Ill. Business Charged with Defrauding Homeowners

August 3, 2005

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has filed suit against a former Cook County home repair business which accepted down payments from area homeowners and then allegedly failed to do any work.

Since July 2004, homeowners have paid more than $5,000 in down payments for repair and improvement projects to Dunn Right Construction of Illinois Inc., of Brookfield. Lanise and Anthony Crafton also are charged in Madigan’s complaint as owners and agents of the company, which was involuntarily dissolved in April 2004.

Madigan’s complaint cites a Berwyn resident who, in July 2004, paid $2,100 to Dunn Right. Madigan’s suit claims the company never started the work and failed to respond to a written demand by her office to refund the consumer’s money. The Craftons also have ignored a default judgment entered last December by a Cook County judge ordering them to refund the money.

In August of last year, a Chicago woman paid a total of $3,500 in deposits on a home repair contract. Her repeated requests and a demand for repayment by Madigan’s office have been ignored.

According to Madigan’s complaint, consumers were not provided with the required three-day notice of right to cancel or a copy of the home repair consumer’s rights pamphlet required of contractors who sign agreements at customers’ homes. The notices are required by the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act and the Home Repair and Remodeling Act. In February 2005, Anthony Crafton reportedly failed to appear when Madigan’s office subpoenaed him as part of its investigation into consumer complaints against his business.

Madigan’s suit seeks a permanent injunction against the company from engaging in the home repair and remodeling business and from further violations of Illinois’ consumer protection laws. The suit also seeks restitution, a civil penalty of $50,000 and an additional $50,000 per violation committed with the intent to defraud.

In addition, Madigan is asking the court to suspend licenses and permits held by Anthony Crafton until he complies with an administrative subpoena issued by her office during its investigation.

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