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Southern Ocean County company charged with Sandy-related fraud

A Manahawkin home repair firm becomes the eighth contractor to face state charges of deceptive business practices related to Superstorm renovations and federal relief funds.

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Coastal Restorations & Construction of New Jersey is accused of using false pretenses to collect almost $350,000 from seven clients who expected home improvements and elevations, according to the office of New Jersey Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino’s office and the state Division of Consumer Affairs (DCA).

The firm and Adam Nevius, Cole Nevius Jr., and Kimberly D. Atkinson, are charged with violating the state Consumer Fraud and Registration Acts, and regulations applying to registration, home improvement practices and advertising.

Investigators claim that after accepting payments, the company left projects unstarted, abandoned others, gave no notice regarding delays, and did not return job-status inquiries by phone, e-mail or text. Customers identified in the complaint received grants in the state’s Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) program.

Authorities also allege that a dumpster on one site was filled with waste material from unrelated jobs, and that the customer was forced to pay for its removal; that one client never received an overpayment refund when the company’s refund check didn’t clear; that building and construction permit applications claimed to be on file were not submitted; that the company failed to tend all permitting procedures as stipulated on its web site; that invoices, contracts and correspondence did not include a toll-free number for customer inquiries and complaints.

Adam Nevius, one of the principals, responded immediately when WOBM News called the company’s line in the 732 area code. He has not, to this point, responded directly to the allegations.

The state complaint also alleges that the Coastal web site and customer correspondence did not include its home improvement registration number. A quick look today finds a state license identification prominently displayed.

State prosecutors seek restitution for the clients, return of federal funds, civil penalties, attorney fees and investigative costs, revocation of Coastal’s state registrations and a ban on running a construction business in New Jersey.

Charges are accusations. Defendants are presumed innocent unless, and until, found guilty in a court of law.

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