NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is suing Northern Leasing Systems Inc., alleging it utilized fraudulent and deceptive practices designed to trap small business owners nationwide.

According to Schneiderman’s complaint, the company coerced small businesses into never-ending lease agreements for overpriced processing equipment. Northern Leasing Systems also allegedly sued to collect on these leases.

Schneiderman secured a temporary restraining order that bars the company from selling, assigning or transferring any equipment finance lease for under fair market value.

“Small business owners -- many of whom are immigrants, elderly, or veterans -- are the cornerstone of the economy and deserve to be treated honestly and fairly,” Schneiderman said. “We allege Northern Leasing not only deceived consumers but used the New York court system to perpetrate their harassing, fraudulent, and deceptive debt collection practices. We will not allow companies to hold small businesses for ransom by using lies and forgery.”

Schneiderman’s office aims to have judgments obtained by Northern Leasing against consumers nullified. He also seeks additional relief, including restitution and permanent injunction stopping the alleged illegal business practices.

The case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Lydia Keaney Reynolds, Volunteer Assistant Attorney General Ross Bratin, Special Counsel Mary Alestra, Deputy Bureau Chief Laura J. Levine and Bureau Chief Jane M. Azia, all of the Consumer Fraud and Protection Bureau, and Chief Deputy Attorney General Janet Sabel.

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