Maine Man Sentenced for Theft in Advance-Fee Loan Scheme

AUGUSTA – Attorney General William J. Schneider and Maine Securities Administrator Judith M. Shaw announced today that Donald R. Shields, 66, of Augusta and Boothbay Harbor has been sentenced in Kennebec County Superior Court to two years in prison, with thirteen months suspended, and one year of probation on one count of felony theft in connection with an advance-fee loan scheme he operated.

The scheme targeted distressed businesses unable to obtain conventional financing.  Shields solicited payments from business people who were seeking commercial loans after falsely claiming that he had the intent and ability to secure the loans.

“Donald Shields conned savvy business people into believing he had connections with investors and the ability to obtain commercial loans for their businesses when conventional financing appeared to be unavailable.  Businesses and individuals should be suspicious of any individual who promises to obtain a loan or line of credit in exchange for an upfront fee,” cautioned Administrator Shaw.

Shields pled guilty in June 2010, but sentencing was deferred in accordance with a plea agreement to allow him to comply with the terms of the agreement, including paying $10,200 in restitution.

“We are pleased to bring Mr. Shields to justice and obtain full restitution for his victims,” said Attorney General Schneider.  Shields had prior state and federal convictions for forgery and mail fraud dating back to 1999.

 Shaw urged anyone being asked to pay an upfront fee for a commercial loan to contact the Office of Securities for assistance.  “Individuals offering advice on securing a commercial loan are not required to be licensed but our Office can provide information to help business people and investors spot potential scams.”

To check an adviser, salesperson or for information related to investing, go to www.investors.maine.gov, call 1-877-624-8551 (TTY 1-888-577-6690) or write to the Maine Office of Securities, 121 SHS, Augusta, Maine 04333-0121.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Michael Colleran, of Attorney General Schneider’s Financial Crimes Division and was investigated by Jacqueline Drouin of Maine’s Office of Securities.

The Office of Securities is part of Maine’s Department of Professional and Financial Regulation, which encourages sound ethical business practices through the regulation of insurers, financial institutions, creditors, investment providers, and numerous professions and occupations for the purpose of protecting the citizens of Maine.

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