A pair of contractors from out-of-state have been sentenced to a combined nine years in prison for taking money from Hurricane Sandy victims to complete work on their homes and then never completing the work.

John Bishop, 57, was sentenced on Friday to four years in prison on a single charge of Theft by Failure to Make Required Disposition. The Celebration, Florida resident must pay $178,425 in restitution to his victims.

His business partner Paul Rueda, 50, received a five-year sentence for the same charge. Rueda, of San Diego, Texas must pay $542,800 in restitution.

Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer said Bishop and Rueda formed John Paul Building, LLC, in November 2012, just a month after Sandy.

They signed contracts with six homeowners totaling over $350,000. However, barely any work was actually done. The company disbanded soon after but the homeowners never got their money back, according to Billhimer.

Then starting in July 2016, Rueda signed contracts with four more homeowners. Billhimer said that using his new business PKR Construction, Rueda netted another $363,575 for personal expenses without completing the work.

Rick Rickman is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at richard.rickman@townsquaremedia.com

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