Bond denied for Mitch Simpson

Bond was denied for former Cleveland car dealer Mitch Simpson at a hearing on Thursday, April 18.

Superior Court Judge Joy Parks presided over the two-hour bond hearing, which featured evidence and witnesses presented by defense attorney Jeff Wolff and assistant district attorney Bill Clark.

“From the other evidence that was presented, I feel there is a threat to the community as far as community property and also I feel like there could potentially be a threat of committing another felony while the trial is pending,” Parks prior to issuing her decision. She also added that she did not believe he was a flight risk based on the testimony from the hearing.

Simpson, 51, was arrested March 26 on three counts of theft by conversion. At the hearing, it was revealed that two additional warrants for theft were also taken out against him on Thursday morning, but he had not been arrested on them yet.

“Bond is denied at this point, that provides us 90 days from the time of his arrest to present this to a grand jury, and we’ll be working to try and make that deadline with as complete of an indictment as we can obtain at that point,” said Enotah Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jeff Langley. “There may still be further information coming in that may run past that deadline, but we can prepare an indictment based on what we have to present within that 90-day deadline to present to the next available White County Grand Jury.”

The initial charges came after investigators said Simpson – who had operated Mitch Simpson Motors on U.S. 129 south of Cleveland – was collecting TAVT, the 7 percent state sales tax on vehicles, but instead of sending the money to the Georgia Department of Revenue, he was keeping it for himself. This left customers unable to access the title to their new car, because the vehicle cannot be registered until that tax is paid to the state.

Langley added that the top priority was making sure people were able to get their tags.

After the hearing, Wolff said he believes his client is an excellent candidate for bond.

“I certainly respect Judge Parks and her decision and respect the court, but I think my client would be an excellent candidate for bond and would certainly abide by any orders of the court, so I’m hoping that in time we can get the court to agree to let him out on bond,” Wolff said. “He’s certainly needed to aid in his defense and he has such deep roots in the community, he’s not going anywhere. We look forward to the day we can have our day in court and defend these charges.”

During the hearing Wolff called five witnesses to testify about Simpson and whether or not they believed he was a flight risk, a threat to the community or if he would commit additional crimes while out on bond. All said they believed he would not be a flight risk because of his ties to the community, which includes his relationship to his mother and son.

Clark called Brian Crisp, state investigator with the Georgia Department of Revenue, and White County Sheriff’s Office investigator Clay Hammond as witnesses. They testified about the investigation and complaints against Simpson. The state claimed that there is $2 million in missing money.

More information from the hearing will be in next week’s White County News.

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