Partners who lost money due to Macon businessman William David “Billy” Ramsbottom Jr.’s embezzling $476,000 wrote a letter to a Bibb County judge requesting that Ramsbottom be sentenced to probation and not prison time.
Ramsbottom pleaded guilty to one count of fiduciary theft Wednesday in Bibb County Superior Court and was sentenced to 15 years on probation.
Among the seven signatures affixed to the letter written to Chief Judge S. Phillip Brown were former Atlanta Braves baseball players John Rocker and Ryan Klesko, as well as former Atlanta Falcons football player Chris Mohr.
At Ramsbottom’s hearing, prosecutors requested that Ramsbottom be sentenced to probation with “terms and conditions” of probation to be set by the court. “Terms and conditions” can include stays in a detention center of up to 720 days, according to the district attorney’s office.
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As special conditions of probation, Brown required Ramsbottom to continue his mental health treatment, and he must pay $5,180 in restitution in connection with a separate theft case within 30 days of being refunded his $50,000 cash bond.
In exchange for Ramsbottom’s plea, an additional 46 counts of fiduciary theft by taking and two counts of theft by taking were dismissed.
Ramsbottom admitted during the hearing that he diverted rent payment and other payments paid to companies that owned and operated the Retreat Village Shopping Center on St. Simons Island.
Before being sentenced, Ramsbottom apologized for his actions.
“I’m terribly remorseful,” Ramsbottom said. “I’m sorry for any damage I’ve done.”
Two lawsuits filed in Bibb County Superior Court against Ramsbottom that concern the St. Simons Island shopping center have been settled, but terms of the settlements have not been disclosed.
Check back at Macon.com and read Thursday’s Telegraph for more on this story.