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Homebuilder indicted a 2nd time on charges of bilking his clients


An Anne Arundel County grand jury has indicted an Annapolis homebuilder on charges that he stole $63,000 from a deaf, elderly couple by not building the house they contracted with him to build.

The indictment is the second in recent months against Herbert Lincoln Wellander, 44, of the 1400 block of Middletown Road in Annapolis. He was indicted in April on charges that he stole $4,500 from another elderly couple by not following through on a contract to custom-build a house for them.

In both cases, the houses were to be in the Mission Valley area, and both couples' complaints stem from contracts signed last year, said Assistant State's Attorney Clifford C. Stoddard.

Wellander is charged in the indictments with felony theft, which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a $1,000 fine. He is also charged with twice violating the Custom Home Protection Act, including an allegation that he failed to hold clients' money in trust.

Wellander's attorney did not return a telephone message Friday, and Wellander could not be reached.

Stoddard said in Friday's indictment that Donald and Pauline Petingill gave Wellander their life savings to build their dream house on Mission Valley Road. "He built 20 percent of the house, and they have him 90 percent of the money," Stoddard said. They had other contractors finish the house for them, he said.

Wellander is scheduled for a trial in August on a February indictment in which he is charged with taking money from Howard and D. Marie Hodge to build a house for them, according to Anne Arundel County Circuit Court records. Stoddard said Wellander cashed their check at Price Club but did not do the work, and overcharged them for a survey.

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