INDIAN RI — The owner of a local pool company who is charged with scheming to defraud nearly 150 customers out of at least $2 million is trying to lower her bond to get out of jail.
Chrystal Washburn and her husband Brian Washburn, of Amore Pools Inc., were arrested in early October at their Indian River County home.
Both are facing charges related to taking customers’ money without ever intending to complete their pools. Investigators also said the Washburns took customer payments and converted them to cash to hide their earnings.
Now, investigators believe they are hiding cash that could be used to pay bond.
In court, Chrystal Washburn told a judge that she has no money in her bank accounts.
Washburn’s attorney argued the bond of $1.2 million is ‘excessive’, asking for a lower bond. The attorney also said Washburn does not have money to pay any bond.
“It will be put on my family so whatever they can afford,” Washburn told the judge.
Investigators argued otherwise, saying more evidence has come to light proving they might be hiding cash.
“We had information that the Washburns at one point had concealed significant amounts of cash under the bed of their master bedroom,” said FDLE Special Agent William Saladrigas.
While serving a search warrant, Saladrigas said investigators used a cash-sniffing K-9. While it didn’t find cash, it did alert to the scent of it, suggesting cash might have been moved.
“In the corner of the master bedroom, and it alerted on the floor centrally located under the master bed, and it alerted in a separate closet…” Saladrigas explained.
Saladrigas also said Washburn gave her daughter more than $2000 in cash days before the arrest, anticipating she might need it to post bond.
Saladrigas said investigators also monitor jail phone calls, one in which Saladrigas claims Washburn and her daughter discussed a large amount of cash.
Saladrigas also said an inmate who was in jail with Brian Washburn was recorded on a call discussing hidden cash.
“I have sworn testimony that Brian Washburn made a direct admission to my sworn witness that he has 2 million dollars hidden,” Saladrigas said.
Finally, a state prosecutor argued that the Washburns recently sold a car for about $13,000, but investigators have not been able to track down where the cash went.
The judge Tuesday did not make a decision but said he will put something in writing this week.