TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody filed a civil complaint Monday against a Gulf Coast pool company and its owner for leaving jobs incomplete despite taking large upfront payments, a matter first exposed in a Better Call Behnken investigation.
According to the AG’s office, Cox Pools of the Gulf Coast, LLC, and its owner, Hillary Bello, accepted payments from at least 27 customers who were promised construction services but were left with unfinished pools or holes in their backyards instead.
Moody said, “Cox Pools and its owner ripped off more than 25 Florida consumers, taking more than $1.5 million and never finishing the agreed-upon jobs.”
An investigation also revealed that the company refused to issue refunds for consumers with abandoned work.
“This is unacceptable,” Moody added, “and we are taking action to permanently ban this owner from operating a pool business.”
The civil complaint argues that Cox Pools misrepresented the timeline for pools to be built, causing customers to wait longer than a year for an unfinished pool.
The civil action seeks to get a monetary judgment against the company and its owner. In addition, Cox Pools and its owners could be liable for more than $250,000 in penalties.
Cox Pools customers harmed by the defendants can file a complaint with the Florida Attorney General’s Office by calling 1-(866) 9NO-SCAM or visit MyFloridalegal.com.