LISBON — A Lisbon area businessman was given time to pay back money from hydraulic lift machine orders never delivered in order to keep himself from serving jail time.
Daniel Germanovich, 46, who was doing business as Slik Pick Industries, state Route 45, Lisbon, appeared for sentencing before Judge Scott Washam in Common Pleas Court on Thursday morning, where he had previously pleaded guilty to three counts of theft, misdemeanors amended down from fifth-degree felonies as part of a plea agreement.
Assistant County Prosecutor Alec Beech said the important part of the plea agreement was to make sure the victims in the case, the people who had ordered the lifts and paid for them, were made whole with repayment.
According to the indictment in the case, Germanovich collected $6,500 from R & J Motor Co. LLC, in October 2018 and in January 2019 he received $5,470 from Shift’ N Gears Inc. and $6,595 from Peace & Love Towing LLC. All three companies ordered the machine from Germanovich.
Beech further told Washam the prosecutor’s office has remained in close contact with the victims in the case, who were from across the country, and at least one of the victims has voiced concerns that Germanovich has started a new business venture doing the same thing.
Defense attorney Nick Barborak said Germanovich’s business suffered from a loss of manpower and an increase in the price of steel around the time he was unable to keep up with demand. Germanovich had reportedly advertised for welders and others, but was unable to get caught up. Finally, Barborak suggested Germanovich’s current business is slightly different that the prior one, which was based on his hydraulic lift design.
“Your honor I feel terrible for what happened,” Germanovich said. “It was never my intention to do that.”
Washam pointed out that from public records it appears the sheriff’s office had gone out to talk with Germanovich after people called and complained about the business. In most cases, people were satisfied after hearing back, but these three companies were not satisfied. Washam asked Germanovich if it was a matter of the business being in trouble and he replied it was, but there were other orders he was filling at the same time.
Washam also asked about concerns Germanovich had continued to advertise the hydraulic lift machine on e-Bay, even while he was behind on the orders. Washam noted Germanovich even filed bankruptcy while these orders were pending.
Germanovich said he did that after receiving advise from an attorney and was planning to restructure and pay back the money.
“I’m not a thief,” Germanovich said. “I don’t want to take people’s money. I don’t want to have people order products and never give it to them. I’m not that guy. I was in law enforcement for many years and I do what I can do to help people.”
Washam sentenced Germanovich to a year and a half of potential jail time, but suspended it and placed him on community control. Germanovich was ordered to repay the $18,565, which he brought a check with him to court for $5,000 of it on Thursday. Washam ordered him to pay not less than $500 per month starting in November until the balance is paid. Additionally, he ordered him to complete 50 hours community service.
The sentence was similar to that rendered by Judge Megan Bickerton against the co-defendant in the case, Nancy Germanovich, who reportedly is both his mother and business partner.