Whirlpool Canada suing two Okanagan contractors for millions in fake invoices | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Whirlpool Canada suing two Okanagan contractors for millions in fake invoices

Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Whirlpool

VERNON - Home appliance giant Whirlpool Canada is suing a B.C. couple who acted as contractors in Kelowna and Vernon and allegedly submitted thousands of fraudulent invoices for work that never took place.

According to a Supreme Court of B.C. notice of claim, Surrey-based couple Mohinder Singh Sidhu and Kinder Kaur Sidhu worked as contractors for Whirlpool through companies in Vernon and Kelowna to provide services and repairs covered under the companies warranty.

The Sidhu's submitted 29,232 warranty services claims and were paid $4,688,969 over a six-year period from Whirlpool, court documents say.

Whirlpool - who also owns Maytag, Amana, Jenn-Air and KitchenAid - claims the Sidhu's "fraudulently" made claims for service and repairs for customers and appliances that did not exist.

In February 2019, Whirlpool noticed abnormalities in the invoices being submitted and conducted an audit. The documents say of 5,101 invoices audited, 4,831 had been falsified. The company paid out almost $650,000 for these invoices alone.

As Whirlpool has so far only audited less than 20 per cent of the invoices submitted it is "highly likely" the number of falsified claims will increase, the documents say.

The Sidhu's set up Interior Appliance Service Ltd. at 3006 32 Avenue in Vernon. In October 2018, the company was dissolved from the B.C. registry for failing to make a requisite filing. The lawsuit also names two other companies, Interior Appliance Service 2013, and Anderson's Appliance Service which contracted for Whirlpool in the Kelowna area.

"The claims were made for service and/or repairs in respect of customers that do not exist... the claims were made for service and/or repairs for appliances that do not exist... the claims were made for service and/or repairs that were not provided by the defendants," the court documents say.

According to the claim Whirlpool paid $2,797,488 to the Sidhu's three companies for labour, and $1,891,481 was sent to Whirlpool parts distributor who then sent the parts to the defendants.

The court documents also say the defendants have "fraudulently converted some or all of Whirlpool's funds by using them to acquire certain assets."

The documents say shortly after the Sidhu's became aware of the audit a property in Surrey jointly owned by them was transferred solely into Kinder Kaur Sidhu name for $1. The market value of the property is listed as $1,815,000.

The documents say this transfer was made "with intent to defeat, delay, hinder, prejudice, and/or the plaintiffs in respect of their lawful remedies in respect of the claims."

The notice of claim was filed in Vancouver on June 28. None of the allegations have been proven in court.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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