By John Burton
FREEHOLD – A suspended Oklahoma home construction contractor has been charged with defrauding a Keansburg homeowner out of more than $38,000, paid to elevate the victim’s Sandy-damaged home, work that was not done.
Authorities have charged Raymond H. DeSylva, 57, Rosehill, Okla., with one count of third-degree theft by deception and one count of fourth-degree failure to register as a home-improvement contractor with the state Department of Consumer Affairs, according to Charles Webster, a spokesman for the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.
Investigators for the prosecutor’s office Super Storm Sandy Fraud Task Force said DeSylva was doing business in New Jersey as Eco Earth Friendly Builders when he entered into a contract in March 2013 with the Keansburg homeowner to lift his Roosevelt Avenue residence for $44,852. The contract called for the homeowner to pay DeSylva in three installments, with a $14,852 payment due at the contract signing and two subsequent payments of $14,852.
The state Division of Consumer Affairs issued an order last July 18 of summary suspension for DeSylva and his company.Despite the suspension, authorities charged that DeSylva did not inform the homeowner he was prohibited from conducting work in New Jersey.
DeSylva allegedly entered into a second contract with the homeowner to raise the home even higher and have the homeowner make two additional $24,026 payments for the added work. The homeowner paid DeSylva $38,878 but DeSylva did not perform the work.
The state Division of Consumer Affairs on Sept. 18 permanently prohibited DeSylva from doing business as a home contractor in New Jersey.
Monmouth County authorities issued an arrest warrant for DeSylva, who waived extradition from Oklahoma, and was returned to New Jersey. He is currently being held at the Monmouth County Correctional Institution, Freehold, on $100,000 bail, according to Webster.
The theft charge carries with it a penalty of three to five years in state prison; the failure to register has a maximum penalty of 18 months in prison, according to Webster.