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A contractor from Manchester, New Jersey has been charged with theft after allegedly stealing $75,000 from victims of Super Storm Sandy.

According to officials from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, 45-year-old Darin Smith is accused of accepting money from four separate homeowners and subsequently failing to make the repairs to which he committed. Smith, who is from the Whiting, on the west side of Manchester Township in Ocean County, was taken into custody on Wednesday, October 4th.

Authorities say Smith, the owner of Heritage Construction Enterprises Corporation, contracted with four homeowners whose residences were damaged during hurricane Sandy. The four homes in question were located in Ship Bottom, Tuckerton, Toms River, and Long Beach Township. The homeowners reportedly provided a combined $75,000 to Smith for the renovations, which he never used to complete the work.

Now, Smith is facing second degree theft charges in Ocean County Superior Court. As with many theft crimes in the New Jersey Criminal Code, the degree of this theft charge is determined by the amount allegedly stolen in this specific case. In New Jersey, $75,000 is the cut-off for a second degree theft crime. In other words, if you are accused of stealing $75,000 or more, you will be charged with second degree theft and exposed to a prison term ranging from 5 to 10 years.

Notably, New Jersey recognizes a variety of distinct theft crimes. Theft offenses begin in New Jersey Statute Section 2C:20-3, “Theft by unlawful taking or disposition.” Theft by unlawful taking can refer to movable property or immovable property. Subsequent statutes address specific crimes such as theft by deception, theft by extortion, and theft of services. There are a number of variables that may influence the degree of a theft crime in New Jersey. As mentioned, the value of the property or money allegedly stolen is important. In some cases, the specific item involved is also significant. For example, theft of a vehicle is a separate offense under NJ law.

Arrested for Theft in Manchester, New Jersey?

When you are charged with a theft crime, it is critical to understand the charges that apply in your case and your potential exposure. Consulting with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can be the best decision you make when you or someone you love is arrested on theft charges. At Proetta & Oliver, our Ocean County criminal defense lawyers concentrate entirely on criminal and DWI defense in New Jersey. We fight tirelessly to achieve the best possible results for clients in Manchester, Long Beach Island, and other Jersey Shore communities. If you have questions about theft charges or wish to discuss your specific case, contact our offices in Toms River anytime at (848) 238-2100 for a free consultation.

For additional information related to this case, view the press release from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office:  OC SANDY CONTRACTOR ARRESTED FOR THEFT

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