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Editorials - Pickens Progress Online


Mark Miller arrest -- press release from sheriff

 Attorney Christopher Mark Miller arrested following multiple Grand Jury Indictments
Sheriff Office Press Release
At approximately 3:30 pm today, Christopher Mark Miller was arrested at his home in Gilmer County, following Pickens County Grand Jury indictments issued earlier on this day. The indictments follow 15 months of investigative work by detectives with the Pickens Sheriff’s Office. Even though the investigation is ongoing, and the potential for additional victims and charges exists, enough evidence existed for today’s Grand Jury presentation.
   In addition to detectives from our agency, the Financial Investigations Unit with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Appalachian Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s office were a tremendous help in the review of all subpoenaed records and documents. Detectives have also forwarded the official documentation to the Georgia Bar Association for their review as the case is completed. 
   Since the publication of a recent Gilmer County arrest of Mr. Miller for Contempt of Court charges, the Pickens Sheriff’s Office has received information of the potential for additional victims in this case. Mr. Miller is listed on the Georgia Secretary of State’s website as the Registered Agent of 67 separate corporations (both active and dissolved) and detectives are attempting to make contact with as many individuals as they can to have them review their documents as well. 
Sheriff Donnie Craig stated “I am very proud of the hard work that our detectives have put into this case and the hard work of District Attorney Allison Sosebee and her staff as well.” He went on to say “I hope that we were able to prevent the possibility of additional victims through working quickly with the court system to bring closure to this case.”




The True Billed Indictment #2016SUCR275 included charges: 
Ct. 1: THEFT BY DECEPTION O.C.G.A. 16-8-3(a)(b)(l)
Ct. 2: THEFT BY CONVERSION - O.C.G.A. 16-8-2(a)
Ct. 3: THEFT BY TAK.ING- O.C.G.A. 16-8-2
Ct. 4: THEFT BY DECEPTION - O.C.G.A. 16-8-3(a)(b)(l)
Ct. 5: THEFT BY CONVERSION- O.C.G.A. 16-8-4(a)
Ct. 6: THEFT BY TAKING- O.C.G.A. 16-8-2
Ct. 7: THEFT BY DECEPTION O.C.G.A. 16-8-3(a)(b)(l)
Ct. 8: THEFT BY CONVERSION - O.C.G.A. 16-8-4(a)
Ct. 9: THEFT BY TAKING - O.C.G.A. 16-8-2
Ct. 10: THEFT BY DECEPTION - O.C.G.A. 16-8-3(a)(b)(l)
Ct. 11: THEFT BY CONVERSION - O.C.G.A. 16-8-4(a)
Ct. 12: THEFT BY TAKING - O.C.G.A. 16-8-2
Ct. 13: THEFT BY CONVERSION - O.C.G.A. 16-8-4(a)
Ct 14: THEFT BY TAKING- O.C.G.A. 16-8-2
Ct. 15: THEFT BY CONVERSION - O.C.G.A. 16-8-4(a)
Ct. 16: THEFT BY TAKING- O.C.G.A. 16-8-2
Ct. 17: THEFT BY CONVERSION O.C.G.A. 16-8-4(a)
RESIDENT -  O.C.G.A. 16-5-102
It also included 27 counts of Financial Transaction Fraud Card Fraud. and 1 count of Identity Fraud.


Attorney Mark Miller arrested for numerous fraud, theft charges


 A book-in photo from the previous contempt arrest in Gilmer County.


[Updated: See Press Release from Pickens Sheriff]


   A Pickens grand jury Friday returned numerous charges against local attorney Mark Miller. He was arrested Friday afternoon by Gilmer County deputies at his home and was being transferred to the Pickens jail, according to a statement from the Pickens sheriff about 3:30 p.m.

   The charges presented to the grand jury came from work by Pickens sheriff and district attorney investigators and the GBI. An FBI agent was also listed as a witness before the grand jury.

   The charges are the result of a year-and-a-half-long investigation, said Sheriff Donnie Craig.

   Miller recently spent 10 days in the Gilmer jail on contempt charges and now faces a barrage of financial transaction card fraud charges, identity fraud, theft by deception, theft by conversion, and theft by taking charges here in Pickens County. He was also charged with exploitation and intimidation of disabled adult, elder person or resident. He is also accused of "racketeering activity" for the crimes.

