Secretary sentenced to 7 years

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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.

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dani
12
Points
dani 12/19/07 - 11:54 am
0
0
Did I read the article wrong.

Did I read the article wrong. Who said the guy is getting away with it. Thank goodness for Judge Brown and Danny Craig. Sentencing this guy to jail time, probation and a fine which is no more than the man deserves. It is time to stop letting folks pay their way out of jail.

september 5th
1
Points
september 5th 12/19/07 - 11:55 am
0
0
i thought justice was

i thought justice was supposed to be blind..but after reading this article it appears that she can see one color: green! give me a break! judge brown said that he would reconsider the imposed sentence if the thief pays the $50,000.00 fine! how many people are in jail and would like to pay their way out? judge brown sounds like a crook! using his own words to describe himself! i wonder if the family is going to raise money to pay the judge! justice should not be for sale unless it is sold at walmart and everybody can buy it!

tdp
0
Points
tdp 12/19/07 - 12:09 pm
0
0
Double D....kudos on standing

Double D....kudos on standing your ground & not giving in to the family pressure for bail money. Sounds like you & your wife have a good head on your shoulders! Too many people make excuses for their family members and bail them out. Then the criminal gets out to victimize someone else. It must be hard to be ostracized by your family, but its good to know that someone out there still has a backbone & does the right thing.

Augusta Mom
1
Points
Augusta Mom 12/19/07 - 12:39 pm
0
0
Yeah he should do the time,

Yeah he should do the time, restitution paid or not. If this were a blue collar worker that stole this money he'd be up-the-creek.
This man and his wife were so wrapped up in themselves and what they could buy (for themselves) that they weren't concerned during the time this crime took place.We see how innocent they really were in the end. Large corporations don't make these mistakes of accusing employees unless there's a reason...

wonderwhy
0
Points
wonderwhy 12/19/07 - 12:41 pm
0
0
You are right "augustalawyer"

You are right "augustalawyer" Phillip Hibbard is a local attorney. He is also a very good person, brother, and friend. I think he did what ever he could do to help his brother out. I would do the same. He did mention that the money was not gifts and would need to be paid back.

Gruvy Legz
0
Points
Gruvy Legz 12/19/07 - 12:46 pm
0
0
He did it, never defended

He did it, never defended that he didn't. He was a second family to Mrs. Taylor. I worked there, it's sad cuz she treated him like a son. I hate that for her, to be betrayed by someone she absolutely trusted with all her financial needs and her beach home which he used on a regualar basis. It's just sad this happened to her by him.

flowergirl
0
Points
flowergirl 12/19/07 - 01:04 pm
0
0
This guys gets 7 years for

This guys gets 7 years for stealing money and a man who burns his child and is now paralyzed gets 3 years. Get real there is no justice system in richmond county.

rufus
2
Points
rufus 12/19/07 - 01:35 pm
0
0
Money can't buy sense

Money can't buy sense

prissy
0
Points
prissy 12/19/07 - 01:41 pm
0
0
You just don't bite the hand

You just don't bite the hand that feeds you>';'

juicy101
0
Points
juicy101 12/19/07 - 02:13 pm
0
0
if this guy had been black

if this guy had been black his picture would have been in the papaer... what happened this time?... this is what happens when blacks aren't given an opportunity to work in a position where lots of money will be handled, 90% of the cases you read about where money is being embezzled, the thieves are white and they say that blacks can't be trusted to handle money. one day you will all see that all blacks want is a fair chance, not all of them are thieves.

sanders20
0
Points
sanders20 12/19/07 - 02:30 pm
0
0
his wife should be punished

his wife should be punished too. she was most likely the reason this all happened anyway...come on girls...you all know that you can get your husbands to do about anything.

sanders20
0
Points
sanders20 12/19/07 - 02:31 pm
0
0
juicy..not a black/ white

juicy..not a black/ white issue...just money

common-sense-justice
0
Points
common-sense-justice 12/19/07 - 03:35 pm
0
0
Juicy, Just take a look at

Juicy, Just take a look at the ones that have attained a decent station in life, and promptly screwed it up in grand fashion. Look what happens to neighborhoods and commercial districts when the whites move out. Look at their youth on the streets, and the attitude that have about life and other peoples property. Look inside the prisons at the sheer numbers. A fair chance you say ?? I say they have had thier chance, and it is time for some radical change in social attitude. It's time for them to behave as equals if they demand to be treated as equals.

