A Buffalo-based fence installation company has been ordered to pay more than $55,000 in restitution and fines for allegedly accepting advance payments but failing to follow through and actually perform the work for which he was paid. According to the New York State Attorney General’s Office, Classic Fence and Lumber, Inc. and its owner are also forbidden from re-entering the home improvement business after settlement is made. The culmination of this case is of interest to New York lawyer Jeffrey Benjamin, who began his career handling class action cases and always kept an eye on consumers’ rights claims.
According to a Jan. 3, 2018 press release from the state attorney general’s office, a late 2017 investigation into Classic Fence found consumers who had pre-paid anywhere between $425 and $8,359 for work that the company never started. Further, authorities allege that the company wasn’t using proper state contracts to secure the work. The fact that New Yorkers were paying considerable amounts of money to a company that failed to come back and complete any of the agreed-upon work is a classic consumers’ rights cases, according to New York lawyer Jeffrey Benjamin. Given the fact that his firm focuses on breach of contract litigation as well as document-intensive construction contracts, among other topics, Mr. Benjamin is uniquely positioned to weigh in on this case. New York’s attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, also believes that “consumers who pay for a good or service should receive it … This settlement will ensure that New Yorkers get their hard earned money back, while barring this scammer from the home improvement business.”
Schneiderman encouraged those who believe that they may have been scammed by this company to contact investigators. When it comes to smaller cases of suspected fraud, lawyer Jeffrey Benjamin says seeking legal guidance from a skilled law firm is another route with proven results. Speaking of results, Mr. Benjamin’s back-to-back landmark favorable jury verdicts stemming from trials in 2010 are just one reason why those in the New York City area as well as Long Island should trust his legal services and trial practice should they ever be required. Under the banner of “Don’t be a victim. Fight fraud and pursue your legal rights,” Mr. Benjamin’s firm strongly encourages consumers everywhere to seek legal advice if they – like the people in the above example – paid hundreds or thousands of dollars for goods and services that were never delivered.
Purchasing a new vehicle is expensive enough, but undisclosed fees totally anywhere between a few hundred to a few thousand dollars is downright highway robbery. That’s why a recently-filed lawsuit against two New York car dealerships is so significant. According to the New York State Attorney General’s Office, Victory Mitsubishi, of Larchmont, and Victory Suzuki, of the Bronx, could face steep fines and fees if convicted of tacking on an “after-sale” item to the final bill for more than 1,100 customers. That item was described by authorities as a “bogus” window etching often made with the owner’s knowledge. The lawsuit filed in late December 2017 was the result of one Victory customer coming forward and according to consumers’ rights lawyer Jeffrey Benjamin, that’s all it should take. That’s because Mr. Benjamin has decades of experience and this proven trial lawyer knows what it takes to expose defendants of shady behavior.
According to investigators, the etch that was often made was typically a VIN number on one of the vehicle’s windows. Presumably, this would be a nearly impossible anti-theft device and could be used against a car thief if caught. The problem here according to the attorney general’s office and Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman was that the consumer who complained wasn’t aware of the service and said that should wouldn’t have purchased if it had been disclosed in the first place. “Consumers shouldn’t have to worry about being scammed by auto dealers when they buy a car,” Schneiderman said in the press release. “We will continue to protect New Yorkers — and take on those who seek to rip off consumers with hidden and unwanted fees and products.”
While the dealership refunded her, authorities continued their investigation and found no shortage of customers who’d been charged for the etching – which sometimes wasn’t even performed. According to consumers’ rights lawyer Jeffrey Benjamin, all it takes sometimes is one person coming forward with a gut feeling that something isn’t right. Mr. Benjamin began his law career in 1997 as a representative for individual and class action clients. In the decades since, he’s obtained favorable verdicts, won landmark court cases and has helped New Yorkers from the Bronx to Long Island. It’s his drive to help consumers that will keep him following this case against the auto dealership until its conclusion, as he firmly feels that hundreds of customers paying a few hundred dollars for an unwanted service that may or may not have been performed is certainly fraud.
