Commissioner for Consumer Affairs Paul White has welcomed the penalty given by the Adelaide Magistrates Court to 30 year old Ali Faraj, better known as Kamel Kassem and Kamel Mousselmani.
Faraj was convicted on 11 counts relating to undertaking unlicensed, unfinished and shoddy building work, and has been ordered to pay a total of $57,000 in fines and
$60,000 in compensation (the maximum payable), $1706 total for the victims of crimes levy and $800 for prosecution costs.
"This is one of the most serious matters we have ever seen,” Mr White said.
“As we outlined in court, this unscrupulous man scammed tens of thousands of dollars from his innocent victims using false advertising, fake licence numbers, and an ABN that was not his.
"What is worse, at the same time as he took their money he wrecked their homes with shoddy and unfinished building work.
“He has left behind a string of distressed homeowners, thrown into substantial debt.
“In the judgement, Magistrate Broderick commented that in his view, of all the breaches of the Act he has reviewed from the last six years this stood out as the worst case the court had seen.” Mr White said.
Between Feb 2010 and April 2011 Mr Faraj undertook, on at least eight occasions, building projects that included renovation, demolition, painting, plumbing and electrical work.
He was not licensed to conduct this work, and also lied about the licence status of those he subcontracted. The work was uninsured and was consistently substandard and/or unfinished.
Mr Faraj entered into building contracts to a total value of more than $700,000, which breached several counts of the Building Work Contractors Act 1995.
One family could not return from overseas to their home as he had made it unliveable. Mr Faraj lied to them as to the progress of the work, and more than $400,000 will be needed to make the house liveable again.
Consumer and Business Services urges anyone considering renovations or building work to check building, plumbing and electrical workers'
details on the Licensing Public Register at www.ocba.sa.gov.au/licensing/regpub/index.html