Since the burden of proof is much greater in criminal cases than in civil cases, we are confident we will again prevail.
Atlanta, GA (PRWEB) March 06, 2014
After prevailing in two civil actions and already having obtained a dismissal of the initial criminal matter, Kevin J. Pratt is now defending Sowash against new charges brought by the Gwinnett County District Attorney’s office for the same matter . As stated in the indictment, the charge is Theft by Conversion.
“I am in disbelief. The District Attorney’s office is actually bringing criminal charges against Sowash because the real estate market tanked,” says attorney Kevin J. Pratt, referring to the criminal indictment.
The first civil proceeding outlined the following facts. Sowash, who is an avid hunter and fisherman, began investing in hunting properties in Kentucky during the apex of the real estate market in 2006 and 2007. A friend of Sowash, Perry Duval, asked him if they could invest together. Sowash agreed. Duval’s girlfriend, Julie Grant, had the funds to invest and sought to invest on Duval’s behalf. An agreement was made and Grant began investing in real property in Kentucky with Sowash. Properties were purchased and improved for hunting purposes. The properties were then marketed for sale. Grant participated in each of the investments and took the lead in marketing the properties.
The civil proceedings explain that next, the unthinkable happened. The economy collapsed and the bottom fell out of the real estate market. According to the case documents, the investment properties held by Sowash and Grant were already under contract to sell as the market collapsed, but the contracts were immediately rescinded by buyers. “The contracts to sell the properties did not close because everyone got scared. Had the market not collapsed, the properties would have sold and we would have made a profit,” states Sowash.
Sowash’s attorney, Kevin J. Pratt notes, “My client lost his own investments as well.”
The civil proceeding further showed that Grant demanded the return of her investment from Sowash during the collapse. However, the funds were tied up in the investments and could not be liquidated. Grant thereafter filed suit against Sowash in the Superior Court of Hall County, Georgia, alleging fraud .
In her Complaint, Grant alleged that the investment properties were never purchased. Attorney Pratt, who defended Sowash in the civil action, asserted that Grant's allegations were false and directed the Court to Grant’s active role in marketing the investment properties. Discovery revealed that Grant contacted several media outlets to market the properties including “The Outdoor Channel,” “Field and Stream,” “Georgia Outdoor News,” “Whitetail.com,” “Blacks Sporting” directories, “Sourthernsporting.com,” “Blackpowder,” “Guns and Hunting” magazine, “Cabela’s,” and “Hunt Club digest.”
Pratt obtained a dismissal of Grant’s civil fraud claims.
Despite the fact that Sowash prevailed in the matter, Sowash nevertheless suffered his own financial repercussions from the economic collapse. Sowash was forced to file for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.
Grant filed suit against Sowash for a second time, this time in the United States Bankruptcy Court Northern District of Georgia. Finding no evidence of fraud, the Bankruptcy Court Judge granted Summary Judgment in Sowash's favor .
Undeterred by her 0-2 losses in civil proceedings, Grant decided to take a different route. She filed a criminal complaint against Sowash, causing Gwinnett County to issue a warrant for his arrest . The County charged Sowash with “Theft by Conversion,” based on the same facts and allegations underlying Grant’s two previous civil actions.
Attorney Pratt who now defended Sowash in the criminal matter, presented records of property deeds and evidence obtained in the civil matters. Consequently, the initial criminal case was administratively dismissed prior to indictment.
When interviewed by a local television news station about the criminal matter, Pratt confirmed the favorable decision by showing copies of two of the property deeds, as well as a copy of the administrative dismissal of the criminal case to the reporter. Pratt stated that he hoped the dismissal of the criminal action and the media interview would serve as the final nail in the coffin to end the litigation.
Pratt’s wishful thinking came to an end, when several months later, yet another arrest warrant was issued against Sowash for the same charges. According to a local news report, Gwinnett County did not execute the arrest warrant until Sowash was out of state, on a fishing trip with Fishers of Men, a non-denominational religious fishing ministry .
"Having to defend these claims have caused me the most pain and embarrassment," says Sowash, who is outraged that he is now forced to defend himself after a second arrest. After prevailing in two civil actions and one criminal action pertaining to this incident, Attorney Pratt is confident, stating, “Since the burden of proof is much greater in criminal cases than in civil cases, we are confident we will again prevail.”
The criminal case is expected to go to trial in the Superior Court of Gwinnett County later this year.
Law Offices of Kevin J. Pratt specializes in civil and criminal defense. With over 12 years of trial experience in criminal and civil cases, the attorneys at Law Offices of Kevin J. Pratt will fight aggressively to make sure your rights are protected and you receive the best possible results.
The main office is located in Gwinnett County, Georgia in the City of Suwanee. The firm practices throughout Georgia, including Atlanta, Gainesville, Duluth, Lawrenceville, Norcross, Cumming, and Decatur. For complete information about Law Offices of Kevin J. Pratt and its services, please consult the website http://www.georgiatrials.com or call the Law Offices of Kevin J. Pratt at (770) 614-4811.
 Superior Court of Gwinnett County, Case No. 12-B-4300
 Superior Court of Hall County, Georgia, Case No. 09-CV-2103
 United States Bankruptcy Court Northern District of Georgia, Case No. G11-24665-REB
 Office of the District Attorney Gwinnett Judicial District, DA File No. 121855
 WSB-TV2, available at http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/woman-claims-fisherman-bilked-her-out-50000/nMX9j/, April 12, 2012