Charges laid in alleged home improvement scams

After receiving multiple complaints from the public, Wood Buffalo RCMP has charged local contractor Donnie Whitty for allegedly defrauding customers.

Police say that Whitty communicated with individuals through social media and on the local Facebook page, “Fort McMurray Side Jobs”.

Whitty’s accusers claim that the Total Pride Home Improvements owner would agree to do home improvement jobs and request a deposit before beginning his work.

After receiving the money it’s said that none of the agreed-upon work would be completed, and Whitty would cease all communication.

All complaints were between May and June of this year totaling over $50,000 of deposits made with no received work being completed.

Donnie Whitty was arrested on July 29 and charged with the following:

  • Fraud over $5,000 (x4)
  • Fraud under $5,000 (x3)
  • Possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000

Whitty was released from police custody with conditions following a Judicial Interim Release hearing. His next court appearance is on August 31 in the Fort McMurray Provincial Court.

Tips to avoid home-improvement scams according to Better Business Bureau include:

  • Say no to cash-only deals, high-pressure sales tactics, and high upfront payments.
  • Ask for references and follow-up.
  • Ask for a written contract with the price, materials, and timeline.
  • Work with local businesses that have proper identification, licensing, and insurance.

If you believe you’ve fallen victim to a scam, contact the Wood Buffalo RCMP at 780-788-4040.

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