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Contractor In Court On Charges Of Bilking Superstorm Sandy Victims On Long Island

BAY PARK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- A Long Island contractor charged with preying on victims of Superstorm Sandy faced a judge on Tuesday.

As CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff reported, the contractor is accused of taking tens of thousands of dollars from customers, but doing little or no work.

"I trusted him, I really did," said Donna Prisciandaro.

Prisciandaro said she gave contractor Lee Moser and his company, Capstone Remodeling, her trust and her savings to elevate the Bay Park home she rebuilt after Superstorm Sandy. In return, she said she got scammed.

"No work -- nothing," Prisciandaro said. "He took the money and done nothing."

Around the corner, Prisciandaro's daughter and son-in-law, also storm victims, paid the same contractor $80,000 to elevate their house. They say Moser left it unlivable.

"He left us with no water, no heat, basically nothing -- boarded up and left," said Andrew Polizzi.

They are among the dozen alleged victims who claim they are out tens of thousands of dollars each, but on Tuesday, there was a form of pay back.

Moser, 49, appeared in handcuffs in court Tuesday. The Smithtown contractor – already charged in Suffolk County with grand larceny and fraud -- will now fight similar charges in Nassau County for allegedly stealing $110,000 dollars from six homeowners.

In court, there was a not guilty plea and a no comment from Moser's attorney.

Victims had banded together to bring the case to authorities.

"Today is my day -- it is. It's my day," Prisciandaro said as she began to cry.

She said her tears were for her ordeal and the others who weathered the storm only to become victims again.

"I don't know how the man can sleep at night. I tell you," Polizzi said. "Just to turn around and take money and not come through -- this should have been a good thing to help people who went through Sandy."

"He's got to pay for what he did to people," said Christine Polizzi. "You know, I mean, this is people's life, like, you know, this is all they have."

The victims who had to pay other contractors to finish the jobs say they are not banking on restitution.
But just in time for the holidays, they have renewed faith in justice.

Moser's bail was set at $25,000. He is back in court next month on the Suffolk County charges.

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