Ontario homeowners defrauded after being told they have been awarded lawsuit money

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The 32-year-old contractor then proceeded to pressure them into signing new contracts.

A 32-year-old man from Pickering has been charged with eight counts of fraud stemming from a contractor scam that police say was used to target vulnerable homeowners.

Police say that the man would go door-to-door and tell homeowners they had been awarded money due to a lawsuit against Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) companies for contracts they had previously entered. The man would then pressure the homeowners into signing new contracts, telling them they could only receive their money through home renovations.

Those renovations, however, were done quickly and shoddily, and homeowners were left on the hook for amounts ranging from $40,000 to $70,000.

The charges were the result of “Notices of Security Interest,” or “NOSIs,” pertaining to the rented and leased equipment that was installed in the homes, such as air conditioners, furnaces, and water and air filters.

According to police, the total potential loss is valued at about $1 million. It’s not clear how many homeowners were targeted in the scam.

Police are reminding homeowners to be cautious about any door-to-door solicitation and to not sign any contracts they are unsure of. Homeowners can do a title search to see if any outstanding or unknown NOSIs are connected to their properties.

The man faces eight counts of fraud over $5,000, an indictable offence that is punishable by a term of imprisonment up to 14 years.

Last August, another Ontario man was arrested in a contractor scheme that defrauded homeowners in the Greater Toronto Area between 2020 and 2022.

The accused allegedly “promised contractor home services and was paid deposits and used sub-contractors,” Peel Regional Police said in a statement, explaining “several” people came forward claiming those services never began.

According to police, the fraud amounted to more than $1 million.

This article was originally sourced from www.NationalPost.com