"Colmyer and Cimino heartlessly preyed on Sandy victims whose homes had been destroyed."
Over 20 victims of Hurrican Sandy paid Jeffrey Colmyer and Tiffany Cimino of Little Egg Harbor, N.J. to fix their homes that were ruined during the 2012 superstorm. Now the coupled has admitted to stealing at least $1.4 million from the victims and then spending the money gambling and buying luxury items, like a $17,000 diamond ring.
Colymer and Cimino hatched a contracting fraud scheme through their home improvement contracting businesses, Rayne Construction Management Services LLC, and Colmyer & Sons LLC. They targeted hurricane victims who paid them for reconstruction, home elevations, and repairs. The projects were then abandoned, either not completed or not even started. Some of the stolen funds even came from government relief programs.
Authorities said Colmyer, 42, gambled away hundreds of thousands of the stolen dollars across seven Atlantic City casinos. Colmyer pleaded guilty to money laundering and charge alone has a maximum prison term of 10 years.
Both he and Cimino pled guilty to theft charges by failure to make required disposition of property, which means agreeing to obtain a property under a legal obligation to make a specified payment or change to the property, and then intentionally failing to follow through.
“Colmyer and Cimino heartlessly preyed on Sandy victims whose homes had been destroyed,” said New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, who added that the relief funds the couple stole “were the lifeline these victims needed to rebuild in the aftermath of the historic storm.”
Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 7, 2018. The plea deal calls for Cimino to get probation. It also calls for the couple to pay $1.45 million in restitution. Colmyer also owes $56,472 in back taxes and is expected to get a seven-year sentence in state prison.
“By sending Colmyer to prison, we deliver a strong deterrent message that anyone willing to sink so low as to steal disaster relief money from victims will face a stern reckoning,” said Grewal.