Little Egg Harbor Contractor Admits $247,000 in Superstorm Sandy Thefts

Feb 13, 2019

Six years after Superstorm Sandy ravaged the coast, Peter Rinaldi, 57, of Little Egg Harbor pleaded guilty to stealing more than $247,000 from eight homeowners who hired him to repair their storm-damaged homes.

On Feb. 11, Superior Court Judge Guy Ryan accepted a plea agreement to second-degree theft after Rinaldi admitted to stealing the funds.

Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that Rinaldi be sentenced to five years in New Jersey State Prison and ordered to pay full restitution to the homeowners.

Rinaldi’s guilty plea is the result of an investigation conducted by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Economic Crimes Unit.  The investigation revealed that Rinaldi was an owner of Donovan Mark Custom Builders, LLC and Michael Anthony Custom Builders, LLC. Between July 2014 and August 2016, Rinaldi entered into agreements to repair the homes of eight homeowners in Little Egg Harbor, Toms River, Ship Bottom and Point Pleasant but instead of utilizing their funds to make the necessary repairs, Rinaldi diverted the money for his own personal use. As a result, the homeowners were left with their projects unfinished.

Rinaldi had previously pleaded guilty to a charge of third-degree theft by failing to make lawful disposition of monies received relative to a homeowner he victimized in Brick Township. The state will also recommend that he be sentenced to three years in prison and pay full restitution in that case of $34,475.

Sentencing on both matters is scheduled for March 29 before Ryan.  —P.J.


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