Rachel Fieldhouse

Real Estate

Tradie faces 36 offences after destroying 68-year-old’s home

Tradie faces 36 offences after destroying 68-year-old’s home

An unlicensed tradie has left a man’s house in ruin and drained his life savings - but he’s just one of the builder’s many victims.

Tevita Ungounga has received multiple public warnings and convictions for various building offences, and has become well-known to Fair Trading and police.

Ian O'Connor, one of Mr Ungounga’s victims, paid the builder $235,000 to build a seawall and renovate his house.

Two years after the job commenced, the 68-year-old’s home is filled with unfinished rooms, holey walls, and still has no running water.

Mr O’Connor sits in his unfinished home. Image: A Current Affair

“He’s a pig, a disgusting pig,” Mr O’Connor told A Current Affair.

“He seemed quite nice, very friendly, but I guess you could say most conmen are.”

Mr O’Connor lost his life savings, and has had to delay his retirement and continue working so he can rebuild his home.

Mr Ungounga has since been accused of fraudulently obtaining more than $220,000 from homeowners for incomplete or defective work to their homes.

He is currently facing these allegations in court.

However, complaints about Mr Ungoungu date back to 1998, when he was jailed for 60 days after failing to declare an estimated income of $1.4 million to Hawaii’s tax department.

In a civil case, Hawaii’s Regulatory Industries Complaints Office was quoted by the media saying Mr Ungounga was “just very, very good at what he does”.

Mr Ungounga and his wife Siosiana. Image: A Current Affair

In 2015, Mr Ungounga and his wife Siosiana received a combined fine of $90,000 under the company name T & T Sandstone. They were fined for engaging in significant residential building work in Australia without a licence.

After the incident with Mr O’Connor, Mr Ungoungu was sentenced to a 14-month intensive corrections order this year.

He has also been charged with 36 offences by NSW Police, and has been the subject of three public warnings issued by Fair Trading in the last two years.

The warnings related to his status as an unlicensed and uninsured tradie, with the organisation urging customers to do their checks before employing Mr Ungoungu.

“I never take the money and go, I do the job,” Mr Ungoungu told A Current Affair.

Images: A Current Affair

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