Contractor must repay defrauded homeowners


Staff Writer

LITTLE SILVER — Contractor Robert Socha has been sentenced to five years probation and ordered to pay $173,868 in restitution to homeowners he defrauded, several of them his former neighbors.

Socha, formerly of Little Silver, had entered into eight home-renovation contracts between August 2002 through January 2004 with homeowners in Shrewsbury, Little Silver and East Brunswick, according to a press release from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.

He was convicted of defrauding homeowners in a home-renovation scheme on Sept. 23. Socha was sentenced by state Superior Court Judge Edward Neafsey.

“At the time these incidents took place,” according to the Prosecutor’s Office, “defendant Socha resided in the same neighborhood in Little Silver where many of the victims lived after being referred to the defendant or observing him make improvements to his own property on Queens Drive in Little Silver.”

Homeowners allegedly entered into contracts with Socha, usually providing a substantial deposit to start the renovation project.

“Quite often,” according to the release, “defendant Socha, who was the low bidder on the project, would pressure the homeowner into starting the job, claiming he had the crew available to start immediately. Shortly after the victim provided the deposit, the defendant would either fail to appear as promised or would do minimal work and then leave the job site.”

Despite excuses provided to the victims from Socha, according to the release, the victims observed Socha continue to improve his own property while they waited for their projects to begin.

“The defendant executed a civil judgment awarding the victims full restitution that is nondischargable in bankruptcy,” according to the release.