A.G. Schneiderman Sues Beauty School That Falsified Qualifications Of Hundreds Of Nail Specialists On License Applications
Queens Beauty School Duped Students With False Promises & Made Fraudulent Misrepresentations To The State
Schneiderman: These Individuals Will Be Held Accountable For Preying On The Hopes Of Students And Misleading Licensing Authorities
NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced that his office has filed a lawsuit against Tinny Beauty, Inc. and two of its officers, Lydia Leung and Alex Cheung, for misleading students about the requirements for becoming New York State licensed nail specialists. Tinny, a New York corporation located in Flushing, Queens, operates Tinny Beauty Int'l School, a non-degree proprietary school that offers classes in cosmetology, esthetics, nails, waxing and permanent makeup training. By using misleading and deceptive tactics, Tinny School convinced hundreds of unsuspecting consumers to pay them substantial fees to become licensed nail specialists in New York, but failed to provide them the necessary courses and training.
"Tinny and its principals have preyed on unsuspecting individuals trying to make a better life by charging them hundreds of dollars without providing the required education and training,” saidAttorney General Schneiderman. “This company’s business model was based on defrauding consumers and the state to make a profit. These actions put the public at risk since many of these students who received a license did not have the safety training to legally provide nail specialty services in New York.”
Individuals must be licensed by the New York Department of State (DOS) to provide appearance enhancement services in New York State. Tinny targeted non-English speaking consumers through ads placed in Chinese-language newspapers and word of mouth referrals. Many of these consumers speak little to no English, did not fully comprehend the licensure process, and relied on Tinny School to help them obtain their nail specialty licenses. Instead of properly advising consumers on the correct procedure to legally obtain a nail specialty license and providing the necessary class hours, Tinny School misrepresented to these individuals that they could obtain their licenses without completing the required number of hours of course instruction. Tinny School charged consumers hundreds of dollars to obtain these improper licenses.
The Attorney General's investigation revealed that, from approximately 2005 through at least 2010, Tinny President and founder Leung routinely affirmed on DOS applications that nail specialty license applicants had completed at least 250 hours of training at Tinny School when they had not. As a result of this fraudulent practice, hundreds of individuals have obtained nail specialty licenses despite not receiving the required training. Respondents charged individuals between $350 and $500 for their services. Since Tinny School’s fraudulent practices have come to light, some Tinny School nail specialists have had their licensed revoked by DOS for not completing the required 250 hours of instruction listed on their license applications. Others are subject to having their licenses revoked by the DOS or will not have their licenses renewed. Thus, these consumers cannot earn a living by providing nail services, despite their payments to Tinny School. Additionally, respondents' deceptive practices have created a safety risk to the public as many of these nail specialty applicants do not possess the required education and safety training to legally work in New York.
The Attorney General's lawsuit seeks full restitution for the hundreds of consumers injured in the scheme, penalties, fees, and injunctive relief prohibiting the company from continuing to engage in these fraudulent practices.
The matter was handled by Assistant Attorney General Stephanie A. Sheehan, under the supervision of Deputy Bureau Chief of the Bureau of Consumer Frauds & Protection Laura J. Levine, Bureau Chief Jane M. Azia, and Executive Deputy Attorney General for Economic Justice Karla G. Sanchez.