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Unlicensed Nassau contractor pleads guilty to bilking customers

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An unlicensed contractor from East Rockaway pleaded guilty Monday to charges alleging he bilked more than $200,000 from customers who hired him to repair their driveways, Nassau County prosecutors said.

Robert Cohan, 27, pleaded guilty Jan. 13 to a slew of felony offenses, including grand larceny and tax fraud. Under a plea agreement with prosecutors, he faces up to 1 1/3 to 4 years in prison and authorities have obtained a civil judgment for $316,000.

Prosecutors said Cohan approached a 73-year-old woman at her Woodmere home in July 2012, offering to repair her driveway for $78,600. He allegedly told the woman that if she would pay up front, she would receive a full rebate and another $10,000 from New York State.

The woman also told Cohan she would pay him $1,500 to paint her deck and repair cracks in the foundation of her home. Prosecutors said Cohan gave the woman a handwritten receipt that said she would receive the rebate and the woman paid him $77,890 through dozens of checks and cash payments.

The district attorney’s office said he painted the woman’s deck and repaired some of the cracks in her foundation, but never performed any work on the driveway. The victim also never received her promised rebate.

“Today’s plea brings justice for the seniors and other victims this defendant thought would be easy marks, but who instead fought back to reclaim their hard-earned money,” Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said.

As reported in June, Nassau County detectives first arrested Cohan for allegedly scamming more than $100,000 from two elderly brothers after promising to make repairs to the driveway of their Seaford home. Prosecutors later upgraded the charges against him to account for the additional victims.

Cohan will be back in court on March 18 for sentencing.



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