East Rockaway man sentenced to prison for scamming senior citizens

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An East Rockaway man was sentenced to two to four years in prison by Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas for stealing more than $96,000 from several elderly clients who hired him to do home repairs.

According to a news release from the district attorney’s office, Robert Cohan, 31, pleaded guilty to third-degree grand larceny, first-degree scheme to defraud and first-degree attempted scheme to defraud to judge Robert Bogle on April 27.

“This defendant is going to prison because he preyed upon innocent seniors with threats and lies to steal thousands from vulnerable victims,” Singas said in the release. “Preying on the elderly is especially despicable and I am grateful to our prosecutors for holding a shameless conman accountable.”

According to Singas, Cohan was involved in 11 different incidents between January 2016 and April 2017. He targeted senior citizens in Malverne, Garden City, New Hyde Park, Amityville, Valley Stream and South Hempstead, by knocking on their doors and telling them they needed repairs done to their driveways, chimneys and/or sidewalks. Upon signing a contract and receiving a check for payment from the victim, Cohan did little or none of the agreed-upon work. In total, he stole $96,100 from his victims

In one instance, Cohan knocked on the door of an elderly Malverne resident and said he needed exterior paint and additional work done to his driveway, stoop and chimney, according to the release. He threatened the 89-year-old victim by saying he would have to report him to the Town of Hempstead and Adult Protective Services if he did not agree to have the work done, and that the town would give him a citation because of the condition of his home.

Cohan also told the resident that it was his duty to notify the town that a senior was living there and that he could lose his home if he did not agree to have work completed. The victim gave Cohan $22,100 and later tried to cancel the work and get the money back. Cohan told him he would give the money back, but never did, according to the release.

The conduct was uncovered during a separate investigation by the district attorney.

Senior Assistant District Attorney Vickie Curran of the Government and Consumer Frauds Bureau is prosecuting this case. The defendant is represented by Greg Zak, Esq.

Singas reminded homeowners about tips for hiring a contractor. They are available in full by clicking here.