By Lorraine Mirabella, The Baltimore Sun
5:54 PM EDT, August 17, 2011
The office of the state attorney general ordered an Anne Arundel County home builder on Wednesday to pay more than $124,000 in refunds to customers who were building a home in Baltimore County, penalties and costs.
The attorney general's consumer protection division says Steven Hessler and Charm City Builders Inc. of Pasadena violated the state's Custom Home Protection Act by failing to place money paid by the customers in an escrow acount or have a surety bond to cover the deposits and payments made.
The division says Hessler and Charm City violated the Home Builder Registration Act and the Consumer Protection Act by failing to build a home as promised or return money already paid.
Hessler could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
The division ordered Hessler and Charm City to pay $111,637.74 to the customers, $9,000 in penalties and $4,026.69 for investigation costs. It also barred them from actiing as a home builder in Maryland until they meet the requrements set by the division to be registered in the state.
The division said its home builder registration unit had reached settlements during the past six months with 56 other home builders who have agreed to pay penalties of $37,800. The companies must comply with laws and register with the unit before they can build homes in the state under the settlements.
Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler said consumers should determine whether a home builder is registered and make sure deposits are protected by an escrow account, bond or letter of credit before making any payments.
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