Hickory Foods fraud convict sentenced to 33 months in prison

Prosecutors questioned whether 37-year-old connected to killing

By Heather Leigh - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Jacksonville man who pleaded guilty to defrauding Hickory Foods of more than $900,000 was sentenced Tuesday to two years and nine months in prison.

David Dinsbeer, 37, pleaded guilty to 16 counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud. He was facing up to 20 years per count.

At the sentencing, the judge spoke about what went into his decision. He talked about Dinsbeer's positive attributes, saying he could see how much he loves his children. But the judge said in the letter Dinsbeer wrote to him, Dinsbeer never explained why he committed the crime.

The judge said, "His upbringing was described as ideal. He has parents and grandparents of character. I just don't have an explanation. Sometimes there's an underlying problem, but I don't see that in the background."

He said in the letter Dinsbeer expressed remorse for what he did, and the judge says he's cautiously optimistic about whether Dinsbeer would do it again.

Once the judge read the sentence, he told Dinsbeer, "I barely know what to say to you. You've created a huge challenge for yourself and family. It can be overcome. You know what the right thing is, you've just got to do it."

In federal court, the judge is allowed to tailor a sentence based on several different things. Criminal history is one, and the seriousness of the crime is another. The judge compares that to a guideline sentence based on a chart. Jacksonville attorney A. Russell Smith, who was not affiliated with the case, said the judge's findings matched the sentence.

The guidelines showed a sentence between 33 and 41 months, and the judge decided on 33 months, with two years of probation afterward. Dinsbeer was also ordered to pay $904,373 in restitution to Hickory Foods and $100,000 to Travelers Insurance Co.

"I would say most of the time the system works when everyone does their job," Smith said. "In this case, you had an experienced prosecutor, a very talented defense lawyer, a very experienced and intelligent judge, and it appears the system worked just the way it was supposed to work."

Dinsbeer was able to leave court Tuesday to get his affairs in order. He has the right to appeal the decision but must do that within 14 days.

According to the indictment issued in March, Dinsbeer teamed up with a Hickory Foods employee, setting up fake supplying companies in order to receive payment for items never delivered.

That Hickory Foods employee was later found shot and killed.

According to the indictment, Dinsbeer conspired with a Hickory Foods executive, RH, to pull the whole thing off. Sources say RH is Richard Hollis (pictured).

The indictment says Dinsbeer used phony supplier companies, which he controlled, to bill Hickory Foods for items and supplies never delivered. It says Dinsbeer would deposit those checks and use the money to pay off Hollis and personal expenses.

In September 2012, Hollis was found dead, shot and killed while changing a tire alongside Interstate 95 in Glynn County. His killing still remains unsolved.

In court Monday, the judge only asked about Hollis' death once, and the prosecutor acknowledged RH was indeed killed in Glynn County in September 2012.

Copyright 2014 by News4Jax.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.