Flushing’s Tinny Beauty, Inc. and two of its officers, Lydia Leung and Alex Cheung, reached a settlement with Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for misleading students seeking to become New York State-licensed nail specialists.
Tinny agreed to pay at least $350 in restitution to individuals who suffered professional or financial distress as a result of its certificate-forging scheme.
People on the receiving end of Tinny’s wrongdoing had surrendered licenses or had licenses revoked, not renewed or denied by the New York Department of State. Tinny will also pay $25,000 in costs, penalties, and fees.
“During these challenging economic times, hardworking New Yorkers should have the ability to create economic opportunities for themselves by pursuing the education and professional licenses required to make a living,” Schneiderman said. “My office has zero tolerance to people who prey on struggling families by deceiving them about license requirements.”
Tinny operates a nondegree proprietary school that offers classes in cosmetology, esthetics, nails, waxing and permanent makeup training.
Tinny School provided false and misleading advice to hundreds of consumers, many of whom did not speak English, to induce them to pay fees to Tinny to become licensed nail specialists in New York, but failed to provide them the necessary courses and training.
Individuals must be licensed by the Department of State to provide appearance-enhancement services in New York State. Tinny targeted non-English speaking consumers through ads placed in Chinese-language newspapers.
More than 100 Tinny School nail specialists have had their licenses revoked or their license applications denied or not renewed by DOS, and more nail specialists are at risk of similar losses. Those victims or workers cannot earn a living by providing nail services, despite their payments to Tinny School.
Cheung and Leung released a defiant statement after the Attorney General touted the settlement’s lack of an admission of guilt.
“Six months ago, the government declared war on our business,” Cheung said. “Today, the war is over and we declare victory.” The duo said mounting legal expenses forced them to settle rather than continue the legal battle.
As part of its settlement with the Attorney General’s Office, Tinny has agreed to pay at least $350 in restitution to individuals for whom Tinny signed schooling affirmations but had to surrender nail licenses or had nail licenses revoked, not renewed or denied by DOS.
— Joseph Orovic