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DA: Long Island man charged in Superstorm Sandy contracting scam

Rodrigo Leiton, 50, of Lynbrook, faces grand larceny, fraud and other charges, Nassau prosecutors say.
Credit: Nassau County District Attorney's Office

A Lynbrook man – who prosecutors said was acting as an unlicensed contractor – was arrested Tuesday on larceny and fraud charges for allegedly taking deposits to repair homes damaged by Superstorm Sandy and not completing the jobs, the Nassau County DA’s office said.

Rodrigo Leiton, 50, was arraigned Jan. 14 on multiple felony charges, including grand larceny and scheme to defraud. He was also charged with operating a home improvement business without a license and petit larceny.

Prosecutors allege that just three days after Superstorm Sandy hit Long Island, Leiton allegedly agreed to fix the roof of a Franklin Square home that was damaged by the storm. They said the homeowners paid him $4,000, but Leiton reportedly only laid a tarp on the roof and never performed any other work on the home.

The criminal charges accuse him of conducting a similar exchange last June, when prosecutors said he entered into a contract with different homeowners in Merrick, saying he would perform repairs to their roof. The district attorney’s office said the homeowners gave him a check for $2,500, but he never ever started the job.

Prosecutors contend other Superstorm Sandy victims, including an East Rockaway homeowner who paid $975 for interior work, and a Valley Stream homeowner who paid Leiton $1,875 as a down payment, were also victims of his alleged no-work scam.

Authorities said Leiton’s company, R&A Home Improvements, Inc., is not licensed to perform home improvement work in Nassau County. Prosecutors said Leiton’s home improvement license was suspended by the Nassau County Office of Consumer Affairs in 2012. An agency representative was not available to comment Tuesday evening.

“The homeowners in this case were victimized twice – first by Superstorm Sandy, then by a defendant charged with making promises he never intended, or was licensed, to keep,” said Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice.

Leiton appeared Tuesday before Judge Joy Watson at First District Court in Hempstead. Online court records show he was ordered held on $5,000 bail, which had not been posted by Tuesday evening.

It was not clear if he entered a plea during the initial court appearance. His Legal Aid attorney could not be reached for comment.

A phone number listed for Leiton in public records was not in service.