Inmate says attorney charged him $200,000 to get a bond - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Inmate says attorney charged him $200,000 to get a bond

by Roslyn Giles  - email | bio

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - With direct connections to a Mexican Drug Cartel, 34 year old Torrence Hill told jurors in Attorney Mark Shelnutt’s money laundering case that he had a $9 million a month drug operation. His answer made even Judge Clay Land take note by asking Hill to repeat the amount.

Hill also testified that he paid Shelnutt between $250,000 & $268,000 in legal fees for which he never got a receipt.  He claims that Shelnutt charged him $200,000 just to get him a bond, while his family paid the actual fees for Hill to be bonded out of jail.

Their relationship was a close friendly one, says Hill.  When he learned the investigation was turning toward his former attorney, according to testimony, Hill refused to cooperate against Shelnutt. He admonished that Shelnutt had done nothing wrong and said his ex-wife, Tamika, should stop telling lies on Shelnutt.

Hill Later had a change of heart after learning otherwise on the alleged wrongdoing and after hearing an audio recording of Shelnutt telling investigators, “How could I get in on a conspiracy when I had him (Hill) busted.  Hill inquired about the statement. Shelnutt responded, “I was using that statement to suggest how stupid it was for federal agents to suggest I was a part of your drug operation.”

Hill says he was hurt because he thought Shelnutt was his friend.

Former secretary, Joanne Strickland, from Shelnutt’s law firm also testified that Shelnutt gave her $7000.00 to deposit in her Wachovia bank account. Thirty minutes later, she wrote him a check for $500 less the amount he gave her.   The difference she says was a gift for her daughter’s wedding that was coming up in ten days.

Shelnutt wouldn’t comment about today’s testimony but says he is glad to finally have his day in court, “I think we’re in there and we’re getting the truth out. It’s going to be one witness at a time. I think the picture is being painted. I am confident when things are over the right things are going to happen.”

Court resumes at 8:00 Friday morning at the Federal Building on 12th Avenue in Columbus.  The Government is expected to rest its case. If so, the defense will begin Monday morning call its witnesses.  



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