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Attorney General Baker Announces Felony Sentencing In Estate Theft

PRESS ADVISORY

Attorney General Baker Announces Felony Sentencing In Estate Theft

September 29, 2004

Attorney General Baker announced that John Horton had been sentenced on three felony convictions for theft and racketeering while serving as the executor of a Brooks County estate and ordered to pay $3.5 million in restitution to the estate, which will be distributed to various charities in the south Georgia area. The Brooks County Superior Court sentenced Mr. Horton to 15 years, one year to serve, on a racketeering charge, and to 10 years, one year to serve, on each of two felony theft by conversions for actions during his time as executor of the Robert Warde Chambers estate.

While serving as executor of the Chambers estate, Mr. Horton ignored the provisions of the Chambers will which provided that the entire residue of the estate be disbursed to a list of named charities. Instead, Mr. Horton transferred 5 large tracts of real estate and sizable quantities of stock, including over $3 million in Coca-Cola stock, to himself, his wife and his sons. In total, he made less than $50,000.00 in transfers to the named charities in the will. When this matter was brought to the attention of Attorney General Baker, he immediately launched civil and criminal inquiries into the matter which resulted in the successful prosecution of Mr. Horton and recovery by the estate.

As a result of this prosecution, Mr. Horton has been forbidden to ever again hold a position of fiduciary trust. In addition, he has had to re-convey the five parcels back into the estate, make an immediate cash payment of $500,000.00 into the Chambers estate, and execute a promissory note for $3,075,000.00 to be paid back to the estate during the first two years of supervised probation.