By: Najla Alexander
Authorities in Ocean County announced that on August 28, Robert Cohan, 36, of Lakehurst, pled guilty to Theft by Deception before the Honorable Kimarie Rahill, J.S.C.
Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer reported at the time of his sentencing on October 27, 2023, the State will be seeking a term of eight years in New Jersey State Prison, along with approximately $220,000 in restitution to multiple victims.
Officials said an investigation by the Toms River Township Police revealed that between February 2022 and May 2022, Cohan, often posing as a relative of someone who owns a legitimate contracting business, targeted residents of the Gardens of Pleasant Plains, an age-restricted community in Toms River.
Specifically, Cohan solicited individuals to engage his services to perform work on the exterior of their residences, officials stated.
He then performed little to no work, stealing approximately $200,000 from more than ten victims in the process.
According to officials, on June 23, 2022, Cohan was charged with Theft by Deception and taken into custody by Detectives from the Toms River Township Police without incident and was subsequently released as a consequence of New Jersey Bail Reform.
A subsequent investigation by the Berkeley Township Police revealed that in September 2022, Cohan approached an elderly victim at a bank in Berkeley Township, using a false identity, and solicited a small amount of money, authorities say.
In exchange, the victim allowed Cohan to perform a small task on her property instead of being paid back.
Officials said, with knowledge of the victim’s address, Cohan continuously visited the victim and solicited larger sums of money for multiple reasons, including funeral expenses for his purportedly deceased father-in-law.
Cohan would also accompany the victim to several banks, convincing her to withdraw large sums of money from her account or through credit card cash advances, totaling approximately $20,000.
Further investigation determined that Cohan’s father-in-law was, in fact, alive and that Cohan received the money from the victim under false pretenses, according to officials.
As a result, Cohan was again charged with Theft by Deception, officials say, consequently, his previous release under Bail Reform was revoked by the Court.
On October 5, 2022, Cohan was taken into custody by Detectives from the Berkeley Township Police, and he has been lodged in the Ocean County Jail since that date.