BELFAST, Maine — A Waldo County Superior Court justice has dismissed the criminal case against a Belfast woman who had been accused of embezzling more than $80,000 from her family furniture store.
Justice Robert Murray granted a motion to dismiss filed by the prosecutor last Thursday to in the case against Lauri J. Dawson, the 57-year-old who had done the books for Macleod Furniture in Belfast. Her jury trial was scheduled to begin Wednesday.
Joseph Baiungo, Dawson’s defense attorney, said he had no comment about the dismissal.
Neil McLean, the Waldo County assistant district attorney, said this week that before the case was resolved at the “11th hour,” all of the parties were involved in discussions to settle the case before the jury trial. No one would disclose the details of how it was resolved.
“To the best of my knowledge, the Macleod Furniture folks were understanding and satisfied with the decision,” McLean said.
Dawson had been arrested and charged last January with Class B theft by unauthorized taking or transfer after police spent nearly a year investigating claims that she had stolen from Macleod Furniture.
Her attorney previously said that the criminal case was an effort by her brothers to squeeze her out of the family business and property.
Those brothers, Scott and Brent Macleod, had gone to Belfast police with the results of a forensic audit they said indicated at least $83,000 had been stolen from the business. They told police they conducted the audit after learning that the company was having problems paying state and federal taxes and that liens had been placed on company property.
Efforts to speak with Dawson on Thursday were unsuccessful. Scott and Brent Macleod told the BDN that they preferred not to comment at this time.
Correction: A previous version of this story erroneously stated Justice Robert Murray used prosecutorial discretion to dismiss the case. Murray granted a motion to dismiss filed by the prosecutor.