After Five Years, CSLB Finally Able to Close Aquarius Pools Case
Prison sentencing ends case against company that abandoned dozens of swimming pool projects
SACRAMENTO — Even though the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) wrapped up its work three years ago, the Aquarius Pools (#267176) case can now officially be closed. On Friday, July 29, 2011, the company’s General Manager, Gregory Wolfe, was sentenced to two years in state prison for his role in the demise of the company. Wolfe plead no contest to three charges of felony diversion of construction funds.
Aquarius Pools abruptly halted operations in August 2006, leaving more than 60 families from Marysville to Elk Grove with partially completed swimming pools. CSLB received initial complaints and inquiries from homeowners and subcontractors who filed dozens of mechanic’s liens against the homeowners for unpaid work. Aquarius later filed bankruptcy.
Wolfe managed the company’s day-to-day operations as the Responsible Managing Officer (RMO) on the Aquarius license. After a lengthy CSLB investigation, Wolfe and his wife, Teresa, were arrested on May 16, 2008. In July 2010, Teresa Wolfe was sentenced to one year in jail and five years probation after pleading no contest to felony embezzlement and tax evasion charges.
In July 2008, CSLB finalized its disciplinary action against Gregory Wolfe and the company’s principal owners, Richard Carnation and Kevin Towle. Carnation and Towle agreed to a “Stipulation and Waiver” action involving their other CSLB licenses:
Richard Carnation -
Kevin Towle -
"While CSLB is pleased that Gregory Wolfe will go to prison for his role in the Aquarius case, we remain troubled because the company took tens of thousands of dollars from dozens of consumers," said CSLB Enforcement Chief David Fogt. "Even though the owners of Aquarius Pools did not face criminal charges in this case, they were administratively responsible for the actions of their General Manager, Gregory Wolfe. More importantly, their unwillingness to take care of Aquarius customers after the diversion of money, abandoning those jobs and doing nothing to help make their customers whole, resulted in the Aquarius license (#267167) being revoked."
"I want to commend the response from the state’s swimming pool industry and the many companies that stepped up to help consumers get their jobs finished, many at a reduced cost," said CSLB Registrar Steve Sands. "While some consumers still lost money, the financial damage was minimized. Also, consumers should remember that the actions of Wolfe and the owners of Aquarius don’t reflect the thousands of legitimate licensed swimming pool builders in this state."
The Contractors State License Board operates under the umbrella of the California Department of Consumer Affairs. More information and publications about hiring contractors are available on the CSLB website or by calling 800-321-CSLB (2752). You can also sign up for CSLB email alerts at www.cslb.ca.gov or CheckTheLicenseFirst.com. CSLB licenses and regulates California's 300,000 contractors, and is regarded as one of the leading consumer protection agencies in the United States. In fiscal year 2010-11, CSLB helped recover nearly $45 million in ordered restitution for consumers.
Previous CSLB News Releases on Aquarius Case:
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