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October 12, 2016

South Jersey couple charged with stealing $1 million from Hurricane Sandy victims

Crime Fraud
101216_colmyer_cimino New Jersey Attorney General's Office/for PhillyVoice

Jeffrey Colmyer, 41, and Tiffany Cimino, 43.

A South Jersey couple was arrested for allegedly stealing more than $1 million from victims who hired them to repair homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy, authorities announced Wednesday.

Jeffrey Colmyer, 41, and Tiffany Cimino, 43, of Little Egg Harbor, Ocean County, have been charged Tuesday with theft, money laundering, misconduct by a corporate official, failure to pay taxes and tax fraud, according to state Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino.

Charges were also filed against the couple's home improvement contracting companies, Rayne Construction Management Services and Colmyer & Sons Construction. Those charges include theft, money laundering, structuring, and tampering with public records.

“Colmyer and Cimino heartlessly preyed on homeowners who were devastated by Superstorm Sandy,” Porrino said. “Just when victims were thrown a lifeline in the form of Sandy relief funds and were trying to reclaim their lives, this couple allegedly stole their money and snatched that lifeline away. We’ll ensure these defendants are held accountable for their ruthless criminal conduct.”

Authorities allege that more than 20 victims paid the couple and their companies more than $1 million, mostly in Sandy relief funds, to rebuild their homes. The couple failed to complete those jobs and left victims with uninhabitable homes. Meanwhile, the couple used most of the money to pay for new cars, buy jewelry and gamble hundreds of thousands of dollars at seven Atlantic City casinos.

Both Colmyer and Cimino were sent to the Ocean County Jail on $300,000 bail.

“The Division of Criminal Justice, working with our state and federal law enforcement partners, has charged over 70 defendants with various types of fraud related to Superstorm Sandy,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “This case is the most egregious to date in terms of the dollars involved and harm inflicted on innocent victims.”