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No-Show Contractor Fined $1,123,303 for Scamming Elderly

Banned from doing business anywhere in New Jersey forever.

July 08, 2016

Leroy N. Brown, doing business as B&K Masonry, has 10 days to pay fines of $1,123,303 for cheating elderly customers.

New Jersey Superior Court Judge Donald A. Kessler has permanently barred New York-based Leroy N. Brown, an unregistered home improvement contractor who did business as "B&K Masonry & Chimney," from performing home improvement work in New Jersey, and ordered him to pay $1.1 million after finding that he committed 410 violations of the state’s consumer protection laws and regulations.

The eight-count complaint alleged that Brown, d/b/a “B&K Masonry & Chimney,” committed multiple violations of the Consumer Fraud Act, the Contractors’ Registration Act, and related regulations.

Brown misrepresented himself as a registered contractor and used deceptive sales tactics, including claims of imminent health and safety risks to persuade mostly elderly consumers into purchasing expensive chimney repairs that were never completed.

According to the state's complaint, Brown maintained business addresses in Teaneck, NJ and Babylon, New York.

Brown purposely misrepresented himself by phone and on a B&K Masonry & Chimney website saying he was "licensed and registered" and that "all work is guaranteed." Brown also told customers he was a government inspector and informed property owners that if repairs cited by B&K Masonry were not done, the owners would face fines and be denied use of the home.

Brown didn't bother to show up at court, so Judge Kessler granted the State’s request for entry of a Final Judgment by Default and Order.

Brown is required to pay the court a total of $1,123,303 within ten days. The total includes $1,025,000 in civil penalties, $81,646 in reimbursement of the Division’s attorneys’ fees and investigative costs, and $16,657 in restitution to 11 consumers.

Brown is permanently barred from advertising, offering for sale, selling and/or performing home improvements in New Jersey, and from managing and/or owning any business in New Jersey.

“We will not tolerate home improvement contractors like Leroy Brown who cheat our citizens, particularly when the target is our elderly population,” said Acting Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino. “The civil penalty ordered by the court should serve as a warning to contractors that violating our consumer protection laws will result in serious consequences.”

“Through its vigorous investigation of Leroy Brown and B&K Masonry & Chimney, the Division has ensured he will never again be able to prey on New Jersey consumers,” said Steve Lee, Director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. “We will continue to serve as watchdogs of the home improvement marketplace to safeguard consumers from contractors who make their money through lies and deceit.”

Source: NJ.gov

 

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