Bond hearing for four embezzlement suspects - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Bond hearing for four embezzlement suspects

July 1, 2004

Albany -- Four more suspects in that million dollar embezzlement case are granted bond. Their attorneys blame the whole thing on the accused mastermind of the scheme.

Thursday morning at the Dougherty County Jail a judge granted bond for four of the eight suspects in the case. During the bond hearing the attorneys for two of Anne Williamson's daughters say they had no idea where the money their mother gave them came from.

Becky Gilliland and her sister, Helen Cook, her husband, Danny Cook, and son Cameron Cook all could face over 45 years in prison if convicted of the theft and elder abuse charges they face. Cook's attorney Lee Hayes said "They were more than shocked. Frightened, terrified,their whole world crumbled."

Gilliland, a youth counselor for D.F.A.C.S. in Lowndes County, is charged with receiving 47 thousand dollars that her mother, Anne Williamson, took from the estate of 82-year-old Ima Rude. Prosecutors say Williamson took over one million dollars from Rude while she was her legal guardian. Haye's said "Any funds that were received by my clients were received as gifts from their mother, which is not an unusual circumstance."

The Cooks all live in Lakeland and are charged with receiving 61 thousand dollars stolen from Rude's estate. Hayes said "If we are all required to look behind a gift from our parents, to find out where our parents got the money, we could all be in trouble."

 Judge Stephen Goss granted the Cooks and Gilliland a 15 thousand dollar bond each, ordering them not to talk with Anne Williamson. Hayes said "The receiver has seized all of their assets, all of their bank accounts. Kicked them out of their homes. They have no where to live."

 Williamson, who prosecutors say masterminded this embezzlement scheme, and her son Dan Daniell have not yet been granted a bond hearing, and prosecutors say they are flight risks.

Prosecutors say Williamson gave a false name to arresting officers and had hidden at Cameron Cook's home in Lakeland for months during their investigation.

Investigators found some of Mrs. Rude's furniture and property in Cameron Cook's home. His attorney says Williamson brought them there when she stayed with Cook.

posted at 4:33 PM by jimw@walb.com