A $500,000 bond has been set in the case of former Putnam County Sheriff's Dept. employee accused of the theft of $45,000 in federal grant funds.
George Alexander, 58, Greencastle, appeared in Putnam Superior Court Tuesday afternoon to face two D felony charges of theft in the alleged misappropriation of federal grant money awarded to the Putnam County Sheriff's Dept.
Alexander could be released from custody by posting a 10 percent $50,000 cash bond.
Appearing handcuffed and in an orange inmate jumpsuit, Alexander was accompanied by several troopers from the Indiana State Police as well as his attorney Jeffrey Boggess. The defendant had turned himself in to authorities Monday night after a multi-day search by police.
The charges indicate that on Sept. 14, 2006, Alexander deposited $18,384 in grant money into his personal bank account. And on Dec. 16, 2005, a federal grant check for $27,143 was also deposited in Alexander's account.
Boggess entered pleas of not guilty on both D felony counts, which each carry a maximum sentence of three years in prison and a $10,000 fine, and a minimum of 180 days in prison. He also requested that Alexander be released from jail into the Putnam County Community Corrections program, which would monitor him on home detention. Boggess cited Alexander's poor health as a reason for the release.
That request was denied by Judge Robert J. Lowe, even though the paperwork had already been processed through the community corrections program in anticipation of a release.
Boggess also requested a lower bond than the $500,000 request by the Putnam County Prosecutor's Office. Judge Lowe noted, however, that it has been the court's position to set a bond commensurate with the amount of the loss, so he did not think $50,000 was too high.
The initial hearing included testimony from Trooper Cory Robinson about the search for Alexander once Indiana State Police attempted to serve a search warrant at his 813 Crescent Drive home on Thursday but did not find Alexander there. Robinson said he later got a description of the car Alexander was driving, which had been loaned by Andy Mohr Chevrolet. Robinson located that car in the parking lot at the Holiday Inn Express in Plainfield, and found that Alexander had checked into the hotel with another person. Police set up surveillance for 18 hours on the room, but Alexander did not return. He was apprehended at a Parke County campground Monday night.
Boggess questioned Alexander about his personal health, and Alexander listed his illnesses including lung disease, sleep apnea, diabetes and high blood pressure. He is under the care of a doctor at the VA Hospital in Indianapolis, and he receives disability checks.
In reviewing his criminal record, Alexander admitted to being arrested for drunk driving 26 years ago, but said he was not convicted. He also charged with check deception in 2001.
In requesting a lower bond, Boggess told Judge Lowe he felt the police went through an extraordinary effort to apprehend Alexander, and that it would be a burden on the taxpayers for Alexander to be housed in jail since the county would become responsible for his medical care.
He asked for Alexander to be released into the community corrections program.
Deputy Prosecutor Don VanDerMoere, however, said he felt the community corrections program had compromised itself by pre-approving Alexander, and said he opposed the defendant's release into that program.
Prosecutor Timothy Bookwalter acknowledged that the county will be responsible for Alexander's medical costs while he is incarcerated.
Judge Lowe granted the prosecution's request for the $500,000 bond.
Alexander was booked into Putnam County Jail at 2:44 p.m. Tuesday, and then transported to Parke County Jail where he will be housed.
His pre-trial conference has been set for 8:15 a.m. July 25, with the jury trial date to be set as soon as possible.