The owners of three separate snow removal companies in Ottawa face fraud-related charges for accepting money from customers but providing “little or no snow removal” in return.
The Ottawa Police Service’s fraud unit conducted investigations into three Ottawa-based companies — Snow Vaporizers, Faul Properties and Altitude Snow Removal — in response to complaints from members of the public.
Police allege the investigations revealed the companies fraudulently obtained money for snow removal services last winter since little or no snow was removed after contracts were signed. The companies operate independently and are not connected to each other.
The owner of Snow Vaporizers has been charged with seven counts of obtaining money by false pretences and seven counts of fraud under $5,000. The firm took in approximately $34,500, police said. Many of the customers paid $400 for a season of snow removal.
The owner of Faul Properties faces 11 counts of obtaining money by false pretences, and 11 counts of fraud under $5,000. The firm brought in $3,300, police said.
Altitude Snow Removal faces seven counts of obtaining money by false pretences and seven counts of fraud under $5,000 after obtaining about $7,000 from would-be customers.
The fraud unit believes there may be additional victims, and asks them to consider making an online report to police.
The police reminded consumers to research any company they intend to hire for snow removal to ensure they’re licensed by the city, capable and reliable. “The best price and/or promise may be too good to be true,” the fraud unit warned.
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