JUPITER FARMS, Fla. - It's been a long time, but now, Nancy Hopkins' faith is finally restored.
"I'm just so grateful to Channel 5 and Shannon Cake. I thank God for Champion Pools," she said.
When we first met Nancy 4 years ago, all she had was a partially dug hole in her backyard.
"It makes me very sick," she said then. "I feel stupid and foolish."
She had just taken a reverse mortgage on her home and gave all that money to the president of Pinnacle Pools. It came to a total of $70,000.
"He took screen monies, and money for a lot of other things: equipment, heating and of course the spa, he took it all."
So the Contact 5 Investigators took the case.
We tracked down Pinnacle Pools, which we found closed. We tracked the president of the company, and found Tom Rice walking his dog outside his two story Jupiter home.
He promised to sit down with us for an interview and explain Nancy's missing money.
But just before that interview Rice called and canceled, telling us by phone: "Unfortunately, there is no work. I'm waiting to get some new work so I have the funds to finish her project."
Then there was David Dube; he's the owner of Pinnacle Pools. Through the years, and through the bushes, we videotaped him promising Nancy that he would take responsibility and personally complete her pool. Nothing ever happened.
"This is a crime against honor and trust and I just cannot fathom someone doing this to another person," said Nancy.
The Contact 5 Investigators took Nancy's story to Florida's Department of Business and Professional Regulation, the state attorney's office and the Palm Beach County Sheriff's office. They all said it was a civil matter.
So for 3 years Nancy lived with a hole in her yard, and the Contact 5 Investigators kept covering her struggle.
Enter Jerry Weinberg.
"I was moved by her story," he said.
He's the sales manager at Champion Pools and Spas. He and his team signed up to help out Nancy.
"From the day we started this thing took on a life of its own. The entire staff here at Champion, everybody jumped on board."
Since Champion Pools took over this project, they've tackled tile issues, they've fixed electrical problems, they've brought in fill and pavers. The jacuzzi has been completely reworked as well.
It will be a $25,000 hit for the company and its suppliers, but owner David Brams insists he won't take a dime from Nancy.
"This was an opportunity to give something back to the community we live in and love and work in," he said. "We're paying it forward."
With her pool now complete, she's finding her joy again and right along with it, her faith in mankind.
©2007 The E.W. Scripps Co. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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