SALISBURY — The Maryland Attorney General’s Office this week ordered a Wicomico County home builder to pay over a half a million in restitution and other penalties after taking deposits from prospective homebuyers and failing to make good on promises.
Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh on Monday announced his Consumer Protection Division had found that Bryan Edward Adkins and his Atlantic Bay Homes company had entered into contracts with six families in Wicomico and Dorchester Counties.
However, after taking substantial deposits and payments from consumers, Adkins failed to complete, or even begin, the new homes, pay subcontractors or return the payments to consumers. For example, in two instances, Adkins took more than $170,000 from the consumers and then failed to provide anything of value.
The Consumer Protection Division also determined Adkins failed to provide proper protection for consumers’ deposits, either by placing them in an escrow account or maintaining a surety bond or letter of credit. In addition, he failed to disclose to the Consumer Protection Division the filing of lawsuits and the entry of judgments, including a criminal conviction for failing to return advance payments for one consumer.
The Consumer Protection Division’s final order bars Adkins and Atlantic Bay Homes from acting as a homebuilder in Maryland unless he meets requirements set by the division in order to be registered under Maryland’s Home Builder Registration Act.
The Consumer Protection Division also authorized the impacted consumers to obtain recovery from the Home Builder Guaranty Fund for their actual losses resulting from Adkins’ failure to complete their homes. Under Maryland law, consumers may seek recovery from the Guaranty Fund for actual losses up to $50,000 resulting from the failure of a registered builder to complete their home. Frosh said the case serves as a reminder for prospective homebuyers to take precautions.
“Before any money changes hands for a new home, you need to protect the biggest investment of your lifetime,” he said. “Make sure that your home is being built by a registered home builder and that any deposits are protected by an escrow account, bond or letter of credit.”