A perfect example of why you should always check references and court documents before signing on the dotted line and handing over money:

The Baltimore Sun reported that Walter Osborne Ely, Jr. and his sister Kimberly Zahrey pled guilty to misusing more than $225,000 in deposits from customers expecting new homes, to be built by Osborne’s company JAE Developers. The two will be sentenced in October and could face up to 15 years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines.

This won’t be the first time Mr. Ely has been in trouble with the law — in 1990, he was charged with kidnapping, using a handgun in the commission of a crime, battery, and assault with intent to murder.  He was found guilty of battery and handgun possession.