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Would-be Wood-Ridge contractors rip off Hurricane Sandy victim

Photo Credit: Wood-Ridge PD

ONLY ON CVP: Two men claiming to be contractors took $1,580 of a Hurricane Sandy victim’s money and told her the entire job to remove a tree stump and branches from her property, while repairing some siding, would cost $3,300, said police, who arrested them.

One of them, 44-year-old Robert Busacca, was turned over to authorities from Ocean County, where he was wanted on a warrant.

The other, 18-year-old Evan Carmona, was released on a summons pending a court hearing.

Police responding to a burglar alarm at Charter Oak earlier this month discovered Busacca tearing siding off the victim’s house, Detective Joseph Rutigliano told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .

He also apparently “cut the alarm wires and removed the alarm speaker,” the detective said.

Busacca gave the officers a phony name but they quickly determined his identity and discovered he was wanted on warrants.

While investigating, Rutigliano said, he and Detective Michael O’Donnell learned that Carmona had solicited business without a permit — removing branches from the woman’s property and charging her close to $1,200.

Carmona, who owns Topseed Landscaping of Wood-Ridge, also told her that it would cost $500 to remove a small tree stump, as well, and that he’d send a “friend” associate over to repair the siding on her house, the detective said.

A few days later, Busacca showed up, along with an estimate for $1,500 for the work, Rutigliano told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .

She gave him a check of $279 for material and an additional $550 as a deposit, he said.

Busacca didn’t return until nearly three weeks later, when he told the victim that “an additional $1,800 would be required on top of the $1,500,” Rutigliano said.

She told police she gave him $750 and didn’t see him again — until the alarm brought police nearly a week later.

Busacca is charged with giving false information to police, soliciting without a permit and failure to have a permit for contracting. He was also charged with unlicensed contracting and unlicensed electrical work.

The half-dozen offenses carry fines of from $1,500-$2,000 each.

Cross Hudson Electric of Wood-Ridge and Mike’s All Seasons from Carlstadt — both reputable area contractors — repaired the damage, Rutigliano said.


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