A 54-year-old former Milledgeville businessman, accused of stealing more than $1.3 million from clients while working as a financial advisor, pleaded not guilty to 23 felony criminal charges Monday in Baldwin County Superior Court.
Dean Harrison Grant, who formerly lived and worked in Milledgeville and now resides in Roswell, Ga., entered his plea during an arraignment hearing. Grant was represented at the hearing by his attorney, Carl Cansino, of Milledgeville.
Grant, who was arrested for the alleged crimes and who served several days in the Baldwin County Law Enforcement Center, was indicted last November by a grand jury in Baldwin County.
Grand jurors indicted Grant on two counts of trafficking an elder person by financial exploitation, 10 counts of insurance fraud, nine counts of theft by taking, and one count of forgery in the first-degree, according to records filed in the Baldwin County Superior Court Clerk’s Office.
Grant was released from jail after posting a $750,000 bond on March 15 last year.
“This devious individual stole more than $1.3 million of hard-earned money from Georgians,” said Georgia Commissioner of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John F. King. “These victims put their trust in him, and in some cases, their livelihood. He abused that trust and left the victims out to dry. This should serve as an example to all of the people who feel they are above the law; these heinous acts will not be tolerated in this state.”
King’s comments were disseminated to media outlets in a press release after grand jurors returned the 23-count indictment against Grant.
Grant was the founder and managing partner of GIF Strategic Advisors, located at 136 W. McIntosh St., Suite A in Milledgeville.
He was taken into custody on charges last February.
At that time, the state’s insurance and safety fire commissioner said Grant was accused of receiving a total of $589,384.33 from three of his victims. The money was reportedly given to Grant for him to secure insurance-related investments, a total of $447,589.26 of which was taken from two elderly customers.
“He did not obtain any insurance investments with the money he received from his customers and instead used it for personal benefit,” King said in the press release.
Later, Grant was charged with seven other additional counts of insurance fraud and seven counts of theft by taking (fiduciary), according to the state official.
“He was accused of taking an additional $785,000 from three customers for him to secure insurance-related investments, bringing the total monetary value received from the victims to $1,374,384.33,” King said.
The case was jointly investigated by Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office Detective Capt. Brad King and Special Agent Jason S. Jones with the Georgia Insurance Commissioner’s Office.
The sheriff’s office learned of the questionable activities involving the suspect in November 2017.