Charges Laid in Scam Defrauding Seniors of $1 Million

Archived Release

Charges Laid in Scam Defrauding Seniors of $1 Million

Ministry of Consumer Services

McGuinty Government Helps Protect Consumers
TORONTO, April 3 - Following an investigation by the province's Consumer Protection Branch and Ottawa Police, three related home renovation companies have been charged with contract violations and unfair business practices under Ontario's Consumer Protection Act.
The scam, aimed at local seniors, involves allegations of inflated estimates, advanced fees for work not done, salespersons using false names and aggressive sales tactics. It is alleged that the defrauded seniors lost approximately $1 million in the scam.
The investigation of complaints from the public led to the filing of multiple fraud-related criminal charges by Ottawa Police against Ottawa Construction & Renovations Inc., and its related business operations, Kefalonia International Inc. and Bryter Home Improvements Inc.
Investigators within the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services laid 57 counts under the CPA, all against these companies and two individuals: Michael Alivisatos and Christopher Patterson. The charges were filed recently in an Ottawa court.
On each count where a conviction is entered, an Ontario court may levy fines up to $250,000 for a corporation and $50,000 for an individual. An individual may also be subject to jail time up to two years less a day on each count. Provincial courts may also order offenders to pay compensation or make restitution to aggrieved consumers.
QUOTES
"Ontario consumers need to know that our office takes their complaints very seriously, and that we follow up with police and other agencies to address violations of the Consumer Protection Act," said Chris Ferguson, Director of Ontario's Consumer Protection Branch.
QUICK FACTS

- The Consumer Protection Branch has made significant contributions to
nearly 950 convictions in the last five years.
LEARN MORE
About consumer protection in Ontario at www.ontario.ca/consumerprotection
See backgrounder for further details
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Backgrounder
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CHARGES AND CONVICTIONS UNDER ONTARIO'S
CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT
The Consumer Protection Branch of Ontario's Ministry of Government and Consumer Services investigates unfair business practices and lays charges against businesses that violate consumer laws.
Operating under the Consumer Protection Act and other laws, the branch has obtained nearly 950 convictions in the last five years. The branch enforces the law to achieve four key consumer protection goals:
- Informed consumer choice
- Clear, comprehensible and prominent disclosure of consumer rights and
obligations in all contracts
- Freedom from undue pressure and misinformation
- Fair resolution of disputes between consumers and businesses
Engaging in unfair business practices is prohibited in Ontario. The Consumer Protection Act defines unfair practices including but not limited to:
- Exerting undue pressure on a consumer to sign a contract
- Exploiting someone's disability or infirmity to get them to sign a
contract
- Misrepresenting the quality of goods or services, or the credentials
of the business
- Promising something the business knows it cannot deliver
- Misrepresenting price advantages
Anyone with knowledge of or information about the use of unfair business practices in Ontario should call the Consumer Protection Services Bureau toll-free at 1-800-889-9768. Within the GTA call 416-326-8800.
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Contact Info For further information: Greg Dennis, Minister's Office, (416) 327-3072 Ciaran Ganley, Communications Branch, (416) 325-8659 HELP | CONTACT US | PRIVACY | IMPORTANT NOTICES © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 2008-2009 — Last Modified: February 15, 2009 For further information: Greg Dennis, Minister's Office, (416) 327-3072 Ciaran Ganley, Communications Branch, (416) 325-8659