renovation fraud

Three arrested and charged in the case of North York senior who lost home in mortgage and renovation nightmare

Toronto Police Serve arrested and charged three people in connection with a fraud investigation that was brought to light by a local media report regarding renovations and mortgages.

According to a story in the Toronto Star, 75-year-old Judy Allen lost her North York home following what was described as a “terrible renovation” and a “mortgage nightmare.”

The home, the story explains, was sold under a power of sale following numerous mortgages being placed on the modest bungalow to fund a series of renovations. The homeowner lost the equity in her home and has launched a lawsuit.

“What Allen describes as a “terrible” renovation was funded by Gerstel’s high interest mortgages with a face value of 22 per cent. One estimate said the actual interest rate, taking into account high lending fees, was almost 53 per cent,” read the Star report.

Now, according to a Toronto Police Service report, the investigation revealed the alleged:

  • a 75-year-old woman hired a contractor to do renovations at her residence in the area of Yonge Street and Sheppard Avenue West
  • the contractor defrauded the woman of over $1,000,000
  • further investigation revealed from February 2011 to October 2022, another 14 victims in the Greater Toronto Area had been defrauded in the same manner of over $400,000 combined. Five of these victims were also elderly.

On Nov. 14, three men were arrested and charged by members of the Financial Crimes Unit: Antonio Sinopoli, 54, has been charged with two counts of Fraud Over $5000, Possession of Proceeds of Crime, and Laundering Proceeds of Crime. In addition, Wayne McNeil, 45, of Toronto has been charged with two counts of Fraud Over $5000 and Francesco Sinopoli, 27, of Toronto has been charged with Fraud Over $5000.

The allegations have not been proven in court.

According to TPS, the three men are scheduled to attend court on Dec. 16.

Further to the investigation, TPS provided the following list, as they believe there may be more victims for renovations done under different company names in the GTA:

  • In Time For Finishing Touches
  • Scala Exteriors
  • AFS Contracting and Design
  • Upper Level Renovations

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-7318, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), or at www.222tips.com.

Read our report on how seniors are being targetted and defrauded in other ways at this link.

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO