Jail time for man who posed as landlord, roofer

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Alex Kurial/Local Journalism Initiative

A Sarnia man scammed more than $4,000 from unsuspecting victims – including renting out an apartment he didn’t own – to fuel his drug habit.
Robert Dew, 25, pulled off the deception during two separate occasions, in Sarnia and Lambton Shores.
The cons started in July 2017 while Dew was doing maintenance work on a Brock St. North home in Sarnia. A new buyer was set to take over the house in August. Before the month ended, Dew posed as a property manager and showed the house to a pair of prospective renters – something he had no authorization to do.
Two men agreed to move into the house and gave Dew a total of $2,300 in rent and damage deposits. The scam was discovered when the new owner arrived at the end of the month and surprisingly found the pair living in the house. They were forced to leave, and when they traced the check given to Dew they found he had already cashed it and left town for London.
In January 2018 Dew had a new scheme where he posed as a contractor. He responded to a Facebook ad from a Lambton Shores resident in need of a roofer.
Dew arrived at the Foster Cres. home with a truck, jacket and paper work bearing a company logo. Dew spoke with the owner and collected an $1,800 cash deposit, saying he’d return in a few days to start work.
But Dew never returned.
After many messages from the owner he finally replied “I’m sorry it didn’t work out.” The owner was forced to get a new contractor.
Dew was arrested two months later when Sarnia Police responded to a dispute on King St.
Over the next six months he missed three court appearances and a bail meeting.
“He’s had a long history of a problem with drugs,” says defense lawyer Robert McFadden. “Mr. Dew has a very serious drug problem that will kill him if he doesn’t straighten up.”
Court heard Dew and a friend recently overdosed on fentanyl. Dew was saved by naloxone, but unfortunately his friend couldn’t be revived.
McFadden says this has led to emotional problems and a guilt complex.
“Until he gets a handle on that he’s just playing Russian roulette with his life,” McFadden says of Dew’s addiction issues.
“I’m prepared to make amends for my wrongdoings and I’m seriously looking forward to grasping sobriety,” Dew says during his opportunity to speak.
A joint submission from McFadden and Crown Attorney Aniko Coughlan of 120 days jail was accepted by Justice Deborah Austin.
With time served Dew has 96 days left.
“The fraudulent actions on your part deprived innocent people of money, and was fairly brazen and fairly impactful, particularly for two people who thought they had an apartment, thought they’d paid rent for it… and ended up having nowhere to live and lost money for deposits.
“Also somebody who thought they were getting their roof fixed had to start from scratch and raise the money to do that,” says Austin.
Dew will be on probation for a year after release. He must take addiction and grief counselling and pay full restitution to the three people he defrauded.