The owner of a local boating sales and repair store accused of stealing from numerous customers pleaded not guilty to a slew of criminal charges Thursday.
Shawn William Corbett, owner of Maximum Marine on Canyon Ferry Road, was initially charged with six counts in August, but county attorney Jeff Sealey filed additional charges last week, bringing the total to 10. Seven of those are felonies.
He faces five felony charges of deceptive practices, plus charges for theft and issuing a bad check. Each of those charges comes with a maximum sentence of 10 years and $50,000.
Additionally, Corbett is charged with misdemeanor theft, deceptive practices and violating the consumer protection act.
The cases described in the state’s affidavit depict a pattern of taking payment for repair work but never completing the repairs, and in some cases never ordering the parts.
In one instance, Corbett is said to have cashed a $9,300 check from Northern Energy in 2011 to purchase and install a new boat engine. Despite a series of alleged promises and excuses, Corbett did not complete the work that year.
In fall 2012, the affidavit states, Corbett told the boat owner that it would be resolved within a week, as oil had been found on his wife’s land in North Dakota and he was quitting the boat business. Again last August, Corbett allegedly promised the repair would be completed within a week. The repairs apparently still have not been completed.
The same was the case for Jennifer Gerondale, who paid Corbett nearly $3,000 to repair her boat last year. In May, a deputy from the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Office aided in Gerondale’s recovery of the boat, which was never repaired, but no refund has yet been obtained.
In other cases customers’ money was recovered but only after undergoing civil litigation.
All offenses are alleged to have occurred since 2011.
Records from the Montana Secretary of State’s office show that the business certificate for Maximum Marine was involuntarily dissolved in December 2011 for failing to submit a required annual report, though the business continued to operate.
Another boat business named Valley Marine, LLC was registered at the same address in June of this year.
Corbett declined comment Thursday afternoon, and attorney Mike Doggett did not return a call left Wednesday.
After the first set of charges was filed, Corbett strongly denied any wrongdoing to an IR reporter.
“I never took nobody’s money,” he said at the time.
Corbett said he was “taken advantage of” by his bank, which he accused of mismanaging his funds.
His trial is set for January 27, 2014.