published Thursday, May 1st, 2014

Courts News: Land fraud case losses detailed

Land fraud case losses detailed

A sentencing hearing for two men found guilty last year of wire fraud and money laundering in a failed Dade County development deal detailed money losses of $40 million to at least 11 banks.

The hearing for Joshua Dobson and Paul Gott of Marion County began Tuesday but was continued and is set to resume next week.

Dobson faces 12 to 15 years and Gott faces six to eight years, based on court documents.

The pair was convicted in a jury trial last year of the charges related to a multimillion-dollar development deal for The Preserve at Rising Fawn, Ga.

Dobson offered "no money down" sales on lots to buyers in multiple states. On some deals his company, Southern Group, would pay the down payment for the buyer or refund the amount once the transaction had cleared the bank, which is illegal.

Gott worked as a contractor for Dobson's company and was convicted for his role in selling some of the lots and filings related to those sales.

Dobson's attorney, Jerry Summers, and Gott's attorney, John McDougal, have filed dozens of objections to the sentencing recommendations in an attempt to reduce or eliminate prison time for the pair.


Co-defendant pleads to slaying

A murder charge on a 21-year-old Chattanooga man has been dismissed after his co-defendant pleaded guilty last week to the killing.

After a Tuesday hearing dismissing the charge, Demetrius Bibbs will no longer face a trial in the shooting of Ronald Blackmon. His co-defendant, Edward Ryals Jr., pleaded guilty recently to second-degree murder in the March 6, 2011, drive-by shooting.

Bibbs was in the car with Ryals when the shooting happened. Ryals thought that Blackmon was another person who he'd fought with the previous night and shot at him.

Compiled by staff writer Todd South at tsouth@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6347. Follow him on Twitter @tsouthCTFP

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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