MONMOUTH COUNTY – After pleading guilty to stealing thousands of dollars from a client, a former owner of a residential construction company has been sentenced to two years’ probation, officials said.
Mihkel Grunbaum, 49, of Monmouth Beach, was also ordered to immediately pay $65,000 in restitution to the victim. He previously pleaded guilty on February 25 to third-degree Theft of Movable Property.
Grunbaum was the owner of his former business Shore GC Group, L.L.C. According to officers, he entered into a contract with the victim in January 2018 to build a single-family home on a piece of property the victim owned in Ocean Township.
The contract required that progress payments made to Grunbaum were only to be used in connection with the victim’s project. However, Grunbaum used $65,000 for personal expenses and payments for other projects, while abandoning the victim’s construction site.
When the victim terminated the contract and hired another builder, Grunbaum refused to refund the money, officials said.
The victim then reported the theft to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, and an investigation began. After reviewing the defendant’s bank records as well as interviews with subcontractors and suppliers, auhtorities determined that the victim’s money was never used for its intended purpose.