TOMS RIVER, NJ – Two contractors who entered into agreements to repair homes damaged during Superstorm Sandy bilked victims out of more than $2 million without performing the work, prosecutors said. The two men scammed thirty-one victims along the Jersey Shore in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy
Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on January 6, 2021, Jonathan Price, 43, of Manahawkin, and Scott Cowan, 58, of Demarest, were indicted by an Ocean County Grand Jury for eighteen counts of Theft by Failure to Make Required Disposition of Property (Funds) Received in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:20-9.
An extensive investigation by Detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Economic Crimes Unit revealed that Price and Cowan established the now-defunct Price Home Group, LLC, in February 2013 in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. From March of 2013 through March of 2016, Price Home Group entered into contracts with thirty-one homeowners in multiple towns throughout Ocean and Atlantic Counties to repair Sandy-ravaged homes or elevate their homes to protect them from future storms. The investigation revealed that despite having received considerable compensation in excess of two-million dollars from these individuals, Price and Cowan performed little to no work on the victims’ homes, and instead misappropriated the monies for their own personal use. Price and Cowan were arrested and charged on May 29, 2019.
“These two defendants preyed upon numerous homeowners who were at the lowest, most vulnerable points of their lives following the devastation of Superstorm Sandy. They took advantage of people who were utterly helpless, who trusted that the defendants would help them get them back into their homes as quickly as possible,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated. “Rather than honor their contractual obligations, these defendants betrayed the victims’ trust in favor of their own unjust enrichment, and now they will be made to answer for their unscrupulous behavior,” Prosecutor Billhimer concluded.
Prosecutor Billhimer acknowledges the Stafford Township Police Department, Little Egg Harbor Police Department, Toms River Township Police Department, Long Beach Township Police Department, Ocean County Department of Consumer Affairs, and the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, for assisting the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Economic Crimes Unit in conducting this very extensive and thorough investigation.
The public and media are reminded that all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.