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New York Penal Law § 190.20: False Advertising

New York Penal Law § 190.20 defines the crime of false advertising as a class A misdemeanor offense. The statute prohibits making false or misleading statements or representations in advertisements, with the intent to sell or promote a product or service. The term "advertisement" is broadly defined under the statute to include any communication that is made to the public, including print, radio, television, and online ads, as well as product packaging and labeling.

To be convicted of false advertising under New York Penal Law § 190.20, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant made a false or misleading statement or representation in an advertisement, and that the defendant did so with the intent to sell or promote a product or service. Examples of false advertising can include making false claims about the effectiveness of a product, exaggerating its benefits, or concealing negative aspects of a product.


People v. Hsu, 33 A.D.3d 603 (2d Dep't 2006): In People v. Hsu, the defendant was the owner of a company that manufactured and sold a weight loss product. The product was marketed as "100% natural" and "safe," with claims that it could help users lose weight quickly and easily. However, laboratory tests conducted by the New York State Department of Health found that the product contained undeclared pharmaceutical ingredients, including sibutramine, which had been withdrawn from the market due to safety concerns.

The defendant was charged with multiple violations of New York law, including false advertising under New York Penal Law § 190.20. The prosecution argued that the defendant's claims about the product were false and misleading, as they concealed the presence of potentially dangerous pharmaceutical ingredients. The defendant maintained that she had no knowledge of the ingredients in the product, and that she had relied on her suppliers to provide her with accurate information. At trial, the jury found the defendant guilty of false advertising under New York Penal Law § 190.20.

Related Offenses
  1. False personation: New York Penal Law section 190.23
  2. Criminal impersonation in the second degree: New York Penal Law section 190.25
  3. Criminal impersonation in the first degree: New York Penal Law section 190.26

If a person is convicted of false advertising under this statute, they may be sentenced to up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. The judge presiding over the case has discretion to impose a sentence that is appropriate for the specific circumstances of the case.

New York Penal Law § 190.20: False Advertising

A person is guilty of false advertising when, with intent to promote the sale or to increase the consumption of property or services, he makes or causes to be made a false or misleading statement in any advertisement or publishes any advertisement in violation of chapter three of the act of congress entitled "Truth in Lending Act" and the regulations thereunder, as such act and regulations may from time to time be amended, addressed to the public or to a substantial number of persons; except that, in any prosecution under this section, it is an affirmative defense that the allegedly false or misleading statement was not knowingly or recklessly made or caused to be made.

Contact Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If someone is charged with violating New York Penal Law § 190.20 for false advertising, it is important to contact an experienced New York criminal lawyer as conviction can result in fines and even jail time. In addition, false advertising cases may also involve civil liability, and a conviction could result in lawsuits or fines imposed by regulatory agencies. An experienced New York criminal lawyer can help the defendant understand and navigate any civil liability issues that may arise as a result of the criminal charges. Contact Stephen Bilkis & Associates at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: Nassau County, Queens, Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Staten Island, Suffolk County, and Westchester County.

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