TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Seven months after Better Call Behnken broke the story of hundreds of homeowners stuck with unfinished pools, even though many paid in full, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody sat down exclusively with Consumer Investigator Shannon Behnken.
“We have hundreds of folks who were promised a certain product or service, it was not delivered,” Moody said. “We have brought action for false, deceptive trade practices. We’re not only seeking fines for that unlawful behavior but also restitution for so many Floridians that are out of money because of these schemes.”
“I wish I could say that this is unique, whether it’s this industry or others,” Moody added.
Moody’s strong words come just one day after she took action against James Staten, owner of embattled and now-shuttered Olympus Pools, suing both the company and Staten himself.
Behnken asked AG Moody, “If you’re a homeowner sitting at home, watching this and you’re saying, ‘Oh my goodness, the attorney general is taking action, does that mean I’m going to get restitution?’ What do you say to those people?”
“That’s our goal,” Moody responded. “We will work as aggressively as we can to make sure that we make folks that feel that they have been victims whole.”
Since March, Moody says her office received more than 200 consumer complaints about Olympus Pools with an alleged total loss for those complainants in excess of $8 million.
When Staten and his wife, Alexis, filed for personal bankruptcy protection, that’s when Moody said she knew she had to act.
“We decided to take action now. We thought it was very important that we do so to try to protect and guard against any dissipation of assets,” Moody said.
A hearing in this civil case has not been set yet. But Moody says her office of statewide prosecution is working with local law enforcement on a criminal investigation. No charges have been filed.
Better Call Behnken has repeatedly encouraged Olympus customers whose pools were left unfinished to contact the attorney general’s office.
“Thank you so much,” Moody said in response to Better Call Behnken’s continued reporting on Olympus Pools.
“Anyone that feels that they have been part of this, that they were promised something and the product or service was not delivered, please call our office 1-866-9-NO-SCAM.”