OKLA. CITY – An Oklahoma pool builder is in hot water, again.
It’s a story our In Your Corner team’s been following for some time now.
Over the past year we’ve heard from countless customers, all alleging Lifestyle Pools and its owner, Michael Zachritz, left them in a financial hole, took their cash, did some work and bailed on the job.
“You feel horrible like, ‘Why did I give them my money. I wish I could take it all back and choose a different pool company,” homeowner Ryan French said.
Twice last year the state padlocked Zachritz’s doors for failing to pay taxes.
His son, Todd, told the In Your Corner team he was taking over his dad’s business to save face and salvage any unfinished jobs.
“I’m coming up with a plan of action for each customer on a day-to-day basis on how to complete their jobs,” Todd said. “First of all how we’re going to fund them, get them complete and do it in a timely manner.”
In the end though it was customers who were left hung out to dry.
And just last week, the elder Zachritz pleaded guilty in Federal court to tax evasion.
Court records show over a three-year span, he deducted and withheld nearly $300,000 from his employees’ wages.
Michael Zachritz took a plea deal in the case. He’ll avoid prison in exchange for paying restitution to the IRS.
Meanwhile, Lifestyle Pools still owes the state a bunch of money for unpaid taxes and continues to drown in civil litigation.
The only way customers will likely ever see a dime, if the state files criminal charges against Michael Zachritz, but that hasn’t happened. We’ll keep you posted on the case.