ROCKLAND, Maine — A 35-year-old man who passed himself off as a Rockefeller was sentenced Wednesday to nine months in jail for stealing financial documents from a real member of the nationally known family.
Eric J. Price was sentenced in Knox County Superior Court by Justice Jeffrey Hjelm to three years in jail with all but nine months suspended.
Assistant District Attorney Christopher Fernald said there was no evidence that Price tried to do anything with the financial documents he stole from the Camden home in July 2010. He said it appeared the theft was done merely out of curiosity.
Defense attorney Scott Hess said his client has significant mental health problems. Fernald acknowledged that Price had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder before the offense and that the defendant was in a manic phase when he impersonated a Rockefeller in order to gain access to the Camden home.
The Camden family did not realize anything was amiss with their guest, whom they knew as Malcolm Rockefeller, until that fall, according to an affidavit filed in 2010 by the Camden Police Department. That was when the family was contacted by a Portland man who said he had found financial records belonging to them that had been left behind at his residence by Price.
A photo of Price was show to the Camden victims and they identified him as the person they thought was Malcolm Rockefeller, a relative. The Rockefellers are descendants of John D. Rockefeller, one of America’s first billionaires.
Price was indicted in October 2010 in Maine on felony charges of theft but was not apprehended until July 2013 when he was found at Harvard University in Braintree, Mass., where he was attending summer school. Court documents do not list what name Price used while at Harvard, how long he was there, or what he was studying.
Camden police Detective Curt Andrick said in July that someone at Harvard recently had become suspicious of Price through discussions with him. That person did some checking and notified authorities.
Price said he was receiving scholarships and Social Security disability payments while attending Harvard. Price reported that he had been a financial analyst before 2010.
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.
Hess pointed out that Price had taken significant steps since the theft in Camden to become a productive citizen.
Price, who has remained incarcerated at Knox County Jail since July, will be credited with time served.