Check out this recent story in the Vancouver Sun about a scumbag who swindled an 88 year-old Kits woman on some home renovations. His name is Andrew James Kralik. I’m glad the name of this shithead is front and center for everyone to see because so often in these home reno scams these guys get to walk unidentified with no repercussions. If you find youself needing to do home renos follow these tips from Mike Holmes of the HGTV television series Holmes on Homes. Great show. This guy hates crooked contractors too.
Last modified: April 23, 2006
gawd, I hate assholes like that!! Its to bad that Holmes on Homes cant name names, even on their website, so that everyone can be aware of who NOT to use for their reno’s. Maybe we should start our own! Anyone out there who got ripped off?? State the loser’s name and company right here!! BRING IT ON!!
Sorry kitsgirl but that’s called defamation. With regards to the individual above, he was found guilty by the BC Supreme Court and the Vancouver Sun (& Kitsilano.ca) is simply reporting the facts. You cannot randomly call out unscrupulous renovators on a weblog like this unless you’ve got a similar type of conviction to base it on.
oh thats too bad. now all those assholes swindling innocent people can get away with it….better go buy some lottery tickets!
Hate to break this to you, but you’re not in possession of all the facts. Kralik was wrongly convicted, and the media have not reported several key details of this case, namely:
1. The “victim” in question, Frances Loftus, was a close personal friend of Kralik’s. It was she who contacted him to continue renovations on her home. He did not pursue her as a customer. She did not suffer from dementia at the time of the work, and she fully consented to all work done and agreed to the prices. Even at pre-trial, she testified that she was “completely satisfied” with the service Kralik performed. And she made it quite clear that all the work done was with her consent. She did not even file a complaint of her own volition. It was the Vancouver Police who convinced her after the fact that she had been victimized, which she grudgingly went along with, only because she’s the type of woman who respects the uniform and thought that the police wouldn’t say Kralik was bad if he wasn’t.
2. Kralik repeatedly asked for a lawyer and was denied one, and he ended up having to defend himself. Evidently, Canadian citizens, unlike their American counterparts, are not entitled to legal representation at trial. All you can do is apply for legal aid, which is a convoluted procedure, and many people are turned down without cause. Kralik was just one example.
3. Boxes of evidence in the possession of the Crown were mysteriously “lost” by the government just before trial. Under the so-called “Rule of Best Evidence” the judge foolishly allowed the Crown to proceed with only photocopies of the originals, which did not constitute a fair and complete record of the contracts that existed between Kralik and Loftus. Isn’t it convenient that the Crown somehow managed to lose key evidence, much of it potentially exculpatory?
In short, if you had heard the trial in detail, you’d realize that Kralik should have won this case easily on its merits. He lost because he was overwhelmed by procedure and had no lawyer (the judge refused his repeated requests that she assign a lawyer under Robatham, which she could easily have done).
Andrew James Kralik and his associates were well known in the home reno comunity. I worked for him and I think justise was done and he got what he deserved.
Man jailed for preying on elderly
Gerry Bellett, Vancouver Sun
Published: Saturday, July 15, 2006
A home renovator with a history of defrauding elderly women was sentenced Friday to 4 1/2 years in jail after being found guilty of defrauding an 89-year-old Vancouver woman out of $200,000.
Andrew James Kralik, 42, had previously served 40 months in jail in the United States after being convicted of similar frauds in California in 1991.
In view of his past record, which includes theft, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Catherine Wedge considered Kralik a risk to reoffend and said the community needed protecting.
“This was abuse of a frail, isolated, elderly person [that Kralik said during the trial] ‘was not as sharp as she once was’,” said Wedge.
Wedge said she took into account the harm that former school teacher Frances Loftus had suffered in her advanced years when, between the ages of 78 and 82, she paid Kralik $200,000 for renovations to her Kitsilano home for work that was never done, and he threatened to put a lien on her property.
She had lived in the home since she was an infant and it was her only asset, said Wedge.
In 1995 Kralik had convinced her to take out a reverse mortgage on her property to pay for renovations he advised were necessary. He started by telling her the roof needed fixing.
