(SALISBURY, Md.) - Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh announced Monday that his Consumer Protection Division issued a final order finding that a home builder from Wicomico County violated the Consumer Protection Act and other laws protecting new home purchasers in Maryland and requiring the builder to pay restitution, economic damages, penalties and costs, amounting to $524,185.35.

The Division found that Bryan Edward Adkins t/a Atlantic Bay Homes entered into contracts with six families to build homes in Wicomico and Dorchester Counties. However, after taking substantial deposits and payments from the consumers, Mr. Adkins failed to begin or complete construction of the homes, pay subcontractors or return the money paid. In two instances, he took more than $170,000.00 from the consumers and then failed to provide anything of value.

The Division also determined that Mr. Adkins failed to provide proper protection for consumers' deposits and payments by either placing them in an escrow account or maintaining a surety bond or letter of credit for their protection and failed to disclose to the Division's Home Builder Registration Unit the filing of lawsuits and the entry of judgments, including a criminal conviction for failing to return the advance payments of one of the consumers. The Division's final order bars Bryan Edward Adkins t/a Atlantic Bay Homes from acting as a home builder in the State of 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.

The Division also authorized these consumers to obtain recovery from the Home Builder Guaranty Fund for their actual losses resulting from the builder's failure to complete their homes. Under Maryland law, consumers may seek recovery from the Guaranty Fund for actual losses of up to $50,000.00 resulting from the failure of a registered builder to complete their home.

"Before any money changes hands for a new home, you need to protect the biggest investment of your lifetime," said Attorney General Frosh. "Make sure that your home is built by a registered home builder and that any deposits are protected by an escrow account, bond or letter of credit."

The Attorney General encourages new home buyers 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 www.oag.state.md.us/homebuilder. New home buyers may also verify whether builders have a surety bond or letter of credit by contacting the Home Builder Registration Unit.