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New Jersey
New Jersey Builder goes to Jail
Tuesday, 15 April 2008

LBI home builder sentenced to 364 days in jail
Superior Court Judge Wendel E. Daniels placed Louis Vanacore, 42, on probation for five years, ordered him to serve 364 days in the county jail as a condition of probation, and ordered him to repay a total of $169,311.87 to six victims — customers who paid for homes that were never completed and subcontractors who performed work but were not paid for it.

Federal Judge Send New Jersey Officals to Prison
Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Three former Monmouth County officials sentenced to prison
A federal judge sentenced three former public officials from Monmouth County to prison on corruption charges today, saying the FBI sting that brought them and dozens of others down showed "the arrogance of power permeated through" the region's political community. The three hearings before U.S. District Judge William Martini were the first in a wave to come this week stemming from Operation Bid Rig, a two-year FBI probe in Monmouth County that resulted in charges against 48 people, about half of them public officials. Many of the officials, including those sentenced today, took cash from an FBI informant posing as a crooked contractor.

New Jersey Federal Corruption Charges
Monday, 22 October 2007

Hackett pleads not guilty to federal corruption charges
Orange Mayor Mims Hackett this morning pleaded not guilty to corruption charges, becoming the first of 11 public officials snared in an FBI sting last month to do so. Hackett's arraignment before U.S. District Judge Jose Linares in Newark came just a few days after former Assemblyman Alfred Steele became the first of the group to plead guilty. Hackett and Steele served in the Assembly together, but both stepped down after their arrests.

Federal Housing Program and Crooks in New Jersey
Monday, 15 October 2007

Probe disrupts housing repairs
Fuqua family members thought they were getting a sweet deal when they received federal grants to rehabilitate their New Brunswick home. To them, it meant a new kitchen, a working bathroom, stairs that didn't threaten to crumble below their feet and a roof that wouldn't leak every time it rained. But a year after receiving $23,000 in grants, their Seaman Street home is still in disrepair.  "It was a great program the government had for poor people to beautify their homes," said 45-year-old Alfonso Fuqua. "Now look what has happened because of crooks." 

Developer bribes legislators
Sunday, 09 September 2007

Hackett quits Legislature in wake of corruption charges
One day after being arrested in a federal corruption sting and hours after the state's top Democratic leaders called for him to step down, State Assemblyman Mims Hackett Jr. said he will give up his legislative post immediately...Hackett and Steele were arrested Thursday along with nine other officials at various levels of government on charges of taking bribes for public contracts. Corzine said they should all resign from all public offices.

Exposing New Jersey Builder Corruption Continues
Monday, 27 August 2007

Former Ocean Twp. mayor gets nearly 5 years in jail
Saying too many New Jersey politicians seem to be "hellbent on corruption," a federal judge today took the unusual step of rejecting federal prosecutors' pleas for leniency and sentenced the former mayor of Ocean Township to nearly five years in prison. Terrance Weldon, 59, managed to stay out of prison since pleading guilty to corruption charges nearly five years ago by cooperating with federal prosecutors against his accountant, a local official, a developer and an engineer.

New Jersey Building Official Corruption Continues
Thursday, 09 August 2007

Linden official arrested on bribery charges
A Linden city building inspector was arrested today on charges he accepted $10,500 in bribes from a building contractor in exchange for favorable inspections and fast-tracked permits, authorities said. Matthew Valvano, 49, of Linden, took the cash in his city hall office and at the contractor's construction site during four meetings secretly recorded by the FBI, according to a criminal complaint unsealed in federal district court in Newark. "You wash my hands, I"ll wash yours," Valvano told the contractor during one encounter, according to authorities.

Thursday, 22 March 2007
Kara Homes bankruptcy leaves buyers out in the cold
This is what happened after one of New Jersey's largest homebuilders filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last October as the housing boom went slack. The court proceeding halted the development of two dozen Kara communities across the state, leaving homeowners living on half-built streets. It also has stranded some 300 buyers, including the Files, who made down payments on homes but have yet to move in. Everyone involved has a tale. But those at Birch Hill may be in the toughest jam. Of the 228 units originally planned, only 80 have been completed. Buyers of another 45 units have made down payments but have yet to close. Various liens on the development exceed its appraised value by $12 million, an amount lawyers and others involved with the proceedings said was the biggest gap of any Kara community.
New Jersey takes action
Thursday, 18 January 2007

Keansburg home-improvement contractor sued by the state
A Keansburg-based home-improvement contractor has been sued by New Jersey for allegedly operating without being registered and failing to complete projects after being paid by home owners, state authorities said today. The Shademaster, which does also does business as Renovation Experts, and its owner, Carmine Annunziata, were sued in Superior Court in Monmouth County. The lawsuit says the company violated the state's Consumer Fraud Act.

