A.G. Schneiderman Announces Agreement With Fishkill Pastor To Stop Practicing Law Without A License
Pastor Edward Benson Will Pay $5,500 In Restitution To Former Congregant For Offering Legal Services Despite Having No Law License
POUGHKEEPSIE – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announce a settlement agreement with Edward Benson, the pastor of The New Vision Church of Deliverance, explicitly barring him from practicing law in New York without a New York law license. A complaint filed with the Attorney General’s Poughkeepsie Regional Office by a former congregant of Benson’s spurred an investigation that found the pastor provided her with legal services without being licensed to do so. Benson, who founded The New Vision Church in Fishkill, N.Y., in 2010, was disbarred in Mississippi in 1999 after pleading guilty to a felony charge for embezzlement.
“Practicing law without a license is unacceptable in New York. It denies unsuspecting consumers the basic right to be represented by a lawyer – a professional in good standing who knows the law and who knows how to protect the legal rights of their clients,” Attorney General Schneiderman said.
Attorneys must be licensed in the State of New York by the New York State Unified Court System, Office of Court Administration. If possible, before meeting or retaining an attorney, consumers should confirm his or her license on the OCA website here.
Under terms of the Attorney General’s agreement, Benson, 45, will pay the former congregant $5,500, the fees he charged her for legal services between 2011 and 2013, when it was discovered he was he was no longer an attorney and had never been admitted to practice law in New York. The Beacon resident will further pay a $500 fine and consents to a permanent injunction barring him from holding himself out as an attorney able to practice law in New York. According to the terms of the settlement, Benson will pay the total of $6,000 in three equal monthly installments beginning in this month. The permanent injunction and judgment for restitution and penalty was issued yesterday by Dutchess County Supreme Court Justice Christine Sproat.
The case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Nick Garin of the Attorney General’s Poughkeepsie Regional Office, with the assistance of Senior Consumer Frauds Representative Stephanie Brideau and Law Department Investigator Adrienne DeGaetano. Vincent Bradley is the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Poughkeepsie Regional Office. Marty Mack is Deputy Attorney General in charge of the Attorney General’s 15 regional offices.