Two Newark Apartment Complexes Sued for Consumer Fraud

The Delaware Department of Justice has filed suit against the owners and manager of two Newark apartment complexes for numerous violations of the Consumer Fraud Act.

Attorney General Matt Denn announced the civil complaint filed in New Castle County Superior Court against Metrodev Newark, owners of the Autumn Park Apartments on Winterhaven Drive, Water Polo IV, owners of the Hidden Creek Commons on Hobart Drive, and the Metropolitan Management Group, the organization hired as property manager for the two complexes.

According to the suit, tenants have reported numerous cases of HVAC problems, non-working appliances, plumbing issues, window issues as well as a lack of response to maintenance calls a lack of repair when the issues are raised. Both properties also had numerous county code violations. Because advertising for the apartment complexes promotes amenities such as free heat and hot water, air conditioning, fully equipped kitchens, and 24-hour emergency repair, not providing such things constitutes a violation of Delaware consumer fraud laws. The complaint contends the defendants repeatedly engaged in misrepresentations, false promises, or omissions, with each constituting an individual fraud violation.

In one case at Autumn Park, a tenant went for four days in January 2017 without heat or hot water. In a case at Hidden Creek, a tenant moved into an apartment that had outstanding county code violations.

“Our office has received dozens of complaints from tenants residing in these properties and DOJ’s Consumer Protection Unit believes the defendants are engaged in repetitive and ongoing business practices in renting and maintaining these properties that violate the Consumer Fraud Act,” said Attorney General Denn. “I want to thank Deputy Attorneys General Christian Wright, Gillian Andrews, and Gina Schoenberg for their work on this case.”

The State asks the Court for a cease and desist order for prohibiting violations of the Consumer Fraud Act, financial penalties of $10,000 for each violation of the Consumer Fraud Act, as well as money needed to remedy the violations and investigative and court costs.

Click to read the complaint.

Delaware DOJ Warns Delawareans About Fraudulent Fundraising Calls For Firefighters

The Consumer Fraud Unit of the Delaware Department of Justice warns Delawareans to be wary of unauthorized and fraudulent telephone solicitations in the wake of the recent tragedy involving two Wilmington firefighters who lost their lives in the line of duty.

DOJ has become aware of potentially fraudulent calls to Delaware homes in the last few days. Often scammers will try to take advantage of tragic current events or natural disasters to convince people to donate money. While there are often legitimate fundraising efforts underway in such circumstances, there may be others that are not. Thus, it is important to keep in mind the following when answering an unsolicited call on behalf of any purported charitable cause.

Delaware law requires callers to supply you with certain information, including:
• Whether they are a paid fundraiser;
• Where they are calling from, including company name and location;
• The charity for which the funds are being raised;
• The amount of the consumer’s donation that will actually go to the charity;
• If the charitable solicitation is on behalf of an individual(s) or their family, whether the party soliciting you has permission from the individual(s) or their family to make use of that person’s name, picture or likeness in their charitable solicitations; and
• If they are calling on behalf of police, fire or law enforcement, they must either be an actual law enforcement employee or have written permission from the state, county or local first responder organization to make the call.

Those who wish to contribute toward a fund benefitting families of the fallen firefighters may want to contact the Wilmington Fire Department directly.

Scam solicitations supposedly on behalf of firefighters are unfortunately somewhat common. In July, the Delaware Department of Justice announced an agreement with Michigan-based Firefighter Support Services to cease making solicitation phone calls into Delaware that were supposedly on behalf of firefighters, and to forfeit almost $6000 in contributions made from Delawareans since 2011. In August, the Michigan Attorney General’s Office announced the organization would cease operations after an investigation.

The DOJ Consumer Protection Unit reminds you to never give your credit card or bank account information in response to one of these calls. Someone calling you to make a legitimate telephone solicitation on behalf of a charitable organization should be willing to mail you a written donation form and envelope. If you wish to donate to your local fire company, you should visit your local fire house to make your donation in person.

You can make sure a charity is legitimate by visiting the Better Business Bureau, Charity Navigator, or the American Institute of Philanthropy where you can view lists of verified charities. For online donations, ensure that the solicitation website and the purported charity match and that the website is secure.

Anyone who suspects they have been scammed or have received a suspicious solicitation can call the Attorney General’s toll-free Consumer Hotline at 1-800-220-5424 or email the Consumer Protection Unit at