Little Egg Harbor construction firms charged with Superstorm fraud
Two shore contracting firms, and the Little Egg Harbor couple who operate them, face allegations of collecting more than $900,000 in federal Superstorm relief funds from homeowners for Sandy-related repairs or reconstructions that New Jersey investigators said were not completed.
According to the office of New Jersey Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino, Jeffrey Colmyer and Tiffany A. Cimino, Rayne Construction Management Services, LLC (RCMS) and Colymer and Sons Construction, LLC, took initial payments and either failed to begin work, performed substandard work, or abandoned unfinished projects for weeks, months, or entirely.
The complaint cites 26 home owners who paid $923,742 in Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) funds, allocated through the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA). Porrino's office says that 10 more home owners also filed similar complaints.
RCMS and Colymer and Sons are accused of violating the Consumer Fraud Act, Contractors' Registration Act, and regulations for home elevation, home improvement, and advertising. State authorities seek restitution for clients, return of RREM funds to DCA, reimbursement of attorney fees and legal costs, and civil penalties.
The State also seeks revocation of their Home Improvement Contractor, Home Elevation Contractor, and New Home Builder registrations, and a permanent injunction against owning or operating a home improvement business in New Jersey.
Investigators contend that actions taken by RCMS and Colmyer and Sons contradict statements and videos on their web pages that were designed to assure prospective customers.
The companies allegedly neglected to adhere to completion dates they supplied, leaving homes uninhabitable, increasing damage by leaving homes exposed to weather conditons for months.
Investigators claimed that one home was left without water and sewer service, a roof, windows, siding, insulation, plumbing, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, interior walls, a kitchen or a bathroom.
The firms are accused of incorrectly installing waste lines and suspending floor joists, installing unsafe electrical wiring and mis-measured laminated beams, covering rotted plywood with siding, installing a leaky roof, and failing to correct the conditions.
Investigators contended that services rendered by the companies repeatedly failed inspections, that the firms failed to maintain general liablity insurance, sought additional funds under threats of discontinuing work, forcing home owners to pay out-of-pocket for projects not included in contracts, or projects already paid, and refusing to issue refunds.
Jeffrey Colymer is accused of informing clients, after accepting payments, that he "did nothing with the money," that he was "out of money," that the money was "gone," that he was "tapped," and that he had spent the money on "other jobs."
Charges are accusations. Defendants are presumed innocent unless,and until, found guilty in a court of law.
Consumers who suspect fraud by businesses can file an online complaint with DCA, or can call 1-800-242-5846 in New Jersey, or 973-504-6200.