When you contact a professional to do repairs or renovations in your home, the last thing you expect is for that person to take your money and vanish into thin air. That’s exactly what happened to a Steven Morrison when he hired handyman Evgeni Ostrovski to build his backyard deck.
What Went Wrong
Burlington homeowner Steven Morrison thought that hiring a professional on Kijiji meant that whatever he wants to be done will be done. After talking with Evgeni Ostrovski and handing over $500 (out of the $2500 quote) at Ostrovski’s request, he believed that the money was truly meant as a deposit so that the carpenters can start working on his project. Being a victim of fraud was the farthest thing from Morrison’s mind.
What seemed like a basic project turned into a quest for justice when Ostrovski allegedly took the cash and was not heard of by Morrison again. He only withheld the remaining $2000 because he wanted to wait until the post holes were dug but the day he handed the $500 over was the last time he saw the handyman at his home.
Morrison tried calling Ostrovski via cellphone over and over but the handyman would say things like “have a nice day”, “sue me”, and “what are you going to do about it?”. Feeling that he’s being taunted, Morrison knew that he needed to take some action.
Start of the Quest
Morrison first went to the police but the police said his case is a civil matter. Not wanting to let the fraud go, he posted on Kijiji that the handyman was a scam artist and to his surprise, several other victims from Markham, Toronto, and Mississauga responded!
But that’s not the end of it. Kijiji banned Morrison thinking that he is a rival contractor attempting to smear his competitor’s name. This did not stop him. He next posted on consumer websites and built up a campaign against the man. Even tried calling all his other phone numbers and businesses again and again.
Later on, Morrison found out where Ostrovski lived. He enacted a plan to get a photo of the handyman for his campaign. After a few weeks, Ostrovski called Morrison telling him that he’ll be getting his money back as Morrison’s actions are costing a fortune. No money was ever paid back nor sent to Morrison.
Road to Justice
After weeks upon weeks of campaign, Morrison was able to gather 5 other victims. They went to Halton police as a group but were told to file police reports in their own jurisdictions.
Later on, Eugene Ostrovski was charged with fraud amounting to less than $5000 by Toronto police, along with forgery and issuing forged documents. It looks like Morrison will be getting justice after all!
Have you been a victim of fraud but don’t have the time to be as resourceful as Morrison was in seeking justice? Local private investigators can help! Contact us and we’ll let you know which of our private investigation services would be best for your needs. This initial consultation is obligation-free!