BROOKLYN, NY —Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced on September 27th that his office reached an agreement with Mikhail Perlov to resolve an investigation that revealed Perlov was engaged in the unauthorized practice of law. A consent order, signed by Supreme Court Justice Peter P. Sweeney, ordered Mikhail Perlov to stop illegally operating as an unlicensed attorney and to pay at least $52,000 to refund his customers and to pay the State of New York a civil penalty as well as the cost of the investigation.
“Practicing law without a license can have devastating consequences on unsuspecting victims seeking legitimate and honest legal advice and representation,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Mr. Perlov’s blatant disregard for the law is despicable. We have zero tolerance for this kind of illegal and deceptive business practice”.
By the fall of 2014, the Attorney General’s office began to receive complaints from consumers who had paid Perlov to be their lawyer. Based on Perlov’s incompetence and inactivity on their cases, the consumers suspected he was not an actual attorney. Their suspicions were entirely justified; Perlov was not licensed to practice in any jurisdiction and he had no legal training of any type.
According to documents filed in court, Perlov advertised his legal services in Ruskaya Reklama, a Russian-language newspaper, referring to himself as an “ATTORNEY AT LAW” in English and in Russian. In his advertisement, Perlov claimed that he held a “Jurisprudence Doctorate,” could “get charges dropped,” could “get you out of jail,” would “represent your interests in court,” and that he was licensed in New York, New Jersey, and Florida with extensive experience in the courts of those states. His advertisements also included a laundry list of claimed practice specialties, including criminal law, business law, real estate, DWI defense, immigration, accidents/injury law, domestic violence, divorce and family rights, division of property, and internet/e-commerce law.
Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced an agreement with Mikhailk Perlov, who ran an unauthorized practice of law to refund and pay at least 52,000 to his customers, as well as a New York State Penalty and the cost of the investigation. Photo: http://www.ag.ny.gov/
The court found Perlov had engaged in the unauthorized practice of law, deceptive business practices, false advertising, and fraud. The order provides the Attorney General 120 days to locate additional consumers harmed by Perlov’s unauthorized legal practice before the court makes its final restitution award.
According to the Attorney General investigation, Perlov defrauded at least fifty-one consumers and even appeared in court for many of them. Perlov appeared in criminal courts in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and Central Islip for charges including domestic violence, to larceny, to criminal trespass, to DWI and drug/alcohol related offenses. He also appeared in New Jersey courts in both Rahway and Belmar on DWI charges.
Perlov also represented clients in numerous civil issues. One complainant paid Perlov $4,600 to handle her divorce. She complained to Perlov as months went by without any progress on her case. Perlov responded by berating her and then offering her a childishly constructed document made to look like a letter from Chase bank. The letter, which specified no branch or contact at the bank, stated that the bank had frozen a safety deposit box belonging to the client’s husband. It was not signed but claimed to have been written by an unspecified “Chase Manhattan Branch Manager.” The letter was so blatantly fraudulent that the consumer immediately demanded a return of all of her payments. Perlov instead kept her money and insisted she seek another attorney to complete her divorce.
Perlov’s operation was brazen–he made absolutely no effort to hide his illegal activity. Perlov’s advertisement included the address of his “law office” and even a photo of his face. And he openly maintained a law office on the corner of Avenue U and East 19th Street in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn.
Consumers who can substantiate claims that they were harmed by Mikhail Perlov’s illegal practice of law may be eligible for restitution and should contact the Attorney General Brooklyn Regional Office by calling (718)560-2040.
The investigation is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Matthew S. Eubank, from the OAG Brooklyn Regional Office, which is part of the OAG Regional Division led by Executive Deputy Attorney General for Regional Offices Martin J. Mack