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Charges against Colemans carry possible prison time
 wwolfe  / 

Glynn County Commissioner Bob Coleman and his wife Sherry, indicted by a Glynn County grand jury Wednesday, face possible prison time that includes a mandatory minimum, should they be convicted of any of the six counts of insurance fraud listed.

Under Georgia law, “any natural person who knowingly or willfully … makes or aids in the making of any false or fraudulent statement or representation of any material fact…” regarding insurance policies, is, if convicted, “guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than two nor more than 10 years, or by a fine of not more than $10,000, or both.”

Count 1 alleges that around Nov. 21, 2017, the Colemans submitted a false certificate of insurance to Serafini Construction, which listed Moises Hernandez — doing business as Hernandez Construction — as the insured. The indictment goes on to state the certificate falsely showed Hernandez Construction was covered by a Berkshire Hathaway workers’ compensation insurance policy, and that Serafini Construction was the certificate holder. Sherry Coleman allegedly presented that certificate to Serafini, knowing it to be fictitious.

Count 2 alleges similar actions, committed around Dec. 4, 2017, with an allegedly similarly fictitious certificate presented to Frank Serafini Builders. It also allegedly showed Hernandez doing business as Moises Construction. It’s not immediately known whether Hernandez did business as these different entities, or whether there are mistakes in the indictment that need correction.

Count 3 again goes down the same path, also on Dec. 4, 2017, with Hatcher Homes listed as the certificate holder and Sherry Coleman presenting the alleged fictitious certificate to Hatcher. That pattern continues with Count 4, but this allegedly fictitious certificate — also presented to Hatcher on Dec. 4, 2017 — falsely showed Hernandez’s company was also covered by Occidental Insurance Company for commercial general liability.

Count 13 states the Colemans applied Feb. 9, 2018, for a new auto insurance policy through Progressive Insurance for Roosevelt Norris Jr., which the indictment alleges occurred without Norris’ permission.

The final insurance fraud count, Count 15, alleges that around Nov. 21, 2017, the Colemans presented a false certificate to Crosby Services that showed Myrick Construction had workers’ compensation coverage through a Liberty Mutual policy, which wasn’t true.

The other nine counts listed in the indictment are for violations of the reporting and disposition of premium requirement of the Georgia insurance code.

The allegation in Count 5 is that the Colemans failed to report to any insurer the premium for an insurance contract with Viola Cooper for a homeowner’s policy Feb. 2, 2016. Count 6 states the Colemans failed to promptly account for and return to Cooper the money for that premium.

Count 7 states this process began again June 8, 2017, with Hutchinson Stucco, in which the Colemans allegedly failed to report the premium to Scottsdale Insurance for general liability insurance. Count 8 follows in that the premium was not promptly refunded to Hutchinson.

Count 9 alleges the Colemans didn’t report the premium to United States Liability Insurance Company for a nonprofit management liability policy taken out July 27, 2018, by the Coastal Animal Rescue Society. Count 10 states the premium was not promptly returned.

The same thing allegedly occurred Aug. 9, 2017, with Waynesville Septic Tank, which entered into an agreement for a general liability policy through Diamond State Insurance, leading to Counts 11 and 12. Count 14 states the Colemans, around Oct. 10, 2016, failed to promptly return the premium due to Kelly Stanley Smith.

All of the alleged violations of the premium requirement involve money in excess of $500, which makes each a felony. According to the state code, violations of that law “shall constitute grounds or cause for action by the commissioner, including, but not limited to, probation, suspension or revocation of the license. Each and every act by a licensee shall also constitute grounds for fines and penalties, which amounts shall be set by rule or regulation of the commissioner.”

Salvation Army leaders share appreciation for community support
 lmcdonald  / 

The local Salvation Army helped improve many families’ Christmas celebrations this holiday season.

But they couldn’t have done so without the help of the community, said Capt. Chris Powell, who heads up the Salvation Army in Brunswick alongside his wife Billie.

The Salvation Army’s most visible fundraising campaign, the Red Kettle campaign, exceeded its goal this year in the Golden Isles.

Powell aimed to raise about $56,000. The campaign raised, in total, $58,579 this year.

“We had at least a five percent increase in volunteers this year on the bells, which was really good,” Powell said. “… I was able to keep the majority of our stands manned this year between volunteers and our paid bell ringers. That’s what contributed to us being able to make goal this year.”

Most of the Salvation Army’s budget is donor-driven, Powell said, and the annual budget includes money raised by the Red Kettle campaign. The money raised is used for social service programs, grants, shelter operations, church programs and more.

“We want to thank not only Glynn but also McIntosh County for the support that we get here,” Powell said.

The Salvation Army served 229 local children, called “angels,” through the annual Angel Tree giving campaign this year, through which community members could sponsor children and supply them with the Christmas gifts on their list.

The Salvation Army also received great response this year to its call for end-of-year donations to the food pantry.

An item the pantry continues to need, though, is meat, Powell said.

“That’s usually the one piece that gets left out,” he said, noting that many tend to donate canned vegetables and other items but forget about the need for canned meats.

But without the community’s support, Powell said, the Salvation Army could not operate as successfully as it did this past year.

“We’d like to thank all the individuals and groups that came out and volunteered at the Red Kettle locations and the Angel Tree,” Powell said. “We would like to thank the community that came alongside of us and purchased gifts for children in the Angel Tree program, to give them a Christmas.”

