Dade Developer Convicted Of Fraud Pleads For Leniency; Dobson Says "What Started Out As A Dream Became My Worst Nightmare"

Monday, April 28, 2014

A developer of The Preserve in Dade County is pleading for leniency on his fraud conviction, saying "what started out as a dream has become my worst nightmare."

Attorney Jerry Summers is asking Federal Judge Curtis Collier to sentence Josh Dobson to between 51-63 months. But prosecutors are asking for a much longer sentence.

The sentencing hearing for Dobson and Paul Gott begins Tuesday morning. It is expected to be lengthy with the defense filing 28 pages of objections to the pre-sentence report.

The initial pre-sentence report put total losses to investors at the Lookout Mountain property near Rising Fawn, Ga. at over $20 million. That has been revised to over $13 million, but prosecutors still maintain the actual loss was over $20 million to seven banks and a number of individuals.

Prosecutors said many investors were told they would get lots without having to pay a down payment or make any payments for up to three years. However, they were later told they were on the hook for the property, which was valued at far less than the selling price.

A jury a year ago found Dobson and Gott guilty on seven of 12 fraud counts. They were found guilty on seven identical counts and not guilty on five other identical counts.

Prosecutors Nancy Stallard Harr and Perry Piper wrote in a 40-page memorandum, "If it was Dobson’s dream to fleece unsuspecting banks and borrowers out of millions of dollars, he succeeded. His nightmare, if it be such, has only occurred because his fraudulent scheme was ultimately discovered by federal agents and he was found guilty by a jury of his peers. Dobson states that it is 'up to this Court though to determine how long until Dobson can put this nightmare behind him.' The government agrees. The Court should impose a significant sentence in order to promote respect for the law, provide just punishment, and adequately deter others who obtain through deceptive schemes money which is entrusted for good."

The prosecutors said, "The factors set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) call for a sentence of considerable significance in this case. The nature and characteristics of the offense weigh heavily in favor of a lengthy term of incarceration.

"A lengthy sentence is necessary to deter the educated, the responsible, the intelligent, the thoughtful, and the calculated person. By imposing a substantial sentence in this case, this Court can let it be known that other developers and real estate professionals who defraud banks and purchasers will be held responsible. Much of our business infrastructure and tax code is designed to encourage development, and further, to accommodate those who want to borrow money to buy property." 

Prosecutors said Dobson should get more time for not accepting responsibility, for having a leadership role and for allegedly committing perjury in testifying at his trial.

The defense is objecting to a request that the amount of restitution be set at $13,747,770.16.

Defense attorneys are arguing that Dobson and Gott should go free while the case is under appeal. Prosecutors say they should go into custody as soon as they are sentenced.  

The Preserve ultimately wound up in bankruptcy, and much of the scenic land at Johnson's Crook has gone to a conservation group.

Man Arrested After Bradley County Detective Received Wrong Number Text Message Offering Drugs For Sale

Christopher Andrew Brewer was arrested Tuesday morning after a text message soliciting a drug sale was sent in error to a Bradley County Sheriff’s detective on his county-issued cell phone. Sheriff Eric Watson reported the detective was working in his office at the Judicial Center when a text message was received, “R 30s and Opana 40s today.” The transaction was to involve ... (click for more)

Erlanger's LifeForce Helicopter To Be Anchored At Cleveland Airport Rather Than Atop Hospital

Erlanger Health System's LifeForce helicopters will be anchored at a  new hangar at the Cleveland Regional Jetport rather than flying from atop the hospital. LifeForce  I, which has been based in downtown Chattanooga at Erlanger’s main hospital at 975 East Third St., will be relocated permanently to the Cleveland site, 24/7/365, upon the completion of the hangar ... (click for more)

A New Commercial Look For Signal Mountain

A speaker at the Signal Mountain Town Council meeting last night presented some very interesting information about the council’s new bigger and brighter vision of our commercial area. Councilman Spalding presented a list of sign changes to the Design Review Commission that the council wants and several of those items were approved last night.  Still to come on the list are ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: It Was Our Tool Shed

Some said the huge beams had been soaking in creosote for two or three years when the men finally stacked them to dry. They were long, about 20 feet each, and thick – maybe eight inches. I remember they were 14 inches wide but the biggest thing I remember was that it was the ugliest lumber I ever saw. They cured the beams for one entire hot summer in the Tool Shed, a huge building ... (click for more)

Sale Creek Comes Back To Beat Silverdale For 3-A Volleyball Crown

It's been an incredible run for the Silverdale Lady Seahawks in recent days as they shocked everyone except themselves by winning the District 5-A volleyball tournament last week. They entered as the third-seeded team before knocking off number-two Boyd-Buchanan in the semifinals and then top-seeded Grace in the final. That run of good fortune continued at Sale Creek's McEwen ... (click for more)

Ooltewah Makes Short Work Of White County In 3-3A Volleyball

Ooltewah had one goal going into Monday night’s Region 3-3A volleyball tournament match against White County. Don’t mess this up. The Lady Owls, shooting for their third regional championship in four years, never wavered in thrashing the outmanned Warriorettes, 3-0, and advanced to Tuesday’s championship match against the Walker Valley. Game scores bear out the one-sided ... (click for more)