Keith Loria Jul. 26, 2010, 10:29am
SALEM, Ore. (Legal Newsline) - Oregon Attorney General John Kroger announced on Thursday that his office has filed a lawsuit against a Portland businesswoman who allegedly defrauded customers who came to her for help in selling antiques.
Lucy Leffler Knopf owned and operated consignment businesses under more than a dozen names, including AAA Team Auctions and Antique & Art Dealers LLC.
"The defendant's business plan was to use multiple business names to confuse consumers and conceal multiple complaints against her," Kroger said.
Knopf allegedly promised to help families appraise, catalogue and sell family heirlooms for a fee, then claimed to lose most of the items or sold them for prices that actually cost customers more money in fees than they made.
When customers tried to cancel their deals with any of Knopf's businesses, they were allegedly informed that they couldn't get their items returned until they paid a high handling fee.
Knopf is also accused of elder abuse for allegedly taking advantage of a 93-year-old woman and her 70-year-old daughter's finances.
Before the lawsuit, former customers have won judgments against Knopf and her businesses totaling $43,000.