   It appeared most of the theft charges relate to the estate of David Kent, which is the same civil suit where Miller was jailed for contempt when he did not provide information and did not show up for a hearing. He is being sued by an heir claiming he kept thousands of dollars and property from them.

   The indictment from the grand jury states that Miller committed theft by deception by taking property through “deceitful means and artful practice.”

   Another theft by deception charge states that Miller took funds that David Kent should have received under the sale of real estate by using false appearances.

   The financial fraud charges show Miller used a credit card during 2014 without the permission of the owner for numerous purchases, totaling thousands of dollars. These appear to all be from the same credit card, but entail 28 different purchases of all types ranging from software to charges at the Levi’s Store.

   Sheriff Donnie Craig said they are continuing to look at other work Miller has performed in regard to financial impropriety. “We’re not looking into his legal work but are looking at places involving money,” he said. He felt more charges are likely.

  Sheriff spokesman Kris Stancil said they will provide a good bit more information later locally and to metro news outlets due “to the potential for victims outside this area.”



Following PHS English teacher's testimony about daughter with Rhett syndrome, community reaches out with support



PHS teacher Todd Geren with daughter Hannah who has Rett syndrome. “Our experiences as a family have reminded me that God’s plan is not our own,” said Todd.



By Eileen Steinhauer

Progress contributor

We all watch in wonder as a baby reaches one milestone after another, always eager to see more. But what if the milestones stop, practically overnight,  what then? This is the story of the Geren family, Todd, Elizabeth, Hannah and Christian.

Bracket Busted

By Dan Pool, editor
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    Oh cruel fates. How clear in hindsight our many, many failings, our utter ineptitude to see what should have been so obvious. How could we have stood by, like a slack-jawed gapping fool, while ignoring what was certainly to be?
    What was I thinking picking Louisville to win it all again.    
    Nobody ever repeats as the Final Four Champion -- except Florida, Duke and UCLA  a whole bunch of times, but that was back when the players wore really short shorts and had sideburns.
    When it comes to March Madness, what a philosopher really meant was, “Does anything in nature despair except man [who picked Providence to upset North Carolina and knows his NCAA basketball bracket is doomed on the first round of the Big Dance]?
    Why do we trust our gut feeling and ignore the inexplicable stats showing that teams who dress in blue almost always win the championship?  Why did we squander so many hours watching college students play basketball and studying bizarre stats with a false but confident hope that our Final Four bracket might be perfect and bring not only the billion dollars offered by investor Warran Buffet, but also the admiration of our own local college basketball prognosticators when we successfully foretold not only the champion, but the entire final four, nay, nay the entire Elite Eight, because it all looked so clear – before the first game started. Syracuse faced such light competition and yet…
    Lost, all is lost and it wasn’t just Louisville (a team coached by someone with an I in their name, which odd stats show is ubiquitous among final four teams).
    But lo and behold, we saw so little. So many surprises, so many foolish gambits gone to naught.. Somehow we failed to see that lowly Dayton would rise up and crush us along with Ohio State in the very first game of the tournament – and yes, those of us who pick brackets take it personally.
    At no time does an old man feel so foolish as when the facts come to light and he has hung his hopes on a false star. Really? North Dakota State to the Elite Eight? What was I thinking? Sure they were the  best shooting team in the field, but my gosh you don’t put a college that has never made SportsCenter that deep into the NCAA tournament.
    There are times in life when we all get blindsided, unforeseen tragedy comes out of the dark and torments you. Damn you Mercer Bears, even if you are a home state team, at a 14th seed you don’t knock out the mighty Blue Devils from Duke at #3 seed. You defied not only mathematical logic, but sports history. Sure, everybody hates Duke, but we also count on them to roll up some serious bracket points, before failing in a late round and then, and only then, becoming the object for vilification.
     Other times in life those we count on the most let us down utterly. Kansas, I know you had troubles of your own (big injuries) but when we needed you to get by a lowly Stanford team. Where were you? I mourn your loss, but mostly I mourn that others correctly foresaw the Stanford victory.
     I will take heart knowing, my own failure joins more than 11 million other faulty brackets at ESPN and up to 15 million more at Buffet’s billion dollar bracket contest without one single perfect bracket – misery does love company and we’ll all be back next season.