Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on January 12, 2024, Jeffrey Crawford, 50, of Lacey Township, was sentenced by the Honorable Dina M. Vicari, J.S.C, to three years New Jersey State Prison as a result of his previously entered guilty plea to Theft by Failure to Make Required Disposition of Property. Additionally, Crawford will be required to make restitution to the victim in the amount of approximately $70,000. Crawford pled guilty to the charge before Judge Vicari on October 23, 2023.
In May 2021, the Toms River Township Police Department was contacted by the Ocean County Department of Consumer Affairs with regard to a complaint lodged by a Toms River resident against Crawford, who was trading as Hercules Renovations, LLC. A subsequent investigation by the Toms River Township Police Department Detective Bureau determined that the victim homeowner entered into a contract with Crawford in September 2020 to remodel the first floor of his residence, for which the homeowner gave Crawford a down payment of $115,000. While Crawford sporadically performed some work on the property, he abandoned the job in March 2021 – only after causing extensive damage to the residence. Further investigation revealed that a significant portion of the monies tendered by the homeowner to Crawford were utilized for Crawford’s own personal benefit rather than for completion of the project. Specifically, Crawford expended more than $40,000 on gambling activity in Atlantic City, and approximately $30,000 on other personal items. In total, Crawford misappropriated approximately $70,000 of the monies provided to him by the victim homeowner to perform the contract.
On October 14, 2021, Crawford was taken into custody at Toms River Township Police Department Headquarters. He was released on a summons pending future appearances in Ocean County Superior Court.
Prosecutor Billhimer acknowledges the diligent efforts of Senior Assistant Prosecutor Christopher Heisler who handled the case on behalf of the State, and commends the Toms River Township Police Department, Toms River Township Police Department Detective Bureau, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Economic Crimes Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Victim Witness Advocacy Unit, and Ocean County Department of Consumer Affairs, for their collective assistance in connection with this investigation resulting in Crawford’s guilty plea, and now his state prison sentence.