Hurricane Sandy Fraud Office To Close; Task Force, Hotline Will Remain

The Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office is closing its Superstorm Sandy Fraud Task Force office in the Bayshore Activity Center, 16 months after the storm roared into the New Jersey Coast.

But Sandy-impacted to report any fraudulent activities or contractors,  are urged to call the hotline at (855) SANDY 39 or visit the website at

“We set out with a mission to protect and serve the victims of Superstorm Sandy from the unscrupulous contractors and predators who would look for an opportunity to defraud or engage in improper or negligent business practices in the wake of the most horrific weather event in recent memory," Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni said.

The task force has received roughly 232 referrals since its inception, with 188 cases closed, he said.

A number of task force cases have been referred to the Monmouth County Department of Consumer Affairs, resulting in a tangible benefit to Sandy victims of approximately $235,000.

That includes direct refunds, savings in the form of negotiated bill reductions, and the value of work completed after task force involvement, according to Gramiccioni. .

Ten of the 88 cases examined criminally resulted in charges.

Shane (aka Shaine) Wood, 48, of the 200 block of Sharon Drive in Toms River, was sentenced last week by Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Ronald Lee Reisner, J.S.C., to one-year probation with a $1,000 fine for Failure to Register with the state Division of Consumer Affairs and Uttering a Forged Instrument – both fourth degree crimes.

Gramiccioni detailed a list of “red flag” situations when dealing with home improvement contractors.

Do not do business with a contractor who does not have a New Jersey Home Improvement Contractor Number (NJHIC#). Home Improvement Contractors are required to register with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs and obtain an NJCIC#.

Do not do business with a contractor who shows up uninvited to offer you a “special deal” or “hurricane discount.”

"Remember the old adage: 'If it seems to good to be true, it probably is too good to be true,' "Gramiccioni said.


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