CHARLESTON (WVDN) — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has filed a lawsuit against a disc jockey/wedding planner for allegedly failing to provide advertised services to numerous clients.
Helen Marie Nichole Smith, of Steubenville, Ohio, conducted business in West Virginia. She allegedly violated the state’s Consumer Credit and Protection Act, and the Attorney General is asking the court to prohibit the woman “from engaging in unfair or deceptive acts or practices in connection with the sale of disc jockey and wedding planning services…”
“It’s really simple: you must follow the law if you want to do business in West Virginia, and be honest about your work,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “Those who defraud consumers must be held accountable to the full extent of the law.”
The state started investigating Smith after receiving several complaints from consumers across West Virginia—she owned and operated the business, first in West Virginia then in Ohio, from April 2020 through May 2021. She advertised through social media and the internet.
Attorney General Morrisey alleged Smith failed to register her business with the West Virginia Division of Tax or with West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office.
Court papers indicated Smith entered into more than 135 contracts to provide disc jockey services for upcoming weddings in West Virginia and other states. At least 34 consumers in West Virginia contracted her business, but she allegedly failed to provide services at numerous weddings.
As the word spread of her failure to honor the contracts, many of the consumers cancelled their contracts in April and May of 2021 which led Smith to file for bankruptcy. She identified more than 135 “consumer creditors” in her filing related to her disc jockey services, claiming the amount of debt owing was “unknown.”
Smith was indicted by a Hancock County grand jury in September 2021 on a single count of fraudulent schemes. She pleaded guilty this past February.
Attorney General Morrisey’s lawsuit also asks a judge to order Smith to pay maximum civil penalties “for each and every willful and repeated violation” of the Consumer Credit and Protection Act.