Not Lyson-sed

Man faces fines after falsely claiming to be an architect

Paul Lyon and his company, Lyson Architecture, were served with fines for misrepresenting themselves. (Jeff Eaton/Flickr)

A U.K. man and his firm have been ordered to pay hefty fines after being found guilty of impersonating a licensed architect.

Paul Lyon and his company, Lyson Architecture of Warwickshire, Coventry, and London, were served with a $5,111 (£4,222) fine for misrepresenting himself as an architect on the firm’s website and Twitter (there were no architects are employed by his business, either).

The conviction didn’t come out of nowhere. The Architects Registration Board (ARB), the body that regulates architects in the U.K., had ordered Lyon and his firm to refrain from using the “architect” to describe themselves on their website and social media pages.

The Birmingham Magistrates’ Court District Judge described Lyon’s approach to removing the term from his online presence as “slow and ineffective.”

According to a release from the ARB, the judge added that the public should not be deceived about the type of services they are purchasing and that architects are “entitled not to be in competition or undercut by those who are not architects.”

Lyon and Lyson Architecture have a little under a month (28 days) to strike “architect” from their web pages and other materials—and to clarify, Lyson’s is run by Lyon, it’s not a misspelling. The ARB said it “will continue to monitor their trading style and take further appropriate action as necessary.”

The British case is eerily similar to that of the fake architect who scandalized the profession stateside. In 2017, an upstate New York man by the name of Paul Newman pleaded guilty to felony charges for providing architectural services when he was not a registered architect. Newman admitted to using a fake stamp to sign off on plans and to defrauding businesses and government agencies. Then–New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office brought the charges under “Operation Vandelay Industries,” a reference to the ersatz company George Costanza establishes on Seinfeld to score unemployment benefits.

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