A disgraced home and pool builder has wound up two of his companies as dudded consumers fume over his use of a regulatory loophole that allowed him to trade
A disgraced home and pool builder has wound up two of his companies as dudded consumers fume over his use of a regulatory loophole that allowed him to trade

Loophole enrages dudded clients

A disgraced home and pool builder in southeast Queensland has wound up two of his companies as dudded consumers fume over his use of a regulatory loophole that allowed him to trade.

Gold Coast-based bizoid Adrian Caruso (illustrated) just appointed a liquidator over his solely-controlled firms, Pure Excavations Pty Ltd and Eye 4 Investments Pty Ltd.

The move comes only weeks after the Queensland Building and Construction Commission cancelled both his personal license and the company license for Pure Excavations.

Records show Caruso, a 43-year-old Canberra native, started working in Queensland in 2015 and he completed nearly 550 jobs valued at $21.8m since then.

During that time he failed to comply with five orders to fix defective structural work and was fined $5280 over two infringement notices.

But there's more. Unbeknownst to both his customers and the gang at Leisure Pools and Spas Manufacturing in Yatala, who used him as a contractor, Caruso has a criminal record.

Back in 2006, he was convicted on drug charges and attempts to pervert the course of justice in the ACT. Handed a two-year term in the iron motel, he agreed to a good behaviour order and went free after the sentence was suspended.

So wouldn't this backstory jump out as a red flag to Queensland regulators when it came time for them to determine whether or not he was a "fit and proper'' person to carry out building works?

Well, it turns out that a helpful bit of legislation known as the Mutual Recognition Act allows out-of-state licensees to just rock up to Queensland and start trading within 28 days of alerting the QBCC.

Incredibly, the bureaucrats are actually prohibited from launching any checks on their experience, technical qualifications or financial health. A criminal history is considered "not relevant''.

The restrictions meant the QBCC also couldn't inquire about the collapse of Caruso's company DJH Pools & Spas Pty Ltd, which was wound by court order in the ACT in 2015 at the behest of the tax man.

Fast forward to today and it's understood Caruso faces allegations from about 40 Leisure Pool clients that he took deposits or other payments for work that was never completed. One is understood to have paid as much as $70,000.

His now-defunct entity Pure Excavations had an agreement with the pool company to supply fibreglass shells and other equipment across south Brisbane.

Leisure Pools said in a statement that it's "saddened and disappointed'' by Caruso's alleged actions. They have severed their agreement with him and vowed to work to assist affected homeowners.

Gold Coast police have now entered the fray and are believed to be probing the mess.

In case things couldn't get any worse for Caruso, a Southport court in December slapped him with a month-long disqualification for driving with a suspended license.

Outside court, he got in a tussle with a Current Affair cameraman. He told them he had not misappropriated any money and health issues prevented him from working.

Caruso, who still controls intact entity Pure Property Group 1 Pty Ltd, could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

Property records indicate a Gold Coast home registered in his wife's name sold for $905,000 in November.

Originally published as Loophole enrages dudded clients



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