District Attorney’s Office Loses Bench Trial in Effingham County

District Attorney Daphne Totten’s Office lost another trial last week in Effingham County.

Peggy Ann Gaskins was arrested in June 2022 on a number of warrants, including Insurance Fraud, Theft by Deception, Forgery in the 1st Degree, and Exploitation of an Elder Person/Disabled Adult stemming from acts dating back to 2016. 

The warrants alleged that Gaskins committed financial crimes against her boyfriend when she:

  • made false representations by claiming the property of her boyfriend on her insurance claim
  • deposited $50,000 of paychecks, insurance settlement funds, and savings into an account that was solely accessible by her but should have been jointly accessible by both her and her boyfriend
  • falsely created a direct deposit form for her boyfriend
  • deprived her boyfriend of his essential finances 

Gaskins was indicted by a grand jury in June 2022 on charges of Insurance Fraud, Theft by Deception, and Forgery in the 1st Degree, but was absent the Exploitation charge. Additionally, the $50,000 referenced in the warrants was not mentioned in the indictment. 

Prosecutors alleged that Gaskins:

  • ‘made a false representation to an insurance company about personal property that was destroyed in a fire sometime between October 15, 2018 and November 3, 2018, 
  • between February 1, 2016 and June 30, 2019, she unlawfully obtained the paychecks of another individual when she told him his paychecks were being deposited into a joint account, but they were allegedly only deposited into her own account (in an amount greater than $1,500, but with no specific amount noted in the indictment)
  • with the intent to defraud, made a direct deposit form for another individual in October 2018.

After a one day bench trial before Judge Ronnie Thompson, Thompson found Gaskin not guilty on all three counts.

Gaskins was represented by attorneys Mickey Kicklighter and BJ Fussell. 

Totten lost her campaign for re-election against defense attorney Robert Busbee in an overwhelming and unprecedented defeat in May, but will hold office until December 31, 2024. 

Jessica Szilagyi

Jessica Szilagyi is Publisher of TGV News. She focuses primarily on state and local politics as well as issues in law enforcement and corrections. She has a background in Political Science with a focus in local government and has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia.

Jessica is a "Like It Or Not" contributor for Fox5 in Atlanta and co-creator of of the Peabody Award-nominated podcast 'Prison Town.'

Sign up for her weekly newsletter: http://eepurl.com/gzYAZT

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