North Caldwell Businessman Must Pay $350K for Defrauding Customers

Mitchell Poller, 57, ‘offered to install and repair draperies but in reality he fleeced consumers through his systemic pattern of fraud and lies,’ Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa said.


Crime & Safety

North Caldwell Businessman Must Pay $350K for Defrauding Customers

Mitchell Poller, 57, ‘offered to install and repair draperies but in reality he fleeced consumers through his systemic pattern of fraud and lies,’ Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa said.

Posted

Wed, Jun 5, 2013 at 9:43 p

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Updated

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 at 1:04 a

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A North Caldwell businessman who “fleeced consumers through his systemic pattern of fraud and lies” will pay more than $350,000 in penalties for violating the state’s Consumer Fraud Act and Home Improvement Contractors Registration Act.

Mitchell Poller, 57, was found guilty in Newark Superior Court last Friday of multiple violations of the consumer protection laws, including failing to provide contracted-for services, not returning deposits or down payments when services were not provided, and performing home improvement contracting without being registered with the state.

Poller, a businessman who installed and repaired blinds and draperies, will pay $13,800 in consumer restitution and $340,000 in civil penalties, according to a state Division of Consumer Affairs press release.

“Poller offered to install and repair draperies but in reality he fleeced consumers through his systemic pattern of fraud and lies,” Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa said in a press release. “Poller broke laws that are in place to protect consumers and we have held him accountable for the frauds he committed.”

The court also will determine the amount of reimbursement that Poller will pay to the state for its legal and investigative costs.

Poller conducted business under many different names in northern New Jersey, including American Draperies and Blinds, American Draperies and Blind Company, Countrywide Draperies and Blinds, Country Wide Draperies and Blinds, Affordable Draperies and Blinds, Affordable Drapery and Blind Company, and The Drapery and Blind Company.

There were numerous complaints filed with the Division of Consumer affairs by defrauded consumers who told the agency that Poller failed to return items taken from their homes for cleaning, according to the press release. Items only were returned following repeated calls by consumers to Poller over an extended period of time.

Poller also failed to register as a home improvement contractor, which is required in order to perform installation of new flooring and drapes under terms of the state’s Home Improvement Contractors’ Registration Act.

“This case shows why consumers need to verify whether someone is registered as a home improvement contractor, as part of their research and due diligence,” said  Director of the State Division of Consumer Affairs  Eric T. Kanefsky in a press release. “Consumers should call us and inquire whether any consumer complaints have been filed against a business.”

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