SEASIDE HEIGHTS - A contractor from Ocean County was charged with theft after he allegedly walked away from a job and worked without a license.
Contractor Thomas Carlevale, 29, says he will fight the charges brought against him by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.
Carlevale tells News 12 New Jersey that he began work on the Superstorm Sandy-damaged home belonging to Mary and Nick Ditta. He says that he billed them about $20,000 in 2014 and began work on their home. However, he says he soon discovered some problems.
"Every contractor in New Jersey knows there's unforeseen damages when you lift a home,” he says.
According to the complaint, the Dittas say they paid Carlevale $22,000. He then supposedly spent $4,500 on repairs before leaving the house unfinished and damaged. The complaint also said that Carlevale did not have a contractor’s license.
Carlevale admits that he did continue work in 2015 even though his license expired in 2014. But he says he is not a thief.
"I never walked away. I sent them a letter [advising them of needed repairs],” he says. “Numerous texts show that [I told them] ‘you want to dispute this, we can do that figure it out in front of my lawyer.’"
Carlevale was charged with theft by failure to make required disposition and failure to register as a home improvement contractor. He posted $50,000 cash bail to remain out of jail.
News 12 New Jersey reached out to the Dittas for comment but was told the couple did not want to comment on an ongoing case.
Anyone who wishes to check on the license status of a contractor can do so at the state’s website.