Recent media reports indicate that workers in New York City are running into trouble when trying to use paid sick leave and one local law professional says it’s a disturbing trend that may require legal assistance to make right.
According to ABC 7, there has been a 10 percent uptick in complaints filed by workers against their employers for alleged sick leave violations – compared to a 25 percent drop in 2016. The October 2017 news report states that workers who encountered difficulties when trying to use sick days for themselves or family purposes “faced retaliation” measures, which included being fired or not being paid for the days missed despite a 2014 law on the books in the city that guarantees pay. New York-based attorney Jeffrey Benjamin, who has spent years in court arguing for clients who feel they’ve been wronged, says that he’s no stranger to instances where laws are violated, ignored or twisted. It’s unethical and illegal, but Mr. Benjamin says that it goes on and hiring an attorney to represent you may be one of the only ways to rectify the situation at your workplace.
The deputy commissioner of New York City’s Office of Labor Policy and Standards at the Department of Consumer Affairs told ABC that the current administration in the White House may be one reason why companies are seeing “what they can get away with.” The premise is that a company that doesn’t make good on sick leave payments to a worker – regardless of their immigration status – has more money in their pocket at the end of the day. Further, the labor office deputy commissioner said that many employers think that the federal government’s “commitment to enforcing labor laws isn’t as strong.” According to the report, a deli worker recently came forward with his claims and received legal assistance to take the case to court. The eventual ruling was in his favor and he received $2,700 in back pay – plus his employer was fined $1,000 as a result.
The above example is what attorney Jeffrey Benjamin can help you achieve. Beyond the aforementioned lawsuits he’s filed when federal laws were breached, Mr. Benjamin has argued high-profile cases before juries before. In June 2010, he handled a landmark real estate fraud case and managed to expose the defendant as someone who was breaching his fiduciary duties. At its heart, that’s exactly what is going on in New York City: Employers aren’t living up the laws of the land and shortchanging their hard-working employees. Readers who believe that they have been the victim of similar schemes are encouraged by Mr. Benjamin to bring their claims to a skilled local attorney or a city office that can investigate their allegations appropriately.
Either through straightforward fraud or unfounded promises, a Wall Street financier allegedly fleeced millions from New York-area churches and a college in Pennsylvania and is now facing a hefty prison term due to his alleged conduct. According to the New York State Attorney General’s Office, General Capital Corporation CEO Anthony Nyame, 59, has been convicted of numerous grand larceny charges after pleading guilty in New York County Supreme Court.
Per the state attorney general’s office, Nyame allegedly stole $2.7 million from Villanova University by sending a fraudulent email requesting payment that was redirected to one of his accounts instead of that of a college vendor. The attorney general’s office adds that Nyame allegedly transferred nearly $200,000 of that $2.7 million out of the country prior to the bank freezing the funds. Further, authorities allege that Nyame targeted a church in the Bronx and claimed that he could secure them a $30 million loan. Instead, he took $71,000 in cash from the church among other substantial rip-off schemes that deprived the church of tens of thousands of dollars. According to New York-based attorney Jeffrey Benjamin, the injuries that this college and other churches sustained due to Nyame’s alleged actions are the types of cases that should be heard in a court of law. Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, who announced the guilty plea in a Sept. 27, 2017 press release, agrees.
“It is simply appalling that anyone would choose to fleece universities and churches in order to line their own pockets. New Yorkers deserve to know that when they seek to grow their organization, there isn’t a fraudster lurking in the shadows,” Schneiderman said. “We’ll continue our work to uncover financial fraud — and prosecute those responsible to the fullest extent of the law.”
The attorney general’s office adds that Nyame allegedly sent fake emails that were meant to look like they were coming from the United States Treasury. The purpose of said emails was to inform his victims that the loans Nyame had promised some churches were delayed because they were still in the approval process. According to the release, Nyame will have the opportunity to repay $800,000 and serve one year in jail. If no restitution is made, he could face between three and nine years behind bars. To attorney Jeffrey Benjamin, this case highlights the need for victims to find the right legal representation when they sense something is amiss. Mr. Benjamin has spent years prosecuting consumers’ rights cases and arguing against defendants accused of fraud in the New York City and Long Island areas.
