PORTLAND — A judge is expected to hear arguments next week on whether the criminal charges against well-known Windham businessman Kaile Warren should be dismissed or if the case should proceed to trial later this year.

The hearing on Warren’s motion to dismiss the charges is set for Friday morning at Cumberland County Superior Court.

Warren founded the Rent-A-Husband handyman business in 1996 and gained national media attention for his franchise concept, including multiple appearances on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and a contract to appear regularly on CBS’ “The Early Show.”

He was indicted by a grand jury in December and again in April on felony counts of securities fraud, theft by deception and sales of unregistered securities. Warren has pleaded not guilty and has publicly criticized the state for seeking the charges against him.

Daniel Lilley and Darrick Banda, Warren’s lawyers, claim the state prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General Michael Colleran, mischaracterized state laws when he presented the case for indictment. According to Lilley, Colleran told the grand jury that Warren could be held responsible for fraud and for selling unregistered securities even if Warren had no criminal intent or knowledge that the securities might have been unlawful.

“That just isn’t the law in our view, and that is what we will be arguing,” Lilley said Thursday. “You have to have intent, a culpable state of mind.”

Colleran said he recently received a copy of the motion to dismiss and he expects to file a response with the court early next week. He has declined to comment specifically on the grand jury proceedings.

“The case proceeds forward,” he said. “We are not aware of any information that changes our view that this is a very appropriate case to prosecute.”

Colleran says Warren duped investors by claiming that Rent-A-Husband was successful, when in fact it was losing hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Warren allegedly used some of the money from investors to pay for restaurant meals and other personal expenses, and failed to inform new investors about money he owed to prior investors.

According to the state, Warren owed $240,000 on promissory notes in 2003; by August 2009, that figure had ballooned to more than $1.6 million, owed to dozens of investors.

Warren said his investors knew the risks and signed documents with the understanding that returns were not guaranteed. He maintains that if there was anything illegal about the deals made between investors and Rent-A-Husband, the Preti Flaherty law firm is responsible because it handled the paperwork and guided him through the process. The firm’s managing partner has declined to comment while the criminal charges are pending.

 

Staff Writer Trevor Maxwell can be contacted at 791-6451 or at:

[email protected]