Contractors stole from Sandy victims, A home improvement contractor from Smithtown pleaded guilty Thursday to “scamming” more than $100,000 from Hurricane Sandy victims, officials said.
Lee Moser pleaded guilty to third-degree grand larceny and first-degree scheme to defraud, according to Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas.
The DA’s office said it expects that Moser will be sentenced to 45 days in jail and 5 years’ probation if he pays $50,000 in restitution New York Rising, a state program that assists homeowners impacted by natural disasters.
Moser is to pay the remaining restitution while on probation or face another year in jail, authorities said.
Sandy “savaged our communities, and contractors who defraud those who suffered from the storm’s wrath are especially despicable,” Singas said in a statement. “This unscrupulous defendant took his victims’ money to help them rebuild, regaled them with excuses for delay, and never performed the work.”
Officials say that from April 2015 to August 2016 Moser signed contracts with five Nassau County homeowners to repair homes that had incurred severely damaged during Sandy. Most of the victims paid Moser a deposit by writing a check to his business, Capstone Remodeling, with funds from New York Rising, a storm relief program set up by the state.
But Moser never even started the work, authorities said. He allegedly told the homeowners that he was at the hospital or caring for his sick mother. And the money was allegedly spent on gas, restaurants, phone service and other items to run Moser’s business on matters that had nothing to do with the contracts he’d signed with the victims, according to the DA’s office.