New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has obtained a court order shutting down the web site of an online home furnishing business recently held in contempt for its persistent consumer fraud.
New York State Supreme Court Justice Christopher J. Burns of Erie County issued the order against BeaverHome.com, Inc., also known as BeaverFloor.com, which is effective immediately.
BeaverHome sold hardwood flooring over the Internet and accepted advance payments from consumers across the nation but failed to provide any merchandise in return. BeaverHome is owned and operated by Neal Martin and his son, Cole Martin.
"This case demonstrates that my office will not tolerate Internet scams," Spitzer said. "Even if the perpetrators leave New York, we will pursue them and enforce court orders to protect consumers."
After receiving numerous consumer complaints, Spitzer's office in July 2002 sued BeaverHome which then was located in Niagara Falls, New York. Pursuant to a court order, BeaverHome agreed to pay restitution to consumers and reform its business practices. Shortly after reaching the settlement, BeaverHome moved to Georgia and began violating the court order.
Although the Attorney General's office was successful in obtaining $269,000 in restitution for consumers, BeaverHome did not make all the court ordered restitution payments. Also, consumers from across the country continued to complain to the Attorney General's office that BeaverHome was taking payments but not providing the flooring.
In response to a motion filed by Spitzer's office, on April 7, 2004, Justice Burns found BeaverHome and Neal and Cole Martin in civil contempt of court. Justice Burns ordered that BeaverHome pay a fine of $285,000 and post to its web site a notice that it was not permitted to accept advance payments from consumers. Justice Burns also issued warrants of commitment for Neal and Cole Martin should they re-enter New York State until they come into compliance with court orders.
When BeaverHome failed to pay the fine or post the notice to its web site, Spitzer's office made a motion to shut down BeaverHome's website. Justice Burns signed the order on May 4 and the website was closed down by its California-based host pending further order of the court.
Individuals wishing to file a complaint against BeaverHome can do so by obtaining a complaint form on the Attorney General's website at www.oag.state.ny.us or by calling the consumer help line at (800) 771-7755. Out-of-state consumers can contact the office at (716) 853-8400.