by: Brittany Kershaw, Public Affairs Officer, Flagler County Sheriff’s Office; and Spencer Hathaway, Information Officer / Assistant to the District Attorney, District Attorney’s Office
The Flagler County sheriff’s office was made aware of a potential contractor fraud case in May 2019. At the time, a homeowner reported that he had signed a contract with Crystal Clear Pools in August 2018 for an installation in the bottom of the pool.
By April 2019, only 80% of the work had been completed and Crystal Clear Pools had not returned to complete the job despite numerous attempts to contact the company and four certified letters sent by the victim and received by the company.
The victim had already paid 96% of the pool installation costs to the owners of Crystal Clear Pools, 53 year old Carlos Hernan Longo and 47 year old Romina Campello De Longo.
The investigation by the FCSO and the 7th District Attorney’s Office found that numerous other victims of this company had similar complaints where Crystal Clear Pools accepted payment for building pools in the ground and failed to complete the job.
From September 2017 through February 2019, the owners of Crystal Clear Pools approved, deposited, or cashed payments from twelve victims totaling $ 455,745 for unfinished work.
“All 12 victims in these cases had a hole in the ground that could not be used as a pool and then had to hire another licensed contractor to do the job they had already paid Crystal Clear Pools for.” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “Now the victims have lost even more money because these two fraudulently raised money with no intention of doing the jobs. These cases are complicated and take a long time, but Detective Castanheira, the prosecutor’s investigator, did a great job creating this case. This is also a great reminder that you must always check out contractors with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation and the Better Business Bureau before signing any contracts. At least these scammers are in jail where they belong! “
After the arrest, prosecutor RJ Larizza said, “Crystal Clear Pools took advantage of customers who trusted them to deliver the promised services according to their specific agreements, but they took their customers’ money and ran – leaving it up and dry. The prosecutor’s fraud department will – in collaboration with the FCSO – hold them accountable for their fraudulent criminal activities. “
The Honorable Judge D. Melissa Distler signed the arrest warrants for Romina De Longo and Carlos Longo on Tuesday May 26th. The FCSO was serving these warrants at 7:00 a.m. on Wednesday, May 27, at the couple’s home at 181 Bridgehaven Drive, Palm Coast. They were arrested and sent to Sheriff Perry Hall’s inmate detention center.
Both subjects were charged a total of 12 counts: one count from the Organized Fraud Program for $ 50,000; 10 Grand Theft of Monies counts received by a contractor for $ 20,000; and a count from Grand Theft of Monies received by a contractor for $ 1,000.
Each defendant is held on a $ 320,000 bond.