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Post date: April 18 2013

A.G. Schneiderman Reaches Settlement With Queens Beauty School For Falsifying Qualifications Of Hundreds Of Nail Specialists On License Applications

Beauty School Falsely Claimed That Applicants Possessed Required Schooling To Legally Work In New York

Schneiderman: I Have No Tolerance For Vocational Schools Who Take Advantage Of Challenging Economic Times By Misleading People Who Are Trying To Create Opportunities For Themselves

NEW YORK- Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced that his office has reached a settlement with Tinny Beauty, Inc. (“Tinny”) and two of its officers, Lydia Leung and Alex Cheung, for misleading students seeking to become New York State licensed nail specialists. As part of its settlement with the Attorney General’s office, Tinny has agreed to pay at least $350 in restitution to individuals who surrendered licenses or had licenses revoked, not renewed or denied by the New York Department of State and for whom Tinny signed schooling affirmations. Tinny will also pay $25,000 in costs, penalties, and fees.

“During these challenging economic times, hardworking New Yorkers should have the ability to create economic opportunities for themselves by pursuing the education and professional licenses required to make a living,” said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. “My office has zero tolerance to people who prey on struggling families by deceiving them about license requirements.”

The Tinny settlement, signed by Justice Carol Huff of Supreme Court, New York County, concludes the lawsuit filed by the Attorney General in New York Supreme Court against Tinny, a New York corporation located in Flushing, Queens, and two of its officers. Tinny operates Tinny Beauty International School (“Tinny School”), a non-degree proprietary school that offers classes in cosmetology, esthetics, nails, waxing, and permanent makeup training. Tinny School provided false and misleading advice to hundreds of consumers, many of whom did not speak English, to induce them to pay fees to Tinny to become licensed nail specialists in New York, but failed to provide them the necessary courses and training.

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. Many of these consumers were unfamiliar with the licensure process and relied on Tinny School to help them obtain their nail specialty licenses. Instead of properly advising consumers on the correct procedures to legally obtain a nail specialty license, Tinny repeatedly informed individuals that they did not need to take any hours of course instruction at Tinny School. Instead, Tinny School typically charged consumers at least $350 to take a “test preparation” course.

The Attorney General's investigation revealed that from approximately 2005 until early 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. This allowed hundreds of individuals to obtain nail specialty licenses despite failing to meet State licensure requirements. As a result of this practice, over 100 Tinny School nail specialists have had their licenses revoked or their license applications denied or not renewed by DOS and more nail specialists are at risk of similar losses. These consumers cannot earn a living by providing nail services, despite their payments to Tinny School. 

As part of its settlement with the Attorney General’s office, Tinny has agreed to pay at least $350 in restitution to individuals who, in addition to other criteria, surrendered nail licenses or had nail licenses revoked, not renewed or denied by DOS and for whom Tinny signed schooling affirmations. Tinny will contact these individuals by mail within the next few weeks. In addition, individuals who paid Tinny School for a test preparation seminar and who surrender or have nail licenses revoked, not renewed or denied by DOS within the next two years are also eligible for $350 pursuant to a claims process. These individuals should contact Tinny or the Attorney General’s Office to obtain a claim form. Tinny will also pay $25,000 in costs, penalties, and fees.

 Tinny and its principals have also agreed to (a) not make any misrepresentations to individuals about the licensure process, (b) comply with all New York State Education Department regulations and policy guidelines, and (c) not sign the affirmation on DOS appearance enhancement applications representing that individuals took a specific number of hours at Tinny School or any other appearance enhancement school owned or operated by Tinny and its principals if that was not the case.

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.