STONE COUNTY, Mo. – Three people have been sentenced for their respective roles in a scam at Indian Ridge in Stone County.
David Drake, Donald Snider and Heather Gibbs were supposed to build dozens of homes on the corner lot of the lakeside property, located just a few hundred yards away from Silver Dollar City.
The US Attorney General’s Office says Drake, Snider and Gibbs worked together to secure loans under false means and then pulled money out of the bank that was supposed to be used for the development.
This week the three were given prison sentences ranging from three- to five-years for bank fraud and money laundering.
“I don’t think that there is any penalty that would have been enough for the people who perpetrated this against the people that were buying these units,” says Stone County Commissioner, Dennis Wood, “let alone, what they did to the people of Stone County and our economic development.”
What remains from the scam is a few paved roads and roughly a dozen partially-finished homes that have been beaten by the weather over the last 10-years.
“Plot 34 now is history,” says Wood, “we still have the buildings; we still have the structures.”
“Plot 34” is the area in Indian Ridge where the homes are located; there is still another 800 acres of the property running down to Table Rock Lake that hasn’t been developed.
In 2015, the sections of property were taken over by two new owners, who have since entered into an intergovernmental agreement with Stone County and Branson West to help expedite future development.
“It’s something that has taken time. We’re embarrassed that we can’t just grab it and go in and take care of it but it has to be done legally and properly,” says Wood.
Wood says additional work continues to happen behind the scenes, specifically on the 800 acres of undeveloped property.
“There’s a project that’s being worked right now by the owner of that’s exciting,” he says. “I can’t announce what, but soon there will be.”
There also a matter of two-million dollars in bonds for infrastructure, left over from the previous developers, that is currently in limbo.
Wood says securing the money from the bond holding company may require another trip to the courtroom. However, he’s hopeful the sentencing this week will conclude a story that stretched on in the county for more than 10 years.
“It helps us close that door, close the past, and live now for the future,” he says.