gman60
0
Points
gman60 12/19/07 - 04:30 pm
0
0
i find it interesting that

i find it interesting that drug dealers get probation on first offense and people who commit felony assaults get probation as well. why is there such a hard line here. maybe because it is the Taylor name that is involved. what was done was terrible and inexcusable and i feel had it not been a prominent name involved restitution and probation would have been accepted. danny craig is a fine man and does a great job but i think he got this one wrong. the family borrowed the money and did not have that kind of cash on hand. they are rallying to their troubled family member as any good family would, not to get him out of trouble scott free but help him over come this grevious mistake and put his life back together. it would take years of financial struggle to repay the family. he does need to feel the sting of the law but should be treated fairly. if you look at sentencing of other first offenders of other crimes (burglary as an example) you will see that this one smacks of making a statement for the da and not what is just. and yes the attorney should have never made a demand in court like that

chicwithabrain
0
Points
chicwithabrain 12/19/07 - 05:17 pm
0
0
I'm white and it is true if

I'm white and it is true if he was black, his picture would have been in the paper and it is true white or black if he was poor he would have been given more time..He may do a year max....
Oh one more thing, your infiniti sales team will be next in court for spending more time trying to pick up women than selling cars..Tried to look at an infiniti but had to leave because I was being hit on so much.....Ann send your whole sales staff to a class on sex in the workplace...Your a good lady and I would hate to see this come up next....Lucky I didn't pursue charges..

chicwithabrain
0
Points
chicwithabrain 12/19/07 - 05:33 pm
0
0
The Taylor's are very good

The Taylor's are very good people...For those who do not know them, you shouldn't be bad mouthing them..Hugh was the main person over the money , not the accounting group...This goes on at alot of dealorships...When certain people have access to money and feel they won't get caught , they are going to get it. I will say Ann you need to get rid of your Infiniti sales group, they treat you like eye candy instead of a customer...I have never felt so uncomfortable looking at cars and that goes for the whole Infiniti staff...Comments made as well!!!!!!!

shivas
2
Points
shivas 12/19/07 - 05:55 pm
0
0
Chickwithabrain, enjoy it

Chickwithabrain, enjoy it while you can! I know, very sexist statement.

a crazy old man
30
Points
a crazy old man 12/19/07 - 07:37 pm
0
0
David Copperfield Monday,

David Copperfield
Monday, January 28, 2008 at 5:30 PM at Bell Auditorium in Augusta, GA

blackjack30
1
Points
blackjack30 12/19/07 - 09:14 pm
0
0
Shivas, go back under the

Shivas, go back under the counter with the rest of your cockroach buddies!

MyOpinion2
5
Points
MyOpinion2 12/19/07 - 09:42 pm
0
0
You are so right Honest, it

You are so right Honest, it needs to follow him to the grave! What kind of example would the courts be setting if there was no record for Hugh Hibbard? Just pay back the money you got caught stealing and you get away with the crime? Writing checks to his wife? Sounds like she needs to be in the cell next to him. What did he tell her, HEY Honey I just got a $350,000 Bonus. She sounds like an accomplice.

As It Is
2
Points
As It Is 12/20/07 - 12:04 am
0
0
Tommy Boy, I certainly

Tommy Boy, I certainly understand the difference between the criminal justice system and civil law. However, most (not all) employers would prefer to be paid back in full and could most of the time acomplish this on their own without the legal system but this is not what we should want to happen because future employers, etc. suffer. However, with this deal, future employers may suffer anyway except for the fact that google, etc. are good at keeping records even if it is droped under the first offender act. My main problem is that it appears that if Danny Craig (a man I normally hold in very high regard) received his $50,000.00 fine in addition to payment in full then he would recommend a lighter sentence and the judge would agree. So, since they aren't getting their money now the Taylor's aren't getting there's at this time - and I don't care who someone is, $300,000.00 is a lot to loose. Anyone who commits this time of crime certainly deserves jail time and it should stay on their record. However, in this paticular deal the DA's office and the judge seem to agree if the court system can have $50,000.00 more then it is ok to lower the sentence thus hurting the true victim.

