April 5, 2021 – The Competition Bureau announced that it has laid multiple criminal charges against four companies and three individuals in connection with an alleged conspiracy to commit fraud and rig bids for condominium refurbishment services in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
The following companies and individuals have each been charged under the Criminal Code with conspiracy to rig bids, conspiracy to commit fraud, and fraud over $5,000:
- TRI-CAN Contract Incorporated and owner Bob Vlahopoulos;
- JCO & Associates (912547 Ontario Inc.) and owner Jose De Oliveira;
- LAR Condominium Refurbishment Specialists (Lidio Romanin Construction Company Limited) and owner Tony Romanin.
A fourth company, CPL Interiors Ltd., was charged under the conspiracy provision of the Competition Act for its role in the alleged scheme.
“Criminal conspiracies that undermine competitive markets can cause extreme damage to our economy,” said Matthew Boswell, Commissioner of Competition. “The message should be loud and clear: if you enter into criminal agreements with your competitors, we will do everything in our power to uncover the facts and bring the evidence to court.”
The Bureau alleges that the accused conspired to commit fraud and rig bids for refurbishment contracts issued by private condominium corporations in the GTA between 2009 and 2014. The condominium corporations and the condominium owners who fund them are the alleged victims. Generally speaking, bid-rigging schemes result in victims paying higher prices for goods and services.