Former PEI contractor sentenced to 20 months in prison
A former contractor was sentenced to 20 months in prison on Wednesday after a lengthy trial in a Charlottetown provincial court on charges of theft and fraud.
Colton Chaulk, 28, was also asked to pay back thousands of dollars he took from a number of Prince Edward Island clients for work he ended up not doing.
In January, Chaulk pleaded guilty to three counts of theft for more than $5,000 and twice using a false document.
Prosecutor Lisa Goulden said the case hits anyone who owns their own home or is struggling to afford one.
Chaulk emerged via video link from prison, where he has been held since RCMP picked him up in the town of Clarenville in his home province of Newfoundland and Labrador last October.
On Wednesday, the court heard details about what he had done to his victims.
One Alberta couple had their home’s patio demolished and torn to pieces with no action taken to rebuild it as they expected. Chaulk used the $34,000 they gave him for the job to buy a tractor.
Another couple from Brazil paid him thousands for work left unfinished at their Stratford home. When they became suspicious, he issued a fake work permit using a document he downloaded from the Town of Three Rivers website.
Owes victims $58,000
The court heard he had defrauded another homeowner in Bonshaw with a fake Wellington work permit. The victim sent more than $16,000 to Chaulk, but no building materials were provided as agreed and no work was completed.
In all, Chaulk owes his victims more than $58,000.
Judge Nancy Orr said it has been difficult for people on PEI to do construction work during the COVID-19 pandemic and Chaulk’s clients have relied on him.
“It affects the construction industry, people who are honest and do the work that is required,” she said of his crimes.
His attorney, Chera-Lee Gomez, said Chaulk suffered from PTSD as a result of trauma he experienced as a former North Rustico volunteer firefighter.
Apologies to the victims
Some of Chaulk’s victims were on trial Wednesday. He appeared via video link and read from a prepared statement saying he was sorry for what he had done.
The judge also sentenced Chaulk to three years probation. During the probationary period, he must tell everyone he works for about the crimes he committed in PEI