HARRISBURG (WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — On Monday, Attorney General Josh Shapiro 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 founder, Charles A. Vose III. 

According to the lawsuit, citizens were deceived by the company when they made unfair and unlawful “for sale by owner” purchases of unlivable 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,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “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 scams@attorneygeneral.gov.”

Attorney General Shapiro sued Harbour and Vose III in July 2018 for paying for homes that were usually “run down” and reselling them at prices that were often three to four times more, with no improvements. 

Shapiro said Harbour used this practice to sell at least 80 homes without disclosure of defects, and these residences were often lacking basic essentials like heat, electricity or appliances. Furthermore, Harbour required a large, non-refundable down payment and then asked victims to sign “Agreement for Deed” paperwork, which looked like conventional mortgage documentation but did not include a deed in the buyer’s name or other standard protections.

Additionally, according to the lawsuit, Harbour was collecting interest on the home contracts at almost twice the maximum rate permitted by Pennsylvania law for this type of transaction.

The defendants have agreed to pay $500,000 in restitution to consumers who entered into land instalment contracts with them for Pennsylvania homes and have also agreed to not engage in any residential real estate transactions in Pennsylvania in the future.