The U.S. housing market was only just starting to soar in 2001 when Mitch and Cheryl Goldstein plunked down $25,000 for an empty Bucks County lot. The couple, entering their early 40s, had long been saving for their dream home — a brand-new, ground-up Toll Brothers house. Known even then as “America’s Luxury Home Builder,” the locally based national company brimming with industry awards offered the kind of quality the Goldsteins coveted. So the Goldsteins eagerly planned: They chose skylights, upgraded to coffered ceilings, and envisioned a nursery for the little girl they hoped to adopt. Finally, they thought, in Toll’s new Buckingham Forest development, they would have the house they had worked so hard for. Even Robert Toll assured them of that. “We take the responsibility of building your new luxury house very seriously,” the company’s cofounder wrote in a letter to new homeowners, including to the Goldsteins after they signed their agreement of sale. “Welcome to the Toll Brothers’ family.” For years, it seemed, good fortune followed. The day they moved in, the adoption agency called with a match. Three years later, Toll was selling versions of their $446,000 home for nearly ...