Former Hoedown’s owner gets prison term

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imageBen Elliott’s life got a little more simple today.

The former owner of Hoedown’s, who pleaded guilty to charges that he tried to swindle auto dealerships out of $30 million, was sentenced today to nine years in federal prison, five years probation and ordered to pay more than $4 million in restitution to several banks.

He won’t have to concern himself with where he’ll sleep tonight, either. Court officers took him into custody immediately after his sentenced was handed down.

Elliott bought Hoedown’s in 2006 and made changes that quickly drew the ire of longtime customers of the gay country bar. In the summer of 2007, a judge shut the venue down as Elliott’s apparent scheme to defraud auto dealers unraveled.

Southern Voice has all of the details and a lengthy look at the case against Elliott.

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