Swindler sent to prison

A Marietta man accused of collecting nearly $100,000 for several construction jobs he never completed and swindling an elderly Cutler woman into a dubious logging contract in 2010 was sentenced Thursday in Washington County Common Pleas Court to 18 months in prison.

Douglas G. Snider, Jr., 39, of 1314 Glendale Road, had initially been indicted in April 2010 on 22 felony counts, including 10 theft charges, 10 falsification charges, and two charges of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.

Snider had been offering his construction services to area residents, many of them elderly, and receiving cash up front, said Washington County Prosecutor Jim Schneider.

“The whole problem was he was taking the money and spending it, but not on customers’ stuff,” said Schneider.

In some cases, Snider would make a few minor improvements, but then he would disappear, said Schneider.

After Snider was arrested on the 22 charges in May 2010, part of his bond agreement was that he was not allowed to seek new construction contracts, said Schneider.

“We never ordered him not to finish the jobs. We just ordered him not to obtain new jobs,” he said.

Snider breached his bond by failing to show up for his jury trial and was again indicted in October 2010 for breach of recognizance, a fourth-degree felony.

Before he could be re-arrested, Snider approached a 92-year-old Cutler woman and offered to pay her $5,000 to cut down three dead trees on her property and take the timber, said Schneider.

“Instead he drew up a contract to clear cut her entire forest and she signed that agreement unknowingly,” he said.

Snider then sold the contract to a logging company for $20,000 and never paid the woman the $5,000 he promised, said Schneider.

“She had already signed an agreement with the state not to cut on the land, and the state in turn had lowered her taxes,” he added.

The incident eventually led to an additional indictment for one third-degree felony count of theft from an elderly person, but not until after Snider was eventually arrested in Canton in February 2012, after alluding arrest for nearly one and a half years.

The Washington County Prosecutor’s Office had previously rejected a plea deal on the initial indictment which would have allowed Snider to plead guilty to only two of the theft charges because a judge might only order restitution for the charges to which Snider pleaded, said Schneider.

“It would be unfair to the other victims to just pick one or two,” he said.

Instead, Snider pleaded to all 11 counts of theft and in return the charges of falsification and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity were dropped, said Schneider.

“This way all of the victims are protected,” he said.

In May, Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Susan Boyer sentenced Snider to 15 months in prison on the breach of recognizance charge. However, he has been in the Washington County Jail since his February arrest so the theft charges could be addressed, said Schneider.

Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Randall Burnworth sentenced Snider to the maximum of 12 months Thursday on the three fifth-degree felony theft charges and 18 months on the eight fourth-degree felony theft charges, all to run concurrently to one another.

If the charges had been ordered to be served consecutively Snider would be facing 15 years in prison. However, said Schneider, it is common for similar charges to run concurrent to one another. In Snider’s case, it will sooner enable him to start working toward restitution payments, he added.

Burnworth did order Thursday’s sentence to run consecutively with the 15 months Snider is currently serving on the breach of recognizance charge.

Snider will finish that sentence sometime in May and the clock will then begin ticking on the 18 months, said Schneider.

The issue of restitution will not likely be dealt for nearly a year, he said.

However, the 11 victims have so far requested a total of $93,900 in restitution, noted Burnworth.