A Somers Point contractor is accused of defrauding homeowners of more than $1 million in federal funding to repair, rebuild or elevate homes after Hurricane Sandy.
New Jersey Attorney General Christopher Porrino and the state Division of Consumer Affairs filed a complaint in the Superior Court Chancery Division in Atlantic County against Werks Intended LLC, also doing business under the name McAllister Building Group, and company owners Lawrence “Tre” McAllister III and Monica McAllister.
McAllister is registered with offices in Ocean City, Linwood and Somers Point.
According to the complaint, the defendants took more than $1.6 million from customers for home repair and rebuilding work, including home elevations, after Hurricane Sandy. More than $1.3 million was from the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation, or RREM, and the Low-to-Moderate Income, or LMI, programs, administered by the state Department of Community Affairs.
In a January interview, Lawrence McAllister said about 70 percent of the company’s house-raising projects were related to Sandy recovery and thus eligible for RREM funds. He said dealing with the program is “awful, absolutely awful” because of delayed payments and red tape.
The state said 23 homeowners have claimed McAllister did substandard work, failed to provide completion dates, did not make repairs and caused damage to their homes. It also alleges the company failed to pay subcontractors and asked customers for more money to finish jobs, in some cases stopping work until it was provided.
The complaints alleged multiple violations of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, the Contractors Registration Act and several other regulation acts.
The state is seeking restitution for the homeowners, as well as a return of the federal funds, and to permanently prohibit McAllister from doing construction work in New Jersey, Porrino said in a press release.
Consumers who believe they have been cheated or scammed by a business, or suspect any other form of consumer abuse, can file complaints online with the DCA by visiting its website, www.njconsumeraffairs.gov, or by calling 1-800-242-5846 or 973-504-6200.