PRINCE GEORGEíS COUNTY HOME BUILDER FIRST TO BE CHARGED UNDER NEW LAW
Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that his Consumer Protection Division has issued a cease and desist order against a home builder who it alleges took money from a customer to build a custom home but never began construction, and who is not registered as a home builder with the State, as required.
According to the charges, Chad S. Wilby of Brandywine, Maryland, agreed to construct a house for Carolyn Alexander on property she owns in Oxon Hill, Maryland. He accepted $31,000 in partial payment from Alexander for the $117,000 house and promised to begin construction by March 22. To date, Wilby has not begun construction of the home, nor refunded the $31,000 she paid. The Division alleges that Wilby violated the Maryland Custom Home Protection Act by failing to place the $31,000 into an escrow account or having a surety bond to cover the deposit, that Wilby violated the Home Builder Registration Act by acting as a home builder without being registered with the Home Builder Registration Unit of the Consumer Protection Division, and he violated the Consumer Protection Act by failing to build the house as promised.
"Under Maryland law, home builders must be registered before they can enter into contracts to build homes for consumers, and they must protect a customerís deposit until the house is completed or they refund the deposit," said Attorney General Curran. "We will prosecute builders who violate either of these important provisions."
The Divisionís ex parte cease and desist order immediately bars Wilby from acting or offering to act as a home builder in the State of Maryland. At a hearing in December, the Division will ask for a final cease and desist order, as well as an order requiring Wilby to pay Alexander $31,000 in restitution and restitution to any other consumers who have been harmed by unlawful practices. Also, the Division will seek a $1,000 civil penalty per day of unlawful practice and the costs of the investigation.
The public hearing on the charges will be held at the Maryland Office of Administrative Hearings, 11101 Gilroy Road, Hunt Valley, Md. on December 7, 2001 at 9:30 a.m. Consumers who may have had problems with Chad S. Wilby are encouraged to call the Home Builder Registration Unit immediately at (410) 576-6573 or toll-free 1-877-259-4525.