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Ottawa police launch investigation into Highbridge Construction

Ottawa police have confirmed they have launched an investigation into Highbridge Construction, the east Ottawa company that abruptly shut down leaving homeowners, employees and contractors in the lurch and in some cases owed hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Chief Eric Stubbs called the reports a "very unfortunate set of circumstances" on Thursday.

"We have launched an investigation," Stubbs said. "Our fraud unit is leading that investigation."

Highbridge Construction shuttered last week, telling employees in an email obtained by CTV News that it was "forced to close its door and cease business operations." Another email to employees had asked them to hold off on cashing paycheques until Monday, offering Air Miles to those who waited.

Customers who spoke to CTV News describe being out tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. In at least one customer's case, the money was uninsured and she has no way to recover it.

Stubbs said it's too early to say whether charges will be laid.

"These types of investigations can be very complex, involve numerous interviews and a lot of evidence collection," he said. "We have to proceed very methodically…but we certainly encourage those that have been victimized to contact us."

Attempts to reach the owners of the company have been unsuccessful.

The new probe comes as employees reveal the company asked for volunteers to withhold cashing their cheques until this week. The company had told employees it was issuing cheques instead of paying them through direct deposit as usual because they were changing companies.

Those who did hold off said the cheques bounced when they went to cash them.

The landlord of one Highbridge Construction office said it would be working with employees to set up a time for them to come into the building to get any of their personal belongings. Top Stories

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