April 25, 2006
New London, Mo. — A Kansas City man who fraudulently obtained money from the construction loan accounts of home buyers — leaving them with depleted accounts and unfinished homes — will repay consumers more than $77,000 under a court order obtained by Attorney General Jay Nixon.
“This court order will help several families left high and dry when their accounts were illegally tapped into by the people they had entrusted,” Nixon said.
Nixon sued Dean Casutt; his business, The Home Group; and Bryan Thompson of Cleveland, Mo., in September 2004 for violations of Missouri consumer protection laws. The lawsuit, filed in Ralls County, alleged that The Home Group received down payments from consumers for manufactured and mobile homes and obtained construction loans through the business. The proceeds from the construction loans were to be withdrawn solely for expenses related to completion of the consumers' home projects.
Instead, Nixon said, the defendants illegally withdrew money from the accounts of 12 families that had taken out construction loans. The court order, signed by Circuit Judge Robert M. Clayton II, orders Casutt to repay those families in amounts that range from $1,000 to more than $38,000. One of The Home Group victims lived in Ralls County; most of the others lived in western Missouri and in Kansas.
In addition to the five-year ban from working in the mobile or manufactured home industry imposed on Casutt, the consent judgment and preliminary injunction also prohibit him from other violations of Missouri consumer protection laws.
The court earlier ordered the dissolution of The Home Group, which was located at 3901 Blue Ridge Cutoff in Kansas City, with the proceeds from the sale of any assets to be turned over to Nixon's office in order to provide restitution to consumers. Thompson is also under a five-year ban from working in the industry and also is prohibited from violating Missouri consumer protection laws.
The case is the second this month where Nixon has obtained restitution for buyers of mobile or manufactured homes. Earlier, he obtained a court order requiring Amega Home Sales, of Ashland, to pay more than $564,000 in restitution and penalties.