Consumer Protection Division Orders Prince George's County Home Builder to Pay Nearly $300,000 in Restitution and Damages
MD ( October 15, 2010) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced today that his Consumer Protection Division has issued a final order requiring McLaurin & Brad Affordable Custom Homes, LLC and its principal to pay consumers more than $291,000 and $18,000 in penalties. The Division found that Jerry L. McLaurin and his company, McLaurin & Brad Affordable Custom Homes, 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 McLaurin and his company violated the Home Builder Registration Act and the Consumer Protection Act by failing to build homes as promised.
The Division found that McLaurin and his company collected substantial deposits and payments from at least two families toward the construction of new homes in Prince George's County and then failed to begin or complete construction of the homes and failed to provide protection for the consumers' payments as required by Maryland law or return the payments made. The order bars McLaurin and McLaurin & Brad Affordable Custom Homes 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. The order requires payment of restitution in the amount of $227,881, payment of damages sustained by the consumers in the amount of $64,033, payment of civil penalties in the amount of $18,000, 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.
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.