Originally created 05/16/02

Man sentenced for selling bogus Masters badges



A career criminal convicted of selling bogus Masters Tournament badges was sentenced Wednesday to 30 years in prison.

James L. Davis, 46, was convicted last month in Richmond County Superior Court of violating the state's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and 26 counts of forgery. On Wednesday, Senior Judge Bernard J. Mulherin Sr. imposed the lengthy sentence, which must be served without the possibility of parole.

Mr. Davis faced the maximum penalty for the RICO conviction and a sentence without parole because of his previous six felony convictions, District Attorney Danny Craig said.

"He simply doesn't understand you cannot steal $28,000 from people and call it legal," Mr. Craig said.

Mr. Davis was arrested in March 2001 and charged with selling bogus badges for the 2001 Masters. According to testimony at his trial, he responded to an advertisement in The Augusta Chronicle placed by two New York men who sought badges.

The men paid Mr. Davis $28,000 for 15 badges. They called the Richmond County Sheriff's Office after their customers recognized the badges as phony.

Officers who searched Mr. Davis found 26 more fake badges, investigators said.

At the time of his arrest, Mr. Davis was on parole. He was released from prison in October 2001. According to the Department of Corrections Web site, Mr. Davis has 12 convictions, mostly for theft and forgery, and has served at least four terms in prison.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or shodson@augustachronicle.com.