AG Platkin, Division of Consumer Affairs Announce $442,000 Settlement with South Jersey Home Improvement Contractor Who Allegedly Defrauded Elderly Consumers and Others

For Immediate Release: October 5, 2023

Office of the Attorney General
– Matthew J. Platkin, Attorney General
Division of Consumer Affairs
– Cari Fais, Acting Director
Division of Law
– Michael T.G. Long, Director

For Further Information:

Media Inquiries-
Lisa Coryell

Consent Judgment

TRENTON – Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin and the Division of Consumer Affairs today announced a $442,000 settlement with a South Jersey home improvement contractor who agreed to dissolve his business and pay $257,000 in consumer restitution to resolve a civil lawsuit filed by the Attorney General alleging that the contractor and his company defrauded senior citizens and others who hired them to perform home remodeling projects.

South Jersey Home Contracting, LLC (“SJHC”), based in Woodbury, and its owner James C. Barreras, Jr., who resides in Cinnaminson (collectively, “Defendants”), agreed to the terms in Final Consent Judgement filed in State Superior Court in Gloucester County on September 13, 2023.

The settlement resolves the State’s lawsuit filed last fall alleging that SJHC and Barreras engaged in unlawful business practices, including against senior citizens, in violation of the Consumer Fraud Act, the Contractor Registration Act, and the Regulations Governing Home Improvement Practices.

The Division filed the action after receiving complaints from consumers, eleven of which were senior citizens 60 years of age or older. The Consumer Fraud Act provides for enhanced penalties for unlawful practices perpetrated against senior citizens.

In addition to providing 13 New Jersey consumers with the total restitution amount they sought, the settlement includes a $185,000 civil penalty, requires Barreras to dissolve SJHC by year’s end, and permanently revokes the Home Improvement Contractor registration issued to SJHC.

“We will not allow unscrupulous contractors to enrich themselves at the expense of New Jersey consumers, especially our senior residents,” said Attorney General Platkin. “The settlement announced today not only puts this company out of business, it provides meaningful financial relief to consumers harmed by the unconscionable conduct of the business and its owner.”

“Consumers who spend money on home improvements have every right to believe they are making sound investments that will add value to their property,” said Cari Fais, Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs. “We will not allow unscrupulous contractors to deprive them of that investment by pocketing their payments and providing little or nothing in return.”

According to the allegations contained in the State’s complaint, the Defendants violated the Consumer Fraud Act through misconduct that included accepting consumer payments and then failing to complete the contracted-for work; closing their business after receiving consumer payments for home improvement work they never performed; refusing to issue consumer-requested refunds after failing to perform the contracted-for home improvements; and accepting payments from consumers for work performed by subcontractors, but then failing to pay those subcontractors.

The State further alleged the Defendants violated the home improvement regulations through misconduct that included imposing undisclosed charges and fees not included in the SJHC contract price on consumers; directing a consumer to make final payment on the SJHC Contract before completing the home improvements; failing to begin or complete home improvements on the date or within the time period specified in the SJHC Contract; and failing to provide timely written notice to consumers of reasons, beyond Defendants’ control, for any delay in the performance of home improvements, and when the work will begin or be completed.

Investigator Brittany Crosta and former Investigator Melissa Dalessio, under the Supervision of Supervising Investigator Joseph Iasso in the Division of Consumer Affairs’ Office of Consumer Protection, conducted the investigation of this matter.

Deputy Attorneys General James M. Greenberg and Sara J. Koste and Consumer Fraud Prosecution Assistant Section Chief Chanel Van Dyke, under the supervision of Consumer Fraud Prosecution Section Chief Jesse Sierant, within the Division of Law’s Affirmative Civil Enforcement Practice Group, represented the State in this settlement.

Consumers who believe they have been cheated or scammed by a business, or suspect any other form of consumer abuse can file an online complaint with the Division by visiting its website at or by calling the Division at 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey) or 973-504-6200.


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