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Couple arrested for more than $2 million fraud

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement announced it arrested two people Monday allegedly responsible for using their pool-building company to defraud people out of millions of dollars across South Florida.An agent said Brian and Chrystal Washburn were arrested at their home Monday. They are charged with false information on an application for a contractor’s license, working as an unlicensed contractor, organized scheme to defraud, identity theft, money laundering, concealing information to avoid workers compensation premiums and insurance application fraud.’I’d turn him in’: Brian Laundrie’s sister discusses need for the truth in first interview since Gabby Petito’s body foundOfficials said the two would take large deposits and either never start the project, or create large holes in the yards of homeowners that would hurt the structure of buildings, pass property lines, or remain untouched.This happened in Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin and Palm Beach counties, according to police.One alleged victim — Alice Patterson who said she paid Amore Pools $21,000 in deposits and got a stagnant, dangerous hole in her backyard and nothing else.Patterson said the Washburns were charismatic and believable at first but after months of excuses and no work, she went online and found a Facebook group of other alleged victims — all with similar stories.”I realized this was a whole scam that was occuring,” Patterson said.Video below: Watch the full announcementAgents said the scheme resulted in more than $2 million in fraud and hundreds of victims. Once the Washburns received the checks, they would use a third party to cash the money in an attempt to conceal the illicit funds.“When fraud occurs, it often impacts more than just a bank account,” said Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis. “These Floridians worked tirelessly to save for a swimming pool for their family to enjoy, only to have their hard-earned money stolen and their property damaged. As your CFO, I’m committed to cracking down on criminals who look to use hard-working Floridians as their own personal ATMs. I’m thankful for the cooperation between my fraud detectives, the Florida Attorney General’s Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and all involved to put an end to this fraud scheme, and ensure those involved are held accountable.”’I’m just happy to live some more’: Lantana man struck by stray bullet on I-95 says he’s the luckiest man aliveThe investigation began in July and investigators said the company began with fraudulent documents dating back to 2017.The Washburns are being held in the Indian River County Jail.Patterson had a message for them: “Enjoy prison. Enjoy it like I’m enjoying this pond right now.”Law enforcement said the best way to ensure something like this doesn’t happen to you is to make sure that contractors are vetted through the Better Business Bureau or with other governmental organizations.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement announced it arrested two people Monday allegedly responsible for using their pool-building company to defraud people out of millions of dollars across South Florida.

An agent said Brian and Chrystal Washburn were arrested at their home Monday. They are charged with false information on an application for a contractor’s license, working as an unlicensed contractor, organized scheme to defraud, identity theft, money laundering, concealing information to avoid workers compensation premiums and insurance application fraud.

‘I’d turn him in’: Brian Laundrie’s sister discusses need for the truth in first interview since Gabby Petito’s body found

Officials said the two would take large deposits and either never start the project, or create large holes in the yards of homeowners that would hurt the structure of buildings, pass property lines, or remain untouched.

This happened in Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin and Palm Beach counties, according to police.

One alleged victim — Alice Patterson who said she paid Amore Pools $21,000 in deposits and got a stagnant, dangerous hole in her backyard and nothing else.

Patterson said the Washburns were charismatic and believable at first but after months of excuses and no work, she went online and found a Facebook group of other alleged victims — all with similar stories.

“I realized this was a whole scam that was occuring,” Patterson said.

Video below: Watch the full announcement

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Agents said the scheme resulted in more than $2 million in fraud and hundreds of victims. Once the Washburns received the checks, they would use a third party to cash the money in an attempt to conceal the illicit funds.

“When fraud occurs, it often impacts more than just a bank account,” said Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis. “These Floridians worked tirelessly to save for a swimming pool for their family to enjoy, only to have their hard-earned money stolen and their property damaged. As your CFO, I’m committed to cracking down on criminals who look to use hard-working Floridians as their own personal ATMs. I’m thankful for the cooperation between my fraud detectives, the Florida Attorney General’s Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and all involved to put an end to this fraud scheme, and ensure those involved are held accountable.”

‘I’m just happy to live some more’: Lantana man struck by stray bullet on I-95 says he’s the luckiest man alive

The investigation began in July and investigators said the company began with fraudulent documents dating back to 2017.

The Washburns are being held in the Indian River County Jail.

Patterson had a message for them: “Enjoy prison. Enjoy it like I’m enjoying this pond right now.”

Law enforcement said the best way to ensure something like this doesn’t happen to you is to make sure that contractors are vetted through the Better Business Bureau or with other governmental organizations.

Source: on 2021-10-06 11:00:00

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