Bryan Cohen Feb. 5, 2014, 3:33pm

BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced a settlement on Monday with a real estate developer who allegedly took thousands of dollars in advance payments for homes that were never delivered.

Michael Intoccia, the former owner of Intoccia Development Corp., Intoccia Builders Corporation, MTI Realty and Bella Estates Realty Trust, allegedly took large deposits from consumers and failed to deliver new, single-family homes by the contractual deadlines or return consumer deposits. Intoccia repaid more than $525,000 to affected homeowners and is now required to protect any future deposits.

"This developer took thousands of dollars in advance payments from new homebuyers for houses he never delivered," Coakley said. "We are pleased that this settlement ensures that all affected consumers have received restitution, and that the developer can no longer accept unprotected payments in the future."

Under the terms of the settlement, Intoccia agreed to a $100,000 judgment, including a $30,000 payment to the state. The remaining $70,000 is suspended if Intoccia complies with the terms of the judgment.

As a precondition of the consent judgment, Intoccia settled all consumer claims against him related to the allegedly outstanding real estate deposits. Intoccia paid more than $525,000 to more than a dozen individuals from whom he took deposits for new homes.

Intoccia released a statement that said:

"On the day that the Attorney General's Office filed the civil action in my case, I assured those involved that my goal had been and remained to facilitate where possible the completion of the homes that were planned or to reimburse my customers for the deposits they paid to my companies. With today's settlement with the Attorney General's Office, I have now been able to complete what I promised."

Intoccia noted economic troubles stemming from the financial crisis of 2008 and that he avoided filing for bankruptcy, which would have left his customers in trouble.

"If I had filed bankruptcy, the individuals who entrusted me with deposits to build their dream homes would have lost their money," he said.

"Instead I attempted to arrange for the customers to get their homes completed or to have their deposits refunded. With my efforts and the patience of my customers, either they received their homes or, for those customers who were not able to wait for delivery of their homes, I fulfilled my commitment to ensure their deposits were returned.

"I had been working hard toward that end and had been for months, having already refunded some customers' deposits, when the Attorney General's Office became involved."

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