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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WAG
287
Points
WAG 12/22/07 - 10:50 am
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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????

TakeAstand
13
Points
TakeAstand 12/22/07 - 12:50 pm
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Augustaga.. did you not read

Augustaga.. did you not read the article?? once the money is paid his sentence will be able to be amended and his record wiped clean so he can go get a job with another unsuspecting employer at anytime. isn't a real threat?? this is what he does to people who are like family to him..can you imagine what he will do to his next employer....It does not need to be wiped of his record!!!! you better pray he never gets a job at your bank or something.. he may wipe your account clean!!!! lol

karmannlass
0
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karmannlass 12/23/07 - 08:24 pm
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I worked at Taylor Auto Group

I worked at Taylor Auto Group with Hugh for several years and can say that he is an honest, hard-working man. However, he made a very bad decision and must now pay for that with both restitution and jail time. I left the company before he and his wife married, so I can't vouch for her. But, my question is, if he was writing checks to his wife, why isn't she being procecuted also? As far as his family gathering the restitution, if you can't go to your family for help, who can you go to?

funksgirl3
0
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funksgirl3 01/02/08 - 11:45 am
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CKB, even a felony probation

CKB, even a felony probation officer will tell you that there are good people that make stupid mistakes, everyone deserves to rectify a mistake. First Offender Act is reserved for people that have never had an offense before and the Judge believes they deserve a chance to undo the bad they stupidly made happen. First Offenders act isn't easy to get through. Alot of strict guidelines and house curfews. This guy will wish he was sitting back in prison. Another thing, Ann Taylor is very hurt over this situation. She loved this guy just like a son. You can steal from someone you don't know and they just get mad. When you steal from someone that loves you, they never completely get over the hurt. He will never have his life back. Even with the First Offenders Act. Noone will ever trust this guy again because we all know who he is and what he did. That will follow him to the grave, whether a conviction will or not.

LynxRHot
0
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LynxRHot 01/02/08 - 12:38 pm
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I feel sure that Hibbard's

I feel sure that Hibbard's record will not be totally cleared. I know someone personally who was found guilty of a misdemeanor...paid the fine, served the probation which he was told would expunge it from his record. But guess what...an employer ran a background check and it showed up. Hibbard's record will never be completely clean.

starry-eyed
0
Points
starry-eyed 01/02/08 - 01:34 pm
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Does the name Cyndi Reeves

Does the name Cyndi Reeves O'Tyson ring a bell to anyone? She served 3 years of a 30 year sentence for embezzlement and was out on probation scamming people again. She didn't get caught stealing from her last employer but did steal from one of them after getting out of prison. Some people never change and she's one of them. This time she took advantage of friends that she supposedly cared about. But she'll probably only serve a few more years and then get out and do the same thing again. Wonder where she'll find her next set of suckers?

movingforward
40
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movingforward 01/02/08 - 02:23 pm
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When is the wife's

When is the wife's sentencing?

butterflygina
151
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butterflygina 01/02/08 - 06:49 pm
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what the hell? I'm just

what the hell? I'm just reading this...this a...really thought he was the s... didn't he?

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