Two other Superstorm Sandy contractors plead guilty to theft
Two overseas men are the latest to get in trouble with the law after committing a theft related to Superstorm Sandy repairs in New Jersey.
On Tuesday, Ocean County Attorney Bradley Billhimer announced that John Bishop, 57, of Celebration, Fla., and his business partner, Paul Rueda, 50, of San Diego, Texas, both pleaded guilty to theft by default, the to make the necessary injunction, pleaded guilty .
We are approaching the 10th anniversary of when Super Storm Sandy devastated the Jersey shore in so many ways and in the time since the storm hit there has been and still is a need for repairs.
Unfortunately, at the same time, there were numerous contractors who took advantage of unsuspecting victims and either failed to do the job they were contracted and hired to do, or in such cases stole money from people.
According to prosecutor Billhimer, Bishop and Rueda conducted their heists from October 2014 through May 2017, stealing funds through their contractor company, John Paul Building, LLC, which they operated during that time, having incorporated the company in November 2012.
They harassed six homeowners during the route through Ocean, Monmouth and Middlesex counties, the Ocean County Attorney’s Office of Economic Crimes learned through its investigation.
Bishop and Rueda allegedly contracted their company, John Paul Builders, LLC, to fix the homes of people they hired and even collected more than $350,000 in payments, which both men said they would use to complete the projects, prosecutor Billhimer said.
As with other cases of fraud and theft, Bishop and Rueda were paid but did little to no work, and then the firm suddenly dissolved.
Then Rueda decided to start a new company, “PKR Construction,” and continued his program by signing contracts with four homeowners between July 2016 and May 2017, and his new company received $363,575 from the homeowners.
Some work was done by the company, but ultimately Rueda never completed the projects.
At the July 15 sentencing of the two men, prosecutor Billhimer said the state would recommend a four-year sentence for Bishop and five years for Rueda.
In addition, Bishop will pay the victims $178,425 in compensation under a plea agreement, and Rueda will do the same, but for $542,800.
Prosecutor Billhimer said Ocean County Attorney Christopher Heisler is handling the case on behalf of the state.
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