Oh well...FBI Investigation doesn't stop builders
Sunday, 03 December 2006

Marlboro builders get court go-ahead
FREEHOLD — A state Superior Court judge Thursday ordered Marlboro Mayor Robert Kleinberg to sign paperwork needed to start construction on a senior citizen housing project by developers Steve and Bernard Meiterman, despite continued arguments from Marlboro officials that the brothers will soon be indicted for corrupt practices. The Meitermans' office in Freehold was raided by FBI and IRS agents in March. Bayer said that in the last month alone, the FBI has requested specific documents relating to Meiterman developments "no less than seven times," and that FBI agents were in Town Hall Thursday going through records pertaining to the Meitermans.

Their dream home a living nightmare
Tuesday, 21 November 2006

Builder's bankruptcy leaves new residents in lurch
David Jarashow will be the first to tell you, half in good humor and half out of frustration, that he is cursed. Two years ago, he lived in Marlboro Summit, a 70-unit development on Tennent Road where entire backyards would become lagoons whenever it rained. In June, hoping to escape that scenario, and with dreams of living in a bigger house with a bigger — and dry — yard, he moved into his new $1 million home in Crine West.

Builder in bankruptcy
Thursday, 19 October 2006

BREAKING NEWS: Kara Homes expected to get interim financing
One of the largest home builders in Monmouth and Ocean counties, Kara Homes filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Oct. 5. The filing has left many prospective homeowners who had contracts with Kara wondering if their homes will ever be completed or if they'll get their downpayments and deposits back.

Mortgage Fraud News Continues
Saturday, 30 September 2006

 Countrywide Sues Over Mortgage Fraud
The nation's largest home lender, Countrywide Financial Corp., is suing an Indianapolis man for allegedly orchestrating a mortgage fraud scheme in which dozens of Virginia residents were tricked into buying homes in Indiana at inflated prices...Tony Pickett, an Indianapolis real-estate agent who's representing 39 of the victims, said the case involves about 400 loans that average about $200,000 each.

Homebuilder accused of running the largest federal mortgage fraud scheme post bail
Saturday, 23 September 2006

Homebuilder on bail until appeal
One of two Rochester homebuilders, who with their father were accused of running the largest federal mortgage fraud scheme ever prosecuted in the region, was released from prison on bail while he appeals his conviction.The Amicos were convicted in 2003 of conspiring to swindle lenders out of $60 million on 169 homes in Monroe, Ontario and Wayne counties from 1994 to 2000.

New Jursey in the news
Friday, 22 September 2006

Homeowners pay thousands to fix mistakes by code official
One woman had to take a wrecking ball to $30,000 worth of construction on a two-story garage and start building from scratch.

Head building inspector under criminal investigation
Thursday, 21 September 2006

State yanks licenses of Newark construction official
The state has revoked the professional licenses of the recently suspended head of Newark's building inspections office and has referred the investigation of his predecessor to state criminal investigators, the commissioner for the state Department of Community Affairs said.

New Jersey: Public Hearing on defective building
Monday, 18 September 2006

Lawmakers to hear construction grievances
Damning results from a state report released last year about negligent and sometimes dangerous workmanship on new homes throughout New Jersey could re-emerge Tuesday night during a public hearing called by a state Senate committee.Lawmakers will hear testimony from victims of shoddy construction, who will offer suggestions on what legislative initiatives would help protect homebuyers from irresponsible builders and unresponsive overseers.

New Jersey: Senate group to hear out homebuyers
Thursday, 10 August 2006

Madden to introduce four bills on curbing new housing defects
Homebuyers got to speak their minds this morning at a meeting with Sen. Fred Madden and the Senate Committee on Community and Urban Affairs, on four new bills aimed at trying to stop housing defects in newly built homes in South Jersey. At 10 a.m. Thursday morning, Sen. Madden, for the fourth legislative district that covers Glassboro, Monroe Township and Pitman, joined Sen. Ronald Rice and the Senate Committee at Rowan University to talk about something that Madden calls "a pretty significant event." The committee heard testimonies from residents on four bills that are aimed at new homeowners problems.

New Jersey: New Homebuyers' Bill of Rights
Thursday, 10 August 2006

Public comment sought on homebuyer rights
The Senate Committee on Community and Urban Affairs will hold a public meeting Thursday at Rowan University to hear testimony on a package of bills aimed at curbing the frequency of defects occuring in newly built homes...."Homebuyers purchasing a brand new home should expect that home to be in pristine condition and without structural problems. We need to empower those buying newly built homes with a definite set of rights to ensure that they don't get stuck with a 'money pit.'"

New Jersey's Division of Consumer Affairs Makeover not working out
Sunday, 06 August 2006

Working out the kinks
Consumers have a new law designed to protect them from unscrupulous contractors... Eight months later, the verdict is mixed. Legislators and consumers say the law is worthwhile; complaints are down this year... State officials are pleased with the law. The Division of Consumer Affairs last year received 3,137 complaints from residents unhappy about contractors they hired to fix, tear down or expand their homes.

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