Knox County judge hears arguments for defunct business owner accused of swindling customers

Published: Mar. 23, 2023 at 5:36 PM EDT
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UNION, Maine (WABI) - The owner of now-defunct Castle Builders in Union appeared virtually in a Knox County courtroom Thursday morning.

Malcolm Stewart, 58, and his wife were ordered to pay nearly $750,000 to former customers as a result of a civil lawsuit.

Stewart was indicted in March 2021 for two counts of theft by deception. One count was for taking money for work and not intending to perform the projects.The second count is for requesting money for the company and misleading investors.

Assistant Attorney General Charles Boyle represented the state and argued that both counts were valid.

“On the motion to dismiss it is in fact the states argument that these were two different schemes,” said Boyle. “The thefts rested on two different deceptions and there are common victims across both counts.”

In count one, Stewart was telling his victims that he was going to perform work that he knew he could not perform and took money.

Defense attorney David Bobrow argued that the criminal case against his client should be dismissed or in lieu of dismissal.

Bobrow asked the state to specifically identify the transactions in which his client committed fraud.

Out of 52 individuals impacted, the state discovered one individual was not credible.

“The issue is, I’m not suggesting the government hasn’t provided full discovery,” said Bobrow. ”What I’m stating is that they haven’t identified in that discovery which specific claims they’re relying upon that suggest my client committed fraud.”

Justice Jeffery Hjelm said he would issue rulings as soon as he can.