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DA: Unlicensed contractor sentenced for stealing from seniors

Robert Cohan, 31, was sentenced Wednesday, Nov. 1,

Robert Cohan, 31, was sentenced Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017, to 2 to 4 years in prison after the unlicensed home contractor from East Rockaway targeted senior citizens to scam them out of nearly $100,000 in work he didn't do, Nassau County prosecutors said. Credit: NCDA

He threatened an 89-year-old man, convincing his victim to pay more than $20,000 in unnecessary home improvements — one of multiple cases where the unlicensed contractor from East Rockaway targeted senior citizens to scam them out of nearly $100,000 in work he didn’t do, Nassau County prosecutors said.

On Wednesday contractor Robert Cohan, 31, was sentenced to 2 to 4 years in prison, having pleaded guilty before Judge Robert Bogle on April 27 to third-degree grand larceny, first-degree scheme to defraud and first-degree attempted scheme to defraud.

It was the second time Cohan pleaded guilty to such a scheme. In May 2014, Newsday reported Cohan, then 27, was sentenced to 1 to 3 years for bilking seniors out of $316,682.

District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a statement Wednesday that the most recent conviction stemmed from 11 incidents between January 2016 and April, in which Cohan “targeted senior citizens” in Malverne, Garden City, New Hyde Park, Amityville, Valley Stream and South Hempstead — knocking on doors, saying they needed home repairs, getting them to sign contracts, then doing “little or none of the agreed-upon work.” In all, Singas said, Cohan this time stole $96,100 — including $22,100 from the 89-year-old victim in Malverne.

In that case, Singas said Cohan told the victim “he needed exterior paints and additional work done to his driveway, stoop and chimney.”

Singas said that Cohan “threatened” the victim, “saying he would have to report him to the Town of Hempstead and Adult Protective Services if he didn’t agree to do the work — and that he would be cited by the town because of the condition of his home.” Cohan also told the victim “it was his duty” to notify the town that a senior was living in the home, which Cohan then told the man he could lose if the work wasn’t done.

When the victim later tired to cancel the project, Singas said Cohan told him he’d return the money — but never did.

“This defendant is going to prison because he preyed upon innocent seniors with threats and lies to steal thousands from vulnerable victims,” Singas said in a statement, adding: “Preying on the elderly is especially despicable . . . ”

With Zachary R. Dowdy

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