Case nets McCollum more than $8M in civil penalties

John O'Brien Jun. 30, 2008, 3:33pm


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Legal Newsline) - Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum was successful in his pursuit of two owners of a company he said failed to provide the services they promised.

Marc Orth and Thomas Muldoon, the owners of Homeward Bound Services, will have to pay $8.5 million in damages, though only $250,000 will be used for consumer restitution. Civil penalties account for the rest.

McCollum's Economic Crimes Division said the company targeted senior citizens for personal care services policies. The seniors thought they were signing up to pay for a specified number of hours for basic care services like meal preparation, bathing, laundry and house cleaning.

Orth and Muldoon began selling the policies in 2004, and McCollum started his investigation in March 2007 after receiving complaints from health care providers and senior citizens. The suit was filed two months later.

McCollum said Orth and Muldoon were personally liable for the actions of the company under the state's Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practice Act.

Homeward Bound declared bankruptcy and has no ability to pay any judgment.

McCollum's office said there were 555 insured consumers, and $15,000 in civil penalties was charged for each -- a total of $8,325,000.

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