ROCKLAND, Maine — A 35-year-old man who allegedly impersonated a member of the Rockefeller family and has been wanted in Maine for three years on felony charges of theft and receiving stolen property made his first court appearance Friday after being extradited from Massachusetts.
Eric J. Price was apprehended last week while studying at Harvard University’s summer school in Cambridge, Mass. He was extradited to Maine on Monday afternoon and made his initial court appearance Wednesday afternoon in Rockland District Court, where he tried to enter a guilty plea.
Price had been indicted on the charges by a Knox County grand jury in October 2010 after he allegedly stole financial documents from a Camden home while living there in July of that year as a guest. He allegedly introduced himself as Malcolm Rockefeller, of the well-known family. The Rockefellers are descendants of John D. Rockefeller, one of America’s first billionaires.
The Camden family did not realize anything was amiss with their guest after he had left until that fall, according to an affidavit filed in 2010 by the Camden Police Department. That fall, they were contacted by a man in Portland who said he had found stocks, financial records, bank statements and other documents belonging to them.
The family contacted Camden police, who investigated and determined that the documents had been left at the Portland residence by Price, who had been staying there after his visit in Camden.
Police then obtained and shared a photograph of Price with the Camden family members, who identified him as the man who had called himself Malcolm Rockefeller.
The value of the items taken was not large, but the family and police were concerned that the items could be used for identity theft, according to the 2010 police report. When Price was indicted in October 2010, the charges were elevated to felony level because of his prior convictions for bank fraud and forgery.
Price disappeared, however, before he could be arrested.
Camden police Detective Curt Andrick said Wednesday that someone at Harvard recently became suspicious of Price through discussions with him. That person did some checking and then notified authorities.
Harvard University’s Police Department arrested him on campus, and he was held at the Cambridge, Mass., jail until after he waived extradition on July 1.
Andrick and Rockland police Detective Sgt. Chris Young traveled to Cambridge to bring Price back to Maine and the Knox County Jail in Rockland on July 8.
Local law enforcement officials were not able to confirm immediately on Wednesday what name Price was using while at Harvard, how long he had been there, or what he was studying.
A telephone message left with the Harvard University Police Department was not returned Wednesday.
According to documents filed by Price in the Rockland court in his effort to obtain a court-appointed lawyer, Price said he was receiving both scholarships and Social Security disability payments while attending Harvard. Price reported that he had been a financial analyst before 2010.
On Wednesday, Price, dressed in an orange inmate uniform, appeared in the court for a five-minute long hearing. The shackled Price initially entered a guilty plea to the felony charges but Judge Charles Dow refused to take the plea and instead entered a not guilty plea on the defendant’s behalf.
The judge said Price should first obtain an attorney and discuss his options with that lawyer.
A motion also has been filed out of Cumberland County to revoke Price’s federal probation for failing to meet with his probation officer since 2009. That probation stemmed from a forgery conviction in Cumberland County in 2009.
Price also was convicted in 2002 in U.S. District Court in Bangor for bank fraud after stealing more than $50,000 from MBNA while he was employed by the credit card company. He was sentenced to 14 months in prison and then placed on supervised release for five years. He also was ordered to repay MBNA $52,791.03.