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Attorney General Sues New York Locksmith Business For Fraudulent Advertising


MADISON - The Department of Justice has filed an enforcement action in Ozaukee County Circuit Court against Locksmiths, Inc., a New Jersey corporation, and its owner, Gabriel Munteoreanu, of Brooklyn, New York.  The complaint is the result of an investigation by the Department of Justice into fraudulent yellow pages locksmith listings.  


According to the complaint, Mr. Munteoreanu, through Locksmiths, Inc., attracts business through the use of numerous telephone numbers, business names and addresses in order to mislead consumers seeking locksmith services.  The purpose of the phony business names and addresses, according to the state, is to deceive consumers into believing they are calling a local locksmith business, when in fact all of the numbers connect the consumer to the out-of-state call center of Locksmiths, Inc., which then dispatches a contract locksmith.   


The state asserts that most consumers would not hire Locksmiths, Inc. if they knew that it was not located at the address or phone number listed in the business directory used by the consumer to locate a locksmith.  Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen warns that "dishonesty in the marketing of goods and services to Wisconsin consumers will not be tolerated.  Consumers have a right to accurate information about businesses advertising in this state, and my office will continue to take aggressive action to curtail false advertising." 


The complaint asks the Court to impose forfeitures against the defendants for violations of Wisconsin's fraudulent advertising statute, to order the defendants to halt their fraudulent advertising, and to pay restitution to consumers injured by the defendants' misrepresentations.     


The case was investigated and referred to the Department of Justice by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General John S. Greene.