BELFAST – The trial of a Monroe businessman who police say swindled his landlord out of more than $170,000 began Wednesday at the Waldo Judicial Center.
David Webber, owner of D and M Services, was charged by Maine State Police with theft by deception.
Prosecutors said he systematically got his 58-year-old landlord to pay him for jobs he never did to the rental house where he lived.
“This deal turned into a financial nightmare,” Assistant Attorney General Leanne Robbins told the jury during opening arguments.
“You’ll hear that Webber fabricated, just made up reasons, for [the landlord] to use his services, claiming that electrical work, plumbing work, well work, heating work all needed to be done,” Robbin said. “And he charged exorbitant prices for the work that was not in fact done.”
She added, “Even worse, it was work David Webber never intended to do.”
Webber was arrested in October 2018. His landlord lived at the end of Emery Road, a dead-end dirt road, and Webber rented the house next door at 165 Emery Road. The landlord has since moved.
“You’ll hear that shortly after David Webber moved into 165 Emery Road, he claimed the well pump went boom, and the bill was $5,500 to fix it,” Robbin said. “Then he claimed the circulators on the boiler were spraying water and had to be replaced. Price tag over $2,600.”
Robbin listed around a dozen other fictitious bills that were paid by the landlord. Webber’s attorney, Tom Sheehan, told the jury to use their common sense during the trial.
“You’ll hear from witnesses and the evidence that most of David Webber’s stories were fiction,” Robbin said.
She added, “By the end of the trial, you’ll hear that the total debt exceeded well over $100,000 over a period of only 11 months.”
Webber’s trial is expected to last two days.