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For Immediate Release

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

Consumer Protection Division Orders Prince George’s County Home Builder to Pay Nearly $300,000 in Restitution and Penalties;
Suspends the Registration of Harford County Builder

BALTIMORE, MD ( February 19, 2010) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced today that his Consumer Protection Division has issued a final order requiring Home at Last, LLC and its principal to refund payments of $211,076.20 collected from consumers to construct homes in Prince George’s County and to pay penalties of $75,200. The Division found that Jacquelyn Willis, and her company, Home at Last, violated Maryland’s Custom Home Protection Act by failing to place or maintain money paid by consumers into an escrow account or having a surety bond to cover the deposits and payments made. The Division also found that Willis and her company violated the Home Builder Registration Act and the Consumer Protection Act by failing to build homes as promised.

The Division found that Willis and her company collected substantial deposits and payments from at least four families toward the construction of new homes, then failed to protect those payments as required by Maryland law, failed to begin or complete construction of the homes, and failed to pay refunds to any of the consumers. The order bars Willis and Home at Last 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, requires payment of restitution in the amount of $211,076, payment of civil penalties in the amount of $75,200, and payment of costs in the amount of $4,026.

“Before paying any money towards the construction of a new home, consumers need to protect the biggest investment of their lifetime by ensuring 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,” said Attorney General Gansler.

The Unit also suspended the registration of GM Homes, LLC of Forest Hill for failing to enroll homes in a new home warranty plan as promised and failing to make repairs to homes.

Home builders are required to give consumers a pamphlet prepared by the Office of Attorney General that discusses consumers’ rights under the law and steps consumers can take to protect themselves. New home buyers are encouraged 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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