MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced that a home improvement contractor from Smithtown pleaded guilty yesterday to scamming Superstorm Sandy victims out of more than $100,000.
Lee Moser, 49, pleaded guilty before Acting Supreme Court Justice Robert Bogle to Grand Larceny in the Third Degree (a D Felony) and Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree (an E felony).
The defendant is due back in court July 12 and is expected to be sentenced to 45 days in jail and 5 years’ probation if he pays restitution in the amount of $50,000 to New York Rising, with remaining restitution to be made through probation. If he does not pay restitution, he is expected to be sentenced to one year in jail
New York Rising is the state program that assists homeowners impacted by natural disasters. The homeowners received the money from New York Rising to rehabilitate their homes after they were damaged by Superstorm Sandy on October 29, 2012.
“Superstorm Sandy savaged our communities, and contractors who defraud those who suffered from the storm’s wrath are especially despicable,” DA Singas said. “This unscrupulous defendant took his victims’ money to help them rebuild, regaled them with excuses for delay, and never performed the work. My office will continue to aggressively prosecute crooked contractors and hold them accountable for their crimes.”
DA Singas said that from April 2015 to August 2016 the defendant signed contracts with five Nassau County homeowners to perform work on their homes that had been severely damaged during Superstorm Sandy. In most of the cases, the complainants wrote the defendant a down payment check, with New York Rising funds, made payable to his business, Capstone Remodeling.
Instead of performing the work as promised, Moser provided excuses as to why the work had not started, including that he was in the hospital or caring for his sick mother. In total, the defendant is accused of stealing $113,485 from the complainants. Moser spent the money on gasoline, restaurants, telephone service and other expenditures to continue running his business unrelated to the homeowners’ respective contracts.
The Nassau County Office of Consumer Affairs sent complaints from the five victims to the NCDA between June 2016 and April 2017 and an investigation immediately commenced. To date, the defendant, who is currently unlicensed, has not repaid any of the funds.
Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Contreras of DA Singas’ Financial Crimes Bureau is prosecuting this case. The defendant is represented by Brian Trodden, Esq.