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Failed pool builder cops trade ban

A failed pool builder with a criminal background has been banned from the Queensland construction industry for three years.

A Queensland Building and Construction Commission spokesman confirmed Wednesday that Gold Coast’s Adrian Caruso was affected by the “expulsion” after liquidating two of his companies last week.

Caruso is accused by dozens of angry customers for receiving payments for pool construction work that never completed.

The QBCC spokesman said some of these consumers made the stupid mistake of prepaying up to 90 percent of the contract, which gave them virtually no leverage to get the job done.

An incomplete pool as featured in A Current Affair. Image: Kanal 9 / A Current affair

Losses run up to $ 70,000 per property, but it is unclear whether victims will be able to reclaim money from the QBCC home guarantee program.

This scheme only pays out amounts that match the work done, which means victims may get back only a fraction of their expenses.

Caruso tapped liquidator Tony Lane to wind up his Pure Excavations Pty Ltd and Eye 4 Investments Pty Ltd businesses just weeks after the QBCC terminated his personal and corporate licenses.

Lane said Pure Excavations, which did contract work for Leisure Pools and Spas Manufacturing in Yatala, was in debt because of the ATO for unpaid super, but it was still uncertain how much other unsecured creditors will lose.

Adrian Caruso was accused of receiving payments for pool construction work that was never completed.  Image: Kanal 9 / A Current affair

Adrian Caruso was accused of receiving payments for pool construction work that was never completed. Image: Kanal 9 / A Current affair

Caruso previously worked in his hometown of Canberra, where he was convicted in 2006 of drug charges and attempts to falsify legal proceedings. He was sentenced to two years in prison, but his sentence was suspended.

The tax office received court orders in 2015 to liquidate its Canberra-based company DJH Pools & Spas Pty Ltd over unpaid debt.

Neither the crime story nor the failed pool business prevented Caruso from carrying out construction work in Queensland.

Under the law known as the Mutual Recognition Act, licensees outside of the state can simply begin trading in Queensland within 28 days of notifying the QBCC. The agency is prohibited from performing background checks.

The QBCC works with people affected by Adrian Caruso. We have received 47 complaints and are reviewing each of them to determine if they are eligible for assistance under the Queensland Home Warranty Scheme.

A common theme in the complaints about Mr Caruso was to request most of the contract price in advance. This should be a red flag for anyone looking to do construction work. It is important that consumers remember never to pay more than what is required at each stage of a construction project. If a contractor asks for prepayment ahead of the work schedule, they are breaking the law. There are rules for maximum deposits that can be requested for house building work.

Originally published as Failed Pool Builder Cops Industry Ban