Precious metals dealer Lear is ordered to reform his business practices,
Make clear fee disclosure to New Yorkers
NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James announced today that she has secured $ 6 million from precious metals trader Lear Capital, Inc. (Lear), resolving her June 2021 lawsuit against Lear and its founder, Kevin DeMeritt, who alleged that Lear fraudulently failed to disclose millions of dollars in commissions charged to consumers by the company. As part of the consent order, Lear will change its business practices in New York City in addition to making the $ 6 million payment. The funds will be distributed to eligible New York clients aggrieved by Lear’s misconduct.
âNew Yorkers need to be able to invest their life savings with confidence and know that their investments will be protected,â said Attorney General James. âAfter years of misleading consumers, costing them millions of dollars in fees, Lear Capital’s illegal practices are now ending. We have secured $ 6 million for New York consumers and the company will review its business practices in New York. New Yorkers will no longer be subject to hidden fees imposed by quick sellers. ”
In his lawsuit, filed in June 2021, Attorney General James alleged that Lear persuaded investors – including many elderly residents of western New York State who sought to protect their retirement savings – to invest tens of millions in precious metals. The lawsuit alleged that Lear did this by fraudulently charging undisclosed commissions – up to 33% – on millions of dollars in sales, and in violation of New York City laws requiring commodity brokers and telemarketers to register. to the state.
As part of the consent order resolving this case, in addition to paying $ 6 million, Lear has agreed to provide New York residents with clear and visible information about his charges and provide a 24-hour cancellation period. hours for retirement and some higher fee transactions. Lear will also improve its complaints handling procedures in New York and provide training for its staff.
The case was handled by Deputy Attorneys General Tanya Trakht and Kenneth Haim, with the support of Legal Assistant Eddie Aguilar – all under the supervision of Acting Investor Protection Bureau Chief Scott J. Spiegelman of the Acting Deputy Head of Bureau Shamiso Maswoswe and former Head of Bureau Peter Pope. ; as well as the Assistant Deputy Attorney General in charge of the Buffalo Regional Office, Christopher Boyd, with the support of the Senior Consumer Fraud Representative, Karen Davis, both under the supervision of the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the office. Buffalo Regional, Michael Russo. Further assistance was provided by Senior Data Analyst Akram Hasanov and Data Scientist Gautam Sisodia, under the supervision of Deputy Director Megan Thorsfeldt and Director Jonathan Werberg of the Research and Analysis Department. The Investor Protection Office is part of the Economic Justice Division, which is overseen by Chief Deputy Attorney General Chris D’Angelo. The Buffalo regional office is part of the regional affairs division, which is headed by the assistant attorney general for regional affairs, Jill Faber. The Economic Justice Division and the Regional Affairs Division are overseen by First Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy.