Charges laid in scam defrauding seniors of $1 million
McGuinty Government Helps Protect Consumers
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 it's 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.
- The Consumer Protection Branch has made significant contributions to nearly 950 convictions in the last five years.
“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.”