Advertisements by DeVry University, which allegedly exaggerated the likely successes graduates would find after college, has resulted in a payday for approximately 800 students, according to the New York State Attorney General’s Office. In an August 2017 press release, the attorney general’s office states that it investigated the overblown claims that 90 percent of DeVry graduates found employment in the field that they majored in while in college.
According to the news release, this figure was problematic because the 90 percent total included graduates who were already working in their field before graduating or even enrolling in the college. Some of those miscalculations included outright misrepresentations and counting graduates who in fact were not working in the field they majored in, according to the state attorney general’s office. Attorney Jeffrey Benjamin, who has tried and settled many consumers’ rights cases in court and obtained large settlements and verdicts , says that the outcome of this case is an important one to pay attention to. New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman took it a step further, calling to question the practice of “unscrupulous for-profit colleges.”
“DeVry exploited students who were simply trying to further their education,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “We will not allow hardworking New Yorkers to be ripped off by greedy companies – which is why DeVry is now paying millions in restitution to hundreds of students. My office will not back down from policing unscrupulous for-profit colleges in New York State.”
According to the press release, each of the 809 students will receive about $2,800 via checks that are being administered by the Better Business Bureau. Those who were eligible to receive restitution had to prove that they weren’t able to find employment in their respective fields after six months of searching post-graduation. This move against DeVry is in line with the New York State Attorney General’s Office’s targeting of for-profit colleges in general. Specifically, the office notes that it obtained a $10.25 million settlement with Illinois-headquartered Career Education Corporation for “fabricating placement rates.”
Lawyer Jeffrey Benjamin stands on the side of consumers in cases like this, as the educational institution promised career opportunities — but was proven by the courts to have embellished the facts. This type of situation is a consumers’ rights case at its core; a promise is made but proven to be overblown. For those in the New York and Long Island area who believe that they’ve been ripped off by another group, Mr. Benjamin suggests that you contact a skilled attorney who can help you file a strong lawsuit and then represent your case before a jury and judge in court.
As if pancreatitis wasn’t enough to deal with, a 53-year-old Illinois woman who spent years sorting out the wreckage of identity theft as she was in and out of the hospital prompted her to sit down with the Daily Journal of Kankakee, Illinois and offer a warning. According to the July 2017 article, the unfortunate incident that set off more than a year of struggles was a Chicago hospital visit in 2009. At that time, according to the article, two cleaning ladies snatched up vital documents and personal information that was later used to fraudulently open store account and credit cards.
“It can happen to you. I know a lot of credit card companies say you’re protected with them. From my experience, I don’t think you’re protected from identity theft from them, but they will do everything they can to not charge you if it’s fraudulent,” the woman told the newspaper.
According to attorney Jeffrey Benjamin, who has represented litigants in cases of identity theft, there are steps you can take before becoming a victim to this shady practice that can wreak havoc on your financial life. The true magnitude of identity theft isn’t felt until the victim spends time and money having to sort out all the damage done by the thieves. Lawyer Jeffrey Benjamin says that some of the best ways to avoid being a victim of identity theft is to read your bank statements and keep a close eye on your account via online banking if possible. By doing this, you’ll quickly pick up on valid expenditures. Further, simply storing your personal information at home or keeping a close watch on it when public – as evidenced by the Daily Journal article – can mean the difference between a pain-free transaction or years of headache trying to repair the money or credit damage.
“I would just say to always be aware. Check your credit card statements. If anything looks strange or different, call the credit card company right away to call your bank,” the identity theft victim told the newspaper.
Mr. Benjamin is a New York City and Long Island-based consumers rights’ attorney who has tried cases before a jury on violations of the New York Deceptive Practices Act and New Jersey Consumer Fraud Truth in Consumer Contract and Warranty Acts. Through decades of experience and favorable outcomes in court, including a jury verdict in a landmark real estate fraud case, potential clients should feel confident bringing their claims of identity theft to him. Only through skilled legal advice can someone get their life back on track as soon as possible.