A Salem County contractor faces up to 5-years in prison for telling eight Ocean County residents he was a fully insured and registered home improvement contractor, then collected money to do work he never came back to do.

Robert Cardell, 55, of Salem was found guilty in court on Wednesday in Toms River on eight counts of Theft by Deception in the Third Degree and eight counts of Unregistered Home Improvement Contracting in the Fourth Degree.

Each count of Theft by Deception is punishable by up to 5 years in New Jersey state prison.

Each count of Unregistered Home Improvement Contracting carries a possible maximum sentence of eighteen months.

Ocean County Prosecutors say that between September of 2016 and April of 2017 Cardell approached eight Ocean County residents and misrepresented himself as a fully insured and registered home improvement contractor.

Most of the eight residents were in their seventies and eighties.

Cardell fabricated multiple stories as to why the work was not started for the victims.

In some cases, he would return to ask the victims for more money, again making up a story but that time about having to spend the initial deposit on hospital bills for an injured grandson.

At trial, all eight victims, Edward McBride of the Department of Consumer Affairs, Mr. Jeff Marchitello of Farmers' Insurance, and Officer Michael Bennet of the Brick Township Police Department were among the witnesses to testify for the State.

The defendant, who was detained pending his trial, was remanded to the Ocean County Jail by Judge Cunningham to await sentencing on the matter.

Assistant Prosecutor Francis Hodgson presented the State's case.

Sgt. Mark Malinowski from the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office conducted the investigation and preparation of the case for trial.

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