New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs Obtains $6.34 Million Default Judgment Against Bergen County-Based Home Improvement Contractor
NEWARK – A Superior Court Judge has ordered ShorePro Contractors, LLC, of Linwood, and its owner, Christopher N. Molosso, Sr., to pay approximately $940,000, and also ordered the cancellation of the firm’s Certificate of Formation, under a Final Judgment of Default that resolves a 2014 lawsuit filed by the Attorney General and the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs.
Judge Raymond A. Batten found that the defendants had committed 84 violations of the State’s Consumer Fraud Act, the Home Improvement Contractors’ Registration Act, and related regulations. The violations include unconscionable commercial practices, making false promises, and misrepresentations.
“Bad actors in this industry can cost a homeowner tens of thousands of dollars in losses when the homeowner simply wants to improve his or her home,” Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman said. “This judgment secures restitution and fees, while dissolving the company so that it cannot cheat and harm any other homeowners.”
The state’s six-count complaint, filed last October, alleged that on three separate occasions, the defendants allowed required liability insurance coverage to lapse for multi-month periods, although still performing home repairs and renovations during those periods. As set forth in the complaint, consumers also alleged that ShorePro Contractors and Molosso performed substandard work, failed to repair substandard work consistent with contracted-for warranties, and pressured consumers into paying for unwanted extras in their home repair and renovation projects.
In one instance, Molosso allegedly demanded and received $2,000 from a consumer to pay for a home renovation permit, even though the permit fee had been fully waived because the consumer’s home was damaged by Superstorm Sandy.
“Simply put, consumers should get the work that they pay for,” said Steve Lee, Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs. “When consumers suffer losses because of broken promises and violations of the law, we will do everything in our power to force fraudulently acting contractors to make things right.”
Based upon the Court’s order, the State will file a statewide lien against Molosso and plans to liquidate any identifiable assets in order to pay the $76,810.08 owed to customers in restitution. The remaining balance includes $840,000 in civil penalties and $20,993.85 in legal and investigative cost reimbursements.
In its filed complaint, the State alleged that the defendants failed to include required consumer protection information and language in their contracts with consumers, created long delays in completing projects, and also failed to complete work that consumers had already paid for.
Investigator Jared O’Cone in the Office of Consumer Protection of the Division of Consumer Affairs led the investigation.
Deputy Attorney General Russell M. Smith, Jr., of the Division of Law’s Consumer Fraud Prosecution Section represented the State.
Consumers who believe they have been cheated or scammed by a business, or suspect any other form of consumer abuse,
can file an online complaint with the State Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting
its website or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey) or 973-504- 6200.
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