The state Attorney General’s Office ordered an Ithaca auction house Tuesday to pay nearly $250,000 in restitution for tricking customers into giving up their property for auction without returning the proceeds.
Finger Lakes Estate and Auction and owner Charles Dorsey were ordered to pay $237,739 in customer restitution and $12,000 in civil penalties and costs, Attorney General Barbara Underwood announced.
Since October 2015, the auction house sold the property of 24 different consumers without returning any of the proceeds, and continued to take in property for auctions knowing they would not be paying.
The Attorney General’s Office cited one instance in which the businesses sold a customer’s 1965 Austin Healey automobile for $39,000, but failed to pay any of the proceeds despite also taking over $9,300 in commission and sales expense from the customer and an additional $3,900 commission from the buyer.
“New York consumers rely on companies to be trustworthy and responsible,” said Underwood. “No matter the industry, my office will continue to protect New Yorkers from businesses that defraud their customers.”