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For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
Raquel Guillory, 410-576-6357
rguillory@oag.state.md.us

Attorney General Settles with Westwood Design Build, Inc.
Company Agrees to Pay Restitution to Consumers Whose Homes Were Not Built

BALTIMORE, MD (April 3, 2009) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler today announced that his Consumer Protection Division has reached a settlement with Beltsville-based home builder, Westwood Design Build, Inc. (Westwood) and the company’s owners, Michael Conrad and Mary Deitz. In September 2008, the Division suspended the registration of Westwood for accepting deposits and payments from consumers in Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties and then not building the homes or returning payments. Westwood also failed to disclose information concerning lawsuits filed against the company in its home builder registration. Westwood and its owners consented to a Final Order that requires them to return all monies received for homes they either did not commence construction or have not completed.

Under the settlement, Westwood and its owners have agreed to pay the Division at least $663,888 in restitution for three consumers whose homes they failed to build. They also agreed to an injunction that requires them to stop taking payments for work they do not perform, to comply with Maryland’s registration requirements for homebuilders, to post a performance bond with the Division in the amount of $750,000, and to post a surety bond in the amount required by Maryland law. In addition, the company and its owners agreed to pay the Division a $200,000 civil penalty, which reduces to $20,000 as long as they comply with the terms of the settlement. The company and its owners also agreed to pay the Division $2,000 for its investigation costs.

“Under Maryland law, a home builder is liable to consumers for restitution if it fails to build consumers’ homes,” said Attorney General Gansler. “As a result of this settlement, consumers whose homes were not constructed will now get compensation.”

Consumers eligible for restitution under the settlement will be contacted by the Consumer Protection Division. Consumers who may have had problems with homes built by Westwood or other builders should contact the Home Builder Registration Unit at (410)576-6573 or toll free at (877)259-4525. Consumers can also email the unit at homebuilder@oag.state.md.us. To determine if a builder is registered with the Attorney General’s Office, visit www.oag.state.md.us/homebuilder or contact the Home Builder Registration Unit.

   

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