Florida home contractor named in state Sandy fraud complaint
The Florida contractor who opened up business in New Jersey after Superstorm Sandy, and allegedly fleeced seven home owners for hundreds of thousands of dollars in recovery money, is accused of consumer fraud violations by the New Jersey Attorney General's Office and the Division of Consumer Affairs.
The complaint against Richard R. Woodard and Willwood Builders also includes violations of the Contractors' Registration Act, home improvement regulations, and advertising regulations.
According to Attorney General Christopher Porrino's office, Woodard and Willwood Builders are accused of taking down payments for repairs, improvements or new construction, then delivering shoddy results, abandoning projects, and not even starting some others.
It is the fourth complaint filed by the state Division of Consumer Affairs (DCA) regarding Superstorm fraud tied to funds tied to the state Reconstrctuion, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) program, authorities said.
Three victims from Ocean and Middlesex Counties allegedly lost more than $314,000 in RREM funds along with their own money. Four home owners from Ocean and Monmouth allegedly paid from their personal accounts.
The complaint alleges that Woodward and his firm failed to begin or complete contracted services, abandoned projects for which payments were taken, triggered property liens by failing to pay subcontractors, laborers or material providers, falsely advertising collaboration with architects to meet agreed specifications, misleading clients into thinking that initial or advance payments were their only responsibilities, failing to get building and construciton permits, and performing defective work on roofs, windows and/or doors.
State officials seek customer restitution, repayment of RREM funds, reimbursement of legal fees and civil penalties. They also are pursuing cancellation of Willwood's certificate of incorporation in New Jersey, a permanent revocation of its New Jersey home improvement contractor and new home builder registrations, and an injunction agaiinst owning, oiperating, advertising or managing any construction business in New Jersey.
Deputy Attorney General Jesse J. Sierant represents the State. The case was investigated by Consumer Protection Investigators Joseph Iasso and Brittany Kieran. Woodard and Willwood are representedby attorney Anthony Sodano, III.
Charges are accusations. Defendants are presumed innocent unless, and until, found guilty in a court of law.