NSW Fair Trading has successfully prosecuted two persons regarding fraudulent activities in the construction industry.
Southwestern Sydney company Ciampa Constructions director Pasqualino Ciampa has been sentenced to 15 months imprisonment to be served by way of Intensive Correction Order (ICO), 180 hours community service and fined $7,500 for using a false insurance certificate to obtain work worth more than $770,000. The company was also convicted for receiving payments for work without insurance and fined $7,500.
In an unrelated prosecution, Zakaria Kassar of Greenacre has also been convicted on two charges of using a false referee reports to obtain a builder’s licence. He received a two-year community corrections order, 80 hours of community service and a $2,000 fine.
NSW Fair Trading Executive Director of Investigations and Enforcement Valerie Griswold said falsifying documents in the building and trades space can result in potentially debilitating costs to consumers if anything were to go wrong.
“The systems we enforce in the construction space exist for a reason – to protect consumers from the financial and emotional stress that comes with defective and non-compliant work,” she said.
“In particular, insurance under the Home Building Compensation Fund exists so that if anything on the build is done not to standard or not done at all, consumers are not liable for the huge sums of money rectification of defective and non-compliant work can cost.
“It is one thing to simply not obtain insurance, but it is another entirely to present savvy consumers with a false document.
“Fair Trading will use all its powers to stamp out operators like this.”
Documents tendered to Parramatta Local Court by NSW Fair Trading showed that in 2016 Mr Ciampa presented a Randwick couple with a false insurance certificate to secure a home renovation contract valued at $771,534.
The couple made payments totalling $668,000 between February 2016 until August 2018 however became suspicious of Mr Ciampa when he told the couple he was going overseas
and did not know when he would be back.
After not hearing from Mr Ciampa for two weeks the couple believed he had abandoned the job and after contacting NSW Fair Trading, found the insurance to be fraudulent.
When the couple confronted Mr Ciampa, saying they knew he faked the insurance, Mr Ciampa responded: “Yeah I did. I’ve still done a good job for you. I’ve always put you first. I can get retrospective Home Warranty Insurance.” However, Mr Ciampa did not obtain any insurance.
All consumers engaging the services of a tradesperson are urged to make all the necessary checks before making payment or committing to a job.
All contractor licenses can be checked instantly for free online at the NSW Fair Trading website. This will show if a contractor is licensed and if they have any current or historical marks on their licence. www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/help-centre/online-tools/home-building-licence-check
The validity HCBF insurance can be checked via www.sira.nsw.gov.au/insurance-coverage/home-building-compensation-insurance/hbc-check
Both Mr Ciampa and Mr Kassar have a right of appeal.
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