And Powell said many local partners helped provided turkeys for a Christmas meal at the Salvation Army shelter for both shelter residents and some community members.

“We just want to thank the community as a whole for supporting us and the work that we do here in the community for those in need,” he said.

The Salvation Army also continues to have volunteer opportunities available for those who are interested. Those opportunities include helping stock the food pantry and working at the Salvation Army’s shelter and Family Store.

Those interested can call 912-265-9381.

“We always have plenty of time for volunteers,” Powell said.

After costly crash, Crab Man fishes drone from the drink
 lhobbs  / 

It’s not quite as spellbinding as that one time when his buddy “Gilligan” went over the railing after a feisty shark on the line, but Crab Man has a new fish tale to tell down at the St. Simons Island Pier.

Besides, this one is mostly true.

It is a man-versus-the-sea saga that could unfold only in the 21st Century. It is the story of Crab Man and the Drone.

Crab Man’s good standing among the cast of characters down at the pier goes back more than 20 years. Those hovering drones are a fairly new phenomenon there.

But with the growing popularity of drones among hobbyists and various tradesmen alike, these oversized remote control dragonflies are becoming nearly as common an overhead sight as seagulls.

In case you have not guessed already, Crab Man crabs. Down at the pier. Almost daily.

You could address him as Gregory Roberts, but Crab Man probably would not respond. He has been tending traps at the pier since July 1, 1995, when a disgruntled crab woman left her traps in his care. “She said, ‘Take ‘em,’” Crab Man once told The News. “I’ve been the Crab Man ever since.”

He has seen a lot interesting creatures landed at the pier in his time, even suffered a nasty gash a couple of years back trying to help with a shark that was thrashing around on the deck. Crab Man thought he had seen it all, until early Monday afternoon.

But that fancy drone captured the attention of most every one on the pier. It was hovering just a few feet above the water’s rolling surface as tides swelled toward the Johnson Rocks along the adjoining Neptune Park oceanfront. The drone went up, then down. Then up, then ...

“They had it up high over the pier, flying it around,” said Crab Man, who by now has seen his share of drones. “But when it came down to the water, they let it touch the water a little bit. It jumped up and went back down, into the water.”

The drone’s pilots were standing on the far end of the waterfront, near the St. Simons Island Lighthouse, Crab Man said. For whatever reason, he said, the two jumped into a golf cart and drove away.

To Crab Man, however, this drone in the drink was just another crafty crustacean. So he took off his boots, rolled up his pants legs and went to work.

“I walked out there knee-high and grabbed it and pulled it out of there,” said Crab Man, an army veteran and long-time islander.

Roy, a pier regular who mainly fishes for sheepshead, was impressed.

“The Crab Man immediately went into the low water to retrieve it,” Roy said. “He brought it up to the pier while it was still smoking.”

The challenge Crab Man faced now was returning the drone to its rightful owners. One bystander offered that it probably belonged to Glynn County workers, who are presently busy with a lot of projects down in the Pier Village. However, nothing panned out. Both Crab Man and Roy contacted The News for assistance, even texting a photo of the orphaned drone.

Meanwhile, Crab Man strapped the drone to the rack on the back of his bicycle and pedaled it home for safe keeping.

Hoping to shed light on the mystery, The News on Wednesday contacted John Centeno, an FAA-certified drone pilot with the county’s GIS Department. He did not know of a missing county drone, but said he would be glad to take a look at the drone Crab Man fished out of the water. So The News forwarded the texted photo to him.

“Wow,” was Centeno’s first texted response.

This was not some entry-level hobbyist’s drone, he assured The News. “That looks like a nice one.”

It was, in fact, an RTK drone, a brand most often used by aerial surveyors, Centeno said. Centeno estimated it could be worth up to $20,000; a quick Google search revealed RTK drones advertised for between $7,500 and $9,000.

But by the time The News got back to him, the canny Crab Man and his pier peers had already figured this out. With the drone still strapped to his bicycle, Crab Man was waiting later Wednesday afternoon to hand it over to Rick Sawyer, Vice President of Arc Surveying & Mapping out of Jacksonville.

The group was conducting surveys of the Johnson Rocks along the Neptune Park waterfront for the county. It is preliminary work in conjunction with the $2.5 million OneGeorgia grant awarded Glynn County for beach improvements, said county spokesman Matthew Kent.

An “programming glitch” initiated an in-flight software update, which caused to drone to ditch in the water, Sawyer explained. The company’s drone pilots wrote it off as lost in the surf, he said.

“We went to look for it, but people told us it was sunk,” Sawyer said. “Then we received a call from this gentleman. He recovered it for us.”

Unfortunately, drone technology and saltwater are a bad mix, so the costly craft is pretty much a loss. But Arc officials were able to retrieve the data recorded by the drone; its frame and some other parts may be salvaged.

Still, Sawyer was no less appreciative of Crab Man’s efforts to return the drone to its owners. “Absolutely, it was very nice of him,” Sawyer said. “It was pretty much a loss, but we were able to get the data off of it, so that’s good. And we should still be able to utilize the chassis and other things.”

Said Crab Man: “I just wanted to get it back to whoever it belonged to, that’s all.”