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Sandy Contractor Who Defrauded Toms River Victims Heading to Jail

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Peter Rinaldi (Photo: OCPO)
Peter Rinaldi (Photo: OCPO)

A crooked contractor who previously pleaded guilty to stealing more than $247,000 from eight homeowners will spend the next five years behind bars, an Ocean County Superior Court judge has ruled.

Peter Rinaldi, 57, of Little Egg Harbor,last week by Judge Guy P. Ryan at a hearing in Toms River. The five-year state prison sentence is in connection with Rinaldi’s guilty plea on Feb. 11, 2019, wherein Rinaldi admitted to stealing more than $247,000 from eight homeowners who contracted with him to perform repairs on their properties in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. Additionally, he was ordered to pay full restitution to the victims in the amount of $247,224.63. Rinaldi had previously pled guilty to a separate charge of third-degree theft by failing to make lawful disposition of monies received from a homeowner he victimized in Brick Township. The latest sentence involves an additional string of thefts.

Rinaldi was sentenced to three years in New Jersey State Prison and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $34,475 in connection with that theft from a homeowner in Brick.

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An investigation conducted by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office’s Economic Crimes Unit revealed that Rinaldi was an owner of Donovan Mark Custom Builders, LLC and Michael Anthony Custom Builders, LLC, an office spokesman said. He was responsible for entering into construction contracts and managing the finances of the businesses.

Between July 2014 and August 2016, Rinaldi entered into agreements to repair the homes of eight homeowners in Little Egg Harbor, Toms River, Ship Bottom, and Point Pleasant. As a result, he received payments exceeding $247,000 that were given to him for the purpose of performing those repairs. Instead of utilizing those funds to make the necessary repairs, Rinaldi converted the money to his own personal use. Consequently, the homeowners were left with their projects unfinished, prosecutors said.