Legal Ethics

AG Cuomo Sues Lawyer for Fraud, Says He Sold His Name to Debt Collector for $141K

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The state attorney general has sued a New York attorney for fraud and violation of the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, contending that John Nicolia sold his name for $141,000 for to a debt collector who used it to bolster its illegal collection tactics during 2008 and 2009.

The collector, Eastern Asset Management, allegedly threatened consumers across the country with litigation that it apparently had no intention of filing as well as other sanctions, such as loss of a driver’s license, that it couldn’t enforce, according to Business First of Buffalo.

The state-court complaint (PDF) filed by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo in Erie County seeks injunctive relief and a $5,000 penalty for each deceptive act.

The article doesn’t include any comment from Nicolia and the Buffalo News says he couldn’t be reached for comment. Neither article includes any comment from Eastern Asset Management.

The attorney general says Nicolia was paid $141,000 by the debt collector for the use of his name while performing no actual legal work. “This attorney knowingly allowed a debt collection firm to use his name to threaten, intimidate, and harass consumers, while he sat back and profited without having to do any actual work,” Cuomo tells the newspaper in a written statement.

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