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For Immediate Release
October 5, 2004
Media Contact:
Kevin Enright 410-576-6357

CURRAN’S CONSUMER PROTECTION DIVISION FILES CHARGES AGAINST GARRETT COUNTY BUILDER

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that his Consumer Protection Division has filed charges against a Garrett County home builder who it alleges took deposits and payments from a consumer and failed to complete construction or refund the payments. The Division has suspended its registration pending revocation.

According to the charges, C&S Construction, Inc., and its principals William D. Cook and Mark R. Shrout of Oakland, Maryland, entered into a contract with a consumer to construct a home in Garrett County and accepted advance payments of $23,304. C&S Construction never completed the home and failed to refund the consumer’s payment.

The Division alleges that C&S Construction, Inc., Cook and Shrout violated the Maryland Custom Home Protection Act, the Home Builder Registration Act and the Consumer Protection Act by failing to place or maintain the $23,304 in an escrow account or having a surety bond to cover the deposit and failing to complete the home as promised.

" Consumers should protect themselves by ensuring that their deposit will be protected before writing a check to a builder," said Curran. Builders who collect deposits from consumers are required to protect those deposits by posting a bond or letter of credit with the Division or having consumers make deposits payable to an escrow account separate from the builder’s operating account. Consumers can check the method a builder has reported using to protect deposits by contacting the Attorney General’s Home Builder Registration Unit at (410) 576-6573 in Baltimore, toll-free at (877) 259-4525, or by e-mail at homebuilder@oag.state.md.us.

The Division’s charges seek an order barring C&S Construction, Inc., Cook and Shrout from acting as a builder in the State of Maryland and requiring them to pay restitution to consumers who have been harmed by their unlawful practices, including the $23,304 collected from the consumer identified in the charges. Also, the Division is seeking a $1,000 civil penalty per day of unlawful practice and the costs of the investigation.

The Division also issued a notice seeking to revoke the home builder registration of C&S Construction, Inc. and immediately suspending C&S Construction, Inc.’s registration.

A public hearing on the charges will be held at the Consumer Protection Division, 200 Saint Paul Place, Baltimore, on November 1, 2004. Consumers who may have had problems with C&S Construction, Inc., William D. Cook and Mark R. Shrout should contact the Home Builder Registration Unit.

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