– The defendants who operated a South
Jersey paving company and were ordered to
pay $17 million in civil penalties, consumer
restitution and reimbursement for attorneys’
fees and investigative costs after a New Jersey
court found they had defrauded consumers,
have been temporarily barred by an Arkansas
judge from obtaining the cash raised through
a voluntary auction of the company’s
assets in Jonesboro, Arkansas.
learning of the auction of assets connected
to Williams Asphalt Materials, LLC, Deputy
Attorney General Nicholas Kant, of the Division
of Law’s Consumer Fraud Prosecution
Section, traveled to Arkansas and made an
application to prevent the turnover to the
defendants of the cash generated by the
auction in order to attempt to secure the
funds for the $285,744 in restitution owed
to New Jersey consumers.
Circuit Judge John Fogleman initially issued
a temporary injunction on March 30, 2012,
the night before the auction, freezing the
proceeds of the auction, which was to be
conducted on behalf of defendant Henry Williams.
Later that night, to avoid the State’s
judgment, associates of the defendants attempted
to remove the property that was to be auctioned.
After they were arrested by Jonesboro police,
the defendants changed the auction contract
just hours before it was to take place,
listing five new sellers who were not defendants
in New Jersey, but are relatives or associates
of defendant Henry Williams.
case shows the extent to which some defendants
will go to avoid their legal obligation
to repay the consumers that they have harmed.
It also shows our determination to go after
these bad actors and hold them responsible,”
State Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa
Monday, April 9, DAG Kant appeared in court
in Jonesboro to argue that the auction proceeds
are due to New Jersey’s consumers
and would disappear if obtained by the defendants
or their associates. DAG Kant also argued
that the change to the auction contract
the night before the auction and just after
Judge Fogleman issued the temporary injunction
constituted a fraudulent conveyance. At
that time, Judge Fogleman ruled that all
of the auction proceeds should be frozen
for sixty days to preserve the funds while
their destination is determined.
General Chiesa thanked the Arkansas Attorney
General’s Office for its assistance,
which included sponsoring DAG Kant’s
pro hac vice (for this matter only) court
appearance in Arkansas, and sending staff
to attend the court hearing in Jonesboro.
The Arkansas Attorney General’s Office
has also filed an action against Henry Williams
and his Arkansas limited liability company,
Moore Asphalt, LLC.
intention is to get as much money as possible
back into the hands of the consumers,”
said Sharon Joyce, Acting Director of the
State Division of Consumer Affairs. “I
want to commend DAG Kant for his tenacity
in monitoring this matter and for working
to ensure assets are not covertly diverted
instead of being used to satisfy the restitution
that is owed.”
December, a State Superior Court Judge in
Burlington County found that defendants
Williams Asphalt Materials, LLC, Williams
Asphalt Paving, Williams Asphalt Paving
& Excavating, Williams Paving &
Excavating, Williams Paving, and Williams
Paving Asphalt Contracting, Advanced Asphalt
Services, Bertha Williams, Henry R. Williams,
Jr. (father), Henry R. Williams, Jr. (son),
Samuel Williams, Saul Williams, and Alexander
Stanley violated the state’s Consumer
Fraud Act and Home Improvement Contractors’
Regulation Act and regulations.
than 1,600 violations were found to have
been committed against consumers who paid
to have their driveways repaved.
Division’s investigation found that
the defendants engaged in unconscionable
commercial practices, made false statements
or misrepresentations, knowingly omitted
material facts, and engaged in "bait-and-switch"
pricing. The unconscionable commercial practices
included performing paving work of poor
or sub-standard quality and then failing
to make the necessary repairs and failing
to honor guarantees or warranties provided
in a consumer’s home improvement contract.
misrepresentations included representing
to consumers that the asphalt to be used
in paving work was of a certain thickness
(e.g., 2½") and then laying
asphalt that was measurably thinner (e.g.,
less than 1"), and representing to
consumers that the products or materials
to be used in the paving work were sufficient
to withstand the weight and traction of
motor vehicles, when such was not the case.
Driveways that should have lasted years
began to disintegrate within months.
Investigator Katrina Eberly of the Burlington
County Office of Consumer Affairs and investigators
in the Division's Office of Consumer Protection
investigated this matter.
Consumers who believe they have been cheated
or scammed by a business, or suspect any
other form of consumer abuse, can file a
complaint with the State Division of Consumer
Affairs by visiting its website,
or by calling 1-800-242-5846
(toll free within New Jersey ) or
the Division of Consumer Affairs on Facebook
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