Sentence modified for man convicted of fraud

COLUMBIA CITY — A man convicted this year of home improvement fraud had his sentence modified in Whitley County Circuit Court Monday.George A. Martin, 55, of North Manchester, was given a five-year sentence in July. He was ordered to serve one year at the Whitley County Jail, two years on home detention and two on probation.Judge James Heuer modified his sentence to probation except for time served Monday, mostly due to the health issues in Martin’s life.Martin was in a wheelchair while in court Monday. In July, he had difficulty walking and was wearing a back brace.His attorney, Jill Gonzales, said her client would comply with probation and would not leave.“There’s a stack of doctor’s appointments he has for the rest of the year,” she said.Martin was convicted for cashing a check for more than $13,000 for work done to repair a man’s driveway. Whitley County Sheriff’s Department investigators determined, after contacting local contractors, that a price of approximately $700 would be more appropriate. Deputies then arrested Martin for home improvement fraud in October of 2012.Frank Hibbs had a bond reduction request denied Monday. Hibbs was arrested July 31 on two counts of dealing a Schedule I, II or III controlled substance.Hibbs requested his bond, which was set at $50,000 surety, be reduced to $2,000 to $3,000 cash. He said he wanted to be out on bond to be able to spend time with his wife and grandchildren.Heuer initially agreed to reduce the bond to $2,500 cash, which Hibbs said would be provided by his parents. However, Hibbs’ attorney, Brad Voelz, later said he spoke with Hibbs’ wife, who said she did not want her husband staying at the house.Heuer said the bond would remain at $50,000 surety until Hibbs could find a different place to stay.