By Evamarie Socha
The Daily Item
MIFFLINBURG — A Union County businessman waived his right to a preliminary hearing Thursday on charges that he spent $241,000 for personal debt and expenses instead of investing it in a storage facility partnership in West Buffalo Township as he told 10 clients he would.
Ted Cresswell, 57, of Mifflinburg, was charged in February with deceptive business practices, theft by deception and theft by unlawful taking, all felonies.
Cresswell, who appeared before District Judge Lori Hackenberg in Mifflinburg, had no comment as he left court Thursday. District Judge Jeffrey Mensch recused himself from the case, saying he has known Cresswell for many years.
Attorney William DeStefano, of Philadelphia, representing Cresswell, said he had no comment “at this point.”
Special agent Michael Cranga, of the state attorney general’s office, began his investigation last June following complaints from several investors that they had received no money from Cresswell and were unsuccessful in getting their money back from him.
None of the 10 parties listed on the affidavit were in court Thursday.
According to the affidavit filed in February, between February and July 2008, Cresswell sought investors for a project called A&A Storage Center Partnership.
He told clients he would build a commercial storage rental facility on his land at Forest Hill and Johnstown roads in West Buffalo Township, the affidavit states. Investors received a prospectus saying they could buy into the storage partnership for $25,000 a share, and their money would be kept in an interest-bearing account.
Under the deal, $40,000 of investors’ money would go to buy and transfer the property to the partnership from Cresswell and his wife, Sandra. Construction of the facility would be done by Ted A. Cresswell Construction Inc.
If the project failed to occur, investors would get back their money, the prospectus said.
Instead, investigators said Cresswell took $171,000 for the land and didn’t transfer the property to the partnership. He also hasn’t returned money to investors, officials said.
Cresswell is scheduled for arraignment Aug. 5 in Union County Court.