Husband of Amore Pools owner guilty of scheming to defraud customers

Published: Jun. 28, 2022 at 10:46 PM EDT
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One-half of the husband-wife duo accused of scheming to defraud more than 100 Amore Pools Inc. customers out of millions of dollars has been found guilty.

An Indian River County jury Tuesday convicted Brian Washburn on nine of the 12 felony charges against him.

Washburn was found guilty on charges of organized scheme to defraud, six counts of fraudulent use of personal identification information, and two counts of money laundering.

He was found not guilty on charges of using false information on an application for a contractor's license, on one count of fraudulent use of personal identification information, and on a charge of acting as an unlicensed contractor during a state of emergency.

A sentencing date has not been set.

Washburn will remain in jail without bond as he awaits his sentencing.

During a more than two-week trial, more than two dozen victims testified before a jury.

That included Deb Neger.

"There is justice," Neger said after hearing of the guilty verdict.

She and her husband paid Amore Pools tens of thousands of dollars to build their dream pool.

"They looked legit to us. They really did," Neger said.

But their story was like many others who hired Amore Pools. They wrote checks for large upfront deposits, those checks would be cashed and work would start strong. But, eventually, work would stop completely, and Amore Pools would stop communicating with customers, despite their projects being incomplete.

Several victims also told a jury that Washburn used their signatures on documents they know they did not sign.

"People like this should not be allowed to take advantage of anyone," Neger said. :He was heartless in what he did to a lot of people, just heartless."

Washburn and his wife, Chrystal, whose name is on the business license, were arrested in October following an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Neger said she is grateful for the customers who banded together to make the arrest possible by sharing their stories, notes and research with investigators to give them a clean case to take to trial.

"A small group of people with a strong will can accomplish something because they put the case together," Neger said. "We all worked as a unit. We all showed up at different hearings. We made this happen. Otherwise, I can promise you, he would still be out there defrauding other people."

Now, Neger does have a finished pool, which was done by another company.

"Oh my God, every day we're in that pool. Every single day," Neger said.

She said she is not holding out hope to see any reimbursement. Restitution has still not been determined.

Washburn's attorney did not wish to comment after the verdict.

A trial date has still not been set for Chrystal Washburn.

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