Consumer Protection Division Orders Unregistered Home Builder to Pay Back More Than $835K
Charles Co. man failed to protect consumers' deposits, complete two homes in Charles and Prince George's counties
Baltimore, MD ( Aug. 30, 2012) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler's Consumer Protection Division announced today it has issued a Final Order against an unregistered home builder from Anne Arundel County who violated Maryland's Home Builder Registration Act, Custom Home Protection Act and Consumer Protection Act. The order requires the builder, Antoine Knott of Bel Alton, to pay restitution of $282,841.88, penalties of $465,000, economic damages of $84,833.72, and investigation costs of $4,348.56 – a total of $837,024.16.
"Buying a home is the biggest investment of your life, so it's important that you're protected before any money changes hands," said Attorney General Gansler. "All home builders are required to be registered with our office and deposits must be guaranteed by an escrow account, bond or letter of credit."
The Division found that Mr. Knott, who was not registered with the Home Builder Registration Unit, entered into contracts to construct new homes for two consumers in Charles and Prince George's counties. Mr. Knott failed to complete the homes and did not return the money that the consumers had already paid. The Division also found that Knott failed to provide proper protection for the consumers' deposits and payments by either placing them in an escrow account or maintaining a surety bond or letter of credit, failed to pay subcontractors and failed to resolve building code violations. The order further bars Mr. Knott from acting as a home builder in Maryland unless he meets requirements set by the Division in order to be registered as a home builder under Maryland's Home Builder Registration Act.
Attorney General Gansler encourages new and prospective home buyers to check whether their builder is registered by contacting the Home Builder Registration Unit at 410-576-6573 or 877-259-4525, or by visiting www.oag.state.md.us/homebuilder.