, although it’s not that simple.

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November 17, 2014
By Daniel Gutierrez
Channel 13 News

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Some of the biggest complaints we get at Action News involve rental properties.

We recently spoke to one local man who says he moved into a filthy house, crawling with bugs, and even a green pool in the backyard.

"It looks like they never cleaned after the last tenants," said Anthony Lund.

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November 6, 2014
By Glen Meek, I-Team Reporter
Channel 8 News

LAS VEGAS -- Imagine having your car shut off while you're driving at highway speeds. That's what several local women say happened to them because of a device installed on their car by the finance company.

It's a payment collection practice that consumer advocates call "dangerous and unlawful." It's sometimes referred to as "repo by remote."

In order to qualify for auto financing, some people are being required to have remote control shut-off devices on their cars. The idea is to deny the owners use of the car when they've missed a payment.

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October 27, 2014
By Michelle Mortensen, Investigative Reporter
Channel 8 News

LAS VEGAS - If you are in a dispute with your landlord, a small business or even your neighbor, you need to know your rights, so you can fight back and win.

If you can't afford a lawyer, you may feel destined to lose. That's not the case thanks to a little known place called the Self-Help Center.

The Self-Help Center is located inside the Regional Justice Center. Workers provide free assistance and guidance about any questions you may have.

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October 1, 2014
By Katherine Bishop
Attorney at Law Magazine

Downtown Dedication Sparks Expanding Legal Aid Services

October 5, 2014
NBC Nightly News

Auto lenders are using starter-interrupt devices for consumers who are just days late paying their car notes.


The callers tell roughly the same story. A relative has been arrested in Las Vegas, and they have wired money for bail to an attorney working on the case. The problem is, Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada never handles criminal cases that require bail. The callers have wired their money to a fictitious organization.

The scam is not new, the victim generally gets a call from someone either claiming to be a relative or claiming to be an attorney representing a relative. The relative is in jail, and they ask for the victim to wire bail money. In the current scam, the perpetrators are using the name “Nevada Legal Aid” and have a tendency to target out-of-state victims who do not know the area well. Besides phone calls, victims have also received the messages via text and email. Sometimes one person calls claiming to be the relative, followed by another caller playing the role of a lawyer. The sum requested typically ranges from $1,500 to $5,000 but can be much higher. The scammer demands the money in a wire transfer or reloadable debit cards, like Green Dot MoneyPak cards.

Those who believe they've been victimized by scammers can file a complaint with the Nevada Attorney General Click Here and Federal Trade Commission Click Here

Tovin Lapan
Las Vegas Sun

For the past few months, Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada has received regular calls from frustrated people asking for their money back.

The callers tell roughly the same story. A relative has been arrested in Las Vegas, and they have wired money for bail to an attorney working on the case. The problem is, Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada never handles criminal cases that require bail. The callers have wired their money to a fictitious organization.

“People realize they have been scammed, and they call us to get their money back,” said Lynn Etkins, associate executive director of the legal aid organization. “We explain that it’s not us and we don’t even work on criminal cases. It’s never a great conversation to have.”

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September 24, 2014
By Michael Corkey and Jessica Silver-Greenberg
The New York Times

The thermometer showed a 103.5-degree fever, and her 10-year-old’s asthma was flaring up. Mary Bolender, who lives in Las Vegas, needed to get her daughter to an emergency room, but her 2005 Chrysler van would not start.

The cause was not a mechanical problem — it was her lender.

Ms. Bolender was three days behind on her monthly car payment. Her lender, C.A.G. Acceptance of Mesa, Ariz., remotely activated a device in her car’s dashboard that prevented her car from starting. Before she could get back on the road, she had to pay more than $389, money she did not have that morning in March.

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September 16, 2014
By David Ferrara
Las Vegas Review Journal

A financing company uses global positioning software to remotely shut down vehicles well before customers legally default on payments, according to a class action lawsuit filed by the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada.

The lawsuit filed last week in Clark County District Court against C.A.G. Acceptance LLC alleges that the company’s use of Passtime Elite GPS system violates Nevada law. The lawsuit argues that the device should be used the same as if the vehicles were being repossessed.

But an executive with the Arizona-based defendant said the GPS system it uses complies with Nevada law.

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September 16, 2014
Channel 8 News

LAS VEGAS -- They are calling it a "dangerous and unlawful" practice of vehicle repossession. In this case, cars are not being towed, they're being disabled electronically.

The I-Team has details of a class-action lawsuit filed against a finance company by a local mom.

A Las Vegas mother of three says her car was electronically disabled on several occasions, sometimes when she needed to take a child to the doctor. She did get behind on her payments but never more than 30 days.

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September 5, 2014
by Yesenia Amaro
Las Vegas Review Journal

Help is on the way for autistic children in Nevada who have been desperately waiting for treatment and therapy.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has informed states that Medicaid will now cover autism services under Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment coverage, expanding access to programs for families in need.

The covered therapy, known as applied behavior analysis, is currently provided under the state’s Autism Treatment Assistance Program, and addresses communication and behavior, said Julie Kotchevar, deputy administrator with the Nevada Division of Aging and Disability Services.

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August 8, 2014
News 3

LAS VEGAS – Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada has launched a new, user-friendly website for the Civil Law Self-Help Center.

The new website can be accessed at www.civillawselfhelpcenter.org.

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July 21, 2014
Public News Service

CARSON CITY, Nev. – The Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada is questioning a prepayment plan for electricity bills being considered by Nevada's Public Utilities Commission.

 Sophia Medina, a consumer rights attorney with the Legal Aid Center, says NV Energy's proposed Flexible Payment program would operate in a similar way to prepaid cell phones. 

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June 14, 2013
Channel 3 News

The Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada started out as three attorneys and a passion to help people in need. Now, it has turned into a large non-profit helping thousands of people to get through the court system.

The Legal Aid Center has just tripled in size, opening up more office space and taking on more staff attorneys. It also has an estimated 1,000 volunteer attorneys to help people in desperate need of legal services who cannot afford it. 

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