Eight home-improvement contractors in New Jersey stand accused of operating without proper permits.
Acting State Attorney General John Hoffman says the eight were caught during a sting in which investigators posed as the owners of a Sandy-ravaged home in the Highlands or the homeowners' relatives.
The contractors provided the investigators with damage assessments and cost estimates for rebuilding.
Four of the contractors were criminally charged with engaging in home improvement contracting without being registered, while the other four face civil charges.
Hoffman says the undercover investigators identified home improvement contractors via online listings and, after checking each for annual registration with the state's Consumer Affairs Division, scheduled individual appointments with suspected unregistered contractors.
There are currently about 47,000 registered home improvement contractors in New Jersey.
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