Local News

Pool business owner accused of stealing money from customers

SEBRING - The owner of a pool business was quick to cash their deposit checks, but has failed to complete work on pools for them, four home owners told the Highlands County Sheriff's Office, according to reports released Wednesday.

Jim William Terry, a former Sebring City Council member, 52, of 1534 Assembly Point Drive, Sebring, was arrested by the Highlands County Sheriff's Office and charged with four counts of third-degree grand theft and four counts of scheme to fraud.

The first two complaints were filed on Dec. 31. In one, the victim told investigators he paid Terry $3,594 for a pool heater with accessories. The check was issued on Nov. 24 and was cashed the following day.

Since then, the victim told authorities he contacted Terry several times and asked why the work wasn't being completed.

"On each occasion, the defendant provided different excuses of why he was not able to return to complete the task," the arrest report said. "Eventually, the defendant stopped speaking with the victim regarding the work to be completed."

That same day, another victim reported she gave Terry a check for $1,815 on Sept. 4, 2013, and one for $1,815 on Sept. 10, 2013, and that Terry cashed the checks immediately.

But Terry never completed the project, which included renovations and cleaning of the pool, the victim told the sheriff's office, the report said.

When the victim contacted Terry, he "provided different excuses of why he was not able to return to complete the task," the report said.

A third victim reported that on Oct. 1, 2013, she gave Terry $3,500 to pay for inner walls and a patio around the pool. She told the sheriff's office the check was cashed immediately, but the concrete was ordered and the work was never done.

The latest complaint was on March 31, 2014, when a woman reported she gave Terry on Nov. 27, 2013, a check for $4,632 to pay for steel work on a new pool, the report said.

But although Terry cashed the check the same day, the steel work was never completed, the report said.

Despite the victim contacting Terry several times, the work was never done, the report said.


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