Former Georgia head coach Jim Donnan was found not guilty on Friday on 41 counts in a fraud case involving GLC Limited, a company he had ties to.
Donnan faced charges of money laundering, mail fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy because of his connection to the West Virginia-based company. The company deals in closeout merchandise. He was accused of working closely with a man named Gregory Crabtree in what appeared to be a pyramid scheme. College football coaches like Tommy Tuberville and Dennis Franchione and basketball coaches like Billy Gillispie and Mark Gottfried testified in the case, as it was Donnan who helped bring them in as investors, but jurors felt there was no connection between Donnan and the pyramid scheme, that it may have gone on without his knowledge and he had acted in good faith when dealing with former coaching colleagues.
“Mr. Donnan was as big a victim in this as some of the investors,” jury foreman Artis Ricks told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “I just never saw that smoking gun that proved guilt. I kept thinking every single day (during the trial) that the government was going to pull out a smoking gun. And there never was.”
GLC Limited was charged with taking around $80 million from investors. Crabtree has already pleaded guilty to one charge and could spent up to five years in prison.
Donnan led the Bulldogs to a 40-19 overall record and four straight bowl wins to close out his tenure there–spending 1996-2000 at the top. He was highly successful at Marshall before Georgia. He was the SEC coach of the year in 1997 after leading Georgia to a 10-2 record.