BUFFALO, New York (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed a lawsuit on Monday against a Buffalo-based furniture retailer that allegedly failed to deliver furniture or refunds after going out of business.
In mid-October, FWS went out of business. FWS allegedly failed to provide consumers who made advanced payments for merchandise with either furniture or refunds. Western New York consumers lost an estimated $160,000 to $250,000 as a result of the merchandise payments.
"This company and its owners operated with a complete disregard for their customers' hard-earned money," Schneiderman said. "Many people save for years to make such large purchases, and FWS's careless practices have left customers out in the cold - with thousands of dollars lost and few options to recover those funds. These unscrupulous business practices ripped off Western New York consumers, and we will hold the perpetrators accountable for this misconduct."
In May 2010, John Wanat and John Grimaldi purchased FWS through their company Dynasty Companies of WNY Inc. FWS continually lost money under the new ownership and lost more than $400,000 in 2012 alone, causing its creditor to shut the business down.
Schneiderman alleged that FWS required that consumers make advance payments on merchandise but failed to segregate the payments into a separate account. When the business closed, the company had an estimated 700 open orders with advance payments of more than $420,000.
Since that time, some consumers were able to obtain the merchandise for which they paid and others were able to stop payments made by credit cards. The lawsuit seeks restitution for consumers who stand to lose their advance payments.
The lawsuit also seeks to prevent Wanat and Grimaldi from operating another business in the state unless they post a $500,000 performance bond and a temporary restraining order preventing FWS and its owners from destroying any business records or transferring funds.