Judge Fred W. Crow III said Monday in Meigs County Common Pleas Court the release of Kenneth Hobbs is the only way any of Hobbs’ victims will receive restitution for the products they paid for and did not receive. Crow granted Hobbs a judicial release yesterday, just less than a year before he was scheduled to be released.
Crow had sentenced Hobbs to 18 months in prison on a charge of grand theft from an elderly person, for failing to deliver monuments paid for by customers of Meigs Memory Gardens and his own business, Beautiful Memories Monuments.
Hobbs was also ordered to pay $27,000 in restitution to the victims at the time he was sentenced to prison, but the only way those victims will see their money is if Hobbs is released and permitted to go back to work, Crow said.
Hobbs plans to return to cemetery product sales, he said Monday.
Hobbs has 30 days to begin working and paying restitution to 12 victims, from whom he collected anywhere from $153 to $4,024, but never delivered products. He and his wife, Vickie, who has not been named in any criminal proceeding, are co-defendants in a civil suit filed by the Ohio Attorney General in an attempt to collect restitution. She was a partner with her husband.
Hobbs was also accused of bilking customers in Gallia County and Mason County, W.Va. West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw ordered Hobbs to reimburse customers in that state for merchandise never received from his company.
Just before he was sentenced on the theft charge, Hobbs was also sentenced on an assault charge. His past criminal convictions include drug charges and robbery in Oklahoma, and domestic violence here. He was served with the indictment charging grand theft while working in Missouri.
Hobbs told Crow he plans to move to Marietta with family, as soon as he is released, but eventually hopes to relocate and continue selling cemetery products.
His attorney said yesterday Hobbs was “skilled in marketing,” and “motivated to pay restitution.”
Prosecuting Attorney Colleen S. Williams said Monday the case will be scheduled for a review in one month, to ensure that Hobbs fulfills his pledge to begin paying damages to his victims.