Former Long Island contractor Alexander Almaraz accused of scamming Hurricane Sandy victims out of millions of dollars
CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. -- A Long Island contractor has been indicted for allegedly cheating Hurricane Sandy victims out of millions of dollars.
"The hurricane was terrible, but dealing with him was ten times worse," Baldwin Harbor resident Stephen McParland said.
McParland came to Federal Court on Thursday to see the contractor who he says scammed him out of $150,000 and left his home uninhabitable.
"Dealing with him was just a nightmare, and then he took off," he said.
Federal prosecutors are charging Alexander Almaraz, a former Long Island contractor, in a 20-count indictment with wire fraud conspiracy.
According to the indictment, Almaraz "specifically targeted customers whose homes were damaged by Hurricane Sandy."
Prosecutors allege about 20 victims hired the contractor after Sandy to repair their damaged homes, in all paying Almaraz about $2.5 million. The indictment claims Almaraz even convinced some of the homeowners to move out and pay him rent to live elsewhere, while their houses further decayed.
But instead of doing the work he was paid for, the indictment claims Almaraz used the money to pay off "credit card bills; land in Kansas city, Missouri; and luxury automobiles including a Lamborghini, a Porsche and a Jaguar," among other personal expenses.
"He strung us along, and then it was harder and harder to get in touch with him," McParland said.
McParland says the contractor never completed any of the jobs he promised on his house and feels the whole ordeal ruined his life.
"If I didn't have to go through the trauma of that event, it probably would've... I probably would've stayed sober and things would've been different," he said.
If convicted, Almaraz could face up to 30 years in federal prison.
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