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For Immediate Release
June 12, 2006
Media Contact:
Kevin Enright 410-576-6357

ATTORNEY GENERAL FILES CHARGES AGAINST
TWO HOMEBUILDERS

Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that his Consumer Protection Division has filed charges against two homebuilders from Pennsylvania for taking deposits and payments from consumers and failing to complete construction, or refund the payments.

The Division’s charges state that Carl Hollinger and Allan Chang of C&H Builders of Lancaster, Pennsylvania entered into a contract to construct a new home in Baltimore County with a consumer whose home was destroyed by Hurricane Isabel. The charges state that the builders accepted deposits and payments of $41,500.00 from the consumer but failed to begin the construction of the home and did not return the money paid. The Division also charged Sustainable Developers, Inc. and its principal, Robert Heaps of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with entering into a contract with a consumer to construct a home in Garrett County, accepting $45,000.00 in payments from the consumer, and then failing to complete the home or pay subcontractors. The builder was not registered with the Home Builder Registration Unit of the Consumer Protection Division.

The Division alleges that both builders and their principals violated the Maryland Custom Home Protection Act, Home Builder Registration Act, and the Consumer Protection Act by failing to properly protect consumer deposits and payments, and failing to complete the homes as promised.

The Division’s charges seek orders barring each builder and their principals from acting as builders in the State of Maryland and requiring them to pay restitution and damages to consumers who have been harmed by their unlawful practices. The Division is also seeking a $1,000 civil penalty per violation and the costs of the investigation.

“ Consumers should protect themselves by ensuring that their deposit is protected before writing a check to a builder,” said Attorney General 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 by having consumers make deposits payable to an escrow account separate from the builder’s operating account. Builders are also required to provide new home buyers a form disclosing the method they use to protect deposits. Consumers can check the method a builder uses by contacting the Division’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.

A public hearing on the charges against each builder will be held at the Office of Administrative Hearings, 11101 Gilroy Road, Hunt Valley, Maryland. The hearing on the charges against Carl Hollinger t/a C&H Builders and Allan Chang will be held on August 18, 2006 and the hearing on the charges against Sustainable Developers, Inc. will be held on July 7, 2006. Consumers who may have had problems with these builders should contact the Home Builder Registration Unit.


   

Attorney General of Maryland 1 (888) 743-0023 toll-free / TDD: (410) 576-6372
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