Home construction contractor faces new Sandy fraud charges
Superstorm-related contractor fraud charges filed in December in Ocean County. against several companies run by the same owner, now reach the state level.
Jamie Lynn Lawson and his businesses are accused of amassing more than $1,000,000, including over $750,000 in federal Superstorm relief, from 14 home owners who paid for, but didn't get, home repairs, rebuilding and elevations, according to the office of New Jersey Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino.
Lawson Renovations LLC, trading as J and N Construction and Roofing, J & N Construction and Roofing LLC, and several other identities, are charged with violating the New Jersey Contractors Registration and Consumer Fraud Acts, contractor and home elevation regulations, and rules applying to home improvement practices and advertising.
The home owners involved in the Ocean County complaint are concentrated in Brick Township and Toms River. At the time, investigators sought others who might have had bad dealings with J & N. There's been no indication that they have closed their case.
Prosecutors seek full license revocations, a permanent ban in New Jersey for Lawon and J & N, restitution for all impacted home owners, surrender of federal money paid to the ocmpanies, civil penalties, attorney fees and investigative costs.
Residents identified in the complaint paid through money doled out through the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs (DCA) in the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) program and Low-to-Moderate Income (LMI) program, authorities said.
The complaint alleges that J & N obtained more than $1,000,000 in RREM funds from 13 home owners, two of whom paid in excess of $82,000 of their own money, and $38,500 in LMI funds, and that in no instance was work completed.
Authorities also contend that J & N omitted contractor registration, home elevation, and new home builder registration numbers from its ads; claimed an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau while actually earning an F rating; leaving out addresses of sales reps or agents who negotiated the contracts; omitting from contracts applicable registration numbers, start and completion dates, warranty or guarantee information, and terms affecting contract prices.
The compaint also alleges that J & N contracts contained no required Notice To Consumer cancellation terminology, and omitted the DCA's toll-free phone numbers for contractor inquiries.
J & N is also accused of neglecting to obtain building and construciton permits, ignoring customer calls and text inquiries regarding project status, failing to perform work after payments and offering no notice regarding project delays.
The J & N complaint is the seventh set of allegations related to Sandy fraud filed by state investigators, in connection with RREM and LMI.
The state probe was led by DCA Investigators Joseph Iasso and Jared O'Cone. Deputy Attorney General Jesse J. Sierant conducts the state case.
Complaints or suspicions of contractor fraud can be filed at the DCA web page, or at 1-800-242-5846 or 973-504-6200.
Charges are accusations. Defendants are presumed innocent unless, and until, found guilty in a court of law.