In April, PSN reported that New Jersey pool contractor Donald Tallman had been sentenced to three years in jail plus restitution. The former vice president of Hammonton-based Water World Fiberglass Pools Inc., pled guilty to theft charges. Tallman was accused of not completing, building or starting work on inground pools for which customers had placed down payments. He also was accused of poor craftsmanship.

A news release by Attorney General John J. Hoffman stated that Tallman was found to have committed 229 violations of consumer protection laws.

“Some consumers were left with enormous holes... after the defendants failed to complete contracted-for work,” Hoffman said. “In light of this judgment, we will do everything in our power to obtain the court-ordered restitution to make these consumers whole again.”

But the $227,550 in court-ordered restitution turned out to be the smaller of the costs. Tallman and his company also were ordered by a judge to paymore than $2 million in civil penalties and costs for the investigation and court proceedings.

“Consumers should not have to fear being ripped off or abused when hiring a pool installation company or any other type of home improvement contractor,” Steve Lee, the acting director of New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, told PSN in April.