- A New Jersey contractor has been arrested and charged with theft by Ocean County, NJ, prosecutors for defrauding a Hurricane Sandy victim out of almost $100,000 for construction work he never performed, NJ.com reported.
- Contractor Greg Montgomery, who is in jail in lieu of $35,000 bail, was hired to raise and renovate a Berkeley Township, NJ, home damaged by the 2012 storm, but never completed the work — despite receiving payments totaling $92,000, according to authorities.
- The homeowner contacted authorities and Montgomery, of GS Construction and Property Maintenance, was arrested after an investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office Financial Crimes Unit.
Montgomery’s arrest comes in the wake of the Star-Ledger’s report of hundreds of complaints about contractors to both Ocean County’s and Monmouth County’s Divisions of Consumer Affairs. Both counties estimate that about 80% of all contractor complaints are Sandy-related.
"There are many good, reputable contractors out there," Stephen Scaturro, director of the Ocean County Division of Consumer Affairs, told the Star-Ledger. "But, unfortunately, we also have unscrupulous, unconscionable scam artists who take advantage of people who are distressed and desperate."
Some homeowners took advantage of repair grants through the state's Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation Program (RREMP), and had some protection from scam contractors because, to do work under the program, contractors had to submit paperwork and meet certain requirements.
However, even that process was not foolproof, the Star-Ledger reported, and some residents still were taken for tens of thousands of dollars.