PARIS – An Oxford County grand jury is expected this week to hear the case against Norway town employee Deborah P. Wyman, who is accused of stealing tens of thousands of dollars meant for community development.
The grand jury will convene Wednesday and begin hearing cases Thursday, Oxford County Superior Court Clerk Donna Howe said.
Wyman, 51, has been ordered to appear at the clerk’s office Tuesday sometime between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. to sign a bail bond for $10,000 worth of property or $2,500 cash, Howe said. She must also sign a waiver of extradition authorizing U.S. officials to take her into custody, if necessary, if she travels outside their jurisdiction to avoid prosecution.
Wyman has been Norway’s community development director for 20 years with oversight of more than $5 million in federal Community Development Block Grants. She reportedly was paid $15 an hour for the 20-hour-per-week job. She has also worked part time as a counter clerk in the town office for the past three years and was paid $7 an hour, Town Manager David Holt said.
An investigation was undertaken early this year after L.F. Pike & Son owner Art Gouin told town officials he never received $5,000 to fix the facade of his building, even though town accounts and invoices indicated he had and the town sent him a tax form based on those records.
Investigators have identified at least 67 transactions of town funds deposited into Wyman’s personal bank account via ATM, according to Maine State Police Detective John Hainey.
On March 17, Wyman was charged with stealing at least $55,000 from the town between January 2003 and January 2006, according to court records.
A judge issued an order attaching all her assets. Two banks have reported to the court that Wyman has a total of several hundred dollars in accounts as of late March.
Last fall, Wyman asked Holt for a leave of absence – from late December to the first of April – “because of personal difficulties” and was granted the request, Holt’s affidavit stated. She indicated she would be staying with a friend in Fort Myers, Fla., and perhaps work at a restaurant there, he stated.
When her arrest warrant was issued March 17, Wyman was ending her leave with a month-long Caribbean cruise on a chartered sailboat, according to court records.
Three days after the warrant was issued, Wyman called the town manager to ask what evidence the town had concerning the charge, but Holt refused to say.
On March 23, the warrant was recalled at the request of her attorney, Edward L. Dilworth III of Norway. He said Wyman was returning to Maine the first week of April and understood there was a possibility she might be indicted by the grand jury April 5 or 6, according to Dilworth’s motion.
The single, hazel-eyed blonde, who stands 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighs 125 pounds, resides in an apartment at 27 Main St. in Harrison, according to the state’s criminal complaint signed by Hainey. The apartment is owned by Gary Searles of Harrison, a wealthy businessman, who officials believe is on the Caribbean excursion with her.
The town has filed a civil complaint against Wyman on charges of conversion and fraud. It alleges she removed funds from the town’s account and placed them in her personal checking account, and that she falsified invoices related to grants she administered and falsified town account records.
Town attorney Daniel J. Mitchell is asking the court to award compensation for damages, interest, costs and punitive damages.