CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey filed a lawsuit against an Ohio woman who allegedly advertised as a wedding planner and disc jockey (DJ) and then did not provide those services.
Helen Marie Nichole Smith, of Steubenville, Ohio, allegedly failed to provide DJ services at numerous weddings in multiple states. Attorney General Morrisey says Smith advertised on social media and the internet.
According to court papers, Smith entered into 135 fraudulent service agreements for upcoming weddings. At least 34 West Virginia consumers contracted her business, Attorney General Morrisey says.
As reputation spread of Smith’s alleged dishonesty, several consumers canceled their contracts in April and May of 2021. The Attorney General says this led Smith to file for bankruptcy. She identified over 135 “consumer creditors” in her filing related to her DJ services, claiming the amount of owed debt was “unknown.”
The State of West Virginia began investigating Smith after numerous consumers complained. Attorney General Morrisey says that from April 2020 to May 2021, Smith owned and operated her business first in West Virginia, and then in Ohio.
Attorney General Morrisey says Smith violated the state’s Consumer Credit and Protection Act. Smith allegedly did not register her business with the West Virginia Division of Tax or the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office.
Attorney General Morrisey’s lawsuit asks the court to prohibit Smith from “engaging in unfair or deceptive acts or practices in connection with the sale of disc jockey and wedding planning services … ” The lawsuit also asks a judge to order Smith to pay a maximum civil penalties “for each and every willful and repeated violation” of the Consumer Credit and Protection Act.
“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.”
In September 2021, Smith was indicted by a Hancock County grand jury on a single count of fraudulent schemes. She pleaded guilty the following February.
A full copy of the lawsuit can be viewed here.