Two North Carolina companies that allegedly deceived consumers into buying manufactured homes and land they couldn’t afford have been hit by a civil lawsuit by the state’s Attorney General.
CMR Properties and Home Town USA, both of Fayetteville, N.C., were hit with a lawsuit by Roy Cooper, North Carolina’s Attorney General, on July 29, Cooper’s office said.
The complaint also names managers Christopher P. Wollin, Jason Gonzales and Kendrick Jackson and former sales associate Wendell Lindo, the Attorney General’s office said. Blaine Stowe, a mortgage broker who allegedly did financing for CMR and Home Town customers, and Jerry Honeycutt, accused of doing inflated appraisals, are also named.
All defendants are North Carolina residents, Cooper’s office said.
Cooper is asking the court to permanently bar the defendants from deceiving consumers, entering into contracts with customers who don’t qualify for financing, falsifying loan applications, arranging inflated land appraisals, failing to disclose the cost of loans, and any other unfair practices.
The Attorney General also seeks cancellation of CMR and Home Town’s contracts, refunds for consumers and civil penalties, Cooper’s office said.
CMR and Home Town sell manufactured homes and parcels of land in Cumberland, Moore and Robeson counties as package deals, according to the complaint.
According to Cooper’s complaint, consumers who contacted CMR were asked how much they could afford to pay in monthly rent and then told that they could purchase a land/home package for that amount.
CMR allegedly told consumers who weren’t able to qualify for financing that they could purchase a home through the companies’ “Sponsorship Program” by finding a sponsor, usually a friend or older relative.
Allegedly, the companies told the consumers that after a year their credit rating would improve and they would be able to refinance the home and drop the sponsor from the mortgage. CMR led buyers and sponsors to believe that they would both be cosigners on the loan, the complaint alleged.
However, the mortgage turned out to be solely in the sponsor’s name and not in the buyer’s name at all, meaning that the buyer didn’t really own the home and wouldn’t be able to refinance the loan, the complaint alleged.
Cooper alleges that CMR also misled customers who purchased land/home packages without using the “Sponsorship Program.” At the loan closing, home buyers frequently learned for the first time that their loan costs and monthly payments would be hundreds of dollars higher than CMR had told them, the complaint claimed.
When buyers complained, they were told that they could refinance the home after a year to lower their payments, according to the complaint. However, because the companies had appraised the homes at inflated rates, it would be nearly impossible to refinance the loans, Cooper’s office said.
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