AUGUSTA — A Chelsea woman pleaded guilty Tuesday to several counts of theft and forgery in connection with instances in which she befriended multiple people, including at least one homeless veteran, and then stole and cashed checks from them.
Tracy S. Dorweiler, 55, pleaded guilty to a total of 14 charges at the Metropolitan Judicial Center for crimes committed in 2019 and 2020, most of which involved her stealing or attempting to steal money through checks from two veteran residents from the area ‘ facilities. The thefts also involved an Augusta man and an Augusta-based company, Guerrette Properties.
One of the victims lived at a shelter for homeless women veterans who alerted authorities in September 2019 after noticing checks were missing. Augusta police investigated and found Dorweiler apparently wrote two checks from the woman, made out to himself, for $160 and $180, and also used the woman’s debit card several times to add minutes to her cell phone.
Dorweiler, according to prosecutor Tyler LeClair, an assistant district attorney, admitted to police that she cashed the checks but claimed she did it to help the victim by getting her money. The victim denied this and said she did not did not issue any checks to Dorweiler.
In March 2020, a man staying in a hut on the territory of Medical and Regional Center for Veterans Affairs in Togus reported that Dorweiler, his neighbor there, asked him to cash a check for her. She wrote him a check for $384 and he cashed it. But when he went to cash her check, it was denied because there weren’t enough funds in her account to cover the check. That same day, LeClair said, Dorweiler tried to cash a check made out to her from the man’s account.
She later admitted to stealing the check and trying to cash it.
Dorweiler lists himself as a retired military medic on his social media pages.
In May 2019, an Augusta man reported a similar incident in which Dorweiler gave him a check for $480, which he cashed and gave her her money, but then the check bounced. LeClair said the man tried to contact Dorweiler, but she did not answer. LeClair said Dorweiler first told law enforcement she thought she had money in her account to cover the check, but later admitted she knew she didn’t.
Also in 2020, an employee and owner of Augusta-based Guerrette Properties reported that a worker placed a check for $331 issued to the state for payroll taxes in a lobby mailbox outside the business to be mailed. LeClair said Dorweiler stole the check and returned to the business after apparently using a black marker to write his name on the check instead of “State of Maine,” and asked a Guerrette Properties employee for a new check for that amount. saying the money was pay for catering work.
A worker told Dorweiler to take the check to the owner of the company, which she did and the owner took the check from her. LeClair said Dorweiler told police she was strapped for money and admitted to stealing checks.
The verdict in the case is due in May.
Dorweiler’s attorney, Donald Hornblower, said at sentencing that he would present information about how Dorweiler took steps to address her behavior. However, he said she also had a similar case against her in northern Maine that has yet to be resolved.
“There are some complexities to it,” Hornblower said Tuesday via Zoom video. “She has done a lot to improve her life and heal herself. So we will present all of this in court.
The maximum sentence for the most serious level C felony charges against Dorweiler is up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
LeClair said the state’s latest offer, in an attempt to resolve the case through a plea bargain, was for a three-year prison sentence. But he said her sentence would now be up to the judge after hearing both sides argue about what her sentence should be.
Court documents show she has previous similar theft and forgery charges on her criminal record.
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