Nova Scotia

Shed builder who took deposits but never delivered gets prison time

Michael Henry Upton, 53, pleaded guilty last week in a Truro court to 18 charges, including 14 counts of fraud.

Michael Henry Upton, 53, pleaded guilty last week to charges that include fraud

Bible Hill, N.S., businessman Mike Upton pleaded guilty to 14 counts of fraud after taking deposits for sheds but never delivering them. He also pleaded guilty to four other charges, including break and enter. (CBC)

A Bible Hill, N.S., shed builder has been sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty last week in a Truro court to 18 charges, including 14 counts of fraud.

Michael Henry Upton, 53, has also been sentenced to two years probation and ordered to make restitution to his victims, according to Crown prosecutor Laura Barrett.

CBC first reported on Upton in July 2016 when several unhappy customers complained they had paid thousands of dollars in deposits for sheds that never materialized. Several filed successful small claims court cases against Upton, who was ordered repay them.

At the time, RCMP said an investigation "concluded that there is insufficient evidence to support a charge in the matter."

After CBC's initial report, more people came forward with similar complaints. In all, 15 people alleged they had given Upton over $57,000 in deposits but received nothing in return except excuses.

RCMP subsequently reopened their investigation and charged Upton with multiple counts of fraud.

He also pleaded guilty to four other charges, including break and enter.

Upton has a criminal record that dates back to 2005 when he was sentenced to seven years in prison for robbing and attempting to rob the East Coast Credit Union in Upper Stewiacke twice in two weeks.

In 2009, he was sentenced for fraud and theft over $5,000.

All 13 charges against a co-accused, Lisa Dale Muise, 52, were dropped.

About the Author

Yvonne Colbert

Consumer Watchdog

Yvonne Colbert has been a journalist for nearly 35 years, covering everything from human interest stories to the provincial legislature. These days, she's focused on helping consumers get the most bang for their bucks and avoid being ripped off. She invites story ideas at yvonne.colbert@cbc.ca.