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A Florida Couple Raked in $1.2 Million to Build Dream Pools. Instead, They Left 'Dangerous Debris Piles and Gaping Holes.'

Florida Pool Builder Sentenced for $1.2 Million Homeowner Fraud
Source: Indian River County Sheriff’s Office

Chrystal Washburn (left) was sentenced to 30 years in prison for setting up a fake pool business and scamming customers out of $1.2 million, authorities said.

Jul. 1 2024, Published 4:00 p.m. ET

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The owner of a Florida pool business was sentenced to 30 years in prison for fraudulently collecting more than $1.2 million alongside her husband to build pools they never built, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody announced.

“This couple promised to deliver dream pools, but left holes in Floridians’ hearts and backyards, by abandoning pool projects and stealing more than $1.2 million in cash," Moody said in a statement. "Thanks to our Statewide Prosecutors, Chrystal Washburn, the owner of this pool company, will now serve 30 years in prison for operating this scheme.”

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Chrystal Washburn, owner of Amore Pools, started the company after fraudulently obtaining a contractor's license despite having no industry experience. She lied on the application and forged another contractor’s signature affirming she had worked with that contractor for more than five years.

She also obtained contractor licenses in multiple Florida counties by having an engineer in Palm Beach County lie, saying she worked for the engineer's company.

Washburn's husband and co-defendant, Brian Washburn, acted as the frontman, selling homeowners on their dream pools and doing some construction work, while she handled contracts and payments.

While marketing Amore Pools as a small family business, they offered homeowners free upgrades and promised to complete projects within 90 days in order to secure their deposits and large front-end payments.

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After receiving a payment, the projects were often abandoned, leaving "dangerous debris piles and gaping holes in victims’ backyards."

The couple walked away with more than $1.2 million in unaccounted-for payments.

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Chrystal Washburn was convicted of several felonies, including one count of false information on application for contractor’s license, one count of unlicensed contractor, state of emergency, one count of organized scheme to defraud, seven counts of fraudulent use of personal identification information, two counts of money laundering, one count of omit/conceal information to avoid workers’ compensation premium, and one count of insurance application fraud.

Brian Washburn was previously sentenced to 30 years in prison.

TMX contributed to this report.

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