The owner of Olympus Pools, a once-prominent pool construction company, has been arrested on 34 counts related to alleged fraud. James Staten, the company’s owner, surrendered himself to the Pasco County jail following a comprehensive investigation triggered by the WFLA investigative team. The charges include aggravated white-collar crime, organized scheme to defraud, grand theft, contractor fraud, and others, all of which have cast a shadow over the former pool giant.
His attorney, Rick Escobar, has firmly stated that his client maintains his innocence. Escobar emphasizes that business failures and financial losses don’t necessarily equate to criminal intent, highlighting that bankruptcy filings can occur even in well-intentioned ventures.
The aftermath of Olympus Pools’ closure in 2021 left a trail of unfinished pools and disillusioned homeowners across the Tampa Bay area. Many residents who had paid the company in full were left with half-finished projects, necessitating the intervention of other companies to complete the work. The sudden shutdown spurred investigations by multiple agencies, including the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), the Florida Attorney General’s Office, and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
The criminal case follows a recent settlement with Florida Attorney General Moody, which bans Staten from the pool business for life. The settlement emerged from a civil lawsuit. Staten has conceded to dissolve Olympus Pools permanently and accept a lifetime ban from managing any pool-related enterprise. This resolution acknowledges that the company violated Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.
The WFLA coverage of Olyumpus Pools can be found here.