Former contractor sentenced for stealing over $170K from Superstorm Sandy victims in Queens

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A former Long Island contractor who admitted to stealing more than $170,000 from families that lost their homes to Superstorm Sandy in Queens was sentenced to prison time, prosecutors announced Friday.

Andrew Troiano, 56, a former Lake Grove, Long Island, resident currently living in Lititz, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to multiple counts of second- and third-degree grand larceny in September 2017. He was sentenced to serve one to three years in prison on July 13.

According to the charges, on July 19, 2013, a family that resided on Fulton Walk in Breezy Point hired the contractor to build a new home on their property. The concrete foundation was poured and the property owners received a bill for $58,500 in April 2014. The family paid the sum in full.

Troiano hired a contractor to the pour the cement and a second contractor for crane work. However, Troiano did not pay either contractor. When the second contractor was not paid, the crane company placed a lien on the family’s property, even though the owners had paid Troiano in full for the work.

Charges say that on July 23, 2013, a couple living on Graham Place in Breezy Point entered into a contract with Troiano to build a modular home on the couple’s property. Payment was due upon completion of certain work and in March 2014, the couple received an invoice for $63,750 for the concrete foundation and paid Troiano the amount owed. Troiano, who again hired a contractor to pour the cement, did not pay the company the full amount owed.

Finally on Jan. 27, 2014, Troiano was hired to build a a modular home on the property of a third couple who lived on Hillside Avenue in Rockaway Point. The couple made two payments of $30,000 and $15,975 to Troiano for the work, and after receiving their initial payments, Troiano stated he could rush construction of their home if they paid more money up front.

The couple then paid an additional $55,000 on June 26, 2014. However, the firm that was slated to design the new home was never paid and drawings were never created. The couple was also billed for soil test, foundation design, wetland study and other pre-construction requirements and had to pay $7,150 on April 25, 2014, to cover those bills.

A forensic review of Troiano’s company bank account found that there were deposits from the victims but there were no payments to subcontractors. The only withdrawals from the account were for unrelated matters, including electrical work on a different property, cellphone and cable bill payments, and purchases at liquor stores and restaurants. There were also payments to an attorney and cash withdrawals that totaled more than $8,000.

“In pleading guilty, the defendant admitted he ripped off people who had already had their lives destroyed by a natural disaster. Then, he came along offering to build them new homes to start over,” said District Attorney Richard A. Brown. “He signed contracts, accepted their money and vanished. These three Queens families trusted the defendant, but instead of providing them with new homes he left them with vacant lots, empty promises and depleted bank accounts. The defendant will now go to prison to punish him for his crimes.”