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Post date: April 22 2003

On-line Furniture Retailer Ordered

Attorney General Spitzer today announced a court order against the operators of an on-line home furnishing business requiring them to personally pay $300,000 in restitution to dozens of consumers. and its principals, Neal and Cole Martin, consented to the court order after Spitzer's office sought civil contempt against them for their non-compliance with a previous settlement that was supposed to resolve allegations of deceptive business practices.

"This office will do everything in its power to protect consumers against retailers that victimize individuals and jeopardize consumer confidence in Internet commerce," Spitzer said. "This office will also make sure that court orders are enforced on behalf of consumers."

The court order requires the Martins to pay $300,000 in restitution, in addition to the $150,000 required by an October 2002 court decree. To date, more than 80 consumers have contacted Spitzer's office complaining that accepted payments for furniture and flooring but failed to deliver the merchandise or provide refunds.

To guarantee that payments will be made, Cole Martin was ordered to deposit $90,000 in proceeds from the eventual sale of personal real estate into a trust account.

In addition, Neal Martin was ordered to divest himself of ownership interest in Martin also is barred from serving as an officer or director of the online retailer, from accessing the firm's bank accounts, and from selling home furnishings unless he posts a $500,000 performance bond.

Individuals with complaints against are encouraged to contact the Attorney General's consumer help line at (800) 771-7755 or (716) 853-8400.

This case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General James M. Morrissey of the Buffalo Regional Office.