Attorney General Cuomo Sues Lindenhurst Man For Practicing Law Without A License
RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (March 6, 2008) – Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that he has initiated a lawsuit and obtained a court order against a Lindenhurst man who maintained a private law practice despite never being an attorney.
The suit against Arthur Chisolm, Jr. seeks refunds to all of his customers, a permanent closure of his unauthorized practice, as well as a fine of $5,000 for each violation and an additional $4,000 in costs. The temporary restraining order initially barring him from practice was issued by Justice Thomas F. Whelan in Supreme Court of Supreme Court.
“We often place the most important aspects of our lives – wills and estates, divorces and other legal matters – with an expected level of trust in attorneys,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “My office’s pursuit of justice in this case underscores the absolute necessity that when New Yorkers seek legal representation, they receive it from a qualified and licensed professional.”
Chisolm, 61, of School Lane in Lindenhurst ran the Landlord Help Center and NY Protective Services, Inc., of North Wellwood Ave., specializing in preparing legal pleadings for divorces, evictions, wills and other sensitive legal documents – with no qualifications to do so.
Last November, an undercover investigation coordinated by the Attorney General’s Office determined that Chisolm, a non-attorney, was charging for wills, evictions, and divorces in violation of New York State Judiciary Law. The investigation determined that Chisolm referred to himself as a paralegal but exceeded the normal tasks that a paralegal would perform. At times, Chisolm called himself an “Attorney-In-Fact.”
The Attorney General’s Office urges consumers who believe they were misled or defrauded by Chisolm to contact the Suffolk Regional Office at (631) 231-2401.
The case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Alan Berkowitz under the supervision of Assistant Attorney General In-Charge of the Suffolk Office Denis McElligott. The investigation was conducted by Investigators Sylvia Rivera and William Lightbody.