The Alpharetta man who was found guilty of racketeering and mortgage fraud last week has been sentenced to prison.
Cobb District Attorney Vic Reynolds said in a press release Friday that two “sovereign citizens” - Susan Lorraine Weidman, 52, of Kennesaw and Matthew Lowery, 29, - have been sentenced to lengthy prison terms for violating Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act by trying to take control of homes they did not own in Fulton, DeKalb and Forsyth counties.
Cobb Superior Court Judge A. Gregory Poole handed down the sentences, with Weidman sentenced to 40 years, with 20 years to serve in prison and the rest on probation.
Lowery was sentenced as a recidivist to 20 years, with 10 years to serve in prison.
Weidman told the court the situation “was a failure to communicate between me and law enforcement.”
Last Friday, jurors convicted Weidman on three counts of RICO violations, and Lowery on two RICO violations.
Deputy Chief ADA John Melvin, who prosecuted the case, told the court that “Ms. Weidman, as the ringleader, brought a lot of pain to a lot of people. You see a pattern of activity over several years in which Ms. Weidman refuses to get it.”
Judge Poole told Weidman that her actions were nothing but thievery and burglary.
“This was no experiment,” Judge Poole said. “You had folks breaking into houses, changing the locks and outright thieving. It was just incredulous to me that a citizen could think she could get away with this.”
Melvin lauded Judge Poole’s sentence in the case.
“We are eternally grateful that Judge Poole saw this for what it is and went the extra mile to hold these people accountable and protect the citizens of Cobb County,” Melvin said.
In one instance, Weidman entered a vacant home at 130 Champlain Street, Decatur, changed the locks, and then filed false documents with the Clerk of Superior Court in DeKalb to claim the property. She then lied to law enforcement officers investigating the case.
Lowery and others also occupied a house on Shade Tree Way in Cumming and when challenged by a real-estate firm representing the bank owner, Weidman sent a letter from a nonexistent law firm and signed by a nonexistent lawyer on behalf of a nonexistent property-management firm threatening legal action if agents entered the property again.