ELLSWORTH — A Hancock County grand jury Aug. 5 indicted a Bucksport man who solicits home repair jobs on more than 13 counts of theft and home repair fraud.

Chandler Wilson III, 44, faces six counts of theft by deception, four counts of theft of services and three counts of home repair fraud, according to a copy of the grand jury’s findings.

The incidents allegedly occurred between Aug. 1, 2017, and Oct. 1, 2019. The Bucksport Police Department is the investigating agency.

“These cases are very challenging to analyze and there is certainly a slippery slope where the conduct turns from a civil dispute into a criminal charge,” said Assistant District Attorney Heather Staples. “The line is not very clear, and we do review these on a case-by-case basis, looking at numerous factors before making a charging decision.”

Staples said that one contributing factor that weighed strongly toward prosecution in this case was Wilson’s use of homeowners’ funds at times to pay for other people’s projects, all while promising that he had bought their materials.

“Mr. Wilson promised numerous homeowners in the area that he would do certain home repair work, took their money, and then never followed through,” Staples said. “When he did do work, it was not of a reasonable quality, and had to be repaired by another professional, incurring even more loss on the part of the trusting homeowners.”

“The length of time that the failure to perform went on for is another factor, as is the sheer egregiousness of the theft,” said Staples. “At some point it turns into a case where a reasonable factfinder could see that Mr. Wilson intended to deceive at the time of the original agreement with the homeowners, which is a key point in these cases.”

District Attorney Matt Foster represented Wilson in another matter while Foster worked as a defense attorney some years ago. Maine law prohibits prosecutors from having anything to do with prosecutions of former clients. Thus, Staples is handling the matter.

The grand jury also indicted Wilson on one count each of burglary, criminal trespass, possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and two counts of theft by unauthorized taking or transfer Feb. 7, 2020, in Orland.

At the time of the indictment, Wilson had not yet obtained counsel, according to a copy of the indictment.

Reprinted from The Ellsworth American.

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