New Jersey’s attorney general announced Tuesday that Jeffrey Colmyer and Tiffany Cimino, had pleaded guilty on charges of theft by failure to make required disposition of property.
(New Jersey Office of the Attorney General)
A New Jersey couple known to take $1.4 million of the victims of Hurricane Sandy looking for small repairs to the house, the use of the unlawfully obtained money for a diamond ring and bets in Atlantic City.
Jeffrey Colmyer and Tiffany Cimino, of Little Egg Harbor, admitted to the theft of the charges on Tuesday, the state attorney general announced.
Authorities say the couple ran a fraud scheme by means of two construction companies — Rayne Construction Management Services and Colmyer & Sons, and preyed on the basis of more than 20 victims of the storm who gave him the money for the house elevations, reconstruction and other repairs — work that was never started or completed.
Most of the money came from government relief programs. But instead of the funds being used for the actual construction, the couple gambled much of it away at seven casinos in Atlantic City and bought a $17,000 diamond ring, the attorney general’s office said.
“Meanwhile, they left jobs, or in many cases not even start jobs, leaving many victims with uninhabitable houses,” the office said.
Colmyer has already pleaded guilty to money laundering and the sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 7. The state says it will press for Colmyer for receiving a seven-year prison sentence and for Cimino to receive probation. The couple were taken into custody in October 2016, four years after the storm plowed through New Jersey. )The superstorm killed more than 100 in the U.S. and causing an estimated $65 billion in damage in the process.)
“Colmyer and Cimino heartlessly preyed on Sandy victims whose homes were destroyed, stealing the relief funds that are the lifeblood of these victims need to rebuild in the aftermath of the historic storm,” said New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal. “By sending Colmyer to the prison, we will deliver a strong deterrent message that everyone is willing to sink so low as to steal disaster relief money from the victims will face a strict reckoning.”
The state of former attorney-general, Christopher S. Porrino, said in 2017 the couple “merciless flow, relief funds, the victims need to reclaim their lives.”
“We have prosecuted scores of suspects of various types of fraud related to Sandy, but this thing is by far the most egregious,” he added.
A plea deal calls for the pair to pay $1.45 million in restitution and $56,472 in back taxes.
Bob Discussion of Brick Township, an air force veteran who allegedly gave Colmyer $54,000 in government money to lift and repair his Sandy-damaged home, told Brick Patch on Tuesday that he was “so happy that it’s done and over with” after hearing the news of Colmyer is a guilty plea.
“He put me through hell,” Discussion told the news website, which explains how he had to live in a camper for months with his adult son to a local contractor stepped in to take over the work that Colmyer is never completed.
“He is just devastated me,” Discussion added.
Others were even less fortunate.
A one-star review on the yelp page for Colmyer & Sons, placed in 2015, accused Colmyer of “shoddy workmanship.
“I hired Jeff Colmyer in March 2012, in the confidence that he would replace my flat roof, efficiently and professionally. He was certainly efficient, but professional, no,” wrote the user, Sheri L. “After a little more than a month, the roof began to leak, and in less than two months, the elastomeric roof coating that was five years and started peeling. Six months later, the roof jump, three other major leaks, causing thousands of dollars worth of damage inside my house.”