Sentencing Expected In Advertising Theft Case Today

Man Had Been Convicted Of Bilking 18 County Businesses For Fliers

January 22, 1992|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Staff writer

A Reisterstown man who last year was convicted of bilking 18 county businesses in a bogus advertising scheme is expected to be sentenced in Circuit Court today.

Howard Kirk Blaustein, 34, was found guilty on a single charge of theft over $300 on Aug. 8, which carries a maximum 15 years in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Blaustein, court documents say, had been charged with 19 counts of theft under $300 in addition to the felony theft charges for an advertising scheme in which he represented himself as an Advertising Journal salesman.

Between Aug. 10, 1989 and Aug. 31, 1990, Blaustein called on businesses -- most in Hampstead and Manchester -- and quoted prices for 10,000 advertising fliers, court documents said. The prices, according to victims' statements in court filings, "were too good tobe true."

But at least 18 business owners paid Blaustein anywhere from $62.50 to $200 up front for the fliers, court documents show.

The fliers never were delivered, although Blaustein had substantial down payments on the services.

Today's sentencing is the thirdscheduled in the case, and it may not even occur.

Blaustein's attorney, public defender Barbara Kreiner, last week filed a motion for a new trial, in which she claims Blaustein's previous attorney, Baltimore-based Jack A. Bernstein, misrepresented him in the August trial.

Bernstein tried unsuccessfully to remove himself from the case before the trial because of an unspecified conflict of interest.

Assistant State's Attorney Kathi Hill filed a response to the motion fora new trial, saying Blaustein's representation was adequate and thata new trial is unnecessary.

"We're saying that he doesn't deservea new trial," she said.

Kreiner refused to even confirm what charges Blaustein was convicted on in August. "I will not comment until the case is through," she said.

Blaustein was charged last January after a four-month investigation by the state police. They believe Blaustein stole more than $1,960 from the businesses.

State's Attorney Thomas E. Hickman charged Blaustein still was participating in thescam up until his conviction last August.

"Mr. Blaustein still isengaging in the sort of advertising activitywhich resulted in the original charges," Hickman wrote in a letter to the court. "We discovered Mr. Blaustein was visiting these businesses" before Aug. 8.

Some of the businesses Blaustein sold his "advertising" to included Hampstead Liquors, Roy's Never Stop Clock Shop in Hampstead, Growing Likea Weed in Manchester, Queen's Collectibles in Hampstead, Act I Videoin Manchester and Matthews Tires of Hampstead.

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