Edmonton's 'lady homebuilder' jailed in Texas
Gold coins offers slim hope for homeowners to recover losses
Families who lost their savings to Edmonton's "lady homebuilder" three years ago are hoping to recover their money after the woman was sent to prison in Texas.
"What goes around comes around," said Teresa Spinelli, who lost at least $75,000 to Danielle Addington, owner of Axiom Homes. "She destroyed a lot of lives so she deserves what she gets."
Addington was celebrated as a budding entrepreneur, a young, attractive go-getter who promised to build dream homes for thousands of dollars cheaper than her competitors.
"I really liked her a lot," said Spinelli. "We started doing business together."
But before long, contractors were not being paid and phone calls not returned.
"Our house was half finished. We were at the drywall stage. She wasn't returning my calls."
Addington disappeared leaving at least 18 other families in the lurch, with houses in mid-construction and was not heard from again until 2011 when she and her husband were arrested in Texas in an identity theft scam.
"It was a very clever scheme," said John Brewer, an assistant district attorney in Houston, Texas. "It was a very gutsy scheme, I'll put it like that."
The couple ran an employment company supposedly to help people find jobs, he said.
The couple lured people into an office, getting them to fill out a job application with personal information, taking their driver's licence to make a copy.
But while the applicant was being interviewed, a duplicate of the licence was being made in a backroom.
The applicant then received the fake licence, while the real one was used to apply for credit or for purchases, Brewer said.
Police finally caught up with the couple while they were buying furniture with a fraudulently obtained credit card.
But that's not all police found.
"They had $450,000 in gold coins," said Spinelli, who saw a glimmer of hope of recovering some of her losses.
"Was I interested in getting my money back? Yes, but I had to hire a lawyer in Texas to do that...and that's where we stand now."
She's not counting her money just yet though.
"Will I see any money? Probably not, but it was a last shot."