Owner of National Book Auctions and Worth Auctions Must Pay Restitution to Customers and Hire an Independent Trustee to Handle All Auction Proceeds
Ithaca – Attorney General Letitia James today announced a consent order and judgment obtained against an Ithaca auctioneer for defrauding consumers. Bid Club, Inc. doing business as National Book Auctions (National Book”), Worth Auctions, LLC (“Worth”), JLF Holdings, LLC (“JLF”) and their owner, David Hall, fraudulently convinced consumers to deliver their property to these businesses to be sold at auctions, but failed to pay consumers after their property was sold. The judgment requires Hall and his businesses to pay $1,041,542.74 for consumer restitution and $52,000 in civil penalties and costs. The judgment also requires Hall to hire an independent trustee to handle all money from future auctions to ensure that proceeds go to consigning consumers and to victims who were cheated out of their funds.
“There is no tolerance for fraudulent businesses of any kind in New York,” said Attorney General Letitia James. “Consumers doing business with David Hall trusted that he would uphold his end of their transactions, but instead, he routinely cheated them out of payment that they rightfully deserved. This judgment should serve as a clear message that those who engage in dishonest practices will be held accountable.”
National Book Auctions and Worth Auctions, owned exclusively by Hall, are auction businesses that solicit and accept personal property (“consigned items”) from consumers and then sell those items through physical and online auctions to the general public. They charge consumers a commission of between five percent and 35 percent of the auction price and typically charge transportation fees for picking up consigned items. They induce consumers to turn over property with promises to pay the proceeds within 30 days of completing the auction sales. However, since approximately December 2015, Hall failed to pay the proceeds of sold items to at least 115 consumers, totaling $1,041.542.74. He continued to take in property for auctions knowing that he would not be paying the proceeds over to consumers.
In addition to the restitution, Hall and his businesses must hire a third-party independent trustee to handle the money from all future auction sales. After paying consignors for their items that were sold, the trustee will pay at least 30 percent of the remaining funds to the Attorney General’s Office for restitution to the past victims. Additionally, all proceeds from the sale of any property personally owned by Hall and his businesses must be paid over to the trustee, who will pay no less than 80 percent of those funds to the Attorney General’s Office for consumer restitution. After Hall has paid back all restitution, civil penalties, and costs, he must continue to retain a trustee to handle auction proceeds unless he posts a $500,000 bond to ensure that he complies with the judgment.
Any additional consumers who believe that they may have been damaged by Hall and his businesses may file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Binghamton Regional Office seeking restitution by August 18, 2019. To file a complaint, please call (607) 251-2770.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Michael J. Danaher, Jr. with the assistance of Investigators Kathleen Coppersmith and Stephanie Gerwel. The Binghamton Regional Office is led by Assistant Attorney General in Charge James E. Shoemaker. The Binghamton Regional Office is part of the Division of Regional Offices, which is led by Deputy Attorney General for Regional Affairs Jill Faber.