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Fishing guide facing criminal charges for theft by deception

A former fishing guide is facing criminal charges in Georgia and a separate lawsuit by a boatbuilder, both saying the guide deceived them into making donations to a non-existent charity.

The Gainesville Times reports that Shane Watson, owner of Shane Watson’s Guide Service, was recently arrested in Forsyth County, Ga., after four new charges of theft by deception were filed against him. According to the paper, Watson was first arrested in July following a lengthy probe into allegedly fraudulent boat sales and investment deals across the South.

The recent incident report says Watson allegedly made a $50,000 boat deal with a county resident, promising a return of $80,000 by November 2017. The report states that Watson never paid the alleged victim.

Watson has been implicated in theft by deception and fraud cases in Forsyth, Walton, Ware, Banks and Monroe counties in Georgia; Aiken County, S.C.; and Gainesville, Milton, Roswell and Alpharetta, Ga. The paper said that Watson allegedly took thousands of dollars from victims under the guise of legitimate investments.

Carolina Skiff is also suing Watson in civil court, according to the paper. Watson had a marketing agreement to promote its boats. According to the lawsuit, Carolina Skiff agreed on Aug. 11, 2017, to give Watson two boats on a payment-free lease. In return, Watson was required to feature the boats in his business and buy them for $80,623.81 after the nine-month lease was over.

The Georgia builder says Watson failed to promote or purchase the two boats and instead sold them the day after entering into the marketing agreement. Carolina Skiff said Watson also convinced the company to contribute to a non-existent charity.

Carolina Skiff made $20,000 donations Feb. 9, 2017, and Feb. 23, 2018, to “The Sunday Afternoon Kids,” a foundation that Watson said he operated. The builder said in a statement that Watson’s foundation was not recognized by the state of Georgia.

Watson was being held in Forsyth County Jail on a bond of $44,460.


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