Investigations into renovation scams led last week to arrests by Waterloo Regional Police.
In the one instance, police charged a 33-year-old Hamilton male and a 28-year-old Oakville male with five counts of fraud exceeding $5,000 and five counts of possession of property obtained by crime.
The charges are in connection to a renovation fraud scheme where the accused parties purported to be in the business of providing debt consolidation and financial advice specifically to assist homeowners in paying out Notice of Security Interests (NOSI), commonly referred to as liens, held against their home.
It is alleged that the pair used high-pressure tactics and misinformation to convince victims to obtain multiple mortgages quickly, leveraging the home’s equity. The money was used to pay out the NOSI’s with all additional money being redirected to the accused companies, paying themselves consulting fees, lending fees, and charging the remaining amount in overpriced renovations, police said in a release.
Several victims across the province have been identified, including three in the Waterloo Region, one in Oakville and one in Welland. The total loss to the victims is estimated at $700,000.
Similarly, police arrested a 32-year-old Pickering male and have charged him with eight counts of fraud exceeding $5,000.
Through an investigation dating to late last year, police determined that the accused targeted vulnerable homeowners throughout Waterloo Region and Ontario.
The accused allegedly told homeowners they had been awarded money due to a lawsuit against HVAC companies for HVAC contracts they had previously entered into for various products, including air conditioners, furnaces, HEPA filters, and water filtration systems.
Homeowners were then informed that they could only receive their money through home renovations. A series of high-pressure tactics were used to have victims sign contracts.
The accused arranged to have contractors attend victims’ homes where quick and often poor-quality renovations were completed.
Through the following days or weeks, the accused would then register NOSI titles on the homeowner’s property for amounts ranging between $40,000 and $70,000.
The total potential loss is valued at approximately $1 million.
Police remind homeowners to be very cautious about any door-to-door solicitation and not sign any contracts they are unsure of. If you feel you may currently be in a contract, it is recommended that a title search be done so that any outstanding and unknown NOSI can be addressed.
1:49 PM | A 21-year-old Perth East man faces numerous charges after a two-vehicle collision on Line 34 in the Township of Perth East. OPP report that a vehicle collided with the rear of another vehicle and left the scene. The vehicle was later located in Stratford. The driver was subsequently arrested and charged with ‘fail to remain,’ ‘fail to report accident,’ ‘careless driving,’ ‘operate motor vehicle without insurance,’ ‘driving motor vehicle with open container of liquor,’ ‘driving motor vehicle with liquor readily available,’ ‘young driver - B.A.C. above zero’ and ‘drive motor vehicle, no currently validated permit.’ The accused is scheduled to appear at the Ontario Court of Justice in Stratford on September 12, to answer to the charges.
12:09 PM | The Waterloo Regional Police Service’s Internet Child Exploitation Unit charged a 45-year-old Woolwich man after completing an investigation. In May 2023, the Memphis Police Department received a report about a 13-year-old youth being lured online by an adult male. WRPS, Memphis Police Department and Homeland Security Investigations launched a joint investigation. After exercising a search warrant at the suspect’s residence in Woolwich Township, police charged the man with ‘luring a child’ (two counts), ‘making child sexual abuse material,’ ‘possessing child sexual abuse material’ and ‘invitation to sexual touching.’ The accused was held in police custody for a bail hearing.
10:45 PM |Police responded to a residence in the area of Dolman and Tilbury streets in Breslau, where the victim set to meet potential buyers from an online buy and sell website. As the victim attempted to sell a mobile phone, he was assaulted by two unknown males who took the cell phone and fled the area on foot. The 39-year-old male victim sustained minor physical injuries and did not require medical attention. The first suspect has been described as a Black male, 5’8” tall, with a thin build and was last seen wearing a hoodie and a surgical mask. The second suspect has been described as a Black male, 5’9” tall, with a thin build and was wearing a black hoodie and a surgical mask. The suspects were last seen running towards a dead-end construction area, possibly entering a black getaway sedan. Anyone with information is asked to call police at 519-570-9777. To provide anonymous information, please call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or submit online at www.waterloocrimestoppers.com.
11:18 AM | Police received a report of a single-vehicle collision in Woolwich Township. A black BMW was traveling north on Middlebrook Road on a corner when the vehicle’s tire caught gravel on the shoulder, causing it to spin into a ditch. No physical injuries were sustained as a result of the collision.
10:06 AM | A Waterloo Regional Police officer on patrol in Woolwich Township observed a stop sign on Southfield Drive in Elmira that had been spray painted over in red paint, obscuring the word “stop”. The Region of Waterloo was contacted and placed a temporary stop sign at the location. Anyone with information is asked to call police. Anonymous information can be provided to Crime Stoppers.
11:33 AM | Police received a report of a single-vehicle collision in Woolwich Township. A motorcycle was travelling around a corner on Hemlock Hill Drive near Three Bridges Road when the motorcycle hit some loose gravel and lost control, resulting in the ejection of the driver. The motorcycle driver, a 55-year-old Cambridge man, sustained serious but non-life threatening injuries and was transported to hospital by Region of Waterloo Paramedic Services.
7:15 PM | Wellington County OPP, along with Guelph-Wellington Paramedic Services and Centre Wellington Fire, responded to a report of an airplane crash at Belwood Lake. The investigation revealed that a small Cessna Ultralight conducted an emergency landing on Belwood Lake. Onlookers were able to assist in removing the pilot from the water. The single occupant suffered minor injuries and was treated by paramedics at the scene. The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre and Transport Canada were notified and continue to investigate.