Friday, November 04, 2016

NJ AG: Couple Ran Home Improvement Scam That Fleeced Over 20 'Sandy' Victims Out Of Over $1 Million In Funds Intended To Repair, Rebuild Hurricane-Devastated Jersey Shore Homes

From the Office of the New Jersey Attorney General:
  • Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino announced that an Ocean County couple has been arrested for allegedly stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from more than 20 victims who hired the couple’s home improvement companies to repair or rebuild their homes after Superstorm Sandy. The victims paid the couple and their firms over $1 million, mostly in Sandy relief funds, but the couple allegedly diverted much of the money to gamble and buy luxury items, leaving homes in disrepair.(1)

    Jeffrey Colmyer, 41, and Tiffany Cimino, 43, who live together in Little Egg Harbor, N.J., were arrested [] by detectives of the Division of Criminal Justice on a range of charges, including theft, money laundering, and misconduct by a corporate official, all in the second degree, and failure to pay taxes and tax fraud, both third-degree offenses. They were lodged in the Ocean County Jail with bail for each set at $300,000. Charges also were filed against the couple’s home improvement contracting companies, Rayne Construction Management Services, LLC (RCMS) and Colmyer & Sons Construction, LLC.
    ***
    Colmyer and Cimino allegedly diverted hundreds of thousands of dollars their victims paid to have their homes repaired, elevated and rebuilt. [... T]hey abandoned jobs, or in many cases failed to even start jobs, leaving many victims with uninhabitable homes.

    Most of the funds that allegedly were stolen came from the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) Program, a Sandy relief program administered by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs and funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The RREM Program was the state’s largest Sandy housing recovery program and provided grants to impacted homeowners to cover rebuilding costs up to $150,000 that were not covered by insurance, other federal emergency relief funds, or other sources.

    “Colmyer and Cimino heartlessly preyed on homeowners who were devastated by Superstorm Sandy,” said Attorney General Porrino. “Just when victims were thrown a lifeline in the form of Sandy relief funds and were trying to reclaim their lives, this couple allegedly stole their money and snatched that lifeline away. We’ll ensure these defendants are held accountable for their ruthless criminal conduct.”
Source: Ocean County Couple and Their Home Improvement Companies Charged With Stealing Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars By Bilking Homeowners Whose Homes Were Badly Damaged by Superstorm Sandy (Victims paid Jeffrey Colmyer and Tiffany Cimino more than $1 million, mostly using Sandy relief funds).
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(1) The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs previously investigated this matter and filed a civil action in August against the defendants, alleging numerous violations of the Consumer Fraud Act and seeking consumer restitution and civil penalties, among other things. The criminal charges stem from a joint investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector General and the New Jersey Division of Taxation Office of Criminal Investigation, with the assistance of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs.

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