MugShot_Ferguson David AllenIt’s been nearly four years since the former CEO of the now closed Stone Creek Homes, Inc. in Plymouth, David Ferguson, shut the doors without warning, stunning employees, investors and the whole community. As of Wednesday afternoon, Ferguson learned the penalty he will pay for his actions.

He was charged with nine counts of Theft ( D felonies) , one count of Receiving Stolen Property (C felony), and three counts of Corrupt Business Influence (C felonies). The charges stemmed from failing to produce products for an investor and customer and failure to pay three employees. Additional charges stemmed from withholding funds for health insurance and failing to pay premiums.

Ferguson had been found guilty on 13 of 14 the counts against him after a three-day trial during the week on March 8, 2016.

On April 20, Judge Robert Bowen sentenced him to a total of ten years of incarceration with four to serve and six years suspended. He will also be subject to a period of probation following his release.

Because of the timing of the filing of the charges, Ferguson could receive “Good Time Credit of 1 to 1”, meaning he could be released earlier if his behavior warrants a credit.

Ferguson has been held in the Marshall County jail since the guilty verdict was read in March. He appeared in court for sentencing in jail clothing and shackles. During the sentencing, he only spoke two words in response to questions from the bench.

Both Ferguson and his former business partner, Alan Donohue , appeared before Judge Bowen in July, 2014 and both were released after posting $15,000 bonds. The pair had faced a total of 25 counts that were handed down by a Grand Jury investigation in January and February, 2014. Donohue was granted immunity for his cooperation during the investigations and testimony at court proceedings.

Donohue was questioned during the Ferguson trial pertaining to the company’s dealings by Marshall County Prosecutor, Nelson Chipman, and Defense Attorney, Michael Tuszynski. He testified that both he and Ferguson received $5,000 bonuses on May 8, 2012 to empty the company’s bank account. They also secured a loan for $100,000 through Stone Creek Homes, Inc. which they guaranteed personally to make a $50,000 payroll for hourly employees. The remaining $50,000 was transferred to Ferguson.

Ferguson left the Plymouth area with no notice after instructing the Human Resource Director and the General Manager of the plant to lay off 41 hourly employees, telling them only to pack their belongs and leave the property. The office personnel were shocked when they arrived at the facility the next morning and found Ferguson’s personal items, computers, etc. were gone. He had also vacated a rental home on Pretty Lake, disconnected his cell phone, and did not return emails. Donohue closed their plant in Central City, Nebraska in the same fashion within hours.

The where-a-bouts of the two partners was unknown for several months; however, WTCA was able to locate Ferguson after seeing pictures on the internet of him opening a business in Snyder, TX. In August, 2013.

During the March trial, testimony showed that Ferguson entered into a “Build for Invention” program with Plymouth businessman, Jeff Jones. Jones gave Ferguson payments of $78,436, $74,385, and an additional $75,385. In return, Stone Creek was to use the payments to build housing units, commonly called man caves, that are used as housing in the oil and gas fields for workers. The majority of the 52 exhibits presented by the State included in the trial were emails and phone records between Ferguson and Jones outlining how the program would be structured. The units agreed upon were never built or even scheduled for production.

Judge Bowen allowed Jones to speak during the sentencing . Jones said, “On behalf of the many victims that you as an officer of Stone Creek impacted, I ask the courts to consider the scars that will be left forever on citizens throughout this community. My request is my prayer for the maximum sentence prescribed by Indiana Law.” Jones indicted that he had planned to use portions of the profits he had been promised from his association with Stone Creek to help area not-for-profits through philanthropy.

Court records also show that Ferguson took a down payment of $233,000 from Todd Morse of Fargo, ND for units. The units had never been put in the production schedule.

Speaking on behalf of his client, Tuszynski said, “He is 64 years old. He has no criminal history. He has lost everything..his liberty and his marriage.” The attorney then argued for a suspended sentence beyond the time he has served in the Marshall County jail. He said, “ Any sentence is significant. He needs to return to gainful employment”

Following the sentencing, Chipman said, “This has been a long time coming.” He added, “In this case, the amount owed is so great that full restitution seems unrealistic.”

Chipman tried the case with Deputy Prosecutor Matt Sarber, and with assistance of legal intern Anna Rich. Detective Don Curl was the investigator from the Indiana State Police.

Chipman indicated that he felt it was the right decision to prosecute Ferguson using the resources , time and efforts of the Prosecutor’s office and other agencies, and all the sleepless nights. Chipman added, “There are some who called this a case of bad business decisions. Greed was the motive, and his criminal intent was obvious.”

Carol Anders Correspondent