January 22, 2014 | 701 views
Lynbrook contractor arrested for defrauding Sandy victims
A unlicensed contractor from Lynbrook was arrested on Jan. 14 after he was hired to perform repairs at homes damaged by Superstorm Sandy, but never completed the work, according to Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice.
Rodrigo Leiton, 51, was charged with third-degree grand larceny, two counts of fourth-degree grand larceny, first-degree scheme to defraud and four counts of operating a home improvement business without a license. If convicted of the top charge, Leiton faces a maximum of two years, four months to seven years in prison.
Less than a week after Sandy, Leiton agreed to fix the damaged roof of a home in Franklin Square, Rice said. After being paid $4,000 by the homeowners, Leiton laid a tarp on the roof, but did no other work.
According to Rice, on June 29, 2013, Leiton entered into a contract with homeowners to perform roof work at a different location in Merrick. Though Leiton cashed a check for $2,500 for repairs, he performed no work. In August, Leiton failed to do promised interior work on an East Rockaway home after being paid $975 as a down payment. Less than a week later, Leiton was paid $1,875 as a down payment for work he never performed on a Valley Stream home.
The homeowners paid Leiton to repair damage incurred by Superstorm Sandy, except for the owners of the Merrick home, which suffered damage from another storm.
“The homeowners in this case were victimized twice – first by Superstorm Sandy, then by a defendant charged with making promises he never intended, or was licensed, to keep,” Rice said. “My office will continue to work with the Office of Consumer Affairs to find any other unlicensed contractors preying on homeowners struggling to recover from this historic storm and prosecute them with the full force of the law.”
Despite claiming to own a company named “R & A Home Improvements, Inc.,” Leiton did not have a valid Home Improvement license to perform the work at the time he entered into the contracts with the four homeowners. Leiton had his license suspended by the Nassau County Office of Consumer Affairs in April 2012 after failing to appear at an OCA hearing for failing to perform work for a client.
Anyone who thinks they may have been victimized by Leiton or his company, R & A Home Improvements, Inc., should contact the DA’s Complaints Bureau at 516-571-3505.