The New York Attorney General’s office has shut down a Brockport, N.Y.-based process server company that falsely claimed in legal affidavits that its employees had made proper service of legal documents to thousands of consumers.
The company, We Serve It For You Process Serving Agency LLC, served summonses, complaints and other legal documents on individuals on behalf of law firms. Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's office began investigating the company in 2009 as part of an ongoing probe into debt collection lawsuits.
The Attorney General's office entered into a settlement requiring that the company - operated by Joanne Marie Coy, John Coy, Theresa Buehler and Wesley Converse - immediately cease operations and cooperate with ongoing investigations. The business and its owners also must pay fees, costs and penalties totaling $10,000, according to Cuomo's office.
We Serve It For You and its operators, as part of the settlement, also are required to cooperate with ongoing investigations into illegal collection practices.
"The toxic business practices of this company impacted individuals across New York State,” Cuomo said in a prepared statement. “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.”
Generally, process servers deliver legal papers via one of three methods: to the defendant personally; to a person of suitable age and discretion at the location of the intended person to be served; or to the door of the intended person’s actual location and by mail to their last known address. After providing service to the intended recipient, process servers print an affidavit of service to prove that they had provided the legal documents to the defendant.
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. As part of the settlement, Coy must surrender his notary public commission.
From 2007 to 2009, We Serve It For You served approximately 54,000 complaints and kept 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, the company claimed to have made service or service attempts before they even received the documents to serve; and, 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.
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.