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Mississippi developer could avoid criminal prosecution

DAVID WATKINS

Fraud and embezzlement charges could be dropped against a Mississippi developer if he completes a pretrial diversion program.

David Watkins was indicted in November for allegedly taking more than $587,000 that was loaned to him to redevelop Metrocenter Mall in Jackson, instead using it for other purposes.

The Clarion Ledger reports that paperwork was filed Tuesday in Madison County Circuit Court to put Watkins into pretrial diversion — an alternative to prosecution that usually involves supervision.

Watkins’ attorney, Rob McDuff, says Watkins’ case came from a dispute with three former business partners in the mall’s redevelopment. McDuff says they have resolved the dispute and agree the case should be treated as a civil matter rather than going through criminal prosecution and trial.

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