TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A home repair sting staged after Tropical Storm Irene has resulted in charges against a dozen unregistered contractors in New Jersey.

The state Division of Consumer Affairs announced the results of its operation Wednesday.

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Investigators posing as homeowners responded to home repair advertisements after the August storm, inviting contractors to give repair estimates.

1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports

Twelve of the 16 contractors who came to the house in the Bergen County town of Lyndhurst to provide estimates were unregistered with the state.

“What’s particularly despicable about this is that it’s happening in the wake of a natural disaster, these people have been victimized by Tropical Storm Irene,” Consumer Affairs Director Tom Calcagni says. “We do not want our homeowners to be twice victimized.”

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Eight of the contractors had no business information on file. Four others had filed business records with the state but had not registered.

Those charged face stiff fines and jail time.

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Calcagni says complaints about home improvement contractors are common, representing 1,400 of 13,800 complaints filed with the division in 2010.

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