A Smithtown home improvement contractor who pled guilty to scamming Hurricane Sandy victims out of more than $100,000 will serve jail time — on weekends only.
Lee Moser, 50, was sentenced to 45 days in jail, to be served on weekends, and five years of probation. In addition, he also paid $50,000 in restitution that will be returned to the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery.
Moser had previously pleaded guilty to third-degree grand larceny, a class D felony, and first-degree scheme to defraud, a class E felony, June 1 in Nassau County Supreme Court before Justice Robert Bogle.
“Cases like this are especially outrageous because homeowners were victimized first by Superstorm Sandy, and again by their contractor,” Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a statement. “This defendant stole from relief funds that were the lifeline victims needed to rebuild their homes and lives.”
From April 2015 to August 2016, Moser signed contracts with five Nassau County homeowners to perform work on their homes that have been severely damaged by Superstorm Sandy, according to Singas. In most of these cases, the defendants wrote Moser a down payment check for the work, using funds from NY Rising Community Reconstruction Program, made payable to his business Capstone Remodeling.
NY Rising is the state-run program that assists homeowners impacted by natural disasters. The homeowners had applied for and received money from NY Rising to rehabilitate their homes after they were damaged by the Oct. 29, 2012, storm.
Instead of performing the contracted work, Moser repeatedly provided excuses as to why his business had not started, such as he was in the hospital or caring for his sick mother, according to prosecutors. In total, Moser admitted to stealing $100,885 from Nassau homeowners. Moser spent these funds on gasoline, dining at restaurants, telephone services and other expenditures to continue running his construction business that were unrelated to the homeowners’ contracts, according to the district attorney’s office.
The Nassau County Office of Consumer Affairs received five complaints from victims of Capstone Remodeling between June 2016 and April 2017, which were forwarded to the district attorney’s office. An investigation immediately commenced.
NY Rising has since reimbursed the Nassau homeowners who were scammed by Moser.