BEAUFORT — District Attorney Scott Thomas announced Friday Jeromy W. Thomas, 41, of Newport, pleaded guilty in Carteret County Superior Court to multiple felonies related to post-Hurricane Florence fraud and received a prison sentence of 33 to 69 months.
After his prison sentence, Jeromy Thomas will be on supervised probation for five years to pay full restitution, according to the DA’s office. Superior Court Judge Paul Quinn presided over this term of court, and the cases were prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Ashley Eatmon.
“After each natural disaster, I warn scammers that any fraudulent conduct will be investigated and prosecuted,” District Attorney Thomas said in a release announcing the sentencing. “Scammers who take advantage of victims will continue to receive the full attention from our office. We will hold scammers accountable and seek appropriate punishment and restitution.”
From late 2018 to the spring of 2019, Jeromy Thomas approached several victims in the Pine Knoll Shores and Beaufort areas to remodel and repair residential properties damaged by Hurricane Florence. Mr. Thomas operated under a local company name and used a letterhead for that business, despite the business being out of operation. He promised to complete work on multiple homes and obtained approximately $31,000 from various victims.
Not only did Mr. Thomas fail to perform the work, but he also led the victims on for months, stating that he was completing the jobs when, in fact, he was not. He provided photos to certain victims to update them on the progress of their jobs and claimed to have completed the work in the photos. Unbeknownst to the victims, the photos were not of their actual homes, but rather were being passed off by Mr. Thomas to assure them he was completing jobs.
In one case, it was not discovered that no work had been completed until the homeowner’s realtor went to assess the property for listing.
Sgt. Cory Bishop from the Pine Knoll Shores Police Department investigated the cases. After completing the investigation, Mr. Thomas was unable to be located. Operating off tips and tracking the activity on Mr. Thomas’ cellphone, Sgt. Bishop was eventually able to locate Mr. Thomas in Las Vegas, Nev. He was extradited back to North Carolina and has remained in custody since.
Mr. Thomas pleaded guilty to 15 counts of felony obtaining property by false pretenses and one count of misdemeanor larceny. He was sentenced to three active consecutive 11-23 month sentences, a total of 3 to 69 months, which will be served in the Division of Adult Correction. He also received 11 suspended sentences for which he will be on probation for five years upon his release from prison.
During his period of probation, Mr. Thomas is required to provide a copy of his criminal record to anyone with whom he attempts to contract for work so that homeowners in the future will be aware of his history. He was ordered to pay restitution to all victims, and failing to pay restitution could result in a violation of his probation.