Prosecutors: NJ man pleads guilty in contracting scam that targeted Toms River community
A Lakehurst man pled guilty to theft by deception after pretending to own a contracting business, according to Ocean County prosecutors.
Prosecutors say Robert Cohan, 36, targeted a Toms River community by telling residents he could work on their homes, then doing little to no work. They say he stole nearly $200,000 from more than 10 victims.
Prosecutors say an investigation by the Toms River Township Police Department revealed that between Feb. 2022 and May 2022, Cohan oftentimes posed as a relative of someone who owns a legitimate contracting business. They say Cohen targeted residents of the Gardens of Pleasant Plains, an age-restricted community in Toms River.
Cohan was charged with theft by deception on June 23 and taken into custody. Officials say he was released under the New Jersey bail reform.
According to prosecutors, another investigation revealed Cohan approached an older woman at a bank in Berkeley Township on Sept. 2022. They say the woman allowed Cohan to perform a small task on her property in lieu of being paid back. They also said Cohan continuously visited the victim and solicited larger sums of money for multiple reasons, including funeral expenses for his alleged deceased father-in-law.
Prosecutors say Cohan would also accompany the woman to several banks where he convinced her to withdraw large sums of money from her account or make credit card cash advances which totaled approximately $20,000.
It turned out Cohan’s father-in-law was alive, according to prosecutors, and Cohan received the money from the woman under false pretenses. He was again charged with theft by deception and his previous release under the Bail Reform was revoked by the court.
Cohan was taken into custody on Oct. 5, 2022, and he has been lodged in the Ocean County Jail since then. The state is pushing for eight years in state prison for Cohan and for $220,000 to be returned to the multiple victims.
Cohan has a history of being accused of scamming older adults. News 12 New Jersey previously reported in 2013 that he was hired by 89-year-old twin brothers. He allegedly scammed the brothers out of thousands of dollars and pleaded not guilty. In the same year, Cohan was accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from unsuspecting clients after offering home repairs. He was arrested, charged with grand larceny and later freed on cash bail.