TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — James Staten, the owner of Olympus Pools who now faces 35 criminal charges, was placed into handcuffs after he was booked into the Pasco County Jail Monday.
A video released by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Tuesday showed Staten’s arrest, something that the sheriff’s office is “one step closer” to getting justice for his clients.
In a Tuesday press conference, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said Staten was accused of defrauding 140 people across Hillsborough, Pasco, Sarasota, Polk, Manatee and Pinellas counties.
Authorities said instead of completing pools for his clients, Staten would use their money to take “lavish” trips and even $53,000 Super Bowl tickets.
“This is a day that Hillsborough County residents have been waiting for, for years, especially the victims of this business owner turned con man,” Sheriff Chad Chronister said. “I commend the hard work of our Construction Fraud Unit detectives, whose sole purpose is hunting down the criminals that victimize our hard-working residents with fraud, theft, and bad deals.”
In total, the loss suffered by the customers was said to be $1.5 million.
However, Staten’s attorney maintains that his client is innocent.
“What the public needs to understand is that sometimes, businesses go belly up and just because a business goes bankrupt and people lose money, that does not make it a crime,” attorney Rick Escobar said.