A Reese store owner who bilked customers of their down payments for carpet and services was convicted yesterday after he pleaded not guilty but agreed not to challenge the prosecutor's statement of facts.
Roy D. Marshall, 33, of Westminster was found guilty in Carroll County Circuit Court on nine counts of theft over $300 and one count of attempted theft over $300.
The plea agreement says Marshall, who owned and operated Marshall's Carpet & Services, must pay restitution of about $26,000 by March 19, his sentencing date.
If Marshall complies, prosecutor David P. Daggett said, he will seek a 30-year sentence with 20 years of the term suspended.
If restitution is not paid, Daggett said, he will ask Judge Raymond E. Beck Sr. to impose a 30-year sentence with 10 years suspended.
Daggett said he agreed to the plea because it made more likely that all of Marshall's victims would get their money back. Most of the victims ordered carpet or carpet services from Marshall last year, made a down payment or paid in advance, and never got the product or service, the prosecutor said.
Attorney John Rion of Dayton, Ohio, who represents Marshall, said family members have put up $20,000, which is being held in escrow, to pay restitution.
Rion said he will ask Beck not to send his client to prison because all of the matters called felony theft by the prosecutor "really seem like civil cases," or failed contracts.
Attorney David Weisgerber of Westminster, Rion's co-counsel, clarified the plea agreement with Beck, making sure the judge understood the agreement to say that the state may not bring additional charges against Marshall.
Weisgerber said Daggett will appear at a violation of probation hearing for his client next week and ask the court to terminate probation in that case, accepting whatever terms of probation that Beck imposes.
Similarly, in a Baltimore County case involving theft of auto repair services, Daggett agreed to contact prosecutors there to ask that they consider accepting the disposition for yesterday's plea rather than prosecuting Marshall.
Daggett said he would talk to Baltimore County prosecutors, but could not be held responsible if they decide to pursue charges against Marshall.
He said he has verified nearly all of the restitution amounts for each victim, but still needed to check on who lost money when airline tickets were charged on a credit card belonging to a customer of Marshall's Carpets & Services.
Restitution in that case was made part of yesterday's plea agreement, although Daggett's statement of facts did not address it.
The statement concentrated on 10 of 39 counts against Marshall.
In most of them, Daggett said, Marshall took customers' money for carpet and put them off when they called for an installation date.
"Eventually, he would not even call them back, and they had no further contact with him," Daggett said. "He set out to deliberately steal their money. He would cash their checks and never deposited the money into a business account."
Daggett said Marshall offered some clients discounts if they paid in advance, and when they tried to get refunds, he would send checks that bounced.
Rion said Marshall's crimes were nonviolent, that business people do the same thing every day, and Marshall took responsibility for what people who worked for him did.
"For every 10 dissatisfied customers, there's another 50 who were satisfied," Rion said.
Pub Date: 1/27/98