Not guilty pleas in elder theft case



ELLSWORTH — The two women accused of bilking an elderly Trenton man out of thousands of dollars entered not guilty pleas at their Nov. 8 arraignment in Hancock County Unified Criminal Court.

Lisa Harriman, 54, of Mariaville and Kathleen Prunier, 58, of Trenton were indicted by a grand jury Oct. 6 following an investigation by the Maine Attorney General’s Office. Harriman was indicted on charges of theft by unauthorized taking and misuse of entrusted property. Prunier was indicted on a theft by deception charge.

According to the indictments, Harriman committed theft by obtaining or exercising unauthorized control over cash with an aggregate value in excess of $10,000 between November 2012 and July 2015. The misuse of entrusted property charge alleges that Harriman violated her duty as a fiduciary in managing money belonging to the victim.

Prunier, her indictment states, committed theft by deceiving the victim by creating the impression that real estate she purchased from him was valued at considerably less than the town’s assessment of the property. Prunier allegedly befriended the victim and convinced him to sell her a 6-acre property with a right-of-way to the shore for $4,000, though it is valued by the town at $77,000.

A member of the victim’s family, Bob Byron of North Yarmouth, has said the 83-year-old Trenton resident suffers from dementia. The total loss, he estimated, could exceed $200,000.

Both women posted $1,000 cash bail the day of their arraignment. Both also requested court-appointed attorneys, but only Prunier was found indigent and was approved. She is to be represented by attorney Robert Van Horn.

According to court records, Harriman’s failed to qualify for a court-appointed attorney because she owns two properties in Maine and a third in Florida. She since has hired attorney Steve Juskewitch.

Harriman and Prunier next are scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 16.

 

Mark Good

Mark Good

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Mark Good

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