HARRISBURG — Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced that the Office of Attorney General has won $500,000 in restitution for Pennsylvania residents scammed by Harbour Portfolio Capital, LLC, affiliated Texas companies, and their leader, Charles A. Vose III. Citizens were deceived by Defendants through entering into unfair and unlawful “for sale by owner” purchases of uninhabitable family homes.
“Harbour sold uninhabitable, overpriced homes at unlawful interest rates to Pennsylvanians who were only hoping to have a place to raise their family and build savings,” said Attorney General Shapiro. “Today, we’ve given money back to consumers to ease the financial burden placed on families by a cynical, heartless scam. I’m asking any Pennsylvanians who have been impacted by Harbour to reach out to my office at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
“This was the first time I bought a house, and as a single mom with three kids, I was just looking for something I could afford. Once I bought it, I realized that there were things wrong with the home that weren’t explained to me–and the home needed extensive repairs for me to be able to live in it. I paid for the house without living with it for over a year before it was safe for my family,” said Britne McKee. “Harbour wasn’t very helpful, so I had to figure out how to fix this problem alone. This settlement will hopefully keep other families like mine from ending up in the same situation in the future.”
Attorney General Shapiro sued defendants, including Charles A. Vose III, the founder of the company, in July 2018, for reselling homes at prices that were often three to four times more than Harbour had paid for the homes just days or weeks before, with no improvements. The homes sold by Harbour were usually in run-down condition, sold without disclosure of defects, and often lacking basic essentials like heat, electricity or appliances. The company sold at least 80 homes of this kind in Pennsylvania. Harbour required a large, non-refundable down payment and then asked victims to sign “Agreement for Deed” paperwork. The paperwork looked like conventional mortgage documentation, but did not include a deed in the buyer’s name or other standard protections. Additionally, Harbour was collecting interest on the home contracts at almost twice the maximum rate permitted by Pennsylvania law for this type of transaction, according to the lawsuit.
Defendants have agreed to pay $500,000 in restitution to consumers who entered into land installment contracts with them for Pennsylvania homes. Defendants have also agreed that they will not engage in any residential real estate transactions in Pennsylvania in the future.
This case was filed and prosecuted by Senior Deputy Attorney General Susan Apel.
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