I-TEAM UPDATE: Bruce Alford, Jr is out on bond for a 5th time
Tuesday, August 14, 2018
AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Bruce Alford, Jr. is out on bond again after a hearing Tuesday morning in Aiken County. A judge set his bond at $60,000 total for his two felony charges. He'll appear in Court in Aiken County again on November 9th and 30th. He says his in-laws have been paying his bond and are financially supporting his family.
You can watch the full hearing in the Facebook post below. (It has been edited to omit Alford's personal information, such as his address.)
Monday, August 13, 2018
AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Tonight, Bruce Alford has been booked into the Aiken County jail on felony charges related to an unfinished pool job with Georgia-Lina Pools.
Monday, August 13, 2018
News 12 @ 6 O'clock / NBC 26 at 7
COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- One of the contractors at the center of an I-Team Investigation should be booked into the Aiken County Jail very soon. This morning, Bruce Alford, Jr. faced a judge in Columbia County via FaceTime. His extradition hearing was supposed to happen Friday, but Alford's attorney moved it to today.
"Currently, you have two counts in South Carolina against you," said Columbia County Magistrate Judge Jason Troiano. He was talking to Alford on an iPad. Judge Troiano told him those two counts have to do with an unfinished pool. "Only a hole had been dug as of July the 27th."
That sounds a lot like Joel and Tracie Bacon's experience with Georgia-Lina Pools. Last month, we first showed you their Columbia County backyard and their living room.
Meredith Anderson: "Did any of you know each other?"
Group: "No, no, no."
Multiple familes, also claiming to be victims, gathered to describe similar problems. A lot of them told us they were led to believe their cases were civil. Just a few days after we aired their story, the pool party moved to a Columbia County courtroom. Neither Bruce nor his wife, Heather Alford, could dig themselves out of this hole. They were both led of court and arrested.
Today, Alford didn't say much at the hearing, but when asked what he wanted to do about his extradition hearing, he simply replied, "I would like to waive it." That set the wheels in motion for Aiken County to plan for his transfer. Alford's attorney said he had already spoken with the jail and thought it would happen Monday afternoon. As of 6:00 Monday night, he had not shown up in the system.
If convicted, Bruce Alford, Jr. is looking at 10 years plus fines for each count, and that's just for Aiken County. He's also facing felonies in Richmond, Columbia, Lincoln, and Putnam Counties. A lot of people want their money back, but tell our I-Team they don't expect to see it.
Meanwhile, say deputies in other counties are continuing to investigate and even more charges could be coming.
Our I-Team is digging deeper, too.
Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018 News 12 @ 6 O'clock / NBC 26 at 7 AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Aiken County deputies confirm they've issued three warrants for the arrests of two pool contractors. Bruce Gilbert Alford, Junior (Gil) is wanted on two counts of breach/obtaining signature or property under false pretenses, $10,000 or more. He was the former owner of Georgia-Lina Pools. Earl Chastagner is wanted on one count of the same charge. All three charges are felonies.
Wednesday, July 25, 2018 LINCOLN COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) --
Tuesday, July 24, 2018 LINCOLN COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) --
Thursday, July 19, 2018 Lincoln County, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- When Heather Alford got out of jail in Columbia County this afternoon, she apparently didn't stay out for long. She's now behind bars in Lincoln County. Alford is facing two felony counts of theft by deception. Her husband, meanwhile, is still listed as being in custody in Columbia County. Both Heather and Bruce Alford face the same felony charges there.
Thursday, July 19, 2018 News 12 This Morning COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- The pool contractors at the center of an I-Team investigation are facing new charges. According to the Columbia County Sheriff's Office, bond is now $50,300 for each. Wednesday, a judge issued warrants for felony conversion of payments for real property improvements and set bond at $30,000. The extra bond is for additional charges of theft by deception. Both now face two counts of that as well. We have made multiple requests for the Alford's mug shots. The Columbia County Sheriff's Office tells us they will be available later this morning.
Wednesday, July 18, 2018 News 12 @ 6 O’clock/ NBC 26 at 7 COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Dozens of families say they've waited a long time to see Bruce and Heather Alford face criminal charges. Meredith Anderson was the only reporter in the courtroom as a judge issued the warrants for their arrest on felony charges related to Georgia-Lina Pools. The I-Team has been investigating some local pool contractors for months. Monday, Meredith took you to a pool party of sorts. A number of victims gathered to discuss how Bruce and Heather Alford left them high and dry. Wednesday, that party moved from a Columbia County living room to a Columbia County courtroom. Once the doors opened, so did the floodgates.
