Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced that a home improvement contractor from Smithtown was sentenced today to 45 days in jail, to be served on weekends and five years’ probation. As a result of this prosecution, the defendant also paid $50,000 that will be returned to the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery.
Lee Moser, 50, pleaded guilty on June 1 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).
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 Superstorm Sandy damaged them on October 29, 2012. New York Rising has already reimbursed the victims.
“Cases like these are especially outrageous because homeowners were victimized first by Superstorm Sandy, and again by their contractor,” DA Singas said. “This defendant stole from relief funds that were the lifeline victims needed to rebuild their homes and lives. I am grateful to the Department of Consumer Affairs for bringing this matter to our office, and to our Financial Crimes Bureau for their work bringing this defendant to justice.”
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 were 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 stole $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.
Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Contreras of DA Singas’ Financial Crimes Bureau is prosecuting this case. Brian Trodden, Esq. represents the defendant.