A Mississippi man was arrested after he allegedly stole over $4,000 from a Superstorm Sandy victim.
Kendra Coleman says she gave a $4500 down payment to 45-year-old Asa Garriga to repair damage to her home that was caused by Sandy.
According to Coleman, Garriga claimed he represented a company called AJ Construction out of Atlantic City and insisted he was a licensed contractor. However, Coleman says Garriga never finished the repairs and threatened her whenever she tried to contact him.
“He would yell, scream, curse, call me names and tell me not to rush him,” Coleman said.
Another alleged victim, Kevin Smith, says he also paid Garriga more than $4,000 to fix his home but is now having work redone because most of it wasn’t built properly.
“One of the biggest con artists I ever met,” Smith said. “I only wish I had known.”
Officials began to investigate Garriga after Coleman went to police earlier in May. The Asbury Park Press reports police eventually located and arrested him in Little Egg Harbor on Saturday on a no-bail extradition warrant from Rhode Island for fraud charges.
Investigators also say they seized $40,000 from inside Garriga’s car as well as drug paraphernalia.
Garriga was then charged with theft by deception, performing electrical contracting services without a required license and other related offenses.
“If anybody else had contact with him or hired him, especially if he defrauded you, took your deposits and didn’t come back, we want to know about that so we can investigate further,” said Egg Harbor Township Police Patrolman Joel Mahr.
Garriga’s bail is set at $25,000. Police say they expect to file additional charges against him.