TriDelta
0
Points
TriDelta 12/20/07 - 12:23 am
0
0
Seven years and loss of face

Seven years and loss of face for the perpetrator's family is not bad punishment. Note, there is legislative bill pending our there which would enable the prosecutors to freeze the assests of any indicted individual immediately. The long period of time for pre-trial, trial, and appeals allowed perpetrators to liquidate assets, leaving the victims with nothing to collect after court verdict.

wmplpi
8
Points
wmplpi 12/20/07 - 01:56 am
0
0
How can a man like this have

How can a man like this have his record wiped clean if he serves his sentence and makes restitution? So he can go somewhere else and do it again? Do it to someone that has no idea who they are hiring because his record has been cleaned? WOW Our system sux

AugustaHeph homeowner
0
Points
AugustaHeph homeowner 12/20/07 - 08:36 am
0
0
Augusta Judicial System, get

Augusta Judicial System, get a GRIP!!!! If you o the CRIME--Pay the TIME!!!!I really get tired of seeing these people getting away with these CRIMES. YOu have a wreck (fender-bender) or minor accident, and you pay through the nose, steal over $350 K and you get a slap on the hand. If my houseshold had a six-digit income-we would be oh so happy. We have not and never will steal any kind of money to live beyond our means. HIs family knew money came from somewhere and they enjoyed every minute of it. I can just hear them now-Look what I got! Yes this man needs to serve all of his little sentence plus more. Judges and attorneys need to get off of their High Horse and give these criminals what is due and yes it should stay on his record-not OK darling we will take it off and you really only have say...11 months to be behind bars, GIVE ME A BREAK!!!!

debbiedoright
0
Points
debbiedoright 12/20/07 - 09:59 am
0
0
maybe when he gets out he can

maybe when he gets out he can get a job in New Ellenton. They don't have as much to donate to the thief, but hey at least he would get off with a minimal sentence

WW1949
19
Points
WW1949 12/20/07 - 09:59 am
0
0
My opinion, the money was

My opinion, the money was taken out over several years and not a lump sum. And justus4, I finally agree with you on something. Also, Mrs Taylor probably has insurance and has already been paid. If Mr. Hibbard pays back I am sure it will go to the insurance company. Also, bringing the brother (Phillip) into the mix is not fair. He did nothing and is a very nice person with whom I have always had good real estate dealings.

AugustaGA1
0
Points
AugustaGA1 12/20/07 - 10:37 am
0
0
The outcome here is clearly

The outcome here is clearly not the right result. If the victims were completely repaid, and a hefty fine set for punishment, why should there be a seven year jail sentence? This guy had no prior record, and as it is won't ever be able to get a job again where he handles money for an employer. If he isn't a real threat to society, why should Georgia taxpayers spend hundreds of thousands of dollars keeping him incarcerated for seven years? All the seven year sentence has accomplished is to shift the victim of lost funds from the auto group to the defendant's family and friends, and to taxpayers who shell out over avg. $50,000 a year to imprison nonviolent criminals. This guy needs to be out of jail and working immediately to pay them back -- even if its flipping burgers. All of thwe posters who are asking for all this prison time -- who do you think pays for that? It's not free, and just one more reason our taxes continually increase. Let's make the distinction between criminals who made a mistake and those who are a true risk to the safety of our community. Also sounds to me like the wife was the innocent spouse in this whole thing -- she isn't even discussed in the article

toppergem
125
Points
toppergem 12/20/07 - 12:44 pm
0
0
Not a black/ white

Not a black/ white issue...just money...no, not true. EVERYTHING is colored by black/white in this country.

sneaky pete
0
Points
sneaky pete 12/20/07 - 12:45 pm
0
0
Call Hugh whatever you want

Call Hugh whatever you want to. Phil Hibbard is one of the best attorneys, friends and good people of this town. He is trying to help a brother with a problem. I don't know Hugh, but I do know Phil. He is a really good man. One of the best.

WAG
287
Points
WAG 12/22/07 - 10:50 am
0
0
He did not make a mistake. He

He did not make a mistake. He chose to do this. Yes his wife is guilty also. But like i said before why did it take Ann Taylor so long to figure out what he was doing????

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