Watkins ordered to pay restitution and civil penalties - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Watkins ordered to pay restitution and civil penalties

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann issued a final order in the matter of Watkins Development, LLC and David Watkins, individually, after an administrative hearing officer found Watkins to have operated in a manner to "mislead or deceive." 

We are told that those actions included untrue statements in the bond offering, misleading and deceptive actions in the use of bond proceeds, and substantial omissions in payment requisitions, all in violation of Miss Code Section 75-71-501, Article 5 Fraud and Liabilities, of the Mississippi Securities Act of 2009.

After a two-day hearing in October, Watkins was found to have taken funds designated to renovate the "Belk Building" in the Metrocenter shopping center in Jackson, and instead, used the funds to purchase property in Meridian.  According the the Secretary of State's office, the failure to disclose their intentions to use the bond proceeds for any other purpose other than renovating the space at the Metrocenter violates the general fraud statutes of the Mississippi Securities Act.

"The hearing officer in the case recommended restitution in the amount of $587,084, plus legal interest and a civil penalty of $75,000 against Watkins Development and David Watkins.  I see no reason to disagree with the recommendation of the hearing officer," says Secretary Hosemann.

Watkins Development, LLC and David Watkins are also ordered to pay administrative and investigative costs in the amount of $18,047.39. We are told that they may appeal the decision in the First Judicial District of Hinds County within 60 days of the Final Order.

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