Toronto-Area Contractor Convicted
Sentenced to Jail and Ordered to Refund $207,000 to Consumers
On June 29, 2015, Martin Horowitz, operating as Thomson Horowitz Design Build, was sentenced to 360 days in jail, followed by a two year probation term. Horowitz was convicted on May 1, 2015 under the Consumer Protection Act. As part of the probation order, he was ordered to pay a total of $207,000 in restitution to three consumers. Additional conditions under the probation order include that Horowitz is not to accept cash from consumers, and not to perform services or provide materials except as an employee of another contractor. This matter is under appeal by the defendant.
Horowitz entered into contracts with three consumers for substantial home renovations. He failed to do the work and, in some instances, failed to pay sub-trades and suppliers. Horowitz consistently asked for, and received, payments from consumers without completing the work or supplying materials. His renovation work also created safety issues for consumers.
Justice of the Peace M. Gilani of the Ontario Court of Justice in Toronto convicted Horowitz of the following charges:
- engaging in an unfair practice by making false, misleading or deceptive representations to consumers
- failing to refund payment within 15 days of being given notice of cancellation of the consumer agreement
- failing to take reasonable care to prevent the corporation from contravening the Consumer Protection Act
- failing to deliver a direct agreement in the format required by the Consumer Protection Act
- Ontario’s Consumer Protection Act, 2002 provides for fines of up to $250,000 for corporations per charge and $50,000 per charge for individuals convicted of offences. It also provides for jail terms of up to two years less a day for each offence.
- The act empowers the court to order offenders to pay compensation or make restitution to victims.
- Visit Consumer Protection Ontario for tips and advice on how to be a smart consumer.