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January 9, 2014

Case against Hall put on hold

Federal indictment to come

TIFTON —

 In court documents received this week from the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, The Gazette learned that a motion for dismissal without prejudice was filed in the case against Gary Patton Hall Jr.

Hall, of Tifton, admitted in June 2012 in a Macon courtroom that from 2005 through 2010 he committed bank fraud involving the Tifton Banking Company during his tenure as president and CEO.

Hall has admitted to "conspiring with others to obtain money, funds, credits, assets, securities and other property of the Tifton Banking Company while carrying on the practice of replacing non-performing loans with new loans, including a Small Business Administration-guaranteed loan, to make the bank appear financially stronger than it was." 

The actions caused monetary losses to the bank and SBA of about $2.8 million, and several local residents as well.

In November 2010, the bank was closed by state and federal regulators, and had recorded assets of $143.7 million, and total deposits of $141.6 million, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

According to the court documents, Hall entered a plea of guilty June 20, 2013. He withdrew that plea on Sept. 30, 2013, and entered a not guilty plea. The judge refused the plea at that time, and it was determined the case would be tried in federal court.

The documents further stated that the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia "hereby dismisses, without prejudice, the information against Garry Patton Hall Jr."

The reason given was that the plea agreement under which the information was filed was rejected by the court (in September 2013), and Hall had exercised his right to withdraw his guilty plea. 

The plea agreement made, entered into by Hall and the U.S. Attorney, would call for 65 months in federal prison. The maximum possible sentence is 30 years, with a maximum fine of $1 million, or both, as well as a term of supervised release of up to five years, and a mandatory assessment fee of $100. 

The order of dismissal without prejudice was dated Oct. 25, 2013. The federal government will charge Hall in an indictment, which will include co-conspirators. 

When a case is dismissed without prejudice, according to www.nolo.com, it means an order was issued by a judge stating the case was dismissed inconclusively – which means the case may be reopened at a later date.

To contact editor Angye Morrison, call 382-4321.

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