Augusta man turned to fraud schemes again, police say

An Augusta man who pleaded guilty to charges related to a Ponzi scheme in 2010 faces more charges after he continued to scheme investors and sports fans, authorities said.

Rodney Wade Grubbs, 42, of Reserve Lane,
was charged with theft by deception. He is being held in the Columbia County Detention Center without bond, according to jail records.

Grubbs is accused of soliciting money from a man in July to purchase tickets to the Southeastern Conference championship football game and forging invoices from the SEC.

Another man claims he gave Grubbs money in June to buy, then resell, tickets to the Major League Baseball All-Star game.

Columbia County sheriff’s Investigator Ron Van Vactor said at a preliminary hearing Tues­day that Grubbs offered the tickets to a man for $6,360, but the man refused the offer because Grubbs “wouldn’t take a credit card and the tickets couldn’t be put in his name.”

He then approached the second man, who accepted the offer and wrote a check. Grubbs even provided an invoice that he claimed was from the SEC to the man by e-mail.

That check was passed along to pay the man who had invested in the baseball tickets, Van Vactor said.

“I’m sure that check was not actually cashed by the SEC due to their statements that everything was forged,” Van Vactor said

Columbia County Associate Magistrate Jason Troiano determined at the hearing that there was enough evidence to send the case to Superior Court for prosecution.

Grubbs is still serving 30 years’ probation after he pleaded guilty to 15 similar charges in 2010.

He was accused of bilking three investors out of more than $500,000, starting in January 2008. He told investors he would use their money to purchase hotel rooms and tickets to concerts and sporting events, including the Super Bowl, Ryder Cup, Masters Tournament and Kentucky Derby.

He pleaded guilty to 12 counts of theft and three counts of forgery. He also was sentenced to pay $442,500 in restitution.

Grubbs was arrested on the new charges in November.

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