The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary has launched a fraud investigation into a contractor who left a trail of unhappy customers — and unfinished work — in western Labrador.
The police probe comes the day after a CBC News report into the business activities of ADDAHome Development Inc.
"The RNC is in the process of identifying people who have lost money and will conduct an investigation," said Supt. Brian Dowden, who commands the Corner Brook and Labrador regions for the force.
"When you look at the big picture, including the history of the company in Grand Falls-Windsor, we believe reasonable probable grounds exist to pursue an investigation."
As CBC News reported Tuesday, ADDAHome took cash for renovation work it never completed on homes in western Labrador this summer.
At the time, the company was facing a raft of lawsuits linked to a failed subdivision plan in central Newfoundland.
Homeowners in Labrador City and Wabush paid tens of thousands of dollars, up front, for work that was never finished.
Michelle Sheaves and her husband Chris Vallis paid $40,000 for an in-law apartment to be built on the side of their house. They got only a concrete foundation.
Contacted Wednesday, Sheaves was "quite pleased" to hear that police are poised to take action.
'The RNC is in the process of identifying people who have lost money and will conduct an investigation. When you look at the big picture, including the history of the company in Grand Falls-Windsor, we believe reasonable probable grounds exist to pursue an investigation.'—RNC Supt. Brian Dowden
Sheaves says the best outcome would be for them, and others, to get their money back.
"Also, to have him out of business, so he can’t do this to anyone else again," Sheaves said.
Warrick George paid the full cost of $7,000 to ADDAHome up front for a new driveway. It was never completed.
"It is criminal to me," George said. "Someone takes your money and they’re supposed to do a job, and don’t do a job."
Kris Brown and Candace Goulding gave about $30,000 to ADDAHome to overhaul their house. The company left town just two days after being paid the last $7,000 installment.
ADDAHome's Bill Dormody has insisted that there is "absolutely nothing sinister here." He told CBC News the business simply failed.
"I probably should have stopped two months before I did," Dormody said.
"But keep holding out for the next Monday, and the next Monday — something’s going to change, something’s going to change. I was promising people I was going to try and get their work done for them."
He noted that the Canada Revenue Agency is in the process of auditing the company.
ADDAHome is also facing five lawsuits in Newfoundland seeking more than $400,000.
Those court actions are for unpaid bills linked to an adult-living community in Grand Falls-Windsor called Parkview Village.