WESTMINSTER — Less than a month after receiving a suspended sentence for a scheme in which 18 North Carroll businesses were sold bogus advertising, a Reisterstown man was indicted on charges of repeating the ploy on about a dozen county businesses.
And while a 13-count indictment was handed down by a county grand jury in February, Howard Kirk Blaustein has yet to show up in court to answer it.
For the 34-year-old businessman, who entered into a plea agreement last August to settle the 19 misdemeanor charges of theft and one felony theft charge, the failure to appear in court last week on the new indictment means almost certain jail time -- if he is found.
Carroll Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. issued a warrant on April 6 forBlaustein's arrest, ordering him to be held without bail if he is arrested.
By failing to appear, Blaustein has committed a felony that carries a potential $5,000 fine or five years in jail.
Blausteinwas convicted in the first round of thefts, when he was found guiltyon one charge of theft over $300. The remaining charges were dropped, and he was sentenced Jan. 22 to a suspended one-year prison term and placed on supervised probation. He also was ordered to pay his "customers" their down payments.
He could have been sentenced up to 15years.
Blaustein represented himself as a salesman for Advertising Journal when he promised to print and deliver 10,000 advertising fliers at prices "too good to be true," court records show. He bilked the businesses for a total of almost $2,000 in the scheme, which ran from August 1989 to August 1990.
Blaustein was charged in January 1990 after a four-month investigation by the state police, and he was said to be still operating the scheme while awaiting trial.
Some of the businesses stuck with unfilled advertising orders were Hampstead Liquors, Roy's Never Stop Clock Shop in Hampstead, Growing Like a Weed in Manchester, Queen's Collectibles in Hampstead, Act I Video in Manchester and Matthews Tires of Hampstead.
The new charges allegethat Blaustein, again representing himself as a salesman for Advertising Journal, again approached business owners, promised fliers and collected a down payment that was never returned.
According to the unsealed indictments, Blaustein was "selling" advertising to nearly adozen businesses from March 7 to Sept. 5 of last year.
Some of the businesses hit include Four Seasons Sports Complex, Cranberry Liquors, House of Liquors and Eldersburg Optical.
If convicted on all counts, Blaustein could be behind bars for more than 20 years.
The trial is set for May 7.