A New Jersey couple has been charged with stealing over $1million its home improvement companies received from Hurricane Sandy victims to fix the victims' homes, MaryAnn Spoto reports. Jeffrey Colmyer and Tiffany Cimino own two home improvement companies: Rayne Construction Management Services and Colmyer & Sons Construction. Spoto reports "20 homeowners paid the couple and their companies more than $1 million to repair, elevate or rebuild their homes but work was either never started or abandoned in mid-stream." The couple used the money to purchase luxury goods such as new cars and expensive jewelry. Colmyer reportedly used some of the money to gamble at Casinos in Atlantic City.
Most of the money came from the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) program, a Sandy relief program administered by the state Department of Community Affairs and funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), he said.
The investigation was handled by the state Department of Community Affairs, state Division of Taxation, HUD's Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General, and the Little Egg Harbor Township Police Department.
Colmyer and Cimino were being held in the Ocean County Jail in Toms River in lieu of $300,000 bail each.
The state Division of Consumer Affairs previously investigated allegations against the couple and filed a civil action in August against them, charging them with several violations of the Consumer Fraud Act. The complaint also seeks restitution and civil penalties from the couple.