The Russell resident did her due diligence when choosing a contractor to renovate her newly purchased house. She called his references, she looked at reviews, and she inquired about him at the Better Business Bureau. Despite all this however, the scammer still managed to make off with $168,000 from her renovation funds.
Cory Cahill has been charged with 65 criminal offences by Ottawa police, including fraud, forgery, mischief, and uttering threats. Cahill has several names he advertised under according to Ottawa police, including Cedar Renovations, Cory HT&T, Epic Wood Finishing and Platinum Cabinets. He’s fooled many people over the years, as indicated by the allegations that police received once a Russell resident came forward with her story.
The woman has remained unnamed due to privacy concerns. A report from CTV following an interview with her states that after Cahill was hired, he showed up consistently with subcontractors he hired between October to December 2020 to begin work. After Christmas though, the work stopped and none of the in-progress tasks were finished. Payment was immediately cut off once it was obvious he wasn’t coming back, but he had already collected $168,000, and the home had been torn apart. The kitchen had no ceiling, floors were left with gaping holes, and stairs were either installed wrong or gone altogether.
The Better Business Bureau has registered warnings on Cahill’s businesses, and people who were also defrauded by Cahill have now provided support to the Russell resident’s story with their own claims. Reputable contractors from the area have also contacted her to help fix the house.
Cahill has responded to the allegations through his lawyer, Jeffrey Langevin, who states, "Mr. Cahill intends to settle any disputes outstanding with his former clients, or have the issues adjudicated in Small Claims Court. Mr. Cahill denies any criminal liability."
Construction contracting scams are more prevalent now, as the internet helps individuals masquerade as more reputable than they are. Jessie St-Cyr, a media relations agent with the Better Business Bureau, suggests not paying more than a third of the total amount as a deposit for work planned.
"Type the business name onto the internet but also write 'scam' beside and see what comes up," she said. "Verify if they have a profile on bbb.org, ask for picture ID. This might seem a little bit intense but with all the scams we are seeing around home improvement it's a good thing to do to see the name and the picture."