FREEHOLD – A Warren County contractor was arrested Monday after stealing more than $122,000 from the widow of a man who perished in the fire which burned down their home. The widow, who was only able to escape the fire after jumping from a balcony, had paid the contractor to rebuild her home, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, with the assistance of the Asbury Park Police, arrested Alfredo “Fred” Abascal, 59, of Washington Township, on Monday, Feb. 24, 2020, charging him with one count of second degree Theft by Deception. If convicted, Abascal faces up to 10 years in a New Jersey state prison.
An investigation, which began in April 2019 by the Asbury Park Police Department, revealed Abascal was the owner of Presidio Builders, LLC, a contracting company he operated out of Wayne. In September 2018, Abascal was hired by the Asbury Park resident to demolish the remaining structure of her fire-damaged home and to construct a new house on the same property. After completing the demolition, Abascal stop appearing at the job site and became inaccessible and unresponsive to the victim. Abascal never continued any work and fraudulently spent the payments he received totaling $122,500.
Anyone who has information to assist the investigative team is urged to contact Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Detective Elethia Baldwin at 800-533-7443.
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Anyone who feels the need to remain anonymous but has information about a crime can contact Monmouth County Crime Stoppers confidential telephone tip-line by calling 1-800-671-4400; can text “MONMOUTH” plus their tip to 274637; or, they can email a tip via the website at www.monmouthcountycrimestoppers.com
The case has been assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Joshua D. Detzky.
Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.