Prosecutor says contractor took $75,000 for construction job, but spent the money in Atlantic City and lavish gifts for himself

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WILLIAMSTOWN, NJ – Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina and Riverton Police Chief John Shaw announced that a 51-year-old Williamstown contractor has been charged with taking nearly $75,000 as a down payment for a construction project but failing to perform any work at all on the Riverton customer’s home.

Richard Smith Jr., of the 300 block of Bryn Mawr Drive, was charged with one count of Attempted Theft by Deception (Second Degree), two counts of Theft by Deception (Third Degree) and one count of Misapplication of Entrusted Property (Third Degree).

He was taken into custody yesterday during the execution of a search warrant at his residence and lodged in the Burlington County Jail in Mount Holly pending a detention hearing in Superior Court. The case will be prepared for presentation to a grand jury for possible indictment.

The investigation began in December 2021, after the Riverton Police Department was contacted by a resident who reported that Smith, the owner of Beyond Renovations LLC, took two payments from him for work on an addition totaling $74,488.88, but never began construction.

The investigation revealed that Smith used the money for personal expenses. He visited Atlantic City casinos and played in a poker tournament. He also purchased a new vehicle, a boat, and a fake Rolex watch.

After accepting the checks from the victim, Smith changed the name of his business to ARB Builder’s Group, and continued taking deposits for projects from new customers.

Anyone who believes they have been victimized by the defendant should contact the Riverton Police Department at 856-829-1212.

The investigation was conducted by the Riverton Police Department, the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office Financial Crimes Unit, the Cinnaminson Township Police Department and the Monroe Township Police Department.

Smith will be prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutor Joseph Remy, supervisor of the BCPO Financial Crimes Unit, and Assistant Prosecutor Michael Sullivan, supervisor of the BCPO Civil Remedies Unit.