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Florida AG freezes Nationwide Pools assets

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The Florida Attorney General's office is taking more action against a pool company that was the subject of an 8 On Your Side investigation, getting a court order to freeze its assets.

"Right now what we've done is to take immediate action to prevent any further consumer harm," said Jennifer Meale, spokeswoman for Attorney General Pam Bondi's office.

This spring, customers in the Bay area told 8 On Your Side they hired Nationwide Pools and paid thousands of dollars, but were left with unfinished pools and the threat of liens by contractors who claimed they hadn't gotten paid.

Tampa customer Taqi Gillani says he finally has a finished pool, but he had to hire a different pool company to finish the job. Between the original money he paid to Nationwide and the amount he paid to get the job done, Gillani says building his pool cost $80,000-90,000 - about twice the amount he expected.

"I hope I get my money back," he said.

Gillani said he also hopes criminal charges are brought against those responsible.

No criminal charges have been filed in connection with the case.

In a civil lawsuit, Bondi sued Nationwide Pools and owner Keith Stuart this spring for alleged deceptive and unfair trade practices.

Related Story: Florida AG sues Nationwide Pools

Now Bondi's office says Nationwide transferred its assets to another company called National Construction Group and "continued its unfair and deceptive sales and marketing practice during this period of active litigation." Nationwide also continued to take payments and deposits from consumers, her office said.

This week, the attorney general's office got a court order from Broward County Circuit Court to freeze the company's assets and prevent defendants in the case from "any further business related to pool construction and remodeling that could harm Florida's consumers," Bondi's office said in a release on Wednesday.

News Channel 8 was unable to reach Nationwide or Stuart. Calls to the company office and Stuart's cell phone prompted automated messages that the numbers were not in service.

 

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