These are difficult economic times. They have been for years now at this point, largely related to the real estate market. When a family decides to build a home, it is a big, emotional and expensive deal. Giving money over to someone to begin that building can feel like a big risk.
Ten families took that big risk back in 2004. They found plots of land in Maryland that they wanted their homes built on. They hired a builder to begin the work, but wound up disappointed. Their disappointment inspired them to file theft charges against the builder. But they didn’t stick.
According to The Washington Examiner, the homebuyers went after the builder for theft when their homes didn’t get finished. They had reportedly paid the defendant enough money to buy the land plots and put money into escrow, but the construction never went any further than that. The builder says he ran out of money and, therefore, couldn’t finish the homes.
The families were upset to have lost the money that was put into the plots without getting the finished homes. The theft case went through the courts, and Maryland’s highest court ultimately made the final ruling on appeal. The Maryland Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the defendant, ruling that he had a contractual right to the money that was given to him and that he, therefore, didn’t really steal it. There was no evidence that he had used any of the funds for personal use.
It has taken the defendant years to clear his name, but it sounds like the legal struggle has worked out for him in the end. Allegations of theft can certainly have a negative impact on a person’s reputation. It won’t be surprising for his business to take a hit as a result of the accusations.
The Washington Examiner: “Maryland court affirms reversal of builder’s theft conviction,” Emily Babay, Dec. 24, 2011
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