(Source: Attorney General Martha Coakley) - BOSTON – A real estate developer has been sued for allegedly taking more than $200,000 in advance payments for new, single-family homes in Sharon that were never provided, and refusing to return the deposits, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.
The AG’s Office has obtained a temporary restraining order in Suffolk Superior Court against Michael Intoccia of Foxboro, and his companies including Bella Estates Realty Trust, MTI Realty, and Intoccia Builders Corporation, prohibiting them from accepting future deposits for new homes unless the deposits are put into escrow. The order also freezes assets sufficient enough to pay a possible court judgment, and requires the defendants to disclose records that might reveal the existence of other consumers who paid deposits but never received a new home.
“Buying a new house should be a happy milestone for a family,” AG Coakley said. “Instead, we allege this developer took advantage of homebuyers by taking thousands of dollars from them, failing to build the homes he promised to build, and in several cases, never returning the deposits.”
The lawsuit seeks more than $200,000 in restitution for five homebuyers who paid for homes in the Bella Estates development in Sharon. The AG’s Office is also seeking statutory penalties and a further injunction preventing the defendants from taking unsecured deposits.
According to the complaint, Intoccia operates a development business in Norfolk County through a network of companies that were involved in the planning, marketing, and construction of the Bella Estates development that was to consist of 29 single-family house lots. The defendants allegedly solicited buyers and took deposits of up to $55,300 per residence.
Intoccia and his companies also allegedly made false promises to promptly build homes when they knew that construction was prevented by permitting issues, and in some cases took multiple deposits for the same lot. Homebuyers suffered additional expenses for moving, temporary housing, appliances and fixtures for houses that were never built.
The defendants allegedly held consumers’ deposits long after the final deadlines for closing passed and in some cases more than two years after the deposit was paid. The complaint alleges that the defendants allowed many lots in Bella Estates to fall into foreclosure.
A hearing on a request for a preliminary injunction to extend the conditions of the temporary restraining order will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013.
This matter is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Walker of Attorney General Coakley’s Consumer Protection Division.