TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A Florida man was sentenced to 30 years in prison for operating a multimillion-dollar contracting scheme, Attorney General Ashley Moody announced.
Brian Washburn, the owner of Amore Pools Inc., defrauded Florida homeowners by taking upfront payments and deposits, Moody said. He would also leave dangerous debris piles and gaping holes in victims’ backyards, WFLA reports.
“This fraudster will spend decades in prison for stealing millions of dollars from Floridians who made huge down payments to have pools built on their properties,” Moody said.
“He took their money, dug massive holes in their yards, then ran from his contractual obligations to complete the work, but he didn’t get far before the law caught up with him. Now, thanks to my Statewide Prosecutors, he will spend a long time behind bars thinking about his terrible crimes.”
Investigators said Washburn persuaded homeowners in Brevard, Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee, Palm Beach and St. Lucie counties to sign contracts to build pools. He promised low prices and quick, professional work.
Once Washburn received a deposit, investigators said, his company would sometimes abandon the project before work began. In other cases, Washburn dug massive holes in the homeowners’ backyards and left piles of debris around the project site.
Moody said the company did not complete a majority of the projects.
Washburn attempted to cover up the fraud by using a third-party check cashing store to convert the deposits into cash.
Washburn was sentenced to 30 years in prison on nine felony counts, one count of organized scheme to defraud, two counts of money laundering of more than $100,000, and six counts of fraudulent use of personal identification information.
The judge also ordered Washburn to pay $3 million in restitution for the victims of the pool fraud scheme.
Washburn’s wife and alleged co-conspirator, Chyrstal Washburn, remains in custody at the Indian River County Jail. Her charges are pending.