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Post date: May 13 2008

Attorney General Cuomo Shuts Down Lindenhurst Man’s Unauthorized Law Practice

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (May 13, 2008) – Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that he has obtained a settlement that permanently shuts down a Lindenhurst man’s unlicensed law practice and requires him to pay restitution to consumers he defrauded, plus penalties and costs to the state.

The settlement requires Arthur Chisolm, Jr. to permanently close his unauthorized practice and pay $17,000 in penalties and costs to the state. He must pay restitution to those who have been damaged as a result of his actions, plus qualified consumers who file complaints within 120 days of the judgment, which was ordered today by Justice Thomas F. Whelan in Supreme Court of Suffolk County.

“New Yorkers in need of legal representation expect to be able to hire qualified attorneys with the requisite training and background,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “Those who are unqualified to practice law and attempt to go beyond their legally permitted boundaries do not only a disservice to the consumers they ‘represent,’ but also to the entire profession.”

Chisolm, 61, of School Lane in Lindenhurst ran the Landlord Help Center and NY Protective Services 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 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.

The judgment allows consumers who believe they were defrauded by Chisolm to possibly join in the settlement. Consumers who believe they were defrauded should contact the Attorney General’s 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.