Ex-bookkeeper sentenced to repay money
The former bookkeeper for a Martinez business was sentenced to repay money she stole from her employer.
Joy Sandlin Mercer, 43, of Evans, was charged with five counts of theft for stealing from Trucks and Moore. At a Thursday hearing in Richmond County, Superior Court Judge J. Carlisle Overstreet sentenced her to 20 years probation, and ordered her to pay a $2,500 fine and $120,000 in restitution. She’s required to pay $500 per month for the term of her probation, which can be terminated early if the restitution is paid, according to court documents.
Mercer was the comptroller and bookkeeper at the business on Bobby Jones Expressway. In November 2009 Larry Moore, the business owner, told police he found evidence that she had taken money, according to a Columbia County Sheriff’s Office report.
The indictment accuses Mercer of stealing money from the business between August 2007 and November 2009.
Businessman charged with drug fraud
Prominent Columbia County businessman and political contributor George Snelling was arrested Tuesday on three counts of prescription drug fraud.
According to reports obtained from the Columbia County Sheriff’s office, Snelling, a licensed but nonpracticing dentist, wrote prescriptions for 20 10mg Valium pills and 20 50mg Tramadol pills for Janelle Klein, an employee at one of Snelling’s self-storage businesses.
Snelling got Klein, who didn’t ask for the prescription, to fill it for him so he could distribute the medications to a third party, sheriff’s office Capt. Steve Morris said.
The Columbia County Sheriff’s Department was notified of the two hand-written prescriptions by Ashley London, a pharmacist at the Walgreens at the corner of Washington Road and Bobby Jones Expressway. No other arrests were made.
“We don’t anticipate additional charges,” sheriff’s office Capt. Steve Morris said.
Snelling was released on $18,800 bond.
Woman indicted for mail fraud
A woman whose questionable business dealings were exposed by The Augusta Chronicle has been indicted on federal charges of mail fraud and money laundering.
Regina M. Preetorius is scheduled to make her initial trip to U.S. District Court in Augusta next week. Preetorius faces 10 counts of mail fraud and three counts of money laundering. The indictment accuses Preetorius of cheating investors out of more than $1.7 million and defrauding distressed homeowners who were trying to stave off foreclosures.
According to the federal indictment, Preetorius solicited people to invest in her company, S.D.A. & Associates, a “foreclosure rescue” business. She contended the money would be used to purchase houses from distressed homeowners. Then the houses would be sold at a profit that would guarantee investors a minimum return of 12 percent.
According to the indictment, however, Preetorius “misapplied the investors’ money and converted those funds to her own use. (Preetorius) also defrauded a number of distressed homeowners by using their homes without their authorization as collateral for investors’ loans.”
From 2004 through 2009, Preetorius and others ran the scheme that defrauded investors and homeowners, according to the indictment.
Preetorius has previously stated that she did nothing wrong and was trying to help homeowners. She got caught short by the real estate market crash, she told unhappy investors at one of her bankruptcy court hearings.
She and her husband, Charles, who also worked at S.D.A., filed for bankruptcy in 2008. They claimed a total of $2.47 million in liabilities and zero assets. Although there were several legal challenges to the Preetoriuses’ bankruptcy petition by people who believed they were cheated out of money and homes, the couple’s debts were discharged by the court.
According to court documents, the Preetoriuses moved to Arizona in 2009.