Palm Coast, FL - Two Palm Coast residents are facing a slew of charges in an organized scheme to defraud people who wanted in-ground pools installed of almost half a million dollars. The owners of Crystal Clear Pools, 53-year-old Carlos Longo and 47-year-old Romina De Longo are each charged with 12 counts. 1 count of Organized Scheme to Defraud over $50,000; 10 counts of Grand Theft of Monies received by a Contractor over $20,000; and 1 count of Grand Theft of Monies received by a Contractor over $1,000.00.
Investigators were alerted to a potential contractor fraud case in May of 2019 when a homeowner reported he'd contracted with Crystal Clear Pools in August 2018 to install an in-ground pool. When the homeowner contacted the Flagler County Sheriff's Office, the project was about 80 % done. The victim had already paid 96% of the cost. He could not reach the Longos about completing the job despite numerous attempts to contact them and four certified letters being sent by the victim and received by the company.
The investigation found 12 victims so far that had paid for work that was never finished in the total amount of $455,745.03.
“All 12 victims in these cases were left with a hole in the ground that could not be used as a pool and then had to go out and hire another licensed contractor to complete the job that they had already paid Crystal Clear Pools to complete,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “Now the victims are out even more money because these two fraudulently collected money with no intentions to complete the jobs. These cases are intricate and take a long time to build but Detective Castanheira the State Attorney’s Office investigator did a great job building this case. This is also a good reminder to always check-out contractors with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation and the Better Business Bureau before signing contracts. At least these fraudsters are in jail where they belong!”
Following the arrest, State Attorney R.J. Larizza said, “Crystal Clear Pools took advantage of customers who trusted them to perform as promised per their specific agreements but they took their customers’ money and ran – leaving them high and dry. The State Attorney’s Office Fraud Unit – in partnership with the FCSO – will hold them accountable for their fraudulent criminal activities.”
Each defendant is being held on a $320,000.00 bond.