ITHACA, N.Y. — A Tompkins County auctioneer has been ordered to pay over $1 million in restitution after defrauding many consumers – local and across the country – who consigned items with his businesses and never received the proceeds.
David Hall, owner of Bid Club, Inc., National Book Auctions, Worth Auctions and JLF Holdings, has been named in several lawsuits and a criminal charge in the past year. On Wednesday, the New York Attorney General’s Office announced a consent order and judgment against Hall. He has been ordered to pay $1,041,542 for consumer restitution and $52,000 in civil penalties and costs.
“There is no tolerance for fraudulent businesses of any kind in New York,” Attorney General Letitia James said in a news release. “Consumers doing business with David Hall trusted that he would uphold his end of their transactions, but instead, he routinely cheated them out of payment that they rightfully deserved. This judgment should serve as a clear message that those who engage in dishonest practices will be held accountable.”
National Book Auctions and Worth Auctions, which Hall owns, solicits and accepts personal property and then sells them through physical and online auctions. Consumers would be charged a commission between 5% and 35% of the auction price and were promised that they would be paid the proceeds within 30 days. However, the attorney general’s office states, Hall failed to pay proceeds owed to at least 115 consumers since 2015.
In November, The Ithaca Voice spoke with several people who consigned items, watched them sell online, but never received full payment. Though some people the Voice spoke with had positive experiences with Hall and National Book Auctions in the past, they said there was a shift in the past few years. The value of the property people consigned with Hall’s companies ranged from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands.
In addition to the restitution, Hall and his businesses have been ordered to hire a third-party independent trustee to handle money from future auction sales. After paying consignors for the items they sold, the trustee will pay at least 30 percent of the remaining funds to the attorney general’s office for restitution to past victims, a news release said. Also, all proceeds from the sale of any property personally owned by Hall and his businesses must be paid over to the trustee, “who will pay no less than 80 percent of those funds to the attorney general’s office for consumer restitution.”
After Hall has paid back all restitution, civil penalties and costs, he must continue to retain a trustee to handle auction proceeds unless he posts a $500,000 bond to ensure he complies with the judgment, the news release said.
Read the judgment below:
Any additional consumers who believe that they may have been damaged by Hall and his businesses may file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Binghamton Regional Office seeking restitution by August 18, 2019. To file a complaint, please call (607) 251-2770.