Former roofer jailed two years for string of frauds

Defrauding people who could least afford it of thousands of dollars earned a former roofing company owner federal jail time Wednesday.

Defrauding people who could least afford it of thousands of dollars earned a former roofing company owner federal jail time Wednesday.

Robert John Kushniruk, 37, the former owner of Road Runner Roofing Inc., was jailed for two years during a sentence hearing in Red Deer provincial court.

Kushniruk pleaded guilty to two more charges each of fraud and failing to appear in court in addition to four other charges he pleaded guilty earlier to.

He was set to be sentenced last Oct. 13 but failed to show and a Canada-wide arrest warrant was issued for him.

He was arrested in Calgary but released on bail.

Three fraud violation convictions were under the Fair Trades Act and another one of failing to have a licence was also under the Act.

Sentencing had been delayed other times in hopes Kushniruk would make restitution. However, little, if any money was ever repaid to the victims.

Crown prosecutor Tony Bell said the accused defrauded numerous people, including several victims, who could ill afford the loss, of about $72,000.

Three dozen other charges were withdrawn earlier in exchange for the guilty pleas.

Initial charges were laid in 2008 following an investigation by the Red Deer branch of the Department of Government Services.

The company, now bankrupt, was also convicted of one Fair Trade Act charge. Bell said the accused “cut a wide swath of damage.”

“He took money from people who couldn’t afford to lose it.”

He said the accused would enter into a contract with someone to perform work then take half the cost as a down payment. Little or no work was ever done, Judge Bert Skinner heard.

Bell said some of those defrauded still have leaking residences.

The prosecutor said Kushniruk was no stranger to dishonesty, sporting some previous convictions.

Defence lawyer Mike Scrase said his client did provide jobs for some people and some roofing was performed before he was charged.

Skinner said a pre-sentence report prepared for the accused was mostly unfavourable.

He said the report indicated the accused had little empathy for the victims and indicated he didn’t intend to defraud the people.

jwilson@bprda.wpengine.com