A 46-year-old Bel Air businessman has been ordered to repay more than $225,000 for selling mobile homes to customers and then failing to deliver them.
John Philip Seisman Sr. of the 700 block of Hickory Ave. pleaded guilty Wednesday in Harford Circuit Court to stealing their money.
According to the plea arrangement accepted by Judge William O. Carr, the defendant will be sentenced Sept. 21 to 10 years in state prison, with all but four years suspended.
Judge Carr said he expects most of the restitution to be made to those who purchased mobile homes in 1993 from Seisman's firm, Manufactured Housing Discounters Inc.
In a written statement of facts, prosecutor Christopher J. Romano, chief of criminal investigations for the state attorney general's office, said the defendant collected a total of $229,383 as payment or down payments on new homes and then used all of the buyers' money for his own purposes.
Citing the case of a Joppatowne couple, the prosecutor told how Paul and Julie Newman signed a contract to purchase a new mobile home for $41,915 from Seisman's company on June 2, 1993.
Mr. Romano said Seisman promised Mrs. Newman a bookkeeping job for $400 week and gave her a letter confirming her employment and salary from Giles Vending Co., 3011 Pulaski Highway in Edgewood.
The Newmans were to give the letter to the Aberdeen Proving Ground Federal Credit Union to help them obtain a mortgage.
Mr. Romano said the salary confirmation letter signed by a Jeffrey A. Giles, an employee of Seisman's, was bogus.
The letter helped the Newmans obtain a $34,960 loan from the credit union.
They gave the money to Seisman, believing their new home would be delivered Aug. 1, 1993.
When the home did not arrive, the Newmans learned from the manufacturer that Seisman had never ordered it, Mr. Romano said.
Instead of placing orders for the Newmans' home, or other victims' homes, the prosecutor said the defendant spent the money on himself.
He deposited some of it in an account overdrawn by $2,800. He also wrote a check for $3,600 to another of his businesses, John Philip Inc.
Seisman gave Mr. Giles a check for $1,100 and wrote two checks totaling $1,750 to himself, Mr. Romano said.
John Nowicki, a Bel Air attorney representing Seisman, said his client plans "to make it right for everyone involved."
"We are working out this problem with APG [Federal Credit Union] right now," Mr. Nowicki said.
Outside the courtroom, the Newmans were joined by Mark and " Dawn Taylor and Rob and Carrie Sears, who also lost money in deals with Seisman.
They spoke of lost dreams and ruined credit, of being forced to live with relatives or having to pay rent rather than owning a home.
"We'd like to see him put away," Mrs. Taylor said. "We don't think he should be in business anymore."
In addition to making restitution, the defendant will have to repay "out-of-pocket expenses" to the victims, Mr. Romano said.
He said he will calculate the amount before Sept. 21 and inform Judge Carr so that money can be included with the restitution amount as part of the sentence.
He said "out-of-pocket" expenses included such items as the victims' costs for rental security deposits and fees to store furniture.
"We'll never get back other expenses like attorneys' fees," said Mr. Sears.
In other Circuit Court matters last week:
* Jeffrey David Reinsfelder, 20, made an Alford plea to a charge of conspiracy to distribute marijuana and was sentenced to five years in state prison with all but 18 months suspended, court records show.
An Alford plea does not admit guilt, but acknowledges that entering it is in the defendant's best interests, prosecutor Hans Miller said.
According to the statement of facts, Reinsfelder, who lives in the first block of Drexel Drive in Bel Air, was arrested May 6, 1994, during a raid at an Edgewood residence in the 800 block of W. Spring Meadow Court.
More than two pounds of marijuana were seized in the raid.
In imposing the sentence, Judge Cypert O. Whitfill told Reinsfelder, "It's time for you to take responsibility for your actions."
The judge said Reinsfelder had had numerous chances to receive help for alcohol and drug problems, but had wasted the opportunities.
"It's time for you to see what the other side of life is like. You need to go and see and experience what the Department of Corrections has to offer," the judge said.
Upon his release, Reinsfelder will remain on supervised probation for five years, must perform 100 hours of community service, remain drug and alcohol free, submit to random drug and alcohol testing, remain employed and work toward obtaining his high school equivalency degree.