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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Attorney General Cuomo Sues Attorney Nicolia

Cuomo’s Office Sued Williamsville-Based Attorney John P. Nicolia
The Buffalo News - May 6, 2010

BUFFALO, NY - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced his office has sued a Western New York lawyer who sold debt collectors the use of his name, which the debt collectors then used to intimidate consumers by threatening bogus legal action. The action is the latest in Attorney General Cuomo’s ongoing probe into unlawful debt collection practices. Cuomo’s office sued Williamsville-based attorney John P. Nicolia after an investigation determined that he collected $141,000 in fees in return for allowing debt collectors to threaten consumers across the country by using his name and his law firm’s name. In reality, Nicolia never provided any actual legal services for the debt collection company, Eastern Asset Management. “The lawsuit alleges that this attorney knowingly allowed a debt collection firm to use his name to threaten, intimidate, and harass consumers, while he sat back and profited without having to do any actual work,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “Our investigation into illegal debt collection practices has uncovered layer upon layer of abusive acts, and we will continue to root out the bad players in this industry.” An investigation by Attorney General Cuomo’s Office determined that Nicolia, despite being paid $69,000 in 2008 and $72,000 in 2009, has no records to show that he provided any legal services to the debt collection companies. However, the collectors employed his name repeatedly - with Nicolia’s knowledge - in attempts to collect debts:

* Collectors who called the consumers to collect on the debts claimed that they were calling from, or working with, “the Law Office of John Nicolia.”
* Collectors sent standardized “settlement” letters citing non-existent judgments to consumers believed to owe debts, claiming “…our legal counsel, John Nicolia, Esq. may review the status of your particular case at anytime.”

The debt collection company, after invoking Nicolia’s name, often falsely stated that the consumers:

* Had lawsuits filed against them
* Would have their driver’s licenses suspended
* Would be charged with a crime
* Would be imprisoned or lose their property if they didn’t pay

Attorney General Cuomo’s lawsuit seeks a court order barring Nicolia from allowing debt collection companies to use his name, as well as imposing significant civil penalties against Nicolia for the violations. The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the New York State debt collection and consumer protection laws prohibit the following conduct: posing as an attorney, threatening lawsuits or other legal action which cannot be taken, saying a consumer committed a crime or will be arrested, and talking with third parties except to get location information. The law further requires collection agencies to send a written notice within five days of initial communication with the consumer explaining how he or she can dispute the debt. If properly disputed, the collection agency must stop all collection attempts and send verification. Since commencing the statewide initiative in May 2009, Cuomo has shut down 14 debt collection and affiliated process serving companies and required others to reform their deceptive practices. His office has also garnered criminal convictions against 10 collectors who engaged in especially egregious and threatening actions against consumers. The investigation is ongoing and lawsuits against several other collection companies are pending. Cuomo urges consumers to visit www.NYDebtHelp.com to learn their rights. The site allows victims of debt collection and debt settlement companies quick access to the Attorney General’s office to file complaints, and outlines the stages of the Attorney General’s investigation. The matters are being handled by Assistant Attorney General James Morrissey under the supervision of Deputy Attorney General for Regional Affairs J. David Sampson and Special Deputy Chief of Staff Mitra Hormozi.

10 comments:

Not fooled said...

Guide for Cuomo:
Step #1: Penal Law § 155.05 Larceny; defined.
1. A person steals property and commits larceny when, with intent to deprive another of property or to appropriate the same to himself or to a third person, he wrongfully takes, obtains or withholds such property from an owner thereof.
2. Larceny includes a wrongful taking, obtaining or withholding of
another's property, with the intent prescribed in subdivision one of this section, committed in any of the following ways:
(a) By conduct heretofore defined or known as common law larceny by trespassory taking, common law larceny by trick, embezzlement, or obtaining property by false pretenses;

Step #2: determine value of illegally taken property and ask Grand Jury for indictment of the attorney for Grand Larceny, if over one million dollars taken, or for a lessor degree of Larceny for lessor amount.

Otherwise, this is just, "a tale told for voter fools; full of sound and fury and diverting attention from Cuomo's covering up all the other corrupt lawyers and judges with much larger takings."

Anonymous said...

Hello Cuomo,
We want a Federal Phone Number to investigate these Evil Seeking Quacks before they harm others!

Has anyone gotten rid of that Nasty Overweight Guy at the Buffalo Feds, he is too stupid to realize someone with ties to law enforcement may be the psychotic stalker in the 8th......
you are culpable fat guy, in that woman's suicide! Do not mouth off to me again!

Anonymous said...

We the citizens of New York State ask for our useless agencies to be investigated and shut down for their uselessness and cover up scheme to defraud the citizens of New York State & the New York State Court System.
We also ask for a "Federal Monitor and hotline where the citizens may contact a federal entity to present evidence and allegations of violations of federal laws within and about the New York State Police and Court System."

Anonymous said...

We the citizens of New York State ask for our useless agencies to be investigated and shut down for their uselessness and cover up scheme to defraud the citizens of New York State & the New York State Court System.
We also ask for a "Federal Monitor and hotline where the citizens may contact a federal entity to present evidence and allegations of violations of federal laws within and about the New York State Police and Court System."

Anonymous said...

Hey Cuomo how about suing Bernadette E. Lupinetti, Esq. for trafficking of minors for sexual performances utilizing an United States Court as a vehicle?? How about charging this criminal with murder, sexual assault, child porn, racketerring and anything under the sun for her crimes against American Children and their Families?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if this creature Nicolia is related to the subhuman, corrupt former White Plains state administrative judge Francis Nicolai ?!?

Anonymous said...

francis is related to all of them probably by ways of incest relationships..

Anonymous said...

Hey Cuomo, You need to do something about these debt collection agencies, such as, COHEN & SLAMOWITZ LLC...MEL S. HARRIS AND ASSOCIATES, ETC.!!!!

Anonymous said...

I have caught a NY supreme court JUDGE aiding and abetting a foreclosure SCAM.
I'm still waiting, four [4] months later for Cuomo and/or SCJC to do something about it

fedup said...

Why doesn't Cuomo go after the Judges that were part of this scam also? What's good for the goose is good for the gander. This jerk didn't pull this off on his own, he had a whole lot of help.

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