The money came and the money went, and nobody was watching. Now, it's a police problem.
That is the abridged version of the hurricane-related contractor fraud that has left thousands of homeowners stuck in the "disaster after the disaster" known as the Sandy recovery.
Ocean County, New Jersey was the hardest hit area during the storm. Of the 40,500 homes rendered uninhabitable by the storm statewide, about half were in Ocean County. To date, Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato has 49 indictments involving Sandy-related contractor fraud with another 50 active cases still under investigation. There is probably more but Ocean County prosecutor's office is only taking cases where the fraud exceeds $75,000.
According to Mark Di Ionno's article in the Star-Ledger, contractors under investigation in Ocean County have walked away with over $5 million of taxpayer money. Some contractors are accused of defrauding up to 30 homeowners each.
Read more about contractors under investigation for victimizing storm victims a second time in Di Ionno's NJ.com article here: