Suit Seeks Over $185K In Restitution And Penalties From Henry Dean, Owner Of FLGH, LLC, For Misleading Consumers About Vacation Property And Pocketing Deposits
Schneiderman: We Will Keep Working To Root Out And Prosecute Unscrupulous Business Owners
Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced today that his office has filed legal action against Henry Dean and his company, FLGH, LLC, seeking a permanent injunction prohibiting them from operating their vacation rental home business, which they advertise as being available to the general public. The case also seeks restitution of $102,694.88 for consumers who paid Dean in advance rental fees for a Town of Orange property that was uninhabitable, as well as over $85,000 in civil penalties and costs.
“A vacation is a luxury that hardworking New Yorkers often save for months or years to enjoy,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “It’s just cruel to deceive and defraud those who are trying to get away on vacation or plan a special event with loved ones. I will keep fighting to root out and prosecute unscrupulous business owners.”
The petition alleges that Dean and his company purchased the property in November 2013 for the purpose of renovating the house into a large vacation rental property. Dean began advertising the property on his own website, www.vacationrentalfingerlakes.com, and on various independent websites, including www.VRBO.com. His advertisements claimed that the property was in operation had such amenities as: three hot tubs, outdoor wetbar, fire pit, mountainside private hot tub, exotic pool with gazebo deck, streams, pools, and other amenities. All of these claims proved to be false. Although Dean began renovations almost immediately after he purchased the property, he never completed the house and the claimed amenities. More than three years later, he does not even have a certificate of occupancy for the building.
Consumers, relying on the Dean’s website and the representations he made to them after they contacted him, were induced to pay him thousands of dollars in deposits to secure the property for their long-planned family vacations, weddings, and other events. It was only after consumers went and looked at the property that they discovered it was not in the same condition as represented in the advertisements. When they tried to cancel, Dean would tell them that it would take a little time to refund their money because he had put it in escrow; however, this was a lie because Dean had already spent their money. He was simply trying to buy time until he could convince additional consumers to pay him deposits, so he could use that money to make refunds. Dean now owes refunds of over $100,000.
In addition to restitution, the Attorney General is also seeking over $85,000 in civil penalties and costs.
Consumers who believe they may have been defrauded by or have unresolved disputes with a business are encouraged to call the Attorney General’s Consumer Help Line at (800) 771-7755.