An Edison man has been charged with scamming a 65-year-old Bayonne resident out of over $200,000 for fraudulent or improper repairs on his home, police said.
Danny Eli, 34, of Edison, was charged with theft by deception and possession of
a fraudulent document yesterday, according to Police Capt. Eric Amato.
On Monday at approximately 12:34 p.m., a 65-year-old male victim of West 48th Street reported that in January of 2020, a man rang his doorbell and introduced himself as “Manny Thompson,” authorities said.
The man, later identified as Danny Eli, explained that he performed home repairs and asked if the victim needed any repairs done to his home. The victim asked Eli to fix a leak in the residence, to which Eli agreed to fix for a price of $1,100.
The victim paid Eli this initial fee and he proceeded to make improper repairs. After realizing that the leak was not fixed, the victim contacted Eli again to address the problem.
Over the course of 10 more home visits, Eli obtained an additional $200,000 for leak and unnecessary foundation repairs around the home, billing the victim for 1,900 gallons of Flex Seal household sealant.
The victim reported the situation to the police after Eli insistently called the victim, demanding an additional $15,000 as the balance for the work done.
An immediate and aggressive investigation was initiated by the Bayonne Police Department Detective Bureau.
After speaking with the victim, it was confirmed that the amount the victim had paid far exceeded the cost of such repairs.
Yesterday, less than 24 hours after the incident was reported, detectives were able to intercept Eli as he responded to the victim’s home to collect the $15,000 balance.
During the investigation, it was learned that Eli possessed a fraudulent identification and had, indeed, charged and collected over $200,000 for repairs that were not properly made.
It was also discovered that Eli had numerous past arrests in multiple jurisdictions involving various methods of deception.
“Citizens beware! Transient criminals posing as roofers, pavers, seal coaters, tree
trimmers, or some other laborer travel from city to city, driving through neighborhoods while looking for victims, mostly the elderly and other members of our vulnerable population,” Amato said.
“Sometimes they offer to pave your driveway, repair your roof, or paint your house with supplies left over from another job. This is just a scam! The repair work is rarely completed as promised, completed very quickly, the quality is poor, and the repairs usually cost more than the original estimate.”
He also urged comparing estimates from reputable companies before agreeing to repairs, and if anyone is suspicious of a repairman, they should immediately call law enforcement.
“In the above case, the victim kept meticulous records of payments and noted phone numbers and license plate numbers which all aided in the investigation,” he added.