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Alabama swimming pool contractor indicted

An Alabama pool contractor was indicted in two counties for allegedly stealing thousands of dollars from multiple families.

This December, Charles Farris Powell was accused of theft in Colbert CountyandtheftandfraudinLauderdale County after taking money to build pools that were never completed.

Investigators said that he promised to build pools for at least four families in the Shoals, costing them a total of $130,000.

Furthermore, they say he isn’t a licensed contractor, he doesn’t have a licensed business through the Secretary of State, nor is his business - Powell Construction and Excavating in Tuscumbia - listed with the Better Business Bureau.

Cassandra Letson and her family, who were promised a finished pool by the end of August, are among those accusing him of theft.

“What I see is a disaster. A $36,000 hole,” Letson said. “The last time he was out here was in July and he has money that belongs to us and we have this hole. That’s it.”

After months of silence, she filed a police report with the Colbert County Sheriff’s office.

In Lauderdale County, Sgt. Andy Corbett has been investigating Powell since September.

“Thereweremoundsoftextmessages and emails where he was promising to order materials and things like that. As far as we know, those materials were never ordered,” Corbett said. “No invoices, no physical materials that anyone can lay their hands on.”

Corbett said they built their case in three days and awaited a jury hearing.

Now,aLauderdaleCountygrandjury has indicted Charles Powell with theft by deception and home repair fraud.

“He came out, basically dug a hole and then left. And left one victim with a $46,000 bill that they had already paid. And the other with $15,500,” Corbett said.

Further, he dissolved his business on Facebook, failed to contact the would-be pool owners, and didn’t try to return their money.

Powell is accused of committing four felonies in Lauderdale County alone, and Corbett says there are more victims.

To check the validity of a business, Corbett offered this tip: “Make sure they are members of the Alabama Board of General Contractors. This individual was not.”

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