An Ocean County home improvement contractor violated consumer protection laws and failed to complete work after taking federal and personal funds from customers needing work on their Superstorm Sandy damaged properties, the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs alleges.
Lawson Renovations, LLC, known as “J and N Construction and Roofing,” “J & N Construction and Roofing, LLC,” and a variety of other similar names, owned and operated by Jamie Lynn Lawson violated a variety of state acts, according to a release from the Office of Attorney General.
The state alleges that the company took money from consumers to renovate, rebuild and/or elevate Sandy-damaged homes and then failed to begin work, failed to maintain the required commercial general liability insurance coverage while working on consumers’ homes, and/or abandoned unfinished projects without returning for weeks, months, or at all.
The company obtained more than $1 million in federal relief funds from 14 homeowners and $82,731 in personal funds from two homeowners, according to the release.
Among other violations of state regulations, the company’s website claimed it had an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau when it actually had an “F” rating with the organization as of November 3, 2016, the release said.
Last December, Lawson was indicted on multiple criminal charges.
He moved to New Jersey shortly after Superstorm Sandy and subsequently became a state licensed home improvement contractor, according to the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office. Authorities said he failed to disclose criminal convictions in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas.
“While Superstorm Sandy provoked an outpouring of generosity among New Jerseyans, it also elicited fraudulent activity, including contractor fraud. This type of fraud can significantly erode storm-impacted families’ financial security and emotional well-being,” Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Charles A. Richman said in the release.
The state seeks consumer restitution, the relinquishment of federal money obtained, reimbursement of attorneys’ fees and investigative costs, and civil penalties.
The state also seeks to permanently revoke the home improvement contractor registration of the company and prohibit Lawson from operating a home improvement business in the state.
The public can report consumer abuse by filing an online complaint or calling 1-800-242-5846.