Bankrupt shop owner charged with theft FBI arrests Bolet at court hearing

August 12, 1993|By Sherry Joe | Sherry Joe,Staff Writer

A story in Thursday's Howard County edition on the arrest of Lawrence Michael Bolet incorrectly stated that he was arrested by the FBI. In fact, Mr. Bolet was arrested by the Maryland Joint Violent Crimes Fugitive Task Force, which includes the FBI, Baltimore City Police, Baltimore County Police and Maryland State Police.

The story also incorrectly reported the name of the judge who conducted the bond review hearing for Mr. Bolet. It was District Judge Louis A. Becker.

The Sun regrets the errors.

The owner of the Original Brass Shoppe in Ellicott City, who filed for personal bankruptcy last month and was charged Tuesday with theft, was released from the Howard County Detention Center yesterday on a $7,500 unsecured bond.


Lawrence Michael Bolet, formerly of Columbia, was arrested by the FBI on five charges of theft and one charge of theft-scheme, said Sgt. Gary Gardner of the county Police Department, which issued the warrants. Mr. Bolet was apprehended in Hopkins Plaza in Baltimore after attending a creditors' meeting at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

Yesterday, District Judge James N. Vaughan ordered Mr. Bolet released on an unsecured bond, which means that the merchant must appear at all court proceedings or pay a $7,500 bond.

Mr. Bolet is scheduled to appear Aug. 30 at a bankruptcy court proceeding, said his attorney, Thomas B. McCarty.

During the bond review hearing, Mr. Bolet appeared via a television monitor from the Howard County Detention Center in Jessup.

Mr. McCarty said his client is trying to make good on his debts and is in financial trouble through no fault of his own.

"He's in terrible financial circumstances," Mr. McCarty told Judge Vaughan. "It's a businessman in trouble. It's a terrible situation for creditors."

Mr. Bolet owes $342,868.48, according to Chapter 7 bankruptcy documents filed July 7 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The Original Brass Shoppe closed July 2.

More than 100 creditors from Ellicott City, Columbia and other areas are listed in the filing.

Under Chapter 7, a bankruptcy trustee liquidates all the debtor's property, with certain exceptions allowed by law. The trustee will sell the remaining property for the benefit of creditors.

Six customers have filed criminal charges against Mr. Bolet, accusing him of fraudulently failing to provide merchandise for which they have paid.

Most of the five theft charges involve amounts less than $300, and the theft-scheme charge concerns merchandise worth $700.

Mr. McCarty said he expects more customers to file charges against his client soon.

Deborah J. Fleischmann of Ellicott City filed theft charges Tuesday after Mr. Bolet failed to deliver a $700 bed she ordered for her 6-year-old daughter.

Ms. Fleischmann said she used a VISA credit card in May to order a mattress and box spring as well as the trundle bed. The mattress and box spring were delivered a week later, but her daughter's bed "never materialized," she said.

"My daughter is really suffering from this," Ms. Fleischmann said. "Here's this child who's looking forward to this nice new trundle bed. That's what makes me so angry."

On Tuesday, Ms. Fleischmann was among about 40 creditors who attended the Bankruptcy Court hearing to discuss Mr. Bolet's finances.

"I talked to many people there who lost much more than I -- thousands of dollars," she said.

Ms. Fleischmann said she is still waiting to hear whether VISA will be able to remove the charge from her account.

"He stole from me," she said. "There will be a day in court when he will face these charges."

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