Paul J. Newman Allegedly Collected Nearly $200,000 For Rendering Fraudulent Architecture And Design Services Since 2010
Newman Drafted Architectural Renderings For Over 100 Commercial And Residential Properties In Albany, Rensselaer, And Saratoga Counties And Allegedly Affixed Fraudulent Stamps To Over 1,000 Building Plans And Inspections
Schneiderman: My Office Will Not Tolerate Misconduct That Jeopardizes New Yorkers’ Safety And Erodes Public Trust
NEW YORK STATE – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced today the unsealing of three indictments charging Paul J. Newman, President of Cohesion Studios, Inc., with defrauding construction companies, business owners, and municipalities throughout the Capital Region by pretending to be a licensed and registered architect.
The Attorney General’s investigation, “Operation Vandelay Industries,” revealed that Newman allegedly drafted architectural renderings for over 100 properties in Albany, Rensselaer, and Saratoga Counties. Newman allegedly submitted these architectural renderings, as well as foundation inspections, field reports, energy compliance certificates, and engineer letters, to various towns and cities, falsely certifying on the documents that he was a registered and licensed architect and affixing a forged New York State Registered Architect Stamp or Professional Engineer Stamp.
“As we allege, for over seven years the defendant has pretended to be a Registered Architect, deceiving hundreds of New Yorkers – including families and senior citizens — with the sole goal of enriching himself,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “By allegedly falsifying building plans, code compliance inspections, and field reports, the defendant jeopardized the safety of those who resided in and frequented the buildings he was contracted to work on. Deceptive actions like these erode public trust — and my office will not tolerate them.”
“The State Education Department's Office of the Professions investigates and prosecutes professional misconduct in more than 50 licensed professions to help protect New Yorkers,” said State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia. “We are grateful for our continuing partnership with Attorney General Schneiderman and his team of professionals as we work together to ensure the safety of the public is protected against the dangers of unlicensed practice.”
According to statements by the prosecutor at arraignment, since at least 2010, Newman has been presenting himself as an architect to multiple municipalities in the Capital Region. Newman allegedly advertised his architectural services on various social media outlets until he became aware that a complaint had been filed with the New York State Education Department (“NYSED”), Office of the Professions. Soon after, Newman removed any reference to “architecture” in his ads and replaced it with “design.” In June 2015, investigators from NYSED, Office of the Professions received a complaint alleging that Newman was practicing architecture without a license. In May 2016, following the NYSED investigation, the matter was referred to the Attorney General’s Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau.