CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Same charge, same plea, very different sentence.
A swimming pool contractor who was the focus of a 10 On Your Side investigation pleaded guilty Tuesday to operating without a license. The judge was not lenient.
Chris Powers faced the same charge in a Suffolk case in April. He pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to 14 days of active jail time.
In both cases, the customers paid Powers and his company, Aqualantic Pools, about $15,000 as a down payment on pool and deck projects, but the work soon stopped. Several other former customers contacted 10 On Your Side with similar stories.
State regulators filed misdemeanor charges against Powers in the Suffolk and Chesapeake cases because he signed the contracts more than a year after his company’s license had been terminated.
Chesapeake Chief Judge Robert McDonald told Powers “you made a business decision…you chose to deceive so that you could make money without complying like every other contractor must comply. Your conduct has caused hardship and damage.”
McDonald sentenced Powers to a year in jail and suspended half of it, leaving Powers with an active sentence of six months, and fined him the maximum allowable of $2,500.
Brooke and Edwin Mora were the customers involved in the Chesapeake case. “I was pleased because I came here with very little expectation, and I feel like the judge really took everything into consideration,” she said.