RUMSON: CHARGES FILED IN SANDY SCAM

A Staten Island man was in the Monmouth County lockup following his arrest on charges he scammed a Rumson family impacted by Hurricane Sandy out of $37,000, authorities said Friday afternoon.

From a press release issued by Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni:

Frank Lewery, 51, of the Tottenville section of Staten Island, is charged with two counts of third degree Theft by Failure to Make Required Disposition, one count of third degree Forgery, and one count of fourth degree Failure to Register with the Division of Consumer Affairs.

Lewery is being held on $75,000 bail in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution, Freehold Township, as set by Monmouth County Superior Judge Francis J. Vernoia, P.J.Cr.

Lewery, doing business as FTK Contracting and FTK Developers, entered into a contract with the Rumson homeowners in November 2012 to repair damages to their Harbor Drive residence caused by Superstorm Sandy.

On Feb. 14, 2013, the homeowners gave Lewery a check totaling $33,333, and another check on March 13, 2013 totaling $55,000 for work and materials related to the project.

On April 2, 2013, the homeowners provided Lewery with an additional check totaling $6,655.36 for the purchase of a granite counter top.

The checks were not used for the intended purposes.

In June 2013, the Rumson homeowners reported the suspected fraudulent conduct of Lewery and an investigation was launched culminating in his arrest Thursday.

The investigation revealed Lewery was never registered with the state Division of Consumer Affairs as a Home Improvement Contractor, cashed the checks at check-cashing facilities on Staten Island and Brooklyn, failed to place orders for the materials needed for the project, forged a check, and also asked a kitchen designer to lie about a non-existent order.

For additional information, the criminal complaints have been attached to this release.

Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.

Homeowners or citizens are urged to report complaints via the following:

The Task Force webpage at www.SandyFraud.com
Call the Task Force hotline at (855) SANDY 39.
Visit the Task Force Command Center, located in the Bayshore Activity Center at Bayshore Waterfront Park, 719 Port Monmouth Road, in the Port Monmouth section of Middletown Township. Command Center hours are Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and Thursdays from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The case is being prosecuted by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Andrew S. Fried, of the Office’s Financial Crimes and Public Corruption Bureau, who serves as coordinator of the Monmouth County Superstorm Sandy Fraud Task Force.