From then until 1998 he billed her approximately $200,000 for work, most of which was never done. An appraisal of the work that was done valued it as being worth $30,000 to $40,000.
Once she had the mortgage money, he also convinced her to buy a new car which she would eventually turn over to him. He quickly sold the car and pocketed $28,000 which he said would be used as a credit against what she owed him.
When she was 87, she endured seven days of testimony during a preliminary hearing in which Kralik acted for himself, said the judge.
She was deemed to be mentally incapable of testifying when Kralik’s trial moved to B.C. Supreme Court and her video-taped testimony given in provincial court was used instead.
Police believe Kralik preyed on numerous elderly persons in the Greater Vancouver area after coming to B.C. following his release from jail in the United States. He represented his now defunct companies, Exterior Home Services and Customized Exteriors.
He is estimated to have taken $1 million from elderly female victims although he was only charged with one count of fraud committed against Loftus.
His jail sentence is the latest chapter in a history of criminal and civil court appearances and provincial government sanctions taken against the contractor who once gave one of his elderly Vancouver targets a cheap bible telling her it would relieve her sorrows.
“He gave me the impression that he was a good Christian, that he went to the Downtown Eastside to help the poor, and I fell for it,” a 79-year-old widow told The Vancouver Sun in 2001.
At the time he’d been jailed in the United States for defrauding several people out of $150,000 for phony renovation work, had been convicted of carrying a concealed weapon, and had served two years in a Canadian jail for theft.
In 1999 the economic crime unit of the Vancouver Police Department issued a public warning that Kralik was overcharging seniors for renovation work.
In March 2001, Kralik was ordered to repay $300,000 to two elderly victims after a civil suit was launched against him by the B.C. Trade Practices Branch. He also was permanently ordered not to engage in home-renovation businesses. It was from this investigation that the fraud charges against him were laid.
Asked by Wedge if he had anything to say before sentencing, Kralik mumbled: “I don’t know what else I can add. I accept your judgment and I agree I should go to jail. If you think I have to pay Mrs. Loftus back I will try.”
On Friday morning Loftus fell and was taken to hospital, but was later released, said her friend Elsie Ross, who had been taught by Loftus in 1945.
“She’s not feeling very good, today,” said Ross.
Ross, along with former Vancouver Police Detective Trish Keen, was in court Friday, and the pair watched as Kralik was searched and handcuffed by sheriff’s officers before he left the courtroom.
“I’ve been waiting to see that for a long time,” said Keen, one of the original investigators.
I’m still not sure where the Vancouver Sun gets its information. I know every inch of this case from pre-trial to sentence. Kralik has NEVER been convicted of a crime in Canada before now. Why the paper is reporting that he served two years for theft is beyond me. Kralik had absolutely no criminal record in Canada prior to this conviction (I have seen the police report that confirms this). The fact that he was convicted in California is true, however.
I’m also a bit baffled by Canadian sentencing guidelines. 4.5 years for one count of a non-violent offense? You hear about people getting less than that for assault and rape. The VPD may “believe” Kralik has defrauded other customers, but the court can’t reasonably punish him for alleged additional offenses that haven’t been proven in court. He was convicted on a single count (wrongly, in my humble opinion), and should have been sentenced on that basis alone.
I was also surprised by the court’s contention that the community needed to be protected from Kralik. Kralik had long since left British Columbia and had no intention of ever returning. It was the Vancouver police who went out of their way to travel to Ontario, pick Kralik up, and return him forcibly to B.C. to face charges. If the intent of the B.C. courts is to “protect” the communities of B.C., how is that objective achieved by deliberately returning the supposed offender to the community he is alleged to have victimized? If the Vancouver authorities wanted to protect Vancouver’s residents from an offender, they should have been satisfied to have driven him out, not in a hurry to bring him back.
I know Andy. I know his former associates. I know he had trouble in the u.s.a. I know justice was WELL served. He got away with lots of other rip offs.
Sounds like this Amar either knows sweet f.a. or he’s a friend trying to put a spin on things.
Does any body know where he or his brother is now? Please post a message.