New Jersey contractor took $75,000 for construction and never did the work
It's an all too familiar kind of theft in New Jersey, especially in the years following Superstorm Sandy with more repairs needed -- construction worker theft.
A Williamstown based contractor is now being charged with taking approximately $75,000 as a down payment for a construction project but never ended up doing any of the work at the home of a Riverton resident who paid for his services, according to a statement from Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina and Riverton Police Chief John Shaw.
This is a more recent theft, as Riverton Police were contacted by the homeowner in December of 2021 who told officers that Richard Smith Jr. of Bryn Mawr Drive, who also owns Beyond Renovations LLC., took two payments for the work totaling $74,488.88, but never began the work.
Police learned that Smith Jr. used the money for the project he never started on personal expenses, like going to the casinos in Atlantic City and playing in a poker tournament.
He also allegedly used the money to buy a new vehicle, a boat and fake Rolex watch.
To try and hide his nefarious activity, and after accepting checks from the victim, Smith Jr. allegedly then changed the name of his business to ARB Builder's Group, and then doubled down on taking deposits for projects from other customers as well.
Upon his arrest, Smith Jr., was charged with one count of Attempted Theft by Deception (Second Degree), two counts of Theft by Deception (Third Degree) and one count of Misapplication of Entrusted Property (Third Degree).
He was arrested Tuesday after police executed a search warrant at his residence and then brought him to the Burlington County Jail in Mount Holly, pending a detention hearing in Superior Court.
If you believe you're a victim of his theft and fraud, you're encouraged to contact the Riverton Police Department at 856-829-1212.
Prosecutor Coffina said that Smith will be prosecuted by Burlington County Assistant Prosecutor Joseph Remy, supervisor of the BCPO Financial Crimes Unit, and Burlington County Assistant Prosecutor Michael Sullivan, supervisor of the BCPO Civil Remedies Unit.