Shore contractor admits to stealing nearly $250k from 8 Sandy victims

Homes damaged by Superstorm Sandy are seen in this April 2013 image from the Ortley Beach section of Toms River. (AP Photo)

Homes damaged by Superstorm Sandy are seen in this April 2013 image from the Ortley Beach section of Toms River. (AP Photo)

A Jersey Shore contractor has admitted to stealing money from homeowners that paid him to perform repairs on their properties following Superstorm Sandy, prosecutors say.

Peter Rinaldi, 57, of Little Egg Harbor, N.J., pleaded guilty Monday to degree theft by failing to make lawful disposition of property, Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer said.

Authorities say Rinaldi operated under the companies Donovan Mark Custom Builders and Michael Anthony Custom Builders.

They allege that he accepted checks from eight homeowners totaling $247,224 between July 2014 and August 2016 for renovations at private homes in Little Egg Harbor, Toms River, Ship Bottom, and Point Pleasant but spent the money on himself, Billhimer said.

Rinaldi had previously pleaded guilty to theft against a homeowner in Brick, according to authorities.

Prosecutors say they’ll seek a total of eight years in prison and full restitution of $247,224 in the first case and $34,475 in the second when Rinaldi is sentenced on March 29.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal