BALLSTON SPA – A man posing as a licensed architect will spend the next two and a third to seven years in prison.
Paul Newman, president of Cohesion Studios, previously pleaded guilty to six felonies in a sting named in reference to a Seinfeld episode, “Operation Vandelay Industries.”
He was initial charged with 58 felonies related to drafting schematic drawings for more than 100 properties in the Capital District and selling those drawings as if he were a licensed architect.
“Deceptively posing as a licensed and registered architect has real consequences – including prison time,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Those who wish to game the system and take advantage of New Yorkers should take note: no license, no work for you. My office will continue to uphold this standard.”
The projects include Hannoush Jewelers in Colonie, the Lofts Project in Malta, the Pastures in Colonie and the Livingston Project in Albany. In all, the AG’s investigation found Newman submitted renderings for over 100 properties in the Capital District as well as foundation inspections, field reports, energy compliance certificates and engineer letters to various towns and cities. He falsely certified on the documents he was a registered and licensed architect and affixed a forged state Registered Architect Stamp or Professional Engineer Stamp.
To pull off the scheme, which he perpetuated since at least 2010, he took the registration number of a legal archietect he found on the internet and affixed it to a fraulent stamp.
He pleaded guilty to grand larceny, forgery, unauthorized practice of a profession and scheme to defraud.
He was sentenced in Saratoga County Court and over the next two weeks is slated to get the same sentence in Albany and Rensselaer County courts. The sentences will run concurrently.
He must also pay more than $115,000 in restitution.
“The State Education Department remains committed to ensuring the public’s safety,” said MaryEllen Elia, commissioner of the state Education Department, which oversees professional licensing. “We look forward to continuing our work with Attorney General Schneiderman to protect New Yorkers from the very real dangers associated with the unlicensed practice of a profession.”