Pre-Sentence Report Recommends Sentence Of Up To 24 Years For Developer Of Preserve In Dade County

Friday, March 28, 2014

A pre-sentence report recommends a sentence of up to 24 years in federal prison for Josh Dobson, the former developer of The Preserve in Dade County, Ga., who was convicted of several fraud counts by a federal jury.

Prosecutors have revised the total loss figure suffered by investors, dropping the range for Dobson, but still leaving it at up to 19 years in prison.

Jerry Summers, the new attorney for Dobson, said the revised figure is still far too much time based on the offense. He has filed a number of motions and objections to the sentence.

Dobson and Paul Gott are set to be sentenced by Judge Curtis Collier on April 29.

Prosecutors say investors lost $21,161,864 in the scheme, which included furnishing money to purchasers to make initial payments for lots at the property at the base of Lookout Mountain near Rising Fawn, Ga.

Gott's attorney, John McDougal, is also pleading for reduced time in prison for his client. He said Gott played a minor role in the fraud.

The attorney said Gott has lost his house and had to file bankruptcy as a result of the case.

Attorney Summers said of the time facing Dobson, "The defendant contends that either range is greater than necessary and overstates the seriousness of the offense." He said "the loss amount overstates the seriousness of the offense and is an unreasonable measure of culpability for the offense."

The attorney said, "The loss amount calculation under §2B1.1 is a poor measurement for the offense’s seriousness or offender culpability. It does not differentiate between an individual running a Ponzi scheme and an individual like the defendant who was a land developer and trying to keep his business afloat while reinvesting the money he was earning back into the land. The defendant is different from someone running a Ponzi scheme, because he did not set out to defraud anyone, and lost everything he had trying to satisfy the payments to the banks.

"Dobson was a land developer who had lost everything trying to keep the development going, but, who because of a downturn in the market, now has a guideline range significantly higher than it would be if the market had not gone down. Dobson relied on others in the mortgage, banking, and real estate industries and did not set out with an intention of defrauding anyone. He is a much different defendant than someone who intentionally designed a scheme to steal from others or designed an extensive Ponzi scheme."

He said, "The only money that Dobson himself received was $7,500 following the Malik deal." 

Attorney Summers said the Dobson defense was put at a disadvantage when the Gott attorney inadvertently sent some privileged information about the case to the prosecution by email.

Attorney Chris Townley represented Dobson at the trial.

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