POMPANO BEACH, Fla. - A South Florida pool builder accused of ripping off his customers has closed his business.
It was supposed to be her husband's retirement gift but instead of a pool, Debbie Morris, a Nationwide Pools of Pompano Beach customer, has a concrete shell in her backyard with no plumbing, no electrical, and no equipment.
"I'm just frustrated, that's all," said Morris. "Thirty-five thousand dollars is what we have spent and this is what we've received. We call it the swamp, no offense Gator fans."
Nationwide Pools left the mess behind. It's one of several jobs company owner Keith Stuart is accused of walking away from after taking his customers' money.
Morris said Stuart left no texts, emails, phone calls or any kind of response.
Nationwide Pools closed its doors two weeks ago. The mail has piled up and a black sheet covers the front door.
Local 10 wasn't the only one looking for Stuart this week. Trucker Jose Lopez pulled up in his big rig while we were there, claiming Stuart scammed him, too.
"I need to see the owner, the owner for my money," said Lopez.
Lopez told Local 10's Roger Lohse he gave Stuart over $7,000 four months ago and there's been no work at his house since.
"Nothing, $7,100 down payment," Lopez said.
Stuart's $3 million Parkland home is for sale, and his pool isn't finished either. He sent Local 10 an e-mail Thursday confirming he shut down his business and offered his personal apology to customers.
"It's worthless," Morris said.
On Wednesday, the concrete company that formed Morris' pool slapped a lien on her house, claiming Nationwide Pools never paid them for the work. She said it appears Stuart is using some of her money to retire from the pool business.
"I think he's a crook. I believe that he belongs behind bars," said Morris. "We all paid him and yet he walks away with all of our money. I don't think that's too fair."
The attorney general has opened an investigation into Nationwide Pools. At least two former employees have been called in to give depositions.
Stuart told Local 10 he is cooperating with authorities.
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