An East Rockaway man pleaded guilty Monday to charges that he scammed multiple people, including an elderly Woodmere woman, by promising to repair their driveways, said the Nassau County District Attorney’s office.
Robert Cohan, 27, of East Rockaway, faces up to four years in prison after pleading guilty to three counts of second-degree larceny, two counts of third-degree grand larceny, two counts of fourth-degree grand larceny, and one count of fifth-degree tax fraud.
According to the DA, Cohan scammed seven people, many of them senior citizens, out of $300,000 by promising to repair their driveways. Cohan also admitted to failing to pay sales tax he collected from his victims and personal income taxes for several years.
In July 2012, Cohan approached a 73-year-old Brower Avenue resident and claimed he owned a driveway company. He offered to repair her damaged driveway for $78,600 and claimed he needed cash up front. He also claimed he could get the woman an $88,600 rebate from the government, allowing her to make a $10,000 profit from the job.
Between July and September 2012, the woman gave Cohan 43 checks amounting to $67,490, as well as $10,400 in cash. She also paid Cohan $1,500 to paint her deck and repair cracks in her house’s foundation.
No written contract was drawn up in the process. Instead, Cohan hand wrote receipts that he claimed would be used to obtain the rebate.
The woman eventually asked her son, an attorney, to take on Cohan, who continued to make excuses as to why he couldn’t pay her back. The victim eventually filed a complaint with the DA’s office.
Cohan was first arrested in June for a similar scam where he tricked two elderly brothers into paying $118,000 for driveway repairs. He was charged again in July by DA investigators.
Cohan will be sentenced March 18 by Judge Tammy Robbins.
“Today’s plea brings justice for the seniors and other victims this defendant thought would be easy marks, but who instead fought back to reclaim their hard-earned money,” DA Kathleen Rice said. “Thanks to the tenacity of his victims and our cooperation with police and state officials, Robert Cohan will finally be held accountable for his scams.”