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This entry was published on 2014-09-22
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Investigation by the attorney general
General Business (GBS) CHAPTER 20, ARTICLE 22
§ 343. Investigation by the attorney general. Whenever it shall appear
to the attorney general, either upon complaint or otherwise, that any
person or persons, partnership, corporation, company, trust or
association shall have engaged in or engages in or is about to engage in
any act or practice by this article prohibited or declared to be
illegal, or that any person, persons, partnership, corporation, company,
trust or association has assisted or participated in any plan, scheme,
agreement or combination of the nature described herein, or whenever he
believes it to be in the public interest that an investigation be made,
he may in his discretion either require or permit such person, persons,
partnership, corporation, company, trust or association to file with him
a statement in writing under oath or otherwise as to all the facts and
circumstances concerning the subject matter which he believes is to be
to the public interest to investigate. The attorney general may also
require such other data and information as he may deem relevant and may
make such special and independent investigations as he may deem
necessary in connection with the matter. The attorney general, his
deputy, assistant, or other officer designated by him, is empowered to
subpoena witnesses, compel their attendance, examine them under oath
before himself or a magistrate, a court of record or a judge or justice
thereof, and require the production of any books or papers which he
deems relevant or material to the inquiry. Any person, persons,
partnership, corporation, company, trust or association subject to
service of a summons within or without the state pursuant to article
three of the civil practice law and rules shall be subject to the
service of a subpoena properly issued pursuant to this section. Any
subpoena served hereunder without the state shall be issued on an
ex-parte order of the court based upon a showing that the information or
testimony sought bears a reasonable relationship to the subject matter
under investigation. All papers filed in connection with the obtaining
of said order may be maintained under seal by the clerk of the court
upon application of the attorney general to the court. Any person,
persons, partnership, corporation, company, trust, or association, who
has been served with subpoena pursuant to this section may make a
motion, pursuant to section twenty-three hundred four of the civil
practice law and rules, to quash, fix conditions, or modify such
subpoena. Any and all papers previously sealed by the court may be made
available to the person making such motion. Such power of subpoena and
examination shall not abate or terminate by reason of any action or
proceeding brought by the attorney general under this article. No person
shall be excused from attending such inquiry in pursuance to the
mandates of a subpoena, or from producing a paper or book, document or
any other record, or from being examined or required to answer questions
on the ground of failure to tender or pay a witness fee or mileage
unless demand therefor is made at the time testimony is about to be
taken and as a condition precedent to offering such production or
testimony and unless payment thereof be not thereupon made. The
provisions for payment of witness fee and/or mileage do not apply to any
officer, director or person in the employ of any person, partnership,
company, corporation, trust or association whose conduct or practices
are being investigated. If a person subpoenaed to attend such inquiry
fails to obey the command of the subpoena without good cause, or if a
person in attendance upon such inquiry shall without reasonable cause
refuse to be sworn or to answer a question or to produce a book, paper,
document or other record when ordered to do so by the officer conducting
such inquiry, or if a person, partnership, corporation, company, trust
or association fails to perform any act hereunder required to be
performed, he shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. The foregoing shall not
prevent the attorney general from instituting civil contempt proceedings
under section twenty-three hundred eight (b) of the civil practice law
and rules against any person who violates any of the above provisions.
It shall be the duty of all public officers, their deputies, assistants,
clerks, subordinates or employees, and all other persons to render and
furnish to the attorney general, his deputy or other designated
representative, when so requested, all information and assistance in
their possession or within their power. Any officer participating in
such inquiry and any person examined as a witness upon such inquiry who
shall disclose to any person other than the attorney general the name of
any witness examined or any other information obtained upon such
inquiry, except as so directed by the attorney general shall be guilty
of a misdemeanor. Such inquiry may upon written authorization of the
attorney general be made public.

The misdemeanors provided in this section shall be punishable by a
fine of not more than one thousand dollars or imprisonment for not more
than one year, or both.