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Former Georgia football coach found not guilty of fraud

Readers of this blog may have read last week's post about a former Georgia football coach facing criminal fraud charges for his alleged role in a Ponzi scheme. Prosecutors alleged that investors in a company were getting high returns from the company even though the company was selling very little merchandise. Prosecutors accused the former coach and another man of paying earlier investors with money received from later investors. According to the prosecution, investors lost more than $22 million in the alleged scheme.

The coach argued that he was himself duped by the other promoter of the scheme, and said he had been led to believe the company was a legitimate business. The trial concluded last week, with the jury finding the coach not guilty on all counts.

A Ponzi scheme is a form of a white collar crime. Even though there is no violence involved in white collar crimes, they are treated very seriously by the justice system and carry serious penalties that can include prison time and restitution to those who claim to have been wronged by a fraudulent scheme. In addition, the mere filing of charges can affect a person's reputation and employment prospects.

Someone accused of fraud has a few options they can pursue, one of which is fighting the charges aggressively in court. This is the route the former Georgia football coach took by going to trial to contest the 41 fraud charges he was facing.

Atlanta residents facing criminal charges, including fraud charges, should be aware of their rights. A person accused of a crime is innocent until proven guilty and has the right to their day in court if they so wish.

Source: Ajc.com, " Jury finds Jim Donnan not guilty on all counts," Tim Tucker, May 16, 2014,

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Nick Lotito & Seth Kirschenbaum

Former Federal Prosecutors

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