hurricane sandy atlantic

Bobby Huggins, of Millville and his cousin, Brian Cuthbert, of Somers Point, see how deep the water is at Bay Avenue and New Jersey Avenue, in Somers Point during Hurricane Sandy, Oct. 29, 2012.

A bi-partisan bill to help Hurricane Sandy families defrauded by building contractors passed the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee on Monday.

Sponsored by state Sen. Chris Brown, R-Atlantic, S-3191 provides an alternate method for victims of fraud to apply for relief so they can be made whole.

The state now requires Sandy victims to have a “charging document,” indicating the contractor has been charged with a crime involving fraud or theft by deception, in order to qualify for a refund through the state. The N.J. Organizing Project, an advocacy group for Sandy victims, has said such documents are difficult to obtain.

Under Brown’s bill, if one of a number of law enforcement agencies has reasonable cause to believe a contractor violated the consumer fraud act, the state Department of Community Affairs would be authorized to distribute fraud-response funding, without a charging document.

“Whether the delay for working families to return to their homes is caused by fraud, deception, or just plain incompetence, these families shouldn’t suffer any longer,” Brown said. “They were awarded a grant to rebuild their homes that was essentially stolen from them by unscrupulous contractors, and yet the bureaucracy makes it difficult for families to find relief.”

Contractor fraud “is taking a further toll on families, wasting limited public dollars, and draining personal savings,” Brown said. “It’s well past the time to bring closure for the hundreds of families who just want to move back into their homes and on with their lives.”

The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

Contact: 609-272-7219

Twitter @MichelleBPost

Staff Writer

In my first job after college got paid to read the New York Times and summarize articles for an early online data base. First reporting job was with The Daily Record in Parsippany. I have also worked in nonprofits, and have been with The Press since 1990.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

PLEASE BE ADVISED: Soon we will no longer integrate with Facebook for story comments. The commenting option is not going away, however, readers will need to register for a FREE site account to continue sharing their thoughts and feedback on stories. If you already have an account (i.e. current subscribers, posting in obituary guestbooks, for submitting community events), you may use that login, otherwise, you will be prompted to create a new account.

Load comments