Several Central Floridians swindled out thousands of dollars in pool scheme, victims say
Man behind company has never had a pool license
KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Several Central Florida residents say they paid thousands of dollars to a pool company, put never got a pool finished, and in some cases the work was never started
Mariedi Sanchez and her husband met Omar Gonzalez Arroyo and his wife at Mission Mana Del Cielo church in Kissimmee.
Over the course of a year their two families developed a friendship, according to Sanchez.
"They all came to our house. We shared time in the community pool. We had dinner, so we thought we were friends," Sanchez said.
When Sanchez mentioned she wanted a pool and screen enclosure, Gonzalez Arroyo said he owned a pool company and was more than willing to help, according to Sanchez.
Gonzalez Arroyo said he owned Central Florida Pool and More and showed Sanchez a picture of him in front of a box truck that had the company's name, logo and phone number on both sides, according to Sanchez.
Sanchez paid Gonzalez $10,000 cash for the screen enclosure and a cashier’s check for $25,000, the full price of the pool, according to a lawsuit she has filed against him.
"He provided receipts with invoices with the name of the company," Sanchez said.
And that might have been the last time she saw him.
"There was no more communication," Sanchez said. "Text after text after text, no response."
Damian Castillo is also suing Gonzalez Arroyo for breach of contract and fraud. Castillo paid Gonzalez Arroyo $75,000 to build a pool and do work around his home, according to the lawsuit.
Gonzalez Arroyo completed the flooring work inside the house and dug a hole for the pool but nothing else, according to Castillo.
Castillo had to take out a loan to finish the pool.
"He goes to church. I don't know why," Castillo said. "Doing bad to other people, stealing from other people," he said.
News 6 looked through court records and found two other people who are suing Gonzalez Arroyo for Breach of Contract and Fraud.
One person is suing for $20,000 another is suing for $100,000.
Adam Burns is a retired deputy sheriff with the Broward County Sheriff's Office, turned private investigator.
He was hired by Sanchez to track Gonzalez Arroyo down.
"We are up to like 10 victims that we know of," Burns said.
News 6 went to Gonzalez Arroyo's home, but no one ever answered the door. We later found him at a court hearing at the Osceola County Courthouse.
In November of last year, after allegedly running off with more than $100,000 from various people, Gonzalez Arroyo stole $300 worth of stuff from Walmart according to a police report, from the Kissimmee Police Department.
He was in court to face those charges, but the judge was not able to hear the case, and it was rescheduled.
While in the courtroom, two process servers served Gonzalez Arroyo with three civil suits. As soon as he left the courtroom and saw News 6's camera he ran.
"I would like him arrested," Sanchez said. "He can't continue doing what he's doing. He's lying. He's cheating people."
Gonzalez Arroyo is expected back in court at the end of October on the theft charges from Walmart.
The Orange County Sheriff's office confirmed to News 6 they have "several open and active fraud investigations" against him.
The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation did serve him with a cease and desist order while he was in court, and there are many civil cases working their way through the court system.
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