A contractor from Ocean County, who had previously confessed to stealing $70,000 from a homeowner in Toms River, was handed a three-year prison sentence on Friday. The homeowner had entrusted the contractor with remodeling the first floor of his house.
According to a statement from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, Jeffrey Crawford, a 50-year-old resident of Lacey Township, pleaded guilty on October 23, 2023, to theft by failure to make required disposition of property. As part of his plea agreement and sentencing, he has been ordered to repay the homeowner the full amount he took from them.
The Ocean County Department of Consumer Affairs filed a complaint against Crawford, trading under the name Hercules Renovations, LLC, in May 2021. The complaint was brought to the attention of the Toms River Township Police Department.
According to authorities, the homeowner hired Crawford in September 2020 to complete a job for which he received a downpayment of $115,000. However, Crawford’s work was sporadic and he ultimately abandoned the project in March 2021, leaving the house in a state of extensive damage.
According to the office, Crawford used over $40,000 of the downpayment on gaming activities in Atlantic City, and approximately $30,000 on personal, unspecified items.
On October 14, 2021, he was apprehended at the Toms River Township Police Department and later released on a summons, according to officials.