By Patrick Donachie
Queens prosecutors are accusing a Long Island contractor of swindling three borough homeowners out of more than $200,000 when they hired him to build their new homes after Hurricane Sandy.
Andrew Troiano, 54, of Lake Grove, Long Island, was arraigned in Queens Supreme Court Sept. 22. The builder added insult to injury by conning victims that were still reeling from the storm, the county’s top prosecutor said.
“The victims in this case had already had their lives devastated by a natural disaster. Their homes were destroyed, and when they took the necessary steps to rebuild, the defendant allegedly victimized [them] again,” Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement. “They paid him large sums of money to construct new homes for them. But instead of providing them with new places in which to live, these families were left with vacant lots, empty promises, and depleted bank accounts.”
A Breezy Point husband and wife hired the defendant to build a new home on their property in July 2013, according to the indictment. Troiano allegedly hired one subcontractor for foundation work and a second subcontractor for crane work. Troiano took money from the homeowners, but he allegedly never paid the subcontractors, who subsequently placed a lien on the house, according to the DA.
Troiano allegedly did the same thing to a Breezy Point couple that hired him. He cashed a $63,750 check from the victims but only paid the foundation subcontractor $13,000 out of the $62,182 that was owed, the indictment charges.
Troiano also entered into an arrangement with a third couple in Rockaway Point who made two payments totaling more than $45,000 in order to build a new home on their property. Troiano said he could rush construction if they paid him more, so the couple coughed up an additional $55,000 in June 2014, according to the DA. But once again, Troiano allegedly never paid any subcontractors.
Troiano is being charged with second- and third-degree grand larceny, second- and third-degree criminal possession of stolen property, and first-degree scheme to defraud, according to Brown. He faces as much as 15 years in prison if convicted, the DA said.
Reach reporter Patrick Donachie by e-mail at pdona