Pennsylvania contractor who left victims with unfinished projects faces 18 months

FREEHOLD – A Pennsylvania man who offered his services as a home improvement contractor to victims of Superstorm Sandy was found guilty last week of Failure to Register as a Home Improvement Contractor with the Division of Consumer Affairs, announced Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Daniel F. Sterling, 43, with an address on Donegal Road in Columbia, Pennsylvania. and using his parent’s Middletown address, was convicted by a Monmouth County jury following a two-day trial on a charge of fourth degree Failure to Register as a Home Improvement Contractor with the Division of Consumer Affairs. Sterling subsequently pleaded guilty to an identical count under a separate indictment.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Sterling contracted with two families in Monmouth County to perform recovery work. He and his crew did some of the work while waiting for money from the insurance companies to come in, but as time went on, he and his crew started showing up less frequently and eventually disappeared entirely.

The victims were left with unfinished projects, poor quality work, and no insurance money. After reporting their concerns to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, it was determined that Sterling was never registered to perform home improvements in New Jersey.

Since the Superstorm Sandy Fraud Task Force was created by the Prosecutor on Feb. 6, 2013, there have 345 investigation referrals received by his office. Of that number, 24 cases were indicted or pled resulting in jail sentences or fines; 140 cases were closed with no criminal charges; and 115 cases were referred to other agencies like the county or state Divisions of Consumer Affairs.  To-date, there are seven active criminal investigations pending and five other cases pending with the state Division of Consumer Affairs.

Sterling is scheduled for sentencing on Aug. 12, before Monmouth Superior Court Judge Joseph W. Oxley, when he could face a maximum sentence of up to 18 months in state prison.

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