Ottawa contractor pleads guilty to uttering threats, fraud
An Ottawa contractor has pleaded guilty to one count of uttering threats and one count of fraud over $5,000 relating to 28 victims over work that was never finished or in some cases never even started.
In court Wednesday, Crown attorney Malcolm Savage said Cory Cahill "defrauded over 28 victims of approximately $253,451" over three years. Cahill had originally been facing 65 charges including fraud, forgery and mischief.
While reading the agreed statement of facts in court, Savage detailed what he called Cahill's pattern of deceit.
"After complaints about his work and fraudulent nature began to accumulate on the Internet, he assumed a different name, Ken Perkins, and changed the name of his company in order to deceive his customers."
Ottawa police said Cahill advertised his work under several business names including Cedar Renovations, Cory HT&T, Epic Wood Finishing and Platinum Cabinets.
After initially being charged with fraud exceeding $5,000 and uttering threats in August 2021, several people, including Allison Brookes, came forward to police with allegations.
"For me it brings closure," said Brookes, who paid Cahill almost $170,000 and who told her story to CTV News Ottawa in October. "I think my part in this is probably done and I'm just happy that he can't go and hurt any more families or any more people like he did to me."
Brookes said her home was left in disarray—stairs put on the wrong way, no kitchen ceiling or an upstairs shower and chunks missing from her floors, among other major issues.
The agreed statement of facts read in court outlined similar experiences of other victims.
"The victim's home was in shambles with a load bearing wall having been removed and not supported, her staircase had been removed, her kitchen and laundry room were destroyed, she was left with no running water, and her wiring was held together with Canadian maple leaf hockey tape," Savage said of another example.
Many victims reported problems with the quality and pace of Cahill's work.
"Some of the excuses included but were not limited to: heart attack, prostate cancer, absent workers, being sick due to conflicting medications, unable to find a babysitter, back injury etc.," the agreed statement of facts read.
Brookes hired a new crew and others who saw her story offered to help fix her house, including by donating materials and time. She now has a proper staircase, ceiling in her kitchen and a working shower upstairs after months without.
"[James Egan] helped my husband seal up the upper porch so that it's not leaking this winter, he's going to help us with the floor upstairs that still needs to be finished. He's been great, he's helped us straighten up that door that wasn't installed properly," said Brookes. "The fact that this person who didn't even know me was willing to come out and volunteer his time was just so heartwarming in great."
"The ceiling is on which means we now have lights in the kitchen, it means my kitchen contractor could finally come and finish, Pascal's crew and my husband framed up the pantry but they did the drywall and stuff. The ceiling in the living room is no longer falling down," Brookes added.
Cahill will be released ahead of sentencing which is expected to happen in March. He has a new baby and will have to abide by a number of conditions including remaining at his home except in specific circumstances like a medical emergency and not contacting any of the victims in any way.
Cahill's lawyer said he did not have anything to add after the plea.