Peel police say contractor ran off with $37K in deposits without doing any work

By Michael Talbot and Pat Taney

Peel Regional Police have arrested a 23-year-old Toronto man accused of pulling off a renovation scam that cost potential customers thousands of dollars in lost deposits.

Investigators say between April 2023 and November 2023, residents in Peel signed contracts and handed deposits totaling $37,000 over to a man representing a company called TRT Masonry & General Contracting.

But after signing the contracts and handing over the money, police say no work was performed.

On Thursday, May 16, police arrested Trisztan Tarnoci and charged him with defrauding the public and possession of property obtained by crime.

“In every instance, Trisztan Tarnoci promised to provide a service, signed a contract, collected a deposit, and failed to provide said service or return the deposit,” a police release alleges.

Alleged victims speak out

CityNews’ Pat Taney spoke to several of the suspect’s alleged victims in a Speakers Corner report last January.

“Everyone feels like we’ve been ripped off to a really large degree,” said Zubair Khan.

Khan owns a home in Etobicoke and back in September he hired TRT Masonry and General Contracting, owned by Tarnoci. Khan was looking to transform his basement into a living space for a price of $60,000.

“His references checked out, he had great reviews and was incredibly knowledgeable about what we needed to do to finish the project.”

According to the signed contract, work was to begin in October and be finished in six weeks. Khan paid a $24,000 deposit upfront.

“But sadly he didn’t do anything, he took the money but no work was done,” Khan told CityNews.

Around the same time, Francesco Ferro signed a contract with Tarnoci and paid him $17,000 in deposit money. He was looking to build an addition, and do some demolition and structural work to his home in Vaughan.

“He did show up and did the demo work but we found major problems with the structural work he was hired to do.”

Those problems were discovered after Ferro hired another general contractor to inspect the work.

“There were major issues and when I reached out to Tarnoci about this, he became very upset, he didn’t like that someone else was inspecting his work,” said Ferro.

Ferro said Tarnoci eventually failed to show up to do any more work, giving him a list of excuses, blaming the weather and numerous health conditions.

“At one point he said his basement was flooded due to heavy rains at his home in Etobicoke, but there was no rain on the days he said this happened,” Ferro said. “He left behind a mess. There were construction materials littered across my property. He even left a construction bin in my driveway with no intention of picking it up.”

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