Ajax contractor arrested after string of alleged frauds left homes in disrepair

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Published April 21, 2022 at 2:46 pm

An Ajax-based contractor has been arrested on three fraud charges following allegations from customers he broke their contracts and abandoned the renovation, leaving two homes in a state of disrepair.

The contractor, Janarthanan Sathianathan (aka Jay Nathan). 31 of Ajax, and his company Trusted Remodelling have been under investigation since June 2021.

Police kicked off their investigation after one of the victims, Aamir Amla, came forward to police to allege that Sathianathan abandoned work Amla had hired him for.

Amla hired Sathianathan last summer for a basement renovation and to install an electric vehicle charging station in the garage. Per their contract, the two agreed on a three-point payment plan with Sathianathan receiving more funds as work was completed.

To begin work, Amla sent more than $18,000 to Sathianathan, according to his banking receipts. They established a Whatsapp group chat to discuss the project as things went on.

Reading the group chat transcript one can see the relationship between Amla and his wife, Jaituni Desai, and Sathianathan degrade in real time. Materials began to arrive a week later than work was supposed to begin. Framers arrived and quickly ran out of materials.

Amla and Desai tried to reach Sathianathan many times over several weeks, but Amla says they got only excuses and empty promises as Sathianathan dodged their calls. “He stopped responding to our calls and messages,” Amla said, “My wife tried to call from her office phone, a few different phones, and that’s when he’d pick up.”

The work was stipulated in their contract to be complete with in 37 days of the July 8 start date. Instead on August 13, Amla formally cancelled the contract.

He went to the police, who assigned Detective Thomas Kollaard to the case, and sued Sathianathan in small claims court, incurring additional legal fees. Amla also had to hire a second contractor to install the car charger since his new car had arrived, but could not be driven without it.

During this time Amla put the word out online and connected with five other families who alleged the same treatment from Sathianathan stretching back to January 2021 and collectively lost around $40,000.

While police investigated, Sathinathan allegedly pulled the same fraud on Ajith Shanbhag who hired Trusted Remodelling for a kitchen renovation and sent $6,500, also backed up by banking receipts and a contract.

Sathianathan pulled Shanbhag’s kitchen apart, removed cabinetry and countertops, drilled holes in the ceiling (through the upstairs floor) and then demanded the second installment of funds.

Shanbhag realized his situation when he saw Amla’s online postings and refused to send Sathianathan, who had not done any work on site for sometime, any further funds.

Finally, Raju Guddadamani sent Sathianathan $3,000, again backed up by receipts and a contract. This time though work didn’t even begin at the Guddadamani household. The two met only twice, “He never came to my place. He never answered,” Guddadamani said.

The three alleged victims named in this story joined forces to add to the police complaint against Sathianathan. However, the other families Amla connected with decided not to report to police amid safety concerns and the birth of a newborn. One of the earliest victims Amla identified was pregnant when she gave Sathianathan $1,500, per Amla.

While police investigated, Amla won his small claims court case. Following the judgement and after some pressure from Kollaard, Sathianathan signed a monthly repayment agreement with Amla, with arrest on the table and liens on his cars should he not meet the stipulations.

However, months passed a Amla didn’t get a dime. Previous repayment agreements with other victims allegedly resulted in bounced cheques.

It took another month after Amla, Guddadamani and Shanbhag came forward to Insauga, and nine months after Amla lost his money, for Sathianathan to be arrested.

Speaking of Shahbag and Guddadamani, Amla laments that their losses may have been avoided with more proactive police action, “These guys could have been stopped. They could have been not victimized. Because of this lengthy process, probably my case is not that important, the other two families also got affected.”

However, DRPS announced Sathianthan’s arrest on April 21. He has been charged with nine fraud-related offences, including two counts of fraud over $5,000 and one count of fraud under $5,000.

Durham Region Police are encouraging any further victims to come forward. Amla, for his part believed Sathiananthan was continuing his techniques all along, “These are only the families that I know that have come forward,” Amla said, “I’m sure there are more families that have not.”

Prior to Sathianathan’s  arrest Amla said, “I’m sure he’s doing it now.”

Anyone with information pertinent to the investigation can call Det Kollard at 1-888-579-1520 ext. 1614, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).

 

 

 

 

 

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