Dobson Given 10 Years, 6 Months, Gott 6 years, 3 Months In Dade County Land Fraud

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Federal Judge Curtis Collier on Thursday sentenced Josh Dobson to 10 years and six months in federal prison and Paul Gott to six years and three months in connection with a Dade County, Ga., land fraud.

The judge denied a request that both men be allowed to stay out of prison during appeal. He directed them to self-report to prison by July 28. Judge Collier said he did not find an issue that was likely to result in a reversal of the jury convictions.

Prosecutors said banks and individuals were defrauded of some $44 million in connection with The Preserve at Johnson's Crook.

The sentencing range for the 36-year-old Dobson was initially 151-178 months, but Judge Collier granted a reduction based on issues surrounding the actual loss amount. That cut it to 108-135 months.

Attorney Jerry Summers requested that the sentence be kept under 10 years and one month, saying Dobson would likely not be able to qualify for a federal minimum-security "camp" with that high a sentence.

Attorney John McDougal also requested that Gott, 40, be sent to a "camp" rather than prison with hardened criminals.

Dobson and Gott, who have maintained their innocence, did not make statements to the judge at the sentencing. They earlier sent letters.

Prosecutor Perry Piper asked for "a serious sentence," saying, "Many people suffered tremendous financial hardship as a result of the actions here."

He said the Southern Land Company made down payments and initial mortgages for individuals who agreed to sign up for lots that were greatly overpriced. He said the sales were mainly to individuals in far-off states "because people here knew what those lots were worth."

Dobson and Gott were ordered to pay almost $3.1 million in restitution to affected banks.

At the sentencing were the other two officers of Southern Land Company - Tommy Dobson, father of Josh Dobson, and Travis Shields, brother-in-law of Josh Dobson. They have not been charged in the fraud.

Gott handled loans for the land company as an independent contractor, but prosecutors said he was aware of the deception involved in the deals.

It was argued that both men had no prior criminal record, but Judge Collier said that is often the case with white-collar crime.

Dobson's attorney said he has children ages 10 and eight and his wife is a school teacher.

The Georgia Land Trust has wound up with 1,800 acres at the former Preserve property. Trust officials indicated they are considering selling it to a developer who would place a conservation easement on part of the scenic and historic property at the side and base of Lookout Mountain at Rising Fawn, Ga.

The ruling came on the sixth day of the sentencing over a period of several weeks.


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: BAILEY, BLAKE AARON  206 TUNNELL BLVD CHATTANOOGA, 37411  Age at Arrest: 24 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County VEHICULAR ASSAULT --- BARROW, JALAYCIAN  2709 CITICO AVENUE APT W1 CHATTANOOGA, 37404  Age at Arrest: 18 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga DOMESTIC ASSAULT ... (click for more)

State Attorney General Says City Council Cannot Make Taxis Not Registered In Hamilton County Go Through Emissions Testing

The state attorney general's office has ruled that the City Council cannot require that taxis not registered in Hamilton County go through emissions testing. The city is dealing with the new Uber taxi service that has an out-of-town owner. Locally-owned cabs have to go through the annual emissions testing. The opinion says that local taxi owners cannot get around the emissions ... (click for more)

The Heart Of A Teacher Makes A Difference - And Response (2)

In less than four weeks, I expect to be one of 216 graduating seniors from East Hamilton School. One could say all possible variables help a student rise to the highest levels in school; but a student is more than his environment or genetic code. He is a mixture of his own propensity and dedication to academics, coupled with a systemic team of mentors who give their all as a student’s ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: FBI To Study ‘Lickers’

About 25 years ago there was a terrifying movie called “The Silence of the Lambs.” It was so good it won the Academy Awards in all five categories – Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director and Adapted Screenplay. Further, Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster were brilliant, but do you remember the third “star?” Scott Glenn played a character named “Jack Crawford,” the ... (click for more)

Underedog Sequatchie Shocks Ooltewah In Red Bank Softball

Please don't be mislead by the win-loss record of the Sequatchie County Lady Indians. Those young ladies who call Dunlap home improved to 12-14 overall on Sunday night as they rallied four times before scoring the winning run in the fifth as they beat the Ooltewah Lady Owls by a 7-6 final for the title in the Red Bank Invitational. Ooltewah had won three straight games going ... (click for more)

#17 Chattanooga State Softball To Host Region Tournament Starting Wednesday

Chattanooga State softball took four wins over Columbia State over the weekend to move to tops in the TCCAA softball standings. #17 Chattanooga State will host the NJCAA Region VII/TCCAA Tournament beginning Wednesday. Chattanooga State improved to 45-11, 32-4, while Columbia State drops to 34-13, 25-7. Walters State (click for more)