In the wake of pandemic-driven new pool construction, investigators have turned up three more fraudulent pool contractors.
In Little Rock, Arkansas, the state’s attorney general has filed a lawsuit against David Tyler, owner of Tyler Pools and Construction, after he took money from homeowners and left jobs unfinished or untouched.
The September 12 filing in the Circuit Court of Washington County states that the lawsuit is “a consumer protection action brought to redress and restrain violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.”
According to court documents, the defendant “has a history of misrepresenting himself to consumers including material falsehoods about being licensed and insured and being a member of the Better Business Bureau. Defendant’s history of incomplete jobs and poor workmanship have cost consumers thousands of dollars. When consumers complained to Defendant, either he or his business associates responded with threats of physical violence.”
Tyler has operated out of Northwest Arkansas since at least 2020, and the Arkansas Attorney General’s office have received complaints from consumers since that time.
According to the suit, Tyler was never licensed by the Arkansas Contractors Licensing Board (ACLB) to operate his pool company. Although he was issued a license to operate a different pool construction company in 2020, that license was revoked in May 2021.
He then continued to operate his other company after that and allegedly printed the revoked license number on the company’s contracts. He also failed to obtain the required permits for his construction projects.
According to Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, Tyler took $148,000 from at least 5 Arkansans and threatened the homeowners who filed complaints.
“Anytime that we sue someone over the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices we can hold them accountable for each violation, so in this instance we had at least five violations and we want Arkansans to reach out to us if they have fallen prey to David Tyler,” Rutledge said. “For each instance of deceptive trade practice violation, we can go after you for upwards of $10,000 and so that could be at least $50,000, but we’re guessing it’s probably more because that’s $50,000 plus the restitution that he needs to give back to those consumers.”
The lawsuit requests a jury trial. In Valdosta, Georgia, Jerry Maxwell “Max” Ward Jr., owner of Quality Companies Inc., faces 14 felony counts involving unfinished swimming pool installations.
The businessman turned himself in at the Lowndes County jail in August.
According to a statement, as of late August, the sheriff’s office had received 17 complaints about using payments made for pool installations for purposes other than paying for labor, such as subcontractors.
Some of these consumers learned that they had liens filed against them by subcontractors who said they had not been paid.
And in addition to spending thousands of dollars for unfinished projects, one family was in danger of losing their home to the hole that had been collecting rain for months.
“Our whole property was falling in,” said Clayton Singletary. “It was really bad.” They were ultimately forced to reach out to another pool contractor to finish the job Ward had started.
Larry Watford, Owner of Watford Pools, took the job, and he said that fixing the mess left behind was difficult.
Meanwhile, after months of fighting in court, two Virginia Beach families were awarded $20,000 each from a state consumer protection fund after problems they had with Artistic Pools Unlimited.
Liam and Jennifer Benincasa paid Artistic nearly $35,000 for incomplete work. The family had to hire a second contractor, Roberts Enterprises, not only to complete the job, but repair what had already been done.
Roberts was also hired to clean up the work done by Artistic at Justin Roth’s home, where a number of items were not installed correctly, according to Roberts.
Like the Benincases, Roth was able to recover $20,000 from the state consumer collection fund, but he said it didn’t cover all of his extra expenses or the time and inconvenience of battling it out in court.