For Immediate Release
June 23, 2009
Senior Assistant Attorney General Lauren J. Noether
Attorney General Kelly A. Ayotte announced that Sean Corriveau of Derry, former manager and president of Elite Fitness, Inc. has pled guilty in Hillsborough County Superior Court-South to one Class A felony and two Class A misdemeanors relating to violations of New Hampshire's Consumer Protection Act, RSA 358-A.
Mr. Corriveau pled guilty to the felony charge of Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card. Mr. Corriveau used an individual's credit card without his authorization to charge $14,000 worth of carpeting through Carpet Creations, Inc., to outfit a health club at 142 Lowell Road, Nottingham Plaza, Hudson. Mr. Corriveau had opened a facility by the name of Elite Fitness, Inc., d/b/a Powerhouse Gym at that location. The health club was not registered with the Office of the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Bureau as required by statute. In spite of this, Corriveau entered into contracts and took prepaid memberships, ignoring the requests of the Consumer Protection Bureau, to cease and comply with the Health Club Registration law.
This conduct resulted in the two misdemeanor charges of Unfair or Deceptive Business Practices. Specifically, Corriveau plead guilty to one misdemeanor for failing to post the necessary surety bond under RSA 358-I: 2, III and to one misdemeanor for failing to place prepaid membership fees in an escrow account as required by RSA 358-I: 2, V.
Corriveau was sentenced to one year in the House of Corrections with all but one month suspended. He is required to pay $14,000 of restitution and to spend two years on Probation. In addition, Corriveau was sentenced to two consecutive six-month suspended sentences of incarceration on the misdemeanors and ordered not to engage in any business for the next 10 years where monies or deposits are paid prior to goods or services being provided.
Attorney General Ayotte stated that attempts to circumvent New Hampshire consumer protection laws will not be tolerated. "New Hampshire citizens should be aware that all health clubs and martial arts schools must be registered with the Attorney General's Office and must comply with laws requiring, among other things, clearly spelling out consumers' rights in contracts, escrowing consumer prepaid funds, and posting a surety bond or the equivalent for a certain amount of prepay liability," Ayotte said.
To find out if a health club or martial arts school is registered, consumers may call the Consumer Protection hotline of the Attorney General's Office at 888-468-4454 weekdays between 9 am and 3 pm. Consumers may also find valuable information including a Business Complaint Lookup at the Bureau Web site located at www.doj.nh.gov/consumer.
New Hampshire Department of Justice | 33 Capitol Street | Concord, NH | 03301