A.G. Schneiderman Files Suit Against WNY Mechanic For Defrauding Racing Enthusiasts
Owner Of Billy Leverentz Racing Engines Collected Thousands For Work Never Performed
Schneiderman: Those Who Take Advantage Of New Yorkers Investing In Their Passion Will Be Held Accountable
BUFFALO – Attorney General Eric Schneiderman today announced a lawsuit against a Western New York mechanic for defrauding racing enthusiasts by accepting payments for work on high performance engines he never did.
According to the petition, William Leverentz, who does business as Billy Leverentz Racing Engines, has collected thousands of dollars from racing enthusiasts to repair and rebuild high performance engines but then never did the work. The petition also alleges that when Leverentz did do engine repairs, his work was shoddy.
“The fact that Leverentz took advantage of those who invested their hard-earned money into pursuing a passion is just plain wrong,”Attorney General Schneiderman said. “By filing this suit, we are making it clear that those who prey upon trusting New Yorkers seeking to upgrade their vehicles will be held accountable.”
In one case, a consumer paid Leverentz $3,500 to install an engine in a vintage Corvette. Rather than install the engine valued at $30,000, however, Leverentz gave it away to settle a debt he owed. In another case, the consumer paid Leverentz thousands of dollars to outfit an engine for his drag racer only to have the engine explode after only 3 runs.
Attorney General Schneiderman’s investigation revealed that, in addition to not doing work for which he had been paid, Leverentz used cash payments from consumers to issue refunds to other customers. Leverentz took money for parts but then never ordered the parts. Leverentz even removed parts from engines he was repairing and installed them on other engines.
Hon. Jeremiah J. Moriarity III of Erie County State Supreme Court signed a temporary restraining order that freezes Leverentz’s bank accounts and prohibits him from accepting any advance payments from consumers.
Attorney General Schneiderman’s office is seeking a court order barring Leverentz from engaging in any business in New York State unless he first posts a $100,000 bond. The lawsuit also seeks refunds for consumers and civil penalties for his violations of consumer protection laws.
To avoid falling victim to unscrupulous business owners like Leverentz, Attorney General Schneiderman urges consumers not to pay large advance sums for work to be performed in the future. They should negotiate a payment schedule tied to the completion of specific stages of the job, and never pay the full price up front.
Individuals with complaints against Leverentz should contact the Attorney General’s consumer help line at (800) 771-7755 or his Buffalo Regional Office at (716) 853-8400.
This case was handled by Assistant Attorney General James Morrissey and Karen Davis, Senior Consumer Fraud Representative in the Buffalo Regional Office which is led by Michael Russo, Assistant Attorney General In Charge. The Buffalo Regional Office is a part of the Division of Regional Offices, led by Martin J. Mack, Executive Deputy Attorney General for Regional Offices.