Contractor Admits To Scamming Homeowner, Spending $40K At Atlantic City Casinos

Written By Hannah Vanbiber on October 28, 2023
Image of homeowner paying contractor, which led one New Jersey contractor to taking a down payment and spending much of it at Atlantic City casinos

When it comes to renovating your home, it’s usually a good idea to hire a professional.

Unfortunately for one New Jersey homeowner, that “professional” turned out to be anything but.

A New Jersey contractor pled guilty to theft of around $70,000 from a Toms River homeowner, then spent $40,000 of it on gambling in Atlantic City.

According to the Ocean County Prosecutor’s office, 50-year-old Jeffrey Crawford, from Lacey, pled guilty to theft by failure to make required disposition of property.

Much of contractor payment goes to AC casinos

Detectives discovered that Crawford contracted with a homeowner in Toms River in September 2020 to remodel the first floor of a home. The homeowner made a down payment of $115,000.

That was apparently enough for the contractor.

Crawford – working under Hercules Renovations LLC – failed to complete the work, only working occasionally. He ultimately left the job in March 2021, “only after causing extensive damage to the residence,” according to Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer.

Of the down payment, it was discovered, Crawford spent $40,000 on “gaming activities” in Atlantic City casinos, according to the prosecutor’s brief. He also spent around $30,000 on personal items.

NJ contractor now faces three years in prison

The Toms River Township Police Department arrested Crawford on Oct. 14, 2021. They released him on a summons.

The contractor – well, now likely “former” contractor – will get no sympathy from the legal system when it comes time to sentencing.

Crawford faces three years in state prison, according to the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, and must make restitution to the homeowner, equaling the amount he misappropriated, which is approximately $70,000.

Crawford’s official sentencing is scheduled in the next few months for Jan. 12, 2024.

Photo by PlayNJ
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Hannah Vanbiber

Hannah Vanbiber is a contributing writer for PlayNJ after starting her journalism career in Chattanooga, Tennessee. From covering local sports, entertainment and business in East Tennessee, Hannah now covers legal gambling for New Jersey and New York as well as covering women's sports and sports betting in the New York metropolitan area.

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