A home improvement contractor who ripped off several homeowners after superstorm Sandy will be spending weekends in Nassau County’s jail and will have to finish paying back more than $100,000 following his sentencing Thursday.
“I’m sorry for my actions and how they affected other people and I look forward to making restitution,” Lee Moser, 50, said in a Mineola court Thursday.
Acting State Supreme Court Justice Robert Bogle sentenced the Smithtown man to 5 years of probation and 45 days in jail — to be served on weekends.
In May, Moser pleaded guilty in Nassau County Court to felony charges of grand larceny and scheme to defraud.
The Nassau district attorney’s office said Moser, whose company was called Capstone Remodeling, scammed five Nassau homeowners out of more than $100,000 following the historic 2012 storm.
Prosecutors said Moser didn’t make repairs to their severely damaged properties after signing contracts with them between April 2015 and August 2016. Authorities said the homeowners in most cases wrote Moser a check with funds from New York Rising that were meant to rehabilitate their properties.
New York Rising already paid back the victims, and Moser's restitution will go to the Governor's Office of Storm Recovery, prosecutors said.
Bogle acknowledged Thursday that Moser already had repaid $50,000, saying that was one reason he wasn’t giving him more time behind bars.
Nassau Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Contreras said after court that prosecutors were glad to get justice for the victims, “especially given the fact that these victims were devastated first by Sandy and then again by this contractor.”
She said Moser had a pattern of taking money from homeowners, doing no work, and then trying to make excuses about it.
Prosecutors said those excuses from Moser included that he was in the hospital or caring for his sick mother.
But in reality, Moser spent the money on gas, food, telephone bills and other costs related to running his business, the district attorney’s office said.
Defense attorney Brian Trodden pointed out after Moser’s sentencing that his client had apologized and was “very sorry” for his actions.
“I think the people would rather get restitution than have him in jail,” the Smithtown lawyer added, when asked about the terms of his client’s incarceration.
In a separate case in July, a Suffolk County judge also gave Moser, who pleaded guilty, a 5-year probation sentence and ordered him to pay more than $31,000 in restitution for failing to make repairs to Suffolk homes damaged in the same storm.
Suffolk prosecutors said Moser took money from at least two homeowners in that county and didn’t do the promised repair work.
Moser’s actions also landed him on the Suffolk County Department of Labor, Licensing & Consumer Affairs’ “Wall of Shame,” which noted that the license he used to run his business was revoked in December 2016.