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Frederick County couple accused of running furniture businesses and taking customers money

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Posted at 10:39 AM, May 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-19 10:39:20-04

BALTIMORE — The Maryland Attorney General's Office is going after a Frederick County couple accused of running a furniture business and taking customers money.

According to the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division, Chris and Karol Engel have been taking deposits for custom built furniture orders since 2019.

During that time it's alleged that many customers never received the furniture they ordered nor a refund from the Engel's.

To evade refund requests, the Attorney General says the couple changed their business name on at least three occasions without telling their customers.

Those businesses were called MOCHA Furniture, Urbana custom décor, and Farmstead Custom Furniture.

The Attorney General's office says when Christopher Engel was tracked down by customers, he would lie and claim there was a new company under new ownership, and that he owed them nothing.

The most recent company went by the name of MOCHA Furniture, and was co-owned by the Engel's and Matthew Dihel.

In March, Dihel allegedly told his customers that the company no longer had the resources to fulfill their orders or to pay back their deposits.

A judge has since prohibited the owners from offering to sell furniture for any advance payments. In the meantime they are also ordered to handover all money received in cash transactions that are above the cost of materials.

“Taking deposits for goods, failing to deliver the goods, and refusing to provide owed refunds are all violations of Maryland’s consumer protection laws,” said Attorney General Brian Frosh. “We are seeking relief for consumers who didn’t receive their furniture, and we have gotten an order from the court that will stop the Defendants from hurting any more consumers until this case can be adjudicated.”

An administrative hearing is scheduled for July 27.