By Joe Anuta
The state’s top prosecutor sued a Flushing beauty school for allegedly collecting cash but giving out bogus nail licenses, leaving students out of cash and jobs, the attorney general’s office announced Friday.
The owners of Tinny Beauty, at 39-07 Prince St., took money from customers hoping to get beauty licenses, but did not deliver the proper education required by state law, according to a civil suit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
The owners, Lydia Leung and Alex Cheung, then lied to the state about the amount of coursework completed by each student in order to get them licenses, the AG said. The students’ licenses were eventually revoked, meaning they could not get a job, even after dropping between $300 and $500 at Tinny for school, Schneiderman said.
“Tinny and its principals have preyed on unsuspecting individuals trying to make a better life by charging them hundreds of dollars without providing the required education and training,” he said. “This company’s business model was based on defrauding consumers and the state to make a profit. These actions put the public at risk since many of these students who received a license did not have the safety training to legally provide nail specialty services in New York.”
But the school disputed the attorney general’s findings, issuing a statement that instead blamed Schneiderman for ruining the livelihoods of the Tinny school graduates.
“Jobs are lost and careers are being ruined by this unfair government action,” Bruce Feffer, attorney for the school, said in a statement.
Before the announcement, the attorney general and the Tinny school had been in discussions for nearly two years over the claims, according to Feffer, who said that state has no case.
“If the accusations could be proven, they would have filed their lawsuit sooner,” he said.
The timing of the lawsuit is instead linked to the fact that Tinny disputes the attorney general’s claims and refuses to pay the penalties associated with the alleged infractions, according to Feffer.
But Schneiderman contends the school deliberately preyed on aspiring students with limited English skills by advertising in Chinese-language newspapers and targeted immigrants who were unfamiliar with the state’s license process.
The state Department of State currently requires 250 hours of instruction for applicants to obtain nail licenses. Tinny offered courses for cosmetology, esthetics, nails, waxing and permanent makeup training.
The suit hopes to recoup restitution for the hundreds of students who later lost their licenses, penalties and fees as well as injunctive relief prohibiting the company from engaging in what the AG called “fraudulent practices.”
Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.