A home improvement contractor in Stafford, New Jersey is accused of having swindled Superstorm Sandy victims out of nearly $280,750 in relief funds after walking off several jobs and leaving work unfinished.
The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs and Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino has filed an action against George LaRosa and his company GL Construction. Six homeowners were granted federal grants by the Division of Consumer Affairs’ Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation, and Mitigation (RREM) program in the wake of the devastating 2012 storm. GL Construction walked off with the money from these six homeowners leaving unfinished projects, shoddy workmanship, and/or construction that wasn’t up to code, according to Attorney General Porrino.
As Porrino stated in a press release,
"What makes the defendants’ alleged actions all the more repugnant is that they preyed on people relying on federal grant money to help them recover from Superstorm Sandy.”
From the Office of the Attorney General, Division of Law, and Division of Consumer Affairs, LaRosa is accused of the following:
The Complaint alleges that LaRosa and GL Construction violated the Consumer Fraud Act, the Contractors’ Registration Act, the Home Elevation Regulations, the Home Improvement Regulations, and the Advertising Regulations, by actions that include:
- Failing to begin and/or complete the home improvement and/or home elevation work specified by the GL Home Elevation contract.
- Failing to respond to consumer calls, e-mails and/or texts inquiring into when defendants would continue home improvement work, home elevation work, and/or construction of a new home that had been commenced, but then had been abandoned.
- On at least one occasion, misrepresenting to a consumer that a building inspection had been conducted, when such was not the case.
- Failing to perform work they were paid to perform, thus requiring consumers to pay other home improvement contractors to perform the work.
- Failing to pay subcontractors who performed home improvement, home elevation or new home construction work, resulting in subcontractors seeking payment from consumers and/or threatening to place construction liens on the consumers’ homes.
- Advertising and/or performing home elevations without being registered as a Home Elevation Contractor.
The Complaint seeks consumer restitution, the disgorgement of unlawfully acquired or retained RREM funds to the Department of Community Affairs, reimbursement of attorneys’ fees and costs, and civil penalties. The state also seeks to cancel the Certificate of Formation in the State of GL Construction, Limited Liability Company, permanently revoke the Home Improvement Contractor and New Home Builders registrations issued to GL Construction, and permanently enjoin the defendants from owning or operating a home improvement business in New Jersey, and from advertising and or performing home improvements, including home elevation, and new home building, within the State