Monmouth and Louisiana firms charged with Sandy homeowner fraud
Add two more home repair businesses to the New Jersey Attorney General's still-growing list of Superstorm Sandy profiteers.
In separate filings in Monmouth and Ocean Counties, Attorney General Christopher Porrino's office filed complaints against Ocean Township-based CRA Construction and Home Elevations (CRA) and Louisiana-based TMB Services LLC (TMB), for allegedly scamming homeowners out of more than $1,300,000 in fedeal relief funds.
Documents associated with the TMB case list 20 consumers as John and Jane Does, citing three with identifiable losses of $301,295.70, with restitution to date of $89,552.35.
Documents pertaining to CRA indicate at least 15 consumer complaints, five with identifiable personal and RREM losses totalling $1,162,514.80, restitution to date amounting to $613,165.42.
CRA is registered as a for-profit company in New Jersey. TMB is registered as a foreign limited liability company in the State.
The complaints seek restitution, and permanent bans on owning, operating, or managing any business that conducts home improvements, including elevations, in New Jersey.
The firms are accused of accepting payments, which investigators said involves funds in the New Jersey Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) program, to renovate, rebuild and/or elevate damaged homes, then either left them unfinished, or never started them.
The complaint against CRA, as well as CRA Site Lawn & Land Development, and principals Christopher M. Aldarelli, Paul J. Logan, and Steven P. Pisano, of having no registration for home elevations, despite advertising the service.
Authorities also allege that the firms neglected to undertake paid work in a timely manner, presented displaced home owners with unjustified cost increases, and left work incomplete.
CRA is also accused of violating a 2015 consent order requiring the firm to cease deceptive practices. Aldarelli is accused of concealing a criminal conviction on the companies' initial and renewal registration applications.
Alligations against CRA also include:
- Failure at various times to provide consumers with copies of the certificate of commercial general liability insurance required of a home improvement contractor.
- Failure to include the state-mandated "Notice to Consumer" cancellation language and the toll-free telephone numbers provided by the Division for consumers making inquiries concerning contractors.
- Failure to secure proper building and construction permits.
- Failure to respond to consumers' calls and texts regarding the status of the projects.
TMB, and owner Tracey McClain, are accused of obtaining RREM money in payment and neglecting to begin, or complete, home improvements or elevations, failing to submit timely written notice of construction delays, and failing to repair construciton-related damage.
Allegations against TMB also include:
- Beginning a home elevation project before requisite permits were issued.
- Failure to remove debris from a consumer's home and clean the job site, which caused a municipal Notice of Violation to be issued against the consumer's property.
- Failure to pay a subcontractor, which resulted in a lien placed on the consumer's property.
- Abandoning jobs and leaving consumers' homes uninhabitable.
Charges are accusations. Defendants are presumed innocent unless, and until, found guilty in a court of law.