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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

New York AG Shuts Down Another Process Serving Agency

The NY state Attorney General’s office has shut down a process server company that repeatedly claimed in legal affidavits that its employees had made proper service of legal documents to thousands of consumers when in fact it had not.

The Attorney General Office entered into a settlement requiring Brockport-based We Serve It For You Process Serving Agency, LLC, operated by Joanne Marie Coy, John Coy, Theresa Buehler, and Wesley Converse, to immediately cease operations and cooperate with ongoing investigations. The business and its owners must also pay fees, costs, and penalties totaling $10,000 and John Coy must surrender his notary public commission.

The AG’s office began investigating We Serve It For You in 2009 as part of an ongoing probe into debt collection lawsuits.

“The toxic business practices of this company impacted individuals across New York State,” said Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. “People need to have trust in the legal system, and that’s why we are banning this company and its owners from serving legal documents to the people of New York.”

The Attorney General’s investigation determined that those documents were regularly signed and mailed to John Coy, who would notarize them without witnessing the signature. From 2007 to 2009, We Serve It For You served approximately 54,000 complaints and maintained a database detailing each service. The Attorney General’s Office and the Unified Court System determined that:

On more than 1,100 occasions, We Serve It For You process servers claimed to have made service or service attempts at two or more places at the same time.

On more than 700 occasions, We Serve It For You process servers claimed to have made service or service attempts before they even received the documents to serve.

On tens of thousands of occasions, John Coy notarized the signatures of We Serve It For You process servers when he did not witness the signatures.

Through the agreement with Attorney General’s Office, We Serve It For You and its operators are permanently barred from having any legal or beneficial interest in any business involving the delivery or service of legal documents. The business will permanently cease all activities and dissolve.

We Serve It For You and its operators are also required to cooperate with the Attorney General’s ongoing investigations into illegal debt collection practices.

The settlement follows recent action against another process server, American Legal Process (ALP), which engaged in a similar fraud and caused more than 100,000 consumers to have costly judgments entered against them without the chance to respond or defend themselves in court. Aside from a civil suit and criminal prosecution against the owner of ALP, Cuomo’s office is seeking to have more than 100,000 default judgments that were caused by the faulty service overturned.

The NY AG Press Release can be found here