Georgia Department of Law, from the office of Thurbert E. Baker, Attorney General


Attorney General Baker Announces Criminal Sentence in Racketeering Case for Hall County Flooring Supplier

June 22, 2006

Attorney General Thurbert Baker announced today the successful prosecution of Cornelius Coleman “Cole” Martin, III to one felony count of RICO (racketeering). The case involved a Hall County company, of which Martin was a principal, that was selling wood flooring at reduced prices via the Internet. Between January 2003 and April 2004, the Defendant, along with his father, was one of the principles in a company that was known as, among other names. This company operated out of their home in Gainesville. Their scheme was to lure customers in via the Internet with low prices for high quality wood flooring. They would send out samples of this ‘high quality flooring’ to the customers. The customers would then order the flooring paying between 50 – 100% of the purchase price up front. Then they either never received their orders or what they received was of such inferior quality that it was unusable. Upon complaining and requesting refunds, the Defendant and his father would stall using various tactics. Ultimately, the customers never got their money or the products. There are over 122 victims in the Hall County case.

Judge Bonnie Oliver took the guilty plea in Hall County Superior Court on Tuesday. As part of a negotiated plea, he was sentenced to a 20 year sentence, 3 years to serve in custody with the remaining time to be served on probation making restitution to his victims. Martin is currently serving time in federal prison for charges arising out of New York. At the conclusion of the federal time, he will be returned to the Georgia Department of Corrections to serve the balance of his state sentence. He was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $518,559.21. He has also agreed to testify and cooperate in the case against his father, Cornelius Coleman "Neal" Martin, Jr.

The investigation of the case was handled by the state Office of Consumer Affairs. Assistant Attorney General Cassandra Schansmann handled the prosecution of the case.