Dobson, Gott Found Guilty On 7 Of 12 Land Fraud Counts; Face Sentencing Aug. 8

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Federal Court jury, after deliberating a day and a half, late Tuesday morning found Josh Dobson and Paul Gott guilty on seven of 12 counts involving an alleged land fraud in Dade County, Ga.

They face sentencing by Judge Curtis Collier on Aug. 8 at 2 p.m. They remain free on bond until the sentencing.

Dobson and Gott were found guilty on seven identical counts and not guilty on five other identical counts.

They were ruled guilty on the most serious charge - that they were involved in a land fraud conspiracy.

The pair were found guilty of counts involving deals in which "gift letters" were used. They were found not guilty on charges in which they claimed that they were providing money to buyers as part of "buy-back option" arrangements.

A number of buyers testified that they were told they could get valuable lots at The Preserve at Johnson's Crook at Rising Fawn, Ga., without making a down payment and without making mortgage payments.

The buyers said the transactions went through as promised - with money coming from the Southern Group for the down payment. They said the mortgage payments continued for just over a year, then they stopped and the banks started calling.

Several said they had to file bankruptcy.

Lot sales to the "buyers" were at prices as high as $250,000. One person who wound up with two lots said he cannot sell them now for $4,000.

Both Dobson and Gott took the witness stand in their own defense, denying they were involved in any fraud. They said the payments to lot buyers stopped because the economy went sour.

They were found guilty of count 1 - conspiracy, counts 5, 6, 7 and 8 and 11 and 12.

Count 5 involves Gott wiring $22,000 to a woman in Florida who posed as the "cousin" of two different buyers. Count 6 involves Gott wiring $40,130 to the same woman on March 1, 2010. Count 7 involves an email from Gott to a Head Start director in California who had good credit and agreed to be a "buyer" on Jan. 26, 2010. Count 8 involves Gott wiring $22,000 to a Virginia relative of the California woman on Jan. 26, 2010.

Counts 11 and 12 were for money laundering. Count 11 involves a deposit to Southern Group for $166,487 on Feb. 23, 2010, and Count 12 involves a deposit to Southern Mountain Resorts for $67,000 on April 29, 2010.

Prosecutors were John MacCoon and Perry Piper.

The investigation was by the FBI and IRS agents.

The jury verdicts were taken by Federal Magistrate Court Judge Suzanne Lee in the absence of Judge Collier, who presided at the lengthy trial.


Travis Close Family Asks $2 Million In Damages For Trauma During Wreck That Killed 6 People

The family of Signal Mountain realtor Travis Close is asking $2 million for trauma during a wreck that killed six people on I-75 near the Ooltewah exit. The suit was filed in Circuit Court against Cool Runnings Express, a Kentucky trucking firm, and driver Benjamin Brewer. Other similar lawsuits were filed in Federal Court. Brewer is facing six vehicular homicide chargesl ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Airport Customers To Have Choice Of Thousands Of Books

Travelers at the Chattanooga Airport will have their choice of thousands of books come July. William Sundquist of Friends of the Library said the venture will be a first for the nation. He said the group plans to stock shelves between the ticket counter and the escalator leading up to the flights. Potential purchasers will be on the honor system to drop cash in a box, run ... (click for more)

Case Handled Like Any Other? - And Response

It is interesting that Chief Fletcher would deem the handling of the Mayor's encounter as typical or normal. Is the Chief asking the public to believe that all misdemeanor domestic violence arrests include a 4-hour taped interrogation, and delayed reporting after a visit to the Chief’s house. Of course, we believe that Chief Fletcher. April Eidson * * *  I ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Christian Schools Bully, Too

Earlier this week, after I shared a story about bullying written by a very brave mother, it opened a floodgate of emails from parents and students who have been forced to endure such madness in our elementary, junior and senior high schools. Discipline is the No. 1 problem in our schools. Because of it, or because of a lack of it, no wonder our children cannot achieve all that ... (click for more)

Baylor Rolls Past St. Benedict In D-II Softball Opener

MURFREESBORO – The Baylor softball team had somewhat of a slow start here at McKnight Field No. 3 Wednesday morning as they began defense of their D-II state softball crown, but they finished on a strong note and that’s probably all that matters at this point. The Lady Red Raiders, improving to 35-4, needed just five innings to slide past St. Benedict as they scored at least ... (click for more)

Spring Fling XXIII Tennis: Baylor Girls Win D-II AA Title

"Everything we do, conditioning, competing in tournaments such as DecoTurf and the Chattanooga Rotary points to winning the state and we did that again this year.” -- Baylor Girls Tennis Coach Dustin Kane   MURFREESBORO - Another state tourney for the Baylor School girls and another state championship trophy. The Red Raiders posted its second, 4-0, win in ... (click for more)