L&W Investigations is a private investigation franchise and business scam.
In certified public documents obtained from the Orange County Superior Court on Civil Case No. 06CC00692, Neal Lyons was sued by eleven (11) plaintiffs for fraud. The company settled this suit for fraud by paying $500,000.
We discovered public, certified court documents from this case showing that his prior business partner, Michael Wolivar gave his sworn Declaration on March 6, 2006, and stated "...it appeared to me that Lyons and others associated with the franchising operations of L&W (Stuart Larimer and Scott Crowell), were targeting individuals who lacked knowledge of the investigative services industry for potential franchisees. I think it was Lyons who quoted Barnum and Bailey, 'there's a sucker born every minute' in referring to the franchisees. Lyons and others were basically telling potential franchisees misleading information in order to sell a franchise. Lyon's sales tactics ranged from gross exaggeration to outright deception...I and others at the office became increasingly uncomfortable with the actions of Lyons, Larimer and Crowell."
He went on to say "Employees at Wolivar and Associates began to express concerns that L&W may becoming a 'Ponzi scheme'...Lyons threatened me with litigation if I disclosed certain information about L&W. One of Lyon's expressions was 'intimidate and litigate,' which I understood to refer to his course of action regarding franchisees."
Multiple pages from this Declaration spell out how Neal Lyons, Scott Crowell, and Stuart Larimer lied to potential franchise owners simply to get them to pay them their $100,000 or more to own a "turnkey" franchise.
In another lawsuit filed with the Orange County Superior Court Civil Department, documents showed in Case No. 30-2009-00120252-CU-BU-CJC, for Breach of Contract, the three plaintiffs' in this law suit alleged multiple counts of business and contract fraud associated with the sale and operation of franchises sold under the names Lyons & Wolivar and L&W Investigations.
This suit was filed against Neal Lyons, his wife, Anne [Kathy] Lyons, R. Scott Crowell, Mark Green, and Stuart Larimer. Multiple public documents were discovered showing that the company lost this case too.
In the Final Award found online, the arbitrator, Superior Court Judge, Hon. Haley J. Fromholz (Ret.) wrote "Neal Lyons, L&W's Chief Executive Officer and principal witness, conceded under oath that he had misstated his work and educational background on numerous occasions, including in filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. As a result, his credibility was seriously compromised."
The judge went on to write and identify the multiple fraudulent statements and lies told to entice the plaintiff to purchase a franchise. The specifics pretty much mirror the sworn Declaration made by Mr. Lyon's prior business partner, Mike Wolivar in the prior case noted above where Mr. Wolivar swore under oath that pretty much everything that Neal Lyons and Scott Crowell told potential franchise buyers was false, misleading, and grossly exaggerated.
The judge went on to say "Mr. Lyons, L&W's CEO, was especially able to lead the Enterprise because he had graduated from the University of Nebraska and earned an MBA at Harvard, and that he had been the president of Van's, a shoe manufacturer. All of the representations were false."
The judge also pointed out "Michael Wolivar, a well known and successful private investigator, was involved with the daily operations of L&W and would participate in training. In fact, Mr. Wolivar had disassociated himself from L&W in 2003, and had done so, at least in part, because of what he believed to be unethical behavior on the part of L&W."
The judge also wrote "L&W had 150 national clients...In fact, L&W had a small fraction of 150 national clients..." He also said "L&W employed over 100 people who would support franchisees in marketing and business development efforts. In fact, L&W had 15 employees in 2005, and soon reduced that number."
In the judge's Final Award, the judge found "L&W's misstatements and omissions, detailed above, amount to fraud."
The final judgment was Certified in the Orange County Superior Court against this company by the Hon. James J. Di Cesare in the amount of $564,928.67.
In our research, we found multiple law suits filed by franchise owners, all claiming fraud and deception by Neal Lyons and Scott Crowell.
We could not find any evidence that these people or company is even licensed in the State of MA to operate as a private investigation firm. According the State, they must hold a valid license to operate and conduct business as investigators. It appears that the principals in this company have never been licensed as private investigators in the State of MA. In our research, we found that Neal Lyons may have fraudulently used another MA franchise owner's license, claiming that it was his, or the company's license whenever challenged or asked to provide a copy of their license. If this is true, this company has operated illegally for years, thus making any evidence presented to the courts inadmissable and also fraudulent.
This company is bad news.