New York hotel owner sues over fraudulent checks

By Joel Brakken | Jan 30, 2014

The owner of the Chelsea Hotel in New York is suing over allegations checks were fraudulently cashed.

Chelsea 23rd St. Corp. filed a lawsuit Nov. 19 in the Cook County Circuit Court against PLS Financial Services and PLS Check Cashers of New York, citing negligence, breach of warranty, fraud, aiding and abetting, willful and wanton conduct and banking law violations.

According to the complaint, on multiple occasions, the hotel's general manager from April 2010 to about August 2011 retained contractors to perform repairs at the hotel and then issued and/or approved checks to fraudsters who never performed any work.

The plaintiff states PLS Financial Services and PLS Check Cashers of New York then cashed the improperly negotiated, fraudulent checks and took a fee of approximately 1.95 percent, without verifying the fraudsters' identification or validity of the checks.

The suit also claims the defendants cashed checks made payable to the New York City departments for unknown purposes, either knew or should have known the checks presented for payment were fraudulent and assisted in a fraud scheme to draw money out of plaintiff's bank account.

Chelsea 23rd St. Corp. is seeking an undisclosed amount in damages and is being represented by Tia C. Ghattas and Gary M. Klinger of Cozen O'Connor in Chicago.

Cook County Circuit Court Case No. 2013L013263.

This is a report on a civil lawsuit filed at the Cook County Courthouse. The details in this report come from an original complaint filed by a plaintiff. Please note that a complaint represents an accusation by a private individual, not the government. It is not an indication of guilt, and it represents only one side of the story.

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