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Pool builder accused of fraud avoids jail however should reimburse prospects

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Florida. – A swimming pool contractor arrested for allegedly taking money from customers but not completing the work was asked to compensate seven victims under an agreement with prosecutors.

James Griffin advocated no opposition to an organized fraud scheme, a first-degree crime that can be punished with up to 30 years in prison.

Under the settlement agreement, Griffin was sentenced to 20 years probation and sentenced to pay his former clients.

According to court documents, prosecutors found that the need for redress to the victims outweighed the need for imprisonment.

“I’m glad it worked,” said James Rothholz, a former customer who paid Griffin more than $ 30,000 to build a backyard pool. “That sure took a long time. And I have to tell you, I was a little cynical. I thought I would never see anything. “

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Griffin and his lawyer declined to comment.

Volusia County MPs arrested Griffin in 2019 after complaints that the pool operator’s company, Aquatic Daze Pools, raised large deposits from customers but then did little or no work.

Upon learning of his sentence, Griffin immediately handed over $ 60,000 to be distributed to the victims. Griffin was also sentenced to pay nearly $ 139,000 in monthly installments of $ 500 to be shared among his seven Volusia County victims.

“My end of this will be about $ 71” [per month]“, Said Rothholz. “So I’m about 94 years old when [it’s fully paid]. “

Griffin was also ordered to make reparation to a victim in Flagler County, court records show.

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If Griffin misses two monthly payments, Rothholz said he and other victims may be eligible to collect money from the Florida Homeowners’ Construction Recovery Fund, which provides funding to clients harmed by a licensed contractor.

The state revoked Griffin’s pool contract license in 2020, records from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation show.

Rothholz, who later hired Agua Pools to complete his swimming pool, said he was grateful that the prosecutor was able to obtain compensation for the victims, no matter how long it may take them to collect it in full.

“[The prosecutor] could have set [Griffin] in prison, and rightly so, ”said Rothholz. He deserves it. That is a serious crime. “

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