Bryan Cohen Oct. 22, 2012, 6:27pm

NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced a lawsuit on Friday against Tinny Beauty Inc. and two of its officers for allegedly misleading students about nail specialist license applications.

The Flushing, Queens-based Tinny Beauty and its officers, Alex Cheung and Lydia Leung, allegedly used deceptive and misleading tactics to convince hundreds of consumers to pay substantial fees to become licensed nail specialists in New York. The defendants allegedly failed to provide the students the needed courses and training to receive a license.

"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," Schneiderman 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."

Tinny Beauty Inc. operates Tinny Beauty Int'l School, a non-degree proprietary school offering classes in permanent makeup, waxing, nails, esthetics and cosmetology training. The school allegedly targeted non-English speaking consumers through ads in Chinese-language newspapers and through word-of-mouth referrals. The consumers allegedly spoke little to no English and did not fully understand the licensure process.

The students relied on Tinny School to help them obtain nail specialty licenses. Tinny School allegedly misrepresented to students that they could obtain licenses without completing the required number of course instruction hours. The school then allegedly charged consumers hundreds of dollars to obtain the improper licenses.

Schneiderman's office alleged that between approximately 2005 and 2010, Leung routinely affirmed on New York Department of State applications that applicants completed at least 250 hours of training at the school when they had not. Providers of appearance enhancement services in the state must be licensed by the DOS.

The allegedly fraudulent practices allowed hundreds of individuals to obtain nail specialty licenses without receiving compulsory training. Since the practices came to light, some Tinny School nail specialists' licenses have been revoked by the DOS for not completing the required training. Others may have their licenses revoked or will not have their licenses renewed.

The deceptive practices of the respondents could create a safety risk to the public because the nail specialty applications do not possess the required safety training and education to legally work in the state.

Schneiderman's lawsuit seeks full restitution for the consumers injured in the alleged scheme, fees, penalties and injunctive relief that would prohibit the company from engaging in further fraudulent practices.

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