Former P.E.I. construction contractor sentenced to 20 months in jail

Colton Chaulk has been in custody since he was arrested in Newfoundland last October. (Colton Chaulk/Facebook - image credit)
Colton Chaulk has been in custody since he was arrested in Newfoundland last October. (Colton Chaulk/Facebook - image credit)

A former construction contractor was sentenced to 20 months in jail for theft and fraud on Wednesday, after a lengthy proceeding in provincial court in Charlottetown.

Colton Chaulk, 28, was also ordered to repay thousands of dollars he had taken from a number of Prince Edward Island clients for work he didn't end up doing.

In January, Chaulk pleaded guilty to three counts of theft over $5,000 and two counts of use of a false document.

Crown prosecutor Lisa Goulden said the case strikes a chord with anybody who owns their own home or is struggling to afford one.

Chaulk appeared by video link from jail, where he's been in custody since RCMP picked him up last October in the town of Clarenville in his home province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

On Wednesday, court heard details about what he did to his victims.

Brian Higgins/CBC
Brian Higgins/CBC

One couple from Alberta had the deck torn off their house and left broken in pieces, with nothing done to rebuild it as they had expected. Chaulk used the $34,000 they had given him for the job to buy himself a tractor.

Another couple from Brazil paid him thousands for work that didn't get done on their home in Stratford. When they grew suspicious, he drew up a phony work permit, using a document he had downloaded from the Town of Three Rivers website.

Owes $58K owed to victims

Court heard he defrauded another homeowner in Bonshaw using a phony work permit from Wellington. The victim sent more than $16,000 to Chaulk, but no construction materials were provided as arranged and no work was completed.

In all, Chaulk owes more than $58,000 to his victims.

Judge Nancy Orr said it's been difficult for people on P.E.I. to get construction work done during the COVID-19 pandemic, and Chaulk's clients relied on him.

"It has an impact on the construction industry, on people who are honest and do the work required," she said of his crimes.

His lawyer, Chera-Lee Gomez, said Chaulk suffers from PTSD due to trauma he experienced as a former North Rustico volunteer firefighter.

Apologized to victims

Some of Chaulk's victims were in court Wednesday. Appearing by video link, he read from a prepared statement, saying he's sorry for what he did.

The judge also sentenced Chaulk to three years probation. During probation, he must tell anybody he works for about the crimes he committed in P.E.I.