Local News

Execs of bogus billboard firm sentenced for fraud

Posted May 6, 2008 5:09 p.m. EDT

— A former Forsyth County man was sentenced Tuesday to 14 years in prison for defrauding investors, including members of his church, of millions of dollars through a phony billboard company.

Scott Hollenbeck, 53, who now lives in Orlando, Fla., was convicted in February of criminal conspiracy and 12 counts of mail fraud.

Hollenbeck was a salesman with Mobile Billboards of America, a truck-mounted billboard program that shut down in 2004 amid allegations that it was a Ponzi scheme. Before that happened, however, he had convinced dozens of families who attended Gospel Light Baptist Church with him to invest in the company, garnering him more than $2 million in sales commissions, authorities said.

Mobile Billboards defrauded investors of an estimated $55 million before securities officials forced the company to shut down, authorities said.

Former Mobile Billboards Chairman Michael Lomas, of Pasadena, Calif., was sentenced to 20 years in prison, while Laurinda Holohan, 63, of Concord, Ohio, who conducted banking transactions from her basement that allowed the scheme to operate, was sentenced to 76 months in prison.

Arthur Anderson Jr., 49, of Raleigh, a Mobile Billboards salesman, was sentenced to five years in prison, and the company's bookkeeper, Susan Knight, 48, of Eastlake, Ohio, was sentenced to 30 months in prison.

A federal court hearing will be scheduled later to determine how much each defendant owes investors.