A contractor who moved to New York from the South after Hurricane Sandy struck Long Island was charged Tuesday with grand larceny after he accepted a deposit for work he never performed on a storm-damaged West End home, according to the Long Beach Police Department.
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Danny Silsbe, 58, of Heber Springs, Arkansas, and Bay Shore, New York, was arrested and charged with third-degree grand larceny after homeowners paid Silsbe, owner of Heavy Construction and Disaster Relief, a $10,000 deposit on March 21, 2013, to elevate their house that sustained extensive damages during the storm, but he failed to do any work, police said.“Over the course of six months, the victims tried calling, emailing and texting Silsbe and even tracked him down to speak in person,” LBPD Commissioner Michael Tangney said in a statement about the arrest. “He still failed to commence any of the contracted work or return the $10,000.”
On Aug. 27, Nassau County and the City of Long Beach suspended Silsbe's contractor licenses after a hearing before the Nassau County Office of Consumer Affairs. In September, the homeowners turned to Long Beach police and, after an investigation, detectives arrested Silsbe and charged him with third-degree grand larceny on Oct. 29. He was arraigned in City Court and released on $1,000 cash bail. His case will move to Nassau County Court.
"The victims in this case tried everything they could to resolve this matter, but it became very apparent that Silsbe had no intention of ever performing the contracted work,” Tangney said. “Our investigation revealed that Silsbe moved to New York from Arkansas just after Superstorm Sandy and is being investigated by the Nassau County Office of Consumer Affairs."
Silsbe's attorney, John Halton of Bay Shore, told Patch on Friday that his client is innocent of grand larceny.
“We accept no pleas and we’re going to vigorously defend this case because it’s not a crime,” he said. “It belongs in civil court.”
Halton said that his client and the plaintiff both retained attorneys and had been in communication from August to late September. “We don’t even know if the complainant has the permits to proceed on the job that he was contracted for,” Hilton said.
Halton said Silsbe, a Long Island native and
longtime resident, had moved to Arkansas and returned to the island in December
2012, to help with rebuilding after Sandy. Since then Silsbe raised 20
storm-damaged homes across the island, including six in Long Beach, and has
never received a complaint, he noted.
“This is just one disgruntled client that has gone to the criminal justice system to force a civil settlement,” Halton said about the Long Beach complainant, adding that Silsbe negotiated with the homeowner to take off about $5,000 from the original contract price.