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: AVENS, TABITHA ANN  612 CEDAR VALLEY RD SWEETWATER, 378742918  Age at Arrest: 31 years old Arresting Agency: Collegedale Booked for Previous Charges or Other Reason(s) --- BAILEY, CORDARRIUS DEQUAN  1924 ROBBINS ST CHATTANOOGA, 37410  Age at Arrest: 19 years old Arresting Agency: ... (click for more)

Cook Arrested For Aggressive Panhandling On Gunbarrel Road

Chattanooga Police have charged Anthony Lebron Cook with aggressive panhandling on Gunbarrel Road. Cook, 51, is also charged with public intoxication. An officer said he responded to Panda Express on a panhandling call. Employees said they had asked Cook to leave multiple times, but he refused. They said he kept asking for money for food. When the officer arrived, Cook ... (click for more)

The Panhandling "Tax" On Gunbarrel

I’ve been reading about the panhandling problem in downtown; it is a huge problem in the Gunbarrel area, too.  It’s commonplace to be accosted by panhandlers when walking from your parked car into a commercial establishment.  And often they are aggressive.  I look carefully around my car before getting out, but sometimes someone will be lurking in between cars and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Sheriff’s Request

Jim Hammond will talk to members of the Hamilton County School Board on Thursday afternoon and, just like any police officer in the United States, he will request that everybody “stay in their own lane.” Some school board members tend to believe they need to help decide the best methods of protecting our children. They believe this is one of the things they were elected to do in ... (click for more)

Keiser, Wigg Power Ooltewah Past East Hamilton, 9-5, in 5-3A Baseball

Frustrated by an early season hitting slump, Ooltewah left-fielder Payton Keiser broke loose with four hits, including a clutch three-run triple in a five-run seventh inning, and drove in five runs as the Owls beat rival East Hamilton, 9-5, Tuesday in District 5-3A action in horrible weather for baseball. Keiser had run-scoring singles in the second and fourth innings and ... (click for more)

Cleveland Rally Tops Walker Valley, 4-1

CHARLESTON, Tenn – Cleveland pitching ace Camden Sewell is used to the gaudy individual numbers and he rarely disappoints. Unfortunately, he has walked off the mound a few too many times in tough battles such as the one with Walker Valley  Tuesday  night without the one number he most cherishes.   That number being the one you put in the win column. ... (click for more)