Tinny Beauty School is being nailed for allegedly charging hefty fees to hundreds of Chinese-speaking students but then misleading them about the license requirements to become nail specialists.
Tinny Beauty Inc. of Flushing and two of its officers, president and founder Lydia Leung and secretary Alex Cheung, are named in the suit Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed today, which seeks full restitution for hundreds of students, as well as penalties, fees and an injunction to force the company to stop its practices.
“Tinny and its principals have preyed on unsuspecting individuals trying to make a better life by charging them hundreds of dollars without providing the required education and training,” Schneiderman said. “This company’s business model was based on defrauding consumers and the state to make a profit. These actions put the public at risk since many of these students who received a license did not have the safety training to legally provide nail specialty services in New York.”
Court papers claim Leung acknowledged to state lawyers and regulators that she signed false affirmations for students. The papers also claim Tinny tried to collect fees from an undercover state investigator posing as a student with equivalent experience outside New York to qualify for a license – but never tried to evaluate her skills.
Reached at Tinny’s offices today, Cheung said, “I have many things to rebut, and our side of the story,” but referred questions to lawyer Bruce Feffer, who was not immediately available.
Tinny used “misleading and deceptive tactics” between 2005 and 2010 to convince hundreds, many of them new immigrants, to pay $350-$500 each to become licensed nail specialists in New York, Schneiderman’s office said.
Tinny targeted non-English speaking consumers through ads in Chinese-language newspapers and word of mouth referrals, the office said. Many of the consumers did not fully comprehend the licensure process and relied on Tinny, but the school falsely told them they could obtain their licenses without completing the required 250 hours of course instruction, the office added.
Court papers claim six Tinny School nail specialists have already had their state licenses revoked for failure to complete the 250 hours listed on their license applications and state regulators are seeking at least 51 more revocations, 91 license application rejections and revocation of Leung’s and Cheung’s licenses.
Tinny’s non-degree proprietary school advertises classes in cosmetology, esthetics, nails, waxing and permanent makeup training.