MACHIAS — A Lubec man who sold baseball cards and other merchandise over the Internet was sentenced Tuesday in Washington County Superior Court to seven years in prison with all but three suspended for theft by deception.
David Anderson, 66, also was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay $6,500 in restitution to three victims, according to the Washington County District Attorney’s Office.
Superior Court Justice Kevin Cuddy denied Anderson’s request for a stay and ordered him to begin serving his sentence immediately.
In an April plea agreement with prosecutors, Anderson pleaded guilty to theft by deception. He was charged with a Class B crime because what he stole was valued at more than $10,000, according to Paul Cavanaugh, first assistant district attorney for Washington County.
Cavanaugh said Tuesday that Anderson offered items, including a large collection of baseball cards he had inherited from his father, for sale on the Internet between 2001 and 2005. After some of the sales were completed, local police and authorities in states where his customers lived, complained that the merchandise either never arrived or was not in the condition described by Anderson.
The investigation, according to the Washington County prosecutor, involved postal inspectors and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The state prosecutor said the case took so long to resolve because investigators had to track down victims, document sales and examine a number of victims’ computers.
Cavanaugh said Tuesday that Anderson’s victims numbered 25 and their losses were estimated at $87,000.
The prosecutor said it was not clear why Anderson was ordered to pay restitution only to three victims. The statute of limitations in Maine for Class B theft by deception is six years. It’s possible that by the time investigators had enough evidence to prove Anderson had cheated some victims, the statute of limitations had expired, according to Cavanaugh.
Anderson’s wife, Geraldine Anderson, 69, of Lubec originally also was charged with theft, Cavanaugh said. Part of her husband’s plea agreement was that the charge against her be dropped at his sentencing.
Cuddy granted a motion to dismiss the charge against her Tuesday.
Anderson faced up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000.