BANGOR, Maine — An Eddington man serving a four-year sentence for assaulting his estranged wife pleaded not guilty Wednesday at the Penobscot Judicial Center to taking more than $35,000 from the mortgage company he ran with a partner.
Ryan Witmer, 33, was indicted in March by the Penobscot County grand jury on one count of Class B theft by unauthorized taking. He is accused of stealing $37,500 from Mortgage Marketing Solutions LLC, formerly located in Bangor, which Witmer owned with a partner. The partner was not named in the indictment.
A trial date has not been set.
Witmer’s next court appearance was set for Aug. 3.
He allegedly wrote several checks in July 2008 to a relative while in the Penobscot County Jail facing the charges that led to his incarceration, Michael Roberts, deputy district attorney for Penobscot County, said in March.
Witmer is serving a four-year sentence at the Charleston Correctional Facility for the assault. Without factoring in time off for good behavior, he is expected to be released in February 2012, Witmer’s attorney, Darrick Banda of Portland, said at Wednesday’s hearing.
District Court Judge Jesse Gunther set Witmer’s bail on the theft charge at $2,000 unsecured in the event his case is unresolved once he completes his sentence on the assault charge.
After the hearing, Banda said that any question over what happened to funds from Witmer’s former business is a civil not a criminal case.
“It’s a civil matter, pure and simple, between [Witmer] and the other individual,” Banda said after the hearing. “We’re going to be able to trace those funds and show the money came from Ryan. He was the majority contributor [when the company was formed.] This doesn’t rise to the level of a crime.”
If convicted of the new charges, Witmer could face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000. He also could be ordered to pay restitution to his former business partner.
The incident that led to Witmer’s incarceration occurred late on the evening of June 28, 2008. He was accused of breaking into the Orrington home he previously had shared with his then-estranged wife and attacking her and her boyfriend. The boyfriend, who has a black belt in tae kwan do, a Korean self-defense art, suffered 11 stab wounds to his back. Witmer’s wife, who had taken out a protection order to keep Witmer away from her, suffered superficial cuts to her forearms, according to court documents.
After a 5½-day trial, a Penobscot County jury in November found Witmer not guilty of aggravated attempted murder, elevated aggravated assault, aggravated assault and burglary. Jurors found him guilty of the lesser charges of simple assault and violation of a protection-from-abuse order.
In December, Superior Court Justice William Anderson sentenced Witmer, who has no criminal record, to four years in prison. The 16 months Witmer was held without bail while awaiting trial was applied to his sentence.
Anderson in March denied a motion filed by Witmer’s attorneys seeking to reduce Witmer’s sentence. An appeal of that denial is pending before the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.