An East Rockaway man – who is out on bail after being accused in a contractor scam – was arrested again Tuesday morning on grand larceny charges after allegedly swindling an elderly woman out of more than $87,000 for driveway repair work that he never did, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said.
Robert Cohan, 26, was arrested July 9 by investigators from the Nassau District Attorney’s Office. He was set to be arraigned Tuesday afternoon at First District Court in Hempstead on charges of second-degree grand larceny and operating a home improvement business without a license.
According to prosecutors, Cohan approached a 73-year-old woman in July 2012 at her home on Brower Avenue in Woodmere and told her that he owned a driveway company. He allegedly offered to repair her damaged driveway for $78,600, but said that he would need the cash up front and would be able to retrieve her a rebate from New York State. The rebate, he allegedly told her, was for $88,600 and would cover the cost of the repair, and give her an extra $10,000. Prosecutors said Cohan told the woman that she would receive the funds by Sept. 7, 2012. She did not sign a contract and only received a handwritten receipt from him, which allegedly said she would receive the rebate, the DA said. From July to September 2012, the woman gave Cohan 43 checks, totaling $67,490 and an additional $10,400 in cash, said prosecutors.
During those months, the victim reportedly offered Cohan an additional $1,500 to paint her deck and repair cracks in the foundation of her home. Prosecutors said he completed those jobs, but took off before performing any work on her driveway.
The woman began to complain that no work had been done on her home and that she never received the promised rebate. The DA said Cohan repeatedly made excuses as to why he had not been able to pay the money.
Shortly after, the victim enlisted assistance from her son, an attorney, to recover a refund from Cohan. From January to February 2012, Cohan “repeatedly promised to repay he money on numerous occasions, yet failed to do so every time,” prosecutors said. Eventually, the woman turned to the district attorney’s office for assistance.
As usedview.com reported, Nassau County police arrested him on similar charges a few weeks ago. His arrest on June 1 came after he allegedly scammed two elderly brothers into giving him $118,000 for driveway repairs that he never performed, police said at the time. He pleaded not guilty to those charges and was released on $7,500 bail.
“This defendant thought these senior citizens would be easy marks, but he did not count on the strength and tenacity of his victims,” Rice said.
Cohan’s attorney, Edward Jenks, was not available Tuesday afternoon for comment. A message left at his office was not immediately returned.
Anyone who thinks Cohan or his company, All About Driveways, may have victimized them is asked to call the DA’s office at 516-571-3505.