Michael Middelton

OLD ORCHARD BEACH — A  grand jury in New Hampshire has indicted an Old Orchard Beach resident on bigamy charges, alleging he was legally married to at least one other woman and possibly more when he tied the knot with a woman in Dover six years ago.

Prosecutors say Michael Middleton, 44, was allegedly using the scheme to drain the assets of women he marries before leaving and the indictment was sought to prevent Middleton from victimizing further women.

According to the indictment, Middleton was already married to a woman in Georgia and another woman in Alabama, and more are suspected.

An indictment is not a finding of guilt, but a finding that enough evidence exists to move forward with prosecution.

Detectives painstakingly obtained and reviewed records from other states to build a case to indict Middleton, prosecutors said.

Based upon an investigation of Middleton’s marital records by police, he was already married to Katherine Lashley of Georgia and Kassandra Shipley of Alabama when he married Alicia Grant of Dover, New Hampshire, in 2013. Investigators believe that there may be even more marriages in other locations not yet discovered.

Grant and Middleton moved to South Berwick in 2014 and he was arrested on a charge of domestic violence there that same year.

Prosecutors say that Grant became suspicious when she made a phone call that was answered by a woman who told her that she was Middleton’s wife. She then notified authorities that Middleton had victimized and defrauded her.

They allege in the indictment that Middleton’s alleged pattern of deception is to meet women online, marry them and then gain control of their assets before vanishing.

Middleton has been taken into custody and is scheduled to be arraigned in Superior Court in Dover on the charges on Thursday.

In New Hampshire, bigamy is a Class B felony with a maximum penalty of 3½ to 7 years in prison. A judge also could impose a fine of up to $4,000 if he is found guilty of the crime.

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