Frederick County home furnishings sellers accused of deception | Criminal offense & justice

The Maryland Workplace of the Lawyer Basic has accused Frederick County furnishings sellers of misleading clients with untrue claims and modifying their company’s identify to evade refunds.

But one particular of the homeowners explained the allegations are misconstrued. “This is very little extra than a failed enterprise,” Christopher Engel claimed.

The Consumer Protection Division of the lawyer general’s office environment filed costs from Christopher Aaron Engel, his spouse Karol Engel, Matthew R. Dihel, Urbana Personalized Décor Limited Liability Corporation, Farmstead Tailor made Furnishings LLC, and MOCHA Furniture Minimal Liability Enterprise.

The persons and entities allegedly experienced roles in gathering cash from clients to build customized furnishings and both failed to deliver the products and solutions as promised or give refunds, in accordance to a news launch from the lawyer general’s business on Thursday.

The Engels and Dihel stand accused of “unfair or misleading trade practices” in violation of the Customer Protection Act, a statement of prices states.

The Engels’ alleged wrongdoing dates again to late 2019 with the begin of Urbana Personalized Décor, centered in Frederick. Farmstead Custom made Household furniture and MOCHA Household furniture, stated at the identical deal with in Thurmont, were being other names applied for primarily the exact company in excess of the class of the plan, the statement of fees claims.

The accused reportedly took deposits for custom made parts, designed excuses when products were not delivered on time and often furnished reduced good quality home furniture than promised, in accordance to the lawyer general’s office. A preliminary injunction was submitted May possibly 5 to protect against the defendants from taking payment in progress for furnishings, court files display.

The legal professional general’s office did not respond to thoughts Thursday regarding the variety of alleged victims and amount of money of funds reportedly owed by the defendants.

Owner mentioned shoppers turned from him

In a mobile phone job interview Thursday afternoon, Engel said data offered by the lawyer general’s office had been “misconstrued.”

He said he needs to pay out buyers back again.

The Woodsboro resident has served as “an proprietor and/or officer” of the three entities named in the scenario, according to the statement of charges.

Engel stated some consumers turned towards him when they learned of his legal background.

He pleaded guilty to wire fraud and was sentenced to 38 months in federal jail in 2014, on the web courtroom data suggest. He was requested to shell out additional than $405,000 in restitution for defrauding people today across the country via an financial investment company fraud, Pennsylvania information media outlet PennLive reported in 2014.

When household furniture consumers learned this, Engel stated, some began to terminate orders and distribute the word to some others. He alleged that particular buyers preferred to “kill sales” mainly because he is a felon.

Engel also pointed the finger at a previous subcontractor that he said labored with them underneath the Farmstead identify.

He declined to offer the subcontractor’s total name.

“He promised us the earth,” Christopher Engel said.

The subcontractor reportedly created shoddy parts that broke and failed to make them at the quantity the Engels predicted, according to Christopher Engel. The Engels fired him, he said.

Christopher Engel claimed he required to refund not happy shoppers, but could not do so right until he offered goods. The personal debt grew to a position they could not pay for to declare personal bankruptcy, he explained.

The attorney general’s workplace alleged that Christopher Engel strung shoppers along for months, generating excuses.

The allegations

The alleged deception commenced with Urbana Personalized Décor, which opened in the winter season of 2019, according to the statement of rates.

The Engels reportedly took “sizeable deposits” from prospects and failed to provide the furniture as promised, charging paperwork said. The legal professional general’s place of work explained the Engels failed to problem requested refunds.

Then the pair began performing business underneath the title Farmstead around February 2020. Christopher Engel instructed the News-Submit they wished to undertake a new identify to develop with and attract a lot more purchasers. The lawyer general’s office environment alleged the new name was an endeavor to keep away from harmed customers.

Dihel, of Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, reportedly arrived on board with the most up-to-date iteration of the business as a co-proprietor of MOCHA.

When previous customers came knocking, Christopher Engel reportedly informed them the “new” organization experienced “new” ownership and owed them practically nothing, the lawyer general’s launch explained, while he continue to owned and operated each individual of the businesses involved.

An Ijamsville woman recognized in court data reportedly compensated a lot more than $2,100 in deposits to the Engels for a custom desk and credenza.

She regularly contacted Christopher Engel for updates, and he presented numerous excuses, court paperwork stated. When the girl gained the desk — 10 months later — she said it did not mirror her order.

By April 2021, Christopher Engel reportedly explained to the girl his company no more time existed and she would have to make contact with Matt Dihel at MOCHA to get the credenza. The lady texted with Dihel for months in an effort and hard work to entire her get, to no avail.

She took the Engels to little statements courtroom, wherever she acquired Christopher Engel experienced supplied her a bogus telephone selection and pretended to be Dihel, court files allege.

MOCHA’s web-site, continue to lively Thursday afternoon, described “Chris” as a particular person who relished restoring antique furnishings as a pastime. The web site identified as “Matt” a “master builder” with 25 yrs of encounter.

A Disney-themed kitchen area desk was advertised at approximately $3,000 on MOCHA’s internet site. A wine hutch with barn doors was stated at $2,450. A kitchen island price $1,265.

“We are joyful to share our passion to convey the splendor of wood furniture into your residence,” the website read.

Adhere to Mary Grace Keller on Twitter: @MaryGraceKeller