Deputies: Volusia pool builder faces fraud investigation – Information – Daytona Seaside Information-Journal On-line
A pool builder with addresses in Edgewater and Port Orange is under investigation after several of his customers complained that he took their money and never installed their pools.
On Tuesday, Andrew Gant, spokesman for the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office, confirmed that James Griffin, who will turn 41 on Friday, is under investigation.
“It is true that detectives are investigating allegations of fraud involving James Griffin’s pool company,” said Gant.
A file search reveals that MPs tracked down a case in Edgewater in February where Griffin’s business, Aquatic Daze Custom Pools and Spas LLC., Cheated on a resident, investigators said.
Griffin didn’t return a phone message on Tuesday.
On February 6, as part of their ongoing investigation, the sheriff’s detectives contacted Edgewater-based James Rothholz about Griffin’s case, reports show.
Rothholz reported that he signed a contract with Griffin’s company in July to build a backyard pool in his home. Rothholz paid Griffin $ 30,800 for the job, but Griffin only did $ 5,000 in work, investigators said.
In details provided by Rothholz to MPs, he announced that the contractor had done little work after signing a contract with Griffin and the last time he was home for a few hours was November 3rd it in reports.
After Rothholz couldn’t contact Griffin, he sent him a certified letter asking Griffin to restart the job or return his money.
The investigation also revealed that Griffin had an address in Edgewater and one in Port Orange. Rothholz’s letter was returned from the Edgewater house, but a woman at the Port Orange address accepted the letter on January 4th, reports say.
The sheriff’s detectives said they likely had reason to believe Griffin committed a major theft for taking $ 28,500 without Rothholz doing any work, an investigative report said.
Griffin is also being sued by Port Orange’s Michael Pagano after Griffin, who received more than $ 4,300 to repair a residential pool, took the money and didn’t do the job, Pagano’s attorney Jason Harr said.
Griffin represented himself as President of Aquatic Daze Custom Pools and Spas LLC. When he reached an agreement with Pagano to repair his pool, Harr said
Griffin started mending the pool but then suddenly just stopped. When Griffin was contacted by Pagano, he said he didn’t have the money to buy the supplies and Pagano’s pool was completely in ruins, Harr said.
Another victim, Tim Steflik of New Smyrna Beach, said in an email that Griffin also failed to complete his swimming pool, despite paying Griffin’s company more than $ 22,000 in August.
All Griffin did was shape the pool, remove some concrete feet that he left in the yard and didn’t dump, and run an electrical line, Steflik said.
“He told us that he no longer had the money,” said Steflik. “He did 2-3,000 worth of work as reported by another contractor bidding to complete our pool and another subcontractor who did the paving.”
The last time Steflik saw Griffin was around December 1 and hasn’t had a response from Griffin in months, he said.
“Right before he was arrested for theft,” Steflik said, adding that he knew at least nine other people who paid Griffin money for pools they didn’t get.
Court records show that on December 5th, the Volusia MPs at 709 N. Ridgewood Ave. Have issued a search warrant near DeLand. A sheriff’s helicopter captured a video of Griffin and two other men grinding off identification numbers from three stolen tags.
Griffin was arrested and charged with three cases of theft, three cases of possession / sale of a vehicle with a changed VIN, and three cases of tampering with evidence.
He’s out of jail for $ 50,000 and a trial scheduled for May 28, court records show.
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