Michael E. Hart, a former Towson investment counselor accused of bilking eight customers of more than $802,000, will remain in jail on $800,000 bail, a District Court judge said today.
Judge Charles E. Foos III refused to lower Hart's bail, despite arguments from Hart's attorney, William Butler, that Hart was not a fugitive since when Hart left the state no charges were pending against him.
Foos said the fact that Hart, 34, had been living under an assumed name and with his appearance altered was enough to persuade him to maintain the current bail.
Hart, who was living under the name James Allison, was arrested last week in San Diego. He waived his right to be in court today.
He was in court last week for a bail review hearing, but came without an attorney.
What he did come with was two black eyes and other bruises on his face, which prompted one of his alleged victims to remark outside the courtroom, "Look, they beat him up in jail. Good."
Hart was indicted May 20 on 29 counts of theft, tax evasion, fraud and securities violations.
Maryland State Police brought him back to Maryland last week. If convicted of all counts, Hart faces a maximum of 273 years in prison and $73,000 in fines.
He is accused of stealing as little as $6,000 and as much as $369,000 from eight different clients. He also is accused of not filing state income tax returns for 1988 and 1989.
Authorities said yesterday that they were not sure how Hart got the black eyes, but insisted he had the marks when State Police picked him up in California.
"That's the way he was when we picked him up," said Jerry Kelly, a spokesman for the county sheriff's department. "When he was picked up, pictures were taken of him. We have the pictures. Whatever happened, happened out there."