Bryan Cohen Jan. 24, 2013, 8:02pm

INDIANAPOLIS (Legal Newsline) - Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced Wednesday the suspension of the real estate licenses of Indianapolis-based realtor David Garden and his company Star Homes Inc.

The Indiana Real Estate Commission agreed to the suspension after Zoeller's office reached an agreement on Tuesday with Garden to suspend his license for 90 days. Garden, the president of Star Homes, doing business as Garden Home Reality, allegedly misused funds, conspired to commit mortgage fraud, failed to remit earnest money and engaged in license renewal fraud.

The Indiana Real Estate Commission will next set a hearing date to consider the 30-count licensing complaint filed in 2012 by Zoeller's office. The board will determine the appropriate disciplinary action after the full hearing on the matter.

In one alleged instance, a consumer paid $1,000 earnest money to Garden Home Realty to place a $23,000 bid on an Indianapolis-based HUD property. The customer later found out that HUD only requires a $500 earnest payment. The buyer won the property after paying a separate broker $500 earnest money and allegedly never received a refund from Garden. Other complaints allege similarly unreturned refunds.

In 2009, Garden renewed his real estate broker's license without acknowledging pending criminal charges against him. In 2011, he renewed the license and failed to acknowledge that he had pled guilty to operating while intoxicated with a prior OWI.

Since Zoeller's office filed an original licensing complaint in 2012, 16 new consumers filed complaints alleging that they were ripped off by Garden.

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