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Palm Beach County pool builder arrested in several felony grand theft cases

Leonardo Alvarez faces series of felony charges in Palm Beach County, civil suit in Broward County
Posted at 5:18 PM, Aug 31, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-31 17:18:37-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A West Palm Beach pool builder is facing a series of felony charges after several homeowners say he took thousands of dollars from them and never completed work on their pools.

"This is a terrible, terrible situation," George Lambro told WPTV last summer.

WPTV first sat down with Lambro and his wife, Renee, in June 2022.

"Honestly, I think he should be arrested," he said.

According to Lambro's contract, they hired the company Floridas Construction Star in November 2021 to build a pool in their Loxahatchee backyard.

"At the end of the day, everything that was done on our pool was wrong," Lambro said.

George Lambro shows off his unfished pool after hiring Floridas Construction Star.
George Lambro shows off his unfished pool after hiring Floridas Construction Star.

The project was slated to cost $41,000. Lambro paid almost all of it upfront, according to a probable cause affidavit.

He told WPTV that after almost a year of waiting, owner Leonardo Alvarez never completed the work.

"I finally got to the point where I was like, 'Listen, if you're not gonna come and do the pool, I want my money back,'" Lambro said.

He said while they never got their money back, they took the financial hit and hired another company to finish their pool.

"When we originally started this project, we were going to do the pool and the lanai," Lambro said. "We have now set the lanai aside because of the financial situation that we are under."

Along with Lambro's case, Alvarez is now facing a series of felony charges for three other cases in Palm Beach County, a civil suit in Broward County and several complaints filed against him with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

He was arrested earlier this month for charges related to a case in Lake Worth.

"My wife and I have decided we're going to continue to press on, even if we don't receive anything from this," Lambro said. "We don't want people hurt, and this has cost us a tremendous amount financially and just my wife emotionally. It's been a total disaster."

Those are feelings Adina Tetenko, who lives in Boca Raton, shares.

Adina Tetenko said she and her husband were among the victims of Leonardo Alvarez.
Adina Tetenko said she and her husband were among the victims of Leonardo Alvarez.

"He seemed totally legit. He had the license," Tetenko said. "They gave us a quote. We wanted a small pool, a small splash pool for the kids. We agreed on the price of $41,000, and he told me that I had to give him a 10% down payment in order for him to have the plans drawn up."

According to the probable cause affidavit, Tetenko and her husband paid Alvarez a $4,100 deposit and another $16,000 to secure building materials.

"When he was applying for my permit, he used someone else's license. I was like, 'I’ve never met this person before. I don't even know who this person is,'" Tetenko said.

When contacted by the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, according to the affidavit, that contractor told investigators that "Alvarez has been using his contractor's license to apply for permits without his permission."

That contractor also told authorities that "he knew Alvarez as someone who used to do pool subcontract work for him" but "cut ties with him approximately nine months to a year ago."

"I explained to him that I am going to file charges, and I am going to file a civil suit, and he kept asking me, 'Give me a week. Give me five weeks. Give me three weeks. I'll pay you back. I'll pay you back,'" Tetenko said.

However, Tetenko said that never happened.

"You feel now like you can't trust any contractor," Tetenko said. "I really hope that there's some sort of jail time because this isn't just a single victim."

"I really think that this gentleman's license needs to be taken away so he can't hurt anybody else," Lambro said.

Tetenko and Lambro told WPTV there will be a court hearing for their cases at the end of September.

According to court records, Alvarez is due back in court Oct. 16 for another Palm Beach County case.

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