Georgia fishing guide indicted for fraud

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Bradley Shane Watson. Courtesy of Gainesville Times

Bradley Shane Watson. Courtesy of Gainesville Times

Lake Lanier fishing guide Bradley Shane Watson and his wife, Pamela Jo Watson, were charged with multiple counts of theft by conversion and deposit account fraud by the Forsyth County Superior Court in Georgia.

The couple, who own Shane Watson Guide Service, was indicted by a grand jury on August 12 for allegedly taking more than $235,000 from seven victims between February 2016 and December 2017, according to the Gainesville Times.

Bradley Watson, 51, was first arrested by the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office in July 2018 following a long investigation into allegedly fraudulent boat sales and investment deals across the south. In one case, he reportedly made a $50,000 boat deal with a county resident, promising a return of $80,000 by November 17. A report stated that Watson never paid the alleged victim.

Multiple victims said that Watson used Craigslist to advertise new Carolina Skiff boats for sale, taking deposits of about $9,000 each from customers in Georgia and South Carolina. The boat company is suing Watson in civil court, according to the Gainesville Times. According to the suit, 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 ended.

Carolina Skiff reportedly said that Watson failed to promote or purchase the boats and instead sold them the day after entering into the marketing agreement. Carolina Skiff also said Watson convinced the company to contribute to a charity called “The Sunday Afternoon Kids,” a foundation that Watson said he ran. The builder said in a statement that the foundation was not recognized by the state of Georgia.

Watson has been indicted on 10 counts of theft by taking, seven counts of theft by deception and one count each of theft by conversion and deposit account fraud.

Pamela Jo Watson was arrested by law-enforcement agencies in Forsyth and Walton counties on similar charges in July 2018. She was indicted alongside her husband on nine counts of theft by taking, and one count of deposit account fraud. 

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