May 24, 2005
CONSUMER PROTECTION DIVISION ISSUES CEASE AND DESIST
ORDER AGAINST BALTIMORE AREA BUILDER
Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced
today that his Consumer Protection Division has issued a cease
requiring a home builder and its principals to pay more than
$365,763.85 in restitution for taking deposits and payments
but failing to complete consumers’ homes. The builder’s
registration is also being suspended immediately pending a proposed
The Division’s order found that Opportunity Investment Group,
Inc., 330 S. Fulton Avenue, Baltimore, and its principals Leon
Coleman and Emma Coleman entered into contracts with consumers
to construct homes in Prince George’s County, accepted
partial payment from those consumers, and promised to begin construction.
To date, however, Opportunity Investment Group, Inc. has either
failed to begin or complete construction on a number of homes
has not refunded any of the monies paid.
The Division alleges that Opportunity Investment Group, Inc.,
Leon Coleman, and Emma Coleman violated Maryland’s New
Homes Deposits Act by failing to place deposits and payments
into an escrow account
or having a surety bond to cover the deposits, and that they
violated the Home Builder Registration Act and the Consumer Protection
by failing to build the homes as promised.
Under Maryland law, home builders must protect a customer’s
deposit until the house is completed or they refund the deposit," said
Attorney General Curran. "Builders who fail to protect consumers’ money
will be prosecuted."
The Division’s cease and desist order immediately bars
Opportunity Investment Group, Inc., Leon Coleman and Emma Coleman
or offering to act as a home builder in the State of Maryland
and requires them to refund the $365,763.85 they collected from
consumers and pay additional restitution to any other consumers
who have been harmed by their unlawful practices. At a hearing
set for July 27, 2005, the Division will ask for an order requiring
them to pay a $1,000 civil penalty for each violation and the
costs of the investigation.
The Division also issued a notice suspending Opportunity Investment
Group, Inc.’s registration to build in the State of Maryland
and proposed revocation to take effect in 30 days. Under Maryland
law, all home builders must be registered with the Division’s
Home Builder Registration Unit.
The public hearing on the charges will be held at the Maryland
Office of Administrative Hearings, 11101 Gilroy Road, Hunt Valley,
Md., on July 27, 2005. Consumers who may have had problems with
Opportunity Investment Group, Inc. or its principals, Leon Coleman
and Emma Coleman, should call the Home Builder Registration Unit
immediately at (410) 576-6573 or toll-free 1-877-259-4525.