ATTORNEY GENERAL J.B. VAN HOLLEN FILES ENFORCEMENT ACTION AGAINST FLAT RATE PLUMBING, INC., LESTER GUMIENY, JR., ANDANDREW GOMEZ FOR FRAUDULENT BUSINESS PRACTICES
ATTORNEY GENERAL J.B. VAN HOLLEN FILES ENFORCEMENT ACTION AGAINST FLAT RATE PLUMBING, INC., LESTER GUMIENY, JR., AND ANDREW GOMEZ FOR FRAUDULENT BUSINESS PRACTICES
MILWAUKEE — Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has announced that his office has commenced a civil enforcement action against Flat Rate Plumbing, Inc., as well as two individuals, for using fraudulent misrepresentations to sell goods and services to homeowners during in-home service calls. The State alleges that Flat Rate has routinely deceived consumers, who called for simple repairs such as unclogging drains or fixing leaky pipes, into spending large amounts – often thousands of dollars – for extensive unnecessary work. For instance, the complaint alleges that Flat Rate’s technicians have falsely told homeowners that equipment could not be repaired and had to be replaced, that clogged pipes could not be cleared but had to be replaced, and that houses could not be sold unless old pipes were upgraded, among other false statements. The State also alleges that Flat Rate’s technicians sometimes have intentionally damaged homeowners’ pipes or other plumbing equipment, without consent, in order to pressure the homeowners to agree to proposed service jobs.
Lester M. Gumieny, Jr. is the owner and president of Flat Rate Plumbing. The State’s complaint charges him with overseeing and directing his company’s fraudulent scheme. The State also names as a defendant Andrew J. Gomez, a journeyman plumber, who personally engaged in deceptive sales practices.
The case was initially investigated by the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), which referred the matter to the Department of Justice. The State is seeking injunctive relief, civil forfeitures, and restitution for customers who suffered pecuniary loss as a result of the fraudulent practices, among other forms of relief.
The case has been assigned to Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Kevin Martens. The State of Wisconsin is represented by Assistant Attorney General Lewis W. Beilin.
Copies of the Summons and Complaint are available at the links below: