Ottawa

Contractor facing fraud charges still working

A contractor facing multiple fraud charges has continued to work under a series of false names, despite bail conditions that bar him from working in the renovation or construction industries.

A contractor facing multiple fraud charges has continued to work under a series of false names, despite bail conditions that bar him from working in the renovation or construction industries.

For consumer fraud inquiries, contact the Ottawa Police fraud unit and review the Ontario Consumer Protection Survival Guide.

Michael Alivisatos, 52, and two other men are facing fraud charges in 2008 related to a series of incidents between 2002 and 2007 in the Ottawa area. As part of the conditions of his bail, Alivisatos is forbidden from working or representing himself as a contractor or from carrying false identification.

The case against Alivisatos in relation to the 2008 charges is still before the courts. But the experience of two seniors in the Ottawa area who were allegedly taken in by a contractor suggests Alivisatos continues to ply his trade.

In at least two separate cases, customers positively identified Alivisatos — who the clients allege gave them different names — as being the man they hired for renovation jobs. 

Ellen Heide called a company called Alma Construction in the fall of 2009 to get work done on an extension of her bungalow. She alleges the decision cost her almost $30,000 after workers did a poor renovation job. Another company ended up having to redo the work.

"They ripped me off," Heide said of Alma Construction. "They are going to continue ripping people off."

Company kicked out of Chamber of Commerce

Heide isn’t the only one to have trouble with Alma. The firm joined the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce before the organization kicked the company out in February last year after receiving complaints.

Michael Alivisatos, shown in a home video, was positively identified by separate customers as being the man they hired for contracting jobs that they say were rip-offs. The customers allege Alivisatos gave them different names. (CBC)

"We've never had a problem like this before," said Erin Kelly, the chamber's executive director. "And when this came up last year, we realized that we had to do more to screen our members."

Had they done so with Alma Construction, they would have discovered the address for the company office leads to a rented mailbox, while Alma's phone number is now out of service. 

In July 2010, Henry Beissel and his wife, Arlette, decided to renovate their foyer and called Claremont Construction after seeing a flyer for the company in their mailbox.

Beissel said he and his wife paid out $4,800 as a down payment for work, and lost their money.

Positive identification

Both Beissel and Heide describe the contractor as a charming, heavy-set man. And when both were shown a home video of Alivisatos, both positively identified him as the contractor they had hired.

"Oh yes, that's Nik, or George, or whatever his real name is," Heide said.

Henry Beissel paid $4,800 to a contractor who gave the name Greg Hamlin last summer. Beissel later cancelled the deal but lost his money. (CBC)

"He was calling himself Greg Hamlin," Beissel said after seeing the video. "Not only was he calling himself that, he gave me a business card for Greg Hamlin of Claremont Construction."

The address for the latest company, Claremont Construction, lists an office suite at the address of a Nepean storage company and a rented mailbox.

A man identifying himself as Greg Hamlin declined to be interviewed for this story, but has said he has done nothing wrong.

now