A New Jersey Contractor Fraud Attorney Will Protect Your Rights
Whether it’s a residential or a commercial project, engaging a contractor is a big step. Due to the nature of these projects, the contractor may require a substantial deposit or that you pay a significant portion of the contract price. Contractors do this so that they do not have to bear the cost of materials and other expenses, which can be significant. Unfortunately, unscrupulous contractors use this as an opportunity to commit fraud by profiting off of your trust. In other cases, negligent contractors mismanage the money leaving you with an unfinished project. The result is the same, and you have suffered significant economic losses in either case. A New Jersey contractor fraud attorney can help you hold your contractor accountable and recover your losses.
Two Types of Contractor Fraud In New Jersey
Just like any other type of fraud, contractor fraud consists of engaging in deceptive or misleading actions intended to unfairly profit at another’s expense. Both general contractors and subcontractors can commit contractor fraud. Many contractor fraud cases involve collusion between both the contractor and the subcontractor.
The only difference is that contractor fraud occurs in the context of construction projects. Contractor fraud generally falls into two main categories:
- Commercial contractor fraud
- Residential contractor fraud
Commercial projects tend to be larger and much more difficult to manage. As a result, commercial contractor fraud tends to be more sophisticated and can be more difficult to prove. However, that doesn’t mean that residential contractor fraud cases are simple; they have their own unique challenges. Whether you have been defrauded by a commercial contractor or a residential contractor, a New Jersey contractor fraud attorney can help you enforce your rights.
Breaking Down Commercial Contractor Fraud
Commercial contractors handle construction projects for businesses such as office buildings, strip malls, or industrial complexes. Commercial contractor fraud often involves several people, including the building manager or owner, the developer, the general contractor, the subcontractors, and the project manager. Because of the scope and scale of many commercial contractors, there are often large amounts of money flowing in and out through the project. As a result, fraud becomes potentially more lucrative for those involved and, if they are careful, can be relatively easy to hide. Commercial contractor fraud schemes can last the entire duration of the project, up to several years. In some cases, the project may even be delayed to perpetuate fraud.
Commercial fraud can occur in myriad ways. Some of the more common schemes include the following:
- False claims
- Fraudulent misrepresentation
Commercial fraud can involve submitting inflated invoices for materials, billing for services not performed, or billing for unnecessary services. The challenge in most commercial fraud cases is proving your claim. As a result, you should work with an experienced New Jersey contractor fraud attorney before taking action; they can help you build a strong case to recover the money you have lost.
What is Residential Contractor Fraud?
Residential contractors are often referred to as home improvement contractors. Generally speaking, they handle residential construction jobs, most often improvement projects at homes that have already been constructed. While these projects may be smaller in scale than commercial construction projects, they can still involve significant amounts of money. Furthermore, most homeowners are simply unable to absorb the loss that results from contractor fraud, unlike most businesses.
To make matters worse, these home improvement scammers often target the most vulnerable among us; the elderly, first-time home buyers, and immigrant families. They engage in various fraudulent practices designed to gain their trust and then unfairly profit at the homeowner’s expense. Some contractors have no intention of performing any work at all, while others will perform substandard, shoddy work or attempt to overbill the owner. Some contractors may resort to threats or other intimidation tactics to avoid being reported.
In addition to either failing to perform or complete the work. These can include the following:
- Financing schemes. Many homeowners turn to home equity loans or other financing options to pay for the project. Unfortunately, lenders recommended by your contractor may be engaged in fraud in the form of kickbacks or other unfair dealings.
- Post-disaster repairs. Homeowners who have suffered a catastrophic loss are desperate for the repair work to begin. Unscrupulous contractors will encourage homeowners to sign unfair contracts, ensuring them that their insurance will cover the cost. Unfortunately, many of the costs are not covered by insurance.
A New Jersey contractor fraud attorney will be able to identify whether you are the victim of fraud and then build a strong case to help you get your money back.
How Much Your Contractor Fraud Case May Be Worth
In any contractor fraud case, you may be entitled to recover all of your current and future economic losses if you can prove that you were defrauded. In addition, you may also have a claim for punitive damages and may be able to recover your attorney’s fees and costs as well.
You should be aware that your case may fall under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act for victims of home improvement fraud. New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act is one of the most aggressive consumer protection statutes in the country. If your case falls under the category of consumer fraud, you may be entitled to triple damages; compensation of three times the amount of your economic losses, plus your attorney’s fees and costs.
The damages available to victims of contractor fraud are powerful tools for holding contractors accountable. A New Jersey contractor fraud attorney can determine which damages you are entitled to pursue so that you can understand your options and make an informed decision about moving forward.
Contact New Jersey Contractor Fraud Attorney Daniel P. Silberstein
Contractor fraud is a serious problem in the state of New Jersey, but those who have been taken advantage of have rights. Don’t be embarrassed; empower yourself and others by contacting a New Jersey contractor fraud attorney to discuss your options. Daniel P. Silberstein can help you get your money back; call or email us to schedule a consultation to discuss your case today. Our office is conveniently located in Union County, New Jersey, and we serve clients in Newark, Elizabeth, and more.