Phony adviser gets five years

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An Evans businessman, whose victims say cloaked himself in Christianity to win their confidence, was sentenced Monday to five years in prison.

U.S. District Chief Judge William T. Moore Jr. imposed the maximum sentence possible and ordered Johnny Lee Hollis Jr. to pay his victims back $3.63 million.

Mr. Hollis pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering. He convinced his victims that he was a legitimate financial adviser and guaranteed 6 to 20 percent returns on investments.

Elizabeth Walker met Mr. Hollis after she won $7.8 million in the Georgia lottery in 2000.

"He said he was ordained by God for a financial ministry," Ms. Walker told the judge Monday.

At his suggestion, she took the buyout from the lottery and entrusted $2.8 million to Mr. Hollis to invest. It's all gone now, she said.

Her family lost their home, vehicles, the ability to send their two children to college, and health insurance. They also owe $2 million in taxes, "and we don't have it," she said.

The Walker family was just one of many people Mr. Hollis cheated. Several came to watch Monday's hearing.

Many of Mr. Hollis' supporters came, too, including ministers and others who told the judge of Mr. Hollis' good deeds and character. They insisted Mr. Hollis could not have lost investors' money intentionally.

Mr. Hollis spoke of his desire to help people who were less fortunate and help people get off welfare.

"That's what this was all about," Mr. Hollis said of his investment business.

Mr. Hollis blamed the dot-com industry failure, the terrorist attacks and the drop in the economy for the investment loss.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen K. Marsh asked the judge to impose the maximum sentence, 60 months. Mr. Hollis continues to deny his responsibility for stealing widows' insurance money, children's college funds and victims' life savings, the prosecutor noted.

What Mr. Hollis did was the classic Ponzi scheme, Judge Moore said to those in the courtroom, especially Mr. Hollis' supporters.

He used people's money for himself, he lied to them and wrote bad checks to keep the scheme going, the judge said.

"Now all of these things are wrong, just as wrong as can be," he said.

He instructed Mr. Hollis to report to prison by 2 p.m. Nov. 6. The Federal Bureau of Prisons will decide in which prison Mr. Hollis will serve his time.

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

Comments (22) Add comment
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ONLY THE TRUTH
2
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ONLY THE TRUTH 09/25/07 - 02:41 am
0
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Ther will be a special place

Ther will be a special place in hell for him.

patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 09/25/07 - 04:19 am
0
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Don't judge a Christian by

Don't judge a Christian by his cloak.

1957
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1957 09/25/07 - 05:59 am
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60 months? I will be paying

60 months? I will be paying for my car longer than that!

pantherluvcik
628
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pantherluvcik 09/25/07 - 06:57 am
0
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3.63 million, yeah right.

3.63 million, yeah right. They will never see that money.

iletuknow
7
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iletuknow 09/25/07 - 07:08 am
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Why are religous people so

Why are religous people so gullible? Perhaps thats how that got religous in the first place.

pofwe
5
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pofwe 09/25/07 - 07:20 am
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This is one reason ignorant

This is one reason ignorant people shouldn't be allowed to win a lottery. LOL

SFCnotretyet
3
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SFCnotretyet 09/25/07 - 07:36 am
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iletuknow and pofwe, +1 I

iletuknow and pofwe,

+1 I agree.

christian134
1
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christian134 09/25/07 - 07:45 am
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People the ole' saying "If it

People the ole' saying "If it appears to be to good for words run for cover" is very true. Just because someone states I am Christian and a Preacher, Rev. or Pastor or whatever does not make it so. The devil can go anywhere or crawl into anyone with all the right words anytime he wants. Remember he -Satan- quotes the scripture better than anyone human around. Just because someone claims to be Christian doesn't make it so. I knew a person who was an 'ordained deacon in the Baptist Church" and was a child molester. My father by the way. Think about these things people before the next devil in a christian suit comes knocking at your door.

