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BAY COUNTY BUSINESSES BILKED IN FISHING TOURNAMENT SCAM

 BAY COUNTY BUSINESSES BILKED IN FISHING TOURNAMENT SCAM
 TALLAHASSEE, Fla., March 4 /PRNewswire/ -- An Alabama couple who promoted a $150,000 bass tournament on Lake Seminole is wanted by Florida authorities for grand theft after apparently collecting money from at least seven Bay County businesses, including $5,000 from the Boy's Club of Bay County.
 Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission Investigator Lt. Phil Palmer said Jonathan V. Knott, 44, Deatsville, Ala. and Sheron C. Burson, 42, Montgomery, Ala., convinced the businesses to put up "front money" and money for advertising for the tournament set for Dec. 13-15, 1991 on Lake Seminole near Sneads. Palmer said they collected the money from March through September 1991.
 "Not only did they not hold a tournament on Lake Seminole as promised," said Palmer, "they also cleaned out their Panama City Beach apartment and left town prior to the supposed event."
 Palmer said Knott and Burson apparently had become fairly well known in the Panama City area and had even established and incorporated a company, Sports Promotion, Inc., for the purpose of holding a bass tournament. He said the investigation revealed that both Knott and Burson handed out impressive background information brochures to would-be contributors to gain their trust.
 "Mr. Knott listed an affiliation with Bass Anglers Sportsman Society in Montgomery as a National Federation Director and that he oversaw 43 state B.A.S.S. chapters and the operation of numerous bass tournaments," Palmer said. "Ms. Burson listed several things, but most notably that she served two years as tournament director for the P.G.A. Ben Hogan Tour on Panama City Beach."
 Palmer said he discovered that Knott and Burson had also solicited money, apparently unsuccessfully, from several businesses in Sneads, Fla. and Bainbridge, Ga. During this time, he said, they also obtained money from a major hotel chain in North Carolina for the promise of a bass tournament there, which apparently was not held either.
 Palmer said anyone who gave money to the pair or knows the couple's location should contact him at the GFC's Panama City office at 904-265-3678; or State Attorney Jim Appleman at 904-872-4473.
 -0- 3/4/92
 /CONTACT: Lt. Phil Palmer of the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission, 904-265-3678/ CO: Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission ST: Florida IN: SU:


JJ-SS -- FL011 -- 5159 03/04/92 17:15 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 4, 1992
Words:395
Previous Article:AUBURN RACE TRACK HEARING SET
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