AJC Watchdog: First Alert

Keeping watch on those who hold the public trust and money

Did ADHD make a Ga. banker commit fraud? And what is this doctor's excuse? The sheriff's?

A Georgia banker may suffer from "impaired executive functioning", but he doesn't deserve a new trial for defrauding his bank and helping drive it into insolvency, a federal appeals court has ruled.

In appealing his conviction, William "Rusty" Beamon Jr. argued that after his trial he was found to suffer profound impairment in his executive functioning skills, which affected his reasoning. Because of that new evidence, the district court should have granted him a new trial, he argued.

The impairment can result in Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, medical authorities say.

But the 11th Circuit said that Beamon's 2015 diagnosis, which followed a mild stroke, didn't prove he was impaired when he committed the fraud years earlier. The court also rejected Beamon's arguments that there wasn't enough evidence to sustain his convictions on some counts, and that he had made no misrepresentations on other counts.

As thousands of people were losing homes during the housing crisis, Beamon, the vice president of Appalachian Community Bank, raided its inventory of foreclosed real estate to personally profit, a jury found in 2014.  He fraudulently rented out bank-owned properties and collected rent payments for his own use, prosecutors said. He also caused the Ellijay bank to sell properties to his wife and to a shell company he controlled at steeply discounted prices. The bank went bust, and in 2015 Beamon, who lives in DeKalb County, was sentenced to 42 months in prison after being convicted of five counts of fraud.

Strike three for Marietta doctor

Boats, jet skis, homes and commercial properties owned by Dr. Robert Windsor are going up for sale so that the convicted fraudster can pay a $20 million civil judgment that he bilked federal healthcare programs, including Medicaid and Medicare.

His Georgia clinics, in Marietta, Ringgold, Calhoun, Gainesville and Forest Park, abruptly shut down last year following his criminal conviction.  He also voluntarily surrendered his medical license.

In announcing the $20 million judgment last week, officials said that whistle blowers who alerted authorities to the scheme will receive a share of the settlement.

E-cigarette scheme unravels

A Marietta man has pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice in a case involving a Tennessee sheriff who is his nephew and a scheme to sell e-cigarettes to jail inmates.

John Vanderveer, 59, along with Sheriff Robert Arnold and Deputy Joe Russell of Rutherford County, Tenn, formed JailCigs in 2013, concealing the fact that the sheriff and deputy would profit from the scheme.

Federal prosecutors said that the Arnold and Russell allowed the e-cigarettes into the jail as non-contraband, directed jail employees to do tasks benefiting the Georgia company, and promoted JailCigs to other sheriff offices and counties. Arnold and Russell previously pleaded guilty to wire fraud and other charges.

All three men are to be sentenced in May.

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About the Author

Lois Norder is Senior Editor for Investigations in the newsroom at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.