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Post date: November 13 2018

A.G. Underwood Announces Judgment Against Ithaca Auction House For Failing To Pay Over $230K To Consumers

News from the New York Attorney General's Office 

November 13, 2018

Attorney General's Office Press Office / 212-416-8060 


Finger Lakes Estate and Auction and its Owner to Pay Nearly $250,000 in Restitution and Penalties for Failing to Return Proceeds to Customers After Auctioning Their Property

ITHACA – Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood today announced a judgment obtained against Finger Lakes Estate and Auction, Inc. (“Finger Lakes”) and its owner, Charles Dorsey, for fraudulently inducing consumers into giving up their personal property for auction sales and failing to return the proceeds as promised. The judgment requires Finger Lakes and Dorsey to pay $237,739 in full consumer restitution and $12,000 in civil penalties and costs, and retain a Trustee to handle all of the money from future auction sales to ensure that the proceeds first go to the consigning consumers.

“New York consumers rely on companies to be trustworthy and responsible,” said Attorney General Underwood. “No matter the industry, my office will continue to protect New Yorkers from businesses that defraud their customers.”

Finger Lakes Estate and Auction, Inc. is an estate and auction business that solicits and accepts personal property (“consigned items”) from consumers and then sells them at auctions to the general public. Finger Lakes charge consumers a 15% to 35% commission and a transportation fee ranging from $100 to $250, promising the rest of the auction proceeds to the consumer. Since October 2015, Finger Lakes and Dorsey sold property and failed to return any of the proceeds to 24 consumers, totaling $237,739 owed. They continued to take in property for auctions knowing that they would not be paying the proceeds over to the consumers. 

In one instance, Finger Lakes and Dorsey sold a consumer’s 1965 Austin Healey antique automobile for $39,000. Even after a generous 20% commission and sales expenses from the consumer, all totaling over $9,300, and an additional $3,900 commission from the buyer, Finger Lakes and Dorsey failed to pay any of the proceeds over to the consigning consumer.

After paying new consigning consumers their proceeds, the judgment also requires the Trustee to pay at least 20% of the remaining proceeds from future auction sales to the Attorney General’s Office for restitution to the previously injured consumers.

Any additional consumers who believe they may have been damaged by these deceptive practices may file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Binghamton Regional Office seeking restitution by January 31, 2019.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Michael J. Danaher, Jr. under the supervision of Assistant Attorney General-In-Charge of the Binghamton Regional Office James Shoemaker and Acting Executive Deputy Attorney General for Regional Affairs Gary Brown.