BALTIMORE (Legal Newsline) — Maryland Attorney General
Brian E. Frosh has announced Maryland Property Review Board LLC and its owners
(MPRB) will pay back consumers and pay a $200,000 civil penalty after allegedly
charging more than 450 consumers $99 each to file an appeal of the consumers’ property
tax assessment – an act that consumers can do themselves for free.
MPRB allegedly sent letters to consumers that were designed
to look like they came from a state agency. The company told consumers that
they could reduce their property tax bill by paying a $99 “filing fee.” MPRB
additionally misled consumers about the amount that they could reduce the tax –
the company’s letters always used the number $1,346.
"Masquerading as a government agency is deceitful and
poses as a real threat to consumers who unknowingly send money," Frosh
said. "Misrepresentation to consumers is a violation of the Maryland
Consumer Protection Act and our office intends to continue our pursuit of any
companies who attempt to mislead consumers about services they provide."
The company indicated it would no longer operate. If it
does, it cannot misrepresent its affiliation with the state, its ability to
decrease consumers’ property taxes and any other services it provides.