A Jersey Shore contractor faces several years in prison and will have to payback nearly $300,000 that he stole from nine homeowners following Superstorm Sandy.

Peter Rinaldi, 57, of Little Egg Harbor, pleaded guilty on Monday to second-degree theft by failing to make lawful disposition of property received.

Under a plea agreement, the state will recommend that Rinaldi be sentenced to five years in state prison. He will also be ordered to pay full restitution in the amount of $247,225.

Rinaldi was an owner of Donovan Mark Custom Builders and Michael Anthony Custom Builders. Between July 2014 and August 2016, Rinaldi entered into agreements with eight homeowners in Little Egg Harbor, Toms River, Ship Bottom, and Point Pleasant, according to Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer.

Instead of using their payments to make the necessary repairs, Rinaldi kept the money for his own personal use and left the projects unfinished, Billhimer said.

Rinaldi had previously pleaded guilty to a charge of third-degree theft, stemming from a separate incident in which he ripped off a homeowner in Brick. For that count, the state will recommend that he be sentenced to three years in prison and be ordered to pay full restitution in the amount of $34,475.

Sentencing is scheduled for March 29.


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