Man charged for solar panel scam

May 3, 2014 by  
Filed under Solar Energy Tips

Grimsby Lincoln News

GRIMSBY – Police have arrested a 54-year-old man in Grimsby for bilking a Welland resident out of more than $55,000 in a scam involving non-existing solar panel projects.

The man was arrested on April 15 and charged with fraud over $5,000 after he received the money between March 1, 2010 and March 1, 2012.

Police say he had been soliciting customers over the past several years, exploiting the Ontario Power Authority’s Micro-Fit program. The program is designed to encourage the development of small-scale renewable energy programs and pays participants a premium rate for generating power to the grid.

Police say the accused promoted the use of solar panels and would solicit parties to provide ongoing payments for projects that never truly existing and were never built. He operated under three business names: Neighbourhood Group Inc., Neighbourhood Financial Group and Neighbourhood Energy Systems.

The man is currently under investigation for similar frauds in Niagara and the London, Ontario area, and police believe there could be other victims that have yet to come forward. In the past, he has identified himself as being from the Essex and Woodstock area.

Anyone with information is asked to call Niagara Regional Police detective Laureen Gore at 905 688-4111, ext 5040.

Information can also be submitted anonymously using Crime Stoppers of Niagara. To leave a tip, contact Crime Stoppers via telephone at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS); online at www.niagaratips.com or by text message. Tipsters can text 274637 (CRIMES) with the keyword ‘Niagara’ followed by the tip. Crime Stoppers guarantees anonymity and tips which lead to an arrest may be eligible for a cash reward of up to $2,000.

Police note that legitimate companies may require a small down payment at the time of a contract.  People should not provide any further funds until the contract has been completed and they are satisfied with the work done.

No one should ever have to pay in full for a project that has not been started.

 

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