In attendance at Doug's sentencing this morning, Friday, July 10th, in the D.C. Superior Court, before the Honorable John Mott, were:
- Doug's mother, Mrs. Kohler, a very pleasant, elderly woman;
- A woman named Pam (perhaps Doug's sister-in-law? [Yes, wife of the brother defrauded on the phone; see below.]); she was close with Mrs. Kohler; and
- Matthew R., a former "good," "close" friend of Doug, who lent Doug money obtained from "lines of credit against [his] home." I don't Mr. R's charges were among the charges on which Doug was being sentenced today.
I heard a lot of information about Doug:
- People reported that he has been texting and emailing threatening messages to a variety of people, including his sister.
- In the past, Doug reportedly said that he and his ex-wife had "lost a child." In response, relatives remarked, "that never happened!"
- People agreed that Doug has "always lived extravagantly" and "high on the horse," and that "he traveled a lot," reportedly to Amsterdam and parts of Canada and England.
- They agreed that he had received hair transplants and undergone plastic surgery.
- Doug has frequently explained to others that his extravagant lifestyle (travel, accommodations, elective medical procedures), were provided for free in exchange for advertising he provided.
- On several instances, Doug has apparently told victims that he was overwhelmed because his ex-wife, Ms. Lynn Huggins-Kohler, had been in a serious car wreck and that, as a result, Doug would have to care for their children. However, Ms. Huggins-Kohler told the U.S. Attorney, "That's not true." Indeed, Ms. Huggins-Kohler had been in a wreck that severely damaged her car; but she "walked away from it" and she told the U.S. Attorney that there has never been any time at which she needed Doug to assume care of their children. (It is worth noting, for clarity's sake, that Ms. Huggins-Kohler was once seriously injured when she fell from the back of a Jeep or a truck in Kiawah Island, SC. However, that was many years ago, early in her and Doug's relationship, perhaps before they were married.)
- Despite his using her as an excuse, Ms. Huggins-Kohler is still very supportive of Doug. She initially insisted that she would not house Doug after his bond hearing in Fairfax County (for his most recent arrest), however, she eventually hosted him. She also wrote a letter to the D.C. Superior Court in support of Doug.
- The report for Doug's arrest in Fairfax County indicates that he obtained a cell phone and service using his brother's personal identification.
- Doug's father told the U.S. Attorney that after Doug stayed with him, his savings bonds worth $4,000 went missing.
- Doug has a prior conviction in Maryland for fraud and/or identity theft for which he owes approximately $7,000 in restitution. It seems this had something to do with a woman named Mary DeRosa (sp?).
Doug's defense attorney, Ms. Elizabeth Sapperstein, took issue with the fact that the court was receiving several letters or impact statements, late in the case, without affording her opportunity to offer a written response. She also took issue with the fact that the U.S. Attorney discussed several allegations that were not among the present charges.
About your blog, Ms. Sapperstein commented, "His blog is full of slanderous accusations; it's a hateful blog." She asserted on Doug's behalf that "he's not a drug user; he's never been a drug user." She claimed that Doug "wants to make retribution to all these [victims]." She asked the court for a suspended sentence, reasoning that "now that [Doug]'s working and his health is such that he can work, the court should" give him a chance, albeit "on a short leash." She explained that "he's hoping to get a job at Mariott, at a fairly high level." (Huh?! What?! --Remind me not to stay at any Mariott properties.)
Doug then addressed the court, saying that "I did plead guilty. ... It doesn't matter how sick I was. ... My life has changed a lot in the last two years ... from having a wife and kids, owning a company. ... [It was] very much due to health matters. ... I can't say that my decisions were the best ... [but] you get to a point with pain where you just don't care."
The Court indicated it's irritation with Doug "sandwiching" his statement between references to his health problems. "This was an organized plan to defraud [people]. ... You went to some effort to take money from people. ... You're lucky to [be charged with only] a misdemeanor." Explaining to Doug that his crimes will forever cast doubt on him, the court told Doug that "nothing you say to me is necessarily true." "I don't know if you had a drug problem; it doesn't matter. ... You can't expect [to deceive people], plead to it, pay back their money, and then move on with your life. ... Sure, one of the victims has a blog. I don't know what it says; but the reason I understand he wrote the blog was to warn people about you. Which is a good thing to do. ... Because of the fraud, the deceit, the lies, you need to spend some time in prison."
The court then sentenced Doug to 180 days in prison (the maximum possible) suspended, except for 100 days, followed by 18 months' probation. This means that Doug must serve 100 days, after which he will remain on probation with the threat of an additional 80 days hanging over his head. The court also ordered that he pay $6,100 of restitution within 24 months. The court ordered a full psychological evaluation and periodic drug testing. The court also ordered Doug to get a job upon release.
Finally, Doug asked to delay the start of his sentence over the weekend. The court declined that request ("I'm not going to allow that."), ordering that it begin immediately, at which point, a deputy escorted Doug from the courtroom.