Cuomo targets gem seller
POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is suing a Newburgh, N.Y. resident who has been allegedly selling fraudulent antique items for thousands of dollars over the Internet.
Mircea Veleanu is being sued over the practice of selling artifacts online that he claims contain high quality and expensive jade that are actually made of quartz or glass, Cuomo says. Once an artifact is sold, Velenau then refuses to provide refunds or acknowledge that the piece is fake, he adds.
Cuomo's lawsuit against Veleanu seeks to permanently bar him from selling jade artifacts that are not verified as authentic by the American Gemological Trade Association Testing Center or a lab of equal reputation. Cuomo is also seeking restitution for defrauded consumers as well as penalties and costs to the state.
"This individual preyed on collectors of expensive antiques and artifacts and didn't deliver on his promises," Cuomo said. "Our lawsuit seeks to shut down this fraudulent operation and get money to those who are affected."
Veleanu, a retired doctor and collector of antique jade carvings and other oriental artifacts, portrays himself as an expert on jade. He has authored three books about his collection and, since at least 2001, has been selling items from his collection under the business name Objects D'Arts Uniques. He began selling items through eBay and GoAntiques.com in 2002.
Cuomo's suit also seeks an accounting of Veleanu's customers as well as full restitution to those defrauded, including one complainant seeking $13,983.03. Cuomo is also seeking a civil penalty of $5,000 for each deceptive act.