Da Voice Inside Your Head
7
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Da Voice Inside Your Head 09/25/07 - 08:02 am
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If someone tells me "i'm a

If someone tells me "i'm a Christan" the first thing I do is put my hand on my wallet and scrunch my butt cheeks up real tight cause i know I'm fixing to get screwed. I know that sounds bad, but I learned from experience. Some of the dirtiest business people I've seen claim to be "Christans".I only hope when they leave here that God accepts" it's only business" as an excuse.Because if he doesn't a lot of them are in trouble. If someones best Business qualification is "Im a Christan" then I'd be wary.

getalife
4
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getalife 09/25/07 - 08:18 am
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Satan will come in many

Satan will come in many forms!!

brown
0
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brown 09/25/07 - 08:26 am
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Where is a picture of this

Where is a picture of this criminal?

InChristLove
22410
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InChristLove 09/25/07 - 08:39 am
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Even Christians fall from

Even Christians fall from grace, doesn't make their sin any worse or better than the next human beings, sin is sin. I agree with you christian134, not everyone who claims to be a christian is so, and the devil uses this to cast a bad light on true believers in Christ. What disturbs me is the comments made that when people hear that you are a Christian. I'm a Chrisitan, proud of it! I try and live a decent honest life, treat people with respect and care what happens to them. The concept that most Christians are dishonest, want to screw you, and are molesters is just hogwash. There are many good decent and honest true believers out there. What baffles me is this woman won 7.8 million, gave him 2.8 million and now she's lost everything. What happened to the other 5 MILLION!!!!

BoldTruth
0
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BoldTruth 09/25/07 - 08:49 am
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I love these comment places,

I love these comment places, they are full of judgemental self-righteous people, that has never done anything wrong. Also, don't judge all Christians because of the deeds of a few.

karmakills123
8
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karmakills123 09/25/07 - 09:43 am
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brown if you archive the

brown if you archive the story you will see a photo of hollis who happens to be a black man.

patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 09/25/07 - 09:53 am
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InChristLove, sad news on the

InChristLove, sad news on the lottery. This is really sad so sit down. When you win $7.8 million from the lottery, you don't win 7.8 right then, it's over the next 26 or 30 years, depends on which lottery. If you take the early payout, you get about half of the winnings and then Uncle get about a third of what's left and before you know it, your 7.8 is 2.8. Sad isn't it. From nothing to 2.8 million dollars. The funny thing is, an on line savings account would have returned about $112,000 a year for the rest of her life and she'd still have her 2.8. Nobody watches Cavuto.

13Times
0
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13Times 09/25/07 - 10:58 am
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5 yrs is not a long time, its

5 yrs is not a long time, its too bad this kind of things happens all the time. He'll get what's coming to him sooner or later.

brown
0
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brown 09/25/07 - 12:17 pm
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Karmakills -- I did archive

Karmakills -- I did archive the story, but I can't find a picture. Please let me know the date. Thank you.

intheknow
16
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intheknow 09/25/07 - 01:29 pm
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BROWN AT THE TOP OF THE

BROWN AT THE TOP OF THE Chronicle's site, type in the name JOHNNY LEE HOLLIS in the search area, it will bring up several articles on him.

brown
0
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brown 09/25/07 - 01:59 pm
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Thank you, intheknow, now I

Thank you, intheknow, now I found it.

shaftmaster
0
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shaftmaster 09/25/07 - 03:16 pm
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I am surprised there is no

I am surprised there is no bashing because of race!

law
0
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law 09/25/07 - 05:41 pm
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I don't feel bad for these

I don't feel bad for these dumb people that lost their life savings, they should have at the least had some sort of common sense. How does a person lose money cars houses and everything they own like that, it just shows they didn't care in the first place or maybe the fell and bumped their heads and became stupid

UncleBill
6
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UncleBill 09/25/07 - 10:48 pm
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There is one business in

There is one business in Augusta I will not patronize after I complained to the manager about an employee, and he started his reponse with "He's a good Christian boy".

Where does that keep the individual from making mistakes?

Let your faith be known by your actions, not your words.

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