*** UPDATE Richard Belbas has been placed into custody.
Scheduled to appear this morning in Courtroom 103 before His Honour Justice Gary Kunnas was 40 year old Richard Nestor Belbas.
Neither Belbas nor his lawyer Christopher Watkins was present. Crown Attorney Rob Kozak is present Judge Kunnas issued the arrest warrant for Belbas.
Belbas has been known to reside on Thornloe Drive and has been spotted previously driving a black Dodge truck.
If you know where Richard Belbas is, contact the Thunder Bay Police.
NO OTHER LOCAL MEDIA IS PRESENT.
JANUARY 2018 UPDATE –
On January 29, 2018, a sentencing date will be set for one of Thunder Bay’s most prolific fraudsters.
He’s most likely facing more jail time.
Richard William Nestor Belbas was found guilty of three counts of fraud under $5,000, three counts of fraud over $5,000, four counts of fraud and two counts of failing to comply with a probation order in October 2017 at the Thunder Bay Courthouse.
The charges stem from instances between 2013 and 2015 where Belbas would respond to online ads seeking contractors for home and yard renovation work. He also created online posts advertising contracting services.
He would take cash retainers up front and begin the work, often completing the demolition phase, and then never returning to complete the work.
In one instance, a couple from Red Rock answered an ad from Belbas on Kijiji and hired him to do demolition and renovation work on their newly purchased home.
Belbas told the couple he was a licensed contractor with a full complement of staff, including a certified plumber and electrician. Belbas was not licensed and didn’t employ certified tradespeople.
The couple gave Belbas an initial cash deposit of $18,000, half of what he quoted them for the entire project.
At Belbas’ request, they provided additional funds for a tool trailer and materials, supplies and furnishings, which he didn’t buy.
In total, the couple paid Belbas $29,953.
Eventually dissatisfied with Belbas’ work, the couple terminated their contract with him, but believed he had completed a significant portion of the work. Inspections found 17 defects in the electrical work and the couple found out Belbas never obtained the necessary permits for the job.
Significant concerns with the plumbing, insulation and vapour barrier work were also discovered.
All of the work needed to be redone.
Belbas also pleaded guilty to failing to comply with a probation order stating he was prohibited from advertising goods or services in any publication or on the Internet.
He has a lengthy history of fraud that saw him sentenced to several months of jail time in January 2015.
His lawyer Christopher Watkins said that history will be considered when his client is sentenced and could mean jail time for Belbas.
“It’s very possible and quite probable,” he said.
However, Watkins said that need for punishment in a sentence also has to be balanced with getting his client back to work so he can pay restitution to the victims.
“They’ve been financially violated and that can be very severe for people and (Belbas) gets that,” said Watkins. “He pled guilty. He accepted responsibility. He just wants to try to move forward as best he can to make these victims whole and move on with his life and his family.”
MAY 29, 2017. A well known convicted criminal fraudster plead guilty this morning in court. A 39 year old Richard Belbas plead guilty to breach of probation for continuing to contract and not notifying his probation officer of this work. He was sentenced to pay full restitution on the spot or face jail time. His lawyer Christopher Watkins repaid the victim in full and now he has 40 community hours and a new condition to report all contract work volunteer, in lieu of, any type of contract work for anyone, to probation.
Richard Belbas has a lengthy criminal history of fraud dating back to 2001. He’s received several sentences over the years including 5 months jail for his fraud. People should think twice before using Richard Belbas as a contractor.
I find it odd that no other media outlet could be bothered to report or notify the public of this fraudster
From The Desk of Thunder Bay Courthouse – Inside Edition