ROCHESTER, N.Y. (July 9, 2008) – Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo announced his office has obtained a settlement that shuts down a Rochester woman’s unlicensed law practice. The settlement follows an investigation that found that Kathleen Johnson, of Broderick Drive in Rochester, operated a business out of her residence and repeatedly gave erroneous and conflicting legal bankruptcy and financial advice to consumers and received compensation for these activities, which can only be performed by a licensed attorney. Johnson also gave specific advice to consumers dealing with Bankruptcy Court proceedings despite having been previously prohibited to do so by the Office of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of New York. Johnson has also been the subject of several small claims judgments obtained by consumers.

“This woman victimized Monroe County residents by representing herself as a licensed attorney and a legitimate financial advisor,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “Consumers with legal or financial issues need qualified, licensed professionals to handle their affairs and ensure that they are not duped by those seeking to benefit off their misfortune.”

The Attorney General’s settlement requires Johnson to pay $5,000 in penalties and costs, plus restitution to any consumer who files a complaint by November 4, 2008. She is also permanently banned from acting as financial crisis consultant in the credit services business and must provide the Attorney General’s office with the name and type of any business she owns or operates for the next five years. Additionally, she must also supply periodic compliance statements to the Attorney General’s office. (nysoag)


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