NEWARK, N.J. (Legal Newsline) - New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa announced an order Tuesday against the organizer of an allegedly fraudulent Superstorm Sandy summit requiring him to cease operations for the upcoming event.
Under the terms of an order issued by Essex County Superior Court Judge Harriet F. Klein, William S. Loiry must immediately cease the advertising, offering for sale and conducting of the Superstorm Sandy Reconstruction Summit. Loiry, the organizer of the event, must also notify all attendees and the public that the Monday event is cancelled.
Loiry allegedly violated the state's Consumer Fraud Act by conducting business in New Jersey under assumed names that are not registered to do business in the state or anywhere else, falsely implying that he and his activities were affiliated with or endorsed by local, state and federal agencies, and using misleading advertisements falsely representing that top government officials would speak at the event.
"We are pleased that the court granted the state's request for temporary restraints, and enjoined the defendant from going forward with his 'summit,'" Chiesa said. "We sought to stop this event in order to protect New Jerseyans from falling victim to the defendants' alleged false advertising while they desperately seek the means to rebuild and recover from an unprecedented natural disaster. We repeat our warning to anyone unscrupulous enough to seek to take advantage of those harmed by Hurricane Sandy: Keep your dishonest business practices out of our state, or we will take the steps necessary to keep you out."
Chiesa's office filed a lawsuit against Loiry on Friday to stop the event from going forward and to obtain refunds for New Jerseyans who paid registration fees for the event.
Shortly after Hurricane Sandy made landfall in New Jersey, Loiry allegedly set up SandyReconstruction.org and sent out more than 300,000 emails to advertise the summit to be held in Trenton on Monday. The emails allegedly strongly implied that the event and its organizer were endorsed by or affiliated with the government. Loiry allegedly sent the emails from the NY/NJ Restoration Leadership and purported that the event was being held by the United States Leadership Forum. Loiry is allegedly the only member of both groups.
The website and emails for the event allegedly promised information from government officials about governmental reconstruction, relief and financing programs when no such officials were booked to speak.
Loiry charged a $175 to $275 registration fee per person to the summit and collected that fee from 30 consumers. He offered corporate sponsorships as well and allegedly collected $1,000 from two businesses.
Loiry filed for personal bankruptcy in September 2011, which is still pending. Loiry allegedly concealed, falsified, destroyed or failed to keep or preserve recorded information that could be used to ascertain his financial condition or business transactions. He also allegedly knowingly made one or more false oaths in his bankruptcy case.
There are approximately 20 outstanding judgments against Loiry, many resulting from post-disaster events he held in other states.