On Tuesday, acting Attorney General Matthew Platkin announced the state filed a lawsuit against Capri Institute, while also calling for the State Board of Cosmetology and Hairstyling to immediately suspend the cosmetology school’s license to operate in New Jersey.
The actions come amid allegations that the school defrauded students, engaged in substandard businesses practices that financially harmed learners, and failed to meet regulations and curriculum requirements.
The actions also come in the aftermath of Capri’s abrupt closing in December 2021, when its roughly 250 students were given less than 48 hours notice. That triggered a Division of Consumer Affairs investigation.
According to the state’s findings, in the weeks following the shut-down, the school refused to provide students with official transcripts or tuition refunds, making it virtually impossible for them to transfer to another cosmetology school.
From there, the state says that Capri began haphazardly reopening certain campuses after 45 days instead of the 30 days advertised on its website. And while classroom instruction was restored, clinics attached to the schools were not, which violated curriculum requirements for New Jersey beauty schools.
Capri’s Paramus, Clifton and Kenilworth’s campuses have reopened; the Brick campus remains closed.
“Capri’s students paid thousands of dollars in tuition – or incurred thousands of dollars in student loan debt – in an effort to obtain a professional cosmetology and hairstyling license to improve their quality of life. As a result of the school’s alleged unlawful conduct, that dream has been put on hold – perhaps permanently,” said Cari Fais, acting director of the Division of Consumer Affairs. “The actions announced today seek to hold the defendants accountable and provide relief and a pathway forward for affected students. We will continue working with our professional and occupational licensing boards to protect consumers from this kind of financial fraud and abuse.”
The state says a flood of complaints from students following the abrupt closing led the DCA’s Office of Consumer Protection and the Enforcement Bureau for the professional licensing boards to launch a joint-investigation, which precipitated the actions announced by the attorney general’s office.
The lawsuit was filed in Superior Court in Union County on June 3, alleging Capri and its associated entities violated the Consumer Fraud Act and advertising regulations. That same day, a Verified Complaint was also filed before the State Board of Cosmetology and Hairstyling, seeking the immediate, temporary suspension of the Board-issued licenses that allow Capri to operate programs at its four N.J. campuses.