August 1, 2014 at 2:00 PM
NEWARK, NJ – Green Brook resident Janice Tupper and her business JLT Millworks were found guilty of committing 117 incidents of fraud by New Jersey Superior Court Judge Stephan C. Hansbury today. Tupper was found to have accepted thousands of dollars from clients for high-end custom home furnishing and then either delivering nothing or substandard and damaged products.
The judgment includes $66,537.05 in restitution to former customers, $30.700.05 in reimbursement to the state for Attorney’s fees, and $1.17 million in civil penalties. Additionally, the corporate charter for JLT Millworks was revoked.
“The facts presented in court spoke volumes as to the egregious treatment of consumers by JLT Millworks,” Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman said. “We’re pleased that the court granted our request to permanently bar the company’s owner, Janice Tupper, from ever again owning or operating a business in New Jersey, in addition to ordering consumer restitution and civil penalties.”
The Better Business Bureau reports that JLT Millworks operated out of Mendham but is currently closed. The website, jltmillworks.com, is currently not operational and for sale.
Tupper also operated on Google Plus as “Lumber Jane” and promoted reclaimed wood flooring, home and business furnishings a recently as September 2013, two months before the State of New Jersey Consumer Affairs Division filed their complaint. According to the Attorney General Tupper also operated under the names Lumber Jane Millworks, Lumber Jane Wide Plank Flooring, Lumber Jane Barn Beams, Lumber Jane Rustic Mantels and Lumber Jane Antique Barn Siding.
According to the Google Plus page, she now lives in East Brunswick.
In the complaint the state alleged that Tupper was very responsive, answering phone calls and e-mails quickly, whenever a new customer expressed an interest in her products. She would often meet in person with the customer, show them samples and then take non-refundable deposits of at least 50 percent. The contracts provided did not include required statements about refunds for non-delivery or expected delivery dates.
In the cases adjudicated by the Superior Court Tupper and JTL became difficult to reach and did not provide written or spoken notice of missed delivery times, shoddy workmanship or damaged, defective or “non-conforming” products.
On the website Complaints Board a woman identifying herself as Charlotte Halter wrote in October 2012, more than a year before the complaint, “I paid money to JLT Millworks to make some flooring works. I talked to their customer service many times and woman that worked there seemed very friendly and nice. However, the situation changed strictly after they received a check. I have never been scammed like that. I feel so foolish.”
On the NJ.com business page for JLT Millworks there are 20 complaints dating back to August 2011, all dating prior to the December 2013 complaint from the state. One person self-identified as Clyde claimed in September 2012 to have be scammed of $4,500 and to have filed both civil and criminal complaints against Tupper.
According to acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs Steve Lee, “Furniture and furnishing complaints are consistently one of the Division’s top complaint categories year after year.” New Jersey residents who believe they have cheated or scammed visit the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs website http://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/ or call (973) 504-6200.