NJ man indicted for scamming Sandy victims

New Jersey news from Eyewitness News

July 31, 2013 6:35:26 PM PDT
State authorities say a central New Jersey man who allegedly preyed on Superstorm Sandy victims by promising them low-cost housing or cars has been indicted on 10 counts of theft by deception.

David Ruddy of Metuchen is accused of stealing about $55,000 from 13 victims overall, including seven people who were in need of housing or a car due to Sandy. Five other victims were people who needed housing or a car for other reasons, while the final victim needed furniture The indictment was handed up Wednesday by a state grand jury.

Acting Attorney General John Hoffman says the 32-year-old Ruddy allegedly stole amounts ranging from about $1,000 to $9,000 from his victims. He met six of the victims at shelters in the days after Sandy hit in late October, and met three other victims through people he met at shelters.

He met the remaining four victims in other ways.

Ruddy, who sometimes uses the aliases David Castro and David Gartman, was arrested in late January. He remains jailed on a detainer in connection with fugitive warrants issued in Georgia.

Ruddy faces up to 50 years in prison if convicted on all 10 counts in New Jersey.

"While these victims were at their most desperate and vulnerable, (Ruddy) allegedly stole the money they needed to put their lives back together, leaving some of them without a permanent place to live to this day," Hoffman said. "We will aggressively pursue con artists to protect the people of New Jersey as they recover and rebuild."