- A borough councilman who owns Lakeland Stair and Millwork took $4,500 from a client for work he never performed and materials he never ordered, state police said.
Harry DeVrieze, 57, of Honesdale, faces felony charges of theft by deception and theft by unlawful taking.
"That's a shock," Councilman Scott Smith said Monday, adding that he has always had a lot of confidence in DeVrieze.
DeVrieze was to order and install countertops at the alleged victim's home on Crestmont Drive in Honesdale, but never did, police said.
The councilman was arraigned before District Judge Ted Mikulak and released on $10,000 bail.
DeVrieze is scheduled to appear in Central Court at 9 a.m. June 18.
DeVrieze said Monday he had spoken to the alleged victim who just wants to be reimbursed and that it is an "unfortunate situation" that will have no bearing on his council position.
But the arresting officer, John M. Chervanka, said even if the councilman pays back the alleged victim the case still has to work its way though the court system.
The trooper noted that DeVrieze had numerous chances to pay back the money but did not do so.
The councilman said he has had financial difficulties over the years, but takes responsibility for his actions.
He added, "It's my own fault and I'm terribly embarrassed."
Borough Council President James Brennan said Monday it was the first he heard of the charges and he would have to talk with DeVrieze about the situation.
Councilman Robert Jennings had no comment.
According to an affidavit prepared by Chervanka:
On June 6 the alleged victim, John Bryan Robinson, told police DeVrieve took the money, never performed the work or ordered the materials and never returned the money.
DeVrieze cashed the check on May 3, 2011 and the cash was withdrawn from Robinson's bank account.
DeVrieze had promised Robinson the work would be completed in four weeks.
Robinson returned home from his job as a Merchant Marine and discovered no work had been done. He contacted DeVrieze and was told the supplier in Allentown did not have the style he had ordered.
DeVrieze told Robinson he would have to pick "out of stock" and that would "take a while."
Robinson kept checking back with DeVrieze and was given different stories as to why the work wasn't done.
The excuses, police said, included that DeVrieze was sick and spent the money, or DeVrieze was expecting a "big check" from a customer.
DeVrieze told Robinson he was awaiting his income tax check and then DeVrieze told Robinson his wife was hospitalized.
Robinson felt bad and gave him more time to pay back the money.
In March 2013, Robinson filed a civil lien against DeVrieze and Lakeland Stair and Millwork, 1040 Main Street in Honesdale.
DeVrieze didn't show up for the hearing and Mikulak found in favor of Robinson.
DeVrieze never paid the amount owned to Robinson, police said.
"As of this date Devrieze never paid or even attempted to pay Robinson the money owed him," Chervanka stated in court papers.