The Attorney General is the top legal official in Rhode Island. As the state’s top prosecutor, the Attorney General fights to enhance the economic security of Rhode Island, protect the public safety of our communities and restore the public trust in state government by taking on corruption. As the central legal agency of the state, the Office of the Attorney General is responsible for prosecution of all felony criminal cases and misdemeanor appeals, as well as prosecution of misdemeanor cases brought by state law enforcement action in the various district courts. Additionally, as chief legal officer of the state, the Attorney General represents all agencies, departments and commissions in litigation and initiates legal action where necessary to protect the interests of Rhode Island citizens. The Office of the Attorney General is also charged with operating and maintaining the State Bureau of Criminal Identification, which is the central repository for all criminal records in the state. The Office is divided into three distinct divisions: Criminal, Civil and Administration; and four budget programs: Criminal, Civil, General, and the Bureau of Criminal Identification.
The Office of the Attorney General Consumer Protection Unit investigates and mediates consumer complaints concerning unfair and unlawful business practices and misleading advertising arising out of alleged violations of the Deceptive Trade Practices Act. If groups of people are victimized by a deceptive trade practice, this office may file in the Superior Court a civil investigative demand, which is a formal investigation. In appropriate cases, a lawsuit to stop the illegal business practice may be initiated.
Apart from carrying out its statutory responsibilities, the Unit also provides information and referral services to the general public. Consumers are directed to the appropriate governmental or private agencies for help in answering specialized questions or resolving disputes that are not within the Unit's jurisdiction.
The Consumer Protection Unit is available to speak to community groups on how to prevent being a victim of identity theft and other scams.