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Contractor who allegedly scammed Hurricane Sandy victims arrested in Suffolk

Nassau district attorney still looking into Lee Moser

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A contractor from Smithtown who allegedly scammed Hurricane Sandy victims in Nassau and Suffolk counties out of tens of thousands of dollars has been arrested by Suffolk police.

According to the Suffolk County Police Department, Lee Moser was arrested on Oct. 13 in Riverhead, and charged with two counts of third-degree grand larceny and firs-degree scheme to defraud. Moser was the owner of Capstone Realty Holdings Inc., and did business under Capstone Remodeling, based in Smithtown. Victims claim that he took on dozens of post-Sandy projects in Nassau and Suffolk and, in some cases, either never started or never finished the work. 

Moser did not return phone calls seeking comment at press time. 

The arrest follows an exclusive Herald investigative story published in the June 15-21 issue, “Hurricane horrors: Sandy victims say they paid tens of thousands for work that contractors never did.” 

The article featured Andrew and Christine Polizzi, who live on West Fulton Street in Bay Park, and Christine’s parents, Donna and Vincent Prisciandaro, who live on Sperry Street. They said they filed complaints against Moser with the Nassau County Department of Consumer Affairs, alleging that he received payments from them to raise their homes and never completed the work.

“I’m very, very happy,” Andrew Polizzi said after Moser’s arrest. “I’m glad that it’s coming to a point where justice is being served and that the law is on our side. That’s the biggest thing in my book.” He added that he hoped an arrest would be made in Nassau as well.

Miriam Sholder, deputy communications director for the Nassau County district attorney’s office, told the Herald via email last week that the department is still looking into the allegations against Moser. “It is still an ongoing investigation, and I cannot comment further on it at this time,” she said.

Donna Prisciandaro said in June that she signed a contract with a company named Ducky Johnson Home Elevations to raise her home, and that the company subcontracted Capstone Remodeling to do the work. She said she put down a $27,150 deposit in April 2015, but the construction never began. She also showed the Herald copies of the contract and checks given to the company. Eventually, another contractor raised her home, but it remained untouched for 11 months after work gound to a halt.

The Polizzis said they gave $180,000 to Capstone to raise their home, but the company stopped paying its subcontractors — and they stopped working on their house in the middle of a job. Andrew said he was hit with $50,000 in liens by the subcontractors, and he provided the Herald with a copy of one lien for $29,000. 

Moser did not respond to six calls seeking comment about the claims in June.

The Polizzis and Prisciandaros said that despite the fact that another contractor eventually helped finish the work, they still lost money. They filed complaints against Capstone with the Nassau County Office of Consumer Affairs.

“The Nassau County Home Improvement license for this company was suspended by the Office of Consumer Affairs in April of 2016,” Commissioner Madalyn Farley said in June. “There are 13 complaints and 23 violations filed against this company. The office has referred matters related to this company to the district attorney for possible criminal prosecution.”

According to the Suffolk County district attorney’s office, Moser was freed on $1,000 bail. He is due back in Suffolk County Supreme Court in Riverhead on Nov. 13. Polizzi said he remains hopeful that he will one day get his money back, and that he plans to be in the courtroom with his family.

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“I want him to see my face in the back of his head and be like it’s wrong what you did to homeowners, especially to me and my family,” Polizzi said of Moser. “The yellow brick road is really happening now and I am satisfied to see closure.”