Secretary sentenced to 7 years

  • Follow Metro

A former business executive who embezzled nearly $350,000 from his employer received a seven-year prison sentence Tuesday.

Hugh P. Hibbard, 34, pleaded guilty in Richmond County Superior Court to racketeering and tax evasion. He stole the money from his employer, Taylor Toyota Enterprise, and didn't pay taxes on the stolen funds.

Mr. Hibbard came to court Tuesday with enough money to repay the Taylors with one condition, defense attorney Greg Leopard told the judge. Mr. Hibbard had to receive probation so he would be able to work and repay the family and friends who raised the money.

If that was the defense's position, District Attorney Danny Craig said he would ask for the maximum prison sentence and forgo restitution.

He could proceed with a civil RICO action against Mr. Hibbard instead, Mr. Craig said.

"I would rather be left with our own resources than have the court strike a deal with a thief," Mr. Craig said.

Mr. Hibbard's brother Phillip Hibbard said the money family and friends raised isn't a gift. They had to make sacrifices to raise the money, and they demand the same from Mr. Hibbard, his brother said.

Mr. Craig expressed disbelief that Mr. Hibbard has no money himself for restitution, considering all of the money he stole and a salary that was nearly in six figures.

Mr. Hibbard was the corporate secretary and bookkeeper for the Taylor Group. In January 2004 he started writing checks to himself, his wife and his creditors. He continued until an accountant detected some irregularities in early 2007. At least $349,748 was embezzled, Mr. Craig said.

Judge Carl C. Brown Jr. said he would not be put in the position of having to impose a probation sentence in order for the victims to get restitution.

Mr. Hibbard's brother turned over the $117,000 cash bond that had secured Mr. Hibbard's freedom pending trial. It will go toward the restitution.

Judge Brown sentenced Mr. Hibbard to seven years in prison followed by 13 years on probation. He also imposed a $50,000 fine. If the whole restitution and fine are paid in full, Judge Brown said, he would consider amending Mr. Hibbard's sentence.

Mr. Hibbard had no prior criminal conviction. He apologized to the Taylor family, whom he described as his second family.

Judge Brown agreed to sentence Mr. Hibbard under the First Offender Act. If he successfully completes his sentence, no record of a conviction will remain.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com.

WHAT'S NEXT

Judge Carl C. Brown Jr. said that if the whole restitution and fine are paid in full, he would consider amending Hugh P. Hibbard's seven-year prison sentence and 13 years on probation.

Comments (67) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
jackragg
0
Points
jackragg 12/19/07 - 01:52 am
0
0
When this ordeal started

When this ordeal started there were many of you saying you knew this person, and there was no way he did this.What say you now?

As It Is
2
Points
As It Is 12/19/07 - 02:09 am
0
0
The way the article reads the

The way the article reads the DA and courts would have accepted the plea bargin but they weren't getting their $50,000.00 they wanted. Basically, this shows employers not to involve the courts or District Attorney's office because they are more interested in getting money for theirselves instead of getting the money back to the victim. If the victim was paid in full and was accpeptable with probation, etc. then why is the court denying the victim the right to recover their losses immediately.

Reality
3
Points
Reality 12/19/07 - 03:57 am
0
0
That was awful nice of his

That was awful nice of his brother to give up his $117,000 cash bond. If he completes his sentence he will have no record of this happening, this should follow him everywhere he goes. How about the person that hires him later on, that has no idea he was in prison for embezzlement..

TakeAstand
13
Points
TakeAstand 12/19/07 - 03:59 am
0
0
I thought that at first too,

I thought that at first too, but Craig said he disbelieved he had no money himself for restitution which someone else put up the first chunk of change.. and it was stressing his family to get the money so.. instead of one set of vixtims now you have 2.. Taylor isn't hurting for that money and I'm sure they would like the guy punished... not his family. He still has plenty of years to work and pay them back, so I'm guessing since they already had 1/3 of it. they wanted to punish him. And they may have consulted with the victims on it and they agreed to have him punished and wait for thier money.. that 220,000 or so.. it could have been the point he stole.. somepeople dont like thieves. And he claimed they were like a second family.. it wasnt a large co like walmart where he was just skimming big books.. he was close with this family. And when the resitiution is paid he may get the sentence amened.. which that may be in a few month cuz his family will put it up or something, but he deserves some punishment.. or he will do it again dont you think????. They could have gotten him for federal charges for the tax thing right?

TakeAstand
13
Points
TakeAstand 12/19/07 - 04:00 am
0
0
I totally agree Honest!!!

