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Suspect in Amore Pools fraud scheme goes on trial

Brian Washburn faces 12 felony charges
Brian Washburn in court, June 14, 2022, accused of taking part in a scheme to defraud more than 100 Amore Pools Inc. customers
Posted at 5:01 PM, Jun 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-14 18:00:06-04

VERO BEACH, Fla. — The trial started Tuesday for a man accused of taking part in a scheme to defraud more than 100 pool customers.

The suspect, Brian Washburn, helped run Amore Pools Inc. located on the Treasure Coast.

He and his wife, Chrystal Washburn, are both charged with numerous felonies surrounding an alleged scheme that police said defrauded more than 100 of their pool customers out of millions of dollars.

Both were arrested in October on numerous criminal charges.

The trial could take as long as two weeks because court records show there could be as many as 180 witnesses.

Many of those witnesses, some of who are considered victims, could speak about their personal experiences with Amore Pools.

Many of the victims shelled out tens of thousands of dollars to build backyard pools. But victims said the company took their money and never completed the job.

The first person to testify Tuesday was a Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigator, who also showed bins of documents seized from Amore Pools.

The deputy building official in Port St. Lucie also testified Tuesday, along with another city employee involved in permitting.

Those officials started breaking down the process to jurors of what it takes to become registered and licensed to build pools and pull permits.

Jonathan Bridges, Brian Washburn's attorney
Attorney Jonathan Bridges speaks during the testimony of his client, Brian Washburn, on June 14, 2022.

The court also got a sense of how Brian Washburn's attorney might be planning his defense.

Chrystal's name was the one on the license used to pull permits — not Brian's name.

However, victims have told WPTV that Brian Washburn was often at their homes and the one securing contracts.

His attorney also blamed the pandemic and workforce supply chain issues for the performance problems.

"Is there any place on that document with the name Brian Washburn?" Washburn's attorney, Jonathan Bridges, asked.

"No," replied a Port St. Lucie official.

"He owns zero. He has no interest in that corporation," Bridges said. "Chrystal Washburn, her name is on the corporation, incorporation papers. She owns 100% of it."

Brian Washburn faces 12 felony charges ranging from money laundering, false information on an application for a contractor’s license, organized scheme to defraud and fraudulent use of personal identification info.

A trial date has still not been set for Chrystal Washburn, who remains in jail on a more than $1 million bond.