Attorney General Thurbert Baker announced today that a Marietta man had been convicted on charges of theft and securities fraud that targeted Georgia citizens. Henry Dawson Branan, 64, was found guilty of five counts of theft and six counts of securities fraud, and he was sentenced yesterday in Cobb Superior Court to 10 years in prison and 20 years of probation by Judge Lark Ingram. Branan’s company sold boat slips and dry-stack boat storage racks to several Atlanta-area investors with the false promise of high returns and guaranteed profits, when in fact the operation was a Ponzi scheme whereby the money paid by new investors is turned around and used as the “profits” paid to older investors.

Branan's probation prohibits him from working in securities, real estate or marinas, and he is required to pay restitution to his victims following his release from prison. Baker, in announcing the decision, vowed to continue to crack down on con artists who target Georgia citizens. “Today, we sent a strong message that fraud carries a high price in Georgia. Fraud artists who target Georgia citizens will instead find themselves in the sights of Georgia law enforcement.”

Assistant Attorney General Kim Schwartz handled the prosecution of the case, and the case was investigated by David Patterson, Duane Fry, Denise Williams and Walt Matham of the Securities Division of the Office of Secretary of State assisted in the investigation of the case.