Accountant embezzeled funds from former employer

Nobleboro man ordered to pay $150,000 back to local business

By Juliette Laaka | May 02, 2014

Rockland — A 57-year-old Nobleboro man was sentenced to six months in jail after he admitted to embezzling money over a period of three years from a business he was employed at as an accountant.

Walter Guptill was ordered to pay $150,000 in restitution to his former employer that day, and serve six months at the Knox County Jail April 28 after he pleaded guilty to a single count of theft by unauthorized taking. A second count of the same charge was dismissed.

Guptill stole money from the checking account of Cushing businesses P.J. Schwalbenberg and Associates, Inc., and Cushing Diesel Services LLC, from October 2005 to October 2009, said court documents.

Guptill was arrested in 2011 and originally pleaded not guilty at his arraignment.

Business records compiled by another accountant for the victimized business show Guptill stole approximately a half million, said court papers, although bank record evidence only proves $400,000 was embezzled. Police surmised Guptill may have had another bank account under an unknown name that was not located during the investigation, said an affidavit.

In a complaint written by the victim, Peter Schwalbenberg,who owns both businesses, he said Guptill worked as a business administrator for him since August 2002.

Schwalbenberg works out of the country and said he had not lived in the United States for the past three years. Guptill handled three companies for Schwalbenberg and also his personal finances. In the complaint, Schwalbenberg said Guptill told him he had taken the low road and stolen from him.

An investigation by the Knox County Sheriff's Office revealed Guptill was illegally transferring funds to his own accounts using a pay by phone method, said court papers.

Guptill will begin serving his sentence Monday, May 12.

Courier Publications reporter Juliette Laaka can be reached at 594-4401 or by email at

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