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DA: Merrick Sandy Victims Duped by Contractor

Rodrigo Leiton, 51, accepted payment for repair work but never did any fixes, officials said.

Rodrigo Leiton, 51. Photo Credit: NCPD.
Rodrigo Leiton, 51. Photo Credit: NCPD.
A Lynbrook man was arrested Tuesday after he allegedly accepted checks to do work on Hurricane Sandy victims' homes and did not complete the work.

According to Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice's office, 
Rodrigo Leiton, 51, was charged with third-degree grand larceny, two counts of fourth-degree grand larceny, first-degree scheme to defraud and four counts of operating a home improvement business without a license.

On Nov. 12, 2012, just days after Hurricane Sandy, Leiton agreed to fix a roof in Franklin Square. After being paid $4,000, Leiton laid a tarp on the roof and allegedly did no other work. 

On June 29, 2013, Leiton agreed to do work on a Merrick home and accepted $2,300. Once again, he allegedly did not complete any work. In August, Leiton was paid a $975 down payment, but did not complete the work promised on an East Rockaway home. Less than a week later, the same happened when he was paid $1,875 from Valley Stream homeowners.

"The homeowners in this case were victimized twice – first by Superstorm Sandy, then by a defendant charged with making promises he never intended, or was licensed, to keep," Rice said. "My office will continue to work with the Office of Consumer Affairs to find any other unlicensed contractors preying on homeowners struggling to recover from this historic storm and prosecute them with the full force of the law."

If convicted of the top charge, Leiton faces 2 1/3 to 7 years in prison. 

Nassau County District Court Judge Joy Watson set bail at $5,000. Leiton is scheduled to next appear in court on Jan. 16.

Anyone who thinks they may have been victimized by Leiton or his company, R & A Home Improvements, Inc., should contact the DA’s Complaints Bureau at 516-571-3505.

The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless found guilty.

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