On November 13, 2018, New York Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood announced a judgment obtained against Finger Lakes Estate and Auction, Inc., and its owner, Charles Dorsey, for fraudulently inducing consumers into giving up their personal property for auction sales and failing to pay the proceeds.
The judgment requires Finger Lakes and Dorsey to pay $237,739 in full consumer restitution and $12,000 in civil penalties and costs and to retain a trustee to handle all of the money from future auction sales to ensure that the proceeds first go to the consignors.
Finger Lakes Estate and Auction, Inc., solicits and accepts personal property from customers and then sells it at auctions to the general public. Finger Lakes charges a 15% to 35% commission and a transportation fee ranging from $100 to $250, promising the rest of the auction proceeds to the consignor. Since October 2015 Finger Lakes and Dorsey have sold property and failed to return to 24 consignors any of the proceeds, which total $237,739. They continued to take in property for auctions knowing that they would not be paying the proceeds to the consignors.
In one instance, Finger Lakes and Dorsey sold a 1965 Austin Healey antique automobile for $39,000. Even after making a 20% commission and sales expenses from the consignor, totaling over $9300, and an additional $3900 commission from the buyer, Finger Lakes and Dorsey failed to pay any of the proceeds to the consignor.
The judgment requires that after paying the consignors, the trustee is to pay at least 20% of the remaining proceeds from future auction sales to the Attorney General’s Office for restitution to previously injured consignors.
Originally published in the January 2019 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2019 Maine Antique Digest