Maine authorities are seeking help from the public in locating a former Kennebunk man accused of duping people in York and Waldo counties into investing in a clothing business but keeping the money for himself.

Robert J. Howarth, 61, was indicted by a York County grand jury in March and by a Waldo County grand jury in May on multiple charges of securities fraud and theft by deception. But since his indictments, authorities have been unable to locate Howarth, who has used the aliases Robert Chiofolo, Robert Kim Lee and Robert Sachs, said Assistant Attorney General Carrie Carney, who is prosecuting the case.

“He was living in Kennebunk, but he’s not there anymore. We really don’t know where he could be,” Carney said.

Carney said Howarth is known to have ties to Massachusetts, but authorities do not know whether he is there.

Maine Securities Administrator Judith Shaw asked anyone with information on Howarth’s whereabouts to call an investigator from her office, Jim Frechette, at either (207) 624-8551 or (877) 624-8551.

“Mr. Howarth came to Belfast in 2009 claiming to be a successful businessman who made money by selling clothing overseas,” Shaw said. “He used various tactics to convince investors that he was operating a legitimate business venture. However, his investment appears to have been a scam resulting in alleged investor losses in excess of $500,000. We are requesting the public’s assistance in locating Mr. Howarth.”

The Waldo County indictment against Howarth lists a dozen victims who gave him investment money between Jan. 1, 2009, and Feb. 1, 2010, in amounts ranging from $3,000 to $200,000, for a total of $572,250.

The York County indictment lists a couple who gave Howarth an unspecified amount of money sometime between May 1 and Aug. 1, 2012.

Howarth is described in the indictments as a white man, 6 feet, 1 inch tall, weighing 190 pounds with brown hair and hazel eyes.

Each of the charges of theft by deception is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Each of the charges of securities fraud is punishable by up to five years in prison.

Scott Dolan can be contacted at 791-6304 or at:

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