Victim after victim filed in, but the courtroom door they're walking through is really a back door. Many of them started with the Columbia County Sheriff's Office. They filed multiple reports claiming the Alfords ripped them off. "I filed a police report with Columbia County Sheriffs, and it seemed to me they really didn't want to take the case," Paul Morris said. Instead of giving up, Paul Morris joined a group of people being represented for free by attorney Andy Tisdale. Together they asked the Magistrate Court to issue a warrant for Bruce and Heather Alford's arrest. Morris ended up speaking for the group. The Baptist preacher wanted a pool to help his wife with Parkinson's Disease.
"Aquatic therapy because we drive. We live out in Appling, and we drive downtown 3 days a week to do physical training for Parkinson's," Mr. Morris said. He paid the Alfords $66,000 for something that looks a lot like a big hole in the dirt. It resembles the unfinished pool we first showed you Monday at the home of Tracie and Joel Bacon. Georgia-Lina Pools dug that hole after the one at the Morris home. That's exactly what Morris said he was worried about when he first filed a report. "I even cautioned the Columbia County Sheriffs. I said, 'if you don't do something with my case, you're going to be dealing with more cases.' And that's the truth. So I'm glad there's an all-stop for Heather and Bruce Alford, at least in this industry, and I hope they don't open any other businesses in Columbia County." At least for now, they won't be building any more pools. The Judge issued felony warrants for both and set their bond at $30,000 each. The judge gave them a few minutes to talk to family members, say their goodbyes, and giving parting hugs. They weren't handcuffed in the courtroom but led out and taken into custody.
Now, their case will play out in criminal court. Victims were led to believe this would be a civil case. That means they would have to pay money to hire an attorney only to maybe never get that money in civil court. Plus, people felt they were victims of a scam but weren't getting anywhere with the sheriff's office. Then, they watch as a judge issues an arrest warrant.
Monday, July 16, 2018 (News 12 at 6 O’Clock) COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – News 12 has been investigating alleged illegal activity of Earl Chastagner (Great White Pools) and Michael Egan (Egan Pools). Now, a third pool contractor could be in the deep end after accusations he has not been finishing swimming pools. Bruce Alford, of Georgia-Lina Pools, was arrested in Putnam County, Georgia, two weeks ago, but a number of local families say they have also been fooled by Alford. Joel and Tracie Bacon sit in their living room with Heather Medlin and Bill Powell, discussing what they have in common; they say they were all duped by Bruce Alford and his company Georgia-Lina Pools. Meredith Anderson: “Did any of you know each other?” Group: “No, no, no.” It's not the pool party any of them wanted to have. They are hosting others, too, who did not wish to be on camera. Bill Powell: “We’re all sitting here because we have no pools.” Heather Medlin: “It’s been...it’s just been awful. It’s been a horrible experience.” The group met at the Columbia County home of Tracie and Joel Bacon for our interview. A pit of dirt and water sit right outside their living room. They say it's just another example of an unfinished project by Georgia-Lina Pools. Joel: “They finally dug the hole May 5th, and we haven’t seen them. There hasn’t been anyone out here since.” Both Joel and Tracie are Navy veterans. They tell News 12 Bruce Alford told them the three of them had that in common. Tracie: “He told us he was a disabled vet who got hit by an IED, and that really brought us in – with the guarantee that it would be done in time. Yeah.” Heather Medlin says she’s been worried about this pool issue for a while now. Heather Medlin: “I wasn’t even pregnant when I started this process.” Medlin gave birth last week. She tells us she questioned the quality of work early on in the process. Heather: It was too shallow. It was only, I think, like 21 inches in shallow end which only came a little bit above my knees. And I’m 5’2”.” Bill Powell: “He shouldn’t be able to build a dog house in Columbia County, Greene County, in all these counties where he’s doing business. He shouldn’t build anything.” His arrest this month was in Putnam County. According to the warrant, Bruce Alford is facing theft by conversion charges related to Georgia-Lina Pools. There are also a lot of incident reports in Columbia County. Alford is set to face a judge in Columbia County Wednesday morning. News 12 will be there. We did reach out to Georgia-Lina Pools for comment, but their voicemail was full. It also appears they have deleted their website and social media accounts. ***Update: After the story aired on News 12 at 6 o'clock, Meredith Anderson received a private message on Facebook from Heather Alford. She wrote, "Georgia Lina Pools is closed, no longer doing business. End of story!" We'll keep you posted.