Staten Island Man Pleads Guilty to Defrauding NJ Sandy Victims of $31K
NEW JERSEY — A Staten Island man admitted to defrauding Hurricane Sandy victims in New Jersey by stealing nearly $31,000 in deposits they had given him for repairs to their damaged homes, prosecutors said.
Frank Lewery, 52, of Tottenville, pleaded guilty to collecting money from homeowners in the wealthy seaside community of Rumson, N.J. for repairs on their homes, even though Lewery wasn't a licensed contractor in the state, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni announced on Tuesday.
As part of his plea agreement, the state recommended Lewery be sentenced to three years in prison and pay $30,740 in restitution to the victims, Gramiccioni said.
An investigation by the Monmounth County Superstorm Sandy Task Force found that Lewery never registered as a home improvement contractor in New Jersey but still took the checks from homeowners for the Rumson repairs.
Lewery cashed them at check-cashing places in Staten Island and Brooklyn, but he never did any of the promised work, Gramiccioni said.
Lewery was charged with not registering with the State Division of Consumer Affairs and failing to deposit the homeowners' checks. He is scheduled to be sentenced on May 16.
Lewery's lawyer, Robert Scamardella, did not immediately return calls for comment.