South suburban company owner sued for defrauding customers

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Sun-Times file photo

Sun-Times file photo

Two lawsuits filed earlier this month allege that the owner of a south suburban company defrauded senior citizens out of thousands of dollars in deposits for electrical power generators that were never delivered or installed.

The lawsuits allege that Kevin Hart, the owner of Cedar Electric Generators LLC and Choice Generators, defrauded consumers primarily by taking deposits and failing to begin or complete the agreed upon work and failing to provide the purchased equipment, according to a statement from the Illinois Attorney General’s Office.

Several senior citizens were also victimized, including one who needed the back-up electrical power of a generator to operate her oxygen machine. As a result of this scheme, affected consumers filing complaints have lost a combined total of more than $73,000, according to the statement.

The Illinois Attorney General Office has received consumer complaints from nine Cook County residents, nine Will County residents, and two Kankakee county residents claiming to be victims of Hart’s scam, including four senior citizens, according to the statement.

“We’ve seen this time and again – companies that prey on the most vulnerable by promising access to vital services like power and electricity,” said Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan in a statement. “It’s important to research all companies, especially those with offers that seem too good to be true. At the very least, check to see if the company is in good standing with my office’s Consumer Fraud Bureau and the Better Business Bureau.”

The lawsuits allege that Hart obtained “substantial deposits” from unsuspecting consumers then often failed to deliver the services or equipment he had been contracted to provide.  Hart is also alleged to have assessed fraudulent fees against customers who sought to cancel their contract and failed to return deposits after receiving notices of cancellation, according to the statement.

It is further alleged that Hart falsely claimed that he would provide services by a certain date, misrepresented that he would provide a particular type of equipment, failed to inform customers of their cancellation rights, and intentionally failed to provide clients with a viable business address, according to the statement.

The lawsuits seek full restitution for the victims, a court-ordered prohibition against Hart from further engaging in similar business practices, and civil penalties for violation of the Consumer Fraud Act.

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