I totally agree Honest!!!

justus4
105
Points
justus4 12/19/07 - 05:24 am
0
0
Wow! Again the judical system
Unpublished

Wow! Again the judical system failed. The scope of the article is about money. What about justice? Again the criminal's family is considered and his ability to earn money in the future. Who cares?! He hasn't served a day and they talking about after his release. This sentence is appalling.

common-sense-justice
0
Points
common-sense-justice 12/19/07 - 05:31 am
0
0
If some slimeball stole 350

If some slimeball stole 350 grand from me, the DA would be the least of his worries. I say let him serve the whole 20 to the door.

tdp
0
Points
tdp 12/19/07 - 07:33 am
0
0
Oh my gosh! It's a momentous

Oh my gosh! It's a momentous day; for once I agree w/ justus4. I agree that this should be less about the money and more about the sentence. He should have to serve the 7 years AND pay back the full amount he stole. I can't believe his attorney thought his ultimatum (paying all the money back only if he didn't have to serve time) would fly with the court. I am so proud of DA Danny Craig for standing up and doing the right thing in this case. Keep up the good work Mr. Craig!

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 12/19/07 - 08:22 am
0
0
Danny Craig has it right.

Danny Craig has it right. It's up to Hibbard to worry about his family and how they'll suffer as a result of his actions. It's up to Craig to see the law is enforced and Hibbard receives a sentence worthy of his crime. (whether or not Taylor can afford it is beside the point, take a stand)

Da Voice Inside Your Head
7
Points
Da Voice Inside Your Head 12/19/07 - 08:38 am
0
0
I guess the Attorney was

I guess the Attorney was infulenced by the Municipal worker who got probation for theft earlier. but the problem was he was not connected and didn't have Ol' Judge Caryle "No Punishment" Overshoe, Oops, I mean Overstreet. Don't get me wrong, I think he should spend the whole 20 years in jail. Local Judges have no problem giving some poor smuck 20 years for stealing a lot less. It shouldn't be who you know or who you are, but what is right. But that ain't gonna happen here.Again it's Capital Punishment, the more CAPITAL you have the LESS Punishment you get.

justthefacts
22727
Points
justthefacts 12/19/07 - 08:56 am
0
0
Voice, you think that is only

Voice, you think that is only the case in Augusta??

CKB
0
Points
CKB 12/19/07 - 08:59 am
0
0
This is so sad- yet another

This is so sad- yet another failed attempt with justice in Augusta. If another person committed the same crime, and did not have resources to raise this amount of money (which most would not), would they be treated the same? No. This seems to be more about status and money. Are the courts going to continue rewarding people for negative behavior? There seems to be very little justice anymore in our courts. The First Offender Act should be abolished. This conviction should be on this man’s record forever. He was very aware of what he was doing and continued committing the crimes. I do not see letting someone like this off easy. I agree with an earlier comment- his future employer needs to know the lack of integrity of this man. I feel for his family- I would not hold my breath on them being paid back. Sounds like they need some help with Tough Love. Sorry for what they must be going through.

Bizarro
13
Points
Bizarro 12/19/07 - 09:01 am
0
0
Wow, White collar crime is

Wow, White collar crime is definitely the way to go. Justice shore ain't blind tis it?

thohen
0
Points
thohen 12/19/07 - 09:06 am
0
0
I've seen people get harsher

I've seen people get harsher sentences for stealing less so he should feel relieved to receive such a sentence.

lulu
0
Points
lulu 12/19/07 - 09:34 am
0
0
He was not connected. If he

He was not connected. If he was he would have hired an attorney smart enough to know you don't demand a sentence from a judge in open court. It would have been done in chambers.

TommyBoy
0
Points
TommyBoy 12/19/07 - 09:37 am
0
0
Hey As It Is, the criminal

Hey As It Is, the criminal justice system is not set up to make a victim whole, that is what the civil system is for. If the Taylor's want their money back they can file a lawsuit.

CoastalDawg
125
Points
CoastalDawg 12/19/07 - 09:41 am
0
0
This is EXACTLY about the

This is EXACTLY about the money - someone who kills someone might get less time. It seems as if money has become the driving force for everything. Don't misunderstand me - he should be punished for the thefts; thieves must learn their lessons, usually the hard way. But it is just a fact that you can be punished more quickly for messing with someone's money than you would be if you hurt or killed someone. I thought plea deals were always worked out BEFORE court, not in the process of sentencing. One also has to wonder what the thief's family did with all that money he actually earned. Most of us would LOVE to have a six figure income and would manage to live within those means. One more question - does that dealership not have their employees bonded for just such a case as this?

CoastalDawg
125
Points
CoastalDawg 12/19/07 - 09:51 am
0
0
Abolishing the first offender

Abolishing the first offender act would cause someone who commits one foolish act to be branded a criminal for life. Who among us has never done one thing wrong, often something that rises to the level of a misdemeanor crime? I'm not sure that THIS particular crime should have the first offender act applied but those things are up to a judge's discretion. But think about this one - if he serves his seven years in prison then is on probation for thirteen years, he will be fifty-four years old before this act could even be applied. That is not exactly a good age to be starting over.

augustalawyer
0
Points
augustalawyer 12/19/07 - 10:10 am
0
0
Just so you all understand, a

Just so you all understand, a 7 year prison term for a first offender white collar crime is what......11 months? The rich buy their way out of trouble on a regular basis...anyone else notice that the paper failed to mention that the criminals brother, Phillip Hibbard, is a local lawyer?

CKB
0
Points
CKB 12/19/07 - 10:17 am
0
0
Most people know right from

Most people know right from wrong. If they make the choice of committing a crime, they should be punished. If we had stricter laws, and not give people a pat on the head in the courtroom, maybe we would eliminate some crimes. I am not in favor of the First Offender Act- at all.

CKB
0
Points
CKB 12/19/07 - 10:18 am
0
0
Most people know right from

Most people know right from wrong. If they make the choice of committing a crime, they should be punished. If we had stricter laws, and not give people a pat on the head in the courtroom, maybe we would eliminate some crimes. I am not in favor of the First Offender Act- at all.

TakeAstand
13
Points
TakeAstand 12/19/07 - 10:21 am
0
0
patricia thomas.. so quick to

patricia thomas.. so quick to call someone out... did you not read my post??? I just said to the person complaining that the victim should get their money.. that the guy should do the time... and its not like taylor will be hurting for that money enough to want a criminal to get away scott free... did you not get the jist of my post?? Or did you just read what you wanted to read instead of the whole thing and the persons post I was responding to?? patricia thomas!!! I mean this guy has a chance to get out soon by paying instead of doing his time for his crime.. I just pointed out to the person.. its not like the victims.. they so care about need the money enought to want his sentence detererd. And drunk drivers get away with little to no time for a 3rd n 4th dui.. thats not right... but it happens... where is the prosecutors and judges enforcing the law then?? everything is not open & shut and thats their only agenda... though it should be... patricia thomas!!!!!

420Time
0
Points
420Time 12/19/07 - 10:26 am
0
0
Go Danny Craig, Go Judge

Go Danny Craig, Go Judge Brown. White Collar criminals get some justice for once. GREAT!!! Put his [filtered word] in jail, no under the jail. Danny Craig for Superior Court Judge. I am casting the FIRST VOTE! Danny Craig and Judge Brown for Supreme Court!!!

Native Augustan
12
Points
Native Augustan 12/19/07 - 10:33 am
0
0
Why, upon conviction, did the

Why, upon conviction, did the court not claim all of the guy's assets to help pay off the 350k?

TakeAstand
13
Points
TakeAstand 12/19/07 - 10:34 am
0
0
I totally agree CKB. i think

I totally agree CKB. i think if they do have a first offenders act it should only be for misdemeanors.. to give a young dumb person a second chance not a grown man embezzeling money for years.. and its said he already has the money and his sentence may be amended once the money is paid... he is really getting a slap on the wrists for such a crime and his future employers will be blind to the thief he is. If he ever does it to another employer when his record is wiped.. I'd sue someone!!!!! lol

DoubleD
0
Points
DoubleD 12/19/07 - 10:49 am
0
0
Why do families keep

Why do families keep victimizing themselves to help their criminal family members? My father always said, it you go to jail I'm not bailing you out. That stuck with me for life. If you do the crime you must pay...not your family. My wife had a cousing get arrested for rape, and her family wanted us to pay 2000.00 towards his bail. I was like, nope, that is where he needs to be. She understood, but not the family. Now we are treated as if we don't care. F em'

WAG
287
Points
WAG 12/19/07 - 10:51 am
0
0
Ann Taylor needs a better

Ann Taylor needs a better accounting system. If he started writing those checks in 2004 and was not detected until 2007 something is way wrong here. Sounds like she needs a whole new accounting department. I thought she was a smart woman.

WAG
287
Points
WAG 12/19/07 - 10:51 am
0
0
Ann Taylor needs a better

Ann Taylor needs a better accounting system. If he started writing those checks in 2004 and was not detected until 2007 something is way wrong here. Sounds like she needs a whole new accounting department. I thought she was a smart woman.

DoubleD
0
Points
DoubleD 12/19/07 - 10:53 am
0
0
7 years. Those are the guys

7 years. Those are the guys who get violated in the joint. They won't kill or fight back because they know they only have a short term. The lifers have nothing to lose. I hate it for him. I hope his "innocence" was worth the money. Idiot. Thank goodness for good ole prison justice!

Old_Chevy
9
Points
Old_Chevy 12/19/07 - 11:03 am
0
0
Plain and simple. The guy

Plain and simple. The guy stole money, got caught and he plead guilty after his family forked out the money for restitution. That was their decision. Do the crime, do the time. To steal that amount of money was just plain out greed.

Back to Top

Top headlines

Morning wreck slows traffic

Expect delays at Peach Orchard Road near Bobby Jones Expressway after a wreck involving an 18-wheeler.
Search Augusta jobs