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Bel Air insurance broker pleads guilty to keeping clients' premium money


A Bel Air insurance broker has pleaded guilty to two counts of pocketing clients' insurance premiums, two counts of filing false state tax returns and one count of filing phony insurance applications, court records show.

Harford Circuit Judge Cypert O. Whitfill Friday ordered a pre-sentence investigation and set sentencing for William Thomas Tawney, 49, of the 1800 block of Prindle Drive in Bel Air for July 26.

Assistant State's Attorney William G. Christoforo said the plea arrangement calls for Tawney to serve a maximum of five years in prison.

Court documents show that Tawney, who formerly operated from the William Tawney Agency at 101 S. Main St., had cashed a $450 check given to him last year as a first insurance premium payment by Henry L. Doyle, owner of a Bel Air delicatessen.

When Mr. Doyle did not receive his policy, he contacted the parent company and learned no policy had been purchased for him by Tawney.

Similarly, court documents show that Robert Edelstein, owner of a Bel Air restaurant, discovered that his medical insurance coverage had lapsed for nonpayment, even though he had paid Tawney $1,300 by check in December 1993 to continue the coverage.

Court records show that Tawney cashed that check.

He was charged with filing false tax returns in 1991 and 1992, the prosecutor said.

"The exact amount is substantial, but part of the plea arrangement calls for [Tawney] to make complete financial disclosures" to determine the exact amount owed, Mr. Christoforo said.

Tawney also filed applications for insurance using fake names and collected a cash advance amounting to the first year's commission, the prosecutor said.

"When the companies asked him to return the cash advances because the applicant never paid the premiums, Tawney ignored their requests," Mr. Christoforo said.

In other Circuit Court matters last week:

* The owner of an Aberdeen modular and mobile home dealership is suing the county, a former county executive, current county officials and a Dublin couple for $2 million, alleging they abused their power and maliciously prosecuted him in March 1992.

Raymond H. Warfield of the 500 block of Maxa Road contends in his lawsuit, filed in Harford Circuit Court May 26, that Richard Lynch, who headed the county Department of Inspections, Licensing and Permits, should not have had him criminally prosecuted.

The lawsuit says Herbert and Mary McVey bought a new modular home from his company to replace theirs in the 3300 block of Dublin Road, which burned in 1989.

While the new home was being built, Mr. Warfield said, he allowed the McVeys the opportunity to rent -- in "as is" condition -- a used trailer, which he agreed to move to their property as temporary shelter.

Mr. Warfield alleges that his company's work was completed about September 1989, but that the McVeys did not have necessary plumbing and electrical work done, nor did they pay his company the balance due for installing the new trailer.

Mr. Warfield contends the McVeys continued to live in the temporary trailer, on another part of the property, until about March 1990.

The lawsuit further contends that the McVeys stated in December 1989 at the office of former Rep. Roy Dyson that they did not want anyone from Mr. Warfield's firm coming on their property.

Mr. Warfield alleges in his lawsuit that he had never received any written complaints before the McVeys filed a complaint with Mr. Lynch's office in January 1990 about their trailer and that Mr. Lynch inspected the trailer and issued a livability code violation on the old trailer against Mr. Warfield.

Mr. Warfield contends he did not have permission to enter the McVeys' property and could not fix whatever needed to be done in the trailer, but Mr. Lynch still signed a statement of charges against him.

In a two-day trial in March 1992, Circuit Judge Cypert O. Whitfill granted an acquittal after the state rested its case and before the defense called its witnesses.

County attorney Ernest A. Crofoot said Friday that he had not had an opportunity to see the lawsuit and could not comment.

* Kenneth Ray Kite, 15, of Aberdeen has been released on a reduced bond of $30,000 set Friday by Judge Maurice W. Baldwin, court records show.

The teen-ager previously was being held without bond on charges of trying to kill his sister and plotting to kill his parents.

He was arrested Jan. 6 after his sister told police she had seen her brother standing in the doorway after she returned home from school and was surprised and brutally beaten with a pipe.

Michael Lee Sheets, 16, a friend of the Kite youth, is accused of wielding the pipe in the attack on the girl.

The Sheets youth is being held at the county detention center without bond, according to a jail spokesman.

* Richard Winn, 25, of the 100 block of Waldon Road in Abingdon was sentenced Friday to eight years in state prison for robbing the Harco Maryland Credit Union branch office in Abingdon.

Court records show the defendant pleaded guilty to the 1994 armed robbery charges on Feb. 16.

Judge William O. Carr sentenced Winn to 20 years but suspended all but eight years. The judge ordered him placed on three years of supervised probation after his release from prison.

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