HomeCrimePool Company Owner Convicted in Multimillion-Dollar Fraud Scheme

Pool Company Owner Convicted in Multimillion-Dollar Fraud Scheme

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The owner of Amore’ Pools, a company notorious for defrauding customers across several Florida counties, has been convicted of multiple felony charges. Chrystal Washburn, 42, was found guilty by a jury in April after a five-week trial, court records from Indian River County show. Washburn orchestrated a scheme to take substantial deposits from homeowners for building in-ground residential swimming pools, which she never completed.

The victims, hailing from Palm Beach, Brevard, Okeechobee counties, and the Treasure Coast, were left with incomplete projects and financial losses. Washburn, residing in Vero Beach, was convicted on May 24 of seven counts of identity fraud, two counts of money laundering, insurance fraud, contracting without a license, false statement of compliance, and organized scheme to defraud, according to court documents.

Her sentencing is scheduled for June 25. Washburn’s lawyer, Roger Azcona, declined to comment after the court proceedings.

Her husband, Bryan Washburn, 37, who posed as a company employee, was also involved in the fraudulent activities. He was convicted by a jury in June 2022 and is currently serving a 30-year prison sentence for nine felony counts, including organized scheme to defraud, identity theft, and money laundering exceeding $100,000. Bryan Washburn was ordered to pay $3.2 million in restitution to 121 customer victims and is appealing his conviction and sentence.

Both Washburns were prosecuted by the Florida Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) accused them of systematically defrauding customers and obtaining fraudulent credentials to become registered pool and spa contractors in 2017. Their fraudulent activities came to light in July 2021 after numerous claims of fraud were reported against their company.

The Washburns employed a third-party check-cashing store to convert homeowners’ deposit checks into cash, attempting to conceal the illicit funds. They were arrested in October 2021.

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Chrystal Washburn’s trial lasted 22 days, involving testimonies from 51 state witnesses and 24 defense witnesses, including Washburn herself. Her initial plea deal was rejected by a judge, leading to the extended trial. Following her husband’s conviction, Attorney General Ashley Moody highlighted the extent of their fraudulent activities, which left many victims with unfinished pools and significant financial losses.

Connection to Brevard County Pool Scam

This case draws a striking parallel to a similar fraud involving Legacy Pools in Brevard County. As we previously reported, Legacy Pools’ owner was arrested on charges related to a pool contracting scam that left numerous homeowners in financial turmoil.

Legacy Pools’ fraudulent activities mirror those of Amore’ Pools, with homeowners paying substantial deposits for pool construction projects that were either never started or left incomplete. The Brevard County scam also involved unlicensed contracting, false credentials, and significant financial losses for the victims.

The recurring theme of fraudulent pool contractors underscores a broader issue within the industry, highlighting the need for stricter regulations and oversight to protect consumers. Both cases serve as cautionary tales for homeowners to thoroughly vet contractors and verify their credentials before entering into large financial agreements.

The similarities between the two cases underscore a pattern of fraudulent behavior that has affected many residents in Florida. The Washburns’ conviction brings a sense of justice and a warning to other unscrupulous contractors exploiting homeowners.

For those affected by similar schemes, authorities advise contacting local law enforcement or the Florida Attorney General’s Office for assistance in seeking restitution and legal recourse.

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