NJ contractor stole $122K from widow after deadly fire, cops say
A Warren County contractor is accused of stealing $122,500 from an Asbury Park woman who lost both her husband and her home in a deadly fire.
On Monday, law enforcement from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and Asbury Park Police arrested 59-year-old Alfredo “Fred” Abascal, of Washington Township.
Abascal is charged with second-degree theft by deception, according to Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni.
The widow was only able to escape the fire herself by jumping from a balcony, Gramiccioni said.
In September 2018, she hired and paid Abascal to demolish the fire-damaged structure and to build a new house on the property.
Abascal was the owner of Presidio Builders, a contracting company he operated out of Wayne.
After tearing down the charred wreckage, Abascal stop appearing at the job site and the woman was no longer able to reach him, Gramiccioni said.
Abascal never continued any work but still spent the money he was paid, totaling $122,500, Gramiccioni said.
If convicted, Abascal faces up to 10 years in state prison.
The Asbury Park Press reported that the widow who was cheated out of money was Shonna Famularo.
The Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office previously confirmed that 52-year-old James Famularo, a former assistant city manager for Asbury Park, died in an accidental townhouse fire in July 2018.
Anyone who has information on the contractor's theft by deception case can contact Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Detective Elethia Baldwin at 800-533-7443.
Anonymous tips also can be sent to Monmouth County Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-671-4400; texting “MONMOUTH” plus the tip to 274637; or by emailing through the website, www.monmouthcountycrimestoppers.com.
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