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Woman convicted in Amore Pools fraud scheme gets 30 years in prison after millions stolen from victims

Chrystal Washburn ran business with husband for just over 2 years before arrest in 2021
Posted at 3:28 PM, Jun 25, 2024

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY, Fla. — A woman convicted last month of taking part in a scheme to defraud hundreds of pool customers on the Treasure Coast will spend the next three decades in prison.

In an Indian River County courtroom Tuesday afternoon, Chrystal Washburn, 42, received a maximum sentence of 30 years.

Washburn's attorney had asked the judge for a sentencing of time served, which would have been about two years.

She and her husband, Brian, ran Amore Pools Inc., based in Vero Beach, for just over two years. But Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigators said during that time the company defrauded upwards of 150 customers out of at least $2 million.

Chrystal Washburn took the stand during her trial in Indian River County.

Region Indian River County

Suspect in pool fraud scheme found guilty on multiple counts

Scott Sutton
4:57 PM, May 24, 2024

On May 24, Chrystal Washburn was found guilty of the following charges:

  • False information on application for a contractor's license
  • Unlicensed contractor during state of emergency
  • Organized scheme to defraud
  • Seven counts of fraudulent use of personal identification information
  • Two counts of money laundering
  • Omit/conceal information to avoid workers compensation premium
  • Insurance application fraud

Region Indian River County

Husband of Amore Pools owner guilty of scheming to defraud customers

Meghan McRoberts
10:04 PM, Jun 28, 2022

The Washburns were both arrested in October 2021 after FDLE investigators found the two were collecting money from their customers at Amore Pools Inc., but not finishing jobs. Customers said the work that was completed would often fail inspections and leave holes in their backyards.

Chrystal Washburn's husband, Brian, was also sentenced to 30 years in prison in August 2022 for money laundering, fraudulent use of personal IDs of his customers and organized scheme to defraud.

Victims attend sentencing, recount 'nightmare'

"Where did all that money go?" asked Dennis Davis, one of several victims who attended Crystal Washburn's sentencing.

Victim April Patterson looked at the judge and said, "Sentence her to the maximum sentence she deserves."

Victims recounted the financial and emotional pain of losing tens of thousands of their money.

Their heartbreak poured from the witness stand.

A tearful Lucia Damant was among those who took the stand to share the emotional and financial damage they endured from Amore Pools.
A tearful Lucia Damant was among those who took the stand to share the emotional and financial damage they endured from Amore Pools.

"She has traumatized my life," said Lucia Damant, who told the court the ordeal has cost her family $80,000. "I can't even get out of bed."

"I'm still living the nightmare that caused my wife to be ill," added Thomas Sawicz.

"My family endured the lying, the excuses, the failed inspections, and the poorly done work," Diana Fell said from the witness stand.

Debra Neger was pleased with the sentence.

"Good," Neger, whose backyard pool in Hobe Sound was never completed, said. "She perpetuated so much harm to so many people in so many ways: financial, destruction of property."

The judge is expected to rule on restitution in the next two months. Victims said they won’t likely get anything for their losses.