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Former LI contractor sent to prison for bilking superstorm Sandy victims

An aerial view shows devastation in a Breezy

An aerial view shows devastation in a Breezy Point neighborhood after superstorm Sandy.  Credit: Doug Kuntz

A Long Island contractor will serve one to three years in prison for stealing more than $170,000 entrusted to him by superstorm Sandy victims and spending it on cellphone and cable bills, liquor, restaurants, legal fees and other items, prosecutors said on Friday.

Andrew Troiano, 56, formerly of Lake Grove and now living in Lititz, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in September to multiple counts of second- and third-degree grand larceny. He was sentenced Friday by Queens Supreme Court Justice Barry Kron, the Queens district attorney's office said in a statement.

The maximum prison sentence Troiano could have faced was 15 years.

“In pleading guilty, the defendant admitted he ripped off people who had already had their lives destroyed by a natural disaster . . . These three Queens families trusted the defendant, but instead of providing them with new homes he left them with vacant lots, empty promises and depleted bank accounts," Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said. 

Troiano's defense attorney could not be reached for comment Friday.

In July 2013, a Breezy Point family hired Troiano to build a new home. The foundation was poured in April 2014, and the owners were billed for $58,500, which they paid in full, prosecutors said.

Troiano hired one contractor to pour the concrete and a second to operate a crane but paid neither, prosecutors said. The crane company then placed a lien on the property.

That same summer, a Breezy Point couple hired Troiano to build a modular home. The following March, Troiano sent the couple an invoice for $63,750 to pay for a concrete foundation, a bill they paid in full. Again, the defendant hired a contractor to pour the concrete but did not pay the entire cost, prosecutors said.

In January 2014, a third couple in Rockaway Point hired the contractor to build a modular home and paid him $45,975 in two installments, prosecutors said.

Troiano told them he could rush construction if they paid more upfront. The couple gave him another $55,000, prosecutors said.

"However, the firm slated to design the new home was never paid and drawings were never created," Brown said. "The couple was also billed for soil test, foundation design, wetland study and other pre-construction requirements and paid $7,150 on April 25, 2014, to cover those bills."

An audit of Troiano's company bank account found "zero payments" to subcontractors, Brown said.

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