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For Immediate Release

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

Consumer Protection Division Orders Garrett County Home Builder to Pay More than $177,000 in Penalties and Refunds
Division Settles with 30 Other Home Builders for Failing to Register or Disclose Required Information

BALTIMORE, MD ( July 1, 2009) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced today that his Consumer Protection Division has issued a final order requiring an Oakland, Maryland builder and its principals to refund payments of $154,599 collected from consumers to construct homes in Garrett County and to pay penalties of $23,000.

The Division found that Mark Shrout, William Cook, and their company C&S Contracting, Inc., violated Maryland’s Custom Home Protection Act by collecting substantial deposits and other consideration from at least four families toward the construction of new homes. In addition, they failed to protect those advance payments as required by Maryland law, failed to complete construction of the homes, and failed to pay refunds to any of the consumers. The order bars Shrout, Cook, and C&S Contracting, Inc. from acting as a home builder in the State of Maryland unless they meet requirements set by the Division in order to be registered as a home builder under Maryland’s Home Builder Registration Act.

“Before paying any money, consumers need to take the necessary steps to protect the biggest investment of their lifetime,” said Attorney General Gansler. “Anyone looking to build a new home in Maryland should make sure that their home is being built by a registered home builder and that any deposits they make are protected by an escrow account, bond or letter of credit.”

Under state law, home builders in Maryland are required to give consumers a pamphlet prepared by the Office of the Attorney General that describes consumers’ rights under the law and steps consumers can take to protect themselves.

The Division’s Home Builder Registration Unit also entered into settlement agreements during the past year with 30 other home builders who have agreed to pay penalties totaling $22,000 to settle allegations that they violated Maryland’s building laws, including operating without being registered or failing to disclose required information to the Unit in their registration applications. The settlements were with the following builders:

  • Bozzuto Homes, Inc. (Prince George’s County)
  • Butler Homes, Inc. (Baltimore County)
  • Chesapeake Custom Homes, LLC (Prince George’s County)
  • Conrad Homes, Inc. (Washington County)
  • Custom Homes of Southern Maryland, Inc. (Charles County)
  • D.R. Horton, Inc. (Montgomery County)
  • Dreamcraft Homes, Inc. (Anne Arundel County)
  • Elite Building Services, Inc. (Wicomico County)
  • Ellex, Inc. dba Justice Builders, LLC (Cecil County)
  • Fairground Properties, LLC (Washington County)
  • Gateway Enterprises, Inc. (Frederick County)
  • Gemcraft Homes (Harford County)
  • H.E. Campbell & Son, LLC (Washington County)
  • Harbortown Builders, Inc. (Howard County)
  • Highland Homes, Inc. (Baltimore County)
  • HNS Development, LLC (Baltimore County)
  • K & P Builders, Inc. (Prince George’s County)
  • Kevin Kramer & Associates, Inc. (Anne Arundel County)
  • Larry Holdren Construction, Inc. (Worcester County)
  • Marquis Properties Group, Inc. (PA)
  • Maryland Modular Designs, Inc. (Baltimore County)
  • Raeva Construction, LLC (Washington County)
  • Riverview Builders, LLC (Charles County)
  • Safe Harbour Construction, LLC (Talbot County
  • Timberlake Homes, BT (Anne Arundel County)
  • Van Wie Enterprises, Inc. (Calvert County)
  • Vendemia and DeCesaris Builders, Inc. (Prince George’s County)
  • Winthorpe, Inc. (Howard County)
  • Woodbridge Homes, LLC (Washington County)
  • Woodcrest Builders, Inc. (Baltimore County)

The settlements prohibit the companies from acting as home builders in the State unless they first register with the Home Builder Registration Unit and comply with other Maryland laws governing home builders. Many of the builders also agreed to submit to arbitration consumer complaints that cannot be resolved through mediation using the Division’s arbitration program.

The Attorney General encourages new home buyers to check whether their builder is registered by contacting the Division’s Home Builder Registration Unit at (410) 576-6573 or toll-free at (877) 259-4525, or by visiting the Attorney General’s website at www.oag.state.md.us/homebuilder.

   

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