Police trace scam plumbing calls with help from competing plumbing company

EDMONTON — Edmonton police believe they covered up a scam that damaged the reputation of a local plumber.

“It’s been incredibly frustrating,” said company owner Frank Stamatakis.

For the past two months, scammers have been cold calling Edmontonians aggressively selling duct cleaning services and pretending to be Dollarwise Plumbing, even using an app to make it look like the call is from the legitimate company.

The scam resulted in Stamatakis receiving angry and confused calls.

“I was getting thousands and thousands of calls. I was just relentless.

Jason Leavell is the owner of Fix it Right, a competing plumbing company. When he got a call from the scammers, he knew it wasn’t legit, so he made an appointment.

“We didn’t expect them to actually show up,” he said.

To his surprise, two men showed up. He confronted them and got pictures of them, their van and their Ontario license plate.

“I confronted them, told them they were nothing but a scam and were stealing business.”

Police used license plate information to locate the Ontario company that owned the pickup truck and the two men in the photos.

“They had many receipts in their possession,” Det. Jason Lapointe of the Edmonton Police Service Economic Crime Section. “Basically from Ontario to Edmonton and surrounding areas.”

It all came down to Kalair Home Services in Toronto.

The business owner claims the calls were made by a marketing company he hired in India.

“They didn’t have an active business license in and around Edmonton,” Lapointe said.

Kalair’s owner says his Alberta operation is closed and he no longer uses the marketing company, so the fake calls should stop, thanks in part to competition from Stamatakis.

If he was here, I wish I could put on lots of hand cleaner, shake his hand, and give him a big Greek hug! said Stamatakis.

Police say no charges are expected.

With files from Bill Fortier of CTV News Edmonton.