The owner of an Edmonton renovation company is warning other contractors not to fall for an unusual scam that involved a stolen cheque, a fake floor plan and a vacant house.
James Belovich of Refine Renovations said if he hadn’t been careful the scam could have cost him more than $27,000.
On May 2, Belovich received a request for a quote on a basement renovation. The client, using the name Daniel Anderson, said he and his wife were working in the United States but looking to remodel a basement suite in their Edmonton property.
Belovich had doubts from the start. The client said he was in Arizona but the phone number he was using had a New York City area code.
The next day, the client sent Belovich a floor plan and an address in Terwillegar.
Belovich, who occasionally completes jobs for out-of-town clients, drove by the house and compared it to the floor plan. The two didn’t match.
Since the house was for sale, Belovich called the real estate agent, who told him there had been multiple calls from contractors about the property. The real estate agent declined an interview with CBC News last week. Belovich said the agent told him the home, not yet sold, already had a fully finished basement.
Belovich kept corresponding with “Daniel Anderson” by phone and email, hoping to receive a bank account number he could report to authorities.
He wrote up a contract for the renovation project and received a call from someone with a Calgary phone number about arranging a house inspection on the property.
The client eventually sent a cheque for $42,817.31 and told Belovich he could keep $15,000 as a deposit, and asked the contractor to send the remainder, more than $27,000, to someone who would purchase